Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Rend Your Hearts

Joel 2:13

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

RayMcDI hope our readers don’t get tired of posts about the heart. I think that the heart (not the blood pumping organ but the inner being) is the central element in our Christian walk. One of my favorite sayings – which I created some 35 plus years ago – goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. A about 25 years ago I added the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

The condition and position of one’s heart is vital. One can go through all of the Christian-like actions and not feel it in the heart. One can rend their garments and bow and tithe and attend to the regular ordinances of the faith – but if they do not feel it in their heart – their actions are empty.

Today’s passage reminds us that it isn’t the outward things God is after but the inner heart. If God has the inner heart – the actions will follow. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Joel 2:12–14 – 12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.

If we return to God with all of our heart – our actions will fall in line. If we only follow God with our actions – we can pull that off without the heart being right – and if this is the case – we are lost – because it isn’t our actions that save us – it is our heart being fully yielded to God. Salvation comes not through works (the outward signs) but rather through acceptance of Christ in our lives.

Here are just a few scriptures concerning the heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Jeremiah 24:7 – I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ezekiel 11:19 – I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

Here is a longer one that reminds us it is not the outward but rather the inward that counts.

Romans 2:17–29 – 17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Dear readers – let us rend our heart unto the Lord. Let us take our hearts of stone (carnal hearts) and let God create in us a heart of flesh (spiritual hearts). Let us seek His face and desire His grace.

One final passage about the heart.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(A side note) A friend reminded me the other day that God used some pretty terrible people in the Bible to do His work. God is greater than our elections and who will be the next POTUS. If we turn our hearts to God – God can heal our lands.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

P.S. – Please remember to pray for your pastors – especially this month – as it is Pastor Appreciation Month.

P.S.S. – Please pray for a dear man of God – Bob – as he faces his last days before transitioning to his eternal home with Jesus.

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October 19, 2016 - Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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