Friday, June 1, 2018

The Ripple Effect, Part One

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Matthew 15:18-20 KJV
I hate to disappoint you but there are no, "Good guys" in this broken world. The law of God clearly shuts every man's mouth and there is no one who is just before God. There are a lot of things in life I haven't done because I, was "born again" and became a Christian, going into my freshman year of high school. I've never been drunk, I've never taken drugs and I wasn't sexually promiscuous. Yet going into my high school years there was a light that came into my life and I knew if I died that there was a hell waiting for me.

There was no way to change the person that I was inside and I knew that if I did not change, then what was on the inside was going to come out. I began to cry out to Jesus for mercy and grace because the law had shut my mouth and made me accountable to God.

  Every one of us have been touched by the tragedy of sin, by the ripple effect of the fallen nature. It doesn't matter what your educational background is or your economic status or what country you are from. If you have been born into this world you have been touched by the law of sin and death. The scriptures say that evil things come from within the heart of man. The very first thing Jesus mentions is evil thoughts. Whatever you are allowing in your thought life is going to come out into your life.

It's the thought that becomes the seed of what happens in your heart. Stop and think about that for a minute.

If you look back in the book of Genesis, during the time of the flood that destroyed all creation, God didn't send the flood because the acts of man were evil. He sent the flood because their thoughts, what they were meditating on, was continually evil. (See Genesis 6:5) God cares about your thought life and your thoughts are open and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account,(Heb. 4:13 paraphrased).

When we come to the Lord, there are still ways that we react that we have learned from this world. Now that we are Christians we are not supposed to war anymore like we used to. (See 2 Corinthians 10:4) When I came to the Lord, God would convict me about the ways I would react to people, just as I had when I was lost. God would send difficult people into my life to teach me to think and respond the way he wanted me to. There is not going to be change in our lives without suffering. I had to learn not to fight according to the flesh but to live by the Spirit.

   I remember as a young man getting a job at a lumber yard and word got around that I was a Christian. At lunchtime one of the men grabbed me and held my arms and taunted the other men to hit me. They started hitting me in the legs and were laughing at me. There was a time that I would have hit back and fought with all I had. God had worked a change in my heart and when they saw I wasn't going to fight back it all stopped. Later in the day, one by one they all came and visited with me and asked about my faith in Christ. They saw that there was something different in my life.

  God wants to raise up a testimony in YOUR life but it involves suffering and change and a willingness to trust Him. 

God's word is true and He wants to bring a change for the better in your thought life. His word is like water that washes us and renews our mindset. (See Ephesians 5:26) If you don't seek the Lord and renew your mindset, what you are letting have place in your heart will manifest itself in your life. Jesus is our hope, our champion deliverer and as we seek Him He will be faithful to renew our thought life.

 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

  to be continued next week.....

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