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  •  — Edited

    Is Your Heart Tender or Tinder?


    Day 227: Is Your Heart Tender or Tinder?

    Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. — 2Ch 34:27 KJV

    TEN'DER, Soft; easily impressed, broken, bruised or injured; not firm or hard; as tender plants; tender flesh; tender grapes. 

    TIND'ER, Something very inflammable used for kindling fire from a spark; as scorched linen. 

    A tender heart toward God becomes an impenetrable fortress against sin and Satan, but a heart hardened toward God becomes tinder for the fiery arrows that fly from Hell's pit.

    Woe to the man whose heart is tinder, for the flames of sin ere long will engulf it. Satan looks for such hearts and drenches his arrows in the pitch of lies. If he can succeed in getting us to believe his lies, we'll be toast.

    By our very nature, our hearts are as tinder: easily inflamed and susceptible to the subtlety of the Enemy because of its natural hardness towards God. On the other hand, a tender heart has been touched by the truth of God and brought to realize that Satan has been lying all along. This nature is called "the flesh" in Scripture. 

    The flesh may be defined as "man's fallen nature as under the power of sin." It is the evil principle in man's nature, the traitor within who is in league with the attackers without. The flesh provides the tinder on which the devil's temptations can kindle. -- J.O. Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy with God, Moody

    What hope is there for our fallen nature? None. The sooner it's dead, the better. But there is great hope for the new nature. The new nature is given as a gift as a result of the bruising God provides the heart with to tenderize it and make it receptive to His word. 

    Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. — 1Pe 1:23 KJV

    The new nature is who we are in Christ now. 

    The new nature is who we are in Christ now. 

    No, that is not a typo. I said that twice for a reason. The devil wants to get us out of position. As long as we are abiding in Christ, he has no shot at us. He can fire every available artillery at his command, but they bounce off Christ like BBs off a tank. 

    If he can get us to believe a lie about God, ourselves, and our position, he can get us to yield our position and make us vulnerable. 

    That's why sound theology is essential. We must know who God is, what He's done, and what He's doing. The key to tenderness is in believing all that God has said about us and rejecting all the lies Satan tells about God.

    When Satan poisons his arrow tips, he dips them in truths about a) what we've done in the past, b) our present failures, c) our current position, and then adds the falsehood, d) if God was...or e) if you were saved...

    Satan wants us to feel guilt, to feel powerless, and to feel hardened toward God. Feelings must be brought to follow faith. Faith is believing what God says about us.

    Feeling always seeks something in itself; faith keeps itself occupied with what Jesus is.… Forget not that the faith, of which God's word speaks so much, stands not only in opposition to works, but also in opposition to feeling, and therefore that for a pure life of faith you must cease to seek your salvation, not only in works, but also in feeling. Therefore let faith always speak against feeling. When feeling says, "In myself, I am sinful; I am dark; I am weak; I am poor; I am sad," let faith say, "In Christ, I am holy; I am light; I am strong; I am rich; I am joyful."

    Andrew Murray

    1. The Faultless One


      Day 226: The Faultless One

      Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. — John 19:4 KJV

      Man has been on a quest for righteousness since sin entered this world. He has sought every means possible to attain cleanliness before God's eyes and conscience and attains the convincement that appeasement has been made, only to have conscience trouble him again. Therefore, he chooses to do one of two things: give up or try harder. 

      The answer to guiltiness is before us and is found in the Faultless One. The answer to the troubled conscience is that the solution to misdeeds and overt sin is presented, "Behold, the Man!" (See John 19:5) 

      Our problem is that we see our sins and judge them in light of how we want to be sentenced. God demonstrated for us His verdict on sin by condemning His Son to die the cruelest of deaths. His sentence for sin is irrevocably death. 

      God told Adam,

      But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. — Gen 2:17 KJV

      And guess what? 

      Adam ate of it. 

      And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. — Gen 3:11-12 KJV

      The sin committed cannot be undone, overlooked, or ignored. Though the world may not have witnessed it, God did, and conscience testifies. 

      Try harder. Next time, I will do better. But how do you answer the sentence of death? 

      Give up. I'm just going to do it again, so what's the use in trying. Why heap judgment upon judgment? 

      There is a third option that brings us to our praise-thought today, "Behold, your King!" (See John 19:14) 

      Behold, your King is also your sacrifice. You can be justified through him by whom you shall be judged at the last great day. In this verse, our Lord seems delighted to declare that blessed gospel which is the two-edged sword of his grace. Hear it, you sinners! Hear it, and obey it at once! What! Will you not look? Do you deny your Lord a look? Shall God cry, 'Behold me,' and will you hide your faces from him? I trust that some who never knew the gospel before will at this instant 'Behold the Lamb of God'. Look to your bleeding Saviour, your forgiving God. Look and live. --C. H. Spurgeon 

      Behold Him, faultless in perfection, peerless in beauty, limitless in love, and find in Him complete pardon. 

      1. The End Of The Rainbow


        Day 225: At The End Of The Rainbow

        And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. — Jer 29:13 KJV

        In Irish legend, Leprechauns bury pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, but since a rainbow can only be seen at a distance, the gold is forever elusive. That's how the story goes. The Collins Dictionary says, "If you say that something is at the end of the rainbow, you mean that people want it, but it is almost impossible to obtain or achieve."

        Tozer said, 

        Whoever seeks other objects and not God is on his own; he may obtain those objects if he is able, but he will never have God. God is never found accidentally.

        What is the supreme object of our heart's desire?

        Is it God? Does He seem elusive? He is not like the leprechaun, who hides his gold beyond our reach. His presence is very near to be found, but He has one requirement: that we search for Him with ALL our heart. What does that mean?

        We get a glimpse of the meaning when we consider the relationship between husband and wife. Does the wife expect exclusive love for herself alone and not to share her love with another woman? Of course. To give her any less would be a slap in her face. 

        Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. — John 14:23 KJV

        So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. — John 21:15 KJV

        That is the question Jesus presents to us and for which He promises the very presence of God, "Lovest thou me more than..." and fill in the blank.

        When we can answer, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." (See John 21:17) We will find the presence of God.

        A close examination of our heart's meditations will reveal what it is we love most. What do we talk about most? What do we think about throughout the day? The realization that we don't love Him the way He deserves is the first step in the right direction. The truth is, we cannot love Him the way He deserves. But there is One who does. His name is Jesus, and the child of God has Jesus in his heart to love the Father the way we are supposed too. 

        Tozer said as much, 

        Those who have been spiritually enabled to love God for Himself will find a thousand fountains springing up from the rainbow-circled throne and bringing countless treasures which are to be received with reverent thanksgiving as being the overflow of God's love for His children.

        When we find God, not at the end of the elusive rainbow, but the rainbow-encircled throne, by the blood of Jesus, we'll find all that our hearts could desire. 

        1. Praise Invades the Secular


          Day 224: Praise Invades the Secular

          Ephesians 2:14 (AV) — 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  

          The Holy Spirit has come to invade the world of men and combat them, not in the cathedrals and church-halls, but the marketplaces and highways. He has come to declare this world is not man’s, not Satan’s, but God’s Son.

          Moody spoke of the “holy sanctimony” that believers often carry with them when they step into the church. They act a certain way while there and then differently when they leave.

          Any place where God is is holy, and this putting on another air and a sanctimonious look when we come into the house of God, and laying it aside when we go out, thinking that this is going to be acceptable to God, is all wrong. Every place ought to be holy to a true child of God.1

          Tozer spoke of this and called it “the sanctification of the secular.” That is, taking God with you wherever you go.

          Some of the great saints, who were great because they took such admonitions seriously and sought to practice them, managed to achieve the sanctification of the secular, or perhaps I should say the abolition of the secular. Their attitude toward life’s common things raised those above the common and imparted to them an aura of divinity. These pure souls broke down the high walls that separated the various areas of their lives from each other and saw all as one; and that one they offered to God as a holy oblation acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.2

          He went on to lament the church’s “secularization of the sacred.”

          The Church today is suffering from the secularization of the sacred. By accepting the world’s values, thinking its thoughts and adopting its ways we have dimmed the glory that shines overhead. We have not been able to bring earth to the judgment of heaven so we have brought heaven to the judgment of the earth.

          We ought to be a strange lot to the world. They should think it odd to hear our songs of praise when we pull up next to them in our vehicles or sing a hymn while working. Our adoration of God mustn’t stop just because we can’t take our Bibles while we swing a hammer or push a broom.

          1 Moody, D. L. The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. Ed. Emma Moody Fitt. East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore, 1900. Print.

          2 Tozer, A. W., and Anita M. Bailey. Man: The Dwelling Place of God. Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread, 1997. Print.

          1.  — Edited

            Faithfulness to Praise


            Day 223: Faithfulness to Praise

            But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. — 2Th 3:3 KJV

            The child of God has learned that he would rather suffer evil to happen to him than to commit sin. 

            Yes, indeed! We are on the winning side! Paul mentions the Lord and His purposes. They are twofold. He intends to ground His own and to guard His own: “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil”... The Lord would give them both stability and protection. “The Lord is faithful,” he reminds them. God does not exempt His people from the natural disasters and ills of life. He does not promise immunity from dislike, discrimination, detention, and even death. What He does promise is that He will temper the wind to the shorn lamb. He will not allow Satan to go beyond a certain line that He Himself draws with an unerring hand (Job 1:12; 1 Cor. 10:13). Moreover, He promises to make a way of escape, and often that escape is a result of His own sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:7–10). -John Phillips

            We are surrounded by seen and unseen evils and temptations to commit evil. Worse than that, our very hearts desire it. We need the Lord! We ought to tremble when we consider the propensity that lies within to sin! 

            But God is faithful.

            This is in contrast to verse 2, 

            And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. — 2Th 3:2 KJV

            Spurgeon commented: 

            What a wonderful contrast this is, and how suggestive of comfort! “Not all have the faith. But the Lord is full of faith, faith-ful,” true. He keeps all His promises.

            Even we must lament our lack of faithfulness. But our God can keep us from the evil within.

            Our Saviour prayed thus: 

            I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. — John 17:15 KJV

            How is God to keep us from evil?

            His Spirit teaches our hearts to change our palate and diet, what we desire, and what we devour. 

            Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: — 1Pe 2:1-2 KJV.

            The Puritans taught that meditation replaces sinful habits with those that please God’s Spirit. William Bridge showed, “As it is a heartwarming work, so it is that which will keep your hearts and souls from sinful thoughts. When the vessel is full, you can put in no more.” As Watson pictured, “Meditation is a golden shield to beat back sin!… Meditation makes the heart like wet tinder; it will not take the devil’s fire.” -David Saxton

            The goal of praise and our need to remain faithful is to verbalize our meditations to see it lived out. 

            1. posted an announcement

              Sunday School Starts Back Up on August 30th!

              Get ready! Sunday School is starting back up! You know what that means! It means getting up just a little earlier to get ready. Here's some pointers. Set your clothes out the night before. Read a few verses of Scripture. Ask God to help you get up earlier. Set your alarm. Get to bed a little earlier. Come expecting God to speak to your heart!
              1. Praising The Gift


                Day 222: Praising The Gift

                Psalm 68:18 (AV) — 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.  

                Conversion is a work of argument, for the judgment is gained by the truth. It is a work of conviction, for the awakened are pricked in their hearts. It is a work of inquiry, for they ask, "What must we do to be saved?" And, lastly, it is a work of comfort, for its subjects have received remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.—Joseph Sutcliffe.

                Heart-work must be God's work. Only the great heart-Maker can be the great heart-Breaker.—Richard Baxter.

                In most cases, we look down upon those who care more about the gifts than they do the giver, but in this case, the Gift is the Giver, the Giver is the Gift. The Holy Ghost is the Gift in question. He is given to the rebellious, first, as a prick of conscience. Do you remember the days, O Rebel, when you would have nothing to do with God and His ways? You did not want to be a fuddy-duddy. That is a word, by the way. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as one that is old-fashioned, unimaginative, or conservative.

                I remember the days of thinking that giving up my sin would be paramount to losing everything I enjoyed in life. Enter the Holy Spirit. He opened my ears to hear the chains of bondage by the sin I loved. I listened to the clanking and felt the iron neck ring yanking me down a dark corridor. He showed me the end of that road where the flames of hell for all eternity tormented those who chose chains over Christ, slavery over liberty.

                Then, He is given as a conviction of spiritual achievement. He showed me a cross. He showed me the Saviour. He showed me that all I had to do was look and live. The chains fell off. This old rebel was free! I didn't have to earn it to get it, but I did have to believe it to receive it!

                No longer was I bound to my sin and bound for eternity in hell. Sin no longer had the lusty allure, and now conscience was awakened to see it as God does.

                I can praise the Gift because He loves even the rebel. Sometimes when times get rough, I'll try to put those old chains back on. I try to find comfort in sin, but O the Gift that keeps on giving! He reminds me that sin is always the same, still deceiving, ever enslaving. And back to the cross, He takes me. Look, and live!

                He is given as the Sanctifier. He shows me the difference between the cross that He enjoins me to carry and the chains of sin that seek to bring me again under its mastery. The cross is one that has a crown of life waiting at the end of the road. The chains of sin do not have a crown, but everlasting misery. He shows me that He can continually break the power of those chains as long as I'm willing to take the yoke of the cross.

                If you've been saved, you can never be lost again. But you can be a fool in going back to what bound you. The rebel's heart can be changed. The difference is in receiving the Gift of "the LORD God [dwelling] among them." 

                2 Corinthians 3:17 (AV) — 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  

                I walked by the tomb of Buddha

                Looked inside and saw his bones,

                Traveled on to see Mohammad

                Still wrapped up in his grave clothes,

                Then I journeyed to a garden,

                Where old Joseph left Him lay,

                The Precious Lamb

                God's own Begotten

                Was no longer in that grave

                If you knew Him like I know Him,

                You would know that He's alive,

                If you felt him like I feel him,

                Resurrection deep inside

                You'd know He's living

                And death has died

                If your wandering in the darkness

                Come and step into the light,

                Nail scarred hands reach out to help you,

                To pull you safe from death to life,

                Friend, I too have stood where you stand,

                Could I trust in things unseen

                But just one step in His direction

                Then in love, He ran to me

                If you knew Him like I know Him,

                You would know that He's alive,

                If you felt him like I feel him,

                Resurrection deep inside

                You'd know He's living

                And death has died

                You ask me how I know He lives

                He lives within my heart

                If you felt Him like I feel Him

                Resurrection deep inside,

                You'd know He's living

                And death has died,

                Death has died...

                --Rodney Griffin / Joseph Habedank

                1. The Practice of Praise


                  Day 221: The Practice of Praise

                  Psalm 141:3–4 (AV) — 3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.  

                  Empty hands held high

                  Such small sacrifice

                  If not joined with my life

                  I sing in vain tonight--Mark Hall

                  The life and the lips are conjoined twins. When you separate the one from the other, life will bleed out. 

                  What we think about we talk about and what we talk about we do. --Rand Hummel

                  We go to church and sing the praises of God, but when our lives do not match that praise, our worship has become vain for our hearts are far from God. David understood this. He understood that his heart’s natural inclination to evil, if left unchecked, would defile his talk, and defiled conversation leads to vile conduct. 

                  Incline not my heart to any evil thing. God, do not let my heart dwell on sinful, evil acts. 

                  Set a watch, keep the door of my mouth and lips. God, prick my conscience concerning the words and attitudes I speak when I talk. 

                  Incline not my heart...to practise wicked works. Lord, if selfish, sinful desires defile my heart and lips, I will live out those desires. O, Lord! Help me practice righteousness and not wickedness!

                  And let me not eat of their dainties. Lord, don’t let me enjoy sin! 

                  May the words I say

                  And the things I do

                  Make my Lifesong sing

                  Bring a smile to You

                  Let my Lifesong sing to You

                  Let my Lifesong sing to You

                  I want to sign Your name to the end of this day

                  Knowing that my heart was true

                  Let my Lifesong sing to You--Mark Hall