The Matter of the Heart – 2

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it (are) the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
If we know Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are to earnestly guard and protect our hearts.(I’m not speaking of our physical hearts). What is meant by our hearts? One way of putting it is that it’s the “you” that resides in your body. Before you are born again, you are physically alive but spiritually dead. Your heart (“you”) has mind, emotions and will. However, this heart is not influenced by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Satan uses our old nature inherited from Adam and Eve to tempt us. He preys on our minds, emotions and wills and there is nothing to counter it, without Spiritual life. When we are restored to Spiritual Life, Satan still has a toehold in our old nature. With the entering in to our hearts of the Holy Spirit, a process begins. Our new nature given at Spiritual rebirth is to be nourished and strengthened by God’s Word. As this happens, the old nature is being purged out; Satan loses more and more “ground” in “you” (in your heart). Every attack on our minds, emotions and wills must be countered by the proper application of Scripture. This is the way our hearts are guarded and protected. “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119;11). When we are constantly governed by God’s Word, we can relate to these petitions in Ray Palmer’s hymn, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.” Reflect: “My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine! Now hear me while I pray, take all my guilt away; O let me from this day be wholly Thine. May Thy rich grace impart strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire; as Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee pure, warm, and changeless be, a living fire. While life’s dark maze I tread, and griefs around me spread, be Thou my guide; bid darkness turn to day, wipe sorrow’s tears away, nor let me ever stray from Thee aside.” Selah! The petitions in this hymn are granted as our lives are grounded in and strengthened by trust in and submission to God’s Holy Bible!   Ron
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The Matter of the Heart – 1

Our hearts (our inner beings; ourselves) as we enter this world are very corrupt. “The heart (is) deceitful above all (things), and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This is because we are born physically alive but spiritually dead. We are born with a fallen nature inherited from our first parents.(Adam and Eve). Therefore, as Jesus declared, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders (Mark 7:21).These hearts are in rebellion against God. It’s what “I” want instead of what God wants. Fallen hearts (sinful hearts) cannot earn eternal life or enter Heaven. But God specializes in replacing old fallen hearts with brand new hearts. God offers a new heart. In Ezekiel 36:26, He promises: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” How do we receive a new heart? Romans 10:9-10 explains: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” How does this work? We trust the Risen Savior’s atoning work on the cross, and give ourselves over to His rule over us and His reign in us. The Spiritual rebirth takes place and as we submit to His Word, righteousness develops! He first declares us righteous and then proceeds to make us righteous. If you haven’t already done this, consider the appeal in  the hymn, “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart,” by Mrs. C. H. Morris: “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart: If you desire a new life to begin, let Jesus come into your heart. If it’s for purity now that you sigh, let Jesus come into your heart; fountains for cleansing are flowing nearby, let Jesus come into your heart. If there’s a tempest your voice cannot still, let Jesus come into your heart; if there’s a void this world never can fill, let Jesus come into your heart. If you would join the glad songs of the blest, let Jesus come into your heart; if you would enter the mansions of rest, let Jesus come into your heart. Just now, your doubtings give o’er; just now, reject Him no more; just now, throw open the door; let Jesus come into your heart.” Selah! If you have done this, let God’s Word do its sanctifying work in your new heart! (See John 17:17).  Ron

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Good Literature: Responsibility of Christian Home

Guest Article-By Dr. A. W. Tozer
The  thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord; but the words of the pure are pleasant words” (Proverbs 15:26).
It is my belief that we Christians are bound in all conscience to discourage the reading of subversive literature and to promote as fully as possible the circulation of good books and magazines.
Just what part evil literature has played in the present moral breakdown throughout the world will never be known till men are called forth to answer to a holy God for their unholy deeds, but it must be very great indeed!
For thousands of young people the first doubt about  God and the Bible came with the reading some evil book. We must respect the power of ideas, and printed ideas are as powerful as spoken ones. They may have a longer fuse but their explosive power is just as great.
Our Christian faith teaches us to expect to answer for every idle word; how much more severely shall we be held to account for every evil word, whether printed or spoken.
The desire to appear broad-minded is one not easy to overcome, for it is rooted in our ego and is simply a non-too-subtle form of pride. In the name of broadmindedness many a Christian home has been opened to literature that sprang that sprang not from a broad mind, but from a mind little and dirty and polluted with evil!
We require our children to wipe their feet before entering the house. Dare we demand less of the literature that comes into our home?
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Spiritual Checkup-5

Question 5:Are you finding ways to encourage Satan’s slaves to escape from him and receive freedom by surrendering to Jesus as Savior and Lord?

When you find ways to be at your best physically, you want others to know how they can also enjoy good health. This normal reaction is far more important Spiritually. Spiritually, people who come to Jesus are restored to eternal life. If they believe your testimony and act on it, they are new creatures: “Therefore if any man (be) in Christ, (he is) a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). They grow in grace.” Proper nourishment, Godly exercise, sound teaching, a healthy environment (church, Bible studies, Godly brothers and sisters, sound teaching) and they will come to enjoy Spiritual health. William T. Sleeper gave us the hymn, “Out of My Bondage, Sorrow, and Night,” that testifies to the new Spiritual life and health experienced by those who come to Jesus: “Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into Thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of my sickness into Thy health, out of my want and into Thy wealth, out of my sin and into Thyself, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of my shameful failure and loss, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into the glorious gain of Thy cross, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm, out of life’s storms and into Thy calm, out of distress to jubilant psalm, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of unrest and arrogant pride, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into Thy blessed will to abide, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of myself to dwell in Thy love, out of despair into raptures above, upward for aye on wings like a dove, Jesus, I come to Thee. Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, Jesus I come, Jesus I come; into the joy and light of Thy home, Jesus, I come to Thee.  Out of the depths of ruin untold, into the peace of Thy sheltering fold, ever Thy glorious face to behold, Jesus, I come to Thee.” Selah! If we have entered in to Spiritual life and health, we want others to have it too.   Ron

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Spiritual Checkup-4

Question 4: Are you getting enough exercise?

No genuine believer has an excuse to coast through life! Yes, adequate rest is wise and necessary. “Adequate” is the key word. Laziness is condemned in Scripture. In I Timothy 4:8, Paul’s inspired acknowledgement was that: “bodily exercise profiteth little,” but then he adds: “but Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” In other words, some physical exercise is good but is a very distant second (poles apart) to exercising ourselves to holy living. Elsewhere, Paul admonishes: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” We’re talking about Spiritual training, learning, discipline and diet. Being spiritually flabby and obese; being distracted by things that hinder Spiritual progress is unacceptable for the Christian disciple! D. W. Whittle’s hymn, “Be Ye Strong in the Lord,” speaks of this kind of discipline:Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might! — Firmly standing for the truth of His Word; He shall lead you safely through the thickest of the fight, you shall conquer in the name of the Lord! — Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might! —  Never turning from the face of the foe; He will surely by you stand, as you battle for the right: in the power of His might onward go! — Be ye strong in the Lord and the power of His might! — For His promises shall never, never fail; He will hold thy right hand, while battling for the right, trusting Him thou shalt for evermore prevail; firmly stand for the right!  On to vict’ry at the King’s command!  For the honour of the Lord, and the triumph of His Word, in the strength of the Lord firmly stand.” Selah! Are we truly disciplined in our walk of faith? All who know Jesus as Lord and Savior are to be disciplined!   Ron

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Question Three: Have we misunderstood prayer?

Satan doesn’t want us to understand what prayer really is! I believe that far too many of God’s children have come to think of prayer as a religious responsibility. It is consciously or sub-consciously viewed by many as something we say to God or ask of Him. The problem is that this idea is partly true. We can talk with Him and we can ask Him for different things. However, it isn’t a recital of certain proper thoughts. And…. it isn’t a prescribed formula for addressing God. The “long and short of it” is that it is simply talking with Him and expressing our love for Him and our gratitude to Him. Yes, He tells us to cast our cares on Him. He invites us to make requests to Him. Nevertheless, the most significant thing about prayer is that we can converse with our God. We talk things over with Him and He will often use His Word to answer us. Prayer is a wonderful interaction of two hearts with each other. It’s a joy, a freedom, an opportunity to express love for each other and to share concerns.  Thinking about prayer, two wonderful verses come to mind: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, (and) into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, (and) bless His name” (Psalm 100:4) and “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). “What a friend we have in Jesus,  all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer! Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer! Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge– take it to the Lord in prayer! Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.” (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus“-By Joseph Medlicott Scriven). Selah! God wants to listen to us and He responds with love.   Ron
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