Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Undivided Heart

Every year at the church there are young people who graduate from high school and enter the work place, go to college, or join the military.  Although there is a great deal of excitement it can also become a four-year sabbatical from Christ and His church.  This pattern has greatly concerned me, yet many young people have watched their parents have a different or inconsistent life in their daily life compared to church life.  I continue to encourage these young people to declare their loyalty to Jesus Christ early.  Whenever it becomes a guessing game about the One we serve in our lives it becomes very difficult to reestablish at a later time, if we ever do.  The lack of total surrender to Jesus Christ has caused much damage and confusion to the work of God in the world and in the church.

Throughout Scripture, defeat could always be found when God's people followed Him with a mediocre spirit.  We call this half-hearted Christianity today, although the term would appear to be an oxymoron.  The success of kings and nations always stemmed from an undivided heart to know God and exercise obedience to Him alone.  More kings lived and failed with divided hearts that entertained other gods or philosophies that contradicted God's words.  It is amazing how we stand in worship with our hands extended waiting for God to pour out His blessing upon those who are not sold out for His glory.  I am resolved that God have every bit of me and that His greatness would be made known through the little that I have to offer Him.  I want to capitalize on every transaction of words and deeds in order that there is never a question about who my Savior and Master really is!

The following verses are precious and worth underlining, memorizing, or writing on a note card as a reminder to us all this upcoming year that God's desire is an undivided heart of devotion!

 Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Ezekiel 11:19 "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; 
I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh."

1 Corinthians 7:35 "I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that 
you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

God Elevates His Word

The more I study God's Word the more I've grown to understand how much He wants us to embrace His words as truth and to stand in amazement of Him.  Many times when we gather for worship on Sunday mornings we often think of everything prior to the message of the Word of God as our worship time.  In reality, the highest form of worship hasn't even taken place yet which is the proclamation of the very words of God Almighty!  Everything prior to the reading and the heralding of God's Word is a prelude of worship to the great God that we serve and glorify.  Psalms 138:2 says, "I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word."

The original text is literally saying, "You have magnified your word above all your name."  The verse does not mean that God's other qualities move to second place.  However, it does emphasize the fact that God values His integrity through what He says.  God made many promises throughout Scripture and many in the Psalms to David as it pertained to an everlasting dynasty through Jesus Christ.  We just celebrated a promise of God in the coming of His Son--the incarnation.   Even Jesus Christ said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Mt. 24:35)."  Scripture is fully profitable and dependable!

Understanding God's thoughts, ideas, and ways are absolutely essential for a believer in Christ.  The better we know Him the better we will follow and worship Him!  My passion is to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This happens best when I sit still and listen to His voice.  Do you have moments in your life where you sit long enough in an act of worship to hear what He wants to say.  I hope this happens in a daily quiet time with Him.  One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 86:11, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (NIV)."  There are many wonderful things to read and pass along to others but nothing surpasses the life changing Words of God!  May He be heard by all mankind!!!