Tag: hard hearts
Scripture reading for January 23rd: Genesis 41-42, Mark 16
Key Scriptures: Mark 16:14-16 “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “God into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Genesis 41:38-40 “And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house and all my people shall order themselves as you command.”
Jesus had appeared to several disciples and women who had come to the tomb. They had told the disciples they had seen Jesus alive but the disciples refused to believe. Now Jesus appeared to them all, rebuking them for their hard hearts and unbelief. They were commanded to get to work sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the wisest and most discerning man, full of the Spirit of God! Through resurrection from death, Jesus was declared the Ruler of God’s House!
Faith confession and Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my unbelief and at times hardness of heart. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit within me and the great commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel! Keep reminding me that faithful obedience means life to those who believe.
Scripture reading for November 16th: Acts 24-26
Politicians today have similar problems to those found in today’s reading from Acts. Some in Paul’s day and time found that political office was a good place to make some easy money by extortion and bribes. Felix, governor of Caesarea, was Rome’s chief official and responsible to deal with cases involving Roman citizens. Felix was aware of the politics of the religion of the Jews and played that in hopes of receiving some financial rewards!
Paul was being held in Caesarea in jail until his case could be decided. Jews from Jerusalem and a lawyer named Tertullus came to accuse Paul of sedition and stirring up riots all over the world, as well as in Jerusalem. They made their charges, and Paul was invited by Felix to make his defense. Paul’s final statement was that these Jews had no charges but rather disagreed with Paul’s belief and statement concerning the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 24:20-21) This statement ended the hearing abruptly and Paul was taken away but given some freedom to have his friends minister to him. Felix was acquainted with the “Way” that Paul believed!
Some days later, Felix and his wife sent for Paul and asked him to share his beliefs with them again. Paul shared with them about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment. (Acts 24:25) Felix fell under conviction and cut Paul off, promising to hear him again at another time. “At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.” This went on for two years!
It is interesting to note that Felix was under conviction at first and was drawn to hear Paul. When the word got strong, he would cut it off, hardening his heart. This man listened to the truth preached to him for over two years! He had preaching on demand, but this powerful preacher with the Gospel message could not break through his hardened heart. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to those who will humbly receive it. (Romans 1:16-17)
It appears that the love of money was a stronghold that Felix allowed into his life. Remember that Jesus said that you cannot serve God and money! (Matthew 6:24) Many try; none will succeed! Check your heart today for this stronghold! Check your checkbook too–are you giving God His share?
Scripture reading for August 13th: Jeremiah 34-36
Jeremiah 36 gives us a record of the process of recording scripture in written form. Jeremiah the prophet dictated to his secretary, Baruch, what God had revealed to him concerning the judgment coming on Jerusalem. Baruch took a pen and ink and wrote the words down on a papyrus scroll. (Jeremiah 36:18) He was told by Jeremiah to go and read the words to the people in the temple of the Lord. (Jeremiah 36:8) As he read the words of coming destruction and God’s wrath against the people because of their sins, officials of the king heard the message. They had him read it again to them and they decided that the king must be notified. They warned Baruch to tell Jeremiah to go and hide both of them.
The king was sitting by a fire and had a scribe’s knife in his hand as the scroll was being read. As he heard the words of a portion of the scroll, the king cut it off, threw it into the fire and burned it up. (Jeremiah 36:23-24) They showed no fear or respect for what the Lord had said or for the written word of God. In fact, the king gave orders to arrest Jeremiah and Baruch, but the Lord had hidden them! God knows how to protect his people!
As I read this account, I could not help but wonder if God’s people are still doing this same thing today. When some who claim to be Christians read the command “you shall not murder”, they don’t believe that it applies to them or their politics and simply ‘slash and burn’ the word of God! They vote to keep murder legal by supporting abortion. When some who claim the name of Christ hear that no homosexual offender will inherit the kingdom of God, they ‘slash and burn’ and sanction gay marriages and ordain gay pastors and priests. Still others cut out the verses concerning salvation by grace through faith and continue to teach a righteousness based on good works.
The ‘slash and burn’ mentality is bad theology and yield’s God’s wrath and judgment. King Jehoiakim lost his future place in the messianic line as well as a decent and honorable burial. (Jeremiah 36:30-31) All that was written by Jeremiah and Baruch would come to pass because God watches over His word to perform it! (Jeremiah 1:12) No word of God is void of power. It is a fire and a hammer that will burn and smash those who try to oppose it! (Jeremiah 23:29) Take time today to reflect on your treatment of God’s word. Make a fresh commitment to read, believe, and obey the word of God. Good theology puts the fire in your bones!