Posts Tagged 'loving God'

The First (and Greatest) Commandment

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Mark 12 is an interesting chapter. It’s full of great sermon material. We meet some interesting people in Mark 12. We meet some groups of people who hated each other. The Pharisees hated the Saducees, who hated the Herodians, and they all hated Jesus.

We’ve already met the Pharisees and Herodians. You’ll recall they hated each other, but they teamed up to bring down Jesus by trying to asking this question:

Now tell us, is it right to pay taxes to Rome, or not? (Mark 12:14 TLB)

This was a tricky question because no matter how He answered it, He would get in trouble. Had Jesus said, “No, it’s wrong to pay taxes to Rome,” the Roman government would have come down on Him like a ton of bricks. Had Jesus said, “Go ahead and pay the taxes,” then the Jews would have hated Him. But in the end, Jesus came up with a brilliant answer that shut both groups down.

And then the Saducess took a crack at our Lord. They were an odd bunch. They, unlike the Pharisees, didn’t believe in the resurrection. And that’s why they were sad, you see? During this time, the Saducees were a relatively small group of men who weren’t particularly popular among the masses but they did have some religious and political influence. We are told by Josephus that the Saducees were highly educated men who held in positions of power in Judea. When Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, this strange religious sect vanished from history.

For sure the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Saducees had no interest in getting to know Jesus better. They just hated Him. But not everybody hated Jesus. He was a really popular rabbi at this time and He enjoyed the attention of the average Jew in Judea. And His teachings caught the attention of some very smart men, the “teachers of the law.” Mark 12 records a conversation our Lord had with one of them.

An honest question

One of the teachers of religion who was standing there listening to the discussion realized that Jesus had answered well. So he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (Mark 12:28 TLB)

Jesus’ answer to the Saducees probably pleased the Pharisees, for they too believed in the resurrection. But there was another group of men listening to Jesus’ exchange with the Saducess. A highly educated “teacher of the law” piped up with a question of his own. Unlike the Pharisees and Herodians, this man probably wasn’t trying to catch Jesus; this was an honest question.

The fact that he asked Jesus a question shows his estimation of our Lord. This questioner was an expert in the law, that is, the Jewish religion. He would have known the written law as it is found in the Jewish Scriptures, and he would have been well-versed in its oral interpretation and application.  When this well-educated man asked about the commandments, he wasn’t referring to the Ten Commandments, he was referring to the 613 commandments of Judaism!

We can learn something from this encounter at its outset. This “teacher of the law” could have been anybody we bump into any day. How many people do we rub shoulders with in the course of the average week that ask us about one aspect of our faith or another? And how many of them do we just brush off? We need to be very sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit because who knows if He isn’t at work in heart of that person who may have asked you an irritating question about what you believe? The Spirit was certainly at work in this situation between Jesus and His questioner, and Jesus took advantage of the open door.

The answer

Our Lord began His answer in an unexpected way, by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4.

Jesus replied, “The one that says, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only God.” (Mark 12:29 TLB)

This isn’t a commandment, it actually the Shema, the greatest doctrinal statement of Judaism. In the Hebrew, that sentence begins with the word “shema,” which means, “hear,” or “listen.” Also in the Hebrew it looks like this:

Hear, O Israel! Jehovah our Elohim (plural) is one Jehovah.

That was their affirmation of religious and ethical monotheism. There is only one God and He is the one we worship and He is the one who wrote the rules to live by. Since its inception, Israel was to be the witness to the world of the fact that there is only one God. Surrounded by nations and kingdoms that worshipped many gods, it was up to Israel to show them the truth. The church of Jesus Christ has that exact same mission today. In a secular world full of atheism and false religions, we are to bear witness to the fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make up one, great God, and He is the one we worship and His law is the one we live our lives by.

“And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.” (Mark 12:30 TLB)

This is the essence of Jesus’ answer, and it’s stunning.

First, just as our God is one, the one (or whole) duty of man in terms of the moral-spiritual law is summed up in one word: love. But it’s first and foremost love for God, that is, love for the one, true God, not your “idea” of what or who God is. The first and greatest commandment is love for the God of the Bible. It’s not enough to proclaim your belief in or love for just any god. There’s only one true God and He’s the one you need to know personally. That’s why Jesus began His answer with the Shema.

The one true God wants our undivided love just as He wants to love us with an undivided love. He loves us personally and He wants us to love Him personally.

Second, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make up a unity, a one God, so man is made up of different parts. Man’s heart, soul, mind, and strength must all work together in loving the one true God. It doesn’t work if your heart loves God but your mind and soul doesn’t. Your whole being must co-operate in complete unity in loving the one true God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all love you as one. He deserves that kind of unified love in return.

A man’s heart is the very center of his existence, the source of all his thoughts, words, attitudes, and deeds.

Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life. (Proverbs 4:23 TLB)

The soul refers to the seat of his emotions and feelings, while the mind has a reference to our mental capacities and inner attitudes. All those components must work in concert, in full strength, in loving God. This idea of loving God is serious business and it doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It takes dedication and consecration.

An extended answer

The questioner didn’t ask about the second commandment, but that didn’t stop our Lord from addressing it, too.

The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.” (Mark 12:31 TLB)

Here Jesus brings in another Old Testament passage, Leviticus 19:18, to show how love for God naturally produces love for others. Loving others ought to be a natural result of loving God. In fact, these two commandments though separate, cannot be separated. They work together. That’s why Jesus put them together the way He did.

Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too. For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us, and his love within us grows ever stronger. (1 John 4:11, 12 TLB)

This makes complete sense. Love toward our neighbor is part of our love toward God because that neighbor is created in God’s image! To hate that person would be to hate God’s image in him.

The second part of that sentence involves loving yourself. What does that mean? Is Jesus talking about some kind funky religious self-esteem? Not at all. In fact, human beings were created with love for themselves. Think about that. We want to be healthy, so we look after ourselves. We care about how we look. We don’t want to be cold or hot so we find ways to live a comfortable environment. We’re not talking about some kind of sick narcissism here, but a kind of self-respect. How much we love/respect/care for ourselves should be the measure of how we treat our fellow man.

Jesus ends His answer by telling the religious teacher there are no commandments greater than these two. The over 600 remaining commandments don’t even come close to being as vital and as important as these first two. William Hendriksen gives three good reasons why this is the case.

First, faith and hope take, but love gives. Faith receives God’s gift of salvation in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Hope accepts the promise of it future consummation – our heavenly inheritance. But love involves giving of ourselves to God and to others. It is imparting a part of ourselves to make the lives of others better somehow.

Second, “love” is an all-encompassing word. So many other virtues are included in it. 1 Corinthians 13 is all about this. So expressing love toward others would naturally include all the virtues of that so-called love chapter; things like patience, kindness, humility, and so on.

Lastly, the highest form of human love is patterned after God, who IS love.

Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14 TLB)

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults. (1 Peter 4:8 TLB)

The effect

The teacher of religion replied, “Sir, you have spoken a true word in saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is far more important to love him with all my heart and understanding and strength, and to love others as myself, than to offer all kinds of sacrifices on the altar of the Temple.”

Realizing this man’s understanding, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:23 – 34 TLB)

We have to admire this man. He got it. Maybe nobody else did, but this one man did. He understood it completely. And Jesus saw into his heart and knew that. He knew this man understood precisely what He was trying to say.

And yet, that understanding, that comprehension, wasn’t enough. It got this genuine questioner close to the Kingdom of God, but not into the Kingdom of God.

This incident is all about completeness and unity. Our God is complete and unified. Our love for Him must be complete, with our whole being loving in unity. This man got the truth in his mind, perhaps he even practiced the truth. But something was lacking. Part of his being was lagging behind, and that was enough to keep him out of the Kingdom.

Loving God is an all or nothing proposition.

PRIORITIES AND VALUES, Part 1

Love God

Deuteronomy 6:3—25

Out of all the nations of the world, God called and formed only one by name: Israel. It was His intent to have a special relationship with His “called out” people. But what did God expect in return? What did God demand of Israel in their relationship with Him? It was up to Moses, mediator and prophet, to give them God’s Word on that subject. In chapters 5 through 11 of Deuteronomy, Moses declares to the people precisely what God wanted from them.  While chapter 5 deals with the famous Ten Commandments, chapter 6 deals with something beyond rules for living. Moses’ job was to teach the commandments to the people:

But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess. (Deuteronomy 5:31)

Moses’ chief concern was not only for the present generation to believe and to obey the commands of God, but also for successive generations to remain faithful. Obedience to God’s Word must be a part of everyday life if one is to enjoy God’s favor. This was key, not just for a healthy personal relationship with God, but the loyalty of Israel to God had a direct bearing on their health as a nation.

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. (6:1, 2)

The problem for Moses was how to get Israel, as a nation, to willingly obey God’s commands. Did God want robots, blindly obeying the letter of the Law? Or did God want something more?

1. The great commandment (Deuteronomy 6:3—5; Mark 12:28—30)

Israel had wandered around the desert region between Egypt and Canaan for 40 years because they refused to enter the Promised Land and conquer Canaan because of their unbelief. At this point in their history, they were faced with the prospect of entering the Promised Land for the second time. Moses took the time to re-teach them what they had learned 40 years earlier at Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy represents a summary and restatement of the Law to which the current generation of Israelites had to pledge their loyalty to. This was vitally important because their whole future hinged on how they viewed the Covenant: was it something they needed to respect, or was it optional?

Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (6:3)

a. Israel’s duty to God, 6:3

Obedience to God and respect of the Covenant were not options at all. It was Israel’s duty to put God first. The whole reason Moses had to re-teach the Law to the people was simple:

so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live… (verse 2a)

This fear, though, was not an emotional feeling; it is not to be equated with “being scared of” God. The Israelites were to demonstrate this reverential fear through their obedience:

…by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you… (verse 2b)

What’s particularly interesting is that God made this Covenant with His people, and all they had to was to simply obey its stipulations and it’s promises would be fulfilled in the life of not only the nation, but also in the individual:

...so that you may enjoy long life. (verse 2c)

The Israelites couldn’t lose! All they had to do was obey.

b. The heart of the Law, 6:4, 5

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.

For a man who thought he had no communicative skills, Moses proved himself to be a most able spokesman for God! Here is the answer to his problem. No, God never wanted robots who blindly lived in obedience to a list He gave them. Verse 4, along with 11:13—21 and Numbers 15:37—41 make up the Shema, the essential confession of faith. Orthodox Jews to this very day recite the Shema twice a day. Yahweh is the only God, there are no other Gods. This was the gateway to the Covenant. It all started with this simple acknowledgement.

But following right on the heals of the Shema, and part of it, is the idea of God’s uniqueness. Since there is no other like Him, then He demands total loyalty from His people. This is expressed by the words of verse 5. Obedience must begin with LOVE. A robot cannot love, only a human being can. God’s uniqueness demands a unique kind of love; it demands a single-minded devotion from people who know Him. This makes common sense, given the fact that since there are no other God’s to love, then God should be given all love from His people.

c. The first commandment, Mark 12:28—30

The Sadducees, religious leaders of the day, confronted Jesus at different times during His earthly ministry. They were priests of the Temple, who came from wealthy families of Jerusalem. They had the highest respect for the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible and took the doctrinal stand from those five books only. This explains why, for example, the Sadducees had no room in their faith for the resurrection of the dead, angles, demons, and other things like that.

When He was confronted by a certain Sadducee, Jesus responded brilliantly:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘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 mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:28—30)

To this Sadducee, Jesus’ answer was the perfect answer. But it’s also the perfect answer for any Christian who wants to know what his or her top priority should be. Loving God completely is the first commandment, and when one gives God his “first love,” that person will love their neighbor.

When a Christian’s priorities and values are out of order, their whole life will be dysfunctional. Love for God must come before love for family, love for career, love for country, and so on. That is essentially what Jesus meant when He taught:

...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

2. Communicate the great commandment, Deut. 6:6—9

a. Have it in your heart, vs. 6

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Since God cannot be seen, the Israelites needed to express their love for Him in the day-to-day routine of their lives. But, first and foremost, it had to be in their hearts; it had to be on the inside first so that it could be seen on the outside. The heart of faith is in the heart. It is the “seat of thought and affection.”

How does the Word of God get into the heart of a believer? It must be a part of our everyday life; we must read it, study it, learn it, and live it every day of our lives. But it all begins with teaching it to our children.

b. Teach it to your children, vs. 7

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

There is an old saying that might suit this:

What possess the heat wags the tongue.

The only way for the Word of God to possess a heart is for it to be given priority in our lives and in the lives of our children. It needs to be taught to them. It’s teachings must be seen as the norm in our lives so that our children will regard them so. Far too many Christian parents give their children the impression the Bible is a Sunday book and that God-talk is something you do at night before you go to sleep on on Sunday in Sunday school.

c. Create visual symbols, vs. 8, 9

Of primary importance to Moses was the need for the Law to be equally important from generation to generation. The Israelites had many external means for keeping the Law on their minds, and while some of them sound a little strange to us, their purpose should be our purpose: to remind the people of God’s enduring presence and their responsibility to love Him with total dedication. Unfortunately, over time these external things became an an end in themselves rather than a means to an end. The meaning behind all the external observances was lost. Here is where Judaism fell into legalism. The people became more concerned with observing the smallest detail of Moses’ teaching while at the same time neglecting what God really wanted: single-minded LOVE.

These days it is possible for the Christian to be just as legalistic as his Jewish counterpart was. Things like reading the Bible, praying, attending church, and even tithing without manifesting a wholehearted devotion to God or without a full understanding of why we’re doing these praiseworthy things makes us just as bad as the ancient Pharisees or Sadducees.

3. Practical expressions of loving God, Deut. 6:10—25

The greatest blessings of Canaan, Moses feared, would become the greatest drawback. False gods would always threaten to entrap Israel. The great material blessings of Canaan would, potentially, cause the people to lose their focus on God.

a. Material blessings promised, vs. 10, 11

The people of Israel were basically walking into a “turn-key” country! All the work had been done for them by others.

b. Warning: Don’t forget God!, vs 12—15

be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (vs. 12)

This seems to be a problem faced by both Jews and Christians alike. Material blessings can lead to spiritual laziness. God so graciously gives us His best, and we eagerly receive His blessings, often with very little thought about where they came from beyond a quick, “Thank you, Lord.” Rather than thinking of how we can use our material blessings for the Kingdom of God, we selfishly find ways to use them for ourselves. In fact, many Christians are positively preoccupied with how to get more from God to make life more comfortable for themselves instead of viewing prosperity as a way of doing more God.

Israel was warned not to forget God. This would be so tempting for them. Verse 15, though adds to the warning in a big way:

for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

That’s a fearsome verse! But God should be taken at His word. God will not tolerate any other “gods” vying for your affection.

c. Stay faithful, vs. 16—19

Moses urged his people to “do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.” This would be a demonstration to Him of their faithfulness. They were not think that they could “get away with” even an inch from what God wanted. They were not to test God in this. Only as they remained faithful to God would they be able to conquer their enemies.

d. Answer questions, vs. 20—25

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him… (vs. 20, 21a)

What an awesome responsibility befalls a godly parent! Children are naturally curious, and Christian parents need to have the right answers ready when they are asked about their faith or about some aspects of the Bible or something about God Himself.

It is important that Christian parents and grandparents create situations where it is natural for their children to ask these kinds of questions. There is no greater legacy for a son or daughter to receive than a godly heritage; a love for God and His Word.

(c)  2011 WitzEnd

If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against US?

God the Father by Quellin

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is the second movement in a stirring “trilogy of trust,” made up of Psalms 90, 91, and 92.  Read in order, Psalm 90 represents a cry for deliverance, Psalm 91 is an expression of trust and Psalm 92 rejoices in deliverance accomplished.  The present psalm combines the characteristics of a lament, of an affirmation of faith, of wisdom poetry and a divine oracle.

Like many psalms, this one has no title, so assigning a date and historical background to it is difficult.  Jewish tradition, however, credits Moses with its authorship, but as we read it, we can’t help but be reminded Paul’s words in Romans 8:31—

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

1.  Trust, verses 1—8

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

In this psalm, the author alternates between the first and third person; he describes his own confidence and security then that of his readers.  Believers have a common experience with God; we may all have the exact same experience with God as the psalmist had.  Sometimes we think that only the most spiritual or most saintly among us can feel what this psalmist wrote.  Peter knew this was not true—

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.”  (Acts 10:34)

Noteworthy in the first two verses are the four names of God:

  • Most High.  The Hebrew is El Elyon.  In the Canaanite religion, El was the creator god, the supreme deity from whom all their other gods proceeded.  The Hebrews, living in a land surrounded by worshipers of these god, believed that Yahweh was El Elyon, “God Most High,” or the God greater than all others.
  • The Almighty.  In Hebrew, Shaddai, describes the God of victory and triumph; an all-powerful God who cannot be defeated.
  • The Lord.  God’s personal name, Yahweh.  This was a name so sacred to the Hebrews none can say it or write it out.
  • My God.  Not only is Yahweh all powerful, all victorious, and above all other gods, He can be known personally by a human being.  He is not “the God up there,” He is the God who can be known by sinful man; the God who dwells among His people.

Not only do these “proper names” of God encourage us and inspire us to have confidence in Him, the psalmist goes on to describe His God as:

  • A refuge.  God is a “safe place” for His children to dwell in.  He is a place of “comfort” and “peace.”  In the presence of God, we cannot be touched by the enemy.
  • My fortress.  In His presence, we are surrounded by the battlements of Heaven!  When we dwell with Almighty God, He fights for us.
  • Trustworthy.   Our God is, above all, trustworthy.  He is everything His Names say He is.  God cannot let us down because it is not in His nature to do so.

There is an overriding theme of protection is these verses, highlighted by the words:

  • Shelter and Shadow.  These words paint the vivid image of a bird who shelters her young under her wings (see Psalms 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 63:7).
  • Refuge and Fortress.  These words suggest a military stronghold, fortified and ready for offensive and defensive battle.

All believers may experience God like this, but the key is this confession:

I will say of the LORD…my God, in whom I trust.

Beginning with verse 3, the psalmist poetically expresses the conviction that God cares for and is completely involved in the safety of His people.  God protects us from almost invisible traps, like the “fowler’s snare” and deadly diseases.  The last phrase of verse 4 is such a powerful thought—

[H]is faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

The burden or responsibility for our safety is God’s!  He is faithful to us, therefore He protects us.  We belong to Him; we are His treasured possessions, and God cares for us as though we are rare, priceless jewels.

Verses 5 and 6 furnish a double parallelism:  the terror of night and the arrow…by day, the pestilence…in the darkness and the plague at midday.  What a descriptive way to say that God never ceases to watch over His people!   Only God can provide security from all that cause us to fear, both natural and supernatural causes, day and night.  There is not one evil thing that God does not have full authority over.

The greatness of God is further amplified by the graphic ratio of a thousand or even ten thousand to One.  Those are good odds to our Warrior God!

2.  Triumph, verses 9—18

If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

The Hebrew of verses 9 and 10 is difficult and a literal translation makes little sense.  If we take the NIV as accurate, then we must acknowledge that when we compare these two verses with many other passages in both the Old and New Testaments, verse 10 cannot be taken in a literal sense; of course, none are exempt from approaching “harm,” but for those who make their dwelling in the Most High, those who experience harm will not be harmed.

The beautiful promises of verses 11—13 are conditional upon how we respond to verse 9.  These verses are very well known because of their misuse by Satan.  He took them out of context when he tried to seduce Jesus during the wilderness temptation.  The promise of divine deliverance, however, is real, and is clear:  God would even use His angels to protect those who love Him.

In the harsh reality of life, we know that sometimes God allows very negative things to come into the life of His children.  Both Job and Jesus are prime examples of this.  However, we, who love God, know that no power is beyond God’s control.  We believe God when He proclaims His love for us and we trust Him when He says He loves us and He protects us, even while we act and live responsibly.  Knowing divine protection is ours is not a license to live recklessly nor is it permission to test the limits of God’s deliverance.  Satan, as you recall, tempted Jesus to act in way out of God’s will, but Jesus sternly rebuked him and was delivered.

Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”  (Luke 4:12)

In the final three verses of Psalm 91, God Himself is the speaker and He reinforces what the psalmist had written.  The conditions upon which everything depends are very simple:

  • “Because he loves me.”  It all begins with our genuine love for God.  In this instance, the word “love” suggests a deep and impassioned longing or desire for the Lord.
  • “He acknowledges my name.”  A key ingredient in experiencing the continuing deliverance and intervention of God is simply to give Him the glory when it happens!  We ought never to be ashamed to proclaim what God has done.
  • “He will call upon me.”  To activate the promises in this psalm, we must “call upon” God; we must avail ourselves of His attentiveness.   Implicit in this is a faith in God’s Word and in His ability to provide that which He has promised.  Why ask something of somebody is you didn’t think they had it to give?  When we ask, we are, in a sense, proclaiming our faith in God’s glorious provision.

Obedience and faith are a natural result of God’s love being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit—

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  (Romans 5:5)

When we know God as personally as the psalmist did, his experiences become ours; if we are believers yet have not seen this side of our Heavenly Father, the problem is within ourselves.  Each one of us has as much of God as we desire.  If we are disappointed with His seeming indifference to us, it is because we are indifferent to Him.  Let’s reach out in faith and embrace God; let’s learn to take Him at His Word.  Let’s be passionate about Him, and as we do so, we will see just how passionate He is about those who love Him.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd

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