June 28, 2017

Wholeheartedly

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In those days when you pray, I will listen.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 NLT

I want to seek the Lord wholeheartedly. I’ve uttered these words plenty of times in my almost 4 year journey with the Lord. I’ve also assumed the fetal position and/or thrown a tantrum at some of God’s responses to my bold statement—after all, wholeheartedly is much easier to say than to do.

There are areas of my life I feel comfortable with God having control over…and some that I do not. For instance—my finances. I know a lot of what the Bible says about finances and, yet, I’ve hesitated when it comes to submitting to the Lord in this area.

Whenever we seek Him the Bible says,

The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
Lamentations 3:25

How good?

Daniel sought the Lord and, in doing so, defied the decree of the king (Daniel 6:1-28). And he was tossed into the lion’s den for it—but he was saved. The Lord is good to those who search for Him.

Joseph sought the Lord and, in doing so, was betrayed by his brothers, promoted in slavery, set up by his master’s wife, promoted in jail, forgotten about—and ultimately—promoted in the kingdom of Egypt. The Lord is good to those who search for Him.

The bleeding women suffered many years, was deemed unclean and unworthy of social contact, made an outcast. The Lord sees and heals, He is good to, those who search for Him.

Father Abraham was given a promise from God Almighty and, though the fulfillment of this promise seemed physically impossible, the Lord delivered and (then shockingly) asked Abraham to offer up the manifestation (his precious son, Isaac) of that very promise. The Lord provides and blesses, He is good to, those who seek him wholeheartedly.

Wholeheartedly means to hold back nothing or be sincere. As a living sacrifice, I must daily commit to a wholehearted relationship with the Almighty. I stumble, I fall, but I always get back up. One of my favorite verses says it like this, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked” (Proverbs 24:16). Wholeheartedly is not about perfection. No, wholeheartedly is about a heart position. It’s a choice we can make at any millisecond of the day, after any mistake (killing off Christians), doubt (when walking on water) or even outright denial of Jesus (three times).

And as always with our loving God, His way has its perks.

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Lord, I want my life to be one of wholehearted devotion to You and You alone. Everything (every idol) I have held on to and given pieces of my heart to, I ask that You show me these areas and then give me Your truth so that I may submit these areas to You. And when I want to squirm, Lord, give me the courage to stand strong instead! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Interested in joining us for our next Online Bible Study that starts on January 13, 2014?   Click HERE for more details!

My One Word ~ Joyful

I just love this concept of having ‘a word’ as a spiritual discipline. (I’m sure you have stumbled across this idea…recently the blogging world has been crazy busy writing about it!) Somehow…ok, God’s grace, of course…I was introduced to this idea three years ago. A bit ahead of the crowd which is sort of typical for me. You see, I don’t do trendy things, I surely dance to the beat of a different drum. But I am perfectly settled with that…it is who I am and who I imagine I will always be.

Here’s how it works:  the plan is to pray and, following God’s lead, choose ‘one word’ that will be your focus for the next year. In working through this concept it seems to be so simple and, yet, so vast in its application. I have found that my eyes and ears (and spirit!) are aware and attentive to ‘hearing’ my word whether in the Scriptures, or in study of other books, or in listening to a sermon or teaching, etc. But isn’t that just the way that the Holy Spirit leads, and guides, and teaches us? It is the still, small voice that we hear. It is His gentle leading that always bring us to ‘see’ a revelation. Haven’t you found this true?

Each of my words has always been in relation to Almighty God. My ‘one word’ in 2013 has been TRUST, in 2012 it was PEACE, and in 2011 my word was REFUGE. And these are the verses that I began with and stood upon:

TRUST
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Psalms 56:3 and 4

PEACE
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests),
with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul
assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God
and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace]
which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard
over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6 and 7

REFUGE
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them, and that those who love Your Name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:11

I can honestly tell you that drawing closer in my relationship with God in light of each of those words has changed my heart. No doubt about it; absolutely! And so I joyfully anticipate ALL that God is going to do in me in 2014 as I focus on one word—JOYFUL.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

So, what do you think…is this something you might consider doing? If you have already been praying and asking God to lead you in selecting your ‘one word,’ I would love to hear about it! And, if not, pray! Seek God’s guidance and direction! He surely knows what your heart needs. He absolutely knows what will come along your path in the next year. And, most importantly, He loves you so very much and wants to guide you along the right path for you!

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

I am praying for you, too! If you would like, I would love to pray with you…send me a FaceBook message!

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{ For those of you who love to read, Pastor Mike Ashcraft wrote this marvelous book My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word sharing the journey that he took along with the congregation of the church he shepherds. It’s a great book and in it he shares much more of the heart behind the discipline of ‘one word.’ }