October 2018 - GraceAndWorks

Hard Headed vs Hardened Heart

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As I was researching this, I found they are directly involved with each other. I want to take a look at what God has to say through the scriptures about each of them. We’ll start with being hard headed.

Hard headed , by definition means stubborn. One who is set in their ways. Doesn’t want to change, but will if shown a better way. In the New Testament, we see examples of stubbornness. When Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees’ hard headed manner grieved and angered Jesus. Instead of praising Him for His healing power and acknowledging Him, the Pharisees’ hard heads caused them to try to kill Him (Mark 3:1-6). When Stephen was closing his speech before the Sanhedrin, he chided them for their foolish stubbornness: “You stiff necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: you always resist the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 7:51) When Paul preached to the Jews in Corinth, they continued to reject his message of Salvation through Jesus. Paul tried to reason with them for three months, but “some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly spoke evil of the Way” (acts 19:9). As a result of this, Paul took the disciples and left the unbelievers in their stubbornness and non-belief. This is a fate for those that reject Jesus. Romans 2:5: But in your accordance with your hardness and impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God.

The Bible considers the heart to be center of our personality. Scripture tells us that Grief (John 14:1); desires (Matthew 5:8); Joy (Ephesians 5:19); Understanding (Matthew 13:15); Thoughts and reasoning (Mark 2:8); and the most important, faith and belief (Romans 10:10) are all products of the heart. Considering all of this, it becomes easy to see how a hardened heart can take away a person’s ability to perceive and understand. Anyone’s heart can harden, even faithful Christians. Hardness of heart will cause the Christian to have an inability to see, understand, hear, and remember. Too often we forget what God blesses us with and what He has done for us. We need to remember God said, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Sin causes the hardened heart, especially continual and unrepentant sin. Pride will cause hearts to harden. The pride of life and of heart will deceive you. If we can bring ourselves to repent of sin, only then can a hardened heart begin to be cured.

Hearts become hardened when we suffer setbacks and disappointments in life. No one is immune to the trials and tribulations that we encounter through life’s cycle. Paul tells us in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

My conclusion: Hard Headed will lead to Hardness of Heart!!

HEADLINES FROM GOD

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As I was reading the newspaper this morning, I was glancing at the headlines. Almost all of them dealt with negativity or bad news. So I got to thinking, what would headlines from God say? Here are a few I came up with:

REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED.
The question was, what do we need to do to be saved?

DON’T FORSAKE ASSEMBLING WITH THE SAINTS.
I, God, expect everyone to assemble on the first day of the week and Worship me.

FAITH COMES FROM HEARING.
There are different ways to hear My Word. You can have a group study (Bible Class before Worship). You can open your Bible and let Me speak to you. OR, you can come to My Worship services and hear the word preached.

IF YOU DON’T LOVE YOUR BROTHER, YOU CAN’T LOVE ME.
If you will only get the hate out of your life and let your love abound, your life and those around you will be much better. Faith in Me is good. Hope in Me is good. But, love is the greatest.

TRUST IN ME.
Talk to Me through prayer and I will get you through the tough times. Rejoice in your trials and tribulations. You will learn the right way to do things and I will make you stronger.

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE.
Do things that are right. Don’t spread hate and discontent. Don’t let ugly profane sayings come from your mouth. Walk on earth as Jesus walked. Treat your neighbor as you would want treated. Give a good days work for a good days pay. Live righteously.

OBEY MY COMMANDS.
This becomes very simple. Just do what I say, and I will prepare for you a place. I will provide eternity in Heaven for you. That’s My promise!!

SMILE I LOVE YOU.
I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. I will be there through the tough times and the good times. Take hold of My hand and I will lead you.

There are many more and you can probably add to this list some of those things that you treasure.
Have a good day all!!

Which Describes You?

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Are you a “Mustard Seed”, “Leaven”, or a “Tare”? We’ve been studying, in Bible class, the parables that Jesus talked about in Matthew 13. As we were studying, and as I further studied, I got to thinking how these can also pertain to us as individuals. So, I want to put a little different spin on the parables as they pertain to our life.

THE “Mustard Seed” is a very small seed, when planted and nurtured properly, will turn into a large tree. As individuals, we are like the “Mustard Seed”. We start off as babies and if nurtured properly with the right food, knowledge, and upbringing we will grow into the strong individual that God wants us to be. We will stand upright and strong and produce good fruit and works. Standing steadfast in our daily lives and our Christian lives is a task that takes good character, strong will, and the right knowledge. Are you doing the things that will take you from the “Mustard Seed” to a full grown tree?

A little “Leaven” leavens the whole loaf!! I was looking at this and myself wondering if I were the “Leaven” in life, would everyone around me grow? Would they flourish? Would people be better because of my influence? Then I figured, if that were to happen, I would have to be strong in my beliefs, convictions, knowledge, and the ability to stand steadfast. This would hold true in both my everyday life and my Christian life. Strive to do good works so those around you will have a positive influence.

Then there are the “Tares”. “Tares” are nothing more than weeds and we all know what weeds will do in the yard and/or garden. They can disrupt the growth and production of healthy plants. “Tares” are completely different from the “Mustard Seed” and “Leaven” in that they “Tare” down, instead of building up. So, what kind of things would be declared a “Tare”? GOSSIP–talking about others and creating disruption. DISOBEDIENCE–to your boss, family, and God. No CONSIDERATION of others–it’s all about me and I don’t care about you!! Uncontrollable ANGER–no patience and won’t listen. FILTHY language–do not take the Lord’s name in vain (OMG, For Christ’s sake, G-damn, etc). And the biggy–LYING!! Why can’t we just tell the truth? Why do we have to distort the truth? In God’s word, why to we tend to pull things out of context to prove our point? God already said what was what. Why would we think we are smarter than God?

A little different look at the parables and some questions for you to ponder on.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good week all.

HOW WILL YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION?

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When you leave your home in your car to go somewhere, you go from one street to another to another until you reach the destination you want. Going up stairs, you go one step at a time. When taking a job, most have to start near at the bottom of the totem pole and work themselves up. Step by step we reach our career goals. We start dating and it again is step by step until we find the right person, get married, and start a family. When taking a trip, we plan out where, when, and what we are going to do. The thing about about a trip is, you can take different routes to reach destinations we want. On a recent road trip we really didn’t have a set plan, but kinda knew what and where we wanted to go. I’m “Old School” when it comes to maps and use a regular map book so I can better see where the road leads. Regardless, it was once again a step by step approach I used to reach various destinations. Going through life is very much a step by step approach.

Our Christian lives are also step by step approach. Step 1)-Hear God’s Word. Step 2)-Believe what we hear. Step 3)-Be willing to repent of our sins and change our lives. Step 4)-Confess to others that we believe Jesus is the Son of God. Step 5)-Be buried in water and Baptized. Step 6)-Live a righteous life thereafter. One step at a time we will reach our destination, which is Heaven. God’s Living Word, the Bible, is our map.

“One step at a time, dear Savior: I cannot take any more, the flesh is so weak and hopeless: I know not what is before. One step at a time, dear Savior: I am not walking by sight; Keep step with my soul, dear Savior: I walk by faith in Thy sight. One step at a time, dear Savior: Oh, guard my faltering feet! Keep hold of my hand, dear Savior, Till I my journey complete. One step at a time, dear Savior: Thou knowest all of my fear; One word from Thy heart, dear Savior, And Heavens mansions appear. One step at a time, dear Savior, Till faith grows stronger in Thee; One step at a time, dear Savior, Till hope grows stronger in me.” One step at a time…….!!

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.