From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! What is coming out of your mouth and what is it saying about the state of your heart? Your heart is also align to what you treasure! So what are you saying that is revealing what is in your heart as it relates to what you treasure? Are your words speaking of your trust in God? Are you careful what you allow into your heart in order to keep from allowing it to be filled with things that will hurt you and hurt others? Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Have you asked Him in to help you see things the way God sees things? Have you asked Him in to help you know His good, pleasing, and perfect will? Have you asked Him to help you have a pure heart? Will you invite Him in to be your strength and portion forever? Have you invited Him in so that He will give you peace that goes beyond understanding to guard your heart? Have you invited Him in so that your heart won’t be troubled and so that you won’t be afraid? Will you invite Him into your heart so that He will give you the desires of your heart? When you speak are you giving thanks to God? When you speak are you glorifying God? When you speak are you praising God? When you speak how is it reflecting the greatness of God? Are you in a bad place? Is your heart broken? Call out to God! Invite Jesus into your heart! Allow Him to bring you hope, peace, and love! Invite Jesus into your heart so that your spirit can be renewed! Don’t be hard-hearted! Invite Jesus into your heart! Let’s allow the meditation of our hearts be pleasing to God!
We all need help! We all need wisdom! We all need discernment! We all need a savior!
As today’s devotional calls out our natural tendencies aren’t always for the best! Today’s devotional speaks to our need for Jesus to come and save us! He came to save us! He didn’t come to condemn the world, He came that through Him we can all be saved!
My Human Nature — Day 68: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Proverbs 6:30-35, Mark 14:43-72, Leviticus 19, Leviticus 20
Today’s devotional puts it this way…
The Nobel Prize winner and most important Russian literary artist of the second half of the twentieth century, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008), who was imprisoned for eight years for criticising Stalin, wrote, ‘The line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor through classes, nor between political parties… but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.’
We are all created in the image of God. Human beings are capable of acts of great love, courage and heroism. Yet, not one of us (apart from Jesus) is without sin. Do you know what’s in your heart?
–from Day 68: Bible In One Year 2017
1. Human nature and its weakness … Proverbs 6:30-35
30People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself.
33Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away.
34For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
–from Proverbs 6
All sin breaks God’s law and is therefore serious. But there are gradations of sin. Some sins are far worse than others.
The writer of Proverbs makes this point by using the example of a person who steals because he is starving. Yes, even this is wrong and there is a price to pay (vv.30–31).
But the writer says the consequences of adultery are far more serious. It leads to ‘shame’ (v.33b), ‘jealousy’ (v.34a), ‘revenge’ (v.34b) and to the destruction of lives, particularly the adulterers themselves: ‘Soul-destroying, self-destructive… a reputation ruined for good’ (vv.32–33, MSG).
The writer says, ‘jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge’ (v.34). Human nature has not changed in thousands of years.
There is nothing wrong with sex or money. But there are many temptations that surround them both. Several of the laws in the Old Testament passage for today were developed to put boundaries around them, safeguarding their proper use.
–from Day 68: Bible In One Year 2017
2. Human nature and its results … Mark 14:43-72
43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
53They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’ ” 59Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
Peter Disowns Jesus
66While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
68But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
69When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
71He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
72Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
–from Mark 14
Sinful human nature led to the death of Jesus. The challenge is to live differently:
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. He said, ‘The one I kiss is the man’ (v.44a). He went up to Jesus and ‘kissed him’ (v.45).
In the Greek, the word for hypocrisy is the same word as the word for mask (masks were used in Ancient Greece for acting). On the outside Judas was wearing a mask of love for Jesus. In reality, he was betraying him to be crucified. The kiss was the ultimate act of hypocrisy.
Joyce Meyer writes about what she calls the ‘Judas kiss test’ – the test of being betrayed by friends we have loved, respected and trusted. Most people in positions of leadership for any length of time are likely to have experienced this. You need to ‘forgive the offender and not allow him or her to cause you to fail or delay in doing what God has called you to do’.
Speak the truth
Because there was no evidence against Jesus they had to rely on false testimony. Yet it appears that many were prepared to testify against him (v.56). Having practised as a barrister I have observed first hand that some are still prepared to give ‘false testimony’ in a court of law.
Corrupt judges are still a feature of the world today. They knew, or ought to have known, that Jesus was entirely innocent yet ‘they all condemned him as worthy of death’ (v.64b). It must be terrible to live in a society without the rule of law, where judges cannot be trusted.
Identify with Jesus
I can sympathise totally with Peter’s denial of Jesus. He was really determined not to do it, yet he failed. I know how weak my own human nature is.
The account of Peter’s denial can only have come from Peter himself – who with extraordinary openness and vulnerability reveals his own weakness and failure.
When Jesus was in serious trouble, ‘Everyone deserted him and fled’ (v.50). Probably Mark, the author of the Gospel, was the young man who, ‘wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind’ (vv.51–52).
Although everyone else had fled (v.50), Peter is brave and committed enough to make his way ‘right into the courtyard of the High Priest’ (v.54), albeit following at a distance, in sight of Jesus and the trial. I suspect that by this point I would have been with the rest of the disciples – halfway to Galilee!
Yet, there are haunting words about the self-indulgence of the great apostle Peter. While Jesus, his friend and leader, was taken to trial, Peter ‘sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire’ (vv.54,67).
As Peter saw what was happening to Jesus and what he was going to have to suffer, Peter increasingly distanced himself from Jesus (v.54a). Having started in that direction the next step was to deny him. Having set out on a course that involved lying, he ended up saying, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about’ (v.71b).
I am sure Peter didn’t intend to go so far when keeping his distance from Jesus, but for all of us one sin can easily lead to another and, before we realise it, we end up doing things that we deeply regret. When Peter realised what he had done ‘he broke down and wept’ (v.72c).
–from Day 68: Bible In One Year 2017
3. Human nature and God’s law … Leviticus 19:1-20:27
1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3“ ‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.
4“ ‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5“ ‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. 7If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.
9“ ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
11“ ‘Do not steal.
“ ‘Do not lie.
“ ‘Do not deceive one another.
12“ ‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13“ ‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“ ‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14“ ‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15“ ‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16“ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17“ ‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18“ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
19“ ‘Keep my decrees.
“ ‘Do not mate different kinds of animals.
“ ‘Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
“ ‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
20“ ‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. 21The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.
23“ ‘When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden.For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. 24In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.
26“ ‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.
“ ‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.
27“ ‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
28“ ‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
29“ ‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.
30“ ‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
31“ ‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
32“ ‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
33“ ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35“ ‘Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. 36Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
37“ ‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.’ ”
–from Leviticus 19
Punishments for Sin
1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. 3I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, 5I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.
6“ ‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.
7“ ‘Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. 8Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.
9“ ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
10“ ‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.
11“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law, both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14“ ‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
15“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he is to be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16“ ‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
17“ ‘If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.
18“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.
19“ ‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father, for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.
20“ ‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt, he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless.
21“ ‘If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.
22“ ‘Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.
25“ ‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 26You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
27“ ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’ ”
–from Leviticus 20
Today’s devotional reflects on this part of today’s reading as follows…
‘God wants us to live pure, clean lives that flow like pure, clean water because God alone is your source’, writes Joyce Meyer. This part of Leviticus has been called ‘the holiness code’ – ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy’ (19:2).
Because human nature has a wayward side there is a need for law. As in any society there are civil and criminal laws. Some of these laws are specific and directed at the problems of Ancient Israel. Others are broad and generally applicable to most societies.
The ceremonial laws are now obsolete, the dietary laws having been superseded by Jesus and the sacrifices fulfilled in his death. The civil laws are not necessarily appropriate to other nations. Some were humane, and others severe. They seem to have been necessary for the earlier stages of Israel’s history, but they are not all of permanent or universal validity.
The moral law, as expanded and deepened by Jesus, and as illustrated in the apostolic letters – especially in their positive parallels to the law’s prohibitions – is still in force as a revelation of God’s will for his people.
The moral law is summed up by Jesus as ‘Love the Lord your God… and… love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). This goes back to our passage for today, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18b). The moral law was that God’s people should be holy (v.2b). The rest of the law instructs us how to love our neighbour as ourselves and how to be holy.
The moral laws applicable to us now would include the laws to protect the poor (v.10), the laws against racial discrimination (for example vv.33–34), as well as the more obvious ones about theft (v.11), fraud and robbery (v.13a) and so on.
There are often important principles that have very real applications today. For example, ‘do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight’ (v.13b) is a challenge to us to pay all of our bills on time. There is an increasing tendency to delay the payment of bills until the final reminder. God’s people are called to be different. This is but one tiny example of what it means to be a holy people.
To keep your heart pure you need to turn away from the things that spoil your life. Among the more obvious sins listed here (vv.3–31) is one about being a ‘dispenser of gossip’ (v.16, AMP) and ‘holding grudges’ (v.18, AMP). Keep confidences and try not to hold anything against anyone. Holding a grudge is like allowing someone else to live rent free in your head.
There are also warnings about the dangers of ‘witchcraft’ (v.26b). Avoid reading horoscopes, consulting psychics, fortune-telling, palm reading, tarot cards and every other kind of occult activity (vv.31). If you have meddled in any of these things you can be forgiven. Repent and get rid of the things associated with that activity such as books, charms, DVDs and magazines (Acts 19:19).
Another aspect of the law is that it brings sin to light and leads to repentance and reliance on the grace of God. As I read all these laws I see how hard they are to live up to, how far short I fall of God’s standards and how much I need his forgiveness and the help of his Holy Spirit.
–from Day 68: Bible In One Year 2017