Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 6:25 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 3 (selected vs. NASB).
Let Your Heart
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man. ~ vv. 1-4
When I was a child and a youth, we spent much time in church learning how to memorize scripture verses. I still remember many of the verses I learned as a child, which is good. They have come back to mind numerous times when that is just what I needed to hear. I would encourage young children to memorize as much as they can while they are still young, because they will more easily retain it for when they are old. It is much harder to memorize when you are old. And, we don’t retain things as well at this age. For me, it really helps me that the Lord Jesus saw fit to give me so many songs which were all based off scripture, because I remember words better when they are put to music. He often speaks to me through these songs. When I am going about my day, or when something is troubling me, or if I have a decision to make about something, I will hear a song playing in my mind, and when I listen for the words, they are just what I need to hear. God is so good!
Yet, we can memorize with our minds and it be nothing more than knowledge retained in our brains. What is most important is when the knowledge is then kept in our hearts, and through application it results in wisdom. Our hearts are the seat of emotion, compassion, kindness, affection, concern, courage, love, personality and will. So, when the Word of God (Christ’s teachings and instructions) is written on our hearts, it becomes applied knowledge, and it is acted out in our lives in how we treat God and others. As well, we can write about his word on physical tablets (electronic or paper), and we can sound all knowledgeable, but if his word is not written on “the tablet of our hearts,” then it is just knowledge, and it serves no valuable purpose other than to be there for when the Lord speaks and we are receptive to his voice, and we are willing to put his word into practice in our lives.
Trust the Lord
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones. ~ vv. 5-8
Human wisdom is not what we should value or seek after or rely upon. As humans, we are subject to failure. Not all humans have the mind of God on matters of the heart. We think in terms of this world only when we think with human understanding. What makes sense to us is not always in line with God’s ways. We tend to respond to what is seen (outward), and we don’t realize sometimes that God is working in ways that are unseen in our circumstances, and that he has greater purposes in mind for us than what our natural minds would ever imagine. So, rather than relying upon our own thinking and reasoning, we should trust the Lord, that he knows best, that he is completely sovereign over all things in our lives, and that he has it all worked out for his purposes and for his glory.
A huge problem exists within the modern church of today. It relies way too heavily upon human thinking and reasoning, and upon the counsel of humans for how to grow, conduct, and nurture the church. Books written by mere humans have replaced the Word of God or have superseded God’s instructions to us, in many instances. Rather than submitting to Jesus Christ as the head of the church, many church leaders are, instead, submitting themselves to humanistic philosophy and are following after business marketing schemes for how to grow their businesses, which they call “church.” Rather than the Spirit of God assigning body parts and giving gifts, humans determine who does what and where and when. Rather than the Spirit leading in worship, it is all human orchestrated in many of today’s modern churches. We need to get back to trusting in God, and relying upon the Holy Spirit, and to teaching the unadulterated Word of Truth!
Honor the Lord
Honor the Lord from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. ~ vv. 9-12
In the Old Testament, it was taught that the people of God should tithe 10% of their income, and it was to be taken off the top, i.e. it was to be given first, and then the rest was to be what the people lived off of. This type of tithing is not taught in the New Testament specifically, from what I know, but many still follow this, and I do believe it is a good principle to follow. The New Testament still teaches giving, though, and to do so generously and sacrificially, as unto the Lord, and not grudgingly or under compulsion, but with willing hearts, desirous to obey the Lord Jesus in this matter of giving, and to meet the needs of the people. Many people believe this type of giving is on top of the tithe. As far as I am concerned, the Lord owns it all, and we should be good stewards of whatever he gives us, and we should always be generous and willing to obey him whenever he says to give.
I will express some concern here, though, in light of what this says when it says to honor the Lord with our wealth. So many people who tithe follow the Old Testament model of giving the tithe to the temple for the temple leaders to distribute as was customary. I know many people give to institutional churches which are nothing more than big business, and they believe they are giving to the Lord, but so much of that money is not being spent at all on what honors the Lord and on what spreads his gospel and ministers to the needs of the people, but so much goes to big edifices and expensive furnishings and to stage productions which are intended to draw in large crowds of people from the world. So, is this honoring God with our wealth? As well, we, as individuals, can be guilty of wasting money on junk that is intended only for our own entertainment and pleasure, and yet we give little to help others in need or to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then You Will Walk
…Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught. ~ vv. 21-26
In all that we do and say and are, we should continually exercise sound discernment and judgment, not being too quick to make rash or impetuous judgments or decisions. We should carefully examine such situations for which we need to make judgments, and to do so in prayer before our Lord, asking him for wisdom and inquiring of him as to what we should do or not do, with regard to areas that are not clearly spelled out for us in scripture. We should inquire of the Lord before spending money on anything not critical to the necessities of daily living, to make sure our purchases are what are honoring to him, and that are not just to gratify our own desires for pleasure. Now, he does give us all things to enjoy (all that comes from him), so he is not against us finding enjoyment in things, but he is against us seeking after self-pleasure and he is against whatever is contrary to his Word, and he does want us to honor him with our wealth, so we should ask him before spending.
Yet, obviously sound judgment and discernment is not to be confined to merely the subject of our finances. That is just one area where we need to exercise wisdom. We need to be careful about everything we do, think and say, to consider whether or not it honors and glorifies the Lord, or whether or not it dishonors him and defeats his will and purposes for our lives. I know I don’t always inquire of the Lord as I should, so God is speaking to me about this, too. I need to remember always that my life is not my own, and to put that into practice in all that I do. I sometimes still rely on my own judgment, and I can be impulsive, at times, and I need to not do that. That is rarely a good thing. I know that when I completely trust in the Lord in all that I do, that my mind is at rest, I am at peace, and I have complete confidence that God will work out all things in my life for my good. Yet, I am thankful that my God is forgiving, restoring, and that he gives much grace in time of need.
To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture
Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.
Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.
Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!
When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.