Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rend Your Heart

“And rend your heart and not your garments.” (Joel 2:13a NASB)

Joel was grieved over the religious hypocrisy of his day.  He saw the need for repentance that just did not tear their outer garments but broke their hearts over their sin.

One of the greatest enemies of true faith has always been a false religion.  False religion tries through self-effort to change our external behaviors to make ourselves good.  It seeks to improve us from the outside to the inside.  True worship always starts with the heart and proceeds to alter external actions.  The problem with changing our behavior first is that these modifications are never permanent.  When the external stimuli from religious peoples’ opinions and observations are gone, then we revert back to old habit patterns.  Why?  It’s because our heart motivation that drives our behaviors has never been changed.  We rend our outer garments as a smokescreen to hide the sinfulness of our hearts.

Self-effort can never produce a brokenness.  It is only God that can change a heart.  What then must we do?  We must first recognize our need.  We must see ourselves as destitute and spiritual paupers without any ability to save ourselves.  The Beatitudes tell us that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3 NASB). People who practice false religion never recognize their need and therefore are the most difficult people to reach with the Gospel.  Trying to be good enough to go to heaven is the fatal attraction of most false religions.

Are you trying to change yourself from the outside in, or the inside out?  If you are choosing the former, brokenness over your sins will elude you, and the rending of your heart will never happen.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Forbidden Knowledge

So, when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; Acts 1:6-7 (NASB)
 
Jesus’ disciples were looking for the restoration of Israel. They were looking for an earthly kingdom, and Jesus was seeking to establish a spiritual realm.  They were asking for answers to questions that God was not willing to give to them.  What forbidden knowledge are we pursuing today?

We must remember that our first parents, Adam and Eve missed the mark by being overly zealous to obtain forbidden knowledge.  Matthew Henry said this about the Lord's disciples, “Christ had told them that they would sit on thrones (Luke 22:30), and now they could not wait to sit on them.”  Is it possible that God is withholding information about promises he has given to us because we are trying to fit them into our earthly kingdom, and God is working on a much larger spiritual one?  Could it be that the vision that God has given to you will only be fulfilled after Christ’s return when we rule and reign with him?  It indeed does seem to have been true with Jesus’ disciples.

I do not have the absolute answers to these questions. It is above my pay-grade to discern things such as these.  If it is true what I am suggesting, it does not matter how old or how young you are when you leave this earth.  You can anticipate the fulfillment of God’s words to you.  You will receive forbidden knowledge, and all Christ’s promises will be yeah and Amen.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
Email: 
kenbarnes737@gmail.com
website:
https://sites.google.com/site/kenbarnesbooksite/
            http://gleanings757.blogspot.com