God Evaluates the Heart #683

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)

The ability to see ourselves as God sees us is not an easy task. The work of examining ourselves requires humility, meekness and thoroughness (2 Cor. 13:5). The word of God is the only tool available to us that equips us to successfully do so. More accurate than a surgeon’s laser, God’s word can cut to the deepest recesses of our heart to expose our sin and to compel our correction through repentance (Heb. 4:12-13). The deception that “we are always right” invariably prevents successful examination and correction of ourselves. God, who knows our hearts, has determined that we be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Choose to let His gospel shape your heart and your conduct into the image of Christ.

Merciful Forgiveness #682

12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13  although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:12–14, NKJV)

The amazing grace of God in Christ Jesus is on full display in the conversion of Saul and in his appointment as an apostle. As we reflect on the sins of Saul and the wonderful mercy he obtained in Christ, we are confident the Lord will forgive every sinner who calls on His name (1 Tim. 1:15-16; Acts 2:21, 37-41). We are also compelled to ponder how (or whether) we forgive those who sin against us. How tragically unrealistic it is to expect God’s wonderful mercy and grace to forgive our sins when we are unwilling to forgive others (Matt. 6:14-15). Today, remember this faith-challenging promise, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matt. 5:7). Be merciful to others and live in the mercy of God.

What God has joined together #681

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:3–6, NKJV)

The word of God is clear and unambiguous as it defines marriage. Marriage has been arranged and defined by God, not man. Therefore, all people are to honor marriage as He gave it, not as they wish to define it (Heb. 13:4). God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman for life (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is permanent (for life) and is not subject to the whims of men and women. Jesus says we sin when we separate what God joins together. Respect marriage and God who gave it as a blessing. Recommit yourself today to honoring marriage by being the kinds of husband or wife who brings honor to God in your marriage.

“I will not deny You!” #680

33  Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34  Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35  Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:33–35, NKJV)

We are tempted at times to overestimate our fidelity to the Lord. Peter thought himself immune to the temptation to flee when Jesus told His disciples He would be struck down (Matt. 26:31). In spite of Jesus telling Peter he would indeed deny Him three times, Peter still clung to his self-confidence. He would die before he would deny Jesus! All the disciples took courage from Peter’s declaration and joined in with the same pledge. No one is beyond temptation and sin. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” warns us against self-righteous pronouncements of self-assured resistance of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). He will give you a way of escape that you may be able to endure and prevail in Him. Take the Lord’s way of escape when tempted, and prevail through Him.

Rebuke or Flattery? #679

He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue. (Proverbs 28:23, NKJV)

Are you willing to rebuke someone when they sin? It is not an easy thing to do. For one thing, the rebuker’s motive must be sincere and pure; not self-serving. The rebuke intends to convict the sinner, bringing about repentance. Furthermore, to rebuke someone without knowing how he or she will react requires great devotion to the truth and love for the sinner (Lk. 17:3). Flattery comforts the wrongdoer in his sin, but a rebuke of sin willingly received reaps eternal benefits. The wounds of a friend are faithful – correcting us, shaping us, strengthening us (Prov. 27:6). When it is necessary, rebuke sin by speaking the truth in love. By doing so you will have God’s favor.