Sunday, December 30, 2012

Challenge for the New Year-- Wholeheartedly His

God hides His nuggets of wisdom in unique places, stumbled upon only by those pilgrims who are traveling the less-trodden paths.  Certain insight is only given in full measure on the lonely roads.  We've discovered this while traveling the road to adoption, and in saying yes to the hard things, and in stepping out to serve a needy soul along the way.   

And some wisdom is hidden in the pages of His Word where we rarely turn...the books we tend to skip over in our attempt to find something that applies to our lives.  Recently, I found myself underlining a theme all the way through 2 Chronicles.  Here, we see an account of the kings of Judah and Israel.  Some are flat-out wicked, and we read of their ultimate destruction as God stands against those who oppose Him.  And then there are the good kings.  But among these good kings, there is an incredible distinction.

Pick up your Bible and read through 2 Chronicles, and you'll see something interesting.  Many kings were said to have done evil in the sight of God.  Many other kings were said to have done right in the sight of  God; however, they failed to take down the high places (the unauthorized places where they sacrificed to God).  An example is the description of Jehoshaphat, who "did what was right in the Lord's sight.  However, the high places were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts on the God of their ancestors."

And then here and there sprinkled throughout the account of all the kings, you will run into a rare few who were the cream that rose to the top.  An example is Judah's  King Asa.  He told his people to seek God and to carry out all His instructions and commands.  King Asa removed the high places and all the incense altars.  And in 2 Chronicles 15:15, one of those nuggets of wisdom surfaces as we see all of Judah making an oath to the Lord and entering a covenant to seek Him with all their mind and all their heart.  "All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it with all their mind.  They had sought Him with all their heart, and He was found by them.  So the Lord gave them rest on every side."

Later, we see Asa lose God's help, because Asa depended on the king of Aram instead of on the Lord.  The man who rebuked Asa for this mistake reminded him that when he had depended on God wholeheartedly, God had delivered him from huge armies.  "For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His." (2 Chronicles 16:9a)

A theme starts to take shape when you're looking closely...  Over and over again, you will find words like, "[they] did what was right in the Lord's sight.  However, the high places were not taken away;  the people had not yet set their hearts on the God of their ancestors."  And a couple of chapters later: "He did what was right in the Lord's sight but not wholeheartedly."  Then, enter King Josiah, and we read things like, "Then the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the Lord's presence to follow the Lord and to keep His commands, His decrees, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul...."

The words began to permeate my mind...
With all their mind.
With all their heart.
Completely His.
With all his heart and with all his soul.

We are quick to not identify ourselves with the wicked kings.  But, even among the good kings, do we see ourselves as the ones who live a good life but don't really turn 100% of our hearts and minds to God?  Can we let the mirror look intently into our souls, and can we face that reflection for what it really is?  Wouldn't most of us fall into the list with the kings who were good but didn't take down the high places in our lives...the ones who were not wholehearted toward Him?

K.P. Yohannan, in his book Against the Wind, delivers this truth to the heart that is willing to truly listen:
If God were searching among us today, would He find in you the kind of person He is looking for? 
Well, God is searching among us today, searching for the one among His people who will make the choice to seek Him and conform his life to His principles, following Him regardless of what kind of compromise or complacency may surround. God is not looking for the majority who claim to be His, but for those authentic few, who, by their character, demonstrate that they are His and that they follow Him above all else. Unfortunately, I fear that many within the Body of Christ may be passed by in His search for men and women like this. 
I realize this is a strong statement, but that is just what we need to wake us from our slumber and spiritual lethargy. 

A challenge for the new year sits before every single one of us.  Most will not take it up, as it requires sacrifice and discomfort and flat-out denial of self.  But surely there are even just a few who will step up to be ones who give Him our whole mind, our whole heart, ourselves completely and wholeheartedly.

"For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Host Families Needed for February

Three of these sweet kiddos are still in need of a host family in February---Gary, Jerry and Noah.  These children are from China, and the host family would need to be adoption-minded, as each of these children is wanting to be adopted.  The deadline has been extended to Thursday, DECEMBER 20th.  Please contact New Horizons for Children for more details.

Could YOU be the family God is calling to adopt a child?  Have you asked Him?  Are you available to be used however HE chooses?

If you are not the adoptive family, please help us pray these children into their forever families.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Need for Cross-Bearing

"There is a needs-be for us to give ourselves for the life of the world.  An easy, non-self-denying life will never be one of power.  Fruit-bearing involves cross-bearing.  There are not two Christs--an easy-going one for easy-going Christians, and a suffering, toiling one for exceptional believers.  There is only one Christ.  Are you willing to abide in him, and thus to bear much fruit?"

(excerpt from Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Howard and Geraldine Taylor)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Ambition

I was reading in The Resolution for Women this morning, and the phrase stood up off the page:

"My ambition is to be pleasing to Him and Him alone."  It's right there in 2 Corinthians 5:9.  Today, this moment, my ambition is to be pleasing to Him and Him alone.  And all day, every moment...pleasing Him and Him alone.

How utterly freeing that is.