What are we keeping in corners of our hearts for ourselves? Whatever it may be, it is hindering our joy, hindering our communion with God our Father and with the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is definitely hindering our spiritual growth, and our testimony for Himself. Let’s judge it, and give Him the full and first place He desires. He alone can fill and satisfy the human heart! He has entreated us: My son, give Me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26).
Here are the words of a hymn that perhaps sum it up very well:
Lord, we are Thine: Thy claims we own,
Ourselves to Thee we’d wholly give;
Reign Thou within our hearts alone,
And let us to Thy glory live.
May it be so in each of our lives, until the Lord Jesus calls us home to Himself in the Father’s house, where our hearts will be centered fully, and undistractedly on Him for eternity. Here is a good daily prayer for all of us, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:34).
God wants wholeheartedness, not halfhearted Christians. Are we following the Lord but still keeping a place in our hearts for something we cherish above Himself…the world…wealth…etc? Don’t be like Peter who followed the Lord but, “followed afar off” (Luke 22:54).
He wants our whole heart’s affection: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).
He wants our hearts filled with praise: “I will praise the Lord with my whole heart” (Psalm 111:1).
He wants us to seek Him with whole-heartedness: “With my whole heart have I sought Thee” (Psalm 119:10).
He wants us to read and keep His Word in the same way: “I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:69).
He wants us to be wholehearted in prayer: “I cried unto thee with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:145).
In this same way we are to have full confidence in Him: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart” (Proverbs 3:5).
36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.
40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
42 And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
While thumbing through a book of Christian quotes and anecdotes, I came upon the following statement: “Some of the sweetest songs have been wrung out of life’s bitterest trials. Many a song that is sung in the sunlight was composed in the darkest night watches” (JBN).
It brought to mind a hymn we used to sing, the first verse and chorus of which, is as follows:
What though the way be lonely
And dark the shadows fall;
I know where’er it leadeth,
My Father planned it all.
I sing through the shade and the sunshine,
I’ll trust Him whatever befall;
I sing for I cannot be silent—
My Father planned it all.
It also brought to mind a couple of verses from the Psalms: “In the night His song shall be with me” (Psalm 42:8). “I call to remembrance my song in the night” (Psalm 77:6). How good it is for us to learn to sing and give thanks no matter what the circumstance.
I was a guest in the home of a Christian couple, and the first morning I woke up to notice a text hanging by the bed.
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path”
This of course is a very familiar verse of Scripture, but seeing it like that, first thing in the morning, made me realize the importance of having divine light from God for our pathway at the beginning of every new day. It is there and available, but do we open the Word and read it? You might have a very good flashlight, but you have to take it out of your bag and turn it on if it is going to guide you along a dark path. You might have a lantern, but if you do not take time to light it and hold it tight, it will be useless in showing you the way on a stormy night. So, with God’s Holy Word, we need to take time each morning, and then ask Him for grace to walk in the light that has been shown to us.
“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:14).
This day was a special day for the Jewish people. A lamb’s life was taken, his blood sprinkled on their front door posts and lintel to protect them from the destroying angel that passed over the land of Egypt that night. The Lord wanted them to remember that day forever after. They were never to forget God’s provision and that wonderful redemption and great deliverance from Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
So we as Christians have a special day that we remember, although it’s not so much the day as it is what happened on that day. We remember the death of the Lord Jesus because through His death we have been set free from eternal punishment in the lake of fire. Because of the blood He shed at Calvary, our sins have been washed away. So what we remember is the cost of our salvation. Never let us forget what it cost God to make us fit for heaven.
“To everything there is a season, and a time….A time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).
We were distributing Bibles and gospel tracts on the Grenadine Island of Canouan. A headstone in a cemetary caught my eye. The granite marker had an engraving of an alarm clock. Underneath was the following inscription:
“The clock of life is wound but once!”
This is a line taken from a poem which reads:
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop,
At late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed;
To lose one’s health is more;
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.
What about the “clock of life” for you? When will the hands stop? Will it be “at late or early hour”? Who can tell? Are you prepared for the next life where there is no time or clock? Remember what the Bible says in Hosea 10:12. “It is time to seek the Lord.”
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
A well-known evangelist once made the following statement: “God has not promised to bless my thoughts, but He has promised to bless His Word.”
Often we preface our remarks on some verse of Scripture by saying, “I think…” This is all fine and well as long our thoughts are in line with God’s thoughts as revealed in the Bible. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Remember, when we present the truth, whether in the gospel to the lost, or to encourage our fellow-believer, it is not expressing our thoughts that will bring blessing, but quoting and sharing the Scriptures. It is the living Word that the Spirit of God can use for the blessing of souls we are seeking to reach.
This gate would suggest the thought of watchfulness to walk in the old paths of truth as they have been set out for us in the Word of God. Earlier in their history Jeremiah had encouraged and warned the people with the exhortation: “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” The sad thing is, that they responded to His entreaty in a very negative way, as the verse concludes. “But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16).
Timothy was given a similar exhortation in the New Testament. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2 Timothy 3:14). Many were turning away from the foundational truth that Paul and others had been given and were seeking new things. Paul was really telling Timothy to hold fast to old paths and not look for a new revelation or a different slant or application of things. Growing up I often heard it said, “If it’s new it’s not true, and if it’s true it’s not new.” There is a lot of wisdom in this.
“For Thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth…O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth” (Psalm 71:5, 17).
There is a great blessing in giving the Lord the best days of our lives.
In your youth give yourself to God for His service and honor. In your youth be out and out for Christ, be a good soldier for Him. Do not say in your heart, “Why shouldn’t I enjoy the world and its joys (pleasures) as others do?” Jesus, the Son of God beckons you to a nobler, more fulfilled life; He call us to self-sacrifice and devotion, in which you shall have joys beyond all that this world ever gave its servants.
Dear young Christian, the truly happy life is the one that is given to the Lord. There are more joys found in the service of Christ than in all the pleasures of the world. The appeal is to you now in your youth to devote yourself to Him. The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy in this regard when he said, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).