Love The Lord With All Your Heart

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Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

God created us with a heart so that we would love Him wholly and absolutely. Today, however, our hearts love many things besides God.  The good news is that we can change that at any moment! We can turn our hearts to the Lord Jesus by praying to Him and spending time in His Word. These simple practices can restore our fellowship with the Lord and rekindle our love for Him. We don’t have to remain passive toward God. We can turn our hearts to Him at any time. He will revive us and bring us back to Himself as our first love.

The love in our hearts is determined by wherever we find valuable and is our greatest treasure.

Matt 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”

In order for us to love Jesus completely, we have to treasure Him above ALL else. Our affections are the outcome of what we treasure. When we truly encounter the Lord in His glory and worth, loving Him with all our hearts will be the end result.

For the Apostle Paul, Jesus was THE treasure of his life. The loss of everything else was nothing compared to gaining Christ.

Phil 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Eph 3:8 “…this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

We have to diligently decide to pursue Him. To get to know Him and His character. Pray to the Lord: “Jesus, I long for You to be my ultimate treasure.”  Spend time with Him.  He delights in you. He wants to be with you and reveal Himself to you. He enjoys you! Set time aside to be with Him only.  If you do this daily, you will see your heart begin to love Him more and more.

Jeremiah 29:13 say’s You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

1Chronicles 16:11 says Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Isaiah 55:6-7  “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Psalm 119:10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 

Psalm 34:10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

What We As Christians Show The World

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We are living in amazing times. We are seeing the Bible unfolding right in front of our eyes.  We have been appointed and raised up for such a time as this!  Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I hear on the news, but because of what I read in Scripture.  I believe that we are the generation that will see His return.

This made me start thinking about the divisions that exist in the world today. I guess in some ways I have been naive in regards to how the world views Christianity and Christians. I recently had a conversation (on social media) with someone that has a very negative image of us. His opinion was that there is a deep-seated political hatred, racism, and bigotry hidden behind the guise of Christianity. This broke my heart and led me to reflect on the things I post and comment on. People are watching and listening to everything we say and do. How can we ministry to people in love, if we come off callous, judgemental and unforgiving.

Christians, we need to remember that we are Christians first. We represent Jesus and his church. When we speak, it should reflect the priorities and character of our Lord and Savior.  We are his ambassadors and sometimes the only Jesus people will ever see.  This concern means that we need to take extra care to consider the words we speak in person as well as online.

I love this statement from crossroads church; I think it is worth considering:

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” People who have experienced grace should speak in a way that exhibits grace. Often, we post the first thing that comes to our minds about an issue, don’t read it to see how it sounds, and end up bringing shame upon Christ and his church through our hasty speech. Venting opinions that are not thought out and that insult others is a sign of tremendous foolishness, demonstrates a lack of love for our neighbors, and does not bring honor to Jesus.
Before you post something, read it three or four times. Take a screenshot of it and send it to a friend. Is it kind? Is it accurate? Is it designed for the good of others? Will it negatively impact how other people think of Jesus?    excerpt from Crossroads church.

Time is short and the day of the Lord coming for His Church is drawing near.  The questions we should ask ourselves is this:  Are we prepared?  Are we gathering or are we scattering? We know that Christ is the Great Gatherer, and if we do not gather (his people) with Him, He tells us that we are scattering (his people), In other words, we work against Him. The only way we can help Him gather (his people) is by winning souls and fishing for men.  We need to redeem the time.  We all have a limited time on this earth, which should be fully devoted to God and His service.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). 

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters  Matthew 12:30

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary[] and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples,“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  Matthew 9 35-38

I don’t know about you, but I want to be found faithful.  I want to be like Isaiah, with my heart saying “Here I am Lord send me!”

  I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

The real question, however, is this: Are you ready for Christ’s return? You can be, by turning to Him and putting your faith and trust in Him. Don’t take His warnings lightly, but commit your life without delay to Jesus Christ.

If you have not given your life to Jesus, please consider doing it now:  https://thejoyfulchristianministry.com/2017/01/26/prayer-of-salvation/

Living In The Presence Of God

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How aware are you of the presence of God? Is your life lived in the very presence of God? Do you live in constant communion with Him? The Scriptures teach us that He is always with us:

He longs for you to dwell with Him, commune with Him, and delight in Him. He desires to be with us every moment of our day. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —Psalm 16:11.  The greatest thing in all of life is to know God. In Him, you will find true meaning and purpose.

No matter where we go, God, is there. While it is true that we cannot flee from God’s presence, we must recognize that we can lose the sense of God’s presence:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me? Psalm 13:1

If you’re in a season of feeling far from God, lean on Him. Trust the loving hand of your precious Savior and know that He will lead you to the other side.

1 Samuel 16:23 (NNAS) So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

That is a powerful testimony to the effect of music. I believe that music can greatly enhance our worship and our fellowship with the Lord. I know in my own life whenever I get down, whenever I am struggling spiritually, I put on a good praise song and my heart is encouraged and refreshed. It focuses our mind and heart upon the Lord and His goodness and helps me to dwell in his presence.

Let’s take God at His word, let’s choose to believe that “in His presence is fullness of joy”, and then let’s make every effort to live in His presence 24/7. Study His word and grow in the Grace and knowledge of Him.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9

We have been joined to Christ, the God who created the universe dwells in us! I believe that there is so much more to the spiritual life than most believers ever experience. Let’s learn to practice the presence of God. As His children, let’s live in communion with Him, thinking of Him constantly, and seeking to do only those things that please Him. Let’s make practicing His presence the priority of our lives.