Characteristics of a Hardened Heart

What are the characteristics of a hardened heart? Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees and Sadducees had so much unbelief? The Pharisees would witness Jesus perform miracles such as opening the eyes of the blind, but yet they would still have their doubts about Christ. In fact they would plan how they might kill Jesus. Why would they plan to kill such a Person who was doing so much good?

Hebrews 3:12 NKJV
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God

A heart that is not after God or the things of God can be a very dangerous thing. Such a heart becomes stubborn, hardened and filled with unbelief. We always need to guard our hearts to ensure that we are teachable in relation to the things of the Lord.
One of the primary ways of telling if somebody’s heart is hardened is through the following:
1. Are they open and teachable in relation to the TRUTH of God’s word
2. Are they ONLY focused on their OWN opinion which is NOT founded on God’s word
3. Are they REPENTANT; do they seek God’s love and forgiveness
4. Do they desire to rely only on themselves or anything that is not God related
5. Do they change their thinking even when God performs a miracle
6. Are they deceived by sin; Do they continue to pursue the SAME wrong choices

The Pharisees were so set in their way of thinking that they were not open to the teachings of Christ. The Pharisees were so stubborn and they had hardened their heart so much that their false belief about Christ did not change even when they witnessed Jesus perform miracles before their eyes. They were imprisoned by unbelief.

God has given us FREE WILL. God has given us the free gift of CHOICE. We have the CHOICE to believe whatever we want to believe.
However, just because we are free to believe, it does NOT mean that what we choose to believe is always correct, because there are many people in the world who believe the wrong things. God wants us to ONLY choose to believe Him and His Word.

So if somebody has a HARDENED HEART, how do they get out of the imprisonment of unbelief? The truth is they have to get out of that imprisonment of unbelief by themselves. But also they must ACKNOWLEDGE that GOD CAN HELP THEM with their unbelief.

Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

The father whose child was demon possessed clearly had his doubts, but he was willing to be taught and helped by Jesus regarding his personal doubts. He CHOSE to believe. This father had made a choice to want to get out of any imprisonment of unbelief that he had in order to see his son become free of the demon. This father’s faith was as small as a mustard seed, but it was enough for Jesus to act for him because he CHOSE to believe JESUS and NOT remain with an unbelieving, hardened heart.

Hebrews 3:15 NKJV
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Consequences of Unbelief

Matthew 13:58 NKJV
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Unbelief regarding the things of God is a very sad and dangerous thing. When we do not believe in the things of God, we are kept from enjoying a relationship with God. Unbelief also keeps us from experiencing the promises of God in our lives. Most importantly when you do not believe, you are kept from receiving the salvation of the Lord to keep you from perishing.

Unbelief can be defined as: doubt; lack of faith; or to presume something to be untrue or fictitious

James 1:6-8 NKJV
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James likens a person who doubts or has unbelief, as somebody who is “UNSTABLE in ALL his ways”. James also says that a doubting person will NOT receive “anything from the Lord”.
This is exactly what happened to the people in Jesus’ own hometown in Matthew 13:53-58. In the hometown were Jesus grew up for most of His life, the people there would not accept or believe His word or teachings in the synagogue. In fact, they were OFFENDED at Him. Therefore because of their unbelief Jesus did not do many mighty works.

The people in His hometown therefore missed out on several opportunities because of their unbelief.

The unbelief blinded them from the following:
1) They were blinded from having a relationship & fellowship with Jesus
2) They were blinded from knowing the truth of God’s word
3) They were blinded from experiencing the power of God in their lives
4) They were blinded from being delivered from their personal problems

Unbelief in God or the things of God therefore has terrible consequences in the life of a person. It can lead to misery, lack of direction, lack of spiritual discernment and even eternal punishment.
Atheists for example, lack a belief in God. Also people who follow other religions or cults lack a belief in the fact that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6).
In Matthew 13:57, the unbelief of the people in Christ and what He spoke led the people to become offended at Him. Matthew 13:57 says “So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.””

Therefore many people who have unbelief in God or Christianity are offended and resistant to Christ or the truth of God’s word.
Where do you stand in your life? Do you resist Jesus Christ? Do you have unbelief towards Jesus and the things of God?

What is of interest about Jesus through-out His ministry is that He did not FORCE the gospel on people; He did not try to FORCE people to believe. God STILL gives you the option to CHOOSE between right and wrong or good and evil.

Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

Everyone has a CHOICE. Is it Faith or Unbelief? Is it Light or Darkness? Is it the Word of God or the word of the World? Is it God or the devil?
WHAT and WHO do you CHOOSE to BELIEVE?

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

This prayer is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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The Devil Tempts Jesus – Part 2

Colossians 2:8 NKJV
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

What values, principles and doctrines do you live by? WHOSE teachings, philosophies and words do you live by?
Do you feed your mind and spirit with what proceeds out of the mouth of the world and various people, or do you feed your mind and spirit with what proceeds out of the word of God?
For example, people who do not believe in God tend to live by what proceeds out of the mouth of the men who devised the Theory of Evolution and also the Big Bang Theory – of which these theories and ideas deny the existence of God. Therefore whatever information you feed yourself with has an effect on your worldview and how you see life.

Matthew 4:3-4 NKJV
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

While Jesus was fasting, the very first temptation that the devil proposed to Jesus had to do with fulfilling FLESHY DESIRES by suggesting to Jesus that He turn stones into bread. Jesus had gone without food for several days and naturally His body must have felt the desire for food. But Jesus had not completed His fast yet and by fasting & praying Jesus was nurturing, nourishing and edifying His spirit & spiritual desires. Jesus was not interested in listening to any suggestion or any idea that proceeded out of the mouth of the devil no matter how physically hungry He might have been. Jesus’ spiritual goal was MORE important for Him to achieve than inappropriately satisfying a temporary fleshly desire at that time.
Therefore the devil’s first temptation, appealed to the FLESHLY desires. The scriptures sometimes call these desires “THE LUST OF THE FLESH”.
Just as the devil tried to make Jesus turn the stones into bread, today, the devil has still been tempting masses of people with suggestions that we feed ourselves with our own SELF-MADE / MAN-MADE doctrines and philosophies INSTEAD of living “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The devil has tempted and suggested to mankind issues, teachings and acts that are clearly forbidden by the word of God such as evolution, homosexuality, abortion, fornication, pornography, materialism etc, all of which satisfy the fleshly needs and desires – but only temporarily. These current worldviews, suggestions, teachings and doctrines are temptations which proceed from the mouth of other people and NOT “from the mouth of God”.

Therefore I believe that Jesus’ response to the first temptation wasn’t just about food, but it was also about ideas & teachings. Jesus said to the devil , “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Jesus was telling the devil – man lives by the words and teachings of God ONLY and NOT by anything that the devil or tempter has to offer or suggest which only satisfy the flesh.

TODAY. From whose mouth are you feeding from? Is it from the mouth of men & the tempter – or is it STRICTLY from “what proceeds from the mouth of God“?

The Devil Tempts Jesus – Part 1

Matthew 4:1-11

Whether you realize it or not; whether you are a Christian or not, the devil is on a mission to kill, steal and destroy BOTH believers and unbelievers.
Jesus faced the same tests, trials and temptations that we all face in our lives. The great thing about Jesus is that He overcame temptation in every area that the devil tried to tempt Him.

When Jesus was being tempted, there are various lessons you can learn about the devil’s tactics and about why Jesus was successful in overcoming temptation.
Today, I will concentrate on one of those tactics of the devil and why Jesus was successful over temptation.

The Devil Attacks Your Identity
On the two different attempts that the devil tested Jesus, the devil would begin by saying these very words: “IF you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3 and Matthew 4:5)
Even though the devil himself knew that Jesus WAS the Son of God, by using the word “IF”, the devil still attempted to very subtly throw a seed of doubt into Jesus’ mind about who He was. You see the devil knows that if he can get you to doubt your identity in Christ, then he can get you to fail in so many areas of your life.
Have you ever doubted your salvation after you became a Christian? Have you ever doubted if God wants to bless you? Whenever you sin or make a mistake, do you ever doubt whether God loves you?
That’s just the devil attacking your identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ is one of the foundations of your relationship with God.

John 10:30 NKJV
“I and My Father are one.”

John 10:31-33 NKJV
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”  The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

Jesus knew who He was despite insinuations from the devil to prove Himself and despite the opposition from the Pharisees about His identity.
Jesus knew without a doubt that He was the Son of God and He knew the power and authority that came with His identity.

When you become a Christian, the devil will try by all means to attack you FIRST in the area of your identity in Christ. It is the devil’s MOST SUBTLE area of attack. The devil will try to convince you that you are a chicken, yet in God’s eyes you are an eagle. But as long as you believe that you are a chicken, you will always walk like a chicken and talk like a chicken and believe like a chicken.
Your thoughts and actions are based on what your core beliefs are about yourself.

So what do you REALLY believe about yourself and who you really are in Christ? Yes you may know what the bible says about your identity in Christ – but DO YOU BELIEVE IT?

For example in the face of TESTS & TRIALS do you BELIEVE & BEHAVE as one who is “more than a conqueror in Christ” (Romans 8:37)? Do you BELIEVE & BEHAVE as one who “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13)?

One of the reasons why the devil couldn’t succeed in tempting Jesus was because Jesus knew who He was and no word or insinuation from the devil was going to change that.
TODAY. Discover who you are in Christ. Then BELIEVE it.

Will God Supply My Needs?

What do you need in your life? Is it a job? Is it a house? Is it a relationship? Is it purpose and direction? How do you intend to get those things that you desire in life?

Philippians 4:19 NKJV
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Whatever it is you need in your life, you must remember that God ONLY can supply your needs. God can supply both your physical and your spiritual needs through Christ Jesus.
Sometimes we are tempted to think of doing things by our own effort and by our own logic and reasoning. However it is important in whatever you desire to achieve, that you make God the Source of your need by:
1. Praying to God for your need (Matthew 7:7,8)
2. Thanking God in advance for your need (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
3. Trusting and believing in God that He will supply your need (Mark 11:24)
4. Listening to God’s answer and response in relation to your need (Jeremiah 33:3)

It’s also important to remember that we should not confuse our NEEDS with our WANTS.
God knows what’s good for us. If He does not give us what we want, it’s always because He has our best interests at heart and it might be that what we want or desire is not best for us or for His plan for our lives.

Ephesians 3:20 NKJV
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

God also knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8) and when you ask Him, God is able to give you MORE than what you have asked.
So for example, may be you are praying for a job that pays you $10000-00 per month. After praying, God instead gives you a business idea of your own. So you start up your business and you end up making $50000-00 per month through your business. You not only make more money, but you also learn how to run your own business and therefore grow & develop as a person.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

Before you were even born, God had plans to give you a future and a hope. God would not put you in this world if He did not have the means to supply you with what you need. The important question is: Are you making God the source of all your needs – or are you trying to accomplish your desires without God?

Psalm 24:1 NKJV
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

If you want something – you ask the Owner. God is the Owner of ALL things on the earth. That’s why it’s important to make Him your Source. There’s no reason to achieve your needs and goals without God. Don’t make yourself the source of your own needs.
God is able to supply ALL your needs. God is rich beyond our understanding.
Will God supply your needs? Trust Him to supply your needs.

Seek God FIRST

We live in a very materialistic world where fashion, money, cars, gadgets and all types of possessions have taken priority over such things as relationships, love, good character and God.
The power of the media, the movies, the music and advertising has made us believe that we NEED MATERIAL THINGS above those things that are Godly, which we can’t touch and see with our natural eyes.

Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Jesus said that we should “seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS”.
Are you seeking FIRST God’s kingdom? Are you seeking FIRST God’s righteousness? What are your priorities in life – Is it God or is it material things?

Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The treasure that we accumulate on earth is TEMPORARY, but the treasure we accumulate in Heaven is forever. When we die, we cannot take with us the material possessions we have accumulated on earth; we can’t take that money we have in the bank account; we can’t take our clothes; we can’t take our favorite car with us.
Does it mean then that we shouldn’t desire to have a car or clothes or a nice house? Of course not.
God knows that we want these things. However, God wants to know where your heart and where your priority are between Him and the material things that you desire.
For example, what extents would you take in order to get your possessions? Would you lie, cheat, gossip, falsely accuse in order to get what you want? Would having possessions cause you to stop following God?
Jesus was saying that people follow what their heart desires. If you desire material things, your heart will follow those things above God. However if you desire the things of God, your heart will follow God and His righteousness.

Matthew 6:28-30
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Who is Your Source?
Are you your own source or is God your source? Is somebody else your source or is God your source? When you live, believe and understand that GOD IS YOUR SOURCE for EVERYTHING then you will discover that you don’t need to worry about material things. God is the ONE who will supply all your needs according to HIS riches.
Your focus instead should be on advancing the kingdom of God and on pleasing God. Then as you please God you will be adding to your “bank” account in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves cannot come and steal.
Who are you seeking FIRST today?

MAKE Quality Time with GOD

God wants us to spend quality time with Him. God desires that we dedicate at least part of our day with Him; one-on-one; just YOU and GOD alone.
You see if you love someone whether it’s your child, girlfriend or husband, you always want to spend time with them.

Luke 5:16 NKJV
So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

How often do you spend time with God?
There was nobody who was as busy as Jesus during the time when He was physically living in the earth. Multitudes of people wanted to be around Him and with Him for various reasons during His ministry. Yet despite the attention that was demanded of Him by the people who followed Him, Jesus always found time to spend some quiet time with God the Father. Jesus would withdraw from the people OFTEN so that He could spend some one-on-one quiet time with the Father.

Matthew 14:23 NKJV
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

There are so many distractions out there in our ordinary day such that if we are not careful, we can seize to have any time alone with God. You can never be too busy for God. Jesus would DELIBERATELY MAKE TIME for God the Father so that He could be alone with the Father to pray.
The scriptures say Jesus “sent the multitudes away” (Matthew 14:23) and that Jesus also “often withdrew” from the crowds in order to pray and spend time with the Lord (Luke 5:16).
So Jesus MADE time despite the demands of the day to spend time with the Father.

Are you consciously telling yourself in your mind that you are too busy for God?
Be like Jesus – MAKE time. Withdraw temporarily from the things that would take your time away from God.
Be like Jesus – FIND a quiet place to spend time with God.

God loves you and He wants to spend time with you too. A relationship is two-way; it requires both parties to participate. If you want to know God more, then you need to spend more time with Him. If you want to hear His voice, the you need to make time for Him.

James 4:8 NKJV
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…

 

Why We Should Be Thankful

If you were to sit down and write down the things that you are thankful to God for, how many things would you write down? Are you generally a person who is always thankful no matter what your circumstances or environment is like?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

According to Paul we are to be thankful to God IN EVERYTHING.
I take that to mean that God wants us to be thankful in good circumstances and also IN bad circumstances. No matter what challenge or what problem you are facing at any particular time, God wants you to have an attitude of gratitude.
There are many reasons why we should be thankful. Having a thankful attitude is “the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

Why You Should Have A Thankful Attitude
1. When we are thankful to God even in a bad situation it helps us to keep our focus on God and not on our problems. Focusing only on your problems leads to worry and anxiety. However, when you are consistently thankful, God’s peace and joy will dwell inside you
2. When we are thankful to God we acknowledge and demonstrate that God is STILL in control of our lives, our situation and our destiny.
3. When we are thankful to God, it means that we don’t need to complain and sulk because our trust is in the Lord.
4. When we are thankful to God, it means that we are focused on the GOODNESS of the LORD and not on the size of our problems. We realize that the GOODNESS of the LORD in our lives will overcome any bad circumstance we may face.
5. When we are thankful to God, He is pleased with us because it demonstrates that we love and appreciate Him during ALL situations. We are thankful in EVERY season in our life.
6. When we are thankful to God, we demonstrate by FAITH that the devil is ALREADY defeated.

Philippians 2:14-16 NKJV
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

We currently live in a generation that wants everything at the press of a button. So when things don’t happen so smoothly, our generation starts complaining & disputing.
God wants us to do ALL things without complaining or fighting. Instead we must replace such negative attitudes with a thankful and rejoicing heart.
God has given us such grace that if we only see, we will know that there are MORE THINGS to be THANKFUL for than there are to be complaining about.

Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV
Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. Again I will say, REJOICE!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The Meaning of True Love

Do you know that a lot of Hollywood movies have hoodwinked us into believing that love is this overwhelming feeling or emotion that you have in your heart? Is love really just a feeling or a strong emotion?
What is the meaning of true love? How does the Bible define true love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…

According to Paul while writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Love is an ACTION; Love is WHAT YOU DO; Love is HOW YOU BEHAVE; Love is HOW YOU THINK; Love is WHAT YOU SEEK; Love is WHAT YOU REJOICE IN; Love is WHAT YOU HOPE & BELIEVE; Love NEVER FAILS.
Love is a way of living; it’s a character that you show and do.

Why is the divorce rate so high around the world? Why is there so much strife among people? It’s because most people don’t know the meaning of love according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
We are more inclined to want to FEEL the EMOTIONS of love rather than to show ACT and BEHAVE the characteristics of TRUE LOVE.
If LOVE was only a feeling and an emotion – then love wouldn’t require us to “endure all things” or “bear all things”. TRUE LOVE sometimes requires you to do things you wouldn’t necessarily feel like doing.

LOVE IS A COMMANDMENT

Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE your neighbor as yourself.’ On these TWO COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We are COMMANDED to love by Jesus. Love is NOT a suggestion; Love is NOT a choice according to Christ.
The definition of the word “commandment” is an order or injunction given by authority; a command; a charge; a precept; a mandate.

Therefore we are called to not only to love God and to love our neighbor – but we must also TEACH others the TRUE meaning of LOVE and we must TEACH others to LOVE according to what the word of God teaches us.
LOVE isn’t just a feeling. Love is God’s desires in action.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have NOT love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have NOT love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have NOT love, it profits me nothing.

Whatever you are doing in your life – what is it that motivates your thoughts, actions & deeds? Are your thoughts and actions motivated by the LOVE of both God and man? Or are you secretly motivated by wanting the praise of men or other self seeking reasons?
In Matthew 6:1-7 Jesus said that we should do our acts and deeds with the motivation of pleasing God and not so that we become glorified by men. The Pharisees, Sadducees & hypocrites were motivated by power, position, fame and they were after the praise of men rather than the praise of God.
I believe that when God does ANYTHING – His primary motivation is LOVE because God IS love (1 John 4:8)

When God sent His only begotten Son to be crucified for the sins of the world – it was out of LOVE (John 3:16)

Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”. Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus when asked which is the GREATEST commandment responded immediately by telling them that they must LOVE GOD with our entire being, that is ALL our HEART, ALL our SOUL and ALL our MIND.

Today, are you loving God with everything in you? Today are you motivated in all your thoughts & actions by the LOVE of God?
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, that we can do a lot of things that are good on the outside – but with the wrong motive inwardly. If we DO NOT have LOVE INSIDE US, “it profits nothing.”
God wants us to be motivated firstly by our LOVE for HIM, and our LOVE for our NEIGHBOUR. When we act in LOVE, our reward from God is awesome.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.

 

What Are You Meditating?

Do you know that if you want to know what a person’s character is like – you need listen closely to what they talk about. It’s not only what a person does, but it’s also what a person SAYS that reveals to you a person’s thoughts and nature. Whatever issues that are dominating in a person’s mind and heart will eventually come out when they speak and will therefore give you revelation of the person’s character.

Matthew 15:18-20 NKJV
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.

Jesus is saying when we fill our hearts with issues that are ungodly, for example: evil thoughts, blasphemies, gossiping, adulterous ideas and the like, we begin to speak words associated with such and then we become defiled and the defilement is reflected by the words we speak.
What are you filling your mind and heart with today? Are you thinking thoughts that glorify God; Are the issues in your heart about things that reflect a love for God and for your neighbor?

Philippians 4:8 NKJV
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.

If you are to speak life, encouragement, joy and the like, you need to first work on what you are filling your heart & mind with. You need to MEDIATE on good, Godly thoughts and issues. Then you will see the change even in how you speak and in the issues that you speak about.
If you used to enjoy gossiping, you will see a change; if you used to speak negatively about many things, you will see a change; all because you have changed what you choose to think about.