Scripture reading for March 11: Luke 6, Psalm 50, Proverbs 19
Key Scriptures: Luke 6:43-45 “”For no good tree bears bad fruit; nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Jesus connected trees and their fruit in his teaching about the evil fruit of sin in the human heart. The heart is the source of bad fruit. It is also the source of good fruit. But a evil heart cannot produce good fruit nor can a good heart produce bad fruit. What comes out of our mouths and life comes from our heart. According to Jesus, we need a heart transplant!
Faith Confession: Thank You for giving me a new heart and source of good by the Holy Spirit. Continue Your work in me to produce a pure heart of love that reflects the character of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 50:14-15 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.”
Scripture reading for February 18th: Mark 7, Psalm 35, Proverbs 4
Key Scriptures: Mark 7:18-23 “And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart, but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, and out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.””
Jesus was responding to the Pharisees question about why His disciples ate with defiled hands, not properly washing. The Pharisees were more concerned with keeping their rules than the inner holiness God demanded. It’s good to wash hands and observe rules, but God wants a change of heart. Defilement is in the heart, not the stomach!
Faith Confession: Lord, I need Your mercy to reveal my need of inner cleansing from besetting sins and attitudes that defile my spirit. I place my trust in Jesus Christ’s shed blood to cleanse my heart and gift me His righteousness.
Proverbs 4:23-24 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.”
Scripture reading for July 8th: Proverbs 14-17
According to God’s Word, there is a definite connection between the heart and the tongue. The heart is the source of everything that the tongue speaks. The heart isn’t just the organ that pumps the life blood of a person, however. According to Jesus the heart of man is the source of “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.” (Mark 7:21) These ungodly sins come from the heart and then the mouth speaks and directs a person into the trouble.
As we read today’s proverbs, there are several that relate to the heart and the tongue. This ancient wisdom of Solomon is relevant for us today. Proverbs 14:3 states that “a fool’s talk brings a rod to his back but the lips of the wise protect them.” “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of fools gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:2) Proverbs 17:20 talks of a man with a perverse heart and a deceitful tongue. The heart and tongue lead this man into trouble and lack. Punishment awaits those with perverse hearts and lips that speak lies and folly. In fact, the Lord detests all who are proud of heart and He promises punishment! (Proverbs 16:5)
The wise person has a heart that is discerning and lips that promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21) The wise man’s heart guides his mouth and brings forth pleasant words that are sweet to the soul and promote healing. (Proverbs 16:23-24) It is the fear of the Lord that teaches the heart wisdom, and humility brings understanding and honor. (Proverbs 15:32-33) As we think of Jesus Christ and His own life of humility and living in the fear of the Lord, we see how His heart guided his mouth. We are reminded of lips that brought healing and pleasant words of instruction. His parables came from a heart sold out to God. He only said what His father said, and did what His Father did! (John 5:19)
Do you need a new heart and a clean mouth? The good news is that a new heart is available today through Jesus Christ! He is the only one who can help you! He was totally pure in heart and perfectly obedient to the Father in order to give His life as a sacrifice for us to free us from our sins! If you will confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins and cleanse your heart. Today is a great time to do just that!
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds.” Then He adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)
Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 5-7
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This passage from our reading today is known by faithful Jews as the “Shema”. This Hebrew word simply means “listen”. The Shema is quoted twice daily by devout Jews around the world reminding them of the importance of a relationship with the one true God. This passage was quoted by Jesus in part when he was asked which was the greatest commandment. He answered with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of God’s people. Let’s examine it closer today and seek to apply it to our lives as twenty-first century AD Christians.
First, hearing is important! God wants us to have ears to hear His voice! Remember that the nation of Israel did not want to hear God’s voice speaking His commandments. They had asked Moses to hear for them so they would not die. Moses was repeating what God had told him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! (Romans 10:17) God sends His people out to speak His Word to bring faith and obedience and the resulting blessing on His own.
Second, the Lord is one! There is no other God but God! He is the creator of heaven and earth. He is holy and complete in Himself. He desires the love of His children and loves them infinitely, desiring the best for them. His love is expressed in his Word and commandments. When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are actively responding to His Word in obedience. If we love Him, we obey His commands. (John 15:9-11) His joy will be in us and our life will be full!
The last point to look at in this devotion is the need to impress these commands of the Lord on our children. If these commands are on our hearts, we will pass them on. The most effective way to pass them on is to live them out and speak about them in the normal flow of life. Live them out from morning to night. Make them the focus of all you do because they are on your own heart! It’s pretty simple really! What an impact on the next generation! Are you listening?