Thursday, July 30, 2015

Setting Our Hearts To Seek The Lord

And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 12:14,ESV).
 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied (Proverbs 13:4, ESV).
The two verses cited above were included in my readings for Thursday morning. The context and purposes of the verses are quite different, but each verse, in its own way, addresses our need for diligence, dedication, commitment, discipline.

The first verse is referring to Rehoboam. Rehoboam did not hate the Lord. But neither did he “set his heart” to seek the Lord. He was sluggish in his relationship with God. Lukewarm might be another term that would apply (Rev 3:16).

All too often we claim to love the Lord, we claim to appreciate what he has done for us, but it does not really show in our lives. We have warm feelings toward the Lord. But we do not “set our hearts” to seek him. We may read the Apostles’ teaching a little bit, even study it a little bit, but we are not “devoted” to it as were the Jerusalem Christians (Acts 2:42). We have a craving after the Lord, but we get nothing. We get nothing because we are not diligent in seeking him.

Every four years we hear stories of the dedication of the Olympic athletes. They love their sports, and that love is shown in their incredible dedication to practice. We admire their diligence, commitment, and self-discipline. They do this for a fading earthly crown.

Should we not be more diligent?  (1 Cor 9:24-27)

Let us set our hearts to seek the Lord.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The More Important Person

Thomas Carlyle asked, “Which was the greatest innovator, which was the more important personage in man’s history, he who first led armies over the Alps, ..., or the nameless boor who first hammered out for himself an iron spade?”
I think that Mr. Carlyle has a good point here.
We make too much of political and military history, and too little of the achievements of daily life. As a result of this mistaken valuation, we take less care than we ought with our daily tasks. We have been taught to think that what happens in the White House is more important than what happens at our house. Therefore we neglect to do our best at our daily tasks. This should not be.
In our daydreams we imagine what a good job we would do if given an “important” task or office. Meanwhile, all too often, we neglect to do our best at the little tasks we have been given. Jesus said,  “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10, ESV).
Whether we are an eye, an ear, a nose or a little toe, we are still an important part of the body (1 Cor 12). We need to do what we have been called to do; and we need to do it well.
I may have the most noticed ministry in this church. I do not have the only ministry, or even the most important. According to research conducted by Thom Rainey, the two most noticed factors when an un-churched person chooses a church are the preaching and the condition of the building. These two were tied for first, according to his research. Poor preaching will drive ninety-percent of un-churched church shoppers to look for a different church, but so will a dirty church building.
To return to Carlyle for a moment, the pen may be mightier than the sword, but neither the soldier nor the scholar will get very far with their tasks if the farmer does not have his spade at work raising a crop for them to eat.
Let us each do our task and let us do each task to the best of our ability.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

When Will It Stop?

Many of us are tempted to ask, “Will the downward spiritual and moral slide in this nation ever stop? Are we condemned to continual decline and ultimate destruction?” Consider this comment, written by A.W. Tozer sixty-seven years ago.

"What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know: but what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.”

We can have an effect on the direction of the world in general, but our power to affect the world is small. In regard to our own lives, however, full power for transformation is available. The Lord is ready to supply our every need. He is reaching out to us now. If we will but respond in trust, obedience and humility the transformation will happen for us, whatever happens in the world.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7, ESV).