Sunday, May 23, 2010

Touching the Heart of God

No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, we have an innate desire to please him. Deep with our spirits, we long to bring him something special as our personal love gift for all that he has done for us.

In the pursuit of touching the heart of God, we must remember that he chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes (Ephesians 1:4). The Bible teaches us that at just the right time Christ died for us, while we were dead in our transgressions(Romans 5:6).

We have already touched the heart of God by responding to his love through his word. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our savior, we touched the heart of God and it brought him much pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). As his dearly loved children, we continue to touch his heart by seeking him and by obeying him.

One of the joys of parenthood is an obedient child; they fill our hearts with so much pleasure. Our response to them is always favorable and we cannot do enough for that child. On the other hand, if we have a child that is continually disobedient, we spend all our time correcting and disciplining them. It is hard to enjoy them; our time spent is more of a struggle. I found it hard but necessary to discipline my children because I love them hoping to save their life.

Our Heavenly Father responds favorably to an obedient child. I am sure that it hurts him deeply to continually discipline a rebellious child. It can be quite painful on both sides when all he wants to do is bless us and give to us all the things he has planned for us.

The difference between discipline and testing are miles apart; they both have a common purpose to grow us in Christ Jesus. Testing comes to develop, strengthen and deepen our faith. These tests can be brief moments of time, when we make a correct choice or they can be longer, refining us through a hard situation. Discipline is quite different; because God loves us, he will get our attention not allowing a behavior to continue.

Over the years, I can quickly discern the difference as one who has been under the Lord’s discipline often. First, he will warn me of sin, if I confess it right away, all is forgiven and we get back to growing. If I ignore the warning and continue to sin; I notice my peace is gone, I feel angry all the time. If that doesn’t get my attention, I notice that my joy is gone, I have no song in my heart; finally, my desire for the Lord has disappeared. I don’t have interest in reading my bible, praying or any spiritual thing. When he has gotten my attention, I confess my rebellion, I am forgiven and we begin again. This is how I know when I am under discipline from the Lord.

Testing can be long and sometimes brutal, it is called a “refiners fire” with good reason. What makes testing different for me is I sense the presence of the Lord. He is comforting my heart, he is encouraging me, and I hear his voice through my tears. He speaks peace, joy, love and all I want to do is praise him. In trials and testing, it is for his purpose to grow our faith that is more precious to him than gold (1 Peter 1:7).

How we love the mountain top experience of the Lord’s blessing and provision, enjoying the sweet green pastures, resting along the peaceful streams of his bounty. When testing or discipline come we will sometimes walk in the valley of despair wondering if the Lord is still there. Other times, we find ourselves somewhere in between, not knowing if we are in the right place or doing the right things.

Touching the heart of God can bring us much joy and pleasure, which is only a prayer away. Ask the Lord for an obedient heart, to quicken your mind to his voice and be willing to do what he asks. Don’t let all the time you spend with him be in discipline because his great love always wins!

copyright@2010-tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life of Integrity

When I think of a life of complete integrity, I immediately think of the perfect life of Jesus Christ. As we read scripture, we learn details of the lives of many others who lived. The Lord has purpose in sharing those lives with us. One whose life modeled integrity is that of the prophet Daniel.

The life story of Daniel reveals many details of a man who lived in confidence and integrity, whose life honored the Lord. His life story began much before we learn of him as a young man lead away into captivity to Babylon (Daniel 1:6),it is shown in the way he lived his faith in this foreign land under a pagan ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar.

He and a few companions were chosen to be in the court of this ruler by virtue of their good looks and lineage of royalty (Daniel 1:3-4), but it was Daniel who decided not to give up on the faith instilled in him by his parents, now that they were under foreign rule. (Daniel 1:8-9).It is apparent that his parents instilled in him the proper respect and faith in the Lord no matter where he lived.

This respect developed into a life of uncompromising faith and the Lord used him in many powerful ways. He was an intelligent man and the Lord gave him the ability to interpret dreams of the king; gave him the ability or organized supplies and equipment, and prophesied of impending dangers.

Never once did Daniel even hint that this knowledge was of his own mind, but gave the complete credit to the Lord from where his knowledge came.

During his lifetime, he served under three rulers of Babylon. Although they were pagans, meaning those who did not honor nor worship the One true God, but had many gods, the Lord used Daniel time and time again to prove there is only One God that rules both heaven and earth.

In the final chapters of Daniel’s life is where we find that other powerful positioned men were jealous of Daniel’s integrity and his God. They knew that there was no way to cause Daniel to lose favor in the king’s eyes, so they devised an evil plan against his loyalty to the Lord.

The scripture tells us how they went to the king and played on his ego. These men convinced the king to sign an irrevocable agreement that “no one for thirty days could pray to anyone divine or human –except to pray to the king- the punishment would be thrown to the lions" (Daniel 6:6-9) But no human law would stop Daniel from praying to the Lord three times a day, as he was known to do.

When the king learned the truth, he mourned for Daniel, but Daniel went fearlessly to the lions den, because he knew no matter what happened the Lord reigns over all life and all death. Daniel was protected by the truth of his God and those who sought him harm were killed by the very lions that were meant for Daniel.

This picture of his life is one that we can honor and respect, but can we say the same for ourselves? When we look in the mirror, do we see a person who loves and adores the Lord? Is it a reflection of a person whose heart longs to glorify and bring praise to the King of Kings? Or do are we just giving the Lord lip service?

Everyday is a new day to begin again, start today by asking the Lord to help you develop a life of integrity, one that no one can speak a word against.

copyright©2010 tathorpe- All Rights Reserved-