3. Open your heart to praise the Lord
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
“Dear Holy Spirit, shine your light into the places of darkness in my life. Show me my sins, everything that blocks me from encountering God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
"Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and being victorious over death and sin. I confess my sin to you(pause, to tell Jesus what the Holy Spirit has shown you). Forgive my sins by your blood and help me follow you. Holy Spirit, fill me that I may be able to receive your gift to love God and His people. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen."
Bishop N.T. Wright says:
John's message wasn't all comfort. Far from it. He spoke of a fire that would blaze, an axe that would chop down the tree. When he saw some of the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, coming for baptism, he scoffed at them. They were like snakes slithering away from the bonfire where they'd been hiding, as soon as it started to burn. The only thing that would make John change his mind about them would be if they really behaved differently. Going through the motions of baptism wasn't enough. Real repentance meant a complete and lasting change of heart and life. That was the only way to get the road ready for the coming king.
N.T. Wright. Matthew for Everyone, Part 1. Louisville,KY:Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p.18.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:26-28
We can't change our lifestyle because we have a heart of stone and not a heart of flesh, and we are all vipers.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Lead us to admit that we have a heart of stone and that we have a long way to go changing our lifestyle to be more like you. Help us to change and know this is the right way, the way that you can come into our lives to be our Lord and King. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Reflect on these questions:
1. Do you know any Christians relatives or friends who are a bad example of following Jesus ? Can you describe what kind of stone hearts and lifestyles they have?
2. Do you have a stone heart or a heart of flesh? Why do you think so?
3. Do you think Jesus wants to scare you so that he can force you to change? What does Jesus really wants to tell you today?
1. How do you deal with conflict and saying sorry in your family? Are there any expectations for apology and reconciliation?
2. What practical habits can you build in your family for listening to each other so that you can have hearts of flesh rather than stubborn hearts of stone?
Praise and Thanksgiving
Let's give thanks for God with us. Let us praise Him:10,000 Reasons