Your Heart Is His Priority – Clouds and Darkness

Your Heart Is His Priority

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Pulitzer prize-winning American writer Ernest Hemingway lived an eclectic life that was reflected as a reporter in war-torn Europe and other locations around the world. During his life, depression besieged Hemingway, and that, along with heavy drinking and many near-death accidents, took a toll on him. Seeking a cure for his state of mind, he was unsuccessfully treated with electric shock therapy. In the end, Hemingway took his own life in 1961. In the foreword of his last book, A Moveable Feast, Hemingway explained that he was trying to write his memoir from storage places of his memory and heart, though, he said, one had been tampered with and the other no longer existed.

Life is often harder than any of us expected. It tries to beat us up and tear us down. The devil looks for places to get a foothold in our hearts—especially if we become discouraged. We must keep our hearts with all diligence, and that means putting Jesus Christ first, trusting every word He speaks, and leaning on Him with every care.

Make knowing Christ your highest priority, the object of your praise, and the pursuit of your life. He will never fail you, and His strength will bear you through the anxious moments in life. His priority is to watch over you.

A consuming love for the Lord Jesus Christ ought to be the priority of our lives. John MacArthur, in A Simple Christianity

Clouds and Darkness

A person who has not been born again by the Spirit of God will tell you that the teachings of Jesus are simple. But when he is baptized by the Holy Spirit, he finds that “clouds and darkness surround Him….” When we come into close contact with the teachings of Jesus Christ we have our first realization of this. The only possible way to have full understanding of the teachings of Jesus is through the light of the Spirit of God shining inside us. If we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet— getting rid of all the excessive informality with which we approach God— it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and disrespectful in their approach to God are those who have never been introduced to Jesus Christ. Only after the amazing delight and liberty of realizing what Jesus Christ does, comes the impenetrable “darkness” of realizing who He is.

Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Once, the Bible was just so many words to us — “clouds and darkness”— then, suddenly, the words become spirit and life because Jesus re-speaks them to us when our circumstances make the words new. That is the way God speaks to us; not by visions and dreams, but by words. When a man gets to God, it is by the most simple way— words


God does not further our spiritual life in spite of our circumstances, but in and by our circumstances.  Not Knowing Whither, 900 L

The Believer’s Transformation

Ezekiel 36:25-27

I marvel at the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. A crawling, slimy, and spiky bug disappears into a chrysalis spun from its own body, and before long, a delicate and graceful winged butterfly emerges. It is magnificent.

Our change at the moment of salvation is just as radical and miraculous. From a death-bound, sinful, and depraved heart, God brings about a brand-new creature—one that is forgiven, made righteous, and designed to be the place where He Himself resides (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 14:17).

Have you ever wondered why, then, we continue to struggle with sin after trusting Christ as Savior? Shouldn’t all the habits and tendencies of our old heart have vanished? The answer is that the term “new creature” refers to our position in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is true that believers are forgiven and eternally secure as children of the heavenly Father. Yet we remain in fleshly bodies, and as long as we are on earth, there will be an ongoing battle between spirit and flesh.

Throughout our life, God is transforming us to be increasingly like Jesus—His Spirit residing within helps us to combat sin and teaches us how to live. This process, called sanctification, is a journey that will last until we are called home to heaven.

While salvation is a one-time event, sanctification is a lifelong adventure. And though the Lord sees believers as righteous, we still have the capacity to sin. Thankfully, God’s Spirit guides and empowers us to become more like Jesus, and as we yield to Him, our behavior and thoughts will change.

Infallible Proofs

“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

To the first Christians, faith in the deity of Christ was not a blind leap into the dark. Only God could defeat death, and they knew—beyond all doubt—that Jesus Christ had risen bodily from the tomb. They had seen Him, touched Him, and eaten with Him, alone and in crowds, in closed rooms, and out in the open.

The term “infallible proofs” translates a Greek word used only this one time, meaning literally “many criteria of certainty,” and it is significant that the inspired Word of God applies it only to the resurrection of Christ. It is not too much to say that Christ’s resurrection is the most certain fact in all history, and many large volumes have been published setting forth the evidences thereof. No wonder the apostle Peter could say, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

The apostle John testified thus: “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:2). John not only saw Him in His resurrection body, but also in His glorified body, hearing Him say, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18).

It is true that we, like the first Christians, must believe on Christ to receive salvation, but this faith is not a credulous faith, a leap into the dark. It is a reasonable faith, based on many infallible proofs, and we can, therefore, trust Him with our eternal souls. HMM

Yes, All we like sheep have gone astray

2 Kings 16:1-4

2 Kings 16:1

In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel

2 Kings 16:1

Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.

He was the bad son of a good father, and under him the kingdom of Judah relapsed into the sad state out of which Jotham had raised it.

2 Kings 16:4

He was not satisfied with the ordinary idolatries, but sought out the vilest forms of superstition, and practised the unnatural and cruel rites peculiar to the demon Moloch. Old historians assert that the image of Moloch was of brass, and when heated red-hot, children were placed in its arms to be consumed. What shame that the ruler of the chosen people should be guilty of so terrible a crime as to expose his own son to such a death! We may well blush for human nature: an old divine once quaintly said that it was half beast and half devil, and he was very near the mark.

Isaiah 1:2-9

In such times as those of Ahaz the word of the Lord, as contained in the first chapter of Isaiah, was greatly needed.

Isaiah 1:2

It is not the heathen nor strangers that the Lord here upbraids, but his own highly-favoured people, his lovingly-nurtured children, in whom sin was doubly sinful.

Isaiah 1:3

Men are more brutish than the beasts. They receive all at the Lord’s hands, and then utterly forget him. Alas, Lord God, that thou shouldst thus be treated!

Isaiah 1:5, 6

During the reign of Ahaz the troubles of the people were extreme, as we shall see in succeeding readings, but they were none the better for being afflicted. The nation was like a man who had been beaten till there remained no place for another stripe; yet still they loved their idols and their sins.

Isaiah 1:7, 8

Jerusalem stood alone, and in great dilapidation, like the temporary hut which the keepers of a vineyard put up hurriedly to shield them from the sun. Their palace city was like a hovel, and where once cities clustered in every vale and hung on every hillside, all was desolation.

Isaiah 1:9

So wicked were they, that, but for the faithful few, God would have cursed the land as he did the cities of the plain. Oh, wretched plight of a favoured people. The Lord save our country from the same backsliding!


Oh, shall I never feel

The meltings of thy love?

Am I of such hell-harden’d steel

That mercy cannot move?


Chasten’d full sore I am,

And bruised in every part,

But judgments fail to break me down

And subjugate my heart.


Look on me, Lord of love!

O turn thy gracious eyes!

Then all my soul to penitence

Shall melt with sweet surprise.


Yes, Man Has Lost God

Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to dust. (Psalm 104:29)

The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search and struggle throughout his lifetime. He does not really know what he is doing here. He does not know where he is going.

The sad commentary is that everything he is doing is being done on borrowed time, borrowed money and borrowed strength—and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to the bewildered confession of many humans that they have lost God somewhere along the way.

Man, made more like God than any other creature, has become less like God than any other creature. Created to reflect the glory of God, he has retreated sullenly into his cave—reflecting only his own sinfulness.

Certainly it is a tragedy above all tragedies in this world that love has gone from man’s heart. Beyond that, light has gone from his mind. Having lost God, he blindly stumbled on through this dark world to find only a grave at the end!


Rest On a Promise

“The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it.” Gen. 28:13

No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint, but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise, and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob “lighted,” and tarried, and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; and yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven; and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for otherwise he could not reach the divine stairway. All the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus; and as He is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.

Come, weary one, use thy Lord’s words as thy pillows. Lie down in peace. Dream only of Him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon Him between thy soul and thy God; and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion, and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee.


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