Search the Heart, Test the Conscience

Everyone can choose the path they wish to walk on, but know that whatever that path is, God will search your heart and test your conscience.

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the conscience, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:10

The prophet Jeremiah stood out in making claims of God’s judgment in Judah and Jerusalem. This was in a time much like our own where people did not listen and went their own way instead of heeding the warnings. Jeremiah complained to God about his role as a prophet, for it was not an easy path. His path met with consistent friction of opposing oppositions to his preaching and warnings. Today, we have many false prophets who make money by deceiving many to go down a path that is anything but fruitful. Many are blinded to the actual truth of what is reality and what is not. We see what we want to see with our own eyes. The focus in any ministry that claims to be of God should be that of love for one another, helping parent-less children, and widows [see James 1:27]. James described this as a pure religion. According to the scriptures every word that is spoken will be tested and proven if it is true or not.

Can a man search the heart of another or test the conscience of another? We try to, but we do not always succeed in this endeavor. This can only take place when you are living daily with the person whom you are searching or testing. However, Jeremiah tells us it is the Lord who searches the heart and tests the conscience. Jeremiah also warns those who put their trust in man instead of God [see verse 5 of chapter 17]. Those who trust the Lord will be blessed. Blessed with what? Many believe with wealth, but this is not always the case [see Jeremiah 17:11]. Does prospering mean wealth? If you look at the Greek or Hebrew text for prosper its meaning is that of safety, rest, and security, or being at peace. Today we associate the word to mean wealth, but this is not the truth of its meaning. You do not have to be rich to have peace, rest, or security. It is whether, or not your basic needs are being met and if you can sustain yourself through a year of drought like what we experienced last year with Covid-19 where many businesses closed their doors for business, and people were without a job.

Is the grass greener somewhere else? Many seem to think this is true but, it does not always work out that way. Whatever our lot, it takes effort on our part to make something happen whether for good or bad. The result will display itself in how we react towards whatever we must face. I can remember the time I ran away from home. I was lost in the city of Perth and I was complaining to God. I had a strong belief in God for I have received dreams and vision in my early youth. I heard God’s voice spoke to me when I was complaining about my situation at home. He told me I had to go back home. He told me that He would be with me and help see me through the situation. He helped me find my way back home and was true to His word. Sometimes walking away from our path is not the answer and we end up going around a loop and come right back to face what we are running away from. You might say that He was testing my conscience in the situation I was in which was anything but peaceful.

I learned from the mistakes of my parents that moving to another place to gain riches only brought disparity and inequality. When an individual is set on only making money, love goes out the door for other members of the family. Sometimes it means that siblings are left to defend for themselves. Sometimes even when social authorities come for a visit, it is anything but peaceful after when they leave. I hear people exclaim does not God care. Of course, He cares. That is why He sent his Son Jesus. Jesus is God’s Gift of grace to humanity. God’s grace equals love, kindness, and favor. God will chasten those whom He loves, and it is for our own profit towards the fruit of righteousness. Being chasten by God opens our eyes to understanding the truth behind a situation. It brings revelations to our own feelings about a situation as well as those around us. Being chasten by God can mean learning about something and or educating us as to the fact about a given circumstance. Are we willing to listen and consider another point of view? If we can agree to disagree and still be friends, I consider this to be a wonderful place to be, for whatever the disagreement, it is in God’s hand to work it out to prove before our eyes what the truth is.

Everyone can choose the path they wish to walk on, but know that whatever that path is, God will search your heart and test your conscience. I pray you take the path He leads you on to where you are trusting him with all your heart as is stated in Proverbs 3:5-6. Do not get stuck in the loop, ask God to help you see the truth behind any situation or circumstances. Your path soon will be straight again. Remember He Loves You.

Behold what manner of love the Father has Bestowed upon us. . .

Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

1John 3:1

I am remembering back to the late 70’s when this song was sung in church with joy in our hearts for what God’s Love has done,” that we should be called the children of God.” The meaning of Agape love was beginning to spread throughout cities in Washington State in the 70’s. Agape love, a Greek term for sacrificial, unconditional love that God’s Son would go to the cross for humanity. Those who believed, received His Love within their hearts and shared that love to others. It is more than just an emotional experience.  It was a movement among the younger generation that witnessed a change within their heart that God was real.  They wanted more of God and worship was the key to sensing His presence among us.  There was a thirst for more of God in our lives.  I have very fond memories of this time because I witnessed a change in my heart and seen the evidence of my friends changing and having that” joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  Some of us young people went to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Seattle and received the baptism in the Holy Spirit after Reverend Dennis Bennett laid His hands upon our heads in prayer.  We did not fully understand what was happening at that time, but we knew the love of God to be real and that love was making a difference in our personal lives. 

It was a genuine experience knowing that we are now children of God. It did not matter how old a person was, all inhibition were lost in believing in the name of God’s Son and His love for us. We were forgiven and cleansed. We no longer had condemnation within our heart. We had confidence instead in knowing that God would answer our prayers because God had given us a new position of sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [see Ephesians 2:6].  Through the Holy Spirit God was moving through denominational lines and people were getting saved.  It was a work of the grace of God, for many could not change themselves, but when the Spirit of God got a hold of you something happened.  It was truly the gift of God as the Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 2:8.   It was a revelation that being a Christian could be more then just a work in progress of trying to change yourself.  We needed God’s gift and anointing, and the Apostle John talked about it as an “unction from the Holy One” that we know who Jesus the Christ is [the Messiah, the anointed one. . .see 1 John 2:20-22].

“God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him” exclaims John in 1 John4:16. We have His love living inside us, for perfect love drives out fear [see 1 John4:18]. If we are afraid, then we are not perfected in His love. If we are not perfected in His love, then a breach has occurred. Something has broken the fellowship we had with God.  If we no longer have confidence that God will hear our prayers, we stand alone.  Our assurance is in the Love of God; therefore, we repent and ask God to cleanse our heart and renew us to that position we had in Christ. We ask God to change our heart if we have hatred, bitterness, and envy residing in our heart instead of love for our brother.  We must surrender our self to the Love of God, for the love of God helps us to keep his commandments and it should not be burdensome [see 1John 5:3].  If there is a yoke of burden, then we are not under the love of God.  We have placed ourselves under a different system that is not of the love of God.  In the world the cosmic principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure are the characteristic of a person seeking self-gratification rather than loving a brother or sister. Have we lost our first love from God?  Is a question we all must answer.  The world does not know love because it does not know Jesus.  Let us pray for God’s love to continuously rule our hearts every day.  May His Love not be a burden, but rather a gift to all who would receive and believe. Pray and receive His Love today into your heart.

Take my yoke upon you. . .

Jesus speaks to those who are heavy laden. Those that carry a heavy burden, or those that are oppressed.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matthew 11:29

Jesus said that His yoke is easy and not burdensome [see verse 30 in Matthew chapter 11]. In verse 28 of the same chapter, Jesus speaks to those who are heavy laden. Those that carry a heavy burden, or those that are oppressed. Jesus invites us to take His yoke, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Have you ever been burdened? Maybe you carry the weight of taking care of a family member, or you are under a harsh and authoritarian treatment. Whatever the case may be, it is time to lay down the weight you carry upon Jesus.

What is a yoke? A yoke is an ox bow, a pole or bands that is tied over your shoulders like what you see on oxen that plows the field. Sometimes the task master of the oxen can be harsh with whips flying to make the oxen move across the field. Thus, the wooden pole becomes the weight of the burden you carry. When David was hiding in the cave, he cried out in Psalms 142:4, “no man cared for my soul.” Unfair treatment from others can mean you have no one to turn to for help. David was praying and asking God to bring his soul out of prison. Are you feeling distressed or stuck in a cave like David?

A careful look at our burdens needs to be addressed, but whatever the burden, know that Christ can lift that burden when we begin to learn who He is and know him as a friend rather than just know about him. I googled “what does Christian mean today,” and the site came up with “A Christian is someone whose behavior and heart reflects Jesus Christ.” If our behavior and heart is to reflect Jesus Christ, then we must know what His will is. It is more than just a confession; it is a way of living.

A person may carry a burden that may be given by an individual who is oppressing them to work for them as if that person was a personal slave. I personally went through this situation in my family where I had an extreme number of duties to perform at home. When I got a full-time job at the age of 16, I had to give up my wages to my parents. It became embarrassing when I did not have decent clothing to wear to work such as a skirt, dress, shoes, and even panty hose. A friend at work provided me with shoes, dress, and panty hose. It was not the fact that we were poor, but that greed had entered in the pursuit of wealth. When I prayed and talked to God about it, He told me that He would help me through it. I did not know how it all happened, but a social worker showed up at our home and spoke to my parents about the fact that I needed a certain dollar amount of wages for personal items such as shoes and clothing. My burden was lifted, and I could retain certain percentage of my wages.

I only share this as an example of how a yoke can be placed upon an individual. This is something that the scribes and pharisees did by putting heavy burdens and laying them on men’s shoulders in making demands into an obligation [see Matthew 23:4]. Whatever the demand may be or the obligation it becomes burdensome because it becomes the focal point that tears at the fabric of humanity. It brings strife into a situation rather than repairing the breach. Isaiah the prophet spoke about putting away the yoke that pointed the finger at those who are impoverished.

If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity, and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity.

Isaiah 58:9-10

Let us put away the pointing finger and not hide from the mirror of our own flesh/reflection. When we begin to see who Christ is, it is a pivotal point in knowing His genuine love for us on a personal level. This love is felt in our broken spirit. He answers our prayer and healing comes to all who were oppressed. Let us learn the truth and seek the Lord and find how to remove the yoke through prayer and find rest for our weary soul. Let each person voluntary help those who are in need and see the blessings of His love unfold daily in our lives.

This is the Will of God even your Sanctification

What does the word sanctification mean? The Greek work [agiasmos] for sanctification means separation or setting apart.

For this is the will of God even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

What does the word sanctification mean? The Greek work [agiasmos] for sanctification means separation or setting apart. The Hebrew word is [qadosh] which means to “to be set apart for a special purpose.” Those who have a confession of being a believer are separated unto God for a special purpose, for it is God’s will our sanctification. How to we possess our vessel in sanctification and honor?

Another way of expressing sanctification is to be made Holy in the sight of God. Sanctification is rarely talked about these days, yet it is one of the most important doctrines of the Bible that the Apostle Paul teaches. Sanctification is only possible through the cross of Christ. It is a part of every believer’s salvation experience. A turning away from darkness into the light of Christ. A turning away from sin to living in the love of God. A believer is set apart to God through conversion and is now dedicated to God in holiness. The process of holiness is a daily surrendering of our selfishness or sinful conduct to relinquishing our will to the will of God. Sanctification in turn becomes our daily walk that the end result is living a holy life.

God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13

Look at what the Apostle Paul states in 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Paul exclaims that from the beginning of time God chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit. Sanctification is done through the Holy Spirit to establish our position in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit sanctification results in holiness or purification from guilt and the power of sin.

If we believe that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, and arose from the dead, then we enter into the process of God’s divine grace. Grace is favor from God through Jesus Christ. Sanctification takes on two key points. The first point is in the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ and the second point is the provision by the working of the Holy Spirit who testifies and points to Christ. The Holy Spirit works in the souls of men, leading them to the full knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When men received the revelation, a birth takes place in their heart and they receive the inheritance and promises of God. Our sanctification is based on our faith in the Cross of Christ. It cannot be obtained by our own efforts. God only looks at the one perfect sacrifice which is Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is given as our helper to point us to Christ and to help us move and live through Christ. The Holy Spirit works as an agent in the process of sanctification.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

The vessel is our body, and we are to take care that it becomes a vessel of Honor and not sin. Fornication is an unlawful practice of sex outside of marriage. It is unlawful outside of marriage because it lacks commitment and responsibility for the sanctity of human life such as the unborn child. Many times, sex is used as a form of abuse like slavery. The focus is on self-gratification rather than on becoming a pure vessel for God’s ministry. The sanctity of marriage is to speak of true love for each other in consideration of each other’s bodies as being bought with a price [see 1 Corinthians 6:20] through Christ sacrifice on the cross. There is to be respect and honor for each other’s bodies in marriage.

Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:19

To think about what Paul is stating regarding our body being a temple of the Holy Ghost is seldom talked about today in many churches. In essence it is speaking of our body being a dwelling place or inner sanctuary where the Holy Spirit can reside. The Holy Spirit can only reside in a clean body. That is why it is so important to have a clear conscience before God. We yield ourselves to God and ask for help in cleansing and making us whole again. We present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, Paul states in Romans 12:1, for this is our reasonable service.

Paul is stating that this is a rational/logical thing to do. This is a mental process that we start with in seeking God, so will we find Him [see Matthew 7:7]. We are always warring with our self-life and we must continue to lay our self-life down at the feet of Jesus. I remember Smith Wigglesworth stating if there is not a continuous change or growth happening in your life, then you are a dead person spiritually. Wigglesworth called it backsliding because there is no growth in a person due to that person going his own way rather than God’s way. That is why we must consider daily where our vessel/body is. Is it for sanctification and honor or is it for something else like our own selfish gratification? I pray that we lay it down so the glory of God’s light can shine through our body as we learn to serve a wonderful loving God. I pray for spiritual growth to start this day as our eyes are open to see the truth of His word.