Trust in the LORD with all Thine HEART
✝✡Nicole C. Mullen-It is well LYRIC Video✡✝
All the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. Nehemiah 8:3
As I sat in the auditorium, I faced the pastor with my eyes fixed on him. My posture suggested I was absorbing everything he was saying. Suddenly I heard everybody laughing and clapping. Surprised, I looked about. The preacher had apparently said something humorous, but I had no clue what it might have been. From all appearances I had been listening carefully, but in reality my mind was far away.
It’s possible to hear what is being said but not listen, to watch but not see, to be present and yet absent. In such a condition, we may miss important messages meant for us.
Nothing deserves more attention than words that help us discover the joy and wonder of God.
As Ezra read God’s instructions to the people of Judah, “All the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law” (Neh. 8:3). Their attention to the explanation produced understanding (v. 8), which resulted in their repentance and revival. In another situation in Samaria, Philip, after persecution of the believers broke out in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), reached out to the Samaritan people. The crowd not only observed the miraculous signs he did, but they also “paid close attention to what he said” (v. 6). “So there was great joy in that city” (v. 8).
The mind can be like a wandering adventurer that misses a lot of excitement close by. Nothing deserves more attention than words that help us discover the joy and wonder of our Father in heaven.
Lord, our minds are so prone to distraction. Help us to be present in the moment, especially when listening to those who instruct us in Your ways.
The receiving of the Word consists in two parts: attention of the mind and intention of the will. William Ames
Meditation means different things to different people. For some, it is a time of introspection and self-empowerment. To Christians, however, meditation has an altogether different meaning. And despite the various ways the word is used, it is something we believers must take seriously in our walk of faith.
Simply put, meditation is the practice of thinking about God in all of His fullness, and asking questions such as:
• Who is God?
• How does He work in my life?
• What does Scripture say about Him?
• How has He shown faithfulness to me?
• How has He made Himself known?
When we meditate on the Word of God, His Spirit directs our thinking as we seek earnestly to know Him better. Often, the discipline will include wrestling with spiritual principles, which the Lord uses to build a firm foundation in our life. It may even involve a time of repentance, as He reveals truth and moves us to yearn for a Christ-centered mindset. Or, meditation could lead to healing if God shows us areas of our heart that need His touch. When we take time to set our mind on Him, the Lord will direct our thoughts.
This week, reserve a half-hour to sit quietly or take a walk. Dedicate that time to focusing your attention on God and letting Him speak to you. You will find this pause in your routine rewarding and exciting as you give yourself over to His presence.
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
The law of God, centered in the Ten Commandments, is “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12) and expresses perfectly the will of God for holy living. “The man that doeth them shall live in them” (Galatians 3:12).
The problem is that no man can possibly do them all. He may keep most of the commandments most of the time, but he will inevitably fail in some of them some of the time. Since the law is a divine unit, breaking any commandment—as our text reminds us—breaks the whole law, bringing the guilty one under God’s curse of death. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20).
All men, having sinned against God’s law, are therefore lost and in urgent need of salvation. This is where God’s wonderful grace comes in. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, . . . Even the righteousness . . . which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Romans 3:21-22), “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). He kept the law for us, and bore its curse for us. Thus, we are saved through trusting Him.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” (Romans 6:1-2). We now desire to keep His commandments, because we love Him. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). We are now able to keep them, because His Spirit now lives in us, and we are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). HMM
For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. —1 Samuel 16:7
“The accent in the Church today,” says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, “is not on devotion, but on commotion.” Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, “What is the chief end of man?” is now answered, “To dash about the world and add to the din thereof”…
We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content.
Lord, yesterday I saw the need for loud exaltation at times; today I am reminded of the importance of internal meditation, and of guarding myself from mere external noise. Give me the right balance in my worship, I pray. Amen.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12)
The Bible tells about man’s being alienated from and an enemy to God. Should this sound harsh or extreme you have only to imagine your closest friend coming to you and stating in cold seriousness that he no longer has any confidence in you.
“I do not trust you. I have lost confidence in your character. I am forced to suspect every move you make”—such a declaration would instantly alienate friends by destroying the foundation upon which every friendship is built. Until your former friend’s opinion of you had been reversed there could be no further communion.
People do not go boldly to God and profess that they have no confidence in Him and they usually do not witness publicly to their low view of God. The frightful thing, however, is that people everywhere act out their unbelief with a consistency that is more convincing than words.
Christianity provides a way back from this place of unbelief and alienation: “He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God took the wrong upon Himself in order that the one who committed the wrong might be saved!
Behold one of the great Physician’s mightiest arts; he has power to forgive sin! Before the ransom had been paid, before the blood had been literally sprinkled on the mercy seat, he had power to forgive sin. Hath he not power to do it now that he hath died? He has boundless power now that he has finished transgression and made an end of sin. Hear him pleading before the eternal Father, pointing to his wounds, urging the merit of his sacred passion! What power to forgive is here! “He is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins.” The most crimson sins arc removed by the crimson of his blood.