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CUT TO THE HEART (Psalm 16 Part 2)

A few summers ago a young cousin stopped by. She and my daughter Annie had been good friends in childhood. I love this young woman, but rarely see her as she lives in Hawaii, and I’d never met her husband. We sat on the porch with iced teas and I asked her husband about his intriguing name: Ezekiel.

“Ezekiel, you are the first man I’ve ever met with that name. Is there a story? How did your parents choose that name?”

“My mother saw a book called Ezekiel in a bookstore and just liked the name.”

“Well, perhaps God inspired her! Did you know that Ezekiel was a prophet, and a book in the Bible is named after him?”

“Yes, I did.  But I don’t know what that book is about.”

My cousin said, “Dee knows the Bible! Tell us about the book of Ezekiel.” (My cousin is spiritual, but not Christian.)

Help, Lord! I laughed and threw up my hands. “Well, don’t be so sure. Ezekiel is about the hardest book in the Bible. God gives him wonderful but wild visions. I don’t understand a lot of it. But there is one part in it that has really grabbed me, and that is where the prophet is given a metaphor about what the Spirit of God does in the life of someone who is converted. Ezekiel says God takes a heart of stone and turns it into a heart of flesh. I never thought of myself as having a heart of stone until I came to God and He showed me how selfish I really was, how I so often harden my heart to others. And He has been changing me — chipping away at that stone. So when I think of Ezekiel I think of turning a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.”

My young cousin said: “That’s a good name then, because my husband has a tender heart.”

I smiled and nodded. That was like her, but I didn’t think she had gotten my point. I am praying that God might woo them.

We had great pondering going on here last week on Ezekiel. I want to continue — for I love this group where iron sharpens iron.

For those who have just joined us, we were pondering what the water from this verse represented, for Jesus uses this passage when He talks to Nicodemus and tells him unless he is born of water and the spirit, he will not see the Kingdom of God.

 

Here were some of your good thoughts:

  • The water represents the cleansing that comes through the blood.
  • The water represents the cleansing that comes when the Word of God convicts us of our sin.
  • The water represents the Spirit of God awakening us to our need for repentance

There were other good thoughts too. And this is a good time to talk about the metaphors God uses. It is important to look for the main idea, whether it is “being under the shadow of His wings,” or “His being our bridegroom.” Getting too literal can get us in trouble, for metaphors give us an earthly picture to illuminate a spiritual truth about God. If you look at the water in the context above, you can see that God is saying: “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses and from your idols. I will cleanse you.” The important thing to see is the “I” — God will cleanse us. We do not cleanse ourselves. How does God cleanse us? If you look at the above three responses from our group — they are all right: Through His blood, through His Word, and through His Spirit. We respond with repentance — but it initiates with God. We could not do it ourselves. We were dead in our sins. His Spirit has to awaken us, and He awakens through His Word, which is the Sword of the Spirit cutting our hearts, and indeed, it is the blood that washes us and makes us whiter than snow. All these seem part of the meaning in Ezekiel’s metaphor concerning our heart transplant.

I also loved how Nanci pointed out that she wasn’t going to start eating right until she had a heart change. That’s the same thing — we can try a dozen diets, but until God gives us the desire to walk in the light in regard to whatever it is, we are only attacking the symptom. So we need to pray for God to give us a heart change.  Cyndi remembered our study on the Stonecutter (I still like that name, even though the publisher changed the book to Idol Lies) and how it impacted her. I feel the main message here is this dependency we need on God to change our hearts. THIS IS SO APPLICABLE. Right now I am babysitting my grand-daughters, and because one is particularly strong-willed, I tend to lose my temper with her when she loses hers! I realized what I really need is a heart change toward her, and then I can respond well. This is helping me!

How does this relate to Psalm 16? In the second part of the psalm, it becomes clear this is no longer about David, but about Jesus. And this is the portion of Scripture that Peter and Paul quoted in their first sermons. When I asked Dr. Darrell Bock which portions of Scripture he thought Jesus talked about on the road to Emmaus, he said, “Look at the first sermons — I think the passages the apostles went to were probably the ones He surely taught them about.” When Peter quoted Psalm 16, we are told the people were “cut to the heart.” How that sounds like the Stonecutter of Ezekiel! That day three thousand souls were saved.


Unless we are cut to the heart, we cannot be born again.

Unless we are cut to the heart, we cannot change.

We need the Stonecutter to come.

We need Jesus, The Word of God, to bring us to our senses.

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Watch the following and explain how Jean Valjean revealed he had a heart of flesh. (In context, he had an opportunity to allow a man he hated to be accused for his past crime, and was wrestling with that choice.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2sanq2SM0k

God Hunt this week: Watch for a heart of flesh — note times when you have compassion toward others, when you are convicted by sin, when you feel deeply either sorrow or joy — for that is a heart of flesh! That comes only through the power of God changing you. Also, ask God for a heart change in an area where you tend to fall — let’s see what He will do!

 

Monday: Psalm 16

3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.

4. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?

 

Tuesday: Acts 2:1-21 

4. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon? (Acts 2:1-13)

5. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon?

6. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21)

6. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?

7. God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him?

8. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?

 

Wednesday: Acts 2:22-36.

9. Peter here quotes from several Psalms, closing with a quote from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:27-28. What is it?

10. What does Peter say this had to be about Christ and not David? (Acts 2:29-35)

11. What does Peter tell them in verse 36?

Tim Keller points out that while this was probably not the group that actually crucified him or were even there, still, their sin causes the crucifixion. For that reason, Peter could say the same to you and me.

12. How does the knowledge that you are so bad it caused the crucifixion help you to overcome denial about your depravity?

 

13. How have you seen evidence of a heart of flesh in the last 24 hours?

 

Thursday: Cut to the Heart

14. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37?

15. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel?

16. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart?

17. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh according to Acts 2:42-47?

 

Friday: Keller Sermon 

This is not free, but excellent: 

https://gospelinlife.com/downloads/the-first-sermon-6173/

18. Share your notes and comments on the above.

Saturday:

19. What is your take-a-way and why? 

 

 

 

 

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114 comments

  1. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Cut to the heart-the title elicited pain in me as I read it out loud and as I reflected on my life’s happenings the last week, no, the last 4 months. I need heart surgery to flush out and excise the gnawing sore of pride, anger and disappointment and self pity. This week’s study will have pain but I want a heart of flesh and not a hardening of heart that seems to be insidiously creeping in. Thank you, Dee.

    1. Oh Bing! I hope I’m wrong but as I read this I fear you had a horrible meeting with the parent and super? im sorry if so 😔. Yes a heart of flesh….you never know what God is orchestrating behind the scenes.

      1. Laura…still waiting. Just been reflecting and realizing that  as much as I thought I am doing well, God is chipping away at my heart to reveal some more areas I don’t want to acknowledge. Thanks for checking on me!

  2. Dee, how could you know that I would be studying a portion of Ezekiel weeks before these studies here? And how could you know that a certain scene from the movie Les Miserables would be playing through my mind over and over again these past few weeks. So, I am so struck by the study here this week and the past two weeks.

    1. What stands out? The phrase, “Cut to the heart.” The necessary and inevitable pain involved in getting to the heart of a matter. Flesh feels pain. Stone doesn’t. I’ve found myself in recent weeks and months asking that the Lord not allow my heart to become hardened over a couple of significant relationships. The acid of cynicism and bitterness have been frightening at times. Sometimes I say to myself that I just need to “toughen up”. But what happens when I attempt to “not let it bother me” is that I begin to harden toward that other person….. because I don’t want to feel pain.

    2. Jean Valjean so intently wrestles with his conscience here. He is desperately wanting to protect himself and even his workers. But he can’t escape his conscience. He courageously presses in to the pain of admitting the truth about himself. And one of the biggest reasons he can do this is because he has tasted forgiveness. The scene from an earlier version of this movie that has been playing through my mind since October, is where Jean Valjean is stealing silver from the very people who had given him lodging and what happens when he is caught. This scene poignantly challenges me to choose forgiveness, to walk forgiveness and in doing that I will experience pain. But better that than a hard hard heart. It also speaks to my needing to repent specifically. For I am both needing to forgive and needing forgivenness – often. Here’s that scene for those who may not have seen it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF3FX43F-7Y

    1. Nila…I too at times just “toughen up” and not let it bother me. And the hardening comes. Lord, have mercy on us.

  3. 1.  What stood out. The whole discussion on the water Jesus refers to. I use a Thompson chain reference Bible, and the Ezekiel verse is part of a chain on spiritual cleansing promised. It makes a number of stops throughout the Bible, talking about: God atoning for our transgressions Ps 65:3, sprinkling of clean water Eze 36:25, a fountain to cleanse from sin Zechariah 13:1, refining and purifying like silver and gold Mal 3:3, Christ loving and purifying the church through the word Eph 5:25-26, washing of rebirth Tit 3:3, the blood cleansing us in Heb 9:14, the blood again in 1 John 1:7, and being freed by His blood Rev 1:5. By count it would be the Blood. However, what is clear to me is that God is the One who does the cleansing, whether by the blood, the word, or the Spirit.

    2.  In the movie clip, he struggled with the choice of either being rightfully condemned or being damned before God. When he kneels in prayer, he remembers that he belongs to God. Then he acts on that knowledge, having compassion on the other man. Not easy at all, but the right thing.

    1. Mary, what is a Thompson Bible?

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? We need Jesus, The Word of God, to bring us to our senses. In my mind I have been willing to change, but change has been so slow that I feel like something is blocking the way. I need to be brought to my senses.

  5. Sunday:
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – Dee I just love your honesty and how your life is an open book for us to learn from you. It helps me to know that my heart changes will not happen overnight and that it may take time to chisel away the layers around my heart of stone. I also love how you told your cousin and her husband that you didn’t know the whole book of Ezekiel, it shows me that I don’t have to be afraid to talk to people about the bible, that I don’t need to know all the verses, chapters or books in the bible to plant the seed like you did for her husband and for your cousin.
     
    2. Watch the following and explain how Jean Valjean revealed he had a heart of flesh. (In context, he had an opportunity to allow a man he hated to be accused for his past crime, and was wrestling with that choice.) – You can see he has a heart of flesh as he was convicting himself on staying quiet, that either way and no matter what path he chose he would be caught with hating his decision. If he chose not to speak up he would be damned in living with that decision of putting someone else in his shoes but he chose to speak up and be freed from that even though he knew he would be condemned, but it was a life he would be able to live with. He chose to be condemned for an innocent man, like Jesus was condemned for our sins.
     

  6. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I agree with Bing & Nila, the words “cut to the heart”, stand out to me, especially seeing them in Scripture. Reminds me of a favorite verse, Luke 24:32 “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road…”

    There is a stirring in our heart so deep only God can bring it, and it is what we need for real change.

    I think what also stands out to me is the reminder of how continual this need for “heart surgery” is. It’s not a one time thing. We continually need to be broken and stripped of those parts of our hearts so prone to hardening, and have them replaced by a heart that is soft, submissive, teachable. When Dee mentioned the need for a new heart with her challenging granddaughter, I relate–in so many ways! I am a sinner in daily contact with other sinners, and unless my heart is filled with His spirit at every encounter, my own flesh rears its ugly head. I am desperate for this ongoing heart surgery!

    1. Lizzy, So so true. When Dee mentioned that about her challenging grandaughter 2 people in my family came to mind and it is funny how I can rationalize immediately..”well, that person would be hard for anyone to live with”…”most wouldn’t be as patient as I have been!” This is while my heart is growing more and more resentful…so instead, even though my flesh cries out, no! I don’t want to hear it! He pushes through with, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you.”-Ouch, and so He softens me…my fear is that I won’t listen and turn, and I will let something go for too long. That is a fear of mine for my heart is deceptive. I have always wondered if there is a warning about that in Hebrews or if I am mis-reading it, that our flesh can make our hearts hard to Him and while we won’t lose relationship we will so miss out on experiencing His presence-His fullness of joy. but I could be mistaken about that. Hebrews is hard.

      1. oh rebecca, your honest sharing convicts my heart even more–thank you dear sister. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you.”

        and yes, Hebrews is hard!! (that’s why I asked Dee to do it here a few years ago! 😉 I wish I could study it in depth…some day I hope!

  7. 3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.

    Dare I say the whole Psalm? I’m a bit nervous with this one because I am not totally sure yet but He is taking away my approval idol. 😉 I do see how this is becoming clearer that it is the whole Psalm and it is more prophetic. A clue started in Verse 1, I can’t find a verse to back it up but it just sounds like Jesus asking God to preserve him or have this cup pass from him in the garden of Gethsemane.

    Verse 3 &4 “The saints are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. Who has the authority to make saints majestic and therefore who can really say all his delight is in them? Jesus, not David. Again, I have no cross references but I just know deep inside it is Jesus saying this. It is Jesus is who makes us majestic for we are covered in His blood raised to new life with Him in His resurrection-brought into the dance-a royal priesthood-and in the future completely transformed exuding His breath taking beauty when we are face to face for we will be like Him.

    Verse 4. This reminds me of God’s jealousy for us. This kind of passion can’t come from David it is way too jealous and cutting..This reminds me of the same passion of God in Jeremiah and Hosea.  V8. Also, there is only One who sets The lord “continually” before Him for He was without sin-Jesus. As we already know, verse 10 is the resurrection for David did undergo decay after he died but Jesus didn’t.

  8. 1.  Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.
    Vs. 10
    Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will let you your faithful one (or holy one) see decay.
    11b. eternal pleasures at your right hand
    Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God.
    I posted this on our FB page but will share here also. Psalm 16 song by Shane and Shane.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8mLTdQQXg4

  9. 3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.

     

    I did a little digging and I think that there is a hint that this is a Messianic Psalm from the very beginning.   According to C.H. Spurgeon (Treasurey of David), one of the great names for God is Preserver of Men (Job 7:20).    Psalm 16 starts out with a plea to preserve.       And then, the capital L on Lord that is used here is EL (Heb.), the name that the Lord Jesus used to address his Father especially in times of great weakness and trial.

    So perhaps there are hints of the Messiah right from the start.    David’s plea to preserve and his way of addressing  the Lord  paralell and foreshadow the Messiah.    It is perhaps as if through David’s pen and heart we hear the voice of the Messiah.

    And this very living word gives voice to our own call to the Lord to preserve and protect.

    1. Thank you, Nila and Rebecca! I need to hear this “preserver of men”. How rich God’s Word is! “And this very living word gives voice to our own call to the Lord to preserve and protect.” Even in the wait for a very dear friend of mine to go  Heaven, this ministered to my heart.

  10. 1. What stood out to me? Dee, your way of sharing the story from Ezekiel that “God would remove the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Then your niece stating that her husband has a tender heart. I do hope that each will come to a saving faith in Jesus.

    Our evening service was very special as the pastor shared a visual of 2 hearts- a black heart of stone and a red heart of flesh! Yes, that is an emphasis on our study these weeks!

     

    2. Jean Valjean revealed his heart of flesh as he was convicted of his sinful desire. He was struggling with his conscience, knowing what he should do, but wanting to follow the sinful desire.

  11. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    I am sad that I never seem to get the metaphors in the Bible; my brain doesn’t work that way!  I love it when I do end up putting two and two together at times though. It’s a good feeling and I usually say to myself, “duh!” I also don’t know much about the book of Ezekiel.

     
    2. Watch the following and explain how Jean Valjean revealed he had a heart of flesh. (In context, he had an opportunity to allow a man he hated to be accused for his past crime, and was wrestling with that choice.)
     

    He struggled to know what was the right course of action; should he turn him in to a life of slavery or should he let him go?

     
    3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David. 
     

    I think it turns at verse 5:

     

    “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”

    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    http://bible.com/59/psa.16.5.esv

     

    This, to me, references  the verse when Jesus is in the Garden of Gesetheme (?) and He asks God to “…take this cup from me…”

     

    Verse 6 talks about a “beautiful inheritance.” Jesus has a beautiful inheritance because he is with God in Heaven.

     

    Verses 7 & 8 both talk about how God helps Him…with counsel and He is always with Him.

     

    Verse 9 He is secure with God

     

    Verse 10 He knows God will not abandon Him to Hell or to see sin.

     

    Verse 11 He refers to being seated at the “right hand” where there is pleasure.

     
    4. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
     

    hmmm…I have to think about this one!

  12. 3. I believe that verses 8-11 are clearly speaking about Jesus. “You will not abandon me to the grave” is clearly about Jesus, not David. Some commentators say the whole psalm is about Jesus.

     

    4.Seeing my heart of flesh is not always clear to me, yet when I have selfish thoughts I am convicted.

    I am praying that God would be glorified at my expense. I have a tendency to be easily frustrated and I am seeing this more often.

  13. 3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.

    Verses 9-11 clearly point to Christ, but I think because David is used in the OT as one pointing to Christ, we can see other places throughout the psalm that apply to Christ–like vs 2 of Christ and His love for His own.

    4. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?

    Well, I definitely have some extra challenges added to this week with my husband out all week, so this will be interesting! One area I need supernatural patience is with our 4 yr old (Philip). We hit the 6 month mark and suddenly we are seeing extreme outbursts, multiple times a day. Ex.: earlier today, I was letting him play with a small tub of water & syringes (these are quite familiar and fun to him) at the kitchen table. I left the room for a minute and came back to water–all over the floor. I didn’t care because it wasn’t much & I had a big towel near by, figured–clean the floor! But Philip lost it. Top of his lungs screaming for 15 minutes straight. He has so much fear of getting in trouble…I don’t even want to envision all the why’s but our training gave us sobering realities. Even knowing that, it can be really hard in the midst of his screaming to stay calm. Parenting him is totally differently than with my other two. But, I just held him and said it’s ok over and over, and prayed over him, and finally he calmed–thank You Lord.

    4. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon? (Acts 2:1-13)

    The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost

    1. Lizzy, wow..the picture of you calming Philip reminds me of Jesus calming us.

  14. Sunday: What stood out to me was the name “Stonecutter”.  I tend to think of Jesus more as My tender Shepherd, yet I know He has to cut away the stone to get to the flesh. Also that I cannot cleanse myself….only God can cleanse me as I repent & surrender to Him. Love the clip from Les Miserables! I need to see that again. Wonderful to see the change of heart happening & how Jean took action & wanted to right the wrongs, even if it cost him his freedom. He had to speak the Truth!

    Dee: Also loved your answer to your cousin’s husband, Ezekiel. That was bold without being offensive & hopefully whet his appetite for more!!

  15. Monday: I think the Psalm turns to being about Jesus in vs 10, but I am fascinated by all the responses about the whole psalm being Messianic. It could be both…about David & in a greater sense about Jesus, who was to come?

    I need to be looking for a heart of flesh this week. Yesterday I had a new difficult patient, & his wife is so burdened after his stroke & decline. I could tell she was being brave, & I felt a lot of compassion for her. I was able to give her encouragement & show kindness, & she seemed to really appreciate it. That was a blessing & I felt encouraged to be used by the Lord.

  16. 3. Where does it start to becomes clear this is no longer talking about David?
    v. 10-11
    “you will not leave my soul among the dead,” “rot in the grave”
    Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to life everlasting, His body and soul were not destined to remain dead and/or in the grave.

    “joy of Your presence…living with You forever”
    Jesus ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    4. How have you see a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
    I was convicted of an unforgiving heart yesterday.  Last summer I was hurt by some ill words spoken by one I thought was a friend; the words spoken “broke” our bond of friendship and trust.  I noticed her vehicle in the parking lot yesterday and my heart showed its true colors.

    1. Nancy, I know for me it is hard sometimes to step up and be the better person. I need to do that with one of our sons and his girlfriend and I feel myself being a brat and saying, no I don’t want to. I am still praying and seeking the Lord on this.

  17. 5. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon?
    Pentecost…the Holy Spirit came and filled the believers.

    6. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon?
    It was miraculous indeed, but it was very personal…each person heard the message of the gospel in their own native language, the language they understood best.

    7. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel?
    It was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit…the Holy Spirit allowed believers to share the good news of Christ to unbelieving witnesses in a variety of languages previously unknown to them (believers).  In the text referenced from Joel, it says that when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon His people there will be wonders and signs, prophesy, vision and dreams.

    8. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?
    Awed, befuddled…I’d likely be vacillating between “this is INCREDIBLE!!” to “am I losing my mind?”

  18. 3.  Acts quotes verses 8-12.  In verse ten, Jesus visited death, but it could not hold Him. He did not see decay there. That cannot be said of anyone else.

     

    Dee, I just realized there are two #4’s.

  19. 1.  How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
     
    I find myself taking time to wait before I say something sarcastic or reprimanding…literally biting my under lip (smile) and praying silently for understanding of the other person’s point of view.

    1. Oh that is me right now too. I have been getting an attitude adjustment. 🙂

      1. You, too, Juls? 🙂

        1. Oh yes Bing, you are not alone.

  20. Monday: Psalm 16
     
    3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David. – I read different versions of Psalm 16 to see if it made it clearer and reading the CEV I think starting in verse 7 it stops talking about David. Verse 7 says ‘Even in the darkest night, your teachings fill my mind’. Verse 8 ‘I will always look to you, as you stand beside me and protect me from fear’. Verse 10 for sure ‘I am your chosen one. You won’t leave me in the grave or let my body decay.’ And verse 11 ‘…sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful.–The darkest night in verse 7 reminds me of the day Jesus was hung on the cross, verse 8 God was with Jesus and helped him through that day, verse 10 we know Jesus is the Chosen One and his body was not left to decay in the grave and verse 11 Jesus sits at the Lord’s right side.
     
    4. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?- My attitude at work is better and even though I would love to not have to go to work, [maybe some day that will happen :)] I don’t mind going now. I know the hardness around my heart is being chiseled away one piece at a time.
     

  21. 4. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon? (Acts 2:1-13) 
     

    The Holy Spirit filling the place and all from different nations being able to understand each other for a time.

     
    5. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon? 
     

    I suppose just not feeling in control might have led them to be more open to listening to his words. I would have probably felt helpless and scared. I would have wanted to listen to see if I could understand better.

     
    6. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21)
     

    Peter said no one was drunk (it was morning). He said that the prophet Joel predicted these types of events, where the Holy Spirit would be on people, sons and daughters would prophecy, and people would see visions. He says it will happen to all, including slaves. Great wonders would be witness on earth and in heaven. Everyone who calls on God will be saved.

     
    6. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?
     

    I love these verses and and have to dance my way through them as I read! My former dance group has a piece to them. For the first few lines we all take on a different language and learn the very beginning verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.” At points, we all speak that verse (at the same time to create confusion) in several languages as we dance. English, French, German, Spanish, etc. the piece is a sensory overload! We have satin scarves that are red, orange, and yellow that we whip around to represent the Holy Spirit. It is moving. If I were there that day, I would have been afraid!

     
    7. God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him? 
     

    When I had babies….there was a point when I realized during child birth that it was only me and Him. No one else could help me get through it. It was scary and comforting at the same time. I needed Him. I’m thinking it’s that way at death as well.

     
    8. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
     

    I don’t know that I have. I did get with a few very close friends over the weekend and one was a bit perturbed with me about something that happened. I felt it was her mistake, but I think she thought it was mine. I felt she left upset, but when we reconnected again I just had decided to pretend nothing happened and move forward. She seemed better and I just figured it was a misunderstanding where nothing came of it. I know I am being vague; to protect the parties. Hope it is clear.

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

     

    That’s easy – the interchange between Dee, her cousin and Ezekiel! Dee, you just have such a natural, winsome way of engaging with others, easily interjecting the Lord into conversations without sounding like you’re being “preachy”; instead, it just flows. Now if someone had asked me to explain a book of the Bible like Ezekiel, oh no! But, you didn’t try to do an exposition on the whole book. You made a general statement and then went to just one thing that has meant something to you, one way God has been changing you, and in a real, winsome way, you admitted your own sin and how God has been changing your heart. That’s not being pushy, preachy, defensive, confrontational, or sounding self-righteous and superior. They may not have gotten the point at the time, but I’ll bet it will come to their minds some day!

     

    2. Watch the following and watch how Jean Valjean revealed he had a heart of flesh.

     

    He had a fierce internal struggle going on, which doesn’t happen if your heart is hard. A hard heart can talk itself into doing any kind of wrong. In the end, he couldn’t let an innocent man go to the horror that he had known himself, and he realized that keeping quiet would also be sinning against God. He said, “My soul belongs to God”. I think that gave him the courage to do the right thing.

  23. 5. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon?

    The Holy Spirit was key to preparing heats to receive the truth of the Gospel. This is from the Gospel Transformation Bible, so good I wanted to share: “The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost has a specific purpose in redemptive history: to show that God’s salvation is now flowing out to people from every nation, tribe, and language…The descent of the Spirit on these apostles is really the birth story of all who are in Christ.”

    6. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21)

    He quotes from Joel of “the last days” and of God’s promise of what would come–His promise to pour out His Spirit on all peoples.

    6. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?

    It’s hard to imagine, but knowing God has chosen me as His own, I know I would have been filled with awe, hope, joy.

    7. God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him?

    God wooed me at such a young age, really I have memories as young as 5 where I felt the assurance of His love. But I think the way He wooed me then is similar to what He still often does with me now when I need the reminder that He sees me. He does “small but big” things that are very personal, specific to my situation, and just remind me, yes, He is all powerful, and yes, He cares specifically for me. I am not a forgotten sheep lost in a pasture, I am as close to Him as any other sheep.

    1. Lizzy, you’ve shared many stories of how God was speaking to you when you were just a small child….like you poring over your little Stations of the Cross book….He did, and does, indeed see you (well, He did, even before you were born!)

  24. 3. Read Psalm 16 in its entirety. Where does it start to become clear this is no longer talking about David? Name the verses and why they couldn’t have been about David.

     

    It becomes clear, I think, in verse 10 that this isn’t about David. “….nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” David would not call himself the Holy One, and we know that Jesus’ body didn’t stay in the grave and decay. The first part of the verse, David might have been expressing his belief, sort of like Job did, that when a man dies, he will live again – he believed in some sort of resurrection or eternal life, “….because you will not abandon me to the grave…” Verse 11 also seems to describe Jesus’ rightful place at the right hand of the Father.

     

    4. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?

     

    Oh, this is hard. My oldest son is here from Florida for a few days, and his wife. So wonderful to have them here! I hadn’t seen him in almost 8 months since he moved last May. He only has 4 days here, so trying to see all those he wants to see is a little hard. I had my dad over for dinner last night. My son expressed to me that it’s been hard when he calls my dad because my dad continually talks about how he wants to die. He wants to be with my mom, and he’s still in high tide grief over his loss of his wife of 70 years. There were several times last evening that he made comments to the same, “I’m ready to go….I want to be with her….”

    I understand his grief, but it’s also hard to hear that. However, I went to bed last night and woke up this morning thinking about my dad. I have a picture sitting out of him and my mom, when he was just 17 and in his sailor’s uniform before going off to the war. So young. Life has beat him up pretty good as he’s now almost 91. An abusive childhood, divorced parents, what he experienced in the war, losing his baby son, having cancer, twice, losing almost every close friend he and my mom ever had, a grandson, and now, losing her. My dad was not what I would describe as a morose, depressed person. He worked until the age of 80 and was pretty tough, and always pushed through with perseverance, endurance, and strength. I think now he’s just weary and tired, but he has run a good race, in my opinion. A stony heart doesn’t want to listen, try to understand, or get too close to another person who is expressing things that make us uncomfortable. I do understand, though, that at the age of 26, my son doesn’t have the perspective that I have at  53. He tends to want to avoid unpleasantness like that. But, I’m going to share my perspective with my son. When I was in my 20’s, I was likely the same. Having a heart of flesh makes you willing, even if you don’t like it, to stay close to someone who is hurting.

     

     

    1. oh Susan–your hardships have continued to refine you and make you so wise, shining of Him in such a desperate place in your family–this is true gold: “Having a heart of flesh makes you willing, even if you don’t like it, to stay close to someone who is hurting.”

    2. Susan, this is so powerful & hard yet sweet. So tough for you to see your dad suffering, & you are grieving also. Glad u have your son for a few days & I pray that your time is sweet, & he will be softened just by seeing how u respond to your dad. May Jesus comfort your dear Dad’s heart & draw him closer to Himself.

    3. Susan again I am so sorry. It has to be so hard to see him ‘lost’. 70 years is a very long time to be with someone and once they are gone it is like losing a part of your own body. My 28 year old son (well almost 28) has the same thinking about my mom who just turned 90. She is healthy for the most part but he doesn’t even want to think about her not being her. He stops her when she starts saying things about not being here forever. It’s so hard to think that they won’t be but life does end when the Lord says we are done. I will be praying for you and your family.

    4. Love, love, love what you shared here Susan about your son and your Dad. I know you are a nurse, too and you and I have seen so much suffering with our parents. with our loved ones is even harder. It is hard, too to do this ” Having a heart of flesh makes you willing, even if you don’t like it, to stay close to someone who is hurting.” To stay close means you will hurt as well. I am experiencing this with my daughter in a different way.

    5. Oh yes, Susan.   This from you rang true with me as well.  Thank you.

       Having a heart of flesh makes you willing, even if you don’t like it, to stay close to someone who is hurting.

    6. Susan, your story of your Dad is so touching. I am glad you are there for him as hard as it is. I hope you can share this with your son so he understands. Grief is so difficult and he had such a long marriage, I am sure this is an incredible struggle for him.

  25. 4. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon?

     

    The crowd heard the disciples speaking in a bunch of different languages, their languages, and they couldn’t understand how this was possible because all of these men were from Galilee.

     

    5. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon?

     

    They were asking themselves, “What does this mean?” It would’ve been no use if Peter had started speaking and many couldn’t understand him, but the fact that they heard their own languages being spoken, maybe that got them thinking that this was, in a way, for them, so they could hear and understand.

     

    6. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21)

     

    He assures the crowd that they are not drunk. He explains that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and uses Joel’s prophecy to back up his claim. “I will pour out My Spirit on all people….even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” This is a supernatural miracle/sign, “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below…”

     

    6. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?

     

    I hope I wouldn’t have been one of the doubters! I sure think I’d be glued to and listening to every word of Peter’s.

     

    7. God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him?

     

    A card from the director of volunteers at the nursing home where I volunteered at the age of 14, in which she wrote, “Jesus loves you, you are special in His sight.” Starting to go to church with my husband when we were dating and engaged, and a longing stirring in my heart to somehow belong to whatever was going on there, to be a part of this “family”.

  26. Tues: Acts 2:1-13    The Holy Spirit was poured out with mighty sounds, tongues of fire & disciples speaking in lots of different languages…praising God.

    This might have softened their hearts because they were  filled with awe & wonder & wanting to know answers. They were hungry for why & how this was happening.

    Peter explained that this was an outpouring of Holy Spirit as foretold by Joel. He pointed to God & away from themselves, so that they would know that this was God working right now in their midst…it was a miracle!

    How did God woo me before my conversion?      with the wonder of nature & wanting to know the meaning of my life as a teen; then seeing others worshiping the Lord & how real & exciting He was to them (at a charismatic church in 70’s); hearing the Gospel story preached with such passion & conviction, tho I had been to church since I was a child.

    How have I seen a heart of flesh? I guess I am seeing a definite softening in my heart towards my husband. Not resentful that he cannot meed my emotional needs, but seeing him as the one who needs God’s touch & having kindness & mercy for him. Accepting him more as he is & letting the Lord do whatever He needs to do.

  27. 7.  God wooed me with nature, with Sunday School songs, and softened me with hardships in my home of origin. By this I mean that He groomed me to want something I didn’t have and couldn’t even define. That something was He, Himself.

    1. Mary B: this is brave & beautiful;    ” He groomed me to want something I didn’t have and couldn’t even define. That something was He, Himself.”

  28. Tuesday: Acts 2:1-21 
     
    4. What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon? (Acts 2:1-13) – They saw the Holy Spirit take control of everyone there from many nations and were speaking in languages that were given to them 
     
    5. How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon? – I think it gave them sense of how powerful the Holy Spirit could be through the works of God.
     
    6. How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21) – He told them that they are not drunk but that God was working through the Holy Spirit, he then went on to tell them what God told Joel.
     
    6. How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things? – I think it would depend on what part of my Christian life I was at. If I was just newly saved, I probably would have been a bit scared and unsure of what was happening, but if it was later on in my Christian life, I would have loved seeing the presence of the Lord so alive in that crowd.
     
    7. God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him? – When I’m down or upset over something that I’m going through and I can’t understand it and cry out to God, in the next turn, I’m seeing so much good being done. He let’s me fall and feel sorry for myself, just so I can turn to him and see Him working in the world around me. I then say to myself, what were you thinking he is always there for us and will be the One that never leaves us no matter what.
     
    8. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours? – I have been putting my troubles behind me and praying for people that I don’t even know. For Shannon, Wanda’s niece, for little Lily who is struggling to come back after downing in her grandma’s pool and baby Alexis who got a very bad virus and was touch and go for a while. People I’ve never met, but who have become a part of my life and I pray for their healing every day. Do this has made me realize that there are so many needs in this country alone that out weigh mine.
     

    1. Oh dear Julie, you a a true prayer warrior…how precious you are knocking on the door for many.

  29. 9. Peter here quotes from several Psalms, closing with a quote from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:27-28. What is it?
     

    Love this type of correlation! He says “…you will not abandon me to hell or let me see sin.” Also, that He has known the “…paths of life…” and He is “…full of gladness in Hus presence.”

     
    10. What does Peter say this had to be about Christ and not David? (Acts 2:29-35) 
     

    He speaks of two here. Peter reminds them that God promised David a descendent who would be killed, buried (but not abandoned to Hell or to see sin), and would rise to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God.

     
    11. What does Peter tell them in verse 36?
     

    He says that all of Israel should realize the man crucified, buried, and has risen, is Christ.

  30. 1.  What miraculous event did the crowd witness before Peter gave his first sermon? (Acts 2:1-13)
    The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they spoke in tongues understandable to people from 15 other towns!
    2.  How might this have softened their hearts before the first sermon?
    The Holy Spirit was on the move. The evidence spoke for itself. No other explanation for this phenomena although some were skeptics.
    3.  How did Peter explain this miraculous event and back it up with a quote from Joel? (Acts 2:14-21)
    People don’t get drunk in the morning at 9. The people listening would have been familiar with the prophesy from the OT book of Joel. He is proving the fulfillment of it and making his audience aware.
    4.  How do you think you might have felt if you were there, witnessing and hearing these things?
    I would have an aha moment, astonished.
     
    5.  God woos us in many ways before He convicts us with His Word and His Spirit at conversion. What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him?
    I was wooed by God through the kindness and love  of Christians. Because they pointed me to Christ, my heart was softened to listening to what His Word has to say to me.
    6.  How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
     
    I cry more for people who do not know the Lord and for my loved ones who are straying or not walking closely with Him. I use to give in more to anger or frustration for them. 

    1. “I cry more for people who do not know the Lord and for my loved ones who are straying….” This made me think of Jesus looking out over the city and His Words, to the effect, that He so wanted to gather them up under His wings but they were not willing. Your heart is like His.

  31. 10.  Peter interprets the passage for them, pointing out that David did die, but that he was looking forward to the Messiah who would taste death but rise again.

     

    11.  Peter says that Jesus is Lord and Christ.

     

    12.  It has always been easy for me to accept and acknowledge that I am depraved. My forays into pride are an illusion of grandeur.

  32. I’ve had some time this morning to read through the comments so far this week. I had taken time to read Psalm 16 and have appreciated the comments.  Especially Rebecca and Nila who had the insight to it as a Messianic Psalm. You challenged me to look deeper.

    Lizzy, Appreciate your sharing your Phillip struggle and your sensitivity to bringing God into his need and praying over him.  Staying calm with a heart of flesh. Only God can do that in us. I’m afraid I would have failed. When one of the grandsons is overtly naughty I tend to harden with him. He’s an attention seeker and pushes our buttons. This is all a good reminder to let God soften my heart toward him at those times.  We’ll babysit tomorrow night for all 5 grandkids while mom & dad are on a date night.  Praying for a heart of flesh to address his need appropriately.

    The bible study I am leading on Thursday mornings is going well.  I am enjoying great fellowship with women in my church that I haven’t got to spend time with in recent years.  Nothing better than to study God’s Word together with fellow sisters in Christ. Like this blog.   (-:

     

    1. Bev–so good to see you again here, praying now for your time with the grandkids. What a HUGE blessing you are to them and their mom & dad! 🙂

    2. Bev I will be praying for you and your 5 grandchildren tomorrow. I pray they have hearts of gold and are molded by your love and affection toward them. I’m putting a reminder on my phone to pray tomorrow night.

  33. Wednesday: Acts 2:22-36.
     
    9. Peter here quotes from several Psalms, closing with a quote from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:27-28. What is it? – “The Lord won’t leave me in the grave. I am his holy one, and he won’t let my body decay. He has shown me the path to life, and he makes me glad by being near me.”
     
    10. What does Peter say this had to be about Christ and not David? (Acts 2:29-35) – He tells them that David’s tomb is still there and reminds them that David told them that Christ would be raised to life and that God would not leave Jesus’ body in the grave to decay. He also reminded them that Jesus is the one that sits at the right hand of the Father. 
     
    11. What does Peter tell them in verse 36? – “Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross.”
     
    Tim Keller points out that while this was probably not the group that actually crucified him or were even there, still, their sin causes the crucifixion. For that reason, Peter could say the same to you and me. – There are a couple of songs by Ray Boltz called The Hammer and Watch the Lamb that fits what Tim Keller is saying here, that each one of us put Jesus on the cross to die. If you have a chance listen to these songs, they are very moving and a reminder of what happened.
     
    12. How does the knowledge that you are so bad it caused the crucifixion help you to overcome denial about your depravity? – Even though my sins were part of what put Jesus on the cross, he loved me enough to take that pain from me so I could live a life of freedom. It makes me sad to know that I had a part in his death, but I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Knowing this, I try hard to live a life that would be pleasing to the Lord, but I also know I fail every day. His love will see me through each day until my last one here on earth is done.
     
    13. How have you seen evidence of a heart of flesh in the last 24 hours? – As I’m doing today’s study I saw a post from Wanda about a little boy who was injured and lost his life to those injuries. How sad this is for his family. I don’t know this boy or his family and yet, when I read those words from Caring Bridge, I was so sad for them. A complete stranger to me, has touched my heart that it aches.
     

  34. 9.  What are some ways God wooed you or softened your heart toward Him?
    I grew up as a Christian, I was baptized when I was 8 days old, but the denomination I was raised in was/is rather legalistic (i.e., quid pro quo).  I didn’t realize that I didn’t know the Lord (i.e., have a personal relationship with Him) until my early-mid-30’s; the Lord took care of providing the right atmosphere/things to bring me to Him personally.  The Lord put me in an environment where I would learn and grow (e.g., attending confirmation class with my daughter, Christian workplace), Christian books (e.g., Max Lucado), “The Passion of the Christ” movie…these are just a few examples of what the Lord did to woo me.

    10. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself in the last 24 hours?
    Through the encouragement of a colleague lacking in confidence…she is so capable, yet she doesn’t believe it.

    11. Peter here quotes… what is it?
    v. 10-11, Psalm 16

    12. What does Peter say this had to be about Christ and not David?
    Peter explains that David was speaking of a future descendant, Jesus.  David died, was buried, and the remains of his body remain in the tomb, whereas Jesus died, was buried, but rose again, was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven.

    13. What does Peter tell them in v. 36?
    Peter tells them that the Jesus they crucified is the Lord and Messiah.

  35. 4.Everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages that many people could understand (at least 14 languages) Sharing the wonderful things God has done!

    5.This would soften their hearts as they understood about God miraculously.

    6.Peter explained as he quoted Joel 2:28-32 in verse 21.Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

    If I were there I would be filled with joy!

    7. How did God soften my heart to Him? First by being a father to me in the absence of my earthly father. Then by convicting me of my great need for Him because of my sinful desires.

  36. 9. Peter here quotes from several psalms, closing with a quote from Psalm 16 in Acts 2:27-28. What is it?

     

    “Because You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.”

     

    10. Why does Peter say this had to be about Christ and not David? (Acts 2:29-35)

     

    Reason #1, David died, was buried, and his tomb was still there for all to see. Secondly, Peter identifies David as a prophet here, saying that he was able to see what was ahead in the future, and David therefore was speaking about Jesus’ resurrection and how he was not abandoned  in the grave and His body did not decay. Peter also points out that David himself did not ascend to heaven, yet in Psalm 110 David wrote this: “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

     

    11. What does Peter tell them in verse 36?

     

    He wants all of Israel to know that this Jesus, whom they crucified, is truly both Lord and Christ (Messiah).

     

    12. How does the knowledge that you are so bad it caused the crucifixion help you to overcome denial about your depravity?

     

    Sin is very deceptive because I can excuse it, make reasons for it, or tell myself my sin isn’t nearly so bad as someone else’s sin. But this statement does cut to the heart of each individual, “….Jesus, whom YOU crucified.” It doesn’t get any plainer than this. I have no excuse for this.

     

    13. How have you seen evidence of a heart of flesh in the last 24 hours?

     

    My son has been home this week. A couple of times I’ve been tempted to tell him about something that happened between myself and his aunt, my sister. I even rehearsed the conversation in my head. However, what am I really trying to prove or gain by sharing something that would make her look bad? I do believe she is a troubled person, and I remembered a sermon I heard by Chip Ingram where he talked about gossip as anything you say about someone else that makes others think less of them. I guess a stony heart wouldn’t care, but a heart of flesh causes you to hopefully think before you speak. A heart of flesh doesn’t need to make itself look better by making another look less than. I decided to keep the matter to myself.

    1. Susan, thank you for your sharing in #13…it spoke to my heart; the Lord convicted me through it.  How often I find myself rehearsing a response/rehashing a hurt/offense when all the Lord really wants me to do is forgive and move on, not allow bitterness or resentment to take hold.  Ironically (or not), my scheduled bible reading had me at Matthew 20 yesterday, the parable of the vineyard workers.  I have always thought what a bummer that it was for those who worked the entire day to be paid the same as those hired one or a few hours prior to the end of the day (I have always thought this parable was speaking to salvation); when I looked a bit deeper, in the Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersby explains that “The parable is emphasizing a right attitude”… I think I am being called to a needed adjustment.

  37. 14. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37?

     

    It says they were “cut to the heart” and said to Peter and the others, “Brothers, what shall we do?” I believe “cut to the heart” means that they saw it – the truth about Jesus, the truth about themselves.

     

    15. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel?

     

    The Stonecutter had just sliced into their stony hearts, and it was painful. The process of Him replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh can be painful, convicting, but it’s the only way.

     

    16. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart?

     

    Because it leads to repentance and turning to God. Sometimes, I try to “cut” someone’s heart, to prove myself right, or to make them admit their guilt, that they wronged me. I am angry and I want my “pound of flesh”. But God isn’t cutting our hearts for these reasons. His whole goal is restoration of what is broken and to bring us to Himself, which is where we belong.

     

    17. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh according to Acts 2:42-47?

     

    They soaked up the teaching of the apostles, they desired fellowship with other believers, they ate together and prayed together. They sold their possessions and gave to those who were in need. It says that their hearts were “glad and sincere” and they praised God. They also were obedient to being baptized. I like too how it says “they had everything in common”. The differences between them, based on things like economic status, education, race or nationality, etc…were eliminated. The most important thing they all had in common was Jesus.

  38. Susan…… I love this: “But God isn’t cutting our hearts for these reasons. His whole goal is restoration of what is broken and to bring us to Himself, which is where we belong.”   So true & encouraging!

    14. Thurs…Acts 2:37;  The people were cut to the heart & asked in desperation, “Bretheren what shall we do?”

    15. In Ezekiel, the hearts of stone were turned to hearts of flesh.

    16. It is a good thing to be cut to the heart, cause it softens us & opens us up to receive the love & healing of God. (don’t like it at the time, but its always worth it  🙂

    17. Some of the ways they evidenced hearts of flesh were : they were devoted to the Lord & to each other; shared possessions. The people were in awe of God as disciples performed signs & wonders with their preaching.

    I have been trying to intentionally listen more & talk less. I have a bad habit of interrupting, usually cause I’m excited or want to show I know what the person is talking about. My daughter & husband are the first to point out when I do this & it’s such a hard habit to break!! It probably started as a child cause I’m an identical twin….& we still finish each other’s sentences! Lord, please help me to listen more with all my attention.

     

    17.

  39. 8. How have you seen a heart of flesh in yourself?

    By experiencing angry feelings and bitterness toward my spouse when he treated me unkindly. I knew I needed to forgive him yet I did not want to and felt unable to, but as I prayed and spoke my feelings, I was able to bring myself to do that. I read odb.org which was on Isaiah 1:16-20- though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…

    9. Peter was quoting from several Psalms,in Acts 2:27-28 he quoted verses 8-11 , Psalm 16.

    10. Peter said this had to be about Christ; David died and was buried. In verse 31 David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. Verse 32 God raised Jesus from the dead. Verse 36 Let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!

    12. The knowledge of my sinful self is humbling as I know my Savior has paid the price to forgive my sins.

    1. Shirley, I’ve had that same struggle   To forgive. It’s hard. You worked through it instead of letting it grow and fester.

  40. Thursday: Cut to the Heart
     
    14. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37? – They were cut to the heart and confused on what they should do.
     
    15. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel? – They were realizing they had done wrong and it was hard facing the facts that change was needed by each one of them. They had to confess their sins and be forgiven.
     
    16. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart? – For me it helps me know that I am a sinner and brings me back to the cross. It makes me remember that God is in control and Jesus died for me. This in itself helps me to try harder each day to be the person that God created me to be and to live a holy life that glorifies God.
     
    17. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh according to Acts 2:42-47? – They started living a godly life. They found ways to learn by following the apostles’ teachings and fellowshipping with each other. They sold possessions and property to give to those in need. They broke bread and ate together with sincere hearts.
     

  41. A heart of flesh. This has been brewing all week, as last weekend I was alerted to a birthday party for a friend. But the invitation did not get extended. I saw the wife and she said nothing. I wanted to be hurt, and to share that hurt with my husband. I just kept bringing it to the Lord. He even brought me to the point of wanting to make sure my husband knew nothing about it so that he wouldn’t be hurt. And last night we got called from the host of the party, asking if we could attend. It is for tonight, and I am tempted to nurse feelings of being second string because we are invited when someone else was ill and couldn’t come. But I keep bringing those to the Lord and telling myself truth, that God is being gracious to me.

      1. O dear Laura! You have turned the other cheek, repeatedly. Nowhere does it say that you must stay within range for the next slap. My heart hurts for you and with you. I just wonder if you are acting as Jesus would want, or being an enabler. I don’t know the answer to that, but God does. Praying for you and a couple of Psalms came to mind.

        129:3-4 plow men have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the Lord is righteous; He has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.

        66:9-12 He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.

         

        Lord, I just pray that even today Laura would hear from You and that You would set her free from the fire and plowman and water. I pray Lord Jesus that You would bring her a peace that passes understanding, that no matter the circumstances she would be able to trust that You are near and are working, regardless of what she sees or hears. Please let her know that her sisters are praying and loving on her in the Spirit. Lift her up and carry her in Your arms.

      2. Thank you for asking, Dee. Yes, He did help me and I was able to have a lovely time.

  42. 14. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37? 
     

    They were cut to the heart. I guess this means saddened? They wondered what they should do.

     
    15. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel? 
     

    It is said that a heart of flesh will replace a heart of stone. A bit of working on the  heart in both cases.

     
    16. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart? 
     

    I suppose that it means the only way out is up? Not really sure why I would wish that pain on my heart. I have had a very stressful few weeks with my daughter and my heart hurts bad. God is far away, I wish I knew why that was. I am sad and wishing my pain would end. I don’t wish this pain on anyone. I feel like God hates my family and I have been betrayed. I thought He was working on us, but I only see pain in everyone in our family. I am tired. I’m trying to run to Him, but it seems futile. Praying doesn’t change things. It is awful. I am trying to remember the good times in hopes that He decides to help us again. But, I can’t see there is any good being cut to the heart.

     
    17. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh according to Acts 2:42-47?
     

    They continued to follow God. They sold their things and prayed and ate together. They told the story to others and seemed genuinely happy and content. God gave them longer lives.

    1. Laura, I feel so sad that you are going through this pain in your family. Nothing hurts so much, I think, than the disappointment of children when you do all that is possible and they continue to go their own way and say or do hurtful things. I have been in that situation, hurting at times. God knows our pain.

       

      1. Shirley, I am sorry you have also had these hurtful times. However it is comforting to know that others understand. I am rejuvenated today with the Bible Gateway verse of the day (and entire passage); Psalm 59. I believe I had a kiss from the King. So long overdue but again just at the right time. Thanks for sitting shiva with me (as Dee says).

      1. Thanks Dee. I appreciate this prayer.

  43. 13. My heart of flesh was stirred yesterday. My neighbor’s 22 yr. old daughter moved out angrily and her Mom was so hurt. I was praying for her. I found out that her daughter came to visit and told her how much she loved her and her sister. It brought tears of joy as God answered my prayer- a kiss from the king!

    14. The people were cut to the heart and responded “Brethren, what shall we do?”

    15. Their stone hearts became hearts of flesh.

    16. Even though it is painful, it is good to be cut to the heart. It is necessary for change to happen. Then comes repentance.

    17. Some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh: They gave to those in need. Praising God, worshipping and devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching. Change must be seen in actions.

    1. Will pray, Dee!

    2. oh Dee! wish I’d know you were going to be so close by. praying!

    3. Dee, praying for your talk and for “cutting of the heart” among your listeners towards repentance and acknowledgement of Jesus as Lord of their lives.

  44. 19. What is your take-a-way and why? 
    I haven’t had a lot of time to read through all the comments and I’m not sure I have taken in the ideas of this weeks study very well. I don’t know if I really understand. My thinking about having a heart of stone versus flesh has made me see that I too often have a forgiving heart that ends up getting hurt by others. My mom taught me to believe that most are mostly good; she wanted to see the positive in people, not the negative. I struggle seeing the negative and I tend to get burned. That is my struggle this weekend. My husband does not have that problem. He sees that people can be cruel to one another and tends to not believe much of what others say. I have a soft heart toward my daughter and she is just using us horribly. I can’t see that because she is my daughter and I want her to be safe and well. My husband sees her as someone who uses us to get what she wants, and doesn’t trust her at all. Is this the “heart of flesh vs. the heart of stone” you want us to understand? I think “…turn the other cheek, forgive as you have been forgiving, etc.” it’s what Jesus would want. My husband can’t seem to do that and I am stuck in between. What is the answer? I need to honor my husband. I know I tend to get trampled on by my daughter. I think by honoring him then I won’t get hurt,  but then I hurt because what happens would not be the choice I would have made. Mind you, I don’t always have a fleshy heart; I can be a stone towards others with challenges where I am judgmental. It’s just this is the all consuming life I live right now with people who are not mentally well. Oh Lord! Please show mercy on my family!

    1. Oh Laura,  You are in such a hard time right now.  There are no easy answers and the feelings you and your husband have though different are not right or wrong.   Such deep hurt affects  us differently. Our responses are different.  You will each work through it differently. You struggle from the perspective of a mother’s heart. He as a man feels his responsibility differently.

      I respect the desire your mom had to put people in as good as light as possible but the truth is all people, all of us apart from Jesus have sinful needy hearts. That’s why we needed our Savior to come and die for us but we have to accept that forgiveness He brings through the Cross. And sadly we can’t impose that on anyone’s life. It is an individual choice to accept Him and let Him have his way. But we can persevere in prayer for that one who like your daughter is bent on her own way. I am so sorry for your grief in all this.   Dee is so right in praying for you to keep pressing into Jesus.  She knows because she kept pressing in through her deep grief and over time experienced his presence in great measure.  You will too even though now God seems far away He is not.  He is closer than ever in your trouble.  He never leaves or forsakes his own.  He promises that.  Hang on to Jesus and hang onto his Word.  I told you before I had a wayward son and like you I could never wish that kind of heartache on anyone.   Also being tired physically and emotionally takes it’s toll on our perspective. I pray you can get some rest and relief.

      Know that many here are praying for you and love you.

       

      1. Bev, your words bring long waited tears. I have been so numb to all of the stress and today it has all come to a head. Sarah and her boyfriend began a FB rampage about my family that was thoroughly inappropriate and twisted in it’s truth. I am SO SAD that my daughter has now decided to go down the path of her boyfriend and we are now estranged. I decided to pay off her phone (she has always been on our plan) to try to stop the posts. Wouldn’t you know, prior to seeing the posts I read Bible Gateways verse of the day and then the entire passage. It was all about David being protected from his enemies (Psalm 59) and how they tell lies about him and lie in wait to do so. David acknowledges God as his strength and fortress. Thank you for your kind words, I needed them today.

        Deliver Me from My Enemies
        To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam[a] of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

        59 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;    protect me from those who rise up against me;2 deliver me from those who work evil,    and save me from bloodthirsty men.

        3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life;    fierce men stir up strife against me.For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,4     for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.Awake, come to meet me, and see!5     You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;    spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

        6 Each evening they come back,    howling like dogs    and prowling about the city.7 There they are, bellowing with their mouths    with swords in their lips—    for “Who,” they think,[b] “will hear us?”

        8 But you, O Lord, laugh at them;    you hold all the nations in derision.9 O my Strength, I will watch for you,    for you, O God, are my fortress.10 My God in his steadfast love[c] will meet me;    God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.

        11 Kill them not, lest my people forget;    make them totter[d] by your power and bring them down,    O Lord, our shield!12 For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,    let them be trapped in their pride.For the cursing and lies that they utter,13     consume them in wrath;    consume them till they are no more,that they may know that God rules over Jacob    to the ends of the earth. Selah

        14 Each evening they come back,    howling like dogs    and prowling about the city.15 They wander about for food    and growl if they do not get their fill.

        16 But I will sing of your strength;    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.For you have been to me a fortress    and a refuge in the day of my distress.17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,    for you, O God, are my fortress,    the God who shows me steadfast love.

        Bible Gateway Psalm 59, ESV

    2. Laura, oh the burden you are bearing.  I can understand your husband’s feeling of being taken advantage of/used and can also understand your “mother’s heart,” the love a mother has for her child is like no other … so very hard.  A book was recommended to me several years ago…”The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie…you and your hubby might find some of the daily writings helpful.  There is an index that directs to specific topical writings.  Just a thought…

      1. Thanks Nanci. It’s gotten ugly today, but God prevails! As you see on FB, I posted the entire passage to the verse of the day. It’s all delivering (David) me from my enemies and how God protects. The actual verse was this:

         

        But I will sing of your strength;    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.For you have been to me a fortress    and a refuge in the day of my distress.17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,    for you, O God, are my fortress,    the God who shows me steadfast love.

        Psalm 59:16-17, ESV

        1. Laura, may you feel  the ever faithful and tenderhearted Jesus come alongside you in this time of sorrow and deep disappointment with your daughter. Praying for you and for your husband as well.

  45. Dear Heavenly Father,

    We praise you for this opportunity that Dee has today to speak in Georgia.  Thankyou Lord that we can have  full assurance  that you are there with her and ask you to anoint her with the power of  the Holy Spirit. Please do a good work in the hearts of her audience. Please oversee the workings of the technology side of her speaking and those who administrate that.  Thankyou for your faithfulness in all things at all times. We ask in the name of our precious Savior Jesus. Amen

    1. Amen.  (nicely prayed, Bev.)

      Holy Lord, please work mightily through our sister, Dee, may Your words spoken through Dee touch the hearts of many.  Thank You for Your love and caring, thank you for your patience and faithfulness.

      1. Amen.

        1. Dear Laura, my heart goes out to u as u are struggling so! Oh how our hearts can ache for our children….I pray that Sara will be brought to her senses & that the Lord will continue to woo her back to Himself. In the meantime, I pray that u & your husband will have new strength & wisdom & encouragement every day. “The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new EVERY morning, new every morning;  Great is your Faithfulness! ” A song taken from Lamentations 3:22-23

          We love u & are cheering you on!  xxx  🙂

  46. 14. How does the knowledge that you are so bad it caused the crucifixion help you to overcome denial about your depravity?
    Jesus took all the sin of this world upon Himself at the cross…all includes mine.  I hate the thought that my sin was reason for the suffering, brutality, agony of separation from God, etc. He endured…there is no denying it, no denying my need for a Savior, my need for Jesus redeeming me, I am a sinner through and through, even on my very “best” days.

    16. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37?
    They understood (“pierced their hearts”) and were “cut to the quick” knowing that their sin was responsible…they asked how they should move forth (“what should we do?”).

    17. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel?
    The realization of their sin necessitating Jesus’ sacrifice softened their hears, it convicted them, moving them to repentance.

    18. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart?
    It brings about/adjusts one to proper perspective, e.g., the Lord is God and I am not.  It shines the light on our pride and other sin that has seeped showing areas in need of repentance.

    19. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh, Acts 2:42-47?
    They devoted time to learning/being taught, fellowship with other Christians, shared meals generously and with joy, prayer, corporate worship, enjoying the goodwill of others (gratitude).

     

  47. Thursday: Cut to the Heart
    14. How did the people respond in Acts 2:37?They were cut to the heart
    15. How is this reminiscent of the passage in Ezekiel?
    Their hearts got softer and open to the Word of God through Peter.
    16. Why is it a good thing to be cut to the heart?
    It exposes what is really inside. I have watched coronary bypasses. Outside for a while, the symptoms are insidious-you have to pay attention to your body’s signals. You can do things outwardly like exercise and so forth but until the “clot” or the “narrowing of vessels” are taken care of,your body will not heal and can cause physical death. Likewise with our spiritual heart, we have to get to the matter/source from the inside out.
    17. What are some ways they evidenced a heart of flesh according to Acts 2:42-47?
    They asked what they needed to do and followed through with repentance and baptism as Peter advised. As aresult, they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer, shared their material wealth, generous to others, praising God and enjoying favor of all the people. Many were added because of their testimony.
     
    And now their hearts are glad and sincere.