Psalm 139:23-24

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Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

As the Psalmist is writing these words he is asking the Lord to search his inner most workings.  When we are walking in right relationship with the Lord we will desire for God to search our hearts.  If we are truly walking in obedience there is nothing that we will hide from the Lord.

Our desire will be for the Lord and His kingdom.  We will desire to use our lives and our decisions on a daily basis to glorify and honor the Lord.  But if we do have areas in our lives that need to be corrected the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts and we must heed and respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

In our lives we will naturally have anxious thoughts because from time to time our eyes may get focused on circumstances and any time our eyes are taken off the Lord anxiety, worry, and fear will naturally creep in.  But when our minds and hearts are stayed upon the Lord we will experience the peace of God in all that we do.

May we this day desire to be vulnerable before the Lord and walk in deep intimacy with Him.  May we desire to know Him in greater ways and simply use our lives for His glory.  Our time on this earth is but a breath compared to eternity.  May we be obedient as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV

The word of God is not complicated.  God has made it very clear that we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This simply means that He is God and we are not.  There are many who simply give God lip service and simply honor Him with their lips.  But the Lord sees every heart and knows all things.

We are only able to experience all that God has for us when we truly love Him with our whole heart.  It is very easy in the world we live in today to allow things to become idols and take the place God deserves.  But as we abide in Him and draw near our hearts and minds are protected from the wiles and schemes of the enemy.

When Jesus Himself was asked what the greatest commandment was He even said it was to love the Lord they God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love thy neighbor as thy self.  These two things sum up the law and the prophets.  It is simple but incredibly complex and deep at the same time.  We only come to this place in our relationship with God as we seek Him each day and draw near.  He is the vine and we are the branches.  It is through Him that life is found.  May we grow each day in our relationship with Christ and become the sons and daughters He has called us to be.

1 John 3:4-6: Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.               1 John 3:4-6

Sin is lawlessness.  So many treat sin like it is a trivial thing.  But what many fail to understand in this generation is that sin leads to destruction and is incredibly deceptive.  It will capture the heart of a person and when they think they are indulging in that which is enjoyable, they fail to understand it is destroying them from the inside out.  Sin is against God and His kingdom.  All who are born on this earth are born into sin and there is only one solution for sin and that is the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

In Christ there is no sin.  He came to give His life to pay the debt that we deserved.  But through His precious sacrifice sin has been dealt with and everyone who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ have had their sins forgiven.  Our sins were nailed to the cross and no longer remain.

To continue to live in sin and practice sin is to fail to truly know the Lord intimately.  If we are abiding in Him daily and coming to know Him intimately, we will live a life free of the bondage of sin.  But so many treat their relationship with Christ as a trivial thing.  They only reach out to God when they need something and fail to truly know Him.  It is impossible to abide daily in Him and continue in sin.  The conviction of the Holy Spirit will not allow it.  Christianity is simply a intimate relationship with Almighty God.  It is not about religious practice or somehow trying to earn things according to our performance.  It is simply coming to know Christ in a deeper and greater way on a daily basis.

Revelation 1:17-18

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Revelation 1:17-18

John writes that he fell at the feet of the Lord as if he was dead. The majesty that John beheld was overwhelming. John saw Jesus in the fullness of His glory. When you behold the majesty of Jesus Christ you truly see how empty and worthless this world truly is.

Jesus simply places His right hand upon John and comforts John. Jesus understands who He is and when a mere human being comes to behold the glory of who He truly is it overwhelms every capacity you have.

Jesus says to John that He is the first and the last. All authority belongs unto Jesus and creation began with Him and all things will end with Him. He is the one who will pour out the wrath of God upon the earth.

Jesus is Him who lives who died and overcame the grave. As followers of Christ we have nothing to fear. We will be victorious in all that we face because Jesus has overcome. When we understand the fullness of who Christ is we will walk in the freedom and strength that Christ purchased for us.

The keys of hades and death were taken from the devil when Jesus rose from the grave. When Satan deceived Adam and Eve, he stole the authority Adam was given over creation and he know possessed authority over humanity because of the reality of death. But through Christ that authority was taken back because Jesus came in the flesh and died upon the cross without sin. What Satan truly believed was his greatest triumph, was actually his greatest defeat. Today we who are in Christ have been given authority by Jesus and He calls upon us to use that authority in the place of prayer. This again is why studying God's word is so important. We come to understand who we truly are in Christ.

Nor are your ways My ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV

The Lord’s ways and how He accomplishes His purposes upon the earth is often times outside our expectation or understanding.  This journey with Jesus is one of faith.  We are called to trust the Lord at His word.  Within His word He has promises for our lives and sometimes in our lives it seems that some how God has forgotten or abandoned us.  But the truth is that in our most difficult moments the Lord is testing and refining us.

He desires to develop deep trust with Him because where trust exist, intimacy exist.  The whole reason Jesus went to the cross was to restore what was lost in the garden of Eden.  When Adam and Eve sinned they severed the relationship they had with God.  But when Jesus came and died upon the cross, He made the way possible for anyone to have a personal relationship with God.

Everything we have with Jesus is because of the love and grace He has for us.  It is His love and grace that holds us close to Him and as we grow in Him, His love and grace fills our lives for others.  This is why He tells us to abide in Him because it is in abiding that we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Will be able to separate us from the love of God

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 NIV

When the apostle Paul came to Christ and his eyes were open to the truth it must have been an extraordinary event in the life of the apostle.  Here we have a man who studied the law fervently before he came to Christ and was actually trying to destroy the church.  But when his eyes were opened he was finally able to see that everything he had studied in the law and the prophets pointed to Jesus Christ.

As the apostle Paul walked with Jesus, he continued to understand the depth of God’s love for humanity.  A natural result of coming to know Jesus in a deep, intimate way is to understand the depth of God’s love for us.  The whole reason Jesus came to earth and died upon a cross is because He loves us.  It is impossible to understand the love of God without knowing Jesus.  To know Jesus is to know the Father’s love for us.

Before Jesus came to the earth the nation of Israel only knew God from a distance.  They were in covenant relationship with Him but did not know Him personally.  But when Jesus came to the earth He revealed the nature of the Father in His flesh.  He was a walking, living example of who God is.  It is amazing that the religious leaders of Jesus time who studied the law and the prophets were unable to see God before them.  They were blinded by their sin and their pride.

As we come to know Christ and walk with Him we understand that nothing can separate us from His love.  No one can pull us out of the Father’s hand.  As our trust is in Christ it is the Lord who holds us close to Him by His grace and His mercy.  The reason many believers struggle in their relationship with God is because they don’t know the Lord intimately.  They may know information about Him and may even attend church every Sunday morning.  But to know Jesus Christ intimately requires us to make the pursuit of knowing Him the priority of our lives.

As we pursue Him in prayer and the study of God’s word the Holy Spirit progressively reveals to us who God is.  The Christian journey is one of growth in maturity over the course of a person’s lifetime.  The sad reality is that there are some in the body of Christ who only grow to a certain point and are unwilling to move out into the deep water.  But for those who are willing to go out into the deep water their eyes and hearts are open to all that God is and it is at this place where we begin to understand the depths of God’s love for us.

Therefore do not cast away your confidence 

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:35-36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Endurance is a huge part of our walk with the Lord. A decision to follow Jesus Christ is not a one time decision. It is a starting point of a journey that takes place over the course of a lifetime. 

For us to continue and remain on this journey we must abide in Him and become a person of His presence. As we develop a deep and intimate prayer life we learn to make time spent in His presence the priority of our lives. 

Now the Lord’s presence is always with us because He nevers leaves us. But there is something very special that happens when we get alone with the Lord. We give Him our full attention and we learn to discern His voice. 

Christianity is about an intimate relationship with the one who created us. We don’t follow Jesus from a distance. The Lord has made the way for us to draw near with our whole heart. Let us not waste another day. Let us draw near and be transformed. 

One thing I have asked

One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.  Psalm 27:4

There is something very special that happens when we begin to make the pursuit of the Lord the priority of our lives.  When we make Him the first priority and spending time alone with Him the focus of our days, our hunger for His presence naturally grow.  We desire to be alone with Him and to spend all eternity in His kingdom.

One of the great things about Heaven some day will be being able to see Jesus face to face.  To simply sit with Him and talk and hear His voice.  King David longed to spend time in God’s presence because as He spent more time alone with God He began to understand that God’s presence in His life was the strength of His life.

As believers in Jesus Christ today we have the awesome privilege of being able to draw near to the Lord any time of the day and to draw near to Him as much as we desire.  Under the Old Covenant the people of Israel would have to go through the priest in the temple and would have to rely upon the blood of bulls and goats on a daily basis.

But we who are in Christ have our hope in Jesus.  He is our high priest and our faith and trust is in His death and resurrection.  His blood has washed us clean and has washed every sin away.  Let us draw near with our whole heart and make spending time alone with the Lord the very pursuit of our life.

Test the spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  1 John 4:1.

We are called to test every spirit.  There are many false teachers who masquerade themselves as true teachers of God.  Jesus said that people would know His disciples by the fruit in their lives.  Just because someone claims to represent Jesus Christ and claims to preach the truth doesn’t mean that they indeed do.  We must become deep students of God’s word and walk intimately with the Lord because it is through developing deep intimacy that we will become sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and be able to discern the spirit behind the one who is ministering or speaking.

It is very easy to get caught up in those who are false teachers because often times they carry much charisma.  We must look beyond the surface and see into the heart of the individual.  This is only possible as we spend time with the Lord and walk closely with Him.  We must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us a fresh and a new each day and ask the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see and ears to hear.  If we will simply ask the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth.

Will shepherd my people

When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Matthew 2:4-6 NIV

Jesus is the great shepherd.  He is our provider, protector, healer, restorer, our savior.  The battle belongs unto Him.  He simply desires that we would draw near unto Him and lay all things at His feet.  He is not asking us to live our lives in our own strength.  He is simply asking us to trust Him and fully rely upon the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Today if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and discouraged know that the Lord is fully in control.  Every test and trial we face is simply meant to strengthen our faith and refine our character.  The key to facing any trial or test is to rely fully upon the Lord and to let go of our own understanding and our own wisdom.

He has given us His word as the guide or playbook on how we are to live our lives.  By simply spending time in God’s word each day and meditating upon the promises He has for us, the Holy Spirit will transform us from the inside out.  Jesus left the earth so that the Holy Spirit could come and live in our hearts.  We are not called to fear the Holy Spirit or be ignorant of who He is or how He operates.  We are called to know Him intimately and draw near each day.

Every day we have choices that stand before us and this is what freewill is all about.  Let us choose to draw near to Jesus Christ and come to know the Holy Spirit intimately.  As we come to know His voice and understand how He leads and guides us we will become a vessel of God’s glory.  There is a mighty harvest before us and as we simply draw near to the Lord we will become a key part in seeing the harvest of God’s kingdom come forth on the earth.