A Solid Foundation (part 5) Keep a soft heart towards God! (part 2)
March 6, 2022
A Solid Foundation (part 5)
Keep a soft heart towards God! (part 2)
I’ve started a series about making sure that you are prepared for tough times.
Don’t just drift or coast in life – plan and prepare!
Planning is an important part of your future – financially, in your marriage, with your children, and with your interior life.
What we are inside shines when we are in a hard place!
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Your foundation will determine your future!
Do you have a solid conviction that, regardless of what happens, you will make it through it?
Are you spiritually, mentally, and physically prepared for huge challenges that upset routine?
The Word can give you an ability to hold steady in the coming storms.
Wind, rain, and flood are metaphors used by Jesus to describe life’s challenges.
Do you have a sand or stone foundation?
Seven things about the Word to make a part of your life.
1. God’s Word brings life stability.
When you make the Word of God your guide in life and live by it, it brings an assurance, a peace, a stability, a confidence that you just know that things are going to work out for you…
2. Hunger for the Word can be developed.
Hunger is the indicator of spiritual health.
Our hungers in life follow what we give attention to!
3. The Bible is inspired and is God’s speaking to us!
4. The Word is designed to take Jesus’ and the Father’s place in their physical absence.
5. National and personal neglect of the Bible brings harm.
We have some huge challenges in America right now in every level of living. These challenges can be traced right back to the neglect of God’s Word as a life foundation in America.
The same thing happened to Israel.
Hosea 4:1-6 (NLT)
Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel! The LORD has brought charges against you, saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. 2 You make
vows and break them; you kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere— one murder after another. 3 That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing. 4 “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you. 5 So you will stumble in broad daylight, and your false prophets will fall with you in the night. And I will destroy Israel, your mother. 6 My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children.”
Right now in America, in government, in media, in education, the Word of God is no longer valued. And just like in Israel, we are beginning to fail.
God backs away from any culture or person that refuses His Word. The results of God stepping away from a life or a nation is judgment.
We as a nation are in a very dangerous place. The fabric that held us together has been torn. That fabric is God’s Word and His values.
The Bible has been replaced in our schools by :
This promotes the idea that the universe is simply randomly progressing. There is no God to answer to with respect to law, science, relationships, or morals.
Psalms 14:1 (NLT)
Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
Life randomly evolved from lower creatures. It removes the dignity of human life.
A human life is not more important than a bird, a dog, or a tortoise.
There are no standards for behavior. There is no code of ethics. What you do is related to where you are and who you are with and what values are held there. No values are standard.
Nothing is immoral. There are no such things as morals. Adultery, fornication, homsexuality, lesbianism, binary sexuality, fluid sexuality, transgenderism, are all on equal footing.
Pluralism is dividing the USA into separate groups, each with different values. People from other cultures bring their religion and beliefs here.
The things that united us are no longer mainstream.
If your children are attending college, one of the goals of education is to remove faith in God through Christianity from their convictions.
I thought about our current culture and easily came up with 10 current cultural values:
- Personal beliefs and values are relative to the situation and context you are in at the moment. The standards of behavior are missing.
- Ethics are situational, and change as the culture changes. Right and wrong change with where you are and who you are with.
- There are NO moral absolutes. Moral absolutes have to do with religious beliefs. And, religious beliefs are no longer wise to live by.
- The Bible is a nice piece of literature, but not intended to be taken literally for 21st century life.
- I am a nice person, and I am going to heaven, period.
- God’s loving me means I can do whatever I want, and He accepts me and will allow me into heaven when I die, if there is a heaven.
- God is too nice to allow anyone to go to hell.
- Hell is not a real place. No God of love could ever allow people to be cast into a fiery lake of burning sulfur.
- If you by your words or actions challenge my lifestyle, then you are judging me, and we are not supposed to judge, right?
- Religious people are hypocrites.
God’s values from the Bible:
1) Have no other gods before me. Seek me First!
2) Don’t worship graven images. God is a Spirit, and is to be worshiped spiritually!
3) Don’t take God’s name in vain. Reverence His name.
4) Keep the Sabbath, one day to rest and reflect on your relationship with God.
5) Honor your father and mother.
6) Do not murder. John said that if you hate someone, that is equal to murder. (1 John 3:15)
7) Do not commit adultery. Jesus said that lust is equal to the physical act.
8) Do not steal.
9) Do not lie.
10) Do not want as yours what belongs to someone else.
Judgment is coming for those who refuse God’s rules for life.
One way to look at judgment from God is to see it as Him backing away from anything that chooses to disregard His Word.
God backs away from any nation or group of people that do not acknowledge Him and His Word.
Out from under the spiritual protection of the Word of God, demon spirits can come and wreak havoc on an individual or a nation.
The battles are spiritual battles, and without the Word, demon spirits gain the upper hand.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NKJV)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Isaiah 1:19-20 (NKJV)
If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Proverbs 1:24-33 (TPT)
I’ve called to you over and over; still you refuse to come to me. I’ve pleaded with you again and again, yet you’ve turned a deaf ear to my voice. 25 Because you have laughed at my counsel and have insisted on continuing in your stubbornness, 26 I will laugh when your calamity comes and will turn away from you at the time of your disaster. Make a joke of my advice, will you? Then I’ll make a joke out of you! 27 When the storm clouds of terror gather over your head, when dread and distress consume you and your catastrophe comes like a hurricane, 28 you will cry out to me, but I won’t answer. Then it will be too late to expect my help. When desperation drives you to search for me, I will be nowhere to be found. 29 Because you have turned up your nose at me and closed your eyes to the facts and refused to worship me in awe— 30 because you scoffed at my wise counsel and laughed at my correction— 31 now you will eat the bitter fruit of your own ways. You’ve made your own bed; now lie in it! So how do you like that? 32 Like an idiot you’ve turned away from me and chosen destruction instead. Your self-satisfied smugness will kill you. 33 But the one who always listens to me will live undisturbed in a heavenly peace. Free from fear, confident and courageous, you will rest unafraid and sheltered from the storms of life.
6. The Word acts just like a planted seed in your life.
The Potential of a Seed:
A person came up with this potential of a seed.
Planting one grain of wheat produces a single stalk with an average of 50 – 60 kernels. If you plant every kernel harvested for four consecutive seasons, by the fourth season of planting, averaging 55 kernels per stalk, you will gain over 9 million kernels of wheat, a yield of approx. 610 lbs. That’s the potential of a single seed in just four years.
The parable of the sower gives us some rich insight into where we are as believers.
Any life, regardless of the past, can be transformed by God’s Word!
In the parable of the sower, Jesus gives four conditions for the soil of our hearts.
What the powerful Word does for you is determined by the condition of your heart, or the heart soil it is planted in.
Mark 4:14-20 (NLT)
The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
Four kinds of soil – Four kinds of people
1. Footpath (wayside – KJV) – They hear, but the Word takes no root – surface only.
Mark 4:15 (NLT)
The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.
Example – fields beside my house when I was young…
Hosea 10:12 (NKJV)
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12 (NLT)
I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’
Hebrews 3:13 (NLT)
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
Fallow ground does not produce. It’s hard. Water runs off instead of soaking in. Seeds lie on top. This is the unexamined life where there is not much allowed below the surface.
Symptoms of a hard heart:
Ministers are crooked. Some may be, but not all are.
Church people are hypocrites…then they stand between you and God. Let them go.
The Word just doesn’t work for me. There is everybody else, and then there is me!
James 1:17, Isaiah 55:11, Jeremiah 1:12
This footpath hearer is a person who is stubborn and just not willing to yield. They still like their life just the way it is.
I enjoy what I do, heaven or hell, good or bad, and I like it that way!” I still like my life just the way it is. God can do very little then. Isaiah 53:6 – turned every man to his own way.
A person who has been hurt by life, disillusioned, and feels like they have been taken advantage of will develop a hard disposition that seeks to keep others, including God, out of their lives…
Hurt, pain, and fear keep God and others out!
Let it all go! Be willing to let God in through His word.
You can stop being a wayside, or footpath, hearer.
1st step – Let go of judgments of yourself and of others, including pastors and churches.
Ask God to help you overcome a hard heart.
2. Rocky soil (stony-KJV)
Mark 4:16-17 (NLT)
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
Rocky soil speaks of things in our lives from our past that must be dealt with by the Word as we grow spiritually. Rocks hinder the development of a deep root system in a plant. This stunts the growth of the plant, and it easily wilts under the harsh rays of the sun.
Two apple trees in my yard.
This person is excited at first. When trouble comes because of the Word, they fall away.
This is a person that gets easily discouraged by problems. When things don’t change quickly, they bail out.
They lack the foundation of the Word to hold them steady when problems come.
When you get serious with God, trouble stirs up.
Two times trouble comes – when you’re in the will of God; when you’re not in the will of God.
Or, this person has an issue in life that they know is wrong, and that they need to let go of, but just refuses to allow God to deal with it.
It may be drinking, it may be drugs, over-the-counter medications that you abuse; it may be pornography that has hardened your heart, and God can only go so far with you.
It may be money. Working so much that God has little of your time.
Friends – can get in the way of spiritual growth.
Be willing to change anything that God puts His finger on in your life.
John 12:24-25 (NLT)
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.
There are levels and stages in this – God keeps drawing you in – and drawing you away from distractions.
3. Thorny Soil (thorny – KJV)
Mark 4:18-19 (NLT)
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
Example – When I was young I had to hoe the weeds out of our huge garden.
Crabgrass would wind around the roots of a plant – like our green bean plants.
I would pull up the plant while trying to pull up the roots!
This speaks of a person who begins to walk with God and is growing as a disciple.
But as time goes by, they begin to get so busy that time with God is minimized.
The Word is crowded out by worry, money, other things – just being busy.
Worries – all kinds of stressful stuff keep the mind preoccupied – kids, school, money, bills, house, car, friends, leisure, your business,
Weeds rob the soil of nourishment for the plant.
Worry robs us of our peace and trust in God’s ability. It stunts our spiritual growth.
Money – working so much that there is no time left for God.
It’s easy to get really busy with legitimate things and leave off your relationship with Jesus.
Jobs, kids, family can be just too much…
You always have to stay ahead of the weeds that life brings, just like in your garden or yard. Regular cultivation is needed – for your heart – it’s lifelong!
Spend time with God and examine your heart!
Psalms 90:8 (AMPC)
Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins [which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves], You have set in the [revealing] light of Your countenance.
Psalms 139:23-24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalms 19:14 (NLT)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Philippians 4:6 (PHILLIPS)
Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer.
You always have to stay ahead of the weeds that life brings, just like in your garden or yard.
4. Good soil (good ground-KJV)
Mark 4:20 (NLT)
And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
The Word is acted upon 30% of the time, 60% of the time, or 100% of the time.
Attention to God and the Word ⅓ of your time gives 30% results. That means ⅔ of the time the flesh is winning.
Attention to God and the Word ⅔ of the time gives 60% results. That means ⅓ of the time the flesh is ruling and the person is not attentive to the Word.
Attention to God 100% of the time gives God full control of your life and the flesh little or none!
Here are some ideas to become a word based believer:
You can change!!
Footpath, Stony, Thorny, Good Ground
1. Realize that what we choose is the most important thing we do.
Choice begins a process.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT)
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
James 4:8-10 (NLT)
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:8-10 (MSG)
Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. 9 Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. 10 Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
We often think it is up to the Lord as to what happens in life. But, you see, in a large measure, it’s up to us and what we choose.
God has already given us His word.
He has aggressed towards us by sending Jesus as our sin sacrifice.
He has given us the Holy Spirit to be our helper and guide.
We can ask for His aid, and He comes on the scene. He has promised to answer prayer.
Now it’s up to us.
You can choose a new course today! Change your purpose. Make a choice!
What kind of heart soil do you have?
- Are you a footpath person, who hears but it doesn’t sink in?
- Are you a rocky soil person, you are committed until trouble comes?
- Are you a thorny person, who commits but then becomes involved in so much that time with the Lord slowly lessens, and the word is choked?
- Are you good ground, you’re bearing fruit, and the word is working 30, 60, or 100 percent of the time?