Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Good Heart

How many times have you heard or said: He (she) has a good heart? How do you know? An adulterer who takes in stray animals, a thief who volunteers to mow a neighbor’s lawn, a liar who takes meals to shut-ins. Does kindness or thoughtfulness indicate a good heart?

In Jeremiah 17:9&10, we read that the human heart is “the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked.” Who can know what is truly in a heart, what really motivates a person to do anything?

Only God.

God is not fooled by acts of charity when the charitable person is harboring hatred or evil, and is rejecting him. I might be fooled into thinking a person has a good heart, even into thinking he or she walks with God. But unless that heart has been broken over sin, unless that person has repented and accepted God’s forgiveness, that person is actually carrying around a desperately wicked heart, and Jeremiah reminds us God judges the heart.

You can put pearls on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You can put frosting on manure, but that doesn’t make it a birthday cake any more than a kind act gives an unsaved person a good heart.

Can non-believers be nice people, kind, and considerate? Of course they can. Satan is the master at making sin look good. But let’s not be fooled into thinking they are ok the way they are. Because “good” isn’t good enough! And an unrepentant heart is not a good heart.

God, I pray that each of us will take a good look at our own heart because that’s the only heart we can know. Your word tells us that without you, our hearts are desperately wicked. It also tells us you don’t judge our actions without judging our hearts. May our hearts be broken in light of our sin, may we bow before you in repentance, and may you turn our wicked hearts into good hearts. May we determine to obey your word today, and may others recognize that any goodness in us comes from you.

Inquiring Minds

Habakuk wasn’t afraid to question God. “Why, God?” he asked. He listened to God’s reply, then went on to ask “What about this?” Habakuk is an example of an inquiring mind, and God made inquiring minds.

I’m not interested in pouring over ancient history to put a time-line on these prophecies. But some people are, and that’s ok. I think Scripture teaches that God wants us to dig, to learn, to be awed by creation, and to love him enough to get to know him. The problem is when we assign human attributes to God, when we try to define him by ways we understand.

We can’t know anything about God that’s not revealed in his Word. Studying history, or reading commentaries (as helpful as they are) to come to an understanding of God isn’t necessary. Reading the Bible is.

God isn’t afraid of our questions. He created us with the ability to think and wonder. But he will reveal only a portion of Who he is, give only the answers we NEED to know this side of heaven.

So go ahead and ask. Then accept the fact that there are some things we cannot know. If we were able to know everything God knows, he’d be us.

A Deadly Price-Tag

God expresses his anger toward a disobedient people in the book of Nahum. He says things like: I am your enemy; and, I will not allow the guilty to go unpunished. He reminds them their riches, which are many, and gained dishonestly, will not save them from God’s wrath, from the consequences of their sin.

Nahum reminds us God is very serious about sin. He never excuses sin, or rationalizes it, or overlooks it. Every sin comes with a deadly consequence, whether it’s an angry two-year-old who pushes her brother off a chair, or a man addicted to porn who kidnaps, tortures, and rapes young women, like the man captured in Cleveland last year. 

God says often in his Word that he will not let the guilty go unpunished. Then he turns around and says ALL have sinned. We are all guilty. We all face the consequences for every sin we’ve committed.

I am a Christian. But that doesn’t mean my sins, although forgiven, don’t come with a deadly price tag. My sins require death just like the sins of Ariel Castro (that monster from Cleveland). Every one of my sins come with a death sentence.

But when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, he took my sins and placed them on his own shoulders. He paid the painful consequences for me, he did not sweep them under a rug.

Hear me when I say, those who have not experienced Jesus’ grace will pay for their own sins. Every one of their own sins. The wages of sin is death, either Jesus’ death on the cross, or yours… for eternity.

God, may we all view sin from your perspective. Dive us to our knees, Lord, when we are faced with our own sin, our guilt and shame. Thank you for Jesus, for the cross, for your grace that is offered to anyone who comes to you with repentant hearts. I pray that everyone who reads this blog today will humble themselves and accept what you offer, and that is to pay for our sins yourself. The thought of anyone paying the ultimate price for their own sins frightens me. I pray that it will frighten all of us.