God Knows The Heart

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So, the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain” their teachings are merely human rules.” You have not let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”                                                      Mark 7:5-8

As we read in the book of Mark, Jesus’ opponents which was the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem questioned Jesus about why he and his disciples were not living according to the tradition of the elders. Trying to embarrass him and undermine his authority. When with the crowd he had been teaching, they questioned Jesus about eating with ritually of the elders would never do which is to eat with unclean hands.

The tradition of the elders was an oral interpretation of Israel’s ancestral custom. The Pharisees considered this tradition legally binding all Jews, even through not all followed it. Mark’s gospel of the explanation of the purification ritual demonstrate he is not sympathetic towards the tradition.

Jesus first responded to his opponents by quoting from the Prophets and the Law, sources important than the tradition of the elders. He said his adversaries were people who honored God with the lips but not with their hearts. They taught human laws as divine doctrine which can also be found in Isaiah 29:13 which states “These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”  Finally, Jesus responded directly to their question about the purification regulation. However, he addressed the crowd, not his opponents, thus resuming his position as a teacher with authority. He told the crown that nothing went into a person could defile them. Rather it was the things that comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. In other words, things that a person puts into their mouths such as food could not defile them, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth, which truly comes from the heart  Jesus’ new teaching about inner purity calls us to reexamine our tendency to engage in long-held traditions and rituals rather than the transformation of our hearts. It also challenges our tendency to hold on to human traditions as if they were divinely commanded. Finally, it calls us to reexamine the exclusive stance of our faith communities. This last challenge may be the hardest call of all, if our faith is predicated on a versus then understanding. Just as traditions and purity regulations helped preserve ancient Israel’s religious and ethnic identity and faith is a hostile world, so traditions and purity rules help preserve traditional biblical Christian identity. Are we like the crowds following Jesus or are  we like Mark’s first readers, are confronting Jesus. Do we hang on to traditions and rituals remaining exclusive in our thinking in order to protect our traditional faith and identity? Or do we let God open our hearts-even if such action subjects our faith and identify to change?

We need to remember what Jesus tells us as well as his disciple, God is not interested at our human traditions, which is that we come to church on Sunday mornings and sit in the pew, we then feel that we did our Christian duties until next week. We are called Christians because we are followers (disciples) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we should live our lives according to the teaching of Christ. More important is what God told Samuel in the book of 1 Samuel 16:7 God does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

 

 

 

Look What He Did (Guess Blogger)

Hello everyone today I would like to introduce to you Carole Anne:

Carole Anne Hallyburton began His Own Heart Ministries as a weekly devotional blog during her days as a graduate student of Christian Education at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte, where she also served as student body president for two years. In addition to her master’s degree from GCTS, Carole Anne holds a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She teaches ancient Hebrew language, reviews books for B&H Publishing Group, Paraclete Press and Crossway USA. She additionally serves on the Board of Advisors for Bible Journey, LLC, a producer of online curricula for churches, small groups and individuals.
This blog, as well as the three inductive small-group Bible studies she has written, emerged as parts of Carole Anne’s vision for fostering a deeper level of Biblical literacy among readers. The writer prayerfully aims to bring Scripture to life for others while encouraging solid application for the living out of that Scripture – on Jesus Christ’s terms – within today’s culture. While postings were initially sporadic due to the time constraints of student life, His Own Heart has morphed into a weekly publication. To God be the glory always!
We welcome your inquiries related to His Own Heart Ministries as well as its team. Simply connect with us through the site’s Contact page.                                                               Welcome phrase in different languages. Word clouds concept.                                                I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19
He said He was.
And then He did.
And here we are.
So there you go.
Welcome – at last – to the new online home of His Own Heart Ministries! God has taken us through a host of new learning and spiritual experiences since our last published post on Mother’s Day, nurturing–yet-stretching us further than we anticipated (and admittedly further than we actually desired to be stretched once or twice).

But as we take this week to introduce you to the site with some fun and games – and a few prizes, too – it is our utmost prayer that you will come to see that God is indeed doing a new thing through His redesign and expansion of His Own Heart Ministries. Please make no mistake, have no fraction of a doubt, that the project you see contained in this website is His and His alone.
On that note – and as you and I stand together here on the threshold of His Own Heart’s new virtual home – would you join me in a prayer of dedication?
Heavenly Father, You are mighty; You are gracious; You are holy. You are worthy. We love You and are so grateful to You for bringing His Own Heart to its new and permanent home on the web. We thank You for every single experience You have allowed us through Your construction of the site, for the friendships that have deepened and the new friends You’ve brought to us along the way, for the myriad of ways You’ve revealed Yourself to us over the course of the building effort. His Own Heart is humbled and honored to serve You; we ask that You use this project to Your specific purpose and to Your specific glory. In agreement with Revelation 4:11, may what You’ve created for Your pleasure indeed bring You pleasure now and forever. We ask this in the beautiful Name of Your Son – our Redeemer – Jesus Christ, Amen.
One of the first things you may have noticed when you came to this site, other than a different look is our new web address: http://HisOwnHeartMinistries.com. We’re in the process, as of this publication, of getting an SSL certificate as an added measure of website security, so in the days ahead the prefix of our address will change from http:// to https://. Additionally, we have a new, secure email address: info@HisOwnHeartMinistries.com.

Here Am I, Send Me!

 

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In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple, Above him were seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the world earth is full of his glory. At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this as touched your lips, your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I, Se”nd Me!”                                Isaiah 6:1-8

These words are written by the prophet Isaiah. Although some prophets predicted future events their primary role was to call God’s people back to him. The most eloquent of the prophets, Isaiah, analyzed the failures of all nations, around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace to the nation and to the earth. After the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, he meet with the eleven disciples in Galilee, and told them what he expect them to do. “All authority is heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 18-19. This is know as the Great Commission in the Gospel.

For anyone who personal knows me, you know that I have been on a journey in becoming a license local Pastor through the United Methodist Church. I can truly tell you and honestly say to you it has been a difficult one as well as a filling one, during these last few years, and yet I still have so much to learn. At times I have question God more than once, Lord, are you sure you have the right person for this job, one would think to say God knows what he is doing even when I do not. I have been bless to serve in churches while their own Pastor is away and even a few months while one was on sabbatical. I once was told by a Pastor as long as I have a willing heart God is able to use me, and he has at that. I have spent many hours in prayer and search the scriptures to try to understand what God’s will for my life is, and many times these words from the book of Isaiah comes to my mind, “Here AM I Lord, Send Me. Today before our service began someone had given me something in which he had written for me, as well as another young man on the same journey. As I read these words it once again confirm what God has called me to do.    

JerryJerry 3  I may never know the person or persons I have touch along my journey, I ask our Lord to use me to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all who wants to know. What I can share with any and all who reads these words that I write down on my blog, you are God’s most precious gift and He loves you, simply because you are His Child. God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this world that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.             (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

The Great Discovery

John 4 16.png“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samarians  worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. The woman said, “I know that the Messiah (called Christ)” is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you–I am he,”     John 4:21-26

A sobering revelation now dawns on the woman at the well: It was quite possible to be in contact with the Lord for years and still not made the Great Discovery. For example, Job thought he was a godly man because he could defend God and his faith. Then God revealed Himself to Job and he confessed, “I had only heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:5-6) When Isaiah saw God in the Temple, his reaction was, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!” (Isaiah 6:5)

This type of meeting not only makes us aware of our own weaknesses, but also of our inability to save ourselves. Only Christ can save us-this is as clear as day. In our own strength we are doomed to fail. God has a wonderful plan with our lives; we only have to become aware of it, like the sinful woman at the well did. The Lord does not necessary use competent people,,, He equips those He uses. Then this former ignorance becomes a song of jubilation; a song of incredible joy. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! The ignorance of the past makes room for a great discovery.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Merry Christmas

Isaiah 9b.pngFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.                                                            Isaiah 9:6

It is early in the morning here, the earth around me is quiet and still, there is a chill in the morning air and some snow flakes falling around me. I begin to just listen for the voice of God and remember from Psalm 46:10 Be Still and Know I Am God and so I am still. Thinking of how bless I truly am that God loves surrounds me and is all around me on this Christmas morning. His love for me is so deep, that regardless of my past sins, my present, or future sins that there will be nothing that will separate his love for me. On this day more than two thousand years ago he sent his son into this world to sacrifice his life for my sins, so that when I leave this earth I will forever be in the present of the “Great I Am” and knowing that leaves me speechless and truly amazed just thinking about it.

Since I started writing this page almost two years ago, my hope and prayer is that by someway I am able to touch you with my words that the Holy Spirit has place upon my heart. Sharing with all who reads these words how precious and amazing you truly are. If for some reason you ever doubt what I am saying to you please search for God though your prayers and He will be found, and you will never be disappointed. I will continue to be in prayer as I too search through God’s words and prayer the words to write down here on the many pages of my blog. May the Spirit of this Holy Day find you searching for the Savior of the world, the “Great I Am”.

Prayer: Dear Lord:

Heavenly Father in heaven, I ask for prayers for all who read these words, may somehow and in someway that your spirit touch them and their lives. May they come to know and accept you as their own personnel Savior, and for you to dwell in their hearts forever.

In Christ Name I Pray

Amen

Merry Christmas friends

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Third Sunday of Advent

Joy.pngWe have lit the candles of Hope and Peace, and relight them now to remind us that our hope is in Christ and that he will come again to bring peace to the world. Today begins the third week in our Advent journey, and so we light the third candle, the candle of Joy. In ancient times, the prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; to those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” Many suffer from despair, anxiety, or holiday blues. Others experience only the dark side of human nature. Christ’s light has power to overcome all dark places in our society and our souls. The Psalmist tells us “to make a joyful noise to the Lord, for the Lord is God who made us and whose we are, whose steadfast loves endures forever and faithfulness to all generations. Now we light the third candle, the candle of Joy, as we remember the angel’s words to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” We light it so that all who reap blue harvest from seeds of sadness may know the joy of Jesus Christ. We light it in honor of those who show us the joy of following Christ.

Let us pray: God of Good News, as we await your coming we give you thanks for the joy we have in Christ Jesus. May all who seek such joy find it. For all who have ceased to believe in its possibility, may you work through us to show your joy already present. Come, God of Joy, come.               Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

What Great Love Is This!

Isaiah 9.png   For unto us a child is born, for unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.                                                 Isaiah 9:6-7

Long before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah foretold about his birth in the book of Isaiah. During the years when kings ruled Israel and Judah, God spoke through prophets. Although some prophets predicted future events their primary role was to call God’s people back to him. The most eloquent of the prophets Isaiah, analyzed the failures of all the nations around him and pointed to a future Messiah who would bring peace to the nation and to the earth.

Then Isaiah said, “hear mow, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Humans had gotten so far away from God because of their sins just as all of us of today, that God choose to send his one and only Son to become a sacrifice so that we will not be separated for all of eternity. Their would come a time in Jesus’ life that he would touch a leper’s open wound, he would wipe the tears of a widow, he would heal the sick, as well as to heal others, the dumb will speak, the blind would see the “Great I Am” For Jesus will see our nakedness for we cannot hide. He will see our selfishness for we cannot give. He will see our pain, for we cannot heal ourselves. Since Jesus became one of us he depended on human parents to care for him, and a mother to see her son nail to a cross someday while her heart is in some much pain. He will be torn by the thorns of our accusations, you’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin. Jesus will be crushed under the weight of his own sorrow, and he will be pierced by the spear of our rejection. And he that God knew all of this way before the day that his son was born, he still choose to send him hear on earth to become one of us.  What love, what Amazing Love that the Father has done for his children.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Second Sunday of Advent

Peace.pngWe began Advent last Sunday by lighting the first candle, the candle of Hope. We light it again today to remind us that Christ is coming to fulfill God’s promises. Today we light the second candle of Peace. The prophet Isaiah said, “Comfort, comfort my people” to a nation anxious about invasion and exile, as he foretold the coming of the Prince of Peace. Our world is still filled with violence and abuse, where families are torn apart by war and children used as soldiers. Isaiah’s words continue to speak to us that Jesus will bring us to an everlasting peace. Mary and Joseph found no room in the inn to give birth to Jesus, but we can heed John the Baptist’s command to make room in our hearts. Wherever there is war or mistrust between people, families, or our own hearts, God is present and leading us to imagine new ways of living in peace. Christ is our only hope, and our peace is found through him. We light this candle to remind us of Jesus’ life-giving peace to all who trust him. We light it in honor of those who live the Gospel truth that war does not make one great. It is the peace workers who risk much so that others may live without fear.

Prayer: We’re in trouble, Holy God. So many in the world do not know peace in their countries or in their hearts. We use weapons of steel and barbed words to wound one another. We seek balm for our restless hearts in the things that only make is more wounded. Open our hearts to Jesus so we may have the peace of his holy presence and live it in our unpeaceful world. Save us from outside violence and inner turmoil. We need you. Come, peaceful God, come.                            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

What Is Advent?

10389133_423507684465031_9016953425129766019_nI would like to take this opportunity to share with all of you the meaning of advent. Too many times everyone seems to be so busy with the shopping, baking, presents, parties etc. we simply do not take the time to slow down for the season of Advent, What is advent it is a time four weeks before Christmas that we take the opportunity to invite God into the season before we get to Christmas Day.                                                               The season of Advent, which comes comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians. [Liturgical — from liturgy, which means the forms and functions of public worship.]
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was. So where did the season of Advent come from? Here is an attempt at a partial response — going back to the sacred Scriptures and to the early centuries of the church.

First, recall that the building blocks of Advent — its images, stories, memories, promises, songs, and hopes — are already present in the Bible. The rich images of the prophets Isaiah and Amos are there. The stories of John, Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and John the Baptist are found in the Scriptures. There are Israel’s memories of exile and the hope for a day when God would restore hope, justice, and rulers in the line of David. There you find the songs: Mary‘s song, Zechariah’s song, and the psalms of lament, anguish, and hope. The vision of a new heaven and a new earth is there. Jesus’ call to be alert because we don’t know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come is there. Paul’s and Peter’s words to believers awaiting the return of the risen Lord (the second coming) are there. All of this was there by the end of the first century. It was only a matter of time until the churches in various places began to find ways to weave these elements into their worship and into the ways they kept time together’s promised by his first coming.

What Is the Advent Wreath?
The Advent wreath is a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. On that wreath, four or five candles are typically arranged. During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services.

Each candle represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
The lighting of an Advent wreath is a custom that began in 16th-century Germany among Lutherans and Catholics. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24.
Symbolism of the Advent Wreath Candles
Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles: three purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.
Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent candle is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, NIV). So each week from now through the Sunday before Christmas I will share with you what each candle means and what color that Christians light on that day. You can also purchase your own advent wreath or even make one for yourself. So friends lets not rush this beautiful season of Advent let us journey together to find out what is all the fuse is about during this season, and why God had to send his one and only son Jesus into this world to be able to save his people from their sins.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The God of All of Our Tomorrows

Isaiah 46.pngListen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you: I will sustain you and I will rescue you. With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?  Isaiah 46:4-5

As I read these words this morning from the book of Isaiah, God is not just talking about just the descendants of Jacob. He is talking to all of his children even to all of us of today, that regardless of human beings aging over time, he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God compassions never fails, they are new every morning. You and I can begin each day confidently, knowing that his vast reservoir of blessings is full to the brim. This knowledge helps us wait for him, entrusting our long unanswered prayers into God’s care ad keeping.  God assure you that not one of your prayers has slipped past him, unnoticed. He wants you to drink deeply from his fountain of limitless love and unfailing compassion. As you and I wait in his presence, these divine nutrients are freely available. You may drink without cost from the spring of water of life. Although many of our prayers remain unanswered, we can trust in his great faithfulness. God keeps all of his promises in his perfect way and timing. Among other things, God has promised to give you and me peace not as the world tries to give us but only true peace that comes from Jesus Christ, because in the middle of the craziness of the world our soul finds peace with the Master. Even through for all of us tomorrow is never promises to any of us however, it is a wonderful feel deep in our soul, that God is already there, and he has not forsaken any of his children.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends