buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Desires of my heart”

Chasing It!

The start of a new year brings a fresh perspective. After taking stock of what happened last year, I am deeply concerned with my state of affairs. I cannot recall any growth opportunities that caused me to stretch my faith muscles. That’s not good. I never want to be the same at the end of a year as I was at the beginning. For this year, I want opportunities for growth. But do I really understand what I am asking?

The Passion Conference happened over the last few days. Levi Lesko was the closing speaker this year. His message for the young ones gathered at the Georgia Dome was to chase their destinies. He said that we are all destined for impact; we are to shake the gates of hell! He talked about endurance and fragrance. Endurance means to stay under. Fragrance only happens when something is pressed down. The only way to destiny is through pain and struggle.

Pastor Levi reminded the group that the apostle Paul thought it was an honor to be trusted with pain. God used Paul’s pain to bring a greater message. God never wastes painful trials. He is always glorified when we come through the trial. However, Satan also uses pain to turn us away from God. He will start to suggest that God doesn’t see our pain; that God has forgotten us. He will lie to us and tell us all kinds of things to destroy our faith. It’s our choice who we believe.

John Piper started Tuesday morning with the message on the essence of evil. He said that the only way to understand the glory of God; understand the price Jesus paid and the glory of our lives is to understand the essence of evil. We have to see the total picture of who God is and who we are without Him. Thanks to Adam and Eve, we are born with this sin nature. But it wasn’t the eating of the fruit that caused the sin, but they desired something more than God. Dr. Piper took us to Jeremiah 2:10-13 to show us how we exchange God for worthless things (idols). Israel had forsaken God to run after other gods and we do the same thing.

We desire things that are good and pleasing to the eye; we will not be denied even if it denies God. I was reminded in a teaching by Randy Frazee that God is a jealous God. He doesn’t like to share. I believe we have brought God down to our level. We no longer have a reverent fear of God. We casually toss out His name as “Oh, my God” or “Jesus Christ” as ways of expressing surprise or a curse depending on the circumstances. But do we realize what we are actually saying? The Israelites trembled at the sound of His thunderous voice. They knew that God could strike them dead because of their great sins, and they wanted all communication to go through Moses.

At Passion, Francis Chan began his message with an opening prayer, which found him on his knees in great wonder about coming into the presence of the God of the universe. We should not take His presence lightly. He should not bring God down to our level. I know God is full of love, grace and mercy. But He also has the right to judge us; His wrath is saved for the day of total destruction. He deserves our reverence. He is the One who spoke everything into existence. He is the One who formed us in our mother’s womb and breathed life into us. He knows us intimately. Our desire should be to know Him as well.

What delights God is our desire for Him. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37) – your total being should desire God above all things. Faith in Him pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Satan’s number one goal is to go after our faith. Dr. Piper reminded us that the ultimate triumph of the cross was to bring us back to God. Because of Adam, the relationship with God was broken. But Jesus restored the relationship by the way of the cross.

As I contemplate these messages and my desire for this year ahead, I am reminded that I need to embrace the cross. Jesus paid for my sins so that I can have a deeper relationship with the God of the universe; the great I AM. If it takes pain and suffering to know God intimately then I need to embrace whatever cross I need to bear in order to deepen my love for Him. If I want to grow, reading books isn’t going to do the trick. It’s living out of faith. It’s taking the next step wherever it leads. It’s trusting God’s Word over what I think. Although I am no longer 25, there is still a destiny I need to chase. It’s still out there waiting on me to discover and pursue with abandon. If you are still breathing, yours is out there too. Let’s make this the best year ever – chasing God’s desires – no matter what!

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT)

Athirst for God

On the first day of the New Year, I opened the book “Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer to renew my focus for this year. As I read the words, I realized he penned them in 1948. He begins his preface “in this hour of all-but-universal darkness.” How much more are these words relevant to this day and time? He wrote of those who are growing hungrier for God. The people “are athirst for God and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.” In his day and time, he felt there was a revival happening but realized it may be the “cloud the size of a man’s hand.” Oh how I wish this to be true now!

Tozer wrote about how evangelicalism needs to change in light of the conditions around us. He reflected most were no longer seeking to build an altar for sacrifice, but were more comfortable “to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel.” He referenced 1 Kings 18 for the imagery. For those who truly desire God, they cannot “reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the ‘piercing sweetness’ of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.” Is that not poetry? Are his words not true to this day and time?

We need teachers like this who inspire us to have this desire for ourselves. But is it really the inspiration of the teachers or is it not by the hand of God drawing us to Him if only we would respond? We should all long for nourishment to satisfy our souls. “For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth.” Ouch. Okay, that stepped on my toes a bit. How long do I sit in a chair drinking in the Word, but fail to let it draw me closer? In one ear and out the other without really thought provoking change coming from it.

“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” Yes, let it be as he says. Let this be my heart’s desire for this new year. I no longer want just an occupation of the seat, but an occupation of my heart. For far too long, Satan has snatched the Word right out of my heart because I didn’t pay close attention to the application. I leave the gathering every Sunday and have an agenda for the day. But did the agenda have time to reflect on what was heard? Does my soul feel quench by the Living Word?

One of the sentences speaks the loudest to me right now was this: “It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.” Tozer closes saying God’s hungry children need to find Him. If his (Tozer’s) “fire is not large it is real and there may be those who can light their candle by its flame.” The Holy Spirit can fan into flame even the smallest of sparks. We need sparks in the Body of Christ for this day. I don’t know if the revival happened in Tozer’s day. I didn’t research it. We are in desperate need of one today. Think of the difference we could make if we all were athirst for God!

If you are hungry; if you are thirsty, Jesus says “come.” First things first. We cannot do anything of any importance until we get right with God, and we are clothed in His righteousness. I don’t remember where I heard this prayer, but I am claiming it for 2016. “God, work boldly in me that You can be clearly seen working through me.” For God’s glory in this New Year! Come on Sparky! Let’s do this!

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 1 Kings 18:36-38

This post inspired by The Preface found on Page 8 of the “Pursuit of God” © Moody Bible Institute of Chicago 1948, 1983, 1999, 2006.

Trading Up

I love cars. I always have. Looking at the car I drive now though would tell a different story. It’s not the best ride I’ve ever owned. But I would say it’s also probably not going to be the last one either (unless Jesus comes back in the next few years!). That being said, I have found though that all I really need is a vehicle to get me from one place to another. I once used to look at my vehicles as the extension of my personality. Not really defining me, but sort of like an accessory to my life. The cars had to “match” my definition of who I was. I have always loved sports cars. I always thought one day I’m going to have one! My dream car has always been a Corvette. I didn’t dream of a Porsche or a Ferrari. Maybe I dream with realistic vision. My dreams are not unobtainable. One day, I could have it, if I really wanted it.

My first car was a one-seater. It was white with a red stripe down the side. It had two pedals, and it would go as fast as my little legs would take me. My next car came when I was sixteen years old. When I first started driving, the second family car was a Ford Maverick (a ghastly, bright orange color) with a stick-shift on the steering column. We traded up to a Pontiac Phoenix a few months after I began driving – thank you Lord! When I was finally able to get my own car, I had a choice to make. I got a ‘vette. Oh, not a Corvette, but a new Chevette. The other option was a used Camaro. The reason I chose the Chevette was not because I wanted it, but because I chose to give the option to my Dad. His decision has always been new cars over used. I think he owned a lemon one time and vowed never to buy used again.

My last car before my current one was a sporty Acura CL. It was sweet! It was as close as I could come to a premium sports car. However, seven years ago, God asked me to release my Acura for a more practical car. I did after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. It was difficult to let it go. However, God knew my future. He was going to place me in a position where I wouldn’t have much money. The Acura was expensive to keep up and costly repairs were coming. God led me to my little Nissan that I currently own. Its been a blessing. I am very content with this car. It’s been very reliable. My dream hasn’t changed. I still have occasion to desire a new ride with a flashier style.

One day not too long ago, I had a flash of my future in twenty years or so. A new Corvette pulled up beside me in a parking lot. I wasn’t lustful, but eyed it for its beauty. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I glanced back and saw an older woman getting out of the car. What struck me was the cane she used to help her out of the driver seat! And I chuckled to myself. Yep, that could be me one day, if I had more money than sense!

God always trades up. My little Nissan may not “look” like a trade up; but spiritually speaking, it was a huge leap forward! It was a major turning point in my life. God asked me to do something I had no desire to do; but I did it after a few weeks of wrestling with the decision. That time took me a few weeks to be obedient. The next time He asked me to be obedient to something, I did not hesitate; the answer was yes. My desires are nothing compared to the spiritual blessing of letting something go to gain something better. In order to move forward, we have to let go of the things that could be keeping us bound to a place or circumstance that is not the best for us. Desires have to be released to His.

God always has the best in mind for us. We can trust Him. Just as I once trusted my earthly Dad to meet my needs, I know I can trust my heavenly Dad. I am trading up. God will never forsake me or leave me to my own devices. He knows the desires of my heart. And if it’s aligned with His heart, I will have more than I ask or imagine because He’s that good!

Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will. Psalm 37:4-5 (TLB)

Post Navigation