A Fixed Heart and Praise

Psalms 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.

A fixed heart results in praise. A fixed heart gives the believer an inner joy that is not affected by exterior influences. Surrounding our lives each day are perversions, wickedness, and destruction. There are those that want to pull us into the same degradation that they themselves have fallen into. While surrounded by external hardships and difficulty we must be willing to fixate our heart on the Lord. It is one of direction and determination. A fixed heart is a heart that has directionally turned itself to the Lord. It has consciously decided to turn in the direction of Jesus. A fixed heart says “I have decided to follow Jesus. With the world behind me and the cross before me, I have decided to turn toward Jesus. A fixed heart is determined to never turn back. It is a heart that does not quit and does not ever give up on the Lord.

The praise that comes from a fixed heart is not one that is dictated by circumstances, but rather a relationship. It is was Daniel that fixed his heart on the Lord and prayed anyway. The three Hebrews boys fixed their heart on the Lord and stood anyway. David fixed his heart on the Lord and defeated the giant. Stephen fixed his heart on the Lord and accepted the stoning for his faith. Peter fixed his heart on the Lord and was crucified upside down. Paul fixed his heart on the Lord and endured excruciating circumstance in order to present the gospel to the lost world. A fixed heart produces praise regardless of the difficulty we have to endure.

Somewhere along the line we must realize that we can sing in darkness. It is the fixed heart that positions our heart to sing during moments of darkness. It is a fixed heart that awakes the inner glory for revival. It is the fixed heart frets not because of evil doers. If we are not singing in darkness then our heart is fixed on the darkness and the Lord. We must fix our heart on the Lord. Turn toward him. Point the inner compass of the heart toward the Lord. If you have gone one moment with the Lord then you have gone too far to turn back.

Exceeding Abundantly Above All

Ephesians 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

When it comes to praying bold prayers this one piece of scripture should be held up in the backdrop of every prayer. The key concept I gain from this passage is that if we can think it then God is able to exceed it. God has the ability to exceed our imagination. He has the ability to operate beyond anything we could ever envision happening. Have you ever seen God do a miracle in your life and then said, “I never imagined it happening like that?” Well, that is God doing His job.

God loves to blow our minds, because it increases our faith. We begin to realize that even our greatest of dreams cannot barricade the Lord. If we can envision it, then God can exceed it beyond our wildest of imaginations. Words like impossible is God’s speciality. It is my prayer that God will allow me to pray in ways that gives God the opportunity to exceed my wildest of expectations.

Reading this passage brings to mind the lyrics “Spirit lead me to a place where my trust is without borders.” This scripture teaches about how our prayer life and God’s ability can explode. As we spend time praying we need to include giving God an opportunity to do something that can exceed our expectations.

Heart of Understanding

1 Kings 3:7-10  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.  8  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.  9  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?  10  And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

I find this request amazing. Solomon, even at an early age displayed wisdom beyond his years. He was humble enough to know his limits and that he needed God’s wisdom more than length of life, riches, or popularity. The prayer itself is what draws attention. He prayed for an understanding heart. Have we ever really prayed that prayer? It is not just a heart of discernment but it is to have a heart that understands the mind and will of God.

We are living in uncertain times. We are living in a season where nobody knows what is right and what is wrong. Lines are blurred between right and wrong like never before. We have people using God’s Word to fit agendas and it is really hindering those that do have the discernment to maneuver through the Word of God while rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We need a heart of understanding so that we can make the right judgments between what is right and what is wrong. We need a heart of understanding in order to lead through times of uncertainty.

The Lord tells us in Proverbs 4:7 that with all our getting we need to get understanding. Having an understanding heart deals with discernment but also deals with the area of seeing both sides. God wants us to be able to understand people and what they are experiencing. Having an understanding heart gives us the ability to make correct decisions in light of seeing what other people are seeing. Many times if we could just gain a heart of understanding we could make better decisions and make better judgements.

Pursuit and Persistence

Matthew 7:7-8  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  8  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

We are confronted with a great promise from God, a passage of Scripture that is quoted but rarely practiced. Somewhere along the line we have got to ask ourselves whether or not we truly believe the Bible. At some point we have got to ask ourselves whether we truly believe God and His promises. I wonder if our failure to ask God for our daily needs is demonstration of our lack of faith in the very ability of God. What is it going to hurt to ask? What is the worse thing that could happen if we ask? The worse thing God is going to tell us is “no.” It never hurts to ask.

Most of the time we fail to fulfill the requirements of this passage. We often stop at just asking. We automatically assume a lack of response is God’s actual response. We fail to seek and knock. This is not just a passage that tells us to ask, but we are to seek and knock while asking. God tells us to ask, seek, and knock. These three must coexist together and not operate as three separate practices. Our request must involve pursuit as well as persistence. The asking is just a part of the pursuit of God. The precept to this promise requires asking, seeking, and knocking.

We are confronted with a convicting but victorious truth. We are challenged by God to chase after Him. He confirms to us that He is a good Father that gives His children exactly what they need. He will open doors that no man can open and close doors that no man can close. He does not play hide-and-seek with us, and He is not so lofty that He ignores our requests.

Show Us Great Things

Jeremiah 33:3  Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

God challenges His children. If we will call unto Him then He will answer by showing us great and mighty things. He will show us things that go beyond our comprehension. Once again, we are challenged by God to pray bold prayers. Basically, we are challenged by God to challenge God. In our most restricted of times God wants to reveal himself in the greatest of ways.

We are living in a time when we feel very limited. Christians are being restricted through the mandates of human government. There is a spirit of fear hovering over our world right now that has imprisoned everyone to some extent. If we are honest we would agree that these restrictions and this “new normal” has even caused our prayer life to be limited. We must remember that God wants to do His greatest of works when it seems like it is the most impossible.

Ask yourself a few questions. Have you prayed that God would expand your opportunities to influence people with the Gospel? Have you asked God to heal someone that is sick? Have you asked God to stop these people from rioting? Have you asked God to remove COVID-19 from the scene? Have you asked God to bless you during a time when burdens are the greatest? These are just a few questions that we sometimes fail to ask God during the season we are living in at the present moment. Maybe there are some requests you have failed to make in your own life. Maybe there are some people you are not praying over because you feel like it seems too impossible. God wants to reveal himself in the greatest of ways through the most restricted of circumstances. We have to learn to make bold requests. We have to learn to call out to God and quit trying to logically figure things out.

God wants to shew us great and mighty things. He wants to reveal His ability to us. He wants to do something extraordinary when it seems miracles are rare. The word great has historical implications, it has high implications, and it has holy implications. Mighty deals with magnitude and ability. God is just itching at the opportunity to shew His children what He is capable of doing if we will just call on Him to do it.

God Grant It

1 Chronicles 4:10  And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

There is very little question that Jabez prayed a bold prayer. With bold prayers comes an increase in responsibility. It is important that when we pray over the areas that Jabez prayed then we need to accept the process that God uses to bring these prayer requests to fruition. If we are going to ask for blessings then we must be prepared for the fact that God brings blessings through brokenness. If we are asking God to expand our influence and opportunities then we must we prepare to be stretched through adversity. The desire of God’s hand upon our life requires us to adjust our lives in such a way that we are living under God’s hand. When we ask God to keep us from evil then we must be prepared to obey the commands He gives us in order to prevent evil from happening. The bold prayer request we make comes with some challenges on our part.

My attention is drawn to the phrase “God granted”. When we make our prayer request we must request God to grant it to us. We often times want an answer, but what is more powerful than that is to ask God to grant it. God granted it to Jabez. I also believe God has the ability to grant it to us. It is time to pray bold prayers. It is time make request that seem impossible. It is time to pray prayers that God will not just hear, not just answer, but grant it toward us.

What Did You Expect?

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

We have the ability to get so consumed in what God is or is not doing in everyone’s life that we forget the promise that God is looking over our lives as well. We are not forgotten nor have we been forsaken. For those that are laboring for the Lord, serving their community, and sacrificing for His name sake, hold to this promise. We need to understand that God is not unjust to just bypass what we do for Him and His Kingdom. God is a good King and rewards those that diligently seek after Him.

There are a lot of people in the world that appear to be living a lifestyle of complete carnality and sinful living. It would also appear that God is allowing them to obtain all the wealth and gain in this world all the while allowing His children to operate in poverty, persecution, and pain. We have to remember God’s plans are not our plans and that God has never had an unpleasant thought toward any of us He calls children. Sometimes we need to realize who we are serving, why we are serving Him, and where we will spend eternity. There may not be much over on this side of eternity but the rewards are overwhelming on the other side of this world.

Have you ever thought about why God would allow those that are wicked to live wealthy and those that love Him to struggle? It would seem to me that He could build His Kingdom a lot faster and bigger if He would bestow wealth, popularity, and fame on His children and poverty on those that live wickedly. Well, the answer is actually more simple than we think. God wants people to love Him for being HIM. If God used prosperity attached to the gospel (like so many false prophets do), then that would mean people would follow Him in hopes of becoming wealthy. Instead of promising wealth God promises a cross to carry. This means that when a person decides to follow Jesus Christ then they have to fall in love with Jesus for who He truly is and not what He gives them. I think so many just want Jesus as a ticket to Heaven but do not care two cents about a relationship with Jesus.

What should we expect? We should expect a cross to carry and self gain to be forsaken. We should expect a God that will record our service and never overlook it. We have to remember that God takes really good record and we are not living for this world but the world that is to come.

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:4-8  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  5  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;  6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The peace of God has the ability to guard our hearts and our minds. I find it interesting that out of all the things that guard our hearts and mind is the peace of God. It actually makes sense if you think about it. The things that create anxiety, doubt, depression, and turmoil within our hearts and minds are overcome through the peace of God. If there was one area of our lives that keeps us from losing our mind then it is the peace of God. The peace of God is experienced when a person has peace with God. When God gives us His peace then it passes all understanding. It is a peace that cannot be explained nor described with human words. Webster’s dictionary does not contain the words to encompass the experience of God’s peace inside the heart and mind of a believer.

The passage of scripture calls for two practices to be implemented in order to maintain the peace of God. We are to rejoice in the Lord always and practice prayer with everything. The wall of peace surrounding our hearts and minds becomes impenetrable when prayer and praise are implemented. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we are practicing these two spiritual disciplines. We cannot do this when we feel like the scripture says to rejoice always and in everything by prayer and supplication. It must be a constant and continual habit to make sure we are operating in the presence of the Lord. The presence of the Lord gives us the power of the Lord, and the power of the Lord give us the peace of the Lord.