The Whole Heart
      What do you think it means to live life, especially life in Christ, with a whole heart?  Is it going to church regularly, reading the Bible each day, praying, giving, service?  Certainly all of these might be a part of that, but are they, even together, the whole?  How much of our "zest" for life is dictated by what is happening around us?  When our lives are going well, our energy, both physical and spiritual, seems on a high level, but when life is going less well, we tire easily, get distracted easily, lose heart......easily.  We can slip into a half-hearted lifestlyefor Him.  It can happen to anyone, and maybe it's happening to you right now.  If it is, could we ask ourselves if it may be because our hearts are not centered upon Him, but upon what is happening to us?  We are energized, or de-energized by circumstances, and the result is a spiritual roller coaster ride that too many of us are on.
      Jesus said that we are to "love the Lord our God with all our being."  One Bible translation says that we're to love Him with all of our might.  What does it mean to love Him with all of our might?  How is that worked out in our day to day lives?  Oswald Chambers prayed that it would be his great aim that wherever he was placed, he would "live in wholehearted devotion to You (the Father), doing so with all of his might."  I think most believers desire to live in such a way, but the "cares of life" that Jesus spoke so much of easily seep into our consciousness.  We may continue to serve Him, but we find ourselves growing ever weaker, more exhausted, burnt out.  Might it be that we don't really understand what it is to "serve Him?"
      I was struck by a passage in Acts 13:2 which says that Paul and Barnabas, along with two others were "ministering" to the Lord.  It is translated as "worshiping" in other translations, but I love that word ministering, for that is what true worship of Him must be.  Does our worship, yours and mine, truly minister to the Lord?  We put such emphasis on service, and there is much talk in the church about the need to serve our neighbor, and that need is there, but as a good friend said, we are called first and foremost to serve Him, and we serve Him best when we first minister to Him with wholehearted worship.  Acts 13 tells us that as they ministered to Him, He spoke to them, and told them to anoint Paul and Barnabas for the special work, outreach, to the Greeks, that He had for them.  They heard from Him, were empowered by Him, after they had ministered to, worshiped Him, with all of their might.  Too often we go out armed with our good intentions, and then are overcome by all that is arrayed against us.  We're so like Martha, activity oriented, yet all the while missing the best part, sitting first at the feet of Christ, as did her sister Mary, ministering to Him, and in return, being filled to the full with His Spirit and Life.  That same friend said that we do not lack for those who "come to church," but that what is needed are those who "overcome to church."  We are overcomers  when we first come to Him, to His Presence, and this is where we live, so that when He does send us out, it is in His name, with His Life and His power.  We can then live for and love Him with all of our might, because we are filled with His might.  We will encounter the tribulations of life, Jesus promised it would be so, but He said that He had overcome all of them, and so too will we, when we walk in the fullness of His Life with all of our heart.
      Everything changes when this happens in us.  Rivers of Living Water flow out of us.  Our perspective changes, we change.  We're not crushed by circumstances, but overcome them as He raises us above them.  We go through them, but they don't overwhelm us because we have discovered that He who lives within us really is greater than all the power of he that is in the world.  We're able to live with all of our might for Him because we see past and through every obstacle with His eyes, and His understanding.  We're like the little boy who was taken to a stable, and said, "With all this manure, there must be a pony around here somewhere."  All the manure in the world cannot stop us from seeing Him in all things,  living for and loving Him with all of our hearts and being in every place.  It all flows from our simply sitting at His feet, ministering to Him, living wholeheartedly for Him.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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