Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 1 Chronicles 29:17
We know from previous scripture passages that the Lord searches the heart. He knows what's in our hearts. But He also tests the heart. Our entire life is a series of tests and choices. We all face times of trial and trouble. We face choices of which way to turn and what to do. The Lord puts these things in our lives to test our hearts. The tests and choices are not for His benefit but ours.
Remember, He searches the heart. He knows what's in there. The tests are put there so that we may know what's in our own hearts. How do you respond when trials come your way? Do you accept them and try to find out what the Lord is trying to teach you? Or are you like most people and cry out, "why me?" Tests come for many reasons; to humble you, to teach you and to draw you closer to the Lord. But you will only grow from your tests if you respond with integrity. The scripture says that if you respond to your tests with integrity the Lord is pleased. Don't we all desire to please the Lord?
Responding with integrity may not be the easy way out or be the quick fix. When tests come your way, and they surely will, think first of how the Lord would have you respond. Life is a series of tests and choices. If you are not being tested you are not growing. Look at your tests and trials as opportunities for growth. In the midst of testing seek the Lord first - not as a last resort. Respond with integrity and please Him. Try to maintain a high grade point average in these tests.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 1 Chronicles 29:14
David is now old and ready to turn the throne of Israel over to his son Solomon. David takes one last chance to pray over the people of Israel who he has ruled for 40 years. The main theme of his prayer is that the entire reason for Israel's existence and all they have as a country comes from God alone. The people of Israel have just given a great amount of gifts to contribute to the building of the new temple. David sees the true heart of giving to the Lord. The heart of a true giver is humbleness. If you are humble before the Lord and truly realize that nothing you have or have done comes from anything but the grace of God, you will be a joyful giver. When you realize that you have been blessed abundantly just so you may be a blessing to others, you will no longer give grudgingly.
The heart of the true giver realizes that what is given really comes from God's hand. The heart of giving understands that we are not owners of anything really. We are simply stewards of the Lord's possessions. Does the Lord desire that we hold on to His treasures with a clenched fist? There's an old saying - you can't take it with you when you die. You can hold on as tightly as you can while you're alive but when you die your fist is unclenched and someone else decides what to do with your "precious" possessions. The Lord desires that, while you are alive, you hold the things He has given you with an open hand. This way He can put in and take out as He sees fit. So loosen your grip and get to the heart of giving.
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9
King David was preparing his son, Solomon, to take his place. Out of David's lifetime of experience with God he gives Solomon some simple yet deeply profound words to live by. The Lord searches the heart. He knows what is in your heart and the reason you do the things you do. You may be able to fool your friends, but the Lord knows if you harbor deceit or wickedness in your heart.
David goes on to tell Solomon that if you seek the Lord, He will be found. The Lord does not hide Himself. He desires to be found. The reason that so many people don't find God is that they are not really looking for Him. David gives Solomon a warning of what happens when you choose to forsake or reject God - He will reject you. But here is the great love of God; He will not reject you unless you first reject Him.
Anyone who claims that God is silent and cannot be found is really running from Him. Look at all the myriad ways the Lord has used to communicate with us. First, we have His wonderful creation. The earth and the heavens declare His might work. He has given us His word, the Bible, which clearly communicates His mind. He has given us His son, Jesus, to teach and instruct us - but He mainly came to take away our sin. God is constantly trying to communicate with us, to get our attention. If we claim to not hear Him it is because we are not listening or we are refusing to listen. He knows what is in your heart. Do you really seek Him, or do you just talk about it. He knows the difference.
bible study, devotional, scripture, message, Christian, Jesus, Jesus Christ, This is a devotional type study of the Bible based on some of my favorite scripture passages. All of these devotionals come from my rambling thoughts during morning quiet time.