Paul is telling us not to live like ignorant and unconverted people do. They have not been regenerated and their minds are full of darkness. They do not walk in the light of the truth of the Gospel. Why? Because they have refused to heed the call of God’s Spirit and have refused to be obedient, so their hearts and minds are closed to any move by the Spirit. Therefore, they live only to satisfy the lusts of the flesh and they participate in all kinds of sinful activity. But we know better. Why? Because we have heard and accepted the Truth. So, we walk according to God’s Spirit. That means that we stop our sinful ways that were corrupted by lust and deception. We are now a new creature and we are guided by the Spirit of God. The real “us” that is carried around in these tents of flesh is being made into God’s image. We look forward to the day when we shall see Jesus. At that time, we will be totally converted into His image. “What a wonderful change in my heart has been wrought’ I’ve been washed by the blood of the Lamb.” Hallelujah and Amen!
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.– Hebrews 4:12 NLT
God knows our hearts and our innermost thoughts. His Spirit searches our heart and minds to reveal any sinfulness or sinful thoughts that we might have. He reveals that anger we have been harboring and we have to deal with it. God wants us to be totally committed to Him. He will not accept being the #1 God in the race, He wants us to understand that He is the only God He can ask this of us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He understands that we will fail. If we could accomplish this on our own, then Jesus died in vain. But He has made a way for us by allowing us to come into the throne room and ask His forgiveness. He is always faithful to forgive us and help us when we repent and return to Him. He is ALWAYS there to help when we need Him and especially when we need Him the most. 10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.You alone are God.— Psalm 86:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
We, who have been chosen by God and saved by His gift of Jesus dying on the cross, have a great responsibility to carry the message forward. We have received the commission and we must go forth. Not everyone will be glad to hear the Good News and not everyone will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility to tell it everywhere we go. We are told that the angels in heaven rejoice greatly when a lost soul comes home. So, let’s make it our goal to keep the angels rejoicing continuously by leading people to Jesus Christ. Then when Jesus welcomes us home, we can just join in the festivities.
A lot of people spend most of their lives making money. It is true that we need to work to take care of ourselves and our families. But when making money becomes our obsession and our goal, we need to step back and take a long, hard look at our lifestyles. When we spend too much of our time making money that we don’t need for our livelihood, perhaps we are laying up treasures in the wrong place. It might be time to spend more time with our families and with God. Since God has blessed you with money and most likely a good family, shouldn’t you stop to give Him thanks every day? Remember that everything belongs to God. He allows it to rain on the just and the unjust alike. He can also stop the rain if He so desires. You could be a millionaire today and a pauper tomorrow. So, don’t spend all of your time laying up treasures that will fade away, spend some time laying up treasures in heaven and those treasures will last forever. As you practice this, you will find that the desires of your heart change from an earthly, material, temporary focus to a heavenly, eternal one.
God wants each of us to be totally committed to Him. Our lifestyles should reflect that commitment. We have to look inside ourselves and allow God’s Holy Spirit to show us where the problem lies. What is keeping us from being totally committed to Jesus? Are temporary physical pleasures more important than eternal life in heaven? Eternal life with Jesus is a free gift, so earning more money is not going to get you there. The only true peace and contentment we have is in Jesus. He knows our hearts and He knows the solution to not only the sins we try to hide, but to any situation we are facing. He is waiting to share that information with You.
If you do, He will speak to You.
3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ — Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
The more I study the Scriptures, the more I am reminded of the great old hymn, “I Love to Tell the Story”. The passages of Scripture are unique and different, but they tell us more about the same story, the story of Jesus. It is a complete story of His complete love. It seems incomplete to us in the beginning, but the more we study, the more we realize it is all there, we just haven’t understood it yet. I have “loved” Jesus a long time, but it is only in the last few years that I have come to realize that what I really wanted was to be “in love” with Jesus. I used to know about Him, but now I just want to know Him. The only way to really fall in love with someone is to get to know them and the only way to do that is to spend time with them, whether that be physically with them or to be with them in Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit searches our hearts and knows the heart of God (since He is God) and He communicates between those hearts because He indwells us. What a wonderful plan! Because of God’s Holy Spirit, we can spend time with Him all the time.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to abide within our hearts and minds. God has sent Him to be our guide and our teacher. If we are sincere about our repentance and listen to His teachings, we will soon discover that Jesus wants to be not only our Savior, but also our Lord. If we are going to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, there will have to be some changes made. We are becoming new creatures and that requires tearing down the old. We have new hearts inhabited by a new Master. He also wants to renew our minds. Jesus, better than anyone, understands that the true battlefield is the mind. It is where our thoughts and ideas originate. We have to learn to control our thoughts and imaginations and bring them all into the obedience of Christ Jesus. Once our thought patterns change, our words and actions will change and our words and actions will let those around know which God we serve.
Bldad also wrongly assumes that Job has committed some transgression and God is disciplining Job for that sin. But Bildad is correct in the statement that he makes. “But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home”. And his statement in verse 7 above turns out to be a prophecy for Job. Job definitely ends up with twice as much as he had in the beginning. If we faithfully persevere in the times of testing, we will be blessed here on earth. The greatest of these blessings is not material possessions or anything that money can buy. It is the peace and the joy that comes from knowing that we are pleasing our heavenly Father. From my own personal experience, I can testify that there is a peace that each of us can access that is different from what the world knows as peace. It is a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds. It is a peace that keeps from thinking those thoughts that satan would use to destroy us. It is a peace that assures us that we are not alone now and we will never be alone. Although the peace you have now may be little, focus on Jesus and you will have abundant peace and joy that is truly unspeakable.
Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelis through and the miracles He had performed in bringing them to the Promised Land. Stephen also reminded them that God did this for them in spite of their unbelief and unfaithfulness. He did it as a fulfillment of His covenant with their ancestors. Even though God was faithful, the Israelis were not, refusing to listen to Moses and any of the prophets God sent to them with messages warning them to repent and be obedient to God. Instead they persecuted and murdered the prophets choosing to remain in their sinful ways and worship idols made by human hands. The people Stephen was addressing were still following in their ancestor’s paths, choosing to kill the Messiah rather than to give up their worldly ways and repent. If Stephen were here today, he could add the history of our country to his discourse and the accusation would still be true. After all the years of God blessing this country with His abundance, we are still a “stubborn people, heathen at heart and deaf to the truth”. More and more, as each day passes by, we become a more sinful nation. We refuse to believe that God will punish us just as He punished the Israelis. We must pray that God will have mercy on this nation of ours, that He will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and write His name upon our hearts.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me.— Psalm 51:10 NKJV
What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts? An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin. The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us. We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts. Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty. An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so. Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”. It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous