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The Intents of our Hearts

Ezekiel 33:10-20

 11…As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?…13Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. 14Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live…20Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” – The Lord, God

 The words of God in the Book of Ezekiel spoke caution regarding confidence turning to complacency, taking this great salvation of God for granted as I enjoy the food, colors, and songs of this life perhaps more than I truly believe and look forward to the eternal life God has promised through Jesus Christ.  Am I a righteous man, saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ?  Yes, but if I think I am standing from day to day, perhaps I should take heed lest I fall.  If His words in my life are not mixed with faith unfeigned, might I not also fall as those true and original branches of Israel which fell in the desert when God proved them for forty years? 

Thank God for His mercy!  It must be true that He will never leave us or forsake us, and Jesus Christ is faithful and just to keep secure that which you and I have entrusted to him; even our eternal souls, this life and the life to come.  So it must be that, as a faithful friend or loving Father, as we drift into complacency regarding our salvation, or into that sin which flies in the face of His command to love God and love one another, that His great and gentle Holy Spirit leads and teaches and calls us back to the Door of the sheepfold; back to Jesus.  Thank God for ears to hear and eyes to see! 

Thank God that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that He is unwilling that any should perish, but that all should repent from sin, turn to Jesus, and receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life!

Ezekiel 33:30-32

“As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, ‘Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ 31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. 32And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.”  – The Lord, God

Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?”  How would you and I answer?  I’m pretty sure the response Jesus gave to Peter would be the same response He would give to us: “If you love me, then feed my sheep.”  If our faith in Christ serves no one but ourselves; if we are not truly and practically offering ourselves to God as a daily sacrifice; if we are ignoring those who have fallen by the wayside, by sin or by thieves, by the enemy, then are we caring for the sheep at all?  Are we seeking those which are lost?  I suppose another way to ask the hard question is: “Are we in this for ourselves, or for others?”  When we come to the table, are we thinking only of getting our own portion?  Do we not realize that Jesus laid it all down for us, even His life, but He had the power and authority to raise it up again.  So Jesus also has the power and authority to raise us up again.  If we fulfill the commands of Christ to love God and love others, we can with confidence lay down all we have and know that Jesus will raise us up again.  He multiplies mercy and sacrifice 30, 60, and 100-fold, and I am absolutely talking about decisions based on love and compassion which go light years beyond the value of supporting your local church through tithes and offerings.  It is the act of giving all, as the widow with her two mites, or the Samaritan who got involved and saved a dying man’s life, the times people risk something meaningful for the sake of Christ; for the Honor of the Name of God; and in response to the leadership and support of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.  Risk giving in the name of Jesus!  Don’t flee when the wolves start howling!  Stand your ground against the enemy and know that the Blood of Jesus Christ, Your Testimony, and Your Willingness to Die (Revelation 12) are truly sufficient.   

John 10

7″Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”  -The Lord, Jesus

Matthew 12

 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  -The Lord,  Jesus

Romans 2

 12For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. – Paul, by the Holy Spirit

II Timothy 3:1-7

“…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self…, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” – Paul, by the Holy Spirit

II Timothy 4:3-4

“…the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – Paul, by the Holy Spirit 

So it may feel that we’re on the edge of losing our salvation.  The scriptures above seem so relevant to our days and culture.  But the Word of God remains, and what is impossible with men is possible with God.  God is able to save through the matchless power of His Son Jesus Christ.  God has given us His word, and the hearing of it produces faith, and our faith in Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice of blood for our sins, gives us everlasting life and a peace which passes all understanding.  His Word is alive and will clear the fog and confusion of any situation, and His grace is flowing from His throne.  His grace is a prayer and a praise away, and thank God the Holy Spirit daily convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, continually leading us to the throne of grace.  The path is clear: in Christ there is no sin and no darkness.  He is light and life and truth and love.  Where there is sin there is darkness, and we have have an enemy who wants to destroy us.  Satan is the thief Jesus spoke of in John 10, and Satan’s intent is always to kill, steal, and destroy.  If there is darkness and sin in our lives Jesus is there to hear our confession.  He is our high priest, and we need no other  priest between us and God.  He is a prayer or a praise away, no matter where we are, and He knows and understands everything we go through; we can’t surprise or overwhelm Him no matter the depth of our degradation. 

Hebrews 4

 12 …the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I John 3

 4Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Third Day – Blackbird

But you’re ever hearing, never understanding
Ever seeing, not perceiving and your heart
has grown callous
You’re in a storm and lost your way
Won’t you fly to heaven and be saved today

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