article-2215133-156B1AAE000005DC-615_634x422Proverbs 27:19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

When you see your reflection in a mirror or in water, what do you really see? You don’t see what’s on the inside – you don’t see your heart, correct? The Bible tells us that what’s in the heart is displayed on the outside of our bodies. It shows on our face, it shows in our words and in our actions.

Mat. 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

If your mirror could reveal what is in your heart this morning, what would you see? Would you see an ugly, sad, dark and empty reflection? Or, would you see a smile filled with Christ’s love?

lake_mountains_sky_evening_reflection_ripples_surface_of_the_water_colors_26829_3840x2160Sin creates a ripple in our heart’s reflection. What was clear and beautiful in the eyes of the beholder, now becomes distorted. This picture is a perfect example of what sin can do in our lives. You can hardly see the beautiful clouds in the water – it’s merely a mishmash. Sin distorts our testimony and changes it from Christ’s reflection in us to something that is not recognizable – no longer revealing His beauty. Sin’s effects are a slow process … at first there are no rippling effects and the picture appears perfect. However, as we continue in sin, the ripples (the repercussions of our sins) become greater and the reflection of Christ becomes more distorted. When ripples become waves from the storms of life, Christ is no longer evident.

Don’t deceive yourself, Christian. You may think that dabbling in sin doesn’t affect you, but it does. The devil deceives and is a father of lies. He will convince you that you’re OK and will keep you out of the will of God. This world sees you just as today’s Proverb describes.  They see what’s in your heart reflected on your face – your life – your character. Don’t shame the Lord but glorify Him in your life. They won’t be able to tell the difference between you and your Saviour! 🙂

A6W64R Reflections in the flooded salt desert Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Sunset

532413_490606884290173_1496529958_nProverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

What you feed your spirit will directly reflect on your heart’s mirror!

Are you aware that you have full control over your heart’s condition? You do not have to wallow in self-pity or have a negative attitude because of someone hurting you. When you do allow life’s circumstances to dictate your emotions, you are telling others that your God is not capable of helping you through this. Through your countenance and actions you are telling others that your walk with the Lord is conditional: you trust Him only when things are going well but you take matters into your own hands when the going gets tough.  :-S

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted [are] evil: but he that is of a merry heart [hath] a continual feast.

The Lord tells us that the believer who has a merry heart has a continual feast! I’m sure God isn’t saying that we are sitting a buffet filled with all of our favorite foods! 😆 When we are in the will of God, we are able to rejoice continuously. That feeling is like no other and is such that we don’t ever want to hinder our relationship with the Father. A merry heart has its rewards and it is this continual feast of God’s goodness. \o/

So how does one keep the heart in check? God gave us the answer. The God of peace tells us:

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

When we choose to obey the above Bible verses and think on the good things Paul recommends, we don’t let those negative things in life overwhelm us.

There’s Within My Heart a Melody

Text: Luther B. Bridgers
Music: Luther B. Bridgers There’s within my heart a melody

Jesus whispers sweet and low:
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
in all of life’s ebb and flow.
Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing,
keeps me singing as I go.

~Psalm 8:1-9 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  What wonderful words to sing forth to our Lord and Saviour!  Jesus Christ, our Creator, (John 1:3) set His glory in the heavens so we might enjoy their beauty.  His creation blesses us – His seasons bless us! The dead of winter even brings its rewards – the snow weighing heavily on branches – the chirping of birds not heard in the summertime – the beauty of sunlight as it glistens on dangling icicles. Every season brings its own blessings of beauty to encourage the weary spirit.

Are the words from my mouth like these beautiful seasons?  Are they spoken with wisdom so others may learn? (Isaiah 50:4) Is my heart’s condition revealed through my words? (Psalm 49:3, Luke 6:45) The Christian must have a time of refreshing each morning to prepare the heart and spirit for the day – a jump start, if you will. When I want to “still my spirit,” I put on calming instrumental music set to nature’s sounds and open my Bible to the Book of Psalms.  It is here that my Heavenly Father speaks to me, calms me and encourages my weary heart.  Every day can start with that mountain top experience – some days it’s more difficult to reach, but it can be reached. When I least feel like spending time in God’s word is when I need it the most.  As I yield myself, I’m rewarded by God’s goodness!!  There’s always peace to be found for the weary soul when we sit still and read His word. The results are revealed through our words and actions.

~Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Take a moment each day to rest in Psalms!

The picture above was taken by a sweet Christian lady, Connie Wentworth and used here with her permission. Her pictures are mostly taken in the State of Maine and depict God’s glorious creation! Thank you, Connie, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

~Proverb 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

If every thought, both good and bad, were revealed to those closest to you, where would you find yourself?  Would you be embarrassed?  What is in the heart, in the deepest and hidden recesses, dictates the person you are. Only you and God know your thoughts.  God sees each and every thing we hide away in our heart.

~Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. 

The born-again believer does not have to worry about where he will spend eternity. However, the fruits of his life after salvation will be converted to either precious stones or stubble. All these will be burned and ‘tried’ so reveal its worth. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) What kind of stubble is hidden deep in our hearts? Is it resentment – anger – addiction? Wouldn’t it be best to be rid of these dead works – this ugly stubble? When the moment of “revelation by fire” comes, wouldn’t you prefer the end result to be precious stones (Godly works)? (1 Corinthians 4:5, Ecclesiastes 12:14) The stubble will be revealed before all to see. (Romans 4:12)

Christian, how much better is it to take care of those dark places now rather than leave them hidden only to have them totally exposed when you stand before Christ?  Isn’t it better to leave only those things which will reveal jewels for our crowns? What better gift to lay at the Lord Jesus Christ’s feet than those things which we did after our salvation which honoured and glorified Him! (Revelation 4:10)

Why not take a few moments to reflect on those dark and hidden areas in your heart?  Remove the dirty cobwebs and sweep out those corners. Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for where you have failed and He will be faithful to forgive you! (1 John 1:9) Start the new year with a clean slate.  Get in God’s word; let its truths penetrate your heart and white wash it; continue to keep your heart clean and purify your thoughts. This heart change will produce precious stones at the “revelation by fire” and you will be overjoyed when you can give your gift to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

 

 

~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

~Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

~Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

~Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

~Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

~Mark 10:18 …there is none good but one, that is, God. 

No matter how hard we try, none of us are good. Since Adam and Eve’s fall, not one human being has been without sin. What is sin? According to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary,

1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12.

SIN, v.i.

1. To depart voluntarily from the path of duty prescribed by God man; to violate the divine law in any particular, by actual transgression or by the neglect or non-observance of its injunctions; to violate any known rule of duty. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned. Psa 51.

2. To offend against right, against men or society; to trespass. I an a man more sinn’d against than sinning. And who but wishes to invert the laws of order, sins against the’ eternal cause.

This definition is totally different from today’s definition of sin. Merriam Webster’s on-line dictionary defines sin as:

1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible [it’s]c : an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Pretty diluted, isn’t it? Man’s heart is desperately wicked so of course he would prefer today’s definition of Merriam Webster’s.

So what is considered sin? We can start at the beginning with the Ten Commandments. This is God’s law to mankind. Have you broken one of these? Have you lied – even just once? Then by admission, you are a liar. Have you ever stolen – even a pen from work? Then by admission, you are a thief. Breaking any of these commandments makes us a sinner. Because of this fallen nature, it is impossible to keep all the commandments. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10) Therefore, we must be punished for breaking God’s laws. It does not matter if you do good things like help the poor. It doesn’t matter if you give lots of money to the church. Although it’s nice that you did these things, the fact of the matter is that punishment is still needed for breaking God’s commandments. They weren’t put there just so a movie could be made. The Ten Commandments were given as the Law by God. They are our “teacher” and are there to show us that we are sinners.

Let’s say that you were sentenced to pay a penalty of $50,000 by a judge because you were caught stealing. You tell the judge that you do not have $50,000 and that you are really sorry for your crime but could he let you go this one time. The judge replies that he is a good judge but someone has to pay the penalty for this crime. A friend of yours shows up and says he’ll pay the $50,000 for you. Someone already in prison could not pay this penalty for you but this friend was free to do so. The judge accepts his payment and lets you go.

This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us. Because God is a Good and Righteous Judge, He demands that the penalty for breaking His Laws be paid. Because God’s love for us is so great, Jesus Christ chose to take on the form of man so He could take the punishment for our sins and pay that penalty. Jesus said, “Father, I’ll pay their debt for them! I’ll become that sacrifice You require of shed blood and I will shed My own blood for them. Only Jesus Christ could do this because He did not sin once while He lived on earth. He was the only one qualified to pay this penalty. No man could do it because all men have sinned. Now that’s love, my friend!

The born-again believer no longer has to pay the penalty because our debt has been paid by Jesus Christ Himself. Will we continue to sin? Yes, but we will sin less. The believer has been given the Holy Spirit of God and He resides in us to teach us and guide us in how to live a more righteous life. Every day is a challenge for the believer to live a godly life. But it is a joyous challenge because we no longer have to fear spending eternity in hell! What joy!

When you look at the lost today, remember that his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. He is serving his father, the devil. Have pity on the lost and share with them the reason for your joy. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15)

This is the whole point of His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection!

Dear God…
Your Law showed me my sin
Impossible to obey
Then Jesus paid my debt
He is the only Way.

~Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

What is in our hearts will most assuredly come out of our mouths. Both Matthew and Luke recorded these words from Christ. If we are honest with ourselves, we will agree with this.

If our hearts are not centered around Christ and the things of Christ, our mouths will reflect it. When you are in the presence of someone who “practices what they preach” when it comes to Christianity, you know that they have “something” different because they walk the walk.

The same is true when you are in the presence of someone who could care less about the things of God. Their mouths are filthy and their lives reflect their heart.

But what about the one who goes to church faithfully and tries to be a good person? He appears religious on the outside but what happens when he is alone where no one sees him? The Pharisees were like this and Jesus called them hypocrites.

~Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

God looks on the heart. Just because you “act” religious does not mean that you have a relationship with God.

~1 Samuel 16:7b …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

God sees everything – nothing is hid from Him. God told Jeremiah:

~Jeremiah 16:17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.

So dear reader, if you are born again, live like you are and don’t keep your light where the world cannot see it. To the one who is not born again, take a moment and be honest with yourself!