What does the Lord require?

I want you to imagine┬áthat you have a significant other that you’re telling how much you love them, and imagine you haven’t gone on a date with them for a few months, you barely call them- only when you need something, and you never do anything they ask you to do.

How long would that last?

How long would you stay if you were treated this way?

Probably not long for either question.

Love requires and demands evidence in every relationship. Words are not enough. Expensive gifts are not enough. Public declarations are not enough. It requires our heart.

It’s the same with God. He wants our hearts.

Psalm 51:16 says, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

Matthew 5:18 says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”

Psalm 51:17 tells us, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

God wants us to love Him with our hearts. He wants us to care. He wants us to keep His love and commandments on our mind. It’s not enough for us to say we love Him. It’s not enough for us to give to the church. We have to mean it. Nothing in this world can substitute our wholehearted commitment to Him.

Commitment means obedience, commitment means prayer, commitment means thought put into your relationship.

You may have that special someone. And you may not be able to spend time with them right now. You may not be able to give them expensive gifts. You may not be able to take them on dates. But if they know that they have your heart (your commitment)- your relationship will last.

With God, you may not have many talents to give Him, you may not have the years to give Him just as a younger person could, and you may not have any special skills to offer.

God only wants your heart. He wants your love, your commitment, and your full obedience and reverence.

It doesn’t matter who you are, that you can give. That, you can always give.

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

 

 

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Commune with your own heart . . .

What does the word “Awe” mean to you?

“Awe” isn’t a word that we use much anymore. For me, “Awe” is being totally amazed with something, jaw dropped, mind blown, staring with a strange mixture of admiration and sudden humility, while being completely overwhelmed.

It’s that feeling of admiration and respect. Like when you first gazed at a great natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, or some amazing architecture like the Colosseum. That admiration and awe, is what we should hold in our heart when we consider God.

Psalm 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” What an amazing statement! We are so busy trying to run our lives, make things right, please ourselves, and more- that we forget to stand in awe of God. The contrast in this verse sends a very clear message. It strongly suggests that if you are in awe of God, you will refrain from sin.

But let’s take it a step further. In the Greek, the word for awe doesn’t just mean respect, it literally means “to tremble.”

Do you tremble when you think of God?

Our admiration and respect for God should keep us from sin. But also our fear of God. Many of us have lost a healthy reverence for the Lord, and I honestly believe that that is a main reason why we treat sin so flippiantly. If we trembled with respect, awe, and fear of God, we would naturally keep ourselves from sin.

This respect, awe, and fear, isn’t something that we can flip a switch and create in our heart. It’s something that must be developed. The verse finishes with: “Commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.”

This verse does not command that we suddenly “do’ something. It calls for us to cease from doing. It calls to each and every one of us to be still. To regain our awe of God. To speak to our own heart and realize the greatness of our Lord.

Won’t you quiet your heart in respect of God today?

Won’t you commune on your bed,

and be still?

 

Are you wiping your mouth?

We will always be wronged by someone. Our friends are human. They will mess up just like we do. One thing that we do expect from our friends is an apology. I mean, they don’t need to apologize for everything, but sometimes we can’t have a good friendship until they recognize that what they did was wrong. It’s the same thing with God.

God wants us to have fellowship with Him despite how much we mess up. God does want us to recognize when we do wrong. Proverbs 28:13 says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." If your friend decided he would just avoid the issue and never bring up how he wronged you, you would most likely have a problem with it. However, if he came to you and told you that he was sincerely sorry for what he did and asked you to forgive him, you probably would. Your friendship would most likely be repaired.

We see this truth so plainly in our earthly relationships. But how often do we fail to recognize the guilt we have in our relationship to our heavenly Father? Many times, we sin and try to continue our relationship with God as if nothing happened. God abhors evil. It is His enemy. How could we go on with our lives and expect to have a good relationship with God if we are consistently going back to sin? Do we really know how much God despises sin?

God often refers to us as the bride of Christ. In the old testament especially, God refers to sin and idolatry as adultery. He compares unfaithful Israel to an adulterous wife. Now let us look at Proverbs 30:20. It says, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." If we continue in sin, and try to have a proper relationship with God, we are like that adulterous woman.

However, if we come before God in a broken heart, asking Him to forgive our trespasses, He will forgive us. When we understand how God hates sin, that promise becomes so much more meaningful.

1 John 1:19 says, " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

You can never have perfect fellowship with God until you confess and turn from your sins. Will you confess your sins to God today?

Whose pleasure?

Have you ever read Greek philosophy? In almost every version of philosophy, men were looking for their ultimate purpose. As Christians, we can know our ultimate purpose. We were created to please God.

Is our life and actions pleasing to God? Many times we seek after our own pleasure. We look to satisfy ourselves with what we do and think. If something does not please us, we don’t do it. If something does, we do. Isn’t it natural? After all, our culture seems to scream, "If it feels good, Do it!"

Such was the attitude of the king, Solomon. He decided that He would do all that pleased Him. Let’s examine his words in Ecclesiastes 2:1. "I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity." Solomon enjoyed everything this life had to offer. No, he never had video games or social networking, but he had everything money could buy in his time. And what did he say, "all is vanity." Vanity meaning nothing. Solomon recognized that the pleasures of this earth are worthless. That truth is written plain to see, yet we often overlook it and live our lives in a manner that is worthless.

It would truly be grievous if we spent our lives chasing after the next entertainment or the next diversion only to learn, just like Solomon, that it was all worth nothing. Let us never forget our true purpose. Let us not seek to please men, or ourselves, but God alone.

"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." – Revelation 4:11.

"The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy." – Psalm 147:11

Hating the evil way

There are many people who are categorized in scripture as people who feared God. The fear of God is always associated with right standing with Him and blessing. But what is the fear of God? What constitutes a proper fear of God.

Fearing God does not mean that we are scared of the Almighty, but rather that we reverence Him properly as God. In order to fear God we must acquire humility. Proverbs 8:13 says, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." Proper reverence of God demands humility. It demands that we abhor evil. That we remove ourselves from pride, arrogance, and perverseness. Do we separate ourselves from those things, or are we allowing ourselves to become stained with what God hates? If we fully commit ourselves to reverencing God, we will naturally remove ourselves from what He hates. Proverbs 16:6 tells us, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."

I would like to encourage you, ask God to teach you to fear Him. Ask Him to show you how you can best reverence Him and His name. Let us endeavor to always give Him the glory He deserves and approach Him with honor when we pray. We must never forget that we have access to Him because we are His children, but we must never forget who He is. He is God. He far above all. He deserves all the honor we can bestow.

"In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death." – Proverbs 14:27