Tag: hardness of heart

Growing up in Christ

Scripture reading for May 27th: Ephesians 4

Key Scriptures: Ephesians 4:15-20 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him Who is the Head, into Christ, from Whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ–. .”

As it is natural for a child to grow as they age, so it is God’s plan that believers grow up in their emotions, attitudes, and actions. This growth takes place from allowing Christ Jesus full access to our heart and opening our minds to transformation through the Word of God. Taking in God’s Word leads to ever-increasing knowledge of God and God’s life flourishing in us. We offer our bodies to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to use us and His gifts to equip the body of Christ. We renew our minds and soften our hearts allowing God’s love to build up Christ’s body. We leave the old life behind, putting it off, and embrace new life in Christ Jesus, choosing to put it on.

Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, growing up into Christ Jesus requires Your grace and the Holy Spirit. Help me to take the place You have assigned to me in Your Church and to function in the gifts and graces You have provided that the Church might grow numerically and to be like Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

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Obey by Going!

Scripture reading for March 1st:  Mark 16, Psalm 44, Proverbs 13

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, “Go 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.””

Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection from the grave.  His first words to them were a rebuke, a word of chastisement, for their unbelief.  According to Jesus, this was hardness in their hearts to believing truth that was revealed to them by His own prophetic words and those who saw Him after He arose.  He then sent them on a world-wide mission of preaching or proclaiming the gospel.  How people received it or rejected it would determine eternal salvation or eternal condemnation.

Faith Confession:  I believe Jesus Christ as God’s resurrected Son and obey Him by going into the world He placed me in to share and proclaim the gospel.  The results are up to each person and God.

Psalm 44:7-8 “But You have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us.  In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your Name forever.”


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Jesus loved His neighbors!

Scripture reading for February 12th:  Leviticus 16-19, Mark 3

Key Scriptures:  Mark 3:1-5  “Again He entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.  And they watched Jesus, to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.  And He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.”  And He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?”  But they were silent.  And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”

Jesus came to forgive sins and heal the oppressed.  Religious people watched Him closely, not to marvel at the miracles and learn from the Son of God the way of forgiveness and salvation.  They wanted to catch Him in their rules and destroy Him.  Jesus was grieved and angered at their hardness of heart.  There was no love for Him or for their fellow brother.

Leviticus 19:18  “”You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:  I am the Lord.””

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great compassion for the lost and hurting.  Help me to never judge others by religious rules but to be Your hand extended in grace and love.  Amen.

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Hardness of Heart

Scripture reading for January 21st: Exodus 7-10

The story of the ten plagues is an interesting study in human reaction to the miraculous.  We often think that if unbelievers could just see a miracle, then they would believe.  If God would do something spectacular, then the unbeliever would take notice and start to follow God.  However, miracles done in front of the willfully blind have the effect of hardening them even further!

To most people, Pharaoh was the most powerful man on earth during the time of Moses.  He was the head of the most powerful nation and had a large army with many chariots.  He, himself, was worshiped as a god.  When Moses came before him with just his staff and Aaron his brother to demand that Pharaoh let the Israelites go, Pharaoh was less than impressed.  When Moses threw his staff down before Pharaoh and it became a snake, he summoned his wise men and magicians and they did the same thing with their magic arts.  (Exodus 7:10-13)  Moses’ snake swallowed all their snakes, however.  This miracle only hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to them as the Lord had predicted.

Hardness of heart comes from hearing truth and rejecting it.  Refusing to listen to God’s word and warning is the root cause of this fatal disease.  The more truth we hear and know, the more responsible we are to respond in faith to that truth.  If we reject the truth God is bringing us, our hearts harden by our own choice and attitude.  We see Pharaoh repeatedly rejecting Moses’ appeal to let God’s people go to worship.  Every time for the first five plagues, Scripture states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. (Exodus 7:22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7)  After the sixth plague, the Scripture says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.  (Exodus 9:12)  This tells us we can cross a line with God when we reject His truth.

The ultimate result of hardness of heart is deception and finally destruction.  Proverbs 29:1 speaks of the person who is stiff-necked after many rebukes.  This person will suddenly be destroyed without remedy.  That is exactly what happened to Pharaoh.  It is wise to give heed to God’s word and His correction.  He will not judge without warning.  He would rather show mercy than wrath.  Don’t let hardness of heart afflict you!

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