Posts Tagged With: heart

Hardened Hearts

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Just as this stream froze as the temperatures dropped, our hearts can be slowly hardened as we refuse to listen and follow the way of the Lord.

Exodus 8:19

 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Pharaoh refused to listen the his magicians who were pointing out to Him the activity of God in his midst. Pharaoh missed it because his heart was hardened. How often do we miss the activity of God because our hearts are hardened?

God is always actively involved in the lives of His people but when we chose to go our own way and do what we want to do rather than what He would have us do, our hearts, like the stream, begin to harden. If we turn away from the Lord and the wisdom of others who try to help us recognize what He is doing in our lives, our hearts will continue to harden until they are frozen solid.

Streams are meant to flow but if the temperature drops too low over an extended period of time the stream will freeze solid and the water will no longer be flowing.

John 7:38

38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

In order to prevent our hearts from hardening we need to keep the living water flowing by spending time with Christ each day. We need to have other believers in our life who can help point out God’s activity in our midst when we can’t see it for ourselves. Take some today to spend the Lord and ask Him to reveal any areas of your heart that are hardening. Ask the Lord to show you how He is working in your midst and to put people in your path that will point you to Him.

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No Trespassing

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Do you have a ‘No Trespassing’ sign on part of your life or part of your heart? God wants to be able to search our lives and our hearts in order to help us live the lives He created us to live.

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

God created us and knows us better than anyone else. He knows the good, the bad and the ugly and loves us in spite of our flaws and failures. He has things to say to us about how we live our lives but are we willing to listen? Like the ‘No Trespassing’ sign, are there areas of our lives we have deemed ‘Private Property’, even from the Lord?

These may be areas of our lives where we are sinning and don’t want to acknowledge our sin or change it. It may be our finances. Do you spend and save your money the way you want to or do you seek the Lord on what to do with your finances? If we are not seeking Him, we are basically putting up a ‘No trespassing’ sign over that part of our lives.

For some of us, it may be our relationships. Do you seek the Lord about your relationships? Not just who you should or shouldn’t be in relationship with but also how you act in your relationships. Have you asked the Lord to show you what you can do to improve your relationship with that difficult person in your life? Have you heard from the Lord but are unwilling to change the way you treat them?

Perhaps it is the attitude of your heart where you have put a ‘Private Property’ sign. You may treat people well but in your heart you are harboring unforgiveness, anger and bitterness. Is there someone you need to forgive? Remember forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning a behavior or attitude, it means you no longer carry around the anger and disappointment and leave justice to the Lord. Is there anyone in your life you are still angry with and the anger has turned to bitterness? Are you willing to allow the Lord to heal your heart?

The Lord already knows exactly what is going on in our lives and exactly how we feel about people and situations. However, He wants us to ask Him to seek our hearts, thoughts and ways. In doing so, we are humbling ourselves before the Lord. In addition we are acknowledging we need His perspective and desire His will for our lives. Are you courageous enough to seek Him today and put down your ‘No Trespassing’ signs and allow Him to search your heart, thoughts and ways? He will show you what He sees and will use the Holy Spirit to help you see changes you may need to make in your attitudes, words and actions. The first step is asking Him to search you and the next step is to be obedient to what He says. Be courageous today!

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Hardened Hearts

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Paul reminds the people of their faulty thinking before Christ due to their hardened hearts. 

Ephesians 4:17-19

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

Before coming to put their faith in Christ, the thinking of the people was futile. Not that they were unable to think but rather their thinking was lacking because it did not include spiritual knowledge that could only come from knowing Christ. This lack of knowledge was directly related to  the “hardening of their hearts.” The Greek word for “hardening” is “porosis” and it means “to harden, petrify, render insensitive”. 1 “It was used of the callus that forms where the bone has been broken and re-set, a callus which is harder than the bone itself. Finally the word came to mean the loss of all power of sensation; it described something which had become so hardened, so petrified that it had no power to feel at all.”2

When we read “hardening of hearts”, I don’t think we truly understand the full meaning of the word. However, when we look at what it means in its original language and some of the commentary associated with it, we get a clearer picture. Paul was warning the people they must change the way the live. They must be aware of how easily their thinking can lead them astray.

The same is true for us today. When we allow our hearts to become hardened, we are essentially tuning out the Holy Spirit’s teaching, leading, guiding and conviction from our lives. We are choosing to live our lives the way we want to live them rather than the way the Lord wants us to live them. This hardening of heart over time will slowly petrify our hearts so we no longer have the ability to feel His presence in our lives or sense Him guiding us. 

Do a quick spiritual check on yourself today. When was the last time you heard the Lord speak to you? When was the last time you felt Him leading and guiding you? Perhaps the most important question is when was the last time you felt Him convicting you? Scripture is very clear when it comes to sin. 

Romans 3:23

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We are all sinners. If we are no longer feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is not because we are no longer sinning. We have just become insensitive to recognizing our sin. If after doing this brief spiritual check, you realize you are beginning to experience the hardening of your heart, turn to the Lord and pray for Him to soften it so you can feel His presence once again. 

 

 

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Spiritual Boot Camp Day 31

This is our final week of boot camp and we will look at all of James 5. Congratulations on making it to the final week!

James 5:1-6

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

In James 4:9 he told the people to grieve, wail and mourn for their sins and to repent. In these verses James is telling the people of what is to happen at the time of judgement. They will be “weep and wail” because of the misery brought upon them by the judgement of the Lord because of their actions. Let’s take a look at what their actions were like.

Their focus was on accumulating and “hoarding wealth”. There is nothing wrong with having money or things, but it is the attitude of heart towards it that makes the difference. If your sole purpose is the accumulation of money and stuff, your heart is not in the right place.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus is very clear about the fact that money and stuff can become a heart issue. Instead of accumulating stuff here on earth, we should be trying to build up “treasures in heaven”; eternal rewards based on how we live our lives here on earth. Where is your treasure? What is it you work towards gaining? What attitude do you have towards money and stuff?

The next thing James addresses is the unfair treatment of the workers. We all want to be successful at what we do, but not at any cost. Have you ever done something to get ahead that harmed someone else? Have you ever taken credit for someone else’s work or exaggerated your contributions or put someone else down in order to make yourself look better? Earning money, promotions, accolades and stuff at any cost isn’t really earning anything but heartache. When our selfish ambition becomes the priority, we are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead.

James addresses them for having “lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence”. Does that describe your life? Are you focused on earning more and getting further ahead in your career so you can enjoy the luxuries of life? Having luxuries in and of themselves is not a problem, but we need to make sure we keep our hearts and attitudes in check. What does God want us to be doing? If we get a raise or a bonus – how does He want us to spend it?

As we begin this week. look at the luxuries you have in your life or the things you treasure, is your heart in the right place? How are you spending the money you earn? Are you seeking the Lord and how He would have you spend it or are you making your own plans and storing up treasures for yourself on earth?

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Our Eyes Deceive Us

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Do the horizontal lines look parallel? They don’t really look like they are, but they are.

We’ve all heard the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but did you know there is a verse in Scripture that mirrors that thought?

1 Samuel 16:7
 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 

“Representing a different Hebrew root word than earlier in the verse, the second occurrence of the word “appearance” means literally “eyes”. Human beings are impressed – and therefore often deceived – by what their eyes tell them, while God looks at the “heart”.1

We become impressed by what we see in others – how they are dressed and what their physical appearance is and form opinions about the person without ever even getting to know them. Women are especially guilty of this. We walk into a room and scan the room to see what everyone else is wearing, what their hair looks like and whether or not someone has gained a few pounds.

We miss out on getting to know people because we judge them based on their outward appearance. If Samuel were in charge of anointing the next king, he certainly wouldn’t have chosen David. Just think of the impact of that decision. Without David, we wouldn’t have so many of the wonderful psalms that bring us comfort and encouragement.

Who do you need to take a second look at around you? What are you missing out on because you are letting your eyes deceive you and only focus on the outward appearance? Pray God will give you His eyes to see others and not focus merely on the outward appearance, but the heart.

1 “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the NIV”, Zondervan, vol. 3, pg.684. 

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