by Beth Fore
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the
Sovereign LORD says: I will gather
you from the nations and bring you
back from the countries where you
have been scattered, and I will give you
back the land of Israel again.’
They will return to it and remove all
its vile images and detestable idols.
I will give them an undivided heart
and put a new spirit in them; I will
remove from them their heart of
stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Then they will follow my decrees
and be careful to keep my laws.
They will be my people, and I will
be their God.”
(Ezekiel 11:17-20 NIV)
Remove This Heart of Stone
In our humanity we frequently sin, Father,
for our bodies are made of flesh and bone.
Too often we are selfish and disconnected,
our hearts are hardened and made of stone.
Too often we look the other way, Father,
when we see the hurt, the desperate, the lonely.
More often we fail, not only from neglect,
but from the sins of indifference and apathy.
Our human hearts are made of stony ground,
divided between You and this world.
Satan rules over our rebellious hearts,
and his wrath on the earth is unfurled.
Father, we ask You to change our hearts,
make them tender and compassionate.
Break our hearts and fill them with tenderness
for the poor, the broken, and the disconsolate.
Help us to share all of the gifts You give us
with our neighbor and with our brother.
Help us to offer our lives as holy sacrifices
to honor You, Father, and one another.
Father, You are the Master of my soul,
and You are the Lord of my destiny.
Remind me each day of Your gifts,
not only for me, but for all humanity.
written by Beth Fore
*Just as God forgave Israel over and over again and desired that she return to Him and destroy all of her idols and images, so God desires that we return to Him and His church and give up our selfish pleasures, willingly, for Him.
“Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’” (Ezekiel 11:17-18 NIV)
All human beings sin because of Adam’s sin. Even after we become Christians, we continue to sin because of the curse of sin on us. We are our best and our happiest when we walk with God and follow His will for our lives; however, we often wander off and chase after our own pleasures and desires. God never stops desiring that His children will repent and return to Him and worship Him as the one and only Sovereign Lord.
*Just as God chose to forgive the Israelites and give them new undivided hearts and a new spirit to replace their hearts, so God chooses to forgive us and create within us a new, pure heart when we confess our sins, repent of them, and return to Him to be obedient to His will.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.’” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NIV)
Our human hearts are made of stony ground, and they are often preoccupied with this world and its carnal pleasures. God will change our spiritual hearts when we truly desire these changes. He will make us more tender and compassionate and concerned for the poor, the broken, and the disconsolate people in this world.
God has given us physical and spiritual gifts, and He wants us to share these gifts with other people to bring Him honor and glory. He desires that we love Him so much that we will offer our lives as living sacrifices to Him and confess that He is Lord of heaven and earth and we will follow Him wherever He leads us.
- Think of some times in your life when you have wandered away from God seeking your own pleasures. What brought you back to God?
- Why do you think it is so difficult for many people to give up their sins and pleasures?
- It is a wonderful blessing to know that God removes our hearts of stone and gives a pure, clean heart. We must constantly ask God to help us maintain this clean heart. Pray a prayer asking God to keep your heart holy and pure.
- Write down your physical and spiritual gifts that you have either used for God’s glory, or you could use them for His glory and honor. Ask God to place circumstances in your life so that you can use your gifts to honor Him.
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