God: The Main Character

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Reading through the pages of the Bible, therein it tells the best story ever known to man.  One of love and forgiveness.  One of hurt and healing.  One of ultimate redemption that was strong enough to secure love forever.

As with any good story, there is the main character.  The one who takes the forefront of the overall picture.  The one, who, even if they are not mentioned by name during a particular episode, is still seen in the spirit of or behind the scenes of the whole story.

The Bible is the truest story of them all.  Be careful when reading it that you do not categorize it as just another good read even though, yes, it’s good.  When going through its pages, please do not view it simply as an ancient text, historical matter, or worse, a fictitious fable.  The Bible is the most real book one could ever read, and the story that lives in its pages is just as relevant today as it was when it was being lived, experienced, and penned.

The Bible is the only living book there is whose words are ever planting themselves in your life and revealing things about your life if you let it.

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And, just like any good story you read (again, we are to remember the realness of the Bible, and we are not to take it as a mere story), there is the main character.

Although many lives are revealed in its pages, and many stories are shared, the main character is there, in every story, on every page, revealing Himself in every one.

The main character of the Bible is, of course, God Himself (and I even hesitate to categorize Him in such life because His ultimate holiness demands so much more).

From the beginning to the end of its writing, God is there in every story.  The Bible is all about Him.  His creation.  His love.  His forgiveness.  His plan of salvation for humanity.  His heavenly abode.  His, everything!

In the very first chapter alone, God is mentioned by name thirty-one times.  In every page and every historical tale from there until the end, God is present in the pages even when you don’t see Him mentioned by name, for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16).

So, why is it important to understand God as the main character of the Bible?  The answer is, many approach the reading of the Bible as just another book (which, as I stated earlier, clearly it’s not).

Everything written in the Bible is serious business.  The Bible is a Holy Book.  The main character, our God, is a holy God (1 Peter 1:16), and that is not to be taken lightly.  One must recognize that when they are opening those pages to read or study, they are opening to read about His will and His plan for all of humanity, not just a select few.

We must reverence God as we read through those pages.  We must never haphazardly approach those pages.  All of history written within, from the “In the beginning…” (Genesis 1:1) to the final “Amen” (Revelation 22:21), is His story.

And His story is beautiful if you treat it as the treasure it truly is – if you treat Him as the treasure He is.  Your life will be so much better when you get to know the main character, when you get to, intimately and personally, know God for yourself.

Read His story.  See Him in the pages.  As your eyes read over the words written on that paper, let them come alive in your life.  Hear what He has to say to you amid it all.

Do you know the main character of the Bible?  Read His story, be inspired, and let His words change your life.

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“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” – 1 Kings 18:39

“For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.” – Psalm 22:28

“For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” – Psalm 95:3

“But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king…” – Jeremiah 10:10

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6), and I say with them, Hallelujah!  For the Lord God reigns!  The main character of the Bible reigns forever and ever.  Get to know Him for yourself.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

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A Time of No Shame!

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“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:25

The dispensation of innocence was a real time in our real history.  The pain of sin had not touched the world and the guilt of wrong wasn’t on any mind at that time.  The beautiful creation of humanity was unobstructed by these.

When the Fall entered in, with it entered a host of turmoil, and problems, and disfunction.  With it, entered in sin.  The beautiful creation was now out of whack from its original design.  That which was pure has now become tainted.  That which was whole has now become marred and broken.

During that time of innocence, shame did not walk the streets with the naked.  There was nothing reproachful or unhealthy in the view of humanity.  No discord in the body, heart, or mind was felt because it just did not exist then.

Friend, I encourage you with these words today.  There will come a time when we will walk streets again without the need to feel we must hide.  We will experience the joy of pureness again.  We will carry on without carrying with us the burdens of shame and regret.  We will enter a time when all tears will be wiped away along with the reasons that caused them.

The original creation walked naked and unashamed.  Unashamed.  Can we even begin to grasp the impact of all that word meant then and what it will mean in our future?

The wrongs that we have done and the things that we have a hard time seeing past just won’t be in our heavenly home.  Covered in the blood of the Savior, we stand right before God.  Not because of us, but because For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

That will be a time of no shame.  Yes, when Jesus freed us, we are privileged to walk in our day without it.  But, in that time and in that place, we won’t even see it.  Just as Adam and Eve didn’t see that they were naked, the things that we are so used to associating with shame will not be seen by us.  When we open our eyes in that place, all we will see is a purity that cannot be explained or fathomed on this side of glory.  For now, when we look around, the evidence of the Fall is everywhere.  But there, not even the slightest hint of shame will be seen because it never existed in that place.  And among the saints there, they are now redeemed and no longer spotted from the trials of this life: “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8). 

For her, the Church, the redeemed, everything has been made “clean and white.”  She doesn’t carry with her into glory the shame of her yesterdays, for that day, in our heavenly abode, she enjoys, in Jesus Christ, being freed forever.  He took the shame (Hebrews 12:2) for each one and bore it all in His own body and through His sacrifice. 

  • “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” – Romans 10:11
  • “They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” – Psalm 34:5
  • “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18
  • “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

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The Tragedy of Unbelief

 

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“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Standing at the crosswalk, we are ready to go forward. All we are waiting for is the signal that gives us the all-clear, telling us it is safe to walk ahead. The choice is up to us to follow the directions of the signal or ignore it and place ourselves in harm’s way.

The Children of Israel had a chance to move forward into something great that God had in store for them. It was a land of promise. God had given them the all-clear. God said, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel…” (Numbers 13:2; emphasis added). 

The promise was there, clearly spoken by God, that this is what He was doing for His people. He was giving them this land. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He didn’t send a delegation for debate. He sent them to see what was ahead for them. That was their signal to move forward.

There are promises galore written in the Holy Word of God. Promises of futures unimaginable. But, the sad reality for many is to come to the end of their life never obtaining those promises. Never understanding or knowing what it truly feels like to experience the riches of God’s grace.

Sadder still is not only coming to the end of one’s life having never experienced the greatness God has in store for His children – but, when one faces their eternity, they are told of that glorious place of promise, that they may not enter in.

Unbelief caused the children of Israel to forfeit their first attempted entrance into the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:7-11, 15-19). A land they looked forward to while they suffered under the bondage of slavery. A place of fulfillment their souls longed not only to see but to live in, and experience, and enjoy.

When they decided not to take hold of God’s promise for themselves, they decided to say no to His goodness until it was too late.

Today, many are walking opposite of the promise of God, and His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is the greatest testimony of promise there ever is or was. He is the greatest gift of deliverance a soul could ever hope for and need. Yet, through unbelief, many say no, and walk away, being turned back into the wilderness to fight the elements alone and miss out on what could have been.

Walking away from an earthly promise is one thing. Truthfully, when the children of Israel found out what they had given up, they quickly wanted to change their minds (Numbers 14:40-45). 

But can I tell you that walking away from an eternal promise is a tragedy far, far worse. Turn to Jesus today while there is still time. While the door is open, Jesus is inviting you to enter His rest both now and for all eternity. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Today, your promise awaits. Jesus is signaling you to walk forward.     

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“Come to the Waters”

 

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters . . .” Isaiah 55:1

Come to the waters, the Lord beckons.  This world will tire you out and the pursuit of it will leave you drained.  Refreshment can only be found in Him.  As one traipsing through a desert of darkness that this world so often leads you through, His plentiful Spirit will satiate the aridness and will water your life where it was once dry.

Do you need that touch from Him?

Come!

Do you need that refreshing spring that flows from the everlasting Father?

Come!

Do you need the tenderness and hope that can only be found in the stream of His salvation?

Come!

Do you need to be rejuvenated into new birth in the waters of His spiritual deliverance?

Then, come!

Don’t lighten your pace.  Run with haste to the pool of His mercy and grace, and come.  Don’t let anyone stop you from dipping in.  Dive in with full surrender and with full abandon, and come.

A sip just won’t do.  We are thirsty for You, O God!  We have nothing to offer for the price You paid, yet, You say come.  We have no value on our own, but You speak, come anyway.  There is no good thing that dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18), but You invite us to draw near to You and come.

Come to the waters.  Step into the abundant life He so offers (John 10:10).  Come and let your soul be spiritually satisfied.  Come and take the offer of His salvation for yourself.

Come, and don’t turn away.  Don’t give up this great treasure that can only be found in God.  Don’t let the delight of what the Lord Jesus Christ bought for you on that cross slip through your fingers.

“Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live . . .” (Isaiah 55:3, NKJV).  Live in Him.  Live in the peace He offers through the pouring out of His blood.  Live a life free from spiritual drought because you were once thirsty and you came and partook of His holy waters.

Yes, this world will dry you out, but He restores, He redeems, and He puts in right fellowship with Him every thirsty soul that comes to Him and drinks.  Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” (John 4:14).

Therefore, come to the Water!

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“Handle the Body of Jesus with Care!”

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“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him.  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock…” Matthew 27:57-60a, NKJV

If at no other time of the year, it is during this season when we are drawn closer to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  As well we should be.  In just one day we will be celebrating Easter (Resurrection Sunday) when we are starkly reminded of the cost of our sins and the victory that Jesus gained over it all.

The cost was heavy but the price had to be paid.  It was unavoidable.  But, that’s not the end of the story.  To get to the end let’s back it up some first.

Sitting at what we now call the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper, the Bible tells us, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,’” (Matthew 26:26-28, NKJV).

Through all of the hints and teachings, if the disciples never really understood Jesus’ mission, He clearly lays it out here.  Through the bread, He showed the brokenness His body would endure.  Isaiah’s prophecy would soon be fulfilled.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, KJV).

With that fulfillment, a new covenant would begin.  God’s plan for salvation would once and for all be sealed by His shed blood.

Knowing that, after we arrive back to the point after His death, how must it have felt for Joseph of Arimathea to handle the lifeless body of the Savior, whom he has come to identify with, for he himself became a disciple also (Matthew 27:57)?

After His body was given to Joseph, the Bible says, “he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb.”  This is such a beautiful picture of the care and love for a Savior who gave it all up for him.

How are we handling the body of Jesus?

Joseph made sure it was wrapped in “clean linen.”  Through the brokenness of His body, we have been healed.  Through His shed blood, we have been washed.  We carry the Savior and His new covenant on the inside of us.  Have we wrapped Him in “clean” vessels?

David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10, KJV).  The spiritual house on the inside of each of us has to be clean.  Dust particles of any works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) have to be removed.  “Such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:21, NKJV).  “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NKJV).

When God blessed us with the Holy Spirit, it’s as if we are taking on a part of Christ.  We can’t wrap Him in just anything.  We have to meticulously make sure what we wrap Him in is clean, using the same care that Joseph of Arimathea did.

Then, “he laid him in his new tomb.”  His refers to Joseph’s.  It was Joseph’s new tomb that Jesus was being laid in.  The vessel that Jesus was laid in was new.

When we have Christ on the inside of us we are not the same as we used to be.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

In handling the body of Jesus on the inside of us, we have to act like He is in something new.  Renewed!  Not to continue in all that old, used stuff before we knew and received Christ.  But, brand new!

We’re not talking about refurbished or recycled to appear new.  The vessel that Joseph had to offer Jesus was new!  Remember, as Christians, we are that which has been made new.  Are we keeping it that way?  Are we handling the body of Jesus with great care?  Is He wrapped in cleanness and laid in the new?

How did Joseph feel?  Maybe a little in awe but mostly I feel (and it’s just my opinion) that he felt honored to be able to lovingly care for the body of the Lord.  To be able to hold that brokenness with the knowledge that He went to the cross and died for him and all humanity – priceless!

“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me,” (Luke 22:19, KJV).  Don’t wrap Him in just anything.

Let’s take special care today for how we handle the body of Jesus in our clean and new vessels.  It was given for us, therefore, let us take care of it.

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No matter what it looks like, God is faithful!

Our circumstances never matter as much as the faithfulness of our God. Yes, we may not wholly understand the reason and season for tears, but when one takes to heart the providence of God; when one leans back and views the previous encounters of His loving hand at work in their life, the realization that if He worked in such a time as that, then by faith, in this, I can declare too that with God, nothing is impossible, (Luke 1:37).

His working hand may not appear to maneuver things in the same fashion as He did before – but, He’s still here. The disbursement of His blessings may not rain in showers as they did before. Perhaps there is another way He wants to move our hearts into new territories of faith. Perhaps we have cleaved to our preconceived perceptions too long and our good Father wants to show us that no matter what it looks like. No matter how the fight formed may appear, it does not negate His faithful stance for His people.

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. And, His holy Word declares there is nothing… there is no thing that shall be able to separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).

Circumstances, unsettling things, unknown situations will periodically appear in our lives. And while that is true, we must remember that our God is not a “periodical” God. He doesn’t just show up in times of happenstance. He doesn’t make His rounds to see who or what He wants to attend to and deal with at that moment.

No. But He is forever faithful. Never let what you’re dealing with shatter that wonderful truth: GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL! Cleave to Him because, my friend, He is cleaving to you. You are engraved in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). You are never far from His mind (Psalm 40:5). You are never forgotten (Isaiah 49:15). You are never left on your own (Hebrews 13:5). Your life and future are part of a beautiful plan He has laid out for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Never stop believing in the One who fights for you (Romans 8:31); the One who is on your side (Psalm 118:6).

He was faithful in the yesterdays of life. He will be faithful in the todays of life. And, He will always be faithful in the future of our life (Hebrews 10:23).

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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“Regrowth!”

There are so many times the Lord could have taken away from us, but instead, He gave.  Our daily steps before the Lord probably have not been the picture of perfection.  I know I personally have had many ashes during my lifetime that needed beautifying.  And yet, every day when I wake up, every day when I open my eyes, I am blessed with the gift of new mercies (Lamentations 3:22-23), as are you.

Those mercies are much needed, as anyone can easily testify to.  Because, as I am walking forward, I can easily take a look back and cringe at the litter my previous pathways left behind.  But that renewed mercy smiles at me and encourages me in the newness of this day before me.  It helps to push me to walk where my feet may have previously felt unworthy to walk.  It draws me to step out of the door into what is presently before me, bidding me try again.  Believe again.  Make the effort to do better again.  It draws me to see God is still in the business of using me for His works, for His kingdom, and for His glory.

Reading Judges 16, I see how Samson broke away from the stipulations God placed on him through the Nazarite vow of not cutting his hair and the suffering that came because of it.

But then, there is this one verse out of his whole story that jumped out at me: “Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven,” (Judges 16:22), which was the symbol of his Nazarite vow.  It was by grace that God allowed for regrowth.  He could have just washed His hands of Samson and kept away what he had lost, but God is the one that allowed for the grace and mercy of regrowth.

Every day we are given is another chance for us to experience that same kind of regrowth.  It may not be our hair, but maybe there was something we let go of, something we didn’t guard or tend to as we should have, something we may have neglected, and as a result, we didn’t end up where we were supposed to be.

But with the new mercy of today, we have a chance for regrowth.  We have been given the grace to plant again and work in the fields God has given us.  Samson used his regrowth period to go out with a bang.  What can you do with yours?  If we are here today, that means our story is not over.  The grace for God’s regrowth is real and very present for us today.

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“You are not alone!”

There can be days when the heaviness of life just won’t seem to let up.  There can be times when burdens leave you spent and wrung like a dirty little dish rag.  And, sometimes it’s hard during these down times to find something to smile about; to find hope in the midst of darkness; to know that you are not forgotten in the middle of the mess.

But, no matter what you may be feeling or going through, Jesus wants you to know, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” John 14:18.  He wants you to know that you are not in this alone.  His presence refuses to turn His back on you.  His presence doesn’t want you carrying these troubles by yourself.  His promise says that He cannot leave you without comfort.  You and I are not without the love of the Father present with us.  He said, “I will come to you!”

Our Lord Jesus Christ will not abandon you to deal with life on your own!  He is your help in the neediest of times!  He is your strength in the weakest of times!  He is your source in the emptiest of times!  He will not turn away from you!  He went to the cross for you that He might ever be with you!  He’s with you in the midst of it all to ease the turmoil you may be feeling.  He is with you to console raging emotions and thoughts.  He is with you to support you when nobody else will.  He is with you to show you how the love of the Father is very real and active for you!

He does this all through His abiding Spirit.  His loving presence takes up residence on the inside of those who believe in Him.  He is in there to fill any emptiness one may feel.  He is there to bring healing to the hurt and damage inflicted by others.  He is there to walk with you through all the ups and downs of this life, no matter how difficult it may appear right now!

He is with us as the rescuer of our heart, meeting the spiritual need in our life that nobody else can.  We don’t have to wonder about it because Hebrews 13:5 assures us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Did you see that word “never”?  By absolutely no means will He not ever be with you where you are and in what you are going through!  It can’t happen!  It won’t happen!  He loves you too much to leave you out there to deal with this world and this life on your own!

With confidence, let your prayer be, “Jesus, I need you,” and His promise stands sure that He is with you where you are through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  You are not fighting this alone!  Every step of the way, He is there!

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee,” Deuteronomy 31:6.

“Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” Matthew 28:20b

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Is Reasoning Getting in the Way of Faith?

 

The age of reason.  Whether it is defined in the historical sense as the age of enlightenment the 18th century brought forth or an actual numerical age when an individual determines between right and wrong, reasoning brings with it the idea of intellect and thoughts coming together to form conclusions on certain matters.

Reasoning is not all bad.  It gives us a premise for investigating facts about the things we are thinking about and it helps us to make conscientious decisions regarding the best course of action to take; to study and be informed with the knowledge to go forth into whatever endeavor one is contemplating.

While reasoning is certainly a useful tool (and one is expected to use it every day in their life), there are some things we just think about too much.  There are some things we just analyze too much.  And, there are some things we just want to know too much about, too much (yup, I went there).

Never once in the Bible did God instruct one in their calling to go, to research what He is offering and make an informed decision of whether you agree or not, to see if everything is up to par according to our terms, and then give Him your decision.

Nope.

Our intellect, our reasoning capabilities cannot even touch the scaffolding of God’s high and holy intellect.  He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When God calls someone to some extraordinary feat, all He usually says is, “Go, or do.”  He doesn’t give the ins and outs of details.  He doesn’t even give the ending away of how it will all turn out.  He just gives the command and it is up to the heart of the hearer to respond positively like Isaiah did, and say, “Here am I; send me,” (Isaiah 6:8).  With total abandon, he offered himself to God for His holy service.

Today, it is not so common for one to be as generous in their faith and obedient in their walk with Him; to let go and follow through without a certain amount of reasoning involved.  We want clarity on all the if’s, when’s, what’s, how’s, where’s, why’s, and who’s that are involved.

But, this quote really struck me as powerful.  It says, “The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life,” (Mandy Hale).  And, in a moment of personal confession, I realized when it came to certain things, that’s exactly what I was doing: seeking more clarity.  I wanted questions answered or I reasoned within myself with my personal “know-how” of why it wasn’t feasible for me to do such and such.  That outlook got in the way of just stepping out in faith and going or doing.

When Jesus called Peter to come on the water with Him, Peter didn’t question.  He just went (Matthew 14:28-29).  When God called Abraham to leave his homeland without even knowing where he was going, “Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him,” (Genesis 12:1-4).  There are oodles of examples in the Bible of people who just go or do with faith as their only method of reasoning (see Hebrews 11 for some examples).

Faith is most perfectly defined in God’s written Word where it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1).  But, clarity and reasoning beckon for the “substance” to be uncovered and the “evidence” to be exposed.  And, that’s not what a true faith walk is all about.

Whatever side we are leaning on determines if we are letting our reasoning, and our desire to know, get in the way of our faith.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see the wonderful happen.  I know that God has so much more in store for His people.  But, we must not be our own greatest hindrance.  When human reasoning comes before Him, it must bow down, and we must walk forth in faith.  We will never see the fabulous until we stop reasoning ourselves out of faith.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” (Hebrews 11:33-35)

Imagine what your faith can do if you unleash it today!

 

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“Purposing the Heart”

Reformations on the outside don’t always equal change on the inside.  It has been proven time and again throughout history, and even throughout the Bible.  A great leader can rise up and make the necessary plans and put programs into place that should foster positive growth in a specified area.  But, if those toward whom the program was geared to serve don’t have a true heart for change, then what we see is a lot of outer stuff being switched around without any real inner transformation taking place.

Jehoshaphat was such a leader.  Jehoshaphat reinvigorated the spirit of worship toward God once more for the people of Judah.  He, himself, “sought the God of his fathers, and walked in His commandments,” (2 Chronicles 17:4, NKJV).  And as such, he was compelled to make the “Book of the Law” available to anyone who would hear.  So he sent leaders throughout the region to teach God’s Word (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).

Another area of reformation that saw positive changes was with the judges.  Men who judge honestly and not take bribes.  Men who would “act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully and with a loyal heart,” (2 Chronicles 19:9, NKJV).

After many ups and downs during his reign, and even a miraculous victory that was won just through praise (2 Chronicles 20), when it came time for Jehoshaphat’s reign to end and he was noted as “doing what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:32, NKJV)), the very next verse tells us the status of the people.  “Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers,” (2 Chronicles 20:33, NKJV).

Leaders are just that – leaders.  They can go out in front of the pack and try to lay the course for the best plan of action but it is up to the individual to let the compass of his/her heart to be guided in the right direction.  There is a personal responsibility to have a purposeful heart that will intentionally pursue one’s own relationship with God.

How we get on in our relationship with God cannot be put off on another.  We can’t shun the charge to follow wholeheartedly after Him and claim that it’s the fault of others for why we didn’t follow through.

The reason for the lack of follow-through lies literally at the center of one’s heart.  A heart that is not fully devoted to God is a heart that won’t be inclined to continue to live for Him when those people who bring that positive influence are no longer in our lives.  We have to want God for ourselves.  Our hearts have to be intentional in our daily living for Him.

How do we do that?  What does that look like?

A purposeful heart will diligently seek after God.  Seek Him through prayer.  Seek Him in the Word.  Seek Him in times of worship.  A heart that loves the Lord will want to know more about Him and these avenues can help turn one in the right direction.  The psalmist said, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:10-11).

“I sought thee . . .”

“I hid” the word in my heart . . .

“I” denotes it is one’s personal obligation to charter the course of their own heart; to fill it with the purpose of God; to choose “the way of truth,” (Psalm 119:30).

Leaders can lead but we must make it up in our own minds and hearts to want all of Him as our own.  We must have a purposeful heart that steps closer to Him and not turns away (Proverbs 4:26-27).

David, a man after God’s own heart, became knowns as such because his desire, his goal, the purpose of his own heart was totally for God.  He is quoted as saying, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple,” (Psalm 27:4).  All the days of his life he wanted his heart directed toward God.

Purposing the heart is being intentional in going after God for one’s self.  Nobody else can do it for you.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site may not be copied and pasted, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic). See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.