Undivided Heart

Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.“ – Psalm 86: 11-12

Before I became a pastor, I was a Christian Ed Director and youth leader. One Wednesday night at youth group worship, we had youth sharing what God was doing in their lives. One high school youth, named Brooke, read from Psalm 86, which is a Psalm of David, asking for help in times of trouble. As she read, verses 11-12 from Psalm 86, the words just seemed to jumped off the page penetrating my mind & heart. The Word of God really is living and active as Hebrews 4 tells us, and the Word speaks to us today.

Back then I kind of prided myself with being really familiar with Scripture, and it was rare that someone would read from Scripture and I’d think,” I’ve never read that before.” But that night when Brooke shared that Scripture, and began sharing ways her heart was divided, the Scripture became so alive, it penetrated my mind and heart in a new way. God spoke to me through His word that evening, and used a teenager to impact me in a new way. I wanted those verses to be true to my life.

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Godly Goals for 2020

“For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8 Good News Translation

This is the time of year when we think about making New Year’s resolutions…I will go back to school, search for a new job and the perennial favorite for many…I will lose weight this year. 2 Peter gives us a different spin on setting our New Year’s resolutions. Peter encourages us to set goals that will help us to grow our spiritual lives.

Let me suggest some practical applications:

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God’s Gifts for You this Christmas

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)

Do you know what you are going to get the kids or grandkids for Christmas this year? Have you made out your own Christmas list yet? What would you like for Christmas this year? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we want for Christmas or what we want to give to loved ones for Christmas, we forget in the hustle and bustle that God has some wonderful gifts for us this Christmas.

Christmas is the ultimate good news from God. It’s a reason to celebrate with rejoicing because like Mary, God has done Great Things for us! Yet in our culture, the reality of Christmas looks more like scrambling to find a parking space at the congested shopping mall, over commitment of our time and financial resources leading to stress and worry, figuring out the complicated schedule that results from divorced or blended families, a car full of kids bickering on the way to grandma’s house, family members refusing to talk to each other due to an old family feud, deep sadness because a loved one has passed away and won’t be at the Christmas celebration this year. Disappointment, frustration, harried, and hurried, the reality of life, can easily block out the Kodak moment of Christmas we were hoping to experience. We get so wrapped up in all the Christmas hoopla, all the specials sales, and deals, that God’s gifts to us get overlooked.

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