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Monthly Archives: October 2013

When God Looks at the Heart

The Heart of the Problem

In the last article, Anatomy of the Human Heart, I introduced this series and gave a little background before we were given the story of David’s life. I learned from King Saul that whatever is in our hearts affects the decisions we make in life. Our affections influence our direction. Since the heart’s default is inclined towards making wrong choices (Genesis 6:5), we know we will have the tendency to take the wrong direction in life as well. Jeremiah said something about this case too. He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV). This is the heart of the problem, called by theologians the “sinful nature.”

Today’s blog will focus on how God dealt with this human problem. But first, take a look at the picture below. Are the two hearts inside of the same color? Click on the picture for a larger view. After you have decided, click here to take a look at the same picture but without the colored squares.

Heat Illusion

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in After God's Own Heart, Series, Sermons

 

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Anatomy of a Human Heart

heartThe heart is an important subject in the Bible. Mentioned at least 700 times in the Bible, it usually means the very center of the human personality. It is interesting to note that the very first mention of the word “heart” in the Bible (found in Genesis 6:5) reveals what our hearts usually do: “The very intention of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil continually.”

This blog will be an introductory article for a series of principles I will share with you from my study on David’s character. David was called “the man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22). We will be learning many things about David, his successes and struggles as a man who is after God’s own heart.

Our study in this series will focus on David’s life from a shepherd boy  to the end of his reign as a king of Israel. So we will be starting on 1 Samuel 16. To give us a little background on what was going on in this chapter, we will be mentioning King Saul in this study.

All Starts From The Heart

Samuel 16 begins with Samuel grieving over Saul’s disobedience and failure as Israel’s king. In chapter 15, God rejected King Saul because of his disobedience. God explicitly commanded King Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites, all the people and all the animals. But King Saul spared Amalekites’ king, Agag, and the best of their animals. This angered God and He told Samuel the prophet about what He was going to do against Saul. In the end, Samuel told Saul these words: “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,  He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:1 – 23).

We can say that King Saul’s heart was not set before God after all. That is the very reason why he was rejected. His affection is not towards God. He set his affections toward his own glory by not obeying God’s command. So his affection lead him to the direction that he would later regret. King Saul’s story leads us to this principle: Man’s affections influence his directions. We always go to the direction where our heart leads. That is our default option. Since Genesis 6:5 already revealed that our heart’s intents are inclined towards evil, we all know that  when we follow our own heart we will always walk to the wrong direction. If this is the case, then how can we get to the right direction?

That’s what we will learn from 1 Samuel 16. I will not leave you hanging though. Here is the principle we will be tackling on the next article in this series: God’s inspection is the reference to the right direction. Whatever God finds and sees in our hearts, His instructions are always worth following.

That’s all for today. Be sure to follow this series. And join me in discovering how we can be like David, a man after God’s own heart.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in After God's Own Heart, Series, Sermons

 

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I Have Decided

One failure of the church in this modern time is making disciples of Jesus Christ.

Follow Up

Who are you following?

This is the thought that has run in my mind these past few days. It is not a statement borne out of ignorance. It is clear in churches today. Many are the people who claim to have followed Christ but few are those who really committed their life to become like Him in character and even in His suffering.

David Platt once preached about Matthew 4:17-22. I learned from him the three categories of disciples in the Bible: There’s the casual disciple, majority of the people who followed Jesus and listened to His teachings fall on this category. They are the people who happened to just like Jesus and His lessons but never really digging into them. Then comes the convinced disciples. These are people who like His teachings, convinced about them and wanted to know more. But when Jesus began teaching the things that are hard to swallow, they stopped on their tracks, not really wanting to do every thing Jesus’ commanded. Lastly, there’s the committed disciple. Few belong to this category. They are people who were with the Lord wherever He went. They followed Him all the way to His arrest and after His resurrection, went on to die in spreading His message. Which of the categories do you belong?

Taking Matthew 4:17-22, Luke 5:1-11, and David Platt’s sermon, I learned the following principles:

A committed disciple of Jesus Christ lives a life of repentance. Before Jesus went on to call the first four of His disciples, He was preaching about repentance in the countryside and the villages. No once can be a serious disciple of Jesus Christ without repenting of his sins. Repentance is not a mere change of mind, it involves a change of the whole heart and actions. It is not just a one time event; it involves a lifetime of transforming the mind and heart and actions.

Sadly, what is happening in churches today is the devaluing of repentance. We have put so much emphasis on having a peaceful relationship with God and forgot that to have that relationship, we must have a change of heart first. Having a new relationship with God is essential but we must have a new relationship with sin as well.

Secondly, a committed disciple lives a life of radical obedience. Peter, Andrew, James and John were busy when Jesus called them. Yet, they “immediately” left what they were doing to follow Him. Is “busyness” your excuse not to follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly? These fishermen were doing their job for a living yet they were willing to leave it all behind to become fishers of men. James and John even left their father alone to finish their work. Radical obedience is taking Jesus worthier than time with our friends, our comfort, or even the regard of our families.

Lastly, I learned that a committed disciple lives a life of resolute dependence. Wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ depend their life on the Lord’s grace alone. The command “Follow me” is an invitation to trust what Jesus can do. It is trusting Him and having His own way in us even if we think we are experts on what we do. It is trusting that only God can “make us fishers of men.” When Jesus called His disciples, He did not ask them to bring their diplomas, titles, medals, trophies, hidden talents, etc. with them. He just called them to follow Him and trust that out of these lowly Galileans, He would bring out people who would turn the world upside down.

I think the church should begin making committed disciples now and stop settling for casual converts. If you are a part in the body of the Jesus Christ’s church and wants the Great Commission obeyed in your local church, making disciples starts with you becoming a committed follower of Jesus Christ. However, do consider the cost. Don’t be like a man who started building a tower and failing to finish it because he ran out of budget.

The challenges of being a committed disciple: living a life of repentance and forsaking the pleasures of any sin; living a life of radical obedience and forsaking my comfort and even my family’s respect; living a life of resolute dependence on Jesus Christ and forsaking my “self-sufficiency.”

Have you decided?

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Sermons

 

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Wrap Up 3: All About Worship

ImageThoughts Art Ransomed (TAR) are random reflections I regularly post on Facebook. They are thoughts from my personal meditation of God’s word, songs, and statements I find from friends and other sources. This week’s series is all worship.

#TARSeries 015: Just because the Lord Jesus Christ freed me from the slavery of sin doesn’t mean that I can follow my own self now. I’m am still a slave. But this time, of a good Master and He is worth following to the end. For I am bought with His own blood.

#TARSeries 016: Any thing I deemed more important than my LORD’s time, words, and love is an idol.

#TARSeries 017: This is how I see my worth before: I’m so special that it took a King’s death to save me. This is how I see my worth now: I’m nothing without the King who died to save me. My Lord Jesus Christ is special; for without Him, I would be a trash, a filthy rag worthy for hellfire’s fuel.

#TARSeries 018: Times of loneliness taught me this: the glorious beauty of my Master’s presence is oftentimes best felt in the silence, where no drums and guitar distortions distract your attention from His glory.

#TARSeries 019: I am sorry for thinking that worship is all about the slow songs, for manipulating people’s emotions through feel good music on Sundays, for forgetting about it on weekdays and for thinking that it is all about me.

#TARSeries 020: “When the music fades and all stripped away, I simply come, longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart. Yes, I will bring You more than a song, for the song in itself is not what You have required. You search much deeper within. You’re looking into my heart.” Always best spoken than sung.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Wrap Ups

 

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Things To Think Before I Marry

w2wuThoughts Art Ransomed (TAR) are random reflections I regularly post on Facebook. They are thoughts from my personal meditation of God’s word, songs, and statements I find from friends and other sources. This week’s series talks about marriage.

#TARSeries 009: Marriage is a bond, not a bondage.

#TARSeries 010: I am marrying a human being, not an angel. Humans need forgiveness, angels do not.

#TARSeries 011: I am an imperfect person marrying an imperfect person. I should not expect a perfect marriage.

#TARSeries 012: A husband should love his wife as Christ loves the Church, that includes dying for her when necessary.

#TARSeries 013: If I can’t give my heart fully to God, I won’t be able to fully love my (future) wife.

#TARSeries 014: How I perceive women today will affect how I perceive the woman I’ll marry.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Wrap Ups

 

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