AMERICA – GOD IS CALLING!

God is always calling us back to him

Have you ever rebelled against God?

“My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”

Jeremiah 3:22

“When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and you stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”

Psalm 32:3-5

“Create in me a new heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”

Psalm 41:10,12

A tug-of-war with God

The rebel rejects the expectations, rules, and power of the organization or individual holding authority.

Rebellion can be good, as when we rebel against unjust or sinful societal pressure.

Rebellion is like a great tug-of-war; the authority figure holds one end of the rope while the rebel pulls on the other. The picture changes dramatically if we imagine the rebel’s feet being mired in quicksand. Such is rebellion against God. God pulls on the rope, not to ruin our lives, but to lead us toward safe footing.

From the TouchPoint Bible with commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers (Tyndale) p 1257 For more on this week’s topic, check this Tyndale resource:

The Prodigal Brother by Sue Thompson (2005)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

matters of the heart

The heart affects everything

Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

Proverbs 4:23 

Let us learn to cast our hearts into God.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Guard the inside

If you’re typical, you think of guarding your heart in terms of keeping things out. Corruption, false ideas, temptations—all are to be held at arm’s length, never to be allowed in the inner depths of your affections. But there’s another side to this vigilance. We are to keep things in. In fact, if we can master that, the corruptions and temptations will often take care of themselves.

Think about it: The things that can assail a heart from the outside are innumerable, far too overwhelming to manage. But the things we are told to keep within—the spirit of Jesus, the humility and gentleness, the servanthood and sacrifice, the worship and thankfulness—these are one Spirit. Most religions tell us to avoid the bad; God tells us to embrace Him. We are better equipped to focus on His character than on the enemy’s devices. Nowhere are we told to live against the sinful nature and hope that the Spirit will show up. We’re told to live by the Spirit and expect the sinful nature to have no power. We often get confused about that.

Too many Christians guard the way into their hearts to keep things out. That may be appropriate at times, but try a different approach. Guard the way out. Stand at the inside of the gate, and be careful about what may be leaving. Once in a while, we get a life-altering glimpse of true worship. By all means, keep it in! From time to time, we’ll see a picture of true servanthood. Don’t let that picture go! Hold on to these things! Treasuring the wellspring that God has birthed in your heart will leave little rom for those corruptions you once obsessed over. And the wellspring is a much more pleasant preoccupation.

Adapted from The One Year® Walk with God Devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for May 10.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

GOD’S PRESENCE

TYPEWRITERFLOWERS

Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

How should I pray?

For days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:4 

Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.
Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13 

Aligning my will to God’s

E. Stanley Jones described the effect of prayer on us like this:

Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God. Aligned to God’s redemptive will, anything, everything can happen in character, conduct, and creativeness. The whole person is heightened by that prayer contact. In that contact I find health for my body, illumination for my mind, and moral and spiritual reinforcement for my soul. “Prayer is a time exposure to God,” so I expose myself to God for an hour and a half or two hours a day, asking less and less for things and more and more for Himself. For having Him, I have everything. He gives me what I need for character, conduct, and creativeness, so I’m rich with His riches, strong in His strength, pure in His purity, and able in His ability.

quoted by R. Kent Hughes in 1001 Great Stories and Quotes (Tyndale House) p 326

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House