Posts Tagged ‘Heart


Jesus Wants Your Surrendered Heart

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Matthew 22:34-40.


Our Poisonous Tongues

We keep animals in our homes because they have been tamed and domesticated. James says that the tongue is far more dangerous. He writes:

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. – James 3:7-8 (NIV)

Your tongue has the ability to kill with poisonous words. Gossip. Rumors. Insults. Put-downs. Lies. How many wounds have our tongues inflicted? How have we crushed and killed the spirits of those around us by our words? Here’s the thing, your tongue is not the guilty party in all of this. It’s your heart. Jesus said that it is your heart that controls what your tongue says. A poisoned tongue comes from a poisoned heart. A transformed heart leads to a transformed tongue. The tongue can only speak what’s in your heart, so let God work on transforming your heart so that your words will give life and not take it.

The Evidence Of A Changed Heart

We might think we’re pretty spiritual and religious by the religious things we do. We might feel pretty good about ourselves because we go to church regularly or put a $20.00 bill in the offering plate. Those might be good things to do, but they’re outward shows of religion that might not reflect an inner change of heart. James wrote:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. – James 1:26 (NIV)

Jesus said that what we say comes right out of our hearts. God is more concerned about the state of your heart than He is with your “religious” activities. You can put on a good show, but the real proof of a changed heart is so much more basic. You can go to church with a begrudging attitude, but people will think you’re a good person. You can give an offering out of a clenched fist and people might think you’re generous. But your tongue will show the real you. Are you being transformed by the Holy Spirit? Are you being changed by God’s grace? Your tongue is the evidence of God’s work in your heart.

Relationship, Not Ritual

Zechariah 7 (NIV)

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”
Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”
And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their back sand covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.
13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

Empty religious rituals do not please the Lord Almighty. The people of Zechariah’s day were trying to figure out whether or not they should continue to observe a ritual fast. King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians had burned the city of Bethel to the ground and the people there had observed a fast to commemorate it. They also observed a fast in the seventh month of the year to remember the murder of the regional governor. These fasts were not ones required by God, but were self-imposed instead.

But what does God really want from His people? False shows of piety and religion? Or does He desire something better? God wants our hearts to be near to Him, not our shows of religion. He wants a relationship with people. This cannot be manufactured by religiously following ritualistic rules. 

When we make our “religion” all about ourselves, we are really far away from what God really wants. James wrote in the New Testament that true religion is what Zechariah talks about here in chapter 7. James 1:26-27 (NIV) says:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Faith is more about loving God by loving people than it is about keeping a set of human-imposed rules. You can avoid all of the “R”-rated movies and rock-n’-roll music and craft beers all you want, but if you don’t love God by loving people, your religious piety is really self-seeking. Do what you do in the name of the Lord Jesus because you love Jesus, not because you love your self-righteous piety.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I repent of my self-righteousness. I am unworthy of the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus. I thank You that You loved the world so much that He came to die for us. May my trust be in You and may Your love fill me and motivate me to love others as You have loved me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Starving For God’s Word

In Amos chapter 8, the prophet delivers a powerful and terrible prophecy against Israel:

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread or water
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from border to border
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.
Beautiful girls and strong young men
will grow faint in that day,
thirsting for the LORD’s word.
And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria—
who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan
and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba*—
they will all fall down,
never to rise again.” – Amos 8:11-14 (NLT)

One of the definitions of famine is “any extreme and general scarcity.”  When Israel fell on hard times, they would turn to God and seek His Word from His prophets.  Amos told them that a famine was coming.  Not a famine of food and drink, but a famine of the words of the LORD.  No more prophets.  No more prophetic messages.  A time was coming when God would be silent.

One of the most painful things one can give in a relationship is the silent treatment.  When you have done something so egregious to someone that they refuse to speak to you.  OH!  It hurts so much!  You crave the sound of their voice.  You want to apologize and hear the words, “I forgive you.”  But there is nothing.  Just silence.  God was going to give Israel the silent treatment and they deserved it.

We live in a very blessed time where we have access to God’s Word, the Bible, in many different ways.  We have physical books, e-books and the Bible on the internet.  Yet we seem to be living in a time of unparalleled Biblical illiteracy.  We can access God’s Word 24/7/365, but we don’t!  We have created our own famine and it is tragic!

Get in the Word!  Read your Bibles!  Spend time with God and hear Him communicate with you through His Word!  Feed your starving soul with the powerful, loving message of the Bible.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to love Your Word.  Help me to read it and live it out in my life.  Thank You for revealing Yourself and Your Son in Your Word.  In Jesus’ name I thank You, amen.


The Heart Of The Matter

We get so caught up in the outward appearances of things that we forget that God’s primary concern is the condition of our hearts.  We’ll dress up on the outside, but never clean up the inside.  We’re not much different than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  Over and over He chastised them for their outward shows of religion and strict adherence to the Law without any concern for people and their predicaments.  Their hearts, though, were far from God.  On two occasions in the book of Matthew, Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6, which reads:

I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know Me
more than I want burnt offerings. (NLT)

We can bring sacrifices of praise and tithes and offerings to the Lord’s storehouse, but never understand what being a Christian is really all about.  Does it please God if we can sing peppy worship songs and timeless hymns, but despise our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Is God happy when we strictly tithe our salaries and income yet hate our neighbors and enemies?  Will God notice perfect worship attendance and daily Bible readings and prayers if we are not compassionate towards those who are suffering and those who are far from Him?  There is a difference between knowing God and going to church.  I believe that we need to worship corporately and be edified by teaching from God’s Word.  But if we are merely trying to earn perfect attendance certificates for our worship attendance and the message never hits home or goes to our hearts, then we have big problems.  God wants a relationship with you more than He wants your money.  He wants a compassionate heart that beats for others more than He wants your sacrifices of praise and worship.  Our giving and our praises please Him more when they flow from a grateful heart for what He has done for us through His Son.  May our gratitude overflow into our hearts and change the way we see others and give us a desire to truly know God.

PRAYER: Father God, help me to have a heart that beats with love and mercy toward others today.  I want to see other people the way that You see them.  Thank You for loving me.  Amen.


Blessed To Use Our Treasure

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

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