Change Of Heart

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And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. – Ezekiel 36:24

I remember the event as if it were yesterday. I was a new volunteer with Prison Fellowship Ministries, after my first retirement from pastoral ministry. They reach out to inmates with the Gospel in prisons all over the world. It was founded by the late Chuck Colson seen here. He was speaking in Albuquerque at a fund-raising event and I had been invited to attend. He was a dynamic speaker and one thing he said has affected me as much anything else I have ever heard anyone say.

Crime in America

He was speaking about the Criminal Justice System and all the approaches to the problem of crime in America and elsewhere. He said that no matter what we do to help with the rehabilitation of prisoners, whether it be education, job skills training, counseling, mentoring, half-way houses and all of the myriad of programs, the end result was the same. Crime continued to increase and most inmates returned to prison within a year or so of their release. Billions of dollars later and we’re still building prisons, jails, detention centers and juvenile facilities as fast as we can. This is confirmed by the fact that today America has more people in prison than any nation in the world.

“What’s the answer?” Colson asked the huge gathering at the hotel that night. We were silent. Then he gave us the answer: “Crime (sin) is a matter of the heart and until the heart changes crime will continue to be our biggest problem in America. The only one who can change the human heart is Jesus Christ.” I’ve never forgotten that statement. I have used it many times in many applications because it is appropriate to so many situations and circumstances of life in which we fail or fall short of God’s best. Maybe it applies to someone you know today.

But How Does The Heart Change?

It can only happen through a relationship with Almighty God through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). When we become true believers, God reconciles us to himself and begins to clean us up from the inside-out, by giving us a new heart and a new spirit as he promised in Ezekiel. That only happens when we become born again which is imperative to the true Christian life. Jesus said it emphatically, “You must be born again” (John 3:3-8).

So here are the questions of the day that we all must answer with conviction. Chances are you have already responded to God’s grace. But chances are also that you know someone who hasn’t yet made that decision and are on their way to eternal separation from Jesus Christ who loves them and desires a personal relationship with them. This would be a good message to forward with these questions: “What is the condition of your heart? Have you truly been born again?” If you’re not sure, you can invite Jesus into your heart right now and He will change you. When you repent, He will set you free from all guilt, forgive your sins forever and fill you with the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). All you have to do is confess him as the Lord of your life, believe that He has been resurrected from the dead and now lives (Romans 10:9-10) and receive God’s free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
— Maranatha!

“God is good all the time. All the time God is good!”

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