Whose Heart is Broken?

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

[2 Corinthians 7:10]

The question is not, “Is my heart broken over sin?” Rather, we should ask, “Is my heart broken from sin?” If we focus only on the first question, we may be centering on the regret because of consequences instead of the wonderful release from guilt brought by true repentance. We are concerned primarily for the self, and the impact of sin’s results on us personally.

“I am heartbroken over my sin,” someone may say. But until we understand that our sin breaks God’s heart, we will have only the “sorrow of the world,” which is regret, and not godly sorrow, which is repentance. Regret can be merely the decision not to experience the pain of sin again. Repentance is the decision to turn away from sin itself, because it grieves God.

David was stung by the consequences of his adultery with Bathsheba and instigation of her husband’s murder. Those outcomes washed over his family like a scourging flood. But David really turned around when he realized his sin, ultimately, was against God, the One he loved the most.

TODAY’S HEART FOCUS

Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to true repentance, and not just regret over consequences.

Torn Curtain

THE WORD OF GOD

“And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split”

[Matthew 27:51]

Open to All

The “veil of the temple” refers to the inner curtain of the “Holy of Holies,” which resided in the center of the Old Testament temple of worship. The curtain severely restricted access to God to a privileged few. Now, the gates to God’s presence are open wide to all who would enter through the cross of Jesus Christ. God Himself tore the curtain in two, proclaiming that in Jesus’ death, the final sacrifice has been made for our sins.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

[Hebrews 10:19-22]

Draw Near

Imagine how horrified religious leaders in Jesus’ day must have become to know that no one had been allowed near the Holy of Holies and yet, somehow, the veil had been torn. Did any of them finally believe Jesus’ words, that a new way had been opened up for us to draw near to God – centered not on imperfect obedience to the commandments, but through the perfect life and now sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

[John 11:25]

Access to God

Envision walking through that torn curtain and seeing for the first time the ark of the testimony, a wooden box overlaid inside and out with pure gold and the mercy seat, also made of pure gold with 2 golden cherubim at each end, facing one another with their wings covering the mercy seat and faces looking down. The golden table of showbread with the bread of Presence and golden utensils are also there along with the golden lampstand. Celebrate your access to God, won for you through the obedience, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We who were alienated from God, even under His wrath, have been brought near, cleansed, forgiven, and granted complete and full access into God’s favor and presence.

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

[Hebrews 6:19-20]

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for receiving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf, for tearing away the veil that kept me from You, and for granting me access to enter Your holy presence. May I fully receive Your forgiveness and mercy this Easter season. As I prepare to approach the cross on which, solely, my access is granted, may I have the confidence and full assurance to enter Your presence.

Pieces of Silver

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.

~ Zechariah 11:12 ~

In Old Testament times, thirty pieces of silver was the value of a slave accidentally gored to death by an ox (Ex. 21 :32). The amount given to Zechariah is an intentional insult for the rejected shepherd, who was a pre-figure of the Messiah. In a prophetic fulfillment that occurred centuries later, that same sum of thirty pieces of silver was all it took for Judas to agree to hand over Jesus to the Pharisees. Such a paltry sum speaks of how lowly Jesus was viewed not only by Judas, but also by the chief priests. They traded away the Savior of the World, the Holy Son of God, the promised Messiah, for the price of a dead slave.

Morning Devotional

The Established Heart

… He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

[1 Thessalonians 3:13]

Every baseball player will attest that there are varieties of umpires. There is, for example, the orthodox umpire, an absolutist. The strike zone is clear: If the ball comes across the plate between the armpits and knees it is a strike, unquestionably. Then there is the modernist umpire. “There are balls and there are strikes,” he says, “and I call them as such as I see them.” The orthodox ump calls them what they are in fact, and the modernist umpire labels balls or strikes based on what he reasons them to be. The post-modern umpire doesn’t believe there is an absolute strike zone, nor that one can even know if a hurled ball is a strike or not. Since there is no absolute zone, and no way of knowing, if the post-modern ump wants it to be a strike he merely declares it so.

Spiritually, the person with an established, set heart knows there are absolutes. Strikes are strikes and balls are balls. God’s Word sets the strike zone, and it does not vary. Such a person doesn’t play the game of life in confusion, but in settled certainty about right and wrong.

TODAY’S  FOCUS

Seek God’s forgiveness for times you have “called it” the way you have seen it rather than the way it is by His standards.

Morning Devotional

A Whole Heart

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

[Hebrews 3:12]

Parents understand when they don’t have their kids’ full attention. “You will brush your teeth,” says a mother. “Yes, ma’am,” answers the youngster, merrily scouring her two front teeth only. Such was the commitment level at one point in colonial America. Children born to church members were enrolled in membership, whether they had made a commitment to Christ or not through the “halfway covenant.”

In 1727, New Jersey Pastor Theodore Frelinghuysen declared the only people who could take the Lord’s Supper at the church he served were people who could give a clear testimony that they had received Jesus Christ and evidence He was transforming their lives. Controversy erupted, but so did revival.

A whole-hearted person is one with no hidden agendas. There is no room for other “gods” because the whole-hearted person’s entire devotion is to the true and living God!

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

Evening Devotional

The Key To Total Heart Health

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

[Galatians 4:4-5]

Buckets overflow, but it all begins with a single drop.History’s events were the drops of destiny, filling the bucket of time until it overflowed in its culminating event, the coming of Jesus Christ to rescue us from the abyss and make us the children of God.

The process you launch toward total heart health begins with the single droplet of one day. But as you persist, the vessel of your days gets full and begins to overflow. New healthy habits enhancing the total heart become your lifestyle. What has been sheer discipline becomes delight.

In the Bible, 40 years symbolizes a generation. The old has passed away and the new generation has emerged. Some say it takes 21 days to shatter an old habit, and 40 days to cement a new behavior. But in 90 days, the new often becomes one’s lifestyle.

Jesus says those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). This is true not only for our eternal salvation, but for the fullness of total heart health as well.

Taking the Bible Lightly

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

[2 TIMOTHY 3:16]

I talked once with a young pastor and pointed out the importance of being biblically accurate and theologically sound, rightly interpreting the Word of Truth. I also encouraged him to get training to make sure that what was taught and proclaimed was actually the Word of God. His response was, “I just take what I like, what fits, and I make it shine and sparkle, entertaining and inspiring. And that’s really all I want to do.”

That is a tragic thought. If devotion is not based upon proven truth, it’s shallow. And if biblical truth is twisted, it’s heresy. It’s not going to accomplish anything. It is merely shallow sentiment. It is passing the time.

We have to work hard to understand God’s Word! Why? It’s only in the Bible that we can truly know what a Christian is, what God has done for us, and what God wants to do for us.

TODAY’S PRAYER FOCUS

Ask God to help you focus on His Word more in the New Year.