Heart Check

Heart Check

Joe Stowell

Luke 12:22-34

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

When commuting into Chicago on the train, I always followed the “unwritten codes of conduct”—such as, no conversations with people sitting next to you if you don’t know them. That was tough on a guy like me who has never met a stranger. I love talking to new people! Although I kept the code of silence, I realized that you can still learn something about people based on the section of the newspaper they read. So I’d watch to see what they turned to first: The business section? Sports? Politics? Current events?

Their choices revealed their interests. Our choices are always revealing. Of course, God doesn’t need to wait to see our choices in order for Him to know what’s in our hearts. But the things that occupy our time and attention are telling. As Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Regardless of what we want Him to think of us, the true condition of our heart becomes clear based on how we use our time, our money, and our talents. When we invest these resources in the things He cares about, then it reveals that our hearts are in tune with His. God’s heart is with the needs of people and the advancement of His kingdom. What do your choices tell Him and others about where your heart is?

Lord, I want my heart to be in tune with Yours. Forgive me for giving it to things of far less value, and teach me the joy of investing my time in opportunities to serve You.

Where is your treasure?

Written on Our Hearts

Written on Our Hearts

Lawrence Darmani

Deuteronomy 6:1-12

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Deuteronomy 6:6

In my neighborhood, religious inscriptions abound—on plaques, walls, doorposts, commercial vehicles, and even as registered names of businesses. By the Grace of God reads an inscription on a mini-bus; God’s Divine Favor Bookshop adorns a business signboard. The other day I couldn’t help smiling at this one on a Mercedes Benz: Keep Off—Angels on Guard!

But religious inscriptions, whether on wall plaques, jewelry, or T-shirts, are not a reliable indicator of a person’s love for God. It’s not the words on the outside that count but the truth we carry on the inside that reveals our desire to be changed by God.

I recall a program sponsored by a local ministry that distributed cards with Bible verses written on both sides that helped people memorize God’s Word. Such a practice is in keeping with the instructions Moses gave the Israelites when he told them to write the commandments of God “on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deut. 6:9). We are to treasure God’s Word in our hearts (v. 6), to impress it on our children, and to talk about it “when [we] walk along the road, when [we] lie down and when [we] get up” (v. 7).

May our faith be real and our commitment true, so we can love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength (v. 5).

Father, may Your words be more than nice sayings to us. May they be written on our hearts so that we will love You and others.

When God’s Word is hidden in our heart, His ways will become our ways.

Today’s passage begins with three verses of instruction about the benefits of keeping the commands of the Lord. Moses begins verse 4 with “Hear, O Israel.” Hear doesn’t mean “listen”; it means “understand” or “know.” The Israelites were to “know” the Lord—and so are we.

Don’t Follow Your Heart

W1134893heart copy (2)e have been instructed many times in our life to “FOLLOW OUR HEART.” We have also said when we are making an attempt to justify our shortcomings, “GOD KNOW MY HEART.”

Now with that being said, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

The only thing that our heart can lead us to is a pathway of deception. This means we will not be able to know the truth, walk in the truth, or accept the truth. Everything that our heart will lead us to will always deceive us. Even what we think is true the scripture says that our heart will deceive us above “ALL THINGS.” This includes what we think is right because there is a way that seem right to us but that way will lead us to death.valentines-day-evil-heart-wallpapers-1024x768

To be desperate means that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want. A hungry person will rob, steal, or kill to get food for self or family because they are desperate. Our heart is like this towards everything that is evil and wicked. That is anything that does not give God glory.

Now this leads me to my last point; who can know it? Only God can because verse 10 of that chapter says, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Let the Lord purify your heart with truth and righteousness, and be careful when people instruct you, or you instruct yourself to follow your heart because you are being lead down a path of destruction.

Don’t follow your heart, but do Proverbs 3:5-7 which says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” 542461_519749298048225_849773634_n

Just a Worm

imagesCAI8A6M1   As I was taking a walk during my lunch break, I saw a great deal of worms on the sidewalk all dried up. As I looked at them (and was in awe in the great number that were on this sidewalk, seeing that we have not had any rain in over a week) I began to think about the body of Christ. In Mark 4:6 the scripture says “But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.”

In order for a worm to live / survive it must have the earth (dirt) to maintain. Worms MUST stay moist to survive. If worms dry out, then they will suffocate. Worms have to stay moist because they absorb oxygen from the wet areas, and then they release carbon dioxide (just like humans). When we inhale oxygen we release carbon dioxide. If a worm is dried up by the sun (in our case if we are dried up by the cares of life, and the lack of communion with God) we will die because the exchange of gases can’t take place.

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As a whole, the body of Christ is suffocating because we are not allowing the moisture of God’s anointing to saturate us. We are not allowing the refreshing from the Lord to keep us moist. We are not allowing the word to wash us and sanctify us continually (Ephesians 5:25-26).

We must inhale the life of God (oxygen) on a daily bases, so that we can release the workings of darkness (carbon dioxide) from within our lives. This famine (dryness) that so many of us are facing within our spirit is not in the physical land, not one of bread, nor is it one of water, but it is a famine (dryness) for the word of God.

We have to continually stay under the shower of God’s blessing (Ezekiel 34:26), so we can yield fruit for this world to eat from. We have to strive to get this outpouring of God’s Spirit mentioned in Joel chapter 2 and Acts chapter 2. The soil is our heart, and we keep it moist through repentance.

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No ground can stay saturated with nutrients if there is no rain. We can substitute water from the plumbing system, and add miracle grow in an attempt to keep our fields from getting hard and callused, but the ground of our heart will not soften and grow until we get the pure rain from Heaven.

Let’s stay like a moist worms, so we can move through the soil keeping our hearts tender and pliable unto the Lord. No one can grow and survive in and on a hard surface, not even a worm.

Jeremiah 4:3-4
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Hosea 10:12
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you

 

The Love of Correction

The Love of Correction

Read Hebrews 12:5-11, John 15:1-2, and Revelation 3:19

images1X3D46V0   The Golden Pathos are some of the easiest plants to take care of, so I heard. I was never born with a green thumb, so taking care of a plant, no matter how easy the maintenance, was never my strong suite. One night while teaching a Bible Study lesson about correction, the Lord gave me an example about a plant.

I had a plant that looked sadder than the eyes of a Basset Hound. The leaves were brown and dried out. The stems were yellow, and the dirt was dry. I didn’t water the plant properly, and when I would give it a little sun light, I would leave it outside too long, and the leaves would burn. I wasted time and money killing plants because I wouldn’t take the time to care for them properly.dead plant with dry leaves closeup isolated on white

Our lives are like a plant. We have to be tended to properly by receiving the proper amount of sunlight (Jesus), water (the word of God), and tilling of the dirt from time to time (repentance). Tending to a plant properly is a form of correction or chastening which is a process of tilling the ground. Our ground has to be tilled so the water can enter into our heart, instead of sitting on the topsoil, and drying up.

Once the ground of our heart is broken up, the Lord can drop seeds into us that will bring forth fruits of righteousness. One of the definitions for chasten is to purify. This means to clear from material defilement or imperfection. I learned in Agriculture, that in order for a plant to grow properly, it has to be pruned because the pruning process removes damaged or old foliage from a plant in order to strengthen it. Like a plant, we also have to allow the Lord to remove areas from our lives that have been damaged by sin, shame, hurt, embarrassment, abuse, neglect, rejection, and many other situations that has caused us to be wounded.5810375351_7b69594107_z

The Lord has to do away with the old things in our lives in order for us to receive the new wine. Now the pruning (chastening) seems like it take place in our lives when everything is working like a dried up axle (nothing is working for us at all), but I learned that the best time to prune a plant is in the winter season when the plant is dormant.

Dormant is a good stage of the plants life because it is not active but is able to become active. It seems like the Lord has forgotten you during this time, and everything has hit you, even the kitchen sink, but the Lord is preparing you for kingdom activity. The trials that help us to be pruned is the manure (fertilizer) that is being planted in your soil to help you grow.

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The fertilizer is part of the repotting process. A plant has to be fertilized after pruning. Once the plant is fertilized, it has to be placed in a different position out of direct sunlight until it is able to recover from the pruning process. Once the plant has recovered from pruning and fertilization (and you identify this process by seeing more foliage beginning to grow in a rapid pace) you place the plant back in its original position.

Now the plant is strong enough to bring forth fruit. Each trial is strategically placed by our Heavenly Father because He desires to see much fruit in our lives. We cannot stay dry, dead, damaged, or diseased because plants that stay this way attract insects that will help destroy the plant even the more. Embrace the chastening of the Lord because, “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11 Prayer: Lord, help me to receive your correction, so that you can bring forth more fruit in my life. I desire to abide in you because I am a branch that cannot bear fruit by my own strength. It may hurt my flesh to be chastened by you Lord, but I yield my spirit to the hand of my potter, and the Bishop of my soul. I receive your correction Lord for my life In Jesus Name, Amen.

attached link on the best time to prune a tree http://www.preservationtreecare.net/pdf/Winter%20is%20the%20best%20time%20of%20year%20to%20prune%20trees.pdf