He Will Never Let Go of Your Hand

A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge. The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter, ‘Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.’

 The little girl said, ‘No, Dad. You hold my hand.’ ‘What’s the difference?’ Asked the puzzled father. ‘There’s a big difference,’ replied the little girl. ‘If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go.

But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.’

I don’t know who wrote this, but I love it!  It’s a great reminder of our Spiritual Walk…God’s holding our hand, and He will never let it go!

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Lessons from Journey part 9

A Tender Heart vs. A Bitter Heart

Definition of a Tender Heart

A tender heart is a forgiving heart“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”  (Ephesians 4:32)  Refusing to forgive an offender produces a hard, bitter heart….

A hard heart and a tender heart are both described in the following passage.

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  (James 3:14-17)

How to develop a Tender Heart

  1. Picture the holiness of God

When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up, he exclaimed, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”  Isaiah 6:5b

  1. Contrast your sin with the wrongs of offenders

A person becomes bitter toward offenders by magnifying their faults and offenses.  However, when you compare their offenses to the willful sins you have committed against a holy God, you will have nothing to say other than what the publican in the Temple said:  “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13)

  1. Experience the mercy of the Lord

The parable of the wicked servant should also motivate you to contrast your sins against God with those of your offenders and show God’s mercy.  (see Matthew 18:21-35)….

  1. Fully forgive all offenders

To gain a tender heart, you must forgive all offenders.  God further mandates that this be a sincere, full forgiveness from the heart. (see Matthew 18:34-35)

  1. Discover why God let it happen

Bitterness blind’s a person’s ability to forgive offenders or God for what happens to him.  However, Scripture states that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). This even includes offenses.  In order to understand how things work together for good, you should identify benefits that God intended to come from the offense…..

Questions About Why God Let It Happen

  1. What character qualities can you learn from this offense?
  2. How will this offense help you become more like Christ
  3. What “child training” does this achieve in you?

Often, people’s offenses against you result from your own failures.  The resulting wounds from others are God’s way of chastening you. (see Hebrews 12)

I do want to note that I think this only applies to SOME offenses.  Being raped or molested, for example, would NOT be a way that God would use to discipline His children!!

  1. How can this offense prepare you to help others?

Another reason God allows offenses is to give you comfort and counsel that you in turn can share with others who go through similar trials.  (see 2nd Corinthians 1:3-4)

  1. How will this trial prepare you for leadership?

Well…we have now reached the end of my “Journey Lessons” entries.  I hope you enjoyed and learned much from them.  As with all my blog posts, I love to receive comments on what you thought about them, so please leave some feedback 🙂

God Bless you all!

 

Lessons From Journey part 8

~ A Broken Heart vs. A Hard Heart ~

Benefits of a Broken Heart

A person who has a broken heart will continually fellowship with the Lord, since “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Reasons for a Broken Heart

               1.     Personal Transgressions

As a believer, you should regularly examine the condition of your heart and repent of sins.  Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18b).

              2.     The Transgressions of Others

Your heart should be broken not only for your own sins but also for the sins of others….

What causes hardness of heart?

            Setting Up Idols in Your Heart

“Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?

Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.”    (Ezekiel 14:3-5)

Consequences of a Hard Heart

Those who fail to have a broken heart develop a hard heart and store up wrath for the future.  “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;”  (Romans 2:5)

(Since this whole section (Broken Heart vs. Hard Heart) is quite long, I am not going to write everything…I’m only going to share what I highlighted that stood out to me. The following is from “How to develop a Broken Heart”)

……….When you compare your behavior to that of others, you give yourself reason to be self-righteous.  However, if you continually measure yourself by the holy Law of God, you will have a broken and contrite heart.

………Every believer experiences His (the Holy Spirit’s) conviction in the heart.  ……   If you respond to His conviction, you will have a broken and contrite heart.

……..The fear of the Lord is the constant awareness that God is evaluating everything you think, say, and do and that He will give a just reward for all your actions.

…….Remember that the purpose of a broken heart is to draw you closer to the Lord.

Series to be concluded in the next post:  “A Tender Heart vs. A Bitter Heart”

 

 

Lessons From Journey part 7

~ A Pure Heart vs. A Double Heart ~

Importance of a Pure Heart

          A pure heart is required for admittance into the presence of a holy God.  “Who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3b – 4a).  The reward of a pure heart is a personal, intimate relationship with God.

Definition of a Pure Heart

          The word pure comes from the Greek word katharŏs, which means “pure, as being cleansed.”  This definition is amplified by a related verb, katharizō, meaning “to purify, to cleanse, to make free from mixture.”  Purity is measured by the percentage of a substance that matches its standard, which is free from foreign elements.  Do you match the standard of Christ?…

…Thus, a pure heart seeks God wholeheartedly without double-mindedness or the distraction of other affections.

Purpose of a Pure Heart

…The ultimate purpose of a pure heart is to love God and others without evil motives.  “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”  (1st Peter 1:22)

How to Gain a Pure Heart

                 1.      Clear your conscience

The first step to purifying your heart is to clear your conscience.  This initial step is emphasized in James 4:8.  “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”…

             2.     Seek God with your whole heart

The second step toward a pure heart is to seek God wholeheartedly.  Any division in the heart will grieve the Holy Spirit and quench His power in cleansing the mind, will, and emotions.

(I have seen this first hand in my life!!)

               3.     Cleanse your soul with Scripture

After gaining a pure heart, you must cleanse your soul with the Word of God…

…Without a pure heart and soul, you cannot have genuine love toward God or others.  Having a pure heart enables you to fulfill the invitation of Hebrews 10:22.  “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Series to Be Continued; Next post –  “A Broken Heart vs. A Hard Heart”

 

 

Lessons From Journey part 6

~ A Prideful Heart ~

Pride is at the root of every conflict in the world and every broken relationship in life because “Only by pride cometh contention” (Proverbs 13:10a)

Do you understand what pride is?

Pride is putting yourself in the place of God

(There are a lot of examples for this one, so like I did previously, I’m only going to post the ones I check-marked)

  • Pride is thinking about yourself more than God and others

Pride is comparing yourself with other people, thinking you are better than some and not as good as others – (The latter part of that kind of surprised me.  I knew that thinking of myself as better then someone else was pride, but I had never heard that thinking you are not as good as someone was also prideful)

  • Pride is envying those you think are more attractive or talented than you
  • Pride is seeking your pleasure more than pleasing God or serving others
  • Pride is hiding your faults and failures so others will think you are better than you really are
  • Pride is refusing to admit you are wrong
  • Pride is refusing to ask forgiveness
  • Pride is spending more time in the morning getting ready to see people than you spend with God
  • Pride is seeking the praise of people more than the approval of God

 

God expects you to humble yourself.  If you do not, He will raise up others to humble you.

I never really realized just how prideful I was until going through this section.  God has been humbling me quite a bit since 🙂

Series to Be Continued; In the next post I will start going over the good heart section 🙂

 

Lessons From Journey part 5

~ A Deceitful Heart ~

God examines every person’s thoughts and motives and makes it clear that everyone has a deceitful heart.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”  Jeremiah 17:9-10

Not only do you have a deceitful heart, but you may make matters worse by magnifying your deceitful heart with unbridled thoughts and speech.

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”  James 1:26

You deceive your own heart when you hear the Word of God but fail to apply it to your daily life….

Steps to a Deceitful Heart

                         1.      Ingratitude for God’s Provision

Contentment is realizing that God has provided everything you need for your present fulfillment and fruitfulness.….

 

The moment you start wishing for something you do not have, you lose your enjoyment and gratefulness for what you do have.  When you cease to be thankful for God’s gifts, you indulge a heart of discontentment.

 

               2.      Pursuit of Fulfillment Apart From the Lord

Jesus is all you need and all you should ever want.  He wants to be your daily delight….

 

                3.      Secret Desire for Forbidden Fruit

Even though Eve knew the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was forbidden, she spent time looking at it.   Soon, this attention developed into a secret lust.

The secret lusts you harbor in your heart will deceive and destroy you.

 

                4.      Removal From God’s Protection

Eve knew that the fruit she desired was forbidden.  God had commanded Adam not to eat it, and Adam must have told her not to eat it.  But Eve willfully disregarded their clear instructions.  You too may be deceived into thinking you know better than God or your God-given authorities.

 

               5.      Acceptance of Satan’s Lies

If you fling off the protective covering of God’s authorities and nourish secret lusts, you become an easy target for Satan’s deceptive lies and half-truths.

 

I’ve included a PDF file of a List of Lies we Believe from Paul & Jenny Speeds’ WIT conference, so feel free to print it off and go through it.  I know once I exposed lies in my life, it greatly changed my attitude and the way I thought about some things.

(To learn more about Paul & Jenny’s Ministry, please visit: http://witministries.com)

Series to Be Continued; Next Post – “A Prideful Heart”

 

Lessons From Journey part 4

~ An Adulterous Heart ~

Every believer is in a covenant relationship with God.  This blood covenant is celebrated every time you have communion.  God compares salvation to a marriage covenant.  In a covenant relationship, no competing affections may be tolerated.

This couldn’t have hit any closer to home for me when I first read this (June 24th 2011).  I’d been struggling with a competing affection for quite awhile.

If a woman sees her husband delighting in another woman, her heart will be grieved, and their fellowship will be damaged.  If the Lord sees a believer delighting in competing affections, His Holy Spirit will be grieved, and the power of His grace will be quenched.  God commands, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30), and “Quench not the Spirit” (1st Thessalonians 5:19)

Visible Evidences of an Adulterous Heart  –  (I’m including all of them that are written in this section)

  • Have you memorized song lyrics that violate God’s Word?
  • Do you delight in the worldly music of these songs?
  • Do enjoy the company of friends who focus on the world?
  • Do you listen to music you know your parents would reject?
  • Do you watch worldly or sensual movies?
  • Do you delight in immoral pictures or books?
  • Do you study philosophies that leave out Christ?
  • Do you have friends that your parents would disapprove of?
  • Do you spend more time with temporal things than eternal?

 

Root causes of Competing Affections

  • Setting up Idols in Your Heart

An idol is anyone or anything from which you expect benefits that only God can promise: security, direction in life, fulfillment, etc.  …..

  • Dwelling on Secret Lusts

Being tempted with a lustful thought is not sin.  It becomes sin, however, if you continue to think about it and picture it in your mind…

  • Having a Dating Spirit

A person with a dating spirit singles out someone for special attention without intending to pursue marriage and without going through proper authorities….

  • Making Wealth a Goal in Your Life

God warns that the love money is the root of all evil.  If you pursue this love, you will not only grieve the Spirit of God but you will also inherit a series of potential disasters….

Further Insights:

Each person may have different competing affections.  Ask God to reveal them to you and then repent of them.

Ministry can be a competing affection if it neglects what He commanded you to do – disciple others.

Series to be Continued: Next Post – “A Deceitful Heart”