heart

What are you looking for Jesus with?

Jesus was born into this world with people looking for him (Matthew 2:1-2).

Throughout his ministry, politicians wanted a private venue (Luke 23:8), preachers desired public debates (Mark 12:13-14), and commoners were willing to turn over the stones in the wilderness to find him (John 6:1-8).

The trend even continued after his burial (John 20:11-17)!

Yet he was found by few because few went looking for him with the same thing that he came looking for us – the heart! EA 

One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).” (John 1:40-31)

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A Mask Won’t Work

Jesus told his disciples, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:16)

The mask wasn’t cutting it in their relationship with God and it won’t with us either. That’s why Jesus says don’t bother with wearing a mask!

Jesus isn’t looking for masks. Jesus is looking for genuineness. He wants faith, love and dedication and he wants it all unfeigned – meaning no masks (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Peter 1:22).

Masks may change how we look to some, but not to God – not even a little bit (1 Samuel 16:7).

Remember, Moses’ face didn’t shine because he wore a mask, he wore a mask because his face was shinning by the glory of God, and we’re called to let our light shine so others may see the real deal! (Matthew 5:14-16EA

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

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How We See Our Self Can Determine What We’ll Hear About Our Self

When Peter saw Jesus perform a miracle he said,

 “…Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

What did Peter mean by this? Did Peter mean he wanted nothing to do with Jesus? Not at all; Peter was amazed that Jesus wanted anything to do with him! Peter understood there was no pulling the wool over this man’s eyes. Every scale on his heart was as visible as the scales on the fish he just helped to pull out of the water.

Peter told the Lord to depart, but the Lord told Peter to come closer when he told him, “…Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” (Luke 5:10).

On the other hand, many people are going to be told by Jesus,

“…I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23)

What does Jesus mean by this? Does this mean Jesus wanted nothing to do with them? Not at all; Jesus is speaking to people who wanted nothing to do with Him! These people failed to realize there is no pulling the wool over Jesus’ eyes. The outward scale of good works won’t overrule a refusal to remove the inward scales of a rebellious heart.

Until we learn to obey from the heart the doctrine of God (Romans 6:15-19) and see our self correctly (James 1:21-26), we may hear something about our self we don’t expect! EA

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

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You Can Be a Part of the Kingdom of God Today

Many in the religious world are confused in thinking that the kingdom of God has not yet been revealed, but such thinking would have been a shock to Paul and the first century Christians. The brothers and sisters at Colossi were told:

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12-14).

Through faith in the gospel of Christ, the citizens of Colossi had become present-day citizens of God’s kingdom, and we can do the same (Philippians 3:20).

The kingdom of God is present in the world today, but it is not a kingdom that originated with the world (John 18:36). God’s kingdom is not limited by physical borders (Luke 17:20-21), nor does it suffer from political turmoil as the leadership remains the same at all times (1 Timothy 6:15). It’s a kingdom of citizens who seek to serve (Luke 22:24-26). It’s a kingdom open to all but entered into by few (Matthew 7:21; John 3:3-5). It’s a kingdom started by the love of God and kept by the strength of God so you can be a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:28-29). EA

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

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Why did God Require Animals to be Sacrificed?

There are times in the Bible when a person can miss the blessing of something because they don’t understand the purpose or point of God’s command. This is especially true when it comes to understanding why God had people do certain things in regards to their sin. 

Many Christians today take for granted what God was trying to teach his people under the Old Testament. Some look at the Old Testament as old, and unworthy of study or care; but if a person misses why God had his people do certain things under the Old Covenant, they’ll never come to a fuller appreciation of what God has accomplished for us under the New Covenant of today! And there are very few places where this is more true than when it comes to the animal sacrifices found from Genesis to Malachi and right on into the gospels we read.

Let’s think about why God required what he required under the Old Testament, and how it can better help us understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on behalf of humanity when he established the New Covenant.

So the first question is, “Why did God have animals sacrificed?” If we’re not required to sacrifice them anymore, why were they ever sacrificed to begin with??? If God was going to send Jesus all along, then why didn’t he have people just say they were sorry and then forgive them when Jesus died? Why did God have people do something when it seems like it was useless in dealing with sin? Did God even care whether or not someone sacrificed an animal? If He did, then why did he say he didn’t sometimes? These are some of the issues and questions a person can have when they read about these things in the Old Testament and New Testament.
So did God really ask for, require and even command animal sacrifices? Contrary to what some try to teach, he sure did! When Adam and Eve sinned and they made fig-leaf bikinis, and God said that wouldn’t do, what did He give them? He gave them clothes to wear! Now, you don’t have to be a tanner to know that you can’t get an animal-hide outfit to wear without the animal losing its life. Right from the get go with sin, a sacrifice was made. From the garden, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses and all throughout the history of the children of Israel you will find God requiring the sacrifice of animals for sin. There’s even a book called Leviticus that deals with the intricacies of how to properly deal with the sacrificing of burnt offerings, peace offerings, guilt offerings and sin offerings that God commanded.

But if God required the sacrifice of animals then why did he at times say he didn’t want them??? I mean there are multiple places in the Old Testament where God plainly says, “NO!!!” Read them for yourselves:

  • To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11
  • For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
  • For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

As if that’s not enough, the New Testament says this about sacrificing animals as well:

  • But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.Hebrews 10:3-4

If this is true then what was the whole point of it all? The point has to do with the context that all these verses are given in. There was, and still is, a big lesson about sin and the human heart behind all that sacrificing that God called for! The majority of the time, God’s people in the past, like His people of today, were missing the whole point of worship, sacrifice and sin.

When blood gets spilt – God takes notice! He noticed Abel’s blood (Genesis 4:10). He warns all men to take notice (Genesis 9:6). Judgment was pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees because of bloodshed (Matthew 23:34-35). Even when an animal dies, God takes notice (Matthew 10:29b). When an animal was killed or sacrificed, God commanded that the utmost respect be shown toward the blood (Leviticus 17).

Why does God take notice of every drop of blood that gets spilt? Because life is in the blood: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul’” (Leviticus 17:11). God called for the blood sacrifice of animals because He was teaching His people about the cost of sin. (more…)

Avoiding Spiritual Heart Disease

The number one cause of death for the last couple of generations in America has been heart disease. While physical death cannot be avoided (save Christ’s return), the problem with heart disease is that often it is something that results from an intentional lack of care and awareness on our own behalf. Sadly, physical heart disease has a spiritual counterpart.

Many of God’s people have given into, are suffering from or have died with spiritual heart disease (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 15:18-20). This is a condition that CAN BE AVOIDED in many of the same ways that physical heart disease can be. Consider these suggestions for a moment:

DIET

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3,4). Our spiritual diet matters!

EXERCISE

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.” (1st Timothy 4:8,9). Our spiritual exercise matters!

REST

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). Our spiritual rest matters!

Sounds like directions right from the page of a doctor don’t they? It’s because they are – The Great Physician’s Handbook! (2nd Peter 1:3) The same Physician that not only told us how to avoid spiritual heart disease, He showed us how with His own life. EA

THE UGLINESS OF SIN…

The world and the Devil do their best to put sin in the “best light” they can. When you look at their view on sin, it’s painted as a pretty picture without a blemish to be found.

Beer always equals fun in the sun right? Plus according to science, alcohol (wine) is healthy for you.

Sex outside of marriage is a blast. We live in a day when there are no risks, right?

Tired of your marriage? It’s not hard to start over; it’s like taking out the trash.

Go out for a night on the town with friends to dance clubs, its great exercise!

Hey, murder can actually be entertaining and not that bad…it’s not that shocking after you see it for the 1,000th time.

Jealous and hateful coworkers, neighbors and family members make great comedy.

Isn’t this the way most of the world views the works of the flesh? Now think about the ugly side of the afore-mentioned “attractive” sins.

It’s “funny” how you’ll never see the beer companies show the crime and accident photos caused by alcohol. I wonder if any of their employees have a MADD license plate? Drink for the health benefits you say? Try grape juice, you’ll get the same stuff!

A little “harmless” sex? I wonder if people who say that have ever visited an abortion mill? (more…)