A Heart Issue

Only You, Lord, can heal a broken heart…

40. 11-13-2015 - A Heart Issue short_Page_1Give everyone a gun. Take all the guns away. Shut down Planned Parenthood. Let them stay. Pat down Americans trying to fly, but let fully garbed Muslims walk on by. Assess the threat and don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings. Tax the rich and not the poor. Give everyone a fair tax. Don’t tax anyone at all and let everyone fend for themselves. All love is the same. What’s to keep you from marrying your pet? Take this free health care, education, car, house, and job. Work until you break a sweat, then you might get to buy the latest IPhone or eat that cupcake, but maybe you won’t want to, because it’s not worth the greater amount of sweat it will take to pay for it. The greatest threat against your life is the heat rising around the world. The greatest threat against your life is the people wanting to stab you, blow up your country, and kill or kidnap all of your children. Cheap oil for everyone! Made possible by countries that protect the people wanting to stab you. Let’s have higher gas prices, but produce it right here in the US to boost our own economy and wisely use our resources. Don’t let anyone in our country! Let everyone in and forget about the consequences! Allow them in, but set up checks, balances, and safety measures first and all along the way. Let’s show them mercy, but be wise about it…

I feel like the previous paragraph could go on for a very long time, but I have to cut it short. The more I write or think about the issues in that paragraph, the more I realize that those words do not get at the heart of the issues at all. Every single issue mentioned and presented is a heart issue; not a hand-to-mouth issue, not a gun issue or constitutional issue, not a tax issue or a health issue, not a political issue or a money issue; all of them are heart issues.

Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Only You, Lord, can teach us how to love…

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When a law is broken, there are consequences, no matter what country you live in; “do the crime, do the time.” The authority behind the law carries a stick in the form of fast cars, Tasers, court rooms, guns, and prisons (to name a few things). But even though government has authority to judge and punish, it may be that the punishment for some crimes is not harsh enough to hinder crime or individuals find it too easy to commit the crime without getting caught; so they will continue crossing the line in more extreme ways. The government could always choose to put their “foot down” and have harsher punishments, but that would soon be construed as a dictatorship, an authoritarian government, and/or an abuse of power. Knowing that dictatorships and authoritarian governments are bad, we need to find another authority that can address the heart issue: an authority over the soul and mind. Only hitting the issue at the heart of the matter will make any difference at all, and honestly, there is nothing and no one on earth that can do that; only God can.

What better authority and power to live under, and be encouraged to obey, than the One Who created all things?

Ah, but here enters the crux of the problem. If we start telling people not to do something because they are loved by an awesome God that does not want them to head down a self-destructive, hell-bent path, then some people who are against Someone they do not believe exists get really offended.

The “I don’t believe in something that I don’t believe to be anything, therefore I believe in nothing, which is something” crowd, don’t want people to be told that there is a way out of their sin and addiction. They don’t want people to know that there is a God out there Who made them for a righteous and holy purpose. They don’t want people to be told that there are consequences for their sins, whether those sins are seen or not. They don’t want people to know that there is such a thing as sin and unchanging standards of right and wrong. They don’t want people to know that “judge not that you be not judged” does not mean that you won’t be judged, it means that God will judge you. (Hmmm, that’s worse.) But they also don’t want you to know that your judge is your advocate and He already laid down His life for you; all you have to do is repent, accept His forgiveness and cleansing sacrifice, and follow Him.

Only You, Lord, can give us a place to start…

Basically, every issue we face in today’s society (or almost every issue), is a heart issue. I am not saying that there is not a right and a wrong side, or a good and a bad side, but neither side will make a difference at all unless they have a Heavenly authority to back them up. And this nation will not change without a revival in the hearts of those who are spiritual destitute. Without God’s standard, there is ultimately no right or wrong and no way to defend one point over another. If God did not exist, then there would be no definition of good or bad; there would only be “that is good today, but it might be bad tomorrow, depending on how I feel.” And I go a step further to say that, if God did not exist, then neither would anyone or anything else.
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Without God as the ultimate authority and standard, and without a basic understanding and acceptance of right and wrong, the tyrannical leaders and governments in the world’s past (and its present), would never have been (or never will be) overthrown.

Man seeks power and authority. Within authority, man feels safe and secure; like he is in control. To keep control, man will use violence, deception, and intimidation. This failing of man can clearly be seen in dictatorships and oppressive governments. In those types of countries and regions, morality is seen as a consumable good, which is used only when it is in the advantage of the ruling power. Morality is often not something that benefits those seeking ultimate power and authority, as it means that the people do what is good, not because of the government, but because of their own convictions. Having personal convictions and strongly held personal beliefs is a danger to a power-hungry government or leader, because the moral people will not automatically “go with the flow.” They will question and hash out within their own minds whether it is wise to follow their leaders or no. They do not blindly follow the crowd. (You can see examples of this in Nazi Germany, where some German citizens aided the Jews or tried to assassinate Hitler, because they could not separate themselves from their personal moral and ethical convictions.)

Morality should NOT be treated like a consumable good that turns sour when someone is offended or when it is inconvenient. It is a good that never perishes, though it is abused and often not used or referenced at all.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 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. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

From the beginning, man saw morality as inconvenient. Adam and Eve felt like obedience to God was keeping them from true wisdom and enlightenment, so they chose to disobey God. Before His creation disobeyed Him, God told them that the consequence would be death, yet they disobeyed anyway. The ultimate punishment for their sin was death, but God granted them long lives to have children, be a good steward of the earth God gave them, and raise their children to fear their Maker. And above those mercies, God promised that there would come a Deliverer Who would pay for the sins and disobedience of His creation.

Only You, Lord. Only You, Lord! …

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The deliverer of all mankind that God promised is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God Who came to earth as a man. His purpose in coming was to lay down His life for the sins of His creation and that purpose was completed when Jesus rose from the grave, claiming victory over death and Hell. His sacrifice stands out as the ultimate standard of what it means to love; laying down your life for those who wished for your death, abandoned you, beat you, and put you to death. But it was not the lost and broken sinners that cried for (and incited the crowd to cry for) Jesus’ crucifixion, it was those who claimed to believe in the promise of God to send a Deliverer… I guess they didn’t realize how harsh the promise of God truly was. They were not comfortable in the fact that their Deliverer called them out on their imperfections. They thought they were “good,” because they were better than someone else, but Jesus told them that they were truly dead inside and their “righteousness” counted for nothing.

Their self-proclaimed righteousness was not based upon God’s law, but upon a law that they built in their own minds. This law oppressed those with little and spat upon those who were lost in sin. But Jesus came bearing Good News that lifts the humble in spirit to the highest table. He spoke of a mercy that allowed you to sit and eat with the basest sinners, because they were the ones most in need of love, forgiveness, and truth. His truth revealed that ALL people are sinners in need of a Savior.

The sins of Adam and Eve, the spiritual leaders of Jesus’ time, and of all mankind can be summed up in 1 John 2:16: the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. It is said that the root of sin is pride, and from the first sin all the way to the many sins of today, we can see the truth of that statement. Humankind falls again and again, because we trust in ourselves to be wiser than God or any other; to be wise enough to know good and evil and not be corrupted by it. But the “wisdom” gained by eating the forbidden fruit only brought, and continues to bring, shame and a curse.

Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:6-8)

Forgive me when I am angry…
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Listening to political debates or reading about them, makes me a little angry, but mostly sad, because I know that the promises of man are in vain. When they promise change, it will come, but it will be change for the worse and not for the better. Even when a backsliding change takes place, the true nature of it is hidden from those who do not want to see the truth: those who blindly follow the crowd. The “I don’t believe in something” crowd will fight to the death to hide any evidence that there is a right and wrong, because admitting that there is a right and wrong would be admitting that there is an ultimate standard, which would mean admitting that the ultimate standard is not based upon man’s standards but upon a standard sown into the heart of man by a Higher power.

Forgive me when I lose my way…

The heart of this post is to set a standard against sin, to actually have a standard of right and wrong. Within the United States, we have had our ups and downs, but blessings always come when we are following in the footsteps of God. Has this country ever wholehearted served Christ? No, yet allowing the Bible in schools and encouraging the people to pray to Jehovah in times of need and plenty, have been the foundation of our prosperous nation. But now we are seeing the clothes of prosperity stripped away and underneath are clawing hands that will take prosperity, no matter the cost to others. We think that prosperity is owed to us, as though that was God’s ultimate purpose in sending Jesus to die for us. But Jesus did not die for prosperity, He died that His sheep might have life and have it more abundantly. Abundant life is contentment, joy, holiness, kindness, goodness, and patience; and all of these things can only be gained through abiding in Christ.

Forgive me when I get caught up in the waves.

I40. 11-13-2015 - A Heart Issue short_Page_6 realize that my opinion is not a popular one. After all, the ones who proclaimed Jesus as the Savior of the world, and even Jesus Himself, were persecuted and murdered even though their message was not one of war, death to unbelievers, or terror. Their message was that God came down as a man, paid the price for the sins of men, rose again to new life, and has called all of His creation to come to Him to find forgiveness and righteousness. However, when they proclaimed this message, they also proclaimed that no one was righteous, not a single one. There were even times where those who proclaimed to be followers of Christ were harshly reprimanded, because they had backslidden into sin. So, the Good News was not always popular, but truth is not in a competition for popularity; it stands no matter what people think or feel.

Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, there was a forerunner whose name was John. He was the voice of him that cries in the wilderness, and His cry was, Prepare you the way of the LORD, and make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it. (Isaiah 40:3-5 and Luke 3:4-6)

The passage in Isaiah and Luke speaks about making the crooked straight and leveling mountains, which is anything but peaceful. Such a drastic message entails that there will be pain, but that pain ultimately levels the ground that all may see who they are and who God is. It is not that we, as believers in Christ, threaten anyone’s life, but we show them how they are already dead and in need of resurrection to new life. Sin corrupts innocence and chokes perfection, but Christ has conquered sin, death, and hell, replacing blood-stained garments with white robes. The battle that all of mankind fights is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of sin itself. Those powers cannot be defeated by laws, fancy slogans, political parties, picket lines, or elected leaders, only by Christ. Only He can claim victory in the battle for the heart of man, but it is up to man whether he will accept that victory or not.

Eternity is a heart issue; decided in the heart and showing forth through how a life is lived.

What does your life say about your eternity? Have you decided to follow Christ or to follow the crowd? Will you choose life or death? When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, will He say to you, Arise, good and faithful servant? or will He say, I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity? (Matt 25:21-23, Matt 7:23 and 25:41)

I pray that you choose life and choose to give your heart to the One Who made it and can make it whole again.

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Published by: Sarah Jo

Growing up is a taxing process (sometimes, literally), but I have chosen to grow in Christ and in His grace. He is so faithful to me and I have no room to complain, so I seek to show my gratitude through writing blog posts and songs, and speaking forth my gratitude in front of coworkers, friends, family, and total strangers. I am a little lost, but completely found; a child in the faith, and taking huge steps. I have so much to learn, but the point is that I will get there by the grace of my Abba.

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