A Transformed Heart is filled with…devotion

When was the last time you spoke of your devotion to God?  Is it something that you and I as believers take for granted?  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul used the example of slaves and masters to illustrate the devotion we need in serving Christ.  This would have been very familiar to the early Christians as it was common practice during Roman times and many of them were slaves not free men.  Ephesians 6:5-8  “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Paul uses several ‘heart’ words in describing how are to treat others whether they be in authority over us or working alongside us.  We are to serve with sincerity of heart.  False or fake love for others will not show devotion and love of God to them.   We need to work in serving others to fulfill God’s desires not our own.  We have to work and act from our whole heart not just a portion reserved for showing God’s love.  Paul is describing pure devotion to God that is shown in our heart attitude and our willingness to serve Him.  God wants us loving the world regardless of where we find ourselves.  This is a tall order that can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us.  ephesains 6 7Jesus can make all things possible.  We need to walk each day in His love with a sincere, devoted heart for the world to see.

May you experience God’s love and power as you strive to be devoted to Him with your heart.

Linda

A Transformed Heart is filled with….kindness, compassion and forgiveness

In Ephesians Chapter 4, Paul is exhorting Christians to be Christ honoring in their behaviors.  He encourages them to clean up their speech, eliminating unwholesome talk, and speak only words of encouragement that build others up. (29)  He does not want us grieving the Holy Spirit by our actions, thoughts and deeds that he lists in verse 31, bitterness, rage, anger, arguing, fighting, being slanderous, or doing any kind of evil.  TenderheartedIn Ephesians 4:32 Paul tell us what actions and thoughts would be Christ honoring in our lives.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

What does it mean to be tenderhearted?  The dictionary defines it as ‘soft-hearted, sympathetic’.   Does that describe your heart?  Because of Christ’s transforming love, do you react to the world with a kind, forgiving and sympathetic heart?   Paul is telling us that because we are forgiven and Christ lives within us we can react and interact with the world through a kind, tenderhearted, forgiving heart.  Let this be your challenge today.  Ask Jesus to let you see the world through a heart that is tender and loving towards those around you.

Loving with a tender heart is what Jesus did while on earth and He desires us to continue showing that love towards others in His name.

Linda

A Transformed Heart is a pure heart

Paul tells Timothy in two letters to have a pure heart.  This is not something Timothy could make himself but rather the result of his love for Jesus.  Paul wants Timothy and all future believers to examine their hearts and check their motives.  1 Timothy 1:5  pure heart“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”   Paul wants to know if our love for others comes from a heart overflowing with love for Jesus.  He needs to be the source of our love.    In 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul encourages believers to look for others who share the purity of heart that you find in Jesus.  “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”  He wants Timothy and us to chose friends that will encourage us towards right living and not worldly pursuits.

Since we are sinners, purity of heart can only be achieved through the redemption.  Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead to make a way for us to be ‘pure in heart’.  His love for us is transforming and will clean up even the dirtiest of hearts.  Talk with Jesus today and ask Him as David did in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure and clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Jesus will not let you down but will lift you up and make you new.  2 Corinthians 5:17  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ psalm 51has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”   Claim it today in Christ alone!   Then look for fellow believers to encourage your new pure heart and your desire to love and serve Jesus.

Purity comes from Jesus alone,

Linda

A Transformed Heart is filled with commitment

Commitment seems to be something that scares people in our day and age.  They seem afraid to step out and say they will be there at a certain time, place or with you in a project.  Are there so many choices in our lives that people cannot decide?  Have they had experiences where they felt trapped by agreements they’ve made?  Whatever the root of their fears, to love and serve Jesus we have to go beyond them, step above or over them and persevere.   1 Peter 3:15 appears in a portion of scripture where Peter is encouraging believers to persevere in their faith and not to fear doing good.  He tells believers to hold fast to their faith in Christ regardless of where they find themselves.  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”    In addition to honoring Christ as Lord, we need to be able and willing to tell others about what Christ has done for us.  The hope we have in living, the hope we have in eternity, the hope we have in being forgiven and cleansed, and the hope we have in His always being with us.  We need to be prepared to tell others about Jesus.  Being committed to Jesus with your heart demands that we are ready to speak about Him.  This is not to be an argumentative discourse but words that speak of the Hope we have in Jesus with gentleness and respect that come from a heart of love and commitment to Jesus.

Reasons for Our Hope_0I love this verse in 1 Peter because it holds me accountable and tells me where my commitment needs to be.  God wants us committed to Him, loving and acting in our world with words of Hope for unbelievers and words of encouragement in that Hope for fellow believers.   Who will you tell today about the HOPE you have in Jesus?

May the Lord bring people to cross your path today that are in need of those words of hope and encouragement.

Linda

A Transformed Heart is filled with….faith and love

When we take the leap of faith and step out with Jesus, we are putting our trust in Him to be the guiding force in our lives from now through all eternity.  That step brings about a transformation in our hearts that solidifies our faith in Him.  With a heart committed to Jesus, scripture teaches that our hearts become filled with love for God and our fellow man.  Let’s look at Ephesians ephesians_3_173:16-19.  16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”   

Paul first reminds us of God’s total power and resources.(16)  Then having Christ in our hearts will give us deep rooted love and strength. (17)  That deep love will help us understand God’s love for us – the depth of it.(18)  That love, so hard to understand, will make us complete for a life that is full and power driven.(19)   Peter describes this transforming deep love in 1 Peter 1:22.  22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”   Accepting Jesus and His cleansing power brings about obedience and sincere love for others.   He says we are to love deeply from our hearts.

love deeplyWhat about you?  Do you feel sincere love for others because you know Jesus?  Do you feel that the love God showed to you by sending Jesus makes you love Him even more?  A truly transformed heart is a heart filled with faith in Jesus that manifests itself in our lives by love for God and others.  If you feel you lack this kind of love, ask God for it.  Love for others is a God thing and when we are lacking He tells us to ask Him.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”    Asking, seeking and knocking are to be a continual part of our lives if we desire to have transformed hearts for Him.

Blessings as you seek to love others like Jesus today.

Linda

A Transformed Heart is filled with….joy and peace!

So far in this study of ‘heart’ passages, we’ve looked at the Lord’s work and the true nature of our hearts.  Today I want to begin examining passages that speak of a transformed heart.  What makes a heart committed to Jesus different from one that is not?  

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul speaks of what a transformed life would look like.  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”    Paul describes the believer as one who is sold out for God, desiring to please Him,  being transformed by God and not brought down and conformed to this world.  One that is transformed would have a changed heart.  That heart change is what we will be looking at in the next few blogs.

glad and sincereThe New Testament believers lived together supporting one another in their new faith.  Acts 2:46 describes them.  “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”   Their encounter with Jesus reflected on their day to day life and gave them glad and generous hearts to view their world.  Does your faith create in you a sense of thankfulness?  Are you filled with Joy simply john 14 27because you know Jesus?

In John 14:27 Jesus was speaking to his disciples shortly before facing the cross.  He described the kind of heart the He would give to them in faith. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”    A heart that loves and follows Jesus has no reason for fear or anxiety.  1 John 4:4 reminds us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  The heart Jesus gives us is made for peace, loves peace and seeks peace.   Do you have the peace that Jesus promised today?  Look to Him, release all your worries and fears into His hands.  He will give you His peace.

Take a few moments to think about your heart today.  Do you feel generous and glad  in heart because of Jesus?  Do you have His peace in your heart?  Be assured He intends for you to have a heart that is overflowing in all areas.  I love  the assurance of Hebrews Peace-In-Your-Heart10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  Jesus keeps His promises.  Trust Him to give you generosity, joy and peace today.

My heart is new in Jesus each day,

Linda

God’s desires for our Hearts

My heart search in Psalms continues today with new aspects of our hearts and our heart attitudes towards God.  God desires that we have a bold, trusting, seeking and contrite heart in our interactions/responses to Him.

God desires that we take a ‘No Fear’ stance in life that depends upon God and not ourselvesPsalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

God desires that we are open to teaching and examination of our motivesPsalm 26:2 “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”  Psalm 139:23 “Search me, God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

God desires I have a seeking heart towards HimPsalm 119:10 “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.”  Psalm 22:26 “The afflicted (meek) shall eat and be satisfied;    those who seek him shall praise the Lord  May your hearts live forever!”   

psalm 51 -17God desires a repentant heart, one that is sorrowing over sin, which the Bible describes as contrite.  Psalm 51:17  “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”   Isaiah also speaks of our need to have a contrite heart in Isaiah 57:15 ”  The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,  the Holy One, says this:
“I live in the high and holy place
    with those whose spirits are contrite and humble.
I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
    and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”       God desires us to be repentant so He can restore and dwell with us.  We have to come humbly before Him.   Since living with Him is not just when we die, we need to deal with the sin]]c in our lives.  God living with us is being indwelt by His Holy Spirit when Jesus enters our hearts and lives.  Jesus gives cleansing of sin when we come before Him with a contrite heart and ask for forgiveness and restoration.

What is the temperature of your heart today?  Are you trusting, open to teaching, seeking but most of all repentance?  Would God describe your heart as contrite?  Do you sorrow over your sins and desire to walk with Jesus each day?   The opposite of each of the above would be one who is fearful, close-minded, rejecting, proud and arrogant over their sins.  I pray that none of those describe your heart and that you seek to please God.  micah God requriesMicah describes it this way: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

May that be the attitude of our hearts as we walk with Him today.

Linda

What fills your Heart today?

psalm 9 1Psalms is filled with images of the heart.  Today think about some of these and see if you can identify and claim them for your own heart towards God.

A heart filled with Praise and Thanksgiving, Psalm 9:1  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

A heart filled with Confidence, especially in times of adversity, Psalm 27:3  “Though an army encamp against me,  my heart shall not fear;  though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.”

A heart filled with JOY because of God’s Word, Psalm 119:111 “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”

A heart that is willing to wait upon the Lord, Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;  be strong, and let your heart take courage;  wait for the Lord!”

A heart that is unafraid to call upon the Lord for help, Psalm 119:145 “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!  I will keep your statutes.”

A heart that yearns for God’s presencePsalm 84:2  “My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;  my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

psalm 138 1A heart filled with Praise and GratitudePsalm 138:1  “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;  before the gods I sing your praise”

Our heart attitude needs to begin and end with praise and thanksgiving each day.  God’s Word is so descriptive and really points to the true needs of our hearts in relationship to and towards God.  Do you see confidence in Him? Joy in His Word? A willingness to wait upon Him?  Fearlessness in talking to God about your problems? A yearning for God in your heart?  Let His Word be your guide today as you examine your heart before Him.

Desiring a heart that is looking to God,

Linda

Heartfelt Proverbs

Proverbs has a lot to say about the heart.  Sometimes the truth is given directly like in Proverbs 24:1-2  “Be not envious of evil men,  nor desire to be with them,  for their hearts devise violence,  and their lips talk of trouble” and Proverbs 6:14 describes a wicked man’s heart, with perverted heart devises evil,  continually sowing discord.”  Very often the proverbs are given with a contrast between the good heart and the bad and seek to teach or instruct us about our hearts.   Proverbs 28:14  “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,  but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. “  The writer of Proverbs was wise and desired us to know how God views the heart of man and that God would not just be an observer in our lives.  Proverbs 21:2  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”  Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”  

Proverbs also teaches how our hearts can and do please or displease God.  Proverbs 15:13-15 speaks of the cheerful, seeking heart and how a sorrow can crush the spirit of our heart.   “A glad heart makes a cheerful face,  but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.  15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”   Proverbs 14:30 speaks of the effects of calm and envy on the heart.   A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,   but envy makes the bones rot.”  In Proverbs 6:16-19 we are given a list of things God hates that really displease Him. There are six things that the Lord hates,  seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.”

How do these ‘heart’ proverbs speak to you today?  Is your heart cheerful and calm or do you have times when you feel discord, disharmony or evil?  Because of the root of sin in our hearts, we need to continually submit our hearts to the Lord for His continual transformation.   I love Proverbs 22:11 “He who loves purity of heart,  and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”  I do want King Jesus as my friend so I need to submit to daily cleansing at His feet in prayer.   Won’t you join me today?

proverbs 22Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you know the true nature of my heart.  Root out the evil ways in me and replace them with your love, grace and mercy.  Give me compassion and love for others that comes out of a grateful heart.  Create in me a clean heart that desires to please you.  Amen.

Seeking to serve with a humble and contrite heart,

Linda

The True Nature of our Hearts vs God’s Power = Victory in Jesus

God knows the true nature and intentions of our hearts.  Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees as they had observed the disciples eating food without washing or cleaning of their hands.  The Jewish law required certain observances before eating for yourself and the food.  Jesus called them hypocrites in Mark 7 saying they were more concerned about the outward appearances and not about the heart’s intent.  His disciples questioned him after this encounter.   And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,22 coveting, wickedness deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”  Mark 7:18-23

Lord looks at heartJesus knew the heart of man is where the problems lie.  The Pharisee’s desired to destroy Jesus out of greed, envy, jealousy and hatred.  It had nothing to do with eating ‘unclean food’ with ‘unclean hands’.  Jesus knows our hearts too.  He knows our true motives and desires.  Our hearts are bent toward self-gratification, self-glory, self-power and self-adulation.  It comes from a heart that is not right with God.  An old hymn calls it a sin sick heart that is in need of saving, cleaning and setting right before God.   We can not deny the true nature of our hearts but we can bring our hearts to God and allow Him to transform and make our hearts clean before Him.  Jesus gave us this new way to reconciliation with God.  Hebrews 10:21-23 describes this power, “21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God (Jesus), 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”   Jesus can clean our hearts and minds.  Then we can hold to our faith with assurance and hope!  He can and will root out the evil intentions of our hearts with His indwelling Holy Spirit and mold and shape us to His will and His ways.  First, we need to be cleaned by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross (death and resurrection) and then willing to be molded and shaped by His Holy Spirit.  God’s transformation is complete and 2Corinthians5.17permanent.  He replaces the old desires with new desires 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a new creation,  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   Praise God for His transforming power!

Praising Jesus and His power to make me new!

Linda