The Matter of the Heart – 5

With regard to your heart, what has the upper hand in your life? Is it your mind, your emotions, or your will? For a lot of folk, emotions sway the mind and the mind moves the will to try to experience good (or seemingly good) “feelings.” Actually, not disciplining the mind to critically analyze possible courses of action can cause us bad results. When our minds are in harmony with Scriptural principles, we will see that emotions must be under control and not allowed to be the driving force in our lives. “Feelings,” when they bypass the mind, will usually result in doing our will, not God’s.  If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we need our minds to be guided by God’s principles. As the Holy Spirit brings Scripture to bear on our speech, our behavior, our attitudes, our values, our activities, and our entertainments, our lives mature Spiritually. Wholesome emotions are the overflow of a life lived for the glory of God. Remember the verse we included recently: “….as he thinketh in his heart, so  (is) he.” (From Proverbs 23:7). Jesus told us in Matthew 12:35 that:A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” If we fill our minds with God’s Word until it is firmly planted there; if we “will” to be guided by it; if we “will” to control our emotions, from our lives will issue good things. Are we this serious with God? Georg Neumark‘s hymn, “If Thou but Suffer (Let) God to Guide Thee reminds us of God’s blessings in our lives: “If you but trust in God to guide you and place your confidence in Him, you’ll find Him always there beside you to give you hope and strength within; for those who trust God’s changeless love build on the rock that will not move. Only be still and wait His pleasure in cheerful hope with heart content. He fills your needs to fullest measure with what discerning love has sent; doubt not our inmost wants are known to Him who chose us for His own. Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving, offer your service faithfully, and trust His Word; though undeserving,  you’ll find His promise true to be. God never will forsake in need the soul that trusts in Him indeed.” This is Life indeed! Selah! Ask yourself: What works best; is it an “emotion driven” life or a Spirit directed life? Not a hard question to answer, right?    Ron

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The Matter of the Heart – 4

When we are born into this world, we enter without Spiritual life. Because of this, there is nothing to keep us from the “pull” of this fallen world. A possible exception might be a residue of God’s Truth that remains in the minds and hearts of some people. This Truth might be shared and influence us. Perhaps someone who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior might exert good influence on us. Nevertheless, unless we enter into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we are mainly going to think and behave any way we want to, guided mostly by our “feelings.” We may or may not be successful in this life but we will have failed to prepare for eternity. Only when we come to Jesus can we know how to live with eternity’s values in mind. Jesus, in Matthew 7:24-27, used this illustration to show the contrast between a Godly life and an unGodly life: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Edward Mote speaks of this in his hymn, “My Hope is Built,” in these words: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the ‘whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay.  On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Selah! A life built on Jesus will stand for time and eternity; a life without God and His Word is sinking now and at the end will sink into a Christless eternity and great will be the fall of it!     Ron

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The Matter of the Heart – 3

We have covered some of this subject in the past. However, because it is so important to understand, I want to take a closer look. Satan has only one way to tempt you to sin. He has to have access to your mind, emotions and will. He has that access! He even used it with Jesus. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in (their) hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Satan appealed to Jesus’ mind, emotions and will. He tried to manipulate Jesus’ mind, with “….the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (From I John 2:16). Jesus, instead of “falling for it,” countered with, “It is written!” The “mind” is like an umpire; You have to decide if you will go by your “feelings” or by God’s Word! Solidly “grounded” in Scripture and loving God with all your heart, will give you the strength to make the right choice. Use it firmly! May these stanzas from, “All for Jesus,” by Mary D. James, be what our hearts purpose: “All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my being’s ransom’d pow’rs; all my thoughts and words and doings, all my days and all my hours. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my days and all my hours. Let my hands perform His bidding; let my feet run in His ways; let my eyes see Jesus only; let my lips speak forth His praise. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Let my lips speak forth His praise. Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, cling to gilded toys of dust, boast of wealth, and fame, and pleasure; only Jesus will I trust. Only Jesus! Only Jesus! Only Jesus will I trust.” Selah! What “it boils down to” is Jesus reigning as both Lord and Savior in our lives.   Ron

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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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