Observing God’s Word

Psalms 119:34  Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

The word observe means to keep, guard, or watch over. It has the idea of a soldier keeping watch over a post until otherwise relieved. The soldier must be aware and alert at all times. The soldier possesses a sense of duty that produces a desire to guard whatever he/she has been assigned to protect. This is the context of the way we should view God’s Word. When the psalmist says he will observe it with all his heart, he is saying he will keep watch over it with all his heart. Oh to have a heart like this toward the Word of God, to treat it as the most precious of treasures, to devote oneself to watching it, observing it, and keeping it with all that is within us, to desire to place such a value on the words of God that we operate like a watchman overlooking the most precious of jewels.

The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we have a heart for God’s word. Is all our heart devoted to God’s Word. The desire to understand God’s mind and God’s will comes from a heart that values God’s Word. I am afraid God’s word is no longer being observed. The desire to keep God’s word is something that is no longer a priority. God’s people must learn to desire God’s word more than they desire the most valuable of treasures.

If you want to understand God’s word then observe it with all your heart.

The Battle for the Heart

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

The statement, “I love the Lord”, is often made but I am afraid there is little to no evidence. Much of our love relationship with the Lord is lip service. I have often asked the question: “How do you know that you love the Lord?” If a person was on trial for having a relationship with Jesus Christ, would there be enough evidence to prove it. Loving the Lord is something that should be exemplified rather than expressed.

When we break this verse down it always starts from the inside and moves to the outside. Our love relationship with the Lord starts in the heart, consumes the soul, and becomes exposed by our actions. God never works from the outside-in, He always works from the inside-out. The reason our relationship with the Lord struggles is because of the condition of our heart. The battle for the heart is a constant struggle. There is always something or someone that desires the throne of our heart. The thing about the Lord is that He will not battle for the heart. Honestly, the Lord won the battle when He gave His life on the cross for us. However, it is completely up to us whether or not we relinquish the throne to him.

This is one of those verses that seems so simple, it is just difficult. The reason it is so difficult is because it requires God to have our undivided attention. With the desires of the heart being so divided the instability of life becomes more evident. If we want stability then we need to allow God to have our undivided attention.

Heart After God

Jeremiah 29:13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

There are many people that have a hard time finding God. They have a hard time knowing what He is saying to them. They use statements like, “God is not speaking to me” or “I can’t seem to hear what He is saying.” One of two things is possible in this scenario: the person is either not a child of God because only saved can truly hear God speak to them or the person is not searching for God with all their heart. To the believer that is struggling to hear from the Lord it is necessary that we evaluate the pursuits of our heart.

Just what has our heart’s attention? What are the desires of our heart? When have we ever went after God with all our heart? Do we operate with the mentality that we will find him later if we happen to see him? You see we must come to a place where we evaluate what we are truly seeking. The very reason we are not finding what we are looking for in life is because we are putting our heart into seeking the wrong things. We are pouring our hearts into careers, achievements, and approval of others. How many times have we poured all our heart into searching for the Lord? If we want to come to a place of hearing from the Lord and finding the Lord in our lives then it is going to take an all heart search.

When it comes to spiritual matters the Lord seems to get the leftovers of the heart. He very rarely finds someone that totally abandons self and desires nothing but His presence. May God help us to take our search for the Lord to a higher level. He promises the treasure of His presence at the end of the search. He promises us that He will be found if we seek him with all our hearts.

Holding Back = Regrets

Ecclesiastes 9:10  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

This verse has always been strange to me. I completely understand the concept of doing the very best possible in everything you attempt to do. The idea of going full speed, giving it all you got, and pouring yourself completely out gives us an understandable concept. The concept that is strange is the motive by which this passage gives us for performing in such a manner. The reason we are to do everything with our very best is basically because we cannot take none of it with us when we die. There would be many that would argue that since it cannot be taken with us then what is the point of giving our best. To them it would make sense to say “what’s the point” and then not even care about what they did and how they did it.

I think God is honest enough to give us truth even knowing that we may receive truth in a negative manner. However, I would also argue that for the same reason a person would approach life with carelessness could also be the motivating factor that makes us give our very best. If I cannot take it with me then why in the world would I want to leave something in the tank. If it is not used then we will lose it. Once death happens there are no second chances. Time is already a thief and we have to realize that once death occurs we do not get another chance to do it again. When this life is over we do not need to have any regrets. If we are going to succeed then succeed having done the best we could do. If we are going to fail then we need to fail going full speed.

When I get to my finish line, I am praying they are laying a body that is used to the fullest in the grave. I pray they lay a body in the grave that is completely and totally exhausted from having poured everything into this life. I want nothing left in the tank. When I cross the finish line I want people to know that he did all he could do. He gave it all. We do not get to reuse this life or get second chances at it. If we have control over how much effort we exert then we need to exert it all. Holding back always yields regrets.

IN Everything not FOR Everything

1 Thessalonians 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Honestly, this is one of the hardest verses in the Bible to exercise. This ranks right up there with the concept of doing good to our enemies. God commands us to give thanks “in” every thing. The focus of our thanks is that through each and every circumstance we are to be both thankful and give thanks. I personally believe the only way this happens is through connecting this passage with Psalm 34:3. The text tell us to magnify the Lord and exalt his name. We have no control over our circumstances, but we have complete control over what we magnify in and throughout those circumstances.

Let me be very clear by saying I have failed miserably at this. I have done more griping and complaining about what God has allowed or authored in my life than I have been thankful. I find myself in a state of repentance this morning, realizing that I have failed to be thankful within my circumstance. I have begged to want out of my circumstances, but I have failed to thank God in my circumstances.

I also think we misread this verse. It says that we should give thanks “in” everything not “for” everything. Look at things this way: It is not that God says we have to give thanks for cancer, but He does teach us that we can be thankful while we are in the fight against cancer. We do not have to be thankful for Covid-19 (I will say God has used it greatly in my life), but we can be thankful while we are going through this season. Our thanksgiving should never be circumstantial. Our thanksgiving must always be directed at the Lord. We can give thanks in every situation without having to give thanks for every situation.

Even in the most miserable of circumstances we can be thankful for our salvation, our eternity, and our Heavenly Father. If the Lord’s presence in our life was all we had, would it be enough for us to give thanks?

Platforms, Purpose, and Passion

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Passion produces effort. Purpose is what fuels our passion. So much of what is being done in our lives has earthly purpose rather than eternal purpose. Why win a game? Why achieve the scholarship? Why the career? Why are we doing whatever it is we are doing? We must ask ourselves whether or not it is in the name of money, the name of stuff, the name of social status, the name of recognition, or in the name of Jesus. Is our purpose to bring glory to God or to bring glory to ourselves? Our passions are driven by our purpose, and our purpose directs our efforts.

Everyone that follows Jesus is given different platforms, but they are also given a common purpose. The purpose is to bring glory to the name of Jesus. We are to perform in the name of Jesus. We are to work in the name of Jesus. We are to serve in the name of Jesus. Whatever we do we are to do it in the name of Jesus, no other name but the name of Jesus.

In order to do this it will require a total reconstruction of our thoughts and intentions. To do this in the name of Jesus will require a reevaluation of our goals. There is a surgeon general warning that comes with this. It comes with a heart of selflessness. It comes with a mindset that it may cause you to change careers, lose relationships, and reevaluate lifelong goals. It may change your life completely. It also comes with an eternal fulfillment that is unmatched by anything imaginable.

Passion

Psalms 103:1  A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

The phrase “bless the Lord” is synonymous with the exercise of praise, admiration, and thanksgiving. The part of this passage that convicts me to my core is the phrase “all that is within me.” If we were to translate this passage into our everyday lives then we would pour ourselves into praise, admiration and thanksgiving toward the Lord. In order to make this happen then we have to become passionate about the Lord. Our passion for the Lord is the missing ingredient of the majority of our churches.

It is not that we are not passionate people. We are just not very passionate about the Lord. Our passions are poured into sports, careers, stuff, and social status. I am coming to realize (I hope I am not too late) that what we are passionate about carries on into the next generation. As a whole, we have failed to be passionate about the Lord. It is coming at a great cost.

I want to challenge you to spend some time talking to the young men and women in our churches that are about to graduate. I want you to ask them what they plan on doing with their lives and why they are doing it. You will find the driving motives for doing these things will be because they want to make money. Ask them, “Ware you planning on going in this direction?” The answer will normally be, “Because it pays well.” It is very rare, or if ever you will hear the words, “Because it is what the Lord wants me to do.” What is the issue? Our passion for the Lord is so cold that rather than raising a generation that pursues God we have raised a generation that pours everything they have into being famous, getting scholarships, and making money. We no longer have young men and women that are surrendering to the call of God in ministry or missions anymore because we are no longer passionate about those things. Passion is contagious and the direction of our passion propels the motives of the next generation.

Where are the young preachers? Where are the young singers? Where are the young missionaries? Where are the young ministers? Our passions are not directed toward these areas because they may not bring a lot of self glory or much money. Even in our Christian churches, associations, and circles we have redirected our passion from the work of the ministry to sports, academic achievements, and materialistic gain. I pray we awaken to this and redirect our passion before we lose a generation to idol worship.

It is time we bless the Lord with all that is within us!