A United Heart

Lou Ann stopped by my blog a few days ago and in turn, I visited her blog. I love her heart, her mission, and her writing! So, I am sharing it with you. Please read her short devotional on what it means to have a “United Heart”–obviously a subject near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Teach me thy way, O LORD;
I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name.
(Psalm 86:11)
Most of this verse is simple in language and easy to understand. I stumbled a little at the word unite. What does it mean here? I looked up the Hebrew equivalent, and it means “unify; join.” Okay, but what is a unified heart or a joined heart? Commentators have several ideas about this word in the context of this verse. It can mean a “completely dedicated” heart or a heart with “undivided loyalty.” I thought of “single-heartedness,” something like single-minded.
In any case, the psalmist profoundly states his desires. This verse is his prayer:
            Teach me Your way.
            I resolve to walk in Your Truth.
            I want a heart that is wholly dedicated to respecting and following You.
Are the psalmist’s desires our desires?
            Do we really want to be taught what God wants us to do?
            Have we ever resolved (promised ourselves) to walk in the Truth (the Bible)?
            Do we have an “undivided” heart to respect and follow God?
In my counseling experience, I have found many women who want to do right. “Oh yes, I want to.” But, they don’t really want to be taught—not by God and not by anyone else either. They have never made a conscious decision to follow and know Truth. They don’t have time for God’s Word, don’t pray, and then they wonder why they’re having such a hard time grasping Truth. They have divided hearts. Part of them wants to do what everyone else does—follow “fun.” And, part of them really wants to follow God, but they’re not fully dedicated (united hearted) to it. Unfortunately, these ladies will always flounder spiritually.
I’ve also counseled women and girls who would say a hearty Amen to the psalmist’s three desires in this short verse. They are growing and changing. And they’re some of the happiest people I know.
May we all have undivided hearts!
Lou Ann Keiser is a missionary pastor’s wife with almost thirty years of ministry experience. She loves Bible study and people. Lou Ann is the mother of two married children and a grandmother. She lives in a quaint little town in Europe.
Please visit her blog: In the Way
**If you or anyone you know enjoys writing, www.servantsisters.org is currently looking for new writers to contribute devotions or photos with inspirational thoughts. You can check out the writer’s guidelines: Write For Us**
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Bonded

Bonded

“I cling to your laws, Lord; don’t let me be put to shame.” Psalm 119:31 NLT

Have you ever gotten super glue on your fingers? I have and it is miserable to try to get off. Once it’s bonded to your skin, it doesn’t want to leave.

How bonded are we to the word of God? The Psalmist said he “clings” to the word. The Hebrew word means “attached to, stuck, adhered to, or bonded with”. This gives us quite a mental picture! Adhered to the word of God, fixed to it, immovable from it; this is the way of the one who is not ashamed.

“You need to persevere.” Hebrews 10:36

“Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8

Do you want to persevere in your faith and be productive for the Lord? The key is to cling, or be bonded to the word. If we are clinging to the promises of God, then we will not be put to shame; in fact we cannot be put to shame because God is faithful to his word! The problem is we want to claim God’s promises over our life without the commitment. We like to hear, “all things work together for good” but we don’t really pay attention to the last part, “to those who love God”. (Romans 8:28) When we come to a place where we truly desire to see God active and abounding in our lives we must come to the end of ourselves and our pride. Lay aside our selfishness in order to know the word of God, understand it, and love it. To love the word of God is to love the character of God. When we love and seek him our desires are aligned with his, and he gives us those desire with much pleasure!

“As for you…never tire of doing what is right.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13

The command to persevere is all over God’s word. It’s not easy to rest on the promises of a God we cannot see, feel, or touch; yet we are urged to do so with determination. Perseverance leads to confidence and trust. We will not be ashamed because we will be resting in the truth of God and faithfulness to his word.

“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.” James 5:11

The Lord finally brought about Job’s deliverance. It wasn’t instant, but it did come, and Job had to persevere in order to obtain the blessing. We are fortunate we are not generally asked to persevere as Job did. For the majority of us we don’t even come close. Job was able to stand before God blameless even in his afflictions, and he was able to persevere without shame. His friends had some interesting judgments over his life, but God knew Job’s heart and that is all that mattered. In the end, all things worked for Job’s good because he loved God and did not give up on his promises.

If we want to stand before God and man unashamed, we need the word in our hearts. We need it to be bonded to our lives with the stickiest of spiritual super glue, or determination. All around us there is a battle for our love and attention, but we must first and foremost keep his word at the center. It takes focus with perseverance.

Prayer

Thank you for your promises, God! I am undeserving of your favor, and yet you are generous beyond measure with what you provide for your children. Many things I know I take for granted, and I confess it. I confess my pride and love for other things over your word. Change my heart! Direct it towards your truth that I may persevere until the day I see you face to face. Let me never become weary in following your laws, because I trust you and know you have designed what is best for me. Continue to teach my heart how to love your word as it should!

Calculated

“Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.” Psalm 119:72 NLT

Calculated

How interesting. I find myself sitting to write and here I am talking about wealth and riches and what really matters in life when my husband has barely worked for the past two weeks. I just finished a prayer, “Jesus, I am trusting You to get us through this, and I know whatever you have in store will be great. I thank you for it in advance,” then I opened my notes and laughed, “Yes, Jesus, Your word IS more valuable than gold!”

Sometimes you need to have your material securities stripped down in order to figure that out.

It’s not always so cut and dry. God isn’t necessarily waiting to take all that you love away from you to teach you some sort of lesson on valuing his word more, or setting your sights on eternity more. Sometimes it is just life. Will we accept pleasantries from God and not the uncomfortable? We must accept it if we truly trust him, because with trust comes understanding that all things work for our greatest good.

Brokenness

Financial Ruin

Sickness

Losses

Pain

God is up to something, he is calculating our every circumstance to work out in our best interest. Unfortunately for us, we cannot see the big picture.

God does.

The Psalmist learned his most valuable possession was the knowledge of God’s character, and that was found in his word. What else brings us peace, joy, and the greatest gift of all, salvation? The word of God! This is the “good news”, this is the “greatest news”!

Sometimes it seems easier to say the Bible is valuable when we sit in relative financial obscurity. Certainly it is valuable, for it is all some of us have! But the Psalmist, he was a man of wealth, worldly wealth and riches, and of all people most uniquely qualified to give a value to the word of God.

He put a price tag on it: priceless.

All of our lives we will suffer losses. We will go through ups and downs, times of gains and decreases, but one thing remains sure, and that is the precious, priceless word of God.

Taking a risk and investing your life in knowing the character of God is a calculated move that will pay off over the course of your entire life as you learn who he is; you will learn to trust him and live a more joyous life in him. There are so many unknowns in this world, but the word of God is a sure thing. Invest in it, and have an eternal treasure you can take to the grave (and beyond!) Knowing the heart of God is something you will not regret.

Have you experienced something today that you don’t understand? Is not fair? Confuses you? Are you tired of wondering why it is so “easy” for some to “cast their cares upon God” while you’re struggling to get what is going on in your daily life? God doesn’t promise us understanding, but he does promise us wealth beyond comprehension. That wealth is in knowing him. Sound too easy? Open the word, find out who God is, where he is, what he is up to, and find out for yourself if that peace he offers isn’t more priceless than millions of silver and gold. I can tell you from my own experience it most definitely IS.

When the money is gone, when the health is gone, when the job is gone, when the niceness of your coworkers (or family) is gone, you will have the entirety of God’s promises in your heart and at your lips.

It truly is a wealth of choice.

Prayer

Jesus, as I bring to you my cares, worries, anxieties, and doubts today, I trade them for the riches you offer me freely. Peace, joy, contentment, purpose, mercy, and everlasting life to name just a few! Thank you for what you are working out in my life, for the things I understand and the things I don’t understand. I choose to trust you in every situation knowing you are in control. Change my heart that I may love you more every day; consume me with the wealth of your word!

Cravings

“How sweet your words taste to me, they are sweeter than honey.” Psalm 119:130 NLT

Cravings

What is the first thing you crave in the morning, your normal breakfast food fair? Do you crave cereal, toast, cinnamon rolls, donuts, or are you like me, stumbling and fumbling around hopelessly in search for your coffee?

When you see the word “craving”, you may think of a woman who is pregnant. The stereotypical ideal is that this woman craves pickles and ice cream at crazy hours of the night. (Not my experience, but who am I to judge?) Or perhaps we think of the dieter trying to avoid carbs and sugar at all costs. That poor soul, all they can think about is what they cannot have, which is everywhere on every street corner!

Sometimes you don’t realize you have a craving until the smell hits you. I know this has happened to me many times. I don’t even feel hungry until I step outside and someone somewhere is barbequing.

Mm mm

Now all of a sudden I am starving! In fact, I am fairly certain at this point I may come into physical harm and/or discomfort unless I fix my craving.

Can you imagine loving and craving the Word of God like you do your favorite food? It’s really sad that I even had to type that. The fact is we spend time and consume our lives in what we love. We seek these things out, we prioritize them. When we wake up in the morning, that thing is on our minds.

Work

Kids

Meetings

Ministries

Duties

People

Pleasures

Hobbies

Is God’s word the first thing we crave as we take our waking breath in the morning? Is his sustenance what we crave as the day unfolds before us? When we are bewildered and befuddled are we craving a word from our Savior, or a word from another person who can say what we want to hear but not necessarily what is best for us?

People get so fixated on their craving they may lack total self-control when it comes to food. Often times it is sweets, chocolate, candy and sugars that are the greatest downfalls. Yet the psalmist describes the Bible as being the sweetest thing he has ever tasted! So sweet he craved it over and over, he loved it, he was obsessed with every word of it, he couldn’t get enough of it, he couldn’t wait to dig into it, he couldn’t wait to discover more treasures in it. Now that is the healthiest craving a person could ever hope to have!

Feast on the sweetest sugar of all, the word of God, but never gain weight! His word is always perfect for us, satisfying, never too much, never more than enough. It is just right. There is no such thing as too much of this sweetness! Indulge yourself! You need not ever diet when you’re feasting on this truth!

Wake up, have your breakfast of truth, the real breakfast of champions. And make sure to balance that out with several “meals” throughout the day. You don’t want your spiritual metabolism getting too slow.

“Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk with no money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor for what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest fare.” Isaiah 55:1-2 TNIV

Prayer

Jesus, as I start the day you have so mercifully blessed me with, I ask that you give me a new desire for your word. Plant in me a deep craving for the only bread that doesn’t cost money yet satisfies the deepest longing of my heart like no other. Every day I eat food to satisfy my physical needs, I eat consistent meals to stay healthy, yet I neglect to stay consistent in your word. Give me consistency and balance throughout the day, so my spiritual life will be healthy and radiate your truth.

Mirror Mirror

“All your commands are
trustworthy.” Psalm 119:86-NIV

Mirror Mirror

“You are what you
eat,” or so the saying goes. Our bodies tend to reflect the choices we make in
life, and that often goes to our detriment. Our skin reflects too much sun
exposure, our body mass index reflects too much donut exposure, our frown
wrinkles reflect years of bitterness and angst, our energy levels often reflect
our activity levels…and on it goes.

In much the same way
the Bible is a reflection of God’s character. It is God’s mirror, divinely
designed for us to gaze into and capture a glimpse of the heart of an almighty
sovereign God.

“Your laws are true.”
Psalm 119:142

“The statutes you
have laid down are righteous.” Psalm 119:138

“Your word is a lamp.”
Psalm 119:105

“Your instructions
are…valuable.” Psalm 119:72

This is just the
surface of Psalm 119 and the heart of God himself. We read these words and
automatically assume we’re talking about the word of God, and we are, but when
we’re talking about God’s word we’re also talking about the character of the Author!

Faithful

Righteous

True

Dependable

Sweet

Eternal

Guiding

Teaching

Priceless

If you own a Bible,
then you own a priceless mirror of the image and character of the holiest of
Holies, and you have the utmost privilege to pour over the pages and know your creator! How could you not
fall in love with Him and his words as the Psalmist clearly has done? The more
you focus on His perfect reflection through his words, the more attractive he
becomes, and the more you want to know.

He is truly
captivating, as is every word he breathed for us.

Prayer

Jesus, how grateful I am for the gift of your
word! The privilege I have of gazing into your heart whenever I want is a
treasure I often don’t take advantage of. Continue to develop your character in
my life and help me to fall in love with you more every day as I become a
mirror of your life to those around me

Settled

 “Forever, O Lord, your
word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89-NKJV

Settled

Look in the mirror.
How often has your appearance changed over the years? How about your wardrobe?
If you’re honest with yourself, there may be a decade (or two) that you’d
rather forget when it comes to fashion!

Trends come and go;
music fads change; seasons change; ideas change; even the tires on our car
change (at the worst times, might I add!). Everywhere we look something is changing, and frankly it
gets to be a little tiresome. How do we keep up with it all unless we spend
money? Of course, that usually requires a job
change!

What a drag.

But wait…I see the
sun beams breaking through the graying clouds of our downcast spirit. Now there is something constant! The sun!
When have you ever woken up and not found the sun in the sky? Maybe it was
hidden behind some storm clouds, but you knew it was there, and it would shine
again. It’s constant, you can count on it. We count on the stars to be there at
night and the earth to continue rotating on its axis. Who put all of these
things in motion, anyways? Do we count on Him? If God’s creation is constant,
how much more so is his Word! No, it’s
not only constant, it’s settled!

Established.

Firm.

Immovable.

God has made up his
mind about a few things (to say the least) and he has graciously poured them
out into print for us: the BIBLE! What pleasure, what relief we have knowing anytime of the day or night we have the
honor of learning the heart of God through his inspired words! He breathed it,
he spoke it; these words have no variation. They are the same yesterday, today,
and forever, settled in heaven and on earth, unchanged for all eternity for you
and for me.

Prayer:

Jesus, when everything around me
bellows with uncertainty, I will cling to your words of life as the only unshakeable
source of constant truth.

“…that I might not sin against You…”

 “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 (NLT)

When I was a bank teller I had to undergo some training before I was allowed to be on my own assisting customers. One of the things I had to study was money; what it looked like, its characteristics, how it felt, who was on each denomination, what the security features were…etc. It was important as tellers we understood what the real deal was before we were out there handling thousands of dollars every day, because it was inevitable that we would come across counterfeits. I did discover counterfeit bills in my years as a teller, and I would not have known what to look for unless I had understood what a genuine dollar was like, beyond just an initial glance.

Each word in the Bible acts like a cell does in the human body; it has to work in harmony with all the others so that the whole sum of the product functions appropriately. When we accurately dissect the word of truth in context, rather than picking and choosing what we want to believe, we are made aware of truth as it all flows together harmoniously.  The more truth we know, the more likely we are to recognize a counterfeit when we see it. “So long as Eve kept by faith the word of the Lord, she resisted Satan; but from the time she doubted of that, which God made most certain by his word, at once she was snared.” (William Cowper)