INTRODUCTION

Guard Your Hearts

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Whenever we hear about a crime on the TV, or read about it in the paper, we are left scratching our heads, wondering how on earth someone could have done such a thing. For most of us, it’s hard to comprehend an urge to harm someone or steal something that is so strong we actually follow through, especially if we consider the consequences to the victim, their family, and ourselves.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  What we believe in our hearts affects our thinking, and what we think affects who we are and what we do.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” What is in our heart becomes our thoughts. Our thoughts become our words, what we say becomes our actions, our actions turn into habits, our habits form our characters, and our characters shape our destinies. 

The fact is, many criminals have hardened their hearts, their thoughts have developed into a different belief system resulting in different thinking patterns, and these thoughts impacted the choices and actions that led to their incarceration.  In this course, we will be studying some of the common beliefs and thoughts of criminals that have come out of a hardened heart, and match them up, one by one, with truths from God’s Word. 

But this course isn’t just for criminals - it’s for everyone.  If we’re honest, we’ll be able to see ourselves in some of these thinking errors, and we’ll see someone we’re counseling in other thinking errors.  If we don’t examine ourselves and listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, our hearts could become hardened, our thoughts set in stone, and we could change our own destinies with these same thinking errors. 
 

1. In Mark 8:17-18, Jesus asked one question right after another.  And His questions perfectly described the heart that is hardened.  What symptoms did He highlight in His questions? 
 
 
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2. How did Paul describe the hardened heart in Ephesians 4:17-19?   
 
 
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3.  According to Proverbs 28:14, what will happen if we harden our hearts?  
 

4. Where do evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander originate? (Matthew 15:19)
 

5. God doesn’t drive us to repentance … He leads us to repentance.  However, according to Romans 2:5, what will happen if we harden our hearts and remain unrepentant?
 

6. How is the hardened heart described in Isaiah 6:10?
 

7. Read Mark 10:4-5.  What precept did Moses write because of hardness in the hearts of the people of his time?
 

8. According to James 2:15-16, what might be an indication of a hardened heart?
 

9. One of the best examples of hardheaded hard-heartedness is found in the book of Exodus. Pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel leave the land of Egypt as God had commanded. The Bible mentions Pharaoh’s heart being hardened 17 times.  If this has happened to you, what has God promised to do in Ezekiel 36:26 and Ezekiel 11:19?
 
 
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10. What did God promise to do about their hearts in Jeremiah 24:7?
 

11. How can you tell that a person's heart is NOT hardened? (Ephesians 4:2-3 and 1 Peter 3:8)
 
 
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12. Read 2 Chronicles 34:27 and 2 Kings 22:19.  What happens to our prayers when God sees a tender, penitent, and humble heart?
 

Continue to Chapter 1

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