Monday, April 1, 2019

A Question of the Heart

Deuteronomy 4:39  "Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below."

Deuteronomy 5:29  "Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!"

Deuteronomy 6:5  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Deuteronomy 10:12  "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul"

Psalm 13:2 "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?"

Psalm 26:2-3  "Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness."

Psalm 51:10  "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

Psalm 64:6  "They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning."

Psalm 81:12  "So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices."

Proverbs 20:9  "Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?"

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.    Who can understand it?"

       If your heart could speak to you, what would it say?  Sin begins in our hearts, when our will goes against God's will for us.  Our hearts can lead us astray, unless we turn and seek God in all things.  When the Bible refers to our heart, what is it referring to?  Our heart refers to our mind, intellect, thinking, reflections, memory, will, passions, feelings, conscience, character, motives, soul, understanding, the seat of our appetites, the seat of our courage.  Matthew 6:21  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Psalm 139:23  "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."

        Proverbs 4:23  "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."  We often let our hurt or damaged hearts affect other things in our life, even without meaning to.  Our hearts become bitter, and therefore so do our words, thoughts, actions and reactions result in bitterness.  When we are out of our depths, we must turn and begin to touch the depths of God.  Forgiveness isn't impossible, but with God, forgiveness is HIM-possible.   Guarding our hearts means to watch over, preserve, protect, and be proactive in our habits that keep our hearts in line with God's will for us.

      "Unless we respond correctly to conflict, we limit our potential to grow, because we aren’t learning what the Lord is teaching. Also, we can develop an unforgiving spirit, which leads to bitterness and resentment. Eventually, such an attitude can destroy relationships.  
      There is also a positive way to handle conflict. Luke 23:34 reveals how our Savior responded when He was wrongly accused, unfairly judged, and killed for something He didn’t do. Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [] 

       "Circumstances often prove painful. But even when situations seem overwhelming, believers can trust that our sovereign Lord knows all, is in control, and lovingly works everything for His children’s good. We can rest confidently, knowing that the unchanging God of all creation is taking care of us."

        "The soul is cast down when our sorrow does not bring us to God, but away from God. There is no discouragement in any affliction or trouble whatsoever, but it is a lack of trusting in God. We may not know the reason God has allowed it, and this requires our trust. When we do not trust in God, we are trusting in ourselves, and we cannot experience victory in our own strength." - R. Sibbes

        As the saying goes, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it.”  Lord, please change our hearts and attitude about hard times. Bring about joy, perseverance, and maturity in each of us.  May our hearts be humbled by who You are and how powerful, just and loving You are as You watch over and protect us, even from our own heart's wickedness.