Follow Your Heart…Really?

Posted in Character, Culture, Decisions, Heart, Victorious Living by PCraig on July 14, 2016

Our biggest issue is a heart issue.  It doesn’t matter if you are talking about marriage, money or race.  If your heart is not in the right place, nothing else really matters.

The problem is that all of us have a heart problem.  The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above al things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9-10). You know your heart has a problem when it keeps trying to get you to do the wrong thing. Like if you are in debt, but you go into H.H. Gregg and see a new TV and think, “I can’t keep watching that little 46” I have at home, when here’s a beautiful 60” on sale that I should have!”  What is that?  Friend, that’s a heart lying to you.

You can’t build a good life on a bad foundation, or raise a good harvest with bad seed.  Also, we really don’t have a race problem in America, we have a heart problem. If our heart is right, then we will act right.

How do we get our heart right?  “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” (Psalm 119:9-10)

So, stop telling people to follow their heart or listening to people telling you to follow yours. Instead guard your heart and don’t allow anything that can pollute it to gain access. Americans are crazy about pure water, food sources, and air, but think nothing of other crud entering their minds and hearts.  Don’t allow yourself to be deceived (which your heart can easily do).  Address the root of the problem by guarding your heart with God’s Word. Only God can make a perfect heart that leads to peace, happiness and joy.

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Are We Really Bad Or Good?

Posted in Character, Deliverance, Heart, Perspective, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 20, 2015

Ever wonder, “Are we good people gone bad, or bad people gone good?”  In other words, do we have an evil root or a good root?  I would like to believe that we are all good people deep down, but we can sometimes get off-track and do bad things.  However, what seems more likely is that we are bad people deep down, but we can overcome it and live good lives.  Why do I feel this way?  Let me give some Scripture as a reference:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Even the great Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15-18 “…for what I want to do I do not do…I know that nothing good lives in me.” 

So, if we’re all wicked at the core and not good people after all, what hope is there?  Our hope is in God who sent His Son to be the only good person and be the only good sacrifice for our badness.  If we were naturally good, would Jesus have to die for us?    Who will rescue us from ourselves – Jesus!

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The Dark Side

Posted in Character, Heart, Integrity by PCraig on May 8, 2014

In meeting with our elders this morning, we were all reflecting on a book we are reading together entitled, “Overcoming The Dark Side of Leadership.”  Our discussion was about how each of us is responsible to know and watch over our “dark side” so we don’t become a casualty in leadership.  We’ve all seen leaders in government, religion and business who failed to do this.

Further conversation developed about our soul and how we hear very little about it these days.  Back in the day, there was “soul food” and a song “soul man” and having soul.  I don’t hear much about the soul anymore.

Mix this with my reading today from Matthew 26 where Jesus tells his disciples to “watch and prayer” so that they won’t fall into temptation.  This all came together with me on how important it is to watch over your soul (and its dark side) so you don’t fall.

Whose responsibility is it for your dark side?  Who is to keep you from temptation?  Where does the duty lie for keeping your soul healthy?  It’s the same for all of us – it rests with each of us.  In the words of an old hymn, is it well with your soul today?  I’m not talking about; if you die you’re going to heaven.  But, are you watching and praying and keeping your dark side from negatively impacting you and those around?  Is it well with your soul, man?

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Footprints on the Heart

Posted in Heart, Impact, Relationships by PCraig on June 27, 2013

In our elders meetings, we are using a book called Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft as our monthly reading.  So, in today’s meeting we looked at chapter two of the book.  In this passage, Kraft shares a quote that impacted his life to the extent that he now displays it on his desk.  Here’s the quote:

Some people come into our lives and quietly go.  Others stay awhile, and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. 

Wow!  After reading this for myself, I’m ready to put it on my desk.  It got me thinking about the people who have left footprints on my heart.  I’m so grateful for the impact they have made upon my life that helped me to be the person I am today.  Then it also got me thinking about where I’m leaving footprints.  Who are the people that I’m impacting that will be better because of my influence?  How am I strategically and intentionally leaving a mark on others that will last beyond my days?

So, how about you?  Who are you grateful for because of the footprints they left on your heart?  And, what hearts are you leaving an impression upon that will cause them to be grateful you came their way?

 

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The Heart Of Worship

Posted in Attitude, Heart, Worship by PCraig on June 6, 2013

Somehow many people think worship is about them.  You find this by hearing them say things like, “I really enjoyed that worship today” or “I liked the choices of songs for worship” and “I didn’t care for the way they did that song today.”  What is common in all these statements?  They all begin with “I” instead of “He.”  The ultimate destination of worship is to lift up Jesus not you.  Now, while seeking to lift up Jesus, you will be edified yourself.

When Jesus talked to the woman at the well, she was more focused on the location of worship than the attitude of worship (John 4).  Jesus redirected her attention to the thing that matters most to God: our heart.  He expressed God’s search for worshipers is not in a particular style, external location or format, but rather an internal goal.  God is looking for those who will worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”  In other words, quit arguing about the external things of worship, and start working on the internal things of your soul submitted to Him.

Why did people in Jesus day argue about where to worship?  Because it’s easier to argue about the place, style, or form of worship than it is to address our wicked hearts that need the penetrating power of God to worship in “spirit and truth.”  Most of us don’t need a location to worship we need the transformation of worship to make us more like Jesus.  But, that’s a lot harder to find.

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A Wrong Spirit Hinders

Posted in Attitude, Criticism, Heart, Used of God, Victorious Living by PCraig on May 16, 2013

The Bible emphasizes that while man may look at the outside, God looks at the inside.  Jesus said it is not what “goes into a man” that corrupts him, but what “comes out” of him.

Having a good spirit is huge in moving forward in life.  I can think of people with incredible talent, intelligence, gifts and abilities that stymie their own success by having a negative spirit.

Some have a hypocritical spirit that says, “you ought to be like this, but I’ll do whatever I want.”  Jesus said to focus on the beam in your own eye before trying to remove the speck in someone else’s eye.  The cure for being a hypocrite is to focus more on fixing yourself instead of excusing yourself.  Trust me, you and I have enough to work on for ourselves to be overly concerned about others.

Others have a hypercritical spirit that is judgmental and looks at others with contempt while giving grace to ourselves.  In other words, we can point out all the bad things about someone without providing any assistance.  These are people that go around pointing out what’s wrong with a person or project without giving solutions.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t need a lot of help finding problems, but I can always use some help in discovering solutions.

If you suffer from a wrong spirit, it won’t just hinder others – it will hinder you.  So, how do you fix your heart?   Psalm 51:10 says to pray and ask God to, “renew a right spirit within me.”  David also went on to say that once we get our spirit right, then God can use us to reach and teach others.

If you want to be used of God – pay attention to your spirit.

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What The Lord Is Looking For

Posted in Attitude, Fasting, Heart, Love for God, Purpose, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on January 11, 2013

Guest post by John Money:

This morning as I was praying about what to share during our continued 21 day fast, I sensed that the Lord was saying to remind each of us of what He is looking for in a man, woman, and child.

So that is what we will attempt to do.  Answer the question, “What is the Lord looking for in you and I?”

I believe 1 Samuel 16:7 provides a solid answer from the Lord.  The context is the selection of Israel’s next King by the Lord.  The Lord had grown weary of King Saul’s ongoing disobedience, compromises, and self-serving approach to life and leadership.  The Lord sent his prophet Samuel to anoint a new King for Israel.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)

There’s the answer to what the Lord is looking for.  The Lord is not looking to see how outwardly attractive you are……He is looking to see what kind of heart you and I have?

He clarifies this further after he selects David as Israel’s next King and says, “‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’(1 Samuel 13:21)

There’s our aim during this time of fasting.  Let’s shoot for getting our hearts so in tune with the Lord’s purposes that he can only say that we are a man, woman, teenager, child after his own heart.

There is no reason that we cannot even exceed David’s wholehearted devotion to the Lord.  Let’s make that our fasting aim today.

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Time For Meat!

Posted in Change, Fasting, Heart, Pursuing Jesus by PCraig on January 5, 2013

Guest post by John Money:

Today is a time for meat.  No, I am not suggesting that you break your Daniel fast and feast on a Filet Mignon or a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.  I am encouraging you that today is a day for you to feed your soul Spiritual meat.

A Biblical teaching that provides Spiritual meat for your soul is the concept of “Repentance.”  Many times, the one thing standing between you and peace in your soul is the need to repent of your sins against our Lord.

Our secularized society does not want to hear that we need to repent.  In fact, most of us who claim Christ as Lord do not like to hear that we need to repent.  We have made repentance an ugly word, an un-friendly word.

I want to challenge the thinking that repentance is a harsh word or an ugly word.  In fact, I wholeheartedly believe it is a beautiful and life giving word from Jesus.

Consider King David.  As a teenager and young man, he was known for his great faith and the Lord described him as a “man after my own heart.”  David loved the Lord.  David served the Lord wholeheartedly.

But along the road of life, David messed up royally.  First, he began lusting after a woman, Bathsheba.  Next, he began plotting how he could be with her.  Then he committed adultery with her and had her husband killed.  Finally, he took her as his wife.

David, tried to cover this great sin up.  For a long time David acted like nothing was wrong or to act like he and the Lord were still close.  But he was miserable inside and distant from the Lord.

David’s turning point came when he finally confessed his great sin with focused/heart-felt repentance.  Repentance means to “confess and turn away” from your sin.

Psalm 51 was written by David as a confession of his sins before the Lord.  It was meat for his soul and led him to being restored.  Let these words be meat for your soul today and a guide for you to repent of any/all sin as you are Fasting:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts[a];
you teach[b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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Do unto others

Posted in Attitude, Heart, One Year Bible by PCraig on May 19, 2010

How you treat others when you feel mistreated, ignored, or overlooked says more about you than any accomplisments you achieve.  There is an awesome story illustrating this in today’s reading of the One Year Bible from 2 Samuel 14.  The setting is David is being hunted down by Saul for actions he’s never committed.  Saul thinks that David wants to steal the kingdom from him and David never had that intent. 

The most important part of the story is how David responds to Saul’s outlandish accusations.  I’m sure David thought, “Why me?  How could someone who is supposed to be a God-follower act so evil?  I’m just trying to do the right thing, and this man has it out for me!”  Yet, in spite of all the negativity around him, David chooses to remain pure of heart.

Where are those today who will do the same?  Instead of asking, “Why shouldn’t I retaliate after what they’ve done to me?”  Why not take the high road and stay pure in heart before God. 

I believe God is looking for a remnant of people who will walk before Him with a pure heart, I want to be one of them He finds and can bless.  Just read what happens to the end of the story with David and you’ll see how much better it is to stay pure.

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