Showing posts with label Tim Rowe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tim Rowe. Show all posts

Saturday, July 8, 2017

5 of ... The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

The Third Soil of the Heart: The Choking Weeds - Five Thorns to Avoid

Let us examine the third soil of the heart and what happens when the Word of God is sown into it.

In this third soil of the heart, the seed of the Word of God fell among the seeds of thorns and both began to grow in this fertile soil. This word "thorn" in the Greek means a thorny plant, a bramble bush, briers, and thistles.

Israel in Bible times had a great variety of these thorny weeds throughout its land. Giant thistles, growing to the height of a man on horseback, frequently spread over regions once rich and fruitful. Prickly roses abound on the lower slopes of Hermon.

Thorns are carriers of spiritual disease and allow rebellion, lust, and idolatry to ride into the human heart.

The First Thorn: The Cares of This World. (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19). The Greek word for "cares" in these verses means an anxious worry that distracts and divides the mind. These anxious worries and cares are indicative of a heart that does not trust God.

Unrepentant sin is a major cause of anxiety in the heart. Anxiety, worry and fear are sin, and should have no place in the heart of a christian.

The Second Thorn: The Cares of This Life. The second thorn in the Parable of the Sower is "the cares of this life." The same Greek Word is used for "cares" so these are still anxious worries that divide and distract the mind and agitate the heart with fear, but it is a different category of cares.

Jesus perfectly illustrates these anxious cares in the Sermon on the Mount and commands these worries have no place in the heart of the child of God.

The Third Thorn: The Deceitfulness of Riches. Millions of people have been corrupted, ruined and destroyed by the deceitfulness of riches. Riches can turn the heart away from God quicker than almost anything on earth.

John Wesley said wealth had destroyed the godliness of more people than other things. This thorn illustrates the eternal truth in the Sermon on the Mount that "where your treasure is there your heart be also" (Luke 12:34).

The Fourth Thorn: The Lust for Other Things. The fourth thorn in the Parable of the Sower are "the lust for other things."

Lust is excessive desire that has gone overboard and adrift from the heart of God that seeks self-satisfaction, self-gratification and self-pleasure as its ultimate thrill ride. Lust has no perception of eternity and no realization of its deadly consequences to the heart.

The Fifth Thorn: The Pleasures of This Life. The fifth and final thorn in the Parable of the Sower is the "pleasures of this life." The Greek word for "pleasures" is "hedone" which means delight, pleasureable, sensation, and sensual pleasures. Hedone is an unrestrained pursuit of anything that over stimulates the senses, stopping at nothing to gorge the body's sinful inner cravings.

Tim Rowe, the author, has a doctorate of jurisprudence and a bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history, and classics. He is the president of Goodness of God Ministries and lives with his wife and son.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

4 of ... The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

The Second Soil of the Heart: Rocks, Scorching & Withering.

Let's examine the second soil of the heart & what happens when the seed of the Word of God is sown into it.

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word & immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, & when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21, ESV)

On the surface, this second soil of the heart looks like good, fertile ground for the Word of God. The seed has a sudden, brief growth spurt, but its young root can never develop & become strong. Once it hits the rock, the root soon withers away causing the tiny plant that has emerged from the soil to die. The second soil of the heart is the great enemy to the growth of the Word of God.

Never forget how important it is for the seed of the Word of God to take root deeply in our hearts so it can produce fruit. The seed of the Word of God contains everything that God is: His love, righteousness, grace, salvation, goodness, holiness, faithfulness, peace & joy just to name a few. Faith comes by hearing this magnificent seed of the Word of God & allowing it to grow & become engrafted into the very fiber of the heart.

Importance of a Strong Root System. For the seed of the Word of God to prosper & grow into a strong, healthy tree, it must have a deep root system. The root system allows the heart to be anchored to the character of God.

2 Kings 19:30 declares that we must take root downward, so that we can bear fruit upward! Proverbs 12:12 declares that the root of the righteous yields fruit, & shall not be moved, because it is anchored in the Word of God.

It is imperative as Christians that we cultivate a deep root system of the Word of God in our hearts. The truth in Psalm 1 is vital to maintain a healthy spiritual heart.

The word "blessed" describes the condition of our heart should be in daily & it is linked to what it is rooted in. The Hebrew word "blessed" conveys the idea of happiness that flows from a sense of well-being & righteous. Bad company will corrupt the heart & destroy its root system. Our delight, desire, & longing must be to know God & His Word as the great treasure of our heart.

Do we delight in the pure words of Scripture more than the words from television, radio, Internet & chatter of the trival that relentlessly bombards our lives daily?

When we delight in the Word of God & mediate upon it daily, the spiritual root system of our heart is strong in God.

Jesus Christ is the true vine & we are to abide in Him if we are to be branches that bear much spiritual fruit.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, & let your lives be built on him.

Let's examine tribulation & persecution in more depth & see how they have such a dramatic effect on the heart.

Tribulation: The Forceful Squeezing of the Heart. The Greek word for "tribulation" is thlipsis which means to press, squeeze, compress, & crush. It was used to describe the squeezing of olives in a press to extract oil & the squeezing of grapes to produce juice.

The Lesson of Joseph. Thlipsis is the word to describe what Joseph went through before He was made governor in Egypt.

The world specializes in thlipsis.

Jesus Christ: Our Example in Times of Thlipsis. Thlipsis is nothing to Jesus Christ. He endured the worst thlipsis ever known to mankind in the ordeal of the crucifixion. His sweat was like great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane in intense prayer to his Heavenly Father. He was about to go through forty hours of beatings, mocking, torture, physical disfigurement, & unbearable pain. He endured this brutal physical punishment to pay the price for our sin & crush the power of the kingdom of darkness, ushering us as citizens into his kingdom.

Only in Jesus Christ can we be victorious over thlipsis. Only in Jesus Christ can we endure & overcome the blistering heat of the kosmos, the entire system that the Devil has set up as the Prince of the Power of the Air.

Only in Jesus Christ can we withstand this pressure & emerge over every burden & weight thrown at our heart.

Thlipsis & the Birth of Extraordinary. God always births something extraordinary in the heart when we come through a season of thlipsis still firmly rooted in Christ & the Word of God.

God uses the word "thlipsis" to describe the anguish the female body endures in labor. The woman is pregnant with something extraordinary & amazing with a wonderful, beautiful baby forming in her womb.

Likewise our heart is pregnant with the extraordinary plans, purposes & works of God Almighty, but it is only when we come through the labor pains of thlipsis that the heart gives birth to something extraordinary. How tragic that we never give birth to God's amazing plans & purposes for our life because under the crushing pressure of thlipsis we have a miscarriage.

Jesus Christ endured the intense thlipsis of the crucifixion & bearing the sin of the human race, but now he is seated at the right hand of God having obtained eternal redemption for all those who believe.

Look what was birthed out of the heart of Joseph when he passed the thlipsis test. What an extraordinary thing God birthed in the heart of Joseph to go from a slave, condemned in prison, to a ruler of a mighty kingdom.

God birthed an extraordinary calling & work in the heart of David as he became the greatest king in the history of Israel & a man after God's own heart.

The Apostle Paul was deeply rooted in Christ & the Word of God & endured great thlipsis during his journeys to spread the gospel. He suffered beatings, stoning, false accusations, imprisonment, shipwreck, hunger, weariness, riots & persecution. His ministry turned the world upside down, & he shook the gates of hell with the truth of the gospel.

Jesus Christ: The Focal Point of all Persecution. Persecution arises out of the violent clashing between two spiritual kingdoms. The Word of God is the mighty weapon of one kingdom. The heart is at the center of this fierce battle. The Book of Revelation speaks of this. (Revelation 12:4b-5,7,9,12b,17)

Jesus Christ is the focal point of all persecution because He is God's plan for redemption. He is the Savior, the Great Shepherd, the second Adam, the Alpha & Omega, the light of the world, the bread of life, the way, the truth, the life, & the door to God's kingdom. He restored everything that Adam & Eve had lost in the Garden of Eden & conquered sin & death.

The Greek word for "hatred" in John & Luke means to pursue with hatred, to detest, to have extreme hostility towards, & to abhor.

Surprising Source of Most Persecution. The Devil is very subtle as persecution often arises from our inner circle: our churches, fellow-christians, family, friends, co-workers, teachers, professors, neighbors, & community.

The devil loves religion because it has nothing to do with the true God & is an easy facade to hide his deceptions. Look at our Savior as the constant persecution to his ministry was from the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests & scribes, who were the religious elite of his day. The great religious men & their corrupt system crucified their Messiah.

Persecution also comes from the inner circle of our family, friends, & close associates whom the Devil craftily influences to shake our faith in God & His Word.

When Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem near the time of his crucifixion, great multitudes of apparent followers & disciples cried out "Hosanna (save us please) to the son of David, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord even the King of Israel! Hosanna in the highest!" This whole multitude rejoiced & praised God with a loud voice. Many of these people had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out from the grave & had heard about this great miracle. The entire city of Jerusalem was moved & the multitude declared "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee!"

The Greek word for "seize" means to take hold of forcibly, to take into custody & arrest, to continually hold back, to hinder & restrain, to prevail & rule over, & to take into one's possession.

Jesus Christ: The Prince of Peace. Without Jesus no person on earth can ever have true peace.

In Hebrew, the word for peace, shalom, means wholeness, completeness & soundness. It is an inward & outward tranquility, a quiet assurance, & a complete well-being where nothing is lacking or broken. Peace is the highest measure of contentment, joyfulness, happiness, & satisfaction in life.

God is the source of all peace, & we have peace because of our relationship with Him. His peace is our peace. Peace can not live in a heart of unbelief.

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate of jurisprudence & a bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history & classics. He is president of Goodness of God's Ministries & lives in Indianapolis with his wife & son.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2 of - The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

When King Solomon had the Ark of the Covenant brought to the temple at its dedication, he had the Levites play cymbals, harps, lyres , & trumpets. Singers raised their voices to praise God with this magnificent musical accompaniment. The glory of the Lord filled the temple with a cloud after this musical display. (2 Chronicles 5:12-14).

When a vast army of Moabites, Ammonites, & Meunites came against Jerusalem, King Jehoshaphat & all of Judah stood before the Lord & prayed. When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem in victory, they went to the temple of the Lord with harps, lutes, & trumpets praising God in music & song. (2 Chronicles 20:21-22,28).

In 2 Chronicles 29:25-28 we read that King Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple & cleansed it from idolatry, one of the first he did was reestablish music & song there. He furnished the Levites with cymbals, harps, trumpets, & all the instruments of David.

After rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah immediately established the singers in the temple.

The book of Nehemiah indicates in the time of David there were directors of music for the singers & songs of praise & thanks. Nehemiah realized how important music was in the service of God in the temple & for the worship of God among the people.

After Jesus instituted communion as a memorial of His death, Matthew 26:30 says, "When they had sung a hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives." Mark 14:26 states that Jesus sang this hymn along with His disciples right before He prayed in Gethsemane shortly before He was crucified. This was probably not the first time that they had sung together, but this is the only time recorded in Scripture that our Lord sang.

This hymn is believed to be from the psalms called the "Great Hallel" or the "praise Psalms," which were Psalms 113-118 & 136.

A song can lift us into the presence of God & comfort our hearts even in life's darkest hours.

Paul & Silas was severely beaten for preaching the gospel & thrown into prison with their feet in stocks, but they sang praises to God in the midst of this seemingly hopeless situation. God moved with a great earthquake that shook the entire foundation of the prison & they were set free.

Throughout time, great men in Church history have understood the profound effect of music on the heart & the importance of godly music in the life of a Christian.

Martin Luther, who is credited with igniting the flame of the Protestant Reformation, was a wonderful composer.

One of his greatest hymns, which was one of my favorite growing up, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

Martin Luther had a legendary love for music. He often played after dinner with his family & guests & composed songs for his children. Music was not just a recreational tool for Luther - it was an integral part of his life & he found a source of strength & comfort in music.

Luther was well aware of the power of music & insisted that its proper use was "to the glorification of God & the edification to man."

During the Wesleyan Revival in the 18th Century, Charles Wesley wrote more than six thousand hymns, including some that became classics of the Church, like "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sink," "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," & "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

Listening to music is not meant to replace a Christian's time in studying & mediating on the Bible, or prayer & intimate fellowship with the heavenly Father & our Lord Jesus.

Music either pulls you into the heart of God or pulls you into the heart of God or pulls you into the heart of the world. God is crying out to the Church & to every Christian believer, "Do not be ignorant or fooled by music & think your listening choices are harmless to your walk & relationship with me!"

Since the fall of Lucifier, music has been a major weapon in the battle for the heart.

Often our greatest songs of praise are borne in trials & temptations.

Many Christians today have lost the song in their hearts for God. When the heart is bitter & unforgiving, when the heart forgets God, when the heart becomes entangled with the things of this world, it loses its song.

In Exodus 15, the children of Israel sang the right song when they were delivered from the army of Egypt, but they sang it on the wrong side. They should have been singing this song even when they were in bondage in Egypt, not simply after a great miracle & deliverance from God.

Our God will never fail us. Our God will never leave us, or forsake us, & His strength is perfect in our weakness.

Yes, indeed - God is my Salvation. God - yes God! is my strength & song, best of all, my salvation!

Our song is never a song of anxiety, fear, or worry. He is our strength, our defender, our provider, & our deliverer. We should be raising the roof with our praise - song to God.

We cannot keep silent about the wonder of our God & His amazing works. God cries when the song of our hearts goes silent.

Don't lose your love song for God by turning away from Him when things get tough.

Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Savior. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by His love, He will dance with shout of joy for you (NJB).

This song of God is a hymn of deliverance; victory, & Salvation. Psalm 32:7 says that God "surrounds us with songs of deliverance." God sings because He knows that He has made you in Christ & that He has given you a name & divine destiny.

But God, says, "No matter anyone says, you are my beloved, My treasure, My pearl more valueable than all the treasures of the earth."

God sings to us. We sing to God.

Nothing is more important to our life than the thoughts that occupy our minds on a daily basis. The critical question becomes "What are you thinking?"

Our hearts are built on the foundation of our thoughts. The heart is molded & shaped by our thoughts. Thoughts are the blueprint of the hear, & the heart becomes the image of its thought. We are what we think.

We can't ignore the importance of our thinking if we want to love God with all our heart.

Tozer encourages Christians to "form the habit of a holy thought life."

God commands us to love Him with all our mind (Luke 10:27).

Our thought life should prepare our hearts for the Lord so that He might live & reign from its throne room. King David, in his last admonishment to his son Solomon & the children of Israel, exhorts them to frame their thoughts carefully so God can prepare their hearts to love & serve Him above all else.

The heart is like a mirror, reflecting the image of its thoughts. God should be the only image that dominates our thinking.

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate of jurisprudence & a bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history, & classics. An attorney & author. He is the president of Goodness of God Ministries & lives in Indianapolis with his wife & son.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Part I: The Heart The Key to Everything in the Christian Life: Book Review

The fact is the heart is the key to everything in your life! Your family, your job, your relationships, & your self-image all depend on the condition of the heart. The quality of your service & witness for Christ comes down to the condition of your heart. Even your future rewards in the kingdom of God & your responsibilities in His kingdom throughout all eternity will be determined by the motives & condition of your heart here & now.

You need to understand what constitutes a healthy heart, according to the Bible, before you can take real lasting steps toward building it up & keeping it in top condition. But you must realize that you have an Enemy who wants to take your heart captive. He wants to weigh it down with oppression, bondage, impurities, bitterness, hatred, envy, & strife so that it is weak & sickly throughout your life.

God meant for your heart to be alive with His presence, a place where He is enthroned as its rightful ruler. Your heart is a treasure that should be given fully to Him, for only in God your heart your heart will find its home. Your heart is meant to be, like the Holy Holies in the temple in the Old Testament, a place where God is vibrantly alive & present, where He lives & is enjoyed & is intimately experienced.

The loving & magnificent God of the universe has a purpose & a destiny for you. You are part of a plan that will rock Satan's kingdom to the core & shake up the world for Jesus Christ. No one else has been given your unique mission as it has been ordained by God Almighty.

There was a salt covenant with meals in the Bible in which a person would bind himself to another in utmost loyalty & truthfulness as salt was a symbol of enduring friendship, honesty, & close alliance. It is still common today for people from the Eastern culture to say, "There is salt between us."

Jesus Christ wants to make a salt covenant with your heart, too. He wants your heart to be forever knit & linked with His, united & moving forward as one.

The heart is the center of everything that is manifested & comes forth in your life.

The heart is "essentially the whole man, with all his attributes, physical, intellectual, & psychological ... & the heart was conceived of as the governing center for all of these. It is the heart which makes the man ... what he is, & governs all his actions."

Every moment you draw breath upon the earth, something is flowing out of your heart.

What flows out of the heart even determines the direction & course of your life.

The first usage of this word "wellspring" in Scripture is found in the book of Numbers, in which God reveals to Moses the borders of the Promised Land that Israel is to go & possess: "This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side" (Numbers 34:12).

God has set the boundaries of a Promised Land for your life where you can accomplish your God-given destiny & purpose that God has lovingly designed for you. This Promised Land is a place where you can enjoy the blessings of God, the peace of God, the deliverance of God, the protection of God, & the presence of God. The Promised Land is where God is enjoyed, praised, & glorified for His matchless love, grace, & mercy. But your heart can only remain in God's ordained Promised Land if you diligently guard its borders from infiltration by the enemy.

We must be aware that the enemy is always prowling near the borders of our hearts, subtly trying to gain entrance so he can establish a stronghold in the heart & exercise his control & influence.

In order to enter the Promised Land & keep its borders secure, we must guard our hearts with all diligence, protecting it from the schemes & strategies of Satan, devoting it instead wholeheartedly & passionately to God & His Word.

But the devil has also staked out a territory for your life, & it is called the wilderness. Evil is the active opposition of God's good purpose or design for a person with the intent of destroying, limiting, & hindering it in any way possible.

The devil is called the evil one (Matthew 5:37), if we are careless with our hearts, he will re-position the borders of life so that the destiny God has for you is shattered & broken into pieces.

An exodus is a departure from one geographical location to another. The most magnificent example in human history is, of course, the exodus of Israel out of the slavery & bondage of Egypt. Hundreds pf thousands of men, women, & children departed Egypt on their journey to a new land.

Is the exodus from your heart taking you to a land of promise or a land of bondage? Every journey have ever embarked upon in your life has come of the heart, & the condition of your heart will determine which path you decide to follow.

Without hearts that are utterly devoted to Him in all purity & faith, the gospel becomes dead in our Christian walk & growth.

We must take back our hearts from the clutches of Satan & allow God to heal, restore, & reign from the throne in our hearts.

The Spirit of God is the true guide, helper, encourager, purifier, & discerner of the heart. The Spirit of God enables Christians to follow God decrees, & it is always exerting its influence on the heart to obey God at all times.

The flesh & the Spirit are at odds & enmity & have been at war since the beginning.

Do people see Jesus when they see your heart? Open your spiritual eyes & look at your heart in the mirror of God's Word.

The heart is under vicious attack daily by the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) who wants to cripple, sicken, & twist it, so that it becomes dead to the things of God.

A Sleeping Heart Is Unguarded.

Prayer Guards the Heart.

The organ we call the human heart pumps 1,900 gallons of blood through it every day.

In Scripture we discover three important gateways to the heart: our eyes, our ears, & our thoughts.

The eye is the second most complex organ in the human body, next to the brain. Our human eye can distinguish up to one million color surfaces, & our eyes take in more information than the largest telescope known to man.

Although much good can come through the Internet, numerous people, including Christians, have allowed the Internet to consume them & poison their heart for God. Forty million U.S. adults regularly visit pornographic sites, as this is fast becoming the number one addiction not only in America, but also around the world.

Pornography is like a cancer in the Christian church & has destroyed many lives, marriages, & ministries.

The devil understood this truth & used it to his advantage in the temptation & seduction of Eve. She was deceived by the serpent because she failed to guard her eyes & thus her heart (Genesis 3:4-6).

Make a Covenant with Your Eyes.

The Ears: The Second Gateway To The Heart.

Together, the ears are stereo receivers responsible for collecting sounds, processing them, & sending signals to the brain in a form that it understands.

Faith comes by hearing.

Faith always dwells & blossoms in the heart, but it is born & originates in the ear.

Hear & Obey.

Hear, Hear! Listen, Listen! Obey, Obey!

Whenever God's Words are rejected, it brings death in some way, shape, or form to the human heart.

Test Every Word.

But we don't have to be deceived!

The Hebrew word rendered as "test" in this passage means to search out, examine, try, & prove.

The Priest's Ear: Set Apart for God.

God set up the ministry of the priest in such a beautiful way to minister the heart of God to the needs of His people. The priests were to help restore the hearts of His people to the ways of God & keep them on the path of His righteousness.

The Prophet's Downfall.

A prophet was never to speak his own words but only that which he divinely heard from the heart of God.

What a chilling statement as to what can happen to the heart when the ears go astray! The prophets had allowed their hearts to become full of idolatry, lies, & wickedness.

Your Life Is Molded By Your Ear.

Be Still & Listen!

The Prince of the Power of the Air: The Spiritual Battle for Your Ears.

Paul calls Satan "the prince of the power of the air," indeed the devil has shown himself to be the great broadcaster to the world in this media age (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Satan's programming never takes a break.

Never Fear: Our God Is Greater.

The World Never Satisfies Like God Satisfies.

The Ears: Music's Enormous Impact on the Heart.

We must be aware of the music we are allowing to saturate our hearts.

Music in the Bible.

The right music is powerful enough to drive away demons & negative spiritual influences from the heart (I Samuel 16).

Music can calm the heart & make it more receptive to hearing the voice of the Lord. Music can bring our thoughts, emotions, & desires into the presence of the Lord, where the life & words of God can flow into our hearts (2 Kings 3).

In Exodus 32, music caused an increase in evil in the hearts of the children of Israel, plunging them into idolatry.

Angelic Music

Music is a vital part of heaven & the throne of God. It has been part of the worship & praise of God since the beginning. Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:13-14), was created as a beautiful & wise archangel, an anointed cherub, & music was an integrated part of his being.

Corruption of Music.

Music can cause the heart to become a prisoner of war in Satan's kingdom.

Moses the Songwriter.

Moses was a wonderful songwriter in the Bible & we see his first song in Exodus 15 after the miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel from the Egyptian army. In Revelation 15, the song of Moses is sung in heaven.

Make Music in Your Heart for the Ears of God'

All Music Originates in the Heart.

David the Musician & Songwriter.

David was a wonderful skilled musician & songwriter. He was also an inventor of musical instruments (I Chronicles 23:5; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Amos 6:5). He helped to reestablish the functions the functions of the Levites in regards to music in the tabernacle & select singers & musicians from the non-priest to participate in worship services of song & music to God. At the heart of their music was the wonderful book of Psalm.

Psalms is the hymn book of the Bible.

Tim Rowe (author) has a doctorate of jurisprudence & a bachelor degree in biblical studies, history, & classics. An attorney & author of The Magnificent Goodness of God & How It Will Transform Your Life, he is president of Goodness of God Ministries & lives in Indianapolis with his wife & son.