Saturday, October 31, 2020

Changing the Heart

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51:16-17

Psalm 51 is a prayer of David.  He is asking God to do three things.  He asks God to forgive his sins.  He asks God to allow him to be reconciled to God.  Lastly he asks God to renovate him, to change him. The verses above are near the end of the prayer when he requests that God change him.  David understands the process very well! 

Outward sacrifices will not do it.  What you give, what you do in service, what you say to others – these do not change the man or woman you are.  They are wonderful things, but even the most evil and vile person can do these things.  At the root of mankind’s sin is our heart.  The heart is created in original sin – the sin of all mankind. 

The heart of man is the source of our spirit.  Our spirit being our personality, which includes our wants, desires, hatred, anger, and every emotional element, as well as our will.  Our will causes our emotions to be played out in actions.  

In Genesis 6:5 it says that every intent of the thoughts of man are evil continually.  

Psalms 141:4 states “Do not inclined my heart to any evil thing”.  

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”   

Without a change in the heart, man does not change.

David then speaks of what God will receive as a sacrifice for our sins: “A broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.”  To receive God’s forgiveness, we must come to Him broken over our sin. When we’ve emptied our heart of ourselves, when we’ve seen who we are as God sees us, then we know we need forgiveness.  David also prayed in verse 10 of this chapter “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  A new heart is the beginning of renovation of our soul.  

In Ezekiel 36:26-27 God Himself speaks of this renovation saying: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Friends, I know a lot of folks have been asked to go to the front of a church, or maybe pray from their seats in an assembly and receive salvation.  If you are one of those, and do not have a renovation of your heart, and therefore your will, I would suggest you pray and seek God’s truth about your relationship.  Salvation is renovation – and it begins in the heart. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

God is GOD

These things you have done, and I kept silent;You thought that I was altogether like you;But I will rebuke you and set them in order before your eyes. – God, Psalm 50:21

“You thought that I was altogether like you”.  I believe it to still be true.  We have nothing in our intellect to fully comprehend God.  We have nothing to compare Him to, no scientific method or technical way to explain Him.  God is GOD.  There is none like Him.

Because of that, I believe we sometimes try to “fit” Him within the realm of our understanding.  We see God’s emotions as being the same as ours.  We see God’s love as ours.  We fear His wrath as we would fear mortal man.  But the truth is – we have no basis to compare Him to. 

The only way to truly know God, to even know a fraction of who He is, is to read the Bible and see His actions and words from history, and through His promises and His gifts to us. 

I used to see God much like a parent.  I saw Him peering around the corners at me waiting for me to make a mistake, tell a lie, act our on my anger, and then He would come an show His wrath.  But that’s not God.

I also have believed God to be all LOVE.  After all the Bible says, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).  But God is also just, a corrector of those He loves.  He’s merciful but will condemn those who do not repent and be saved.  He’s far more than just LOVE.  In fact, His love is not just called love.  It’s called Agape - no earthly love can compare.

I also grew up believing God had the answers to all my questions.  But that was short sighted.  God has the questions I’m not even aware of to ask!  His wisdom is far about our own understanding. 1 Corinthians 3:19 says that the wisdom we have is “foolishness” in God’s sight.  Let’s face it – the creator is always wiser than the creation.

So here’s where I’m at today.  If I don’t understand God completely, then I should take God out of the box of my simple mind.  I can ask for the abstract, crazy, unthinkable.  I can ask for knowledge that isn’t “foolishness” in His sight.  I can ask Him to reveal Himself to me daily. 

Father, I want to know more of You.  I want to understand Your creation, Your purpose for crazy things like Volcanos and Stick Bugs.  I want to understand your thoughts toward me.  I want to comprehend Your intent in all things and know Your ways.  Reveal yourself more and more to me Father and let me love You for who You are, and not Who I imagine You to be.