Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have we truly examined our hearts?

This lenten season it is important for us to be fully aware of what grace really means. Tonight at awakening faith we were given a handout that puts it into a perspective that many of us may, or may not be aware of. All to often we may say, ah well I've never killed anyone, I'm a pretty good person. There are different depths to that commandment though that we often do not consider. Jesus told is that if we were angry with someone else, then we were gulity of breaking the commandment, and thus are in danger of judgment. Mathew 5:22. He also told us that if we looked at a woman in lust we were guilty of adultery. Mathew 5:28

You see God wnats us to live by the ultimate commandment, to love him with all of our heart, body and soul. Then secondly love our neighbors as ourselves. As we draw near to communion in many churches, and to reconciliation in others, let us examine our hearts. Let us look at who we truly are and ask for forgivness from our Father, God.

The following list is not given to condemn you. I only give it because I felt it was a true reminder and truly helped me to examine my heart. I pray that it will do the same for you.

1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods besides me.

Do I worship God in spirit and truth and give him the praise due him?
Do I make a god out of my work or my possessions, so that these rule my life instead of God?Have I tried to grow in the knowledge of God through daily prayer and scripture reading?
Have I ever dabbled in the occult or given credence to horoscopes, Ouija boards, channeling, tarot cards, or fortune telling?
Have I taken time to teach my family about the ways of God and pray with them?

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Have I been hypocritical by adhering to a ritualistic observance while not actually living out my faith in practice?
Have I resorted to profane language by cursing and swearing?
In conversation, have I passively acceded to slander and to jokes aimed at demeaning religion, the church, or God's authority?

3. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Have I allowed myself to become so dominated by my work or chores that I have not set aside Sunday for spiritual and family acitivities?
Do I honor God by particiipating in communion each time it is offered?
In my prayer and attendance at the liturgy, am I content with a passive observance rather than devoting myself to genuine worship of the Lord?

4. Honor your father and your mother.

As a young person in the family home, do I listen to, respect and obey my parents when they instruct me?
As an adult, do I visit and care for my parents in their old age?
Do I harbor short-term resentments against my parents?
Do I blame my parents for my own shortcomings?

5. Thou shalt not kill.

Have I ever advocated abortion, either through my opinions in conversation or by actively assisting someone in procuring an abortion?
Have I ever endangered myself or the life of another person through the taking of drugs or the abuse of alcohol?
Have I ever contemplated or attempted suicide?
Have I ever struck anyhone in anger, intending to injure them?
Do I recognize my sin in my anger or do I savor it?
Am I angry, bitter, or resentful toward anyone, particularly a family member?

6. You shall not commit adultery.

Have I engaged in sexual acitivty outside of marriage?
Have I given my mind over to lustful thoughts or fantasies?
Have I read pornography or watched indecent movies or television shows?
Have I acted impurely by myself or with others?

7. You shall not steal.

Have I taken anything that did not belong to me?
Have I been dishonest in the payment of my taxes or in the submission of expense accounts in my business?
Have I wasted time and cheated my employer by not doing a full day's work for my wages?
Have I been extravagant in my manner of life, to the neglect of the poor of the world?
Have I been irresponsible and neglected the need of my family by wasting money on gambling or betting?

8. You shall not bear false witness agaisnt your neighbor.

Have I defamed the good name of another person by taking part in gossip or slander?
Have I injured the reputation of another person by speaking about their failures and sins with little desire to help them?
Have I condoned prejudice and hatred toward people of another nationality, race or religion?
Have I been truthful in my words as well as in my actions?

9. You shall not covet your neighbors wife.

Have I sought the affections of another's spouse?
Have I contemplated infedelity in my marriage?
Have I upheld the dignity of my spouse in all circumstances?
Have I reje cted my family in my heart, wishing to distance myself emotionally and personally from them.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Do I habitually compare myself with others in terms of wealth, status and financial security?
Am I jealous of the personal qualities of others or envious of their possessions or success?
Do I keep my finances in order and exercise proper stewardship over what is mine?
Do I support my church sufficiently and give generously to the poor?

I pray that each of us finds ourselves in a state of repentance, and acceptance. Repentance from our bad deeds, thoughts and actions. And yet in acceptance of God's grace and mercy! We must learn to accept God's love for what it is, unconditional and unfathomable. It is so hard to accept that Christ died for us in our place! That He chose to remain hanging on that cross for each and everyone of us. I pray that every man, woman and child will learn to have faith in Jesus Christ, and learn to love as deeply and powerfully as our Heavenly Father, with pure agape.

In Christ,