His Agenda, Not Ours

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.Acts 5

As we see the disciples growing in their boldness, we see them start acting a lot like Jesus. They are going to the temple to teach and preach, they heal the sick and meet the needs of the poor. The church is growing – and it seemed inevitable that as things were going so well there would be a hiccup.

The church became the popular place where some people looked to make a name for themselves. A wealthy couple came in to the church looking for applause for their great gift. The crowd quickly learns that God’s church is not a place for self promotion and corruption as they both drop dead for their wrong doing.

Side note: They did a great thing for the church. If some random person walked into any of our churches and said “I just sold some property and I want to donate $100,000”, we would all be super excited for the great gift. The problem was not the size of the gift – instead the intent of the gift and lie. They were seeking attention and tried to make an already good gift better for the sake of looking good.

Before long the church did not only face internal problems but also outer opposition. The religious leaders began fighting back as their power and influence was threatened. They conspire against the disciples and often try to get them prosecuted. Seems crazy to have the religious leaders try to take down those who are healing the sick and pointing people to God. Even so, they beat and arrest the apostles on made up charges.

Gamaliel, a wise old Pharisee, gives advice – “Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men.”

If we are doing the works of God, we cannot be stopped! If we are seeking our own desires we will fail.

-John Wincapaw

Cleansing Your Heart

Matthew 15

 

matthew 15_18

 

In Matthew 15, Jesus is very critical of the religious leaders during his time, which were among the group called the Pharisees. In verses 1-14, the Pharisees had criticized Jesus and his disciples for not following their traditions about “washing their hands” before they ate, as if it was a salvation issue for them. Now, it is definitely a good idea to wash your hands before you eat; in fact, I definitely recommend doing so. However, when we make such small matters an issue for the salvation of others, it becomes a problem.

 

Jesus goes on to tell them that it is the things that come out of our hearts that affect our salvation, not merely the things that we put into our bodies in verse 15-20. You see, God is more concerned about our hearts than he is with our religious duties. Praying and worshiping before God is good, but if it isn’t done with the right motives, it does not profit you at all. We need to develop a heart within ourselves that is truly committed to our God. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that “man looks at the outward appearance, but YHWH (God) looks at the heart.”

 

Jesus tells us that we can know whether our hearts are good or corrupt by what they are producing in our life. If you are producing evil thoughts, hatred, sexual immoralities, lies, and more, then you need to have a change of heart. However, if you have a good heart that is led by the Holy Spirit, you will produce these things: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

A good biblical example for us to follow would be that of King David. If you know the story of King David from 1 and 2 Samuel, God calls him a “man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). What a compliment from the Creator of the universe! Wouldn’t you like to be described by God in this way? You see, David was concerned with the things of God and longed to worship Him. His whole heart was devoted to making his God pleased.

 

I encourage you today to look at your life and ask yourself, “What am I producing?” If you are lacking in some area in your life, repent and start making a change. Although King David was a highly spiritual man, he also fell deep into sin, just like we all do. If that is your situation today, I encourage you to pray to God the same words that David prayed in Psalm 51:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.”

 

-Talon Paul

How Much Do Your Motives Weigh?

Proverbs 21

proverbs 21-2

A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2

Proverbs 21 focuses on “why we do what we do” or motives. It is hard to determine another’s motives because sometimes we don’t even understand why we are doing something. Our motives are the goal or object of our actions or something that causes a person to act in a certain way or do a certain thing. We should be comforted by the fact that the LORD weighs the heart.  God not only sees what we do, but he understands why we do it.  He understands who we are inside and out.  We can be happy about this because not only does He know what we are like, but He will help us become who we should be.  As Ezekiel 11:19-20 states, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

So God not only looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7), but when we are open to Him He makes our hearts as they should be.  Verse 1 explains that in the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him. Anyone that has watched an irrigation ditch being dug truly pictures this. The water rushes through bringing much needed water to the crops.  In the same way, we succeed by placing our hearts in the LORD’s hand.  God gives us pure hearts so we can do good with pure motives.  We allow Him to use us to do His work and we will be rewarded beyond our sacrifice. Of course, that reward may only be given in the Kingdom of God.  As verse 21 states, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”  So now is the time to get ready for the ways that our lives can honor and serve our God. The final verse of Proverbs 21 tells us, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”  So it is our responsibility to prepare for the ways in which we can serve the LORD. Under God’s direction, we will get our horse ready.  But we can be sure that victory rests with the LORD.

-Rebecca Dauksas

 

Rally Right – Proverbs 16

Part 1

Prov 16-3
I was watching the news this morning.  How depressing, so I switched to Facebook.  Not much better.  If you are like me you don’t need negativity in your life, you want something positive to cling to.  I choose to not find my joy in the news of today but in the wisdom of God.  Proverbs 16 really spoke to me today because of a few verses that really caught my eye.
Proverbs 16:1-4
The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the Lord weighs the motives.
Commit your works to the Lord
And your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.
 
What really spoke to me about these verses is
1.  In verse 1 it says “the plans of the heart belong to man but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD”  What this tells me is human responsibility is always subject to God’s absolute sovereignty
2.  Verse 2-While man can be self deceived God determines his true motives.
3.  Verse 3-In the sense of both total trust and submission to the will of God, He will fulfill a person’s righteous plans.
4.  Verse 4-The wicked will bring glory to God in the day of their judgment and punishment.
 
Do you see a pattern here?  The pattern is that you have a responsibility to find the right path and walk in it.  God will direct you to it.  If you choose to ignore it you will be corrected.
 
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.
 
Are you making a choice?  Don’t let someone make it for you.  Rally right! 
God bless!
I am praying for you.
Pastor Andy Cisneros

How Much Does Your Heart Weigh?

Proverbs 20-22

proverbs-21-2

Friday, January 27
 
Still watching that tongue of yours?  This week have you ever stopped and changed what you were going to say – or decided it shouldn’t be said at all?  Are you feeling wiser and wiser every day you are more aware of what comes out of your mouth?  Keep it up!  Today’s reading continues to sprinkle in verses about our mouth.  It is a theme repeated over and over again throughout the Proverbs.  It seems how we use our mouth really is important to Solomon, the God who inspired his writings, and the path to wisdom.  Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”  Wisdom brings great reward . . . but foolishness does not.  “A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.”  (21:16)
 
 “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (21:2)   “ALL a man’s ways SEEM RIGHT to HIM.”  That explains a lot, doesn’t it?  No wonder relationships get a little sticky sometimes – all of my ways seem right to me, while all of your ways seem right to you.  Thankfully, the Lord does know what is right and knows our motives and heart.   We can pray that God will help us see ourselves clearly, truthfully – as He sees us.  I can pray that He will show me where and when I am wrong and off-track so I can make the adjustments necessary in myself.  Together we can pray that when our hearts are weighed they will not be found lacking.  And then we do the work we can to keep our hearts pure, devoted to Him,  and full of love for others.
 
 
And, for some quick lessons  . . .
 
On Drinking – “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”  (20:1)   – Don’t you think watching your words and actions and working to be Godly is challenging enough when you are sober?  Have you ever seen a good drunk Christian following God?  Watch what you are allowing to influence you.   Proverbs has several verses warning of the dangers of drinking.
 
On Revenge – “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you.” (20:22)   — How wonderful to have something we can take off our busy ‘to do list’.  Life is too full to waste our time plotting and planning revenge.  Move on and leave it to God. 
 
On Drippy Faucets –  “A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.”  (19:13)  Ok, that verse actually came from yesterday’s reading, but too good to pass up, and closely related to two of today’s proverbs: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (21:9) and “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.” (21:19).  Not sure I can add anything to those eloquent words.  I guess it is just a reminder to me, and wives everywhere, as well as those aspiring to wifedom to ‘can the quarreling’ so our husbands don’t pitch a tent on the corner of the roof or hightail it to the desert.

Still so many great proverbs we aren’t going to have time to touch on.  Feel free to leave a comment on any of your favorite proverbs on our wordpress site!!  We would love to hear from you and learn from you.

God Bless You as You Seek to be Wise,

Marcia Railton