2/15/17 Matter of the Heart
“When was the last time that you loved someone with reckless abandon? For that matter, when was the last time you did anything that resembled the character of My Son without the bondages of traditions, personal inhibitions, or fear?
"I would like you to know something. Please, never forget it. Because I love you so much, I have poured Myself into you. My Son gave everything away for your benefit. My people have, for centuries, given everything - even their lives - for the good of others with that same love. They have had the heart of Jesus and were justified in calling themselves by His Name. I was honored to bestow that Name on them. When they lost everything, they proclaimed My Name louder than ever. When they were called upon to give up their lives, their hearts praised Me for the opportunity to do so. No one could overcome them, because they had won every battle in their prayer closets before it manifested itself in front of them. They gave everything away in their hearts long before others took it from them. I had people who could be used to show the world the heart of Jesus.
"I am very concerned about your generation. You hold on to everything I give you, or give only a small portion of it away, calling it stewardship. Your praise is hindered because you have not completely surrendered to My Lordship. Where there is no surrender, there is no real praise welling up in your hearts. How could it come forth when it has not been nurtured in your heart? You are comparing yourselves with yourselves to see how you are faring in My economy. That is one of the reasons you do not come to repentance. Compare yourselves with Jesus, or My true prophets, or those who died praising Me in the arena. Then see how you fare, and come to Me in repentance.”
Acts 8:1b and 4 AMP
1b) On that day a great and severe persecution broke out against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles (special messengers).
4) Now those who were scattered abroad went about [through the land from place to place] preaching the glad tidings, the Word [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God].
Romans 15:1-7 NIV
1) We who are strong ought to bear the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
2) Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
3) For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”
4) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
6) so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7) Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
I have often thought of writing a story about dropping someone from this generation back into the first century during the heavy persecutions; especially someone who has accepted the prosperity doctrine or the “name it and claim it” foolishness that is so prevalent within today’s church. Where would they find peace sitting in the arena or when fleeing because their homes were confiscated? Could they praise the Lord for the opportunity to lay their lives down as Jesus did, instead of speaking “positive words” to deliver themselves from the trials?
Before the rest of us judge them, how about if any one of us were there? How much fear would we have? How much “justice” would we demand when we were persecuted? How much of our prosperity would we justify when others had nothing? Would we sell everything that we had so others could have a little something? Would we demand the “right” to prosper?
Frankly, I wonder how we can feel proud of giving our pittance to the work of the Lord when Ananias and Sapphira fell down and died because they held back a small portion of what they should have given and then lied about it. Both we and they made the same commitment to God when we accepted Jesus – “Everything I have is Yours, Lord.”
The lesson has little to do with money. It is an issue of the heart. Is everything we have truly His - time, relationships, money, thoughts, etc.? I’m sure that He loves us; but is He proud of us when we have promised Him everything, yet hold back in every way, actually offering even less of what we have than what Ananias and Sapphira held back? I wonder.
Lord, teach me to hold nothing back,