Doing the Will of God from the Head or the Heart?

My Post (1).jpg

Ephesians 6:5-6    Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;    

Many a child of God has been sent on a guilt trip, from the pulpit, in order to compel them to serve. However, our focal verse says to do God’s will from the heart. You see, a deed or service performed not from the heart, ends with its completion. However, a spiritual deed or service performed from the heart, has a sense of eternal accomplishment.   

God’s will is our Master and we are His servants by grace. His will is our objective. We can carry out assignments with a disposition of duty or delight. The choice is ours. The Holy Spirit here is calling upon servants to be obedient to their earthly masters. This obedience is to be done with fear, trembling, without hypocrisy, and unto Christ. Furthermore, we should do their pleasure not only when our Master’s eyes are upon us.    

You see, a servant is to consider himself a servant of Christ. He is to view his servitude as doing the will of Christ from the heart.    

A Bible Studier

My Post.jpg

The call to tech support went through after pressing 1 for English, 3 for support, 7 for a domestic agent, and 2 for assistance immediately. The agent got on the line after a short wait. He listened to the situation and replied, “You know, I am embarrassed to say I am not sure how to answer this question. I will need to research this and call you back.” You groan within thinking, “I called to find someone smarter than me. Now, I know, I will never get a call back.” In exasperation, you say, “Why can’t I get someone who knows their stuff?”

Similarly, this world is calling out for answers. The focus verse states the believer is required to study the Word of God. We study it to be workers who need not to be ashamed. How many times have those around us sought answers for life’s difficulties and we have no answer to give. We call a friend, family member, or pastor who we know will have the answer.

The Bible is our sole source of answers in a world full of questions. Are you ready to answer? Choose a doctrine and study it. Find a topical Bible and search for answers. Your daily connection to the Word of God means you will have the answer when the questions arise.

A Good Fighter

 2 Timothy 4:7    I have fought the good fight.

My Post (2).jpg

The boxer left the ring that evening for the last time. The crowds were gone. The cheers were silent as he had just vanquished his last opponent just a few hours earlier. Now, alone with his thoughts, he walked toward the exit of that arena. At the last row before the exit, he sat down in a moment of reflection. 

He had fought some tough opponents in his day. Rarely, did he have any easy fights. He had won many rounds in his career. He lost a few rounds as well. Each round had made him a better fighter. He thought deeply; he could say with integrity and without impunity, “I fought a good fight.”

Paul, the great man of God, could easily be the boxer in this illustration as he wrote in this last epistle. “I fought a good fight.” It wasn’t the wins and losses that mattered to Paul. It was, did if he had fought well. The reader of the New Testament knows Paul did fight well. 

There are many who weary with the fight. Others will quit because of a few bruises. Yet there will be some who fight for only the applause of men and stop when the crowds are silent. What kind of fighter are you? 

What about you? This spiritual fight we are in today, are you fighting well? Have you become more about the win than fighting well? Will you end this fight with integrity? 

 

A Wisdom Seeker

James 1:5   If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally. . . 

My Post (1).jpg

Occasionally, life’s puzzle is missing a few pieces. We can’t quite see the picture without those missing pieces. Those missing pieces generally involve a desperate search and undue stress. We need these pieces to make life’s current puzzle and picture complete. 

What do you do when the current puzzle of your life is missing a few pieces? James gives a clear guideline to follow when life’s puzzle is missing a few pieces. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” 

We can sit and stare at life’s puzzle and try to figure out the picture. Or we can seek God’s wisdom! He will give wisdom to find the missing piece. The search for wisdom from God will give certain peace and bring the puzzle’s picture into clear view.

We can be Wisdom-Seekers or we can be puzzled. We can seek peace or piece. What is your choice?

A Word Doer

 James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

My Post (1).jpg

The exasperated mother said to her pre-teen daughter as she saw her words fall on deaf ears, “How many times have I told you to clean your room?” The mother left the room, mumbling to herself as she walked down the hallway, “When will what I say become important enough to her to do what I say?”

Do you govern your life like the teen above? I wonder how many times we have heard God speak in His Word and we ignore it? We know what is right but obey only what we want. We only obey when we want. It is obedience by convenience. Our focus verse, James 1:22 states, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

It is interesting to note that we deceive ourselves by hearing and not doing.  Deceiving ourselves does not mean we are deceiving God. Are you a hearer AND a doer? 

 

Found of Him in Peace

2 Peter 3:14   Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.    

My Post.jpg

In 1999, Our society spent much time discussing the Y2K computer bug. Many a believer was swept into the mania of the moment. Nationally-known teachers (which many have heaped to themselves having itching ears) created a panic amongst God’s people, strangely enough. 

This verse cuts to the very heart of the matter. Peter began this chapter stirring our minds to God’s overall plan for time. He, in our thought for this day, tells us to be diligent, to be found of Him in peace, purity and with proper testimony.   

Every believer must compare his behavior with the Bible. Our behavior in light of His return requires a diligent pursuit of peace. Were Christ return today, would He find you in peace or a panic? Would He find you in purity or spotted? Would He find you with a testimony that is blameless or blamable? In all diligence, make these your priority. 

How would He find you today? 

Sing with Understanding

My Post (1).jpg

Psalm 47:7    For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Can you remember some of your childhood games? In my family, I had five brothers and sisters and we ALL wanted to be king of something. We would toss out phrases. “King of Hill.” “King of the Block.” “King of the fourth graders.” We invoked the phrase “King of” to let everyone know we were the ultimate authority in the domain we claimed. 

Did you notice how the Psalmist led by the Holy Spirit wrote these words: “For God is the King of all the earth.” Oh, how difficult it is as men fight wars and battles with each other for a heritage. Do they not realize that God is King of all the earth? He is not King over some area with boundaries. He is King of all the earth. Does this truth influence your life? 

How should this truth influence our lives? The Psalmist reveals the clue. The one who knows that God is King of ALL the earth will sing praises with understanding. Praises with understanding, what a thought! Our hymnbook time is not just time filler in a service. It is a time when the subjects in the kingdom of God utter praises to the King of all the earth.

Have you a song in your heart today? Then with the understanding that God is the King of all the earth and He dwells in us, just SING! Sing with Victory for the earth is His domain! Sing with Vitality for the earth is His domain! Sing with Vision for the earth is His domain!

Thinking of His Lovingkindness

Psalm 48:9   We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.   

Have you ever been in church service and watched kids who were day dreaming? You know how it goes: they get this glazed look over their eyes and began to look into deep space while sitting in a pew. Any observant parent notices this in his child and can pinch them back into the  attention-sphere. Have you ever considered what it was they were thinking about? Is it playing, or TV, or their friends? 

I also know that the kids are not the only ones who need to be pinched back into the attention-sphere. Moms and dads do a lot of thinking in church. For them, it is of work, naps and things left undone.   

In our verse today, the Psalmist says on his trips to the house of God for worship, “We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.”   I know there is a lot of thinking that goes on in our churches today but is it of HIS lovingkindness or our own labors?    

How about on the next trip to the house of God you take a few minutes before, during and after the service to force your thoughts to linger on the lovingkindness of God?   

 

 

 

Gathering the Saints

My Post (2).jpg

Psalm 50:5   Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.

Have you ever watched a mom when it is time to ready to leave with her children to head out for a destination? Great care is taken to ensure every child is ready. Diaper bags, bottles, clothing each are packed with care. Then comes the precious moment of gathering; she, with near Olympic ability, swoops down and gathers her offspring. Amazingly she gathers up 2-3 in one motion it seems. Then off they go to their destination safe in their mother’s care.

There is coming a day where our Father will move in fashion similar to the other in our story. Though He, with divine strength and ability, will know when it is the right time to go and gather up His offspring of faith. The Lord will move with beyond Olympic ability to gather us together who are in the faith. What a thrill to know our gathering time may be today! The Lord will gather us to our final destination…our new home.

“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,

Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. 

Once glimpse of His dear face, all sorrows will erase, 

So bravely run the race, till we see Christ.”

 

 

Green Olives in Church

Psalm 52:8    But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

My Post (1).jpg

What an image for the believer to contemplate! The reader of this psalm would note the strong contrast between the man who is rooted in self and the believer rooted in the Sovereign.  The verse becomes his testimony of difference. Note the phrase, “But I am like…” What about you? In relation to those around you, what are you like? Are you like a green olive tree? 

The green olive tree was the image the psalmist held in his mind that best displayed his relationship with God. The verse serves as a testimony of his life. He firsts testifies of the contrast of himself against the man who is rooted in self. He also testifies of his confidence in the Sovereign.

He states, “I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.” Note the prosperity of his relationship. It is flourishing (green), fruitful (olive), and firm (deeply rooted tree) relationship.  Note also the permanence of his relationship. It is secure (in), sheltered (the house), and supervised (of God).

The careful reader will also see his confidence in the Sovereign. “I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” He is confident of the Sovereign’s mercy. His confidence in His mercy was permanent, perpetual, and positive. 

In my heart this day, though no matter what occurs, may my confidence be in Him

He indicates the liveliness of his relationship with God.

  • He is flourishing (green).
  • He is fruitful (olive).
  • He is firm (tree). 

He indicates the permanence of his relationship. He has been planted in the house of God. 

This statement identifies three things. 

  • It identifies his Owner’s attention, (in the house
  • his Owner’s appreciation (in the house), and 
  • his Owner’s affection (in the house of God). 

The Psalmist could not plant himself; God planted him. His Owner wanted him planted where He could appreciate this tree. His Owner loves him dearly so he is planted in the house of God. What love the Owner has for His tree.

The Psalmist gives his declaration in the latter half of this verse. The Psalmist declares that His trees are content knowing He alone can be trusted forever.

Fear is the Thief of Faith

My Post.jpg

Psalms 56:3   What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

The Psalmist’s words must be a reminder to us. When fear knocks at our heart’s door, we must increase our trust in Him. He made this promise to himself while in a time of confidence. It was a reminder to himself, a reassurance to his heart, and a rejoinder to heed.

I am reminded that fear takes away my opportunity to please God. My heart’s desire is to please God. I must eschew fear by my confidence in His ability.

Broken Hearts Fixed Here

When your heart is breaking with stress, sadness, and struggles, you should consider what the Word of God says about having a fixed heart. 

My Post.jpg

A heart that is fixed is a heart that is settled within and resolute without. It is not affected by external conditions and extenuating circumstances. David wrote four times in three places about a heart that was fixed.

1828 Webster Dictionary defines, "fixed" as settled; established; firm; fast; stable.

What is the behavior of a fixed heart?

Psalm 57:7 "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise."

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

Psalm 112:7 "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD."

The fixed heart proclaims its decision to God. 57:7 (he is telling God)
The fixed heart promises to declare praise and song. 57:7
The fixed heart participates in praise with all his worth. 108:1c ("even with my glory")
The fixed heart is peace-filled in the midst of stress. 112:7 (fearing bad news)
The fixed heart is pleased in God's ability to fix it all. 112:7("trusting in the Lord.")

 

Overwhelmed?Just Cry!

My Post (3).jpg

Psalms 62:2   From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Overwhelmed! It is the inward feeling we sense when outside circumstances threaten to envelope us. It is a word that can describe a father dealing with a wayward child. It can describe a mother trying to manage a home and make ends meet. It can describe a pastor who is juggling his weekly church schedule of a death, a birth, a troubled marriage, and sermon preparation while trying to spend time with his own family. Sadly, it seems that the word “overwhelmed” has come to be the description of our everyday life. 

The 3 phrases in this verse, designated by punctuation marks, inform us of three truths to hold on to when overwhelmed. 

  1. He shares that there is no distance too great for God’s deliverance. He could cry out to God from the ends of the earth. No matter how great the wave that threatened to overwhelm him; he knew he could cry out to God for deliverance.
  2. He shares that there is no disappointment too severe that prevents God’s deliverance. Our heart tends to be the barometer when we are overwhelmed. The psalmist speaks with a calmed confidence in his Creator’s ability to deliver. 
  3. He shares that there is no despair too deep that prevents God’s deliverance. The rock of God’s deliverance is always higher than the depths of our despair. 

This verse should bring hope and a heart refreshing for the overwhelmed servant of God.  Let this verse be your priority, prayer, and purpose when faced with overwhelming problems! “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This verse should make you rejoice for God’s Long reaching hand [ends of the earth], God’s Love [when my heart is…], and God’s leading [the rock higher than I].

Provoking Him to Anger

Psalms 78:58    For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.

My Post (2).jpg

The children of Israel certainly have given us many examples for our daily Christian walk with the Lord. How often we emulate their sins and patterns of behavior. They rebelled; we rebel. They doubted God’s ability; we doubt God’s ability. They limited the Holy One of Israel; we limit the Holy One of Israel. They provoked God with high places; we provoke God with high places

Consider the phrase “they provoked him to anger with their high places.” The children of Israel kept high places. High places were generally elevated places of worship to false gods. They emulated the behavior of the children of Baal. They were lifting up places instead of praises to God. Woe unto us when we assimilate the behavior of children of Baal whilst we live in this strange land!

“High places?” you may ask. Consider our high places today. We have elevated our leisure time to high places. We have elevated our entertainment sources to high places. We have let pride and the lusts of the flesh become our modern-day gods. We have elevated these gods to high places. The problem with elevating these things to high places is that we can no longer see God as we have our high places blocking our view of God.

Are you provoking him to anger with your high places?

To all Generations

Psalm 89:1    I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

My Post (1).jpg

Have you ever considered that God is Trans-generational? Ponder this: His gospel and His grace are trans-generational. Trans-generational – this means something that spans all generations. Our God is not fixed to a past generation alone. Nor is he limited to the current generation, nor one yet to come. He and all His attributes, abilities, and actions are for all generations. 

Picture this: in the great choir of God’s family, the elderly stand first and lift their voices, somewhat faint and feeble compared to the youth, and they with a seasoned melody of the heart sing of His mercies and faithfulness. Then the middle-aged saints rise with a stirring in their bosom and join the chorus and with heartfelt praise and rejoicing for the God of those who started the chorus. The youth then realize the God of all glory Who has been merciful to them. Upon hearing grandparents and parents sing, the youth are reminded that though this is the song of their forefathers, it is also the chorus of their own heart. Now they join in the song of His mercies and faithfulness. Then in this great assembly, the little children who know the God of their salvation rush without hesitation to join brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and grandparents to sing of the God Whose mercies and faithfulness are for all generations.

Shame on us, for the many times we have segmented our song in testimony of God’s mercy and faithfulness to a “certain generation” that is easier to tell and have neglected the others. 

This day forward, make the testimony of your heart and mouth to a lost and dying world, one that is “to all generations.”

He Knew Her

My Post.jpg

A few years ago, on a warm late spring afternoon, I walked through a cemetery to the graveside service of Mr. Ernest Wyrick, a Naval Veteran, faithful Christian, and father to one of our missionaries. 

The short walk to the grave site let me see a grave that stopped me. The marker read, “Baby Girl Swain - May 15 - May 16, 1951.” I thought, “She lived one day on earth and had no name.” 

As a father and husband, I thought of the ache within the hearts of her parents in 1951. She would have turned 66 this year. Yet she had no name, nothing to designate her from any other citizen of earth. Who knows about this one day old child called, “Baby Girl Swain?” 

I looked ahead and saw Mr. Wyrick’s flag-draped coffin and his military escort getting into place. I knew I must move along to stand with the family and friends to bid adieu to the body of a loved one. 

I took my place at the grave. The Scripture was read. The 15 gun-salute engaged, “Taps” was played by a Sailor, and the Word of God was read and the flag from a grateful nation was presented. 

I was a bit numb. Baby Girl Swain’s existence permeated my thoughts. I reminded my surprisingly hurting heart that God oversaw the homecoming of Baby Girl Swain in 1951. He also welcomed the arrival of Mr. Wyrick this past Sunday night in the midnight hours. You see, while few or none on this side may know Baby Girl Swain, God knew her.

It was then the Psalmist’s words came to mind from Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Who knew Baby Girl Swain? God. He knew her. He knew her from before the world began. She is with Him now.

God brought comfort to my heart. He knows all about her. He knows all about me. 

Will your death be precious to Him? Life is short. Death is certain. Be prepared.

There will come a day when I will see Mr. Wyrick again and Baby Girl McSwain. Will you?

He Hears Me

My Post (4).jpg

Psalms 120:1   In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.

A short time ago, I was in an office where there were two moms who had 4 children between them from age 2 months to 3 years old. Each child was engaged in different activities. Occasionally as one child ran into a situation he interpreted as needing his mother’s attention, he began to cry aloud because of his difficulty. 

I was engaged in a conversation with one of the mothers when all of a sudden amidst all the other noises and cries from the other children she said, “Oh, that one is mine; excuse me.

What a precious thought to consider that the billions of people who cry aloud in this earth are all heard in God’s omniscience. However, when the distress of one of His children is uttered, the Heavenly Father hears that one and is attentive to our need.

Have you considered that the Lord of Glory is tuned to your distress frequency? When you broadcast, He is listening. Since Christians are constantly pursuing friends who will listen to them, why not turn to Him instead. You know His listening.

There is Forgiveness

My Post (3).jpg

Have you ever realized that God's forgiveness comes so men will fear Him?    

If you consider the public sins of our leaders today, you would think the banner of forgiveness being held highly by man is solely to excuse the behavior of the sinner. The dangers in our churches and society today are the people who believe forgiveness is to excuse sin for social harmony. Then this ideology breeds into our churches and homes and we begin to think forgiveness is to excuse sin. This ideology stands orphaned from God's word when we consider forgiveness from God to man is for man to fear Him.   

How much fear of God is in your household today? How much fear of God is in your church today? The lack of fear in our homes and churches may be stemming from our forgetting why His forgiveness is granted. Have you been forgiven? Have you a fear of God?   

 

Calling the Father

My Post (2).jpg

Psalm 138:8   The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

The child looks at the hose she's attempted to unravel for the past hour. She tugs. She pulls. She pushes. Yet nothing seems to work. The hose will not untangle. Frustration rages in her mind. This task shouldn't be hard. Yet it is hard. 

Just then she hears her father whistling and coming around the corner of the house. She cries out, "Daddy! Daddy! Please help me. I can't get this untangled." 

Lovingly, her father stoops to sweep her up in his arms. He offers her a hug which melts her frustration.

"Now, what has you so frustrated?" he said. 

"Well," with flailing arms waving and exasperated tone, "I tried to move the hose so I could wash my doll house. I can get it to stretch over there. It is a tangled mess." 

Her father spoke with calming tones, "My dear little princess, you watch and let me fix this hose the way it should be, then we can get that house washed." 

Her father's hands took the hose and, in less than a minute, had it all untangled. She watched in a amazement. Her one hour of frustration was dissolved in one minute when she left the tangled mess to her father. She embraced him and then ran to her dollhouse where she watched him wash her dollhouse.

The Psalmist declared that he knew his Father could take the tangles of his life and make it better. He said it in this artful way, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me..." The word perfect is the idea of bringing to a place of finality or an end. The implied idea is completeness; God can take life's tangles and make it better.

Consider the Person (the Lord) and the Promise (will perfect) in this verse. God is distinctly aware of my present frustration. When I will leave it with him, I can rest in His promise.

What's your tangled mess? You can push, pull, prod, and poke all you want. Yet if you allow this problem to get to the hands of God, He will perfect that which concerns you.

Avoid the Cleave

My Post (1).jpg

Psalm 101:3     I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.  

Have you ever dashed into a convenience store to pay for gas or get a soft drink only to come out and discover that the clerk’s cigarette smoking has lingered with you? You may have even said, “I never want to go in there again because I smell like smoke when I come out.” 

The Psalmist in our focus verse today is singing of his determinations in his walk with the Lord. Nine times in this song he states, “I will.” Five times more he states, “I shall.” David, having been through much in his walk with the Lord, knew the dangers of entertaining the visual images of sin. He then harmonizes the words of our focus verse today. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

I see this as a three-fold determination. It is the resolve of his hand, heart, and head. He states that his hands will not put anything of the works of evil before his eyes. Some have said this idea is not permitting one word or work of Belial to come into view of the eye gate. 

The second resolve was that of his heart. He was not going to permit his heart to become infatuated with sinners and their sins. The apostle Paul expressed this virtue in his ballad of Christian charity in 1 Corinthians 13:6a. Christian charity never rejoices in iniquity. Spurgeon wrote, “Hatred of sin is a good sentinel for the door of virtue.” In the area of the ways of sinners, the resolve of the heart must be earnest.

The third resolve was that of his head. He made up his mind that the wickedness of sinner and their sins would not cleave to him.