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Upright Heart - Heart Series 6

We are continually told that "there is good in every person." That we have to look for it and believe that man is good at the core. Although that may be the opinion of some, that does not ring true, because Jeremiah said under God's inspiration, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" (Jeremiah 17:9) We could see how a desperately wicked heart might want to not be seen that way. It would want to deceive us about our own nature. Jeremiah continued, "But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives." (17:10) The heart, not the muscle but the interior of our being, the mind, emotion and will, is identified as deceitful (Proverbs 6:14; 26:24), scheming (Proverbs 6:18), perverse (Proverbs 11:20; 17:20; Psalm 101:4), evil (Proverbs 26:23), destructive (Psalm 5:9), slanderous (Psalm 41:6), and cunning (Psalm 64:6). Wow! That is saying a lot about the heart within us all. It…

The Character Principle of Greed

This is an excessive desire for acquiring or having. Another word that is used is avarice, which means too much desire to get and keep money. And a third word rounds out this unholy trinity, cupidity, which means a strong desire for wealth. Even in Solomon's time it was a problem. He saw it manifest in many who were seeking wealth and power. So he wrote one of the tersest statements about it. He said, "Greed brings grief to the whole family…" (Proverbs 15:27a) Is this true? Review with me five stories in the Scriptures who show it to be true. Lot, the nephew of Abraham, "took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley." He chose it for himself, he went there, and ends up in the city of Sodom where he sought influence but angels of God had to come and drag him from it just before it was destroyed by God. He lost his wife and eventually ended up living in a cave. (Genesis 13:10-13) Balak, king of Moab, and desire a curse be put on the children of Israel …

Understanding Heart - Heart Series 5

"Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart." (Proverbs 14:33) We don't use the word "enshrined" very much so better words which carry the same meaning would be: enthroned or rests. The understanding heart welcomes wisdom given from God and allows it to rest comfortably without conflict. Synonyms in Scripture are: instructive heart, applying heart, and discerning heart. An understanding heart is filled with the reality of life and comprehends the results of good and bad attitudes and actions. In his beginning to the book of wisdom, Solomon said to "concentrate on understanding." (Proverbs 2:2) To concentrate on is to give diligence to gaining understanding, i.e. to have an active and practical habit of attention. God gives the wisdom, out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding so seek Him to obtain all three. Here are four steps to an understanding heart: Commit to receiving it. "Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to …

Wise Heart - Heart Series 4

To be wise, outside the Wisdom literature of the Bible, seems to refer to the development of human skills or abilities, like required in warfare and leading, rather than to a spiritual ability given by God. To be identified as naturally wise means that your knowledge and experience have united in the right moment to help you make a good decision. But the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream shortly after the Kingdom of Israel was his and said, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" To which Solomon replied, "O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn't know his way around…Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong." (1 Kings 3:7-9) To which God responded, "Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—I will give yo…

Joyful Heart – Heart Series 3

There is a lot to be said for joyfulness. It can change attitudes and actions that we do on a daily basis. But how do we get that kind of heart? Synonyms for joyful would include glad, rejoicing, happy, and cheerful. It is not circumstances that produce a joyful heart but the careful inspection of Who is guiding us and right beside us. The psalmist said, "The Lord…guides me… is always with me…is right beside me." (Psalm 16:7-8) He is not guiding from afar and does not forsake, but is closer than a brother to us. But right after these statements the psalmist goes on to say, "No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety." (16:9) The heart (mind, emotion, and will) is glad and therefore the body echoes that gladness by being able to securely rest. The joyful heart also authenticates the rightness of the commandments of the Lord. Being obedient to them places us within boundaries and that protects us from the sorrow and sadness of sin. We can trust…

The Heart - Heart Series 1

The Scriptures sometime speak of the heart as the muscle that beats in our chest, but most times it speaks of the heart as the interior of the soul that consists of the mind, emotion and will. These three direct the life of an individual. Their constellation forms the basis of all decisions. Spurgeon said, "Man devotes himself to anything sooner than yield his heart's love to his Maker, submit his intellect to the great Creator's teaching, and render all his faculties to the service of the Most High." Spurgeon said that man was, and is, prone to idolatry rather than godly worship and activity, and he tied this to Matthews statement by Jesus, "The words you speak come from the heart—that's what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander." (Matthew 15:18-19) These are the last five of the Ten Commandments which deal with our relationship to others. We like to think about our heart a…

Polar Opposites

When we think of this phrase we think of things that are totally different. They are not in harmony and move in opposite directions. Solomon said much about the wicked and the godly, which are polar opposites. Here are two contrasting statements that express the emphasis of polar opposites. "The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but He delights in the prayers of the upright." (Proverbs 15:8a) A wicked person who does "sacrifice" is not doing it out of devotion but rather out of dread or duty. His heart is not into the sacrifice, only his mind. On the other end of the spectrum, the upright prays with all his heart (mind, emotion, will) and the Lord delights in that."The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but He loves those who pursue godliness." (Proverbs 15:8b) The way of the wicked is in the opposite direction of the way of the Lord. It is a self-determined way and selfish in its end. But the purs…