{RE:} Renewed Hearts

Tuesday: Renewed Hearts

Yesterday we talked about the importance of having renewed minds - being changed from the inside out. Today we are going to read from the prophet Ezekiel about God's promise for renewed hearts. If this is a familiar passage, try reading in another translation *or* you can use one of the translations on the Bible app that reads to you!

Read: Ezekiel 36: 24-28

"I will take you from the nations, and gather you from the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances."

In Ezekiel's prophecy, we hear God calling his people back to him (again). At the time of this word, God's people were exiled in Babylon.

The people of Israel were not in exile because they occasionally misbehaved or disobeyed God's covenant. No, no. The prophets make it clear that the people are serving other idols and loving it! They are choosing to serve themselves and their own desires instead of God. And this leads to all sorts of problems, both for the individuals and for the whole community (because love for God should always translate to love for neighbor!).

The people of Israel didn't just need better behavior... they needed a heart transplant.

1. Cleansed Lives: God says that the first thing he will do is cleanse them of their idols and unclean ways.
  • Our renewal is made possible by the cleansing, forgiving love of God. When have you experience this first hand? What was is like? 
  • Ask God to show you any places where you need to be made clean - idols that you have continued to worship and love, ways that you have served yourself instead of God and others.

2. Renewed Heart: These first readers would not have known the heart as a vital organ that distributed blood. The heart was the center of a person's internal being - where the thinking and feeling came from. So when God is promising to give them a new heart, he is suggesting a radical transformation "from the inside out"!

What's more, God says they currently have "hearts of stone" - meaning that they were dead and lifeless because of their rejection of God. But God offers them new hearts - softened hearts of flesh. This new heart will long for, love, and worship God, following his ways.

  • Where is your heart still hardened toward God? 
  • Our hearts can also be hardened by things like unforgiveness, bitterness, disappointment, rejection, grief... sometimes we choose to harden our hearts because it's easier to feel angry or numb than it is to process these things.
  • Pray this morning that God would do "surgery" on the areas of your heart that have hardened toward him (or others).

3. Powered by the Spirit: God promises that he will give his people a "new spirit". He's not just transforming their lives, he is offering them the resources they need to continue transforming. This is the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Moses tried to keep the people in obedience, but they could not be made new through laws written in stone.
  • Take time this morning to ask the Holy Spirit to dwell within you. If you've never experienced the Holy Spirit in a real way, invite the Holy Spirit to speak (and then be quiet enough to listen!).
  • If we want to be a new creation, made new, we need renewed hearts of flesh that are made alive through the Spirit. If our hearts are softened toward God, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we have everything we need to live the life God calls us to!


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1553)


Nick Tebordo - March 22nd, 2022 at 4:22am

Renewed hearts of flesh made alive by the Spirit—it is so easy to become jaded. When something first happens, when we hear of it, we are shocked, but as the days go by, our emotions and feelings cannot stay in a place of high alert. We adjust to a new normal and we become desensitized. Our hearts become calloused. I am so thankful that God promises us new hearts. Each day, we allow the Holy Spirit to tenderize us-to circumcise our hearts-to cut away the stoniness. When we hear His voice and call someone that He brings to mind, we see the way He desires to work. That’s just what happened with Jeff Thomas yesterday. I was on my way in one direction when God led me to redirect. That visit was definitely a “God thing”. I ended up taking him to Samaritan. How many times do I miss those opportunities? I want to be open-not just occasionally but daily-minute by minute. I talked with Tonya yesterday and her granddaughter is being bullied. Susan Blais gave me a beautiful CD of her songs. What a wonderful blessing! It led me to call Jim Cuva. Thank You God that You are more than ready to give us a new heart-open to move at the impulse of Your love. Headed down to Church for prayer. So grateful for 556. Lord, I depend on You to sensitize me and keep me from being jaded.

Susan Blais - March 22nd, 2022 at 4:32am

When I was in my early 30s, I knew that I was far away from God by my actions and my beliefs. I would’ve told you then that I was an agnostic, which I meant to mean that I knew there was A God, but practiced no form of religion. By saying that I was an agnostic, I actually was forming a religion of my own. One that suited my lifestyle, and not one that suited God. I think God that he has turned my heart from stone of unbelief into a soft, flashy heart that knows God and wants to serve him with all my being. I came to realize that God would not be happy with my life at that time. Thank you Holy Spirit for taking charge of my life and I pray that You will continue to keep me on the right path of God.

Melody - March 22nd, 2022 at 5:12am

Growing up, I was in a tradition that focused heavily on the "moments" in a Christian life, rather than the "movement" if growing daily closer to God. And I can point to the moment I gave my life to Christ, re-dedicated my life to him after a rebellious youth, was baptized, and the moment I received the holy spirit. But our church referred to that last one as "entire sanctification", and I struggled with the terminology. Because even this morning, I've been praying --but running in the background is this nagging thought that just maybe I still have a heart of stone. After a while, God is showing me that this process is a movement in my life, that I need to ask him for renewal of those hard places daily. And rather than the dramatic, 180° transformation that gets made into movies and preached by evangelists, for me it is a daily renewal.

Nick Tebordo - March 22nd, 2022 at 5:40am

Powerful words Melody! I am with Jon Vaughan at Church, and I am sensing that movement in my life too. It springs forth from a “moment”-but that’s only the beginning. I hear God calling me to “More”-not to work myself into a frenzy, but to do more from a place of rest-fasting and prayer! Melody, God is doing something wonderful in your life!

David Edelstein - March 22nd, 2022 at 11:21am

At about age 16-17 I fell away from my Jewish roots and entered a period of exile from God. That life was unfulfilling and in some ways,I acted selfishly. After I met Rosemarie, she led me to join a Bible study that rekindled a fire in me for God that He put in me as a young boy going to Hebrew school in the late afternoons.




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