Alive? Is this you in Christ?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made alive in Christ. The aliveness we have in Christ effects us physically, mentally and spiritually. Paul describes this in Ephesians 2:4-5. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.” We did nothing to deserve this aliveness or quickening of our mind and body. God brought it to us through our faith in Jesus. God’s love, mercy and grace caused Him to send Jesus so we could be in relation with Him.

What is this aliveness we have in Christ? His spirit within us helps us to stand strong in the face of adversity. Ephesians 6:15 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Our standing is both physical and mental. 2 Corinthians 10:5 describes this mental duel. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”. The aliveness in Christ is also effects us spiritually. Romans 6:10-11 describes this “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Being alive in Christ gives us the power to stand in Him and with Him. It gives us control over our mind and will to be obedient to Him. He gives us the ability to cast off and turn our backs on sin and walk away with Him!

Claim and proclaim your aliveness in Christ today!

Linda

Suggestion: ask Jesus to show you an area of His aliveness within you today.

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

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

Transforming a Sin Sick Heart

What is the true nature of the heart?  Scripture teaches the hard truth of what our hearts are like because of sin.  Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;  who can understand it?”  God knows the nature of our hearts and is the only one who can transform a sin sick heart.    10 “I the Lord search the heart  and test the mind,  to give every man according to his ways,  according to the fruit of his deeds.”   God searches our heart, tests our mind and will evaluate us according to our deeds.  This does not mean we have to earn our salvation.  It means there will be a day of accounting where God looks at our actions.  We are clean and purified by the blood of Christ, so He will not be looking at sin, but at our heart for Him.   What causes you to do good or hard things for God?  Is it love, devotion, thankfulness, zeal for the gospel?  

I totally identify with David’s plea to God in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.”  By nature our hearts are filled with sin but God can create a clean heart within us.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can be transformed by faith in Him.  Jesus is our pathway to cleansing, restoration and hope.  Just like David, we have to desire it and ask God for it.  He promises to renew our hearts and make them pure, and committed to Him.

Will you ask Him today to create a clean heart within you?  It will be a new beginning and a step that pleases God, renews and revitalizes life, and brings hope and restoration.  Ask Him today.

heart inside outPrayer:   Lord Jesus, I believe you have the power to transform my heart and make me clean and pure.  Root out the sin that plagues me and bring me into a vibrant relationship with you.  Create in me a clean heart that will be devoted and steadfast in loving you.  Create in me a new life with new desires and new hopes that are firmly placed in you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Redeemed and transformed by faith in Jesus,

Blessings today.

Linda

Reject your heart of stone, Get a new living model!

heartToday I am beginning a new series on the heart.  There are at least 100 scriptures that focus on the heart, so it must be of great importance to God.   I found there are scriptures that talk about God’s Work in our hearts, the true nature of our hearts and what a transformed heart looks like.   The materials I have show the most ‘popular’ verses- people actually voted, so perhaps they were either most helpful, most revealing or most convicting.  I love it that the most loved verses deal with God’s Work in our hearts.  It gives us a good place to begin.

Ezekiel 36:26 is one of the key verses in this summary of prophesies God gave to the children of Israel in Ezekiel 36Look at what God said He would do:  22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name…  23 I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations… 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I heart of stone heart of fleshwill cleanse you.  26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.  29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations.”

God said He would do all these things to and for His believing children.  He would vindicate or show the holiness of  His name to them and the world,  He would bring them back to the land (they were in Babylon in exile at the time), He would cleanse them, He would give them a new heart, He would put His spirit within them, He promised them long life in the land and great fruitfulness.  As I read this list of promises God gave them, I realized that some were fulfilled then with their return to the Promised Land but many were fulfilled much later.  Jesus came and brought cleansing and healing through His death and resurrection.   At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell the believers through faith because of Jesus’ work on the cross.  Israel is again a nation and is amazingly fruitful.  It is a wonder in the desert and blooms as God intended under their care.

new heartThrough Jesus’ Work on the cross and resurrection from the dead, we can live forgiven and be filled with His Holy Spirit.  We can have the new heart that God desires for us.  He says in verse 26, He will give us a new heart.  This heart will be soft, pliable and alive with faith and devotion to Him.  With this new heart, we can live for him.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   We are new creatures with a new heart through Christ.  Do you feel like you have a heart of stone?  Are you hard-hearted towards others, unfeeling about the difficulties in your life and their lives, do you shut out God?  Or do you claim a new heart through Jesus that is open, willing, compassionate and loving towards those in your life?

Claim your new heart in Jesus today and watch God transform you and give you a heart of flesh and feeling and take away your heart of stone that was filled with sinful self-desires.  Turn to Jesus and He will transform your heart.

Seeking transformation of heart,

Linda