Heart Keepers Ministries

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It’s A Yes!

by Debbie on December 9, 2012

For years I heard so many of my friends talk about American Idol and rave about how much they enjoyed watching this reality TV show. I had never watched the show until about three years ago and now I try to watch it, the X-Factor and the Voice. Needless to say, I have fallen in love with these shows.

Sometime back I heard the story of Susan Boyle, a very talented singer, who was discovered on Britain's Got Talent in 2009. Many of you may know her story, but if you do not, please take the time to go to Wikipedia and check her story out. It is a modern day parable of why we should not judge.

When Susan Boyle came out on the stage to perform she was asked several questions by the judges and as she answered them from her heart, the judges began to laugh, sneer and roll their eyes at her. Susan did not let that stop her from giving one of the greatest performances these judges had ever heard or had the privilege of judging. I so admire her for her courage after such harsh judgement. This is truly the reason we must not judge a book by it's cover.

Jesus told us not to judge a book by it's cover basically in the following verses:

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Luke 6:37

Do not judge, and you will not be judged...

The word judge simply means to form an opinion or conclusion about. The truth is none of us have enough knowledge about others to give an opinion about them. Only God knows us from the time we are formed in our mother's wombs until the day we depart this earth. He is all knowing, we are not! However, many of us think so highly of ourselves that we put ourselves in the judgement seat and take a stab at judging others and then we wonder why others judge us at times. Believe me I have sat on the throne of judgement at times, myself.

There is a story in the bible that shows us how some men were judging a "book" by it's cover. Let's take a moment to read this story:

John 8:1-11

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin.

Jesus is so amazing to me! I know most of us as Christians would not have handled this situation as well as Jesus did. How do I know? I have been judged pretty harshly myself by many who profess to be very strong Christians. It is very painful and discouraging to say the least. I don't want to hurt others and discourage them, do you?

Now may be a good time to do some soul searching and ask Jesus to show you if you have ever judged someone causing pain and discouragement in their lives. I can assure you that Jesus will not judge you if you realize that you have hurt someone by judging them. Listen to what Jesus says about himself and judging:

John 8:15

You judge by human standards; I pass judgement on no one.

Jesus could have used human standards to judge the woman caught in adultery and the teachers of the law and Pharisees, but he chose not to pass judgement. Instead he bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. Basically what this says to me, is that he humbled himself and thought before he spoke. His words of wisdom shined brightly when he stood up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." One by one the accusers (judges) went away and left only Jesus and the woman there alone.

Don't miss something very important here. Jesus not only bent down (humbled himself) before speaking about the woman but he also bent down (humbled himself) as the teachers of the law and the Pharisees felt the conviction of sin in their own lives and walked away. Jesus could have easily stood there looking them each in the eyes and sneered at them with pride and arrogance, but he did not!

How awesome it is to have such a wonderful Lord and Savior. He clearly understands everything about each of us but choses to love us with kind, tender words of truth instead of judgement. His purpose is to save us not judge us.

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The reason we cannot judge is because that is not our purpose either. Our purpose is to love! Love God, love ourselves and love others. How are you doing in your love walk? Are you fulfilling the two greatest commandments or are you breaking his Word by judging others?

Matthew 22:34-40

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Jesus had a way of silencing those who wanted to condemn and judge others. I just love that about him. I know as humbling as it may be, I want him to silence me when I take a seat on the throne and start judging others. Why? Because if I don't allow him to silence me, someone else's judgement of me will certainly do the job! I would rather have Jesus humbling me than someone else judging me. How about you?

After watching the You Tube video of Susan Boyle singing, I was able to watch three judges and an audience of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have their hearts humbled. She certainly silenced their laughing, sneering, rolling of the eyes and unkind words. The most amazing thing about Susan is that she is still a very humble person and many are now her fans.

Needless to say, Susan Boyle got the privilege of hearing the audience praise her with clapping hands, whistles, yells and a standing ovation. She also got to hear each judge say, "It's a yes"!

When Jesus went to the cross, he looked at each of us and said loud and clear, "It's a yes"! Because of that resounding yes from Jesus, we can hold our heads up high and be a success. We may not be perfect but because of Jesus we are saved and forgiven if we are Christians.

Susan Boyle is not a perfect performer or singer but she continues to be a success. I hope you will read about her and watch her performances if you are not familiar with her story. She is such an inspiration and certainly a modern day parable of how judging a book by it's cover is so wrong and hurtful. Make sure that you are not sitting on the throne judging others. Make sure you are loving others no matter what they have done or how they look or act. Your reward will be love poured back out to you not judgement!

Dear Jesus,
Thank you so much that you did not come into this world to condemn and judge but to save us! We are so unworthy but so very grateful. Your love is amazing. Please pour out your love anew into our hearts by your Spirit so that we might fulfill our purpose in loving you, ourselves and others. Show us if we are judging anyone, whether it be ourselves, a close family member, another Christian or simply a stranger, or non-christian. Strengthen us to love and when or if we think we have the right to judge others remind us that we are not ALL KNOWING and will never have enough knowledge to sit in judgement over anyone. Help us to walk in our own shoes and not try to walk in others. Help us to realize that we have no idea why they are the way they are and why they do the things they do. Even if we do have some knowledge of someone help us to realize that we are told clearly in scripture that we are not to judge or condemn others but instead to love as you have loved, which is unconditionally. Thank you for the cross and saying "It's a yes" to us when you clearly could have said no! Thank you that because of that yes we can succeed and be the loving Christians that we need to be to show others who you truly are, a loving, forgiving, kind and humble Savior. In your name Jesus we pray, Amen.

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Hammered!!

by Debbie on June 12, 2010

Have you ever been hammered?  The word hammered is a slang word used for drunk or intoxicated.  I read about a young woman who got hammered.  She was only 19 years old and made a choice to drink and drive.  That choice changed her live forever.  In her drunken state she must have fallen asleep and when she woke up she was in a hospital and had no idea what had happened to her.  It was only later that she found out that she had killed two people and had forever changed her life and the lives of many others.  That is such a tragic story to hear about.  After reading that article I began to wonder if any of us realize how important our choices really are and how they will effect us and those around us.  I really don't believe that any of us consider the consequences our choices can have in our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with.  It made me think of a biblical story of a young woman who made a choice that would forever change her life too.  Take a moment and read about her choice and see if you think she had any idea how her life would be forever changed by her choice.

Genesis 3 (New International Version)

Genesis 3

The Fall of Man

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring [a] and hers;
he will crush [b] your head,
and you will strike his heel."

16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

20 Adam [c] named his wife Eve, [d] because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side [e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Did you know that the choice that Eve made that day forever changed your life too?  All of mankind was effected by her sinful choice to disobey God.  I am sure that she wished a million or more times that she had not disobeyed God.  Unfortunately she did and now we all struggle with disobeying God. If her story and our story ended there it would also be a tragic story.  However there is someone who made a choice to obey God that changed our lives forever.  Jesus made a choice to get hammered and that choice was only tragic to satan!  It was a victory for Jesus and for us.  Was it painful?  None of us can even imagine the pain he suffered for us.  All we can do is read his story and imagine what it must have been like.
John 19:16-42
The Crucifixion

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read:|sc JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,
"They divided my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing."[c] So this is what the soldiers did.

25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"[d] 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."[e]

The Burial of Jesus

38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.[f] 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

John 20

The Empty Tomb

1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

16Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "

18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.31But these are written that you may[g] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

I hope you read the whole story about Jesus getting hammered.  It started out pretty sad and painful for him but it really does have a wonderful ending for us and for Jesus.  If we believe that he died and was resurrected we can believe that there is hope for us when we disobey God.  Disobeying God  should not be our goal in life but we need to know that because of what Jesus did for us on the cross we always have a chance to start making wise choices and obeying God.
The young lady that I mentioned earlier must have believed that there was hope for her through Jesus.  Her story mentioned the armor of God found in Ephesians 6 and now she speaks to others about how to make wise choices by not drinking and driving.  Her life has forever changed and I know that there has been a lot of healing that had to take place in her heart and in the hearts of those who were affected by her choices.  She spent several years in prison but through it all she learned that she needed to obey God.  She spends her life trying to keep others from getting hammered because she met the one who got hammered for her.  What about you?  Is there something in your life that God is asking you to do or not to do and you keep making poor choices?  Think about the choices that this young woman made and the choices that Eve made.  Don't wait until your story turns tragic to obey God.  Make a choice today to follow Jesus and do like he did.  He obeyed God and because he did our lives are forever changed.  Thank you Jesus for getting hammered!!!
Dear Jesus,
Thank you so much for making the choice to obey God.  I know you did not have to die on a cross for me but I am grateful that you did.  Help me to start making wise Godly choices in my life.  You know the areas in which I struggle to obey.  Grant me grace to follow your example and obey God no matter how painful it might be.  Help me to get hammered too by following Galatians 5:24 that says those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to your cross and crucified them there.  Help me to follow you Jesus in every part of my life.  Help me to always seek you in prayer and your word and consider every choice that I make as a choice that could bring me and those around me life or death.  I trust you to help me live a life of obedience.  In your name Jesus I pray, Amen.

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Thank You For The Cross

October 10, 2009

I really enjoy buying gifts for those I care so much about.  My family and friends never know what they might receive.  Sometimes I come up with a theme and buy several gifts pertaining to that theme.  Then I have fun wrapping each of these gifts and filling a box full for them to open [...]

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