WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART…


Luke 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”  NASB

Have you ever noticed that you cannot hide the fruit of the tree?  Have you noticed that although you call it a peach tree, if it is bearing pecans, everyone knows it is not a peach tree?  Many people call themselves various things but sometimes the fruit produced in the life belies that description.  We are what we produce not what we would like to produce.

We may conceal what is in our minds, but what is in our hearts will ultimately make its way to the outward and be revealed.  This passage makes a simplistic but incredibly true declaration – “A good man produces good out of the good treasure of his heart.”  I could say it this way and hopefully, it will resonate.  “What we do is reflective of what is truly in our hearts.”

I realize that some continually seek to earn their way into heaven and the hearts of others by what they do. That may work, for a time, with some people but ultimately the condition of the heart will prevail and reveal what is really on the inside.  It never works with God! Jesus said, in Matthew 15:18 that what we speak is reflective of what is in our hearts.  By hearts, we do not mean the organ that pumps blood but the seat of the soul, who we are.  It is our character, our makeup, our person.  It is the me that is me.  It is who I am.

If evil thoughts are in my heart, my life will reflect those thoughts.  I may be charitable to a point, but when I deem it too costly, I will cease and reveal that my heart is not a heart of charity but opportunity and edge.  I had a man tell me that he suddenly was overcome with temptation and had an affair with a woman at work.  As we discussed the situation, we discovered that it began with playful flirtation, then entertaining thoughts of possibility, and ultimately those little thoughts and actions overpowered his ability to resist and he succumbed.  It was not sudden it was gradual and was the result of what he had allowed in his heart.  Another reason to learn to and demand that every thought bow to Jesus and is brought into captivity.

Our lives are like fruit trees and whatever is in the heart will be the fruit that is produced.  Job said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes…”  (Job 31:1).  The writer of Proverbs gives incredible counsel in 4:23, 25-36 – “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.  Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.  Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.  Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”  The heart’s condition determines if we produce good or bad fruit.  The heart reveals what kind of tree we are and like trees, we are to be the planting of the LORD.

I encourage you to never allow a wicked thought to remain.  You cannot keep thoughts and temptations from coming into your mind, but you can refuse to allow them to stay.  Immediately reject all thoughts that do not bring honor to God. 

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him.

OBEDIENCE and RIGHTEOUSNESS HAVE BENEFIT…


Deuteronomy 7:12-16 – “Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. 13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle. 15 And the LORD will remove from you all sickness; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you. 16 And you shall consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.”  NASB

There is a progression in this passage that is worthy of note.  I love the way verse 12 begins, “Then it shall come about, because you listen…”  Wow!  Imagine that, listening has benefit.  Tragically too frequently we want God to listen to us give Him our list of requests, requirements, needs, and desires.  He virtually becomes the supermarket, shopping center, or candy store for many believers.  Prayer to them is telling God what they want then without commitment, investment, or involvement having Him provide. 

Here we discover that God says, “There are some benefits to listening to my judgment, requirements, and commandments.”  But if we only make it hearing the words, we miss what listening is all about.  To Listen is to not only hear and understand but to obey or do what is being instructed.  It is following through on the directions given.  It is fulfilling the desire of the one speaking.  No wonder some wives say to their husbands, “You never listen to me.” 

I told a couple once, “When the wife speaks and you hear her words but fail to respond positively to them, you are not listening, and she is justified in her complaint that you do not listen.”  Of course, the converse of that is also true, if the wife treats the husband as we treat God, the doer of our deeds she is not deserving of him listening.  Balance must be achieved in that both parties in the relationship have the best interest of the other at heart.  God always has our best interest at heart, and if we are to complete the cycle, we must have His in our hearts.  We are to ‘seek first’ the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  We are to pray for His Kingdom to come to and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

He says, in this passage, that true listening produces some incredible benefits.  He will keep His covenant and demonstrate His longsuffering and lovingkindness.  He will bless us, multiplying us and that is more than simply giving us a house full of kids.  It is our seed, our produce, and our protection.  It is to have Him become our healer and protector against infectious disease and other harmful things attempting to attack.  It is to become empowered by the Spirit of God to enable us to ‘pull down strongholds’ and ‘overcome the enemy.’ 

Although we cannot earn God’s Grace, we can have His favor and should never forget the declaration of Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:22 that “Obedience is better than sacrifice…”  God wants His children to “come out from among them and be separate.”  No, He is not asking us to isolate and insulate from the world but to infect the world with our faith and demonstrate His favor as we walk in obedience. 

The Psalmist informs us that the Psalms 33:18-19 – “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”  My encouragement is to seek to please the LORD in all things and at all times, making Him first in your life.

God bless you as you enjoy His benefits of obedience!  Have a Great Day in Jesus!

WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?


Luke 12:34 – “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  NASB

It would be beneficial to read from verse 22 through verse 40 to see the big picture, but the words of verse 34 are powerful and revealing.  One of the major things Jesus emphasized to his disciples was Living or Real Life.  He stressed living not living stressed!  He said, in John 10:10 – “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  Jesus taught that the seat of human emotions was the heart and we see that in Proverbs 23:7 – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  In Matthew 15:19, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”  Jesus also taught that until the heart is tuned into the right wavelength there can be no real spiritual life – Luke 12:34.

Whatever takes top position or priority on our list of values, wants, desires, and goals is where our heart will be.  That is where our loyalty will be placed, and our love and devotion will be centered.  Our lips may cry out expressions of love for God and the things of God, but unless our lives demonstrate the same it is not real.  The reality will be that we are expressing, by our actions a devotion to the carnal not heavenly.  Luke 12:34.

Jesus brought several things to light in His exhortation found in these verses that are extremely valuable and important for Life and discovering Real Life.  The Life that He came to bring – Abundant Life!

Jesus Reveals the Foolishness and Futility of Being Bound by the Emotion of Worry.  In verse 22 He said, “Don’t worry about, life, food, clothing, etc.”  Rather than fretting over what you do not have or what you perceive you need, focus on God’s Promised Provisions and His Provisions.  He reminded us of this in the parable of the Rich Young Ruler and the incredible loss that young man endured because of his love for possessions.

Jesus reminded them and us, that God has everything in control.  His person brings comfort that He is able.  His power demonstrates He is able.  His plan reveals the depth of His love and concern for man.  His promise is incredible.  If God is not in control, then we are far worse shape than we thought.  He is in Control.

Jesus Emphasized the Call to Pursue Holy Things.  The natural man is concerned with the natural things and takes great pains to care for the natural needs or perceived needs.  Why?  The simplest reason is, that is all he knows.  1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 

The call of God is for us to pursue Spiritual Things.  The apostle John said it beautifully in 3 John 2 – “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”  Our work, education, family, etc. are all important and things we should take care of but our relationship with God is the most important of all.  If we get that right, the other things will also become right.  Colossians 3:1 advises, “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” 

We focus on Holy Things because Eternity depends on it.  John 3:3 warns, “…except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  Matthew 10:28 comforts us saying, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  We are told to “come out from among them and be separate” and to “be holy because God is holy.”

The Father has commanded us to live holy lives and pursue Him first above everything else.  The Bible declares that God has bound Himself by His word to give us “abundant life.”  That life comes through obedience.  Everything must become secondary to Christ.  (Matthew 10:37-39).

God will not tolerate divided affections (Matthew 12:24-25, 30).  Whatever keeps us from serving God with a whole heart will keep us out of fellowship with Him. Heaven is too valuable a prize to miss due to divided loyalties and affections.  Loving the world and attempt to love God at the same time.

Where is our treasure?  If it is earth and earthly things then this is our reward, but if it is in God, then we have the reward of Abundant Life here and Eternity with Him!  Worry screams that we do not truly believe what God has promised.  Failure to pursue God and holy things testifies of a life of divided loyalties and affections.  Where is our Treasure?  2 Corinthians 13:5-6, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?”  Where is your treasure?  It is where your heart is.

May the Lord richly bless you and give you peace.  May this day overflow with the joy of the Lord!

HOW TO TRUST GOD – (Part 2) …


Mark 9:23 – “And Jesus said to him, “If You can! All things are possible to him who believes.” NASB

As we continue in our pursuit of learning to Fully Trust God in All Things and at All Times, we remember that we saw the Position of God that He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is The Living God!

We also need to consider the Success of God.  He has a record that is without error or failure. He never fails.   He did not fail Abraham on Mt. Moriah but provided a lamb to take Isaac’s place.  He did not fail the Three Hebrew Children in the Furnace but stepped in and protected them.  He did not fail the Woman with the Issue of Blood but Healed her as she touched the hem of his garment. 

The Gospel of Mark records 19 miracles that show the Supernatural Power exercised by Jesus.  Eight of them demonstrate the Power over Disease.  Five of them demonstrate the Power over Nature.  Four of them reveal the Authority over demons.  Two of them exemplify the Power over Death.  Jesus Never Fails and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!  We can and should Trust Him!

The very Nature, Being, and Character of God denies the possibility of failure.  There is no disease He cannot conquer. There is no task He cannot accomplish.  Death cannot hold Him and cannot hold us, who are In Him!  He has not and will not fail.

The Ministry and Focus of Jesus are ‘You and Me.’  He said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to them that believe.”  The incredible declaration of Isaiah 53 should be a constant reminder of our promise and provision in Him.  He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes, we are healed.  This blessing comes to us from Him our of His incredible Love and Grace.

He has paved the way for our needs to be supplied.  He died so that we could survive and thrive.  When we see Who He is, His Success, and His inability to Fail we can have confidence that Whatever He Promised He Will Provide.

He invites us to “ask what we will.”  He invites us to “come unto Him and receive.”  His is The Living God and we can Trust Him!

May the LORD bless you richly as you enjoy this day in Him!

HOW TO TRUST GOD…


Mark 9:23 – “And Jesus said to him, “If You can! All things are possible to him who believes.” NASB

Trusting God is not automatic.  Many do not seem to automatically begin to trust God for their needs, guidance, and life.  Accepting Jesus as Savior does not automatically make a person a person of ‘Trust’ or ‘Faith’.  I am not saying they are not ‘Saved’ or ‘Born Again’ but that they have not learned to exercise their faith to the fullest.

I believe there are Four Areas of Understanding, if we can grasp their relevance, we will make it easier to ‘Trust God’ in all things and at all times.  God desires that we walk by Faith.

It is important that we understand the Position of God.  He is the Creator. He is not a god but The Living God!  In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”  In John 1:1-3 we discover, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  And all things were made by Him: without Him was not anything made that was made.”  God, not evolution, created this world and all that is in it.

There are Three Things we must consider regarding our Creator God.  He is Omnipotent (All-Powerful).  He does not have Power, He is Power.  In Genesis 17:1 He is the “Almighty God.”  In Genesis 18:14 we discover that there is nothing too hard for Him.  In Deuteronomy 32:39 we discover that none can overpower Him.  In Isaiah 40:15 we are reminded that the nations are a mere drop in His bucket.  Jeremiah 32:17 reminds us that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  In Matthew 19:26 we are told that with God, “all things are possible.”   All of life is sustained by God.  He has the power to give life or take it away.  He is The Living God and Omnipotent!

He is Omnipresent (Unlimited by Time or Space).  In Genesis 28:15 He declares, “I am with you and will keep you in all places where you go.”  In Joshua 2:11 we read, “For the LORD your God, He is God in the heaven above and in the earth beneath.”  He is God everywhere!  In Psalms 137:7, the Psalmists asks, “Where shall I flee from His presence?”  Proverbs 15:3 reminds us that His eyes are in every place and in Jeremiah 23:24 we are asked, “Can any hide himself in secret places that God does not see?”  He fills the heaven and the earth.  He has no limitations and is everywhere at once.  He is The Living God and Omnipresent!

He is Omniscient (Knows Everything).  He knows and is never caught off guard or taken by surprise.  In 1 Chronicles 28:9, we find, “for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts.”  In Psalm 139:1-2, we read, “O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me. 2 Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar.”  In Luke 16:15 we are informed, “But God knows your hearts.”  His knowledge is perfect.  He knows all things.  He knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 

God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient.  He is THE LIVING GOD!  If we know Him, we can Trust Him because of Who He Is!  I want to address this one more time and take it another step in the pursuit of learning how to Trust God but will pause here today.

May the LORD Bless you richly is my prayer. Have a Fantastic Day!

CHRIST IN THE HOUSE…


Mark 2:1-3 – “And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men.”  NASB

I find it incredibly encouraging and comforting to know that Jesus always does everything at just the right moment and in the right way.  He does not come when the impatient think He should, but when His wisdom determines it to be right.  He is never late nor is He early.  He comes where He is desired and visits every willing and open heart.  His presence in the House cannot be concealed, nor can His absence.  His presence improves every occasion.  When Jesus is in the house, whatever the need the supply is present in Him.  Our lives, our homes, our churches, and our world need Him to indwell us.

I want to mention some interesting things I see in this passage and hopefully, it will encourage and inspire you.  The fact that Christ was in the House was an Attraction.  “many were gathered together.”  We need to remember the words of our LORD, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me.”  His presence draws people to Him and those serving Him.

The fact that Christ was in the House provided a teaching moment and a time of instruction.  “He preached the word unto them.”  We need to remember His words, that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

The fact that Christ was in the House was a Benediction.  A benediction of Healing.  It was a benediction of pardon and forgiveness.  I use the word benediction, not as an ending for prayer but a Blessings and a provision of Hope.  It was a declaration that the Healer was in the House and Healing was not a blessing all could enjoy and hope for.

The most important question any of us can respond to is, “Is Christ in our House?”  Is He the Lord of our life?  If we need healing, He is the Healer.  If we need forgiveness, He is the Savior.  If we need direction, He is our Guide.  He brings Joy and Happiness.  He brings Peace and Contentment.  He brings Solutions and the provision needed in our lives.  He improves every occasion, every situation, and every person. 

So, I ask, “Is Christ in Your House?”  By that I mean is He in your heart and your life as LORD?  Is he theoretical or real to you? Do you know about Him or do you know Him? If He is not Lord to you, please do not delay but invite Him to come in today.  He is truly standing at the door of your heart knocking!

God bless you as you enjoy this beautiful day in Him!

THE BREAD OF LIFE…


John 6:30-35 – “They said therefore to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'” 32 Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”  34 They said therefore to Him, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  NASB

In this passage, Jesus had just performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes taking 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish and feeding 5,000.  Those people had followed Him from Capernaum hoping to see more miracles and signs.  I am convinced that, at this juncture, most were curiosity seekers not necessarily true believers.  They were following for the loaves and fishes and not because they believed He was the Son of the Living God. 

Why do I say that?  Note verse 30, they asked what sign He would show them, and then in verse 31, they referred to the miracle of the manna in the wilderness.  Jesus’ answer to their question and statement is powerful.  He said, “Moses did not give you that bread, it was from My Father.”  The Father is the source of the bread or the miracle. 

He then moved to the point of it all in verse 33 and said, “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”  That resulted in their crying out, “Give us this bread!”  In verse 35, Jesus drives the truth home even more powerfully saying, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” 

In that short encounter, our Lord declared Himself to be the “Bread of Life” and while that might not seem significant to us here in America and the West, it was to them.  There are some incredibly interesting facts that I feel compelled to unpackage regarding bread in the view of much of the world.

Bread is the Principle Food of much of the world.  It is estimated that as much as 75% of the world’s population lives entirely on bread or the food that is derived from wheat or barley flour.  It is the chief food in the East.  In the Bible “Eating or Breaking Bread” is what we would say, “Have a meal.”

In much of the world, there is a Sacredness of Bread.  Those in that region were brought up and many still are, to view bread as having some mystic meaning.  In some places, they have such a reverence from bread that they will not arise or salute a guest if they are in the midst of breaking bread together.  They wait until they are finished.

The attitude of people in much of the Eastern World is essentially religious.  Everything about bread from the sowing of the seed to the baking of the loaves is done in the name of God.  These Easterners grasped the power of the injunction in the Lord’s Prayer – “Give us this day our daily bread.”  It was to these people that Jesus first said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

The Bread was never Sliced but always Broken.  Bread to these people was a principle source of life, for without bread they could not live very long.  That makes being the Bread of Life incredibly powerful and the message is clear. 

I ask that you consider three things about this bread from heaven and expand on it as the Holy Spirit directs you.

Jesus is the Bread of God – (v.33).   He meets the need of the Father on our behalf.

Jesus is the Living Bread – (v.33).  He meets the need of the world dying for us.

Jesus is the Bread of Life – (v.35).  He meets and sustains the needs of His People.

He gave Himself for us.  He has given and gives us His Love and His Life.  We are, likewise, to receive His life and give freely to others in their need.  He came to us in compassion, we are to be compassionate.  He gives generously, we are to be generous.  He gives regularly, we are to give regularly that which we have. 

We have, through the Blood of Jesus and the Work of the Holy Spirit, received the Bread of Life and that Bread becomes our Life.  Through Him, we are Born Again!  He is our total supply!

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!