But now [Saul’s] kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you. 1 Samuel 13:14
A Baptist evangelist and missionary relief worker named Bob Pierce was in China during the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s. On one trip, he met a missionary teacher and gave her his last five dollars to care for an abandoned child—and promised to send the same amount every month. In 1950, Pierce founded World Vision, and then went on to found Samaritan’s Purse in 1970. He is remembered for saying, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
When it came time to replace Israel’s King Saul, the prophet Samuel said God was looking for “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). God directed Samuel to that man, then just a teenager, David, the son of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Every servant of God is called to represent God by revealing God’s heart to the world.
Be a person after God’s heart by revealing His love and compassion to all you meet.
Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.Bob Pierce
[We encouraged] . . . you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.1 Thessalonians 2:12
In the poem “Rest,” the poet gently challenges our tendency to separate “leisure” time from “work,” asking, “Is not true leisure / One with true toil?” If you want to experience true leisure, instead of trying to avoid life’s duties, the author urges, “Still do thy best; Use it, not waste it,— / Else ’tis not rest. / Wouldst behold beauty / Near thee? all round? / Only hath duty / Such a sight found.”
The poet concludes that true rest and joy are both found through love and service—an idea that brings to mind Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians. After describing his calling to encourage believers “to live lives worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:12), the apostle gives more specifics.
And the picture he paints of such a life is one of quiet integrity, love, and service. Paul prays that God would “make [their] love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (3:12). And he urges believers in Jesus to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,” to “mind your own business and work with your hands” (4:11). It’s that kind of life, quietly loving and serving in whatever ways God has enabled us, that reveals to others the beauty of a life of faith (v. 12).
Or, as the writer puts it, true joy is “loving and serving / The highest and best; / ’Tis onwards! Unswerving— / And that is true rest.”
Conviction leads us to repentance so that we can experience God’s forgiveness and joyPsalm 32:1-11
Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is good. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that we’ve done wrong and need to repent. In fact, without a sense of guilt, we’d never recognize that we’re sinners in need of a Savior. And after salvation, guilt is the way the Lord shows us we’re on the wrong path so we can turn back to Him in obedience.
Many in our culture claim that all guilt is bad, but that’s not the case. When you feel its pangs, you probably know exactly what you did to set off your conscience. The proper response is to come to the Lord in repentance, as David did. Delay would likely mean feeling God’s heavy hand upon you. But with confession, your sins are forgiven, your guilt is gone, and the joy of your salvation returns. (See 1 John 1:9.)
An amazing side effect of confronting guilt in this way is a willingness to be open about your struggles and failures. Through your experience, you can show others who are burdened with shame how they, too, can be set free and experience God’s peace and joy.
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:3-4)
It is noteworthy that the identification of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is directly associated with His resurrection from the dead. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26), and since only God Himself can conquer death, Christ’s bodily resurrection is the conclusive affirmation of His unique deity: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Many others have claimed divine sonship, but all are dead—only Christ validated that claim by defeating death. “God…hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). “Death is swallowed up in victory….through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54, 57).
Jesus is explicitly called “the Son of God” about 44 times in the New Testament, only half as often as He is called “Son of man.” Nevertheless, this great truth is clearly taught in numerous other ways than by the use of the title itself. It’s so important that there is no salvation for the one who denies it. Jesus said plainly, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
Because He lives, we who believe on His name will also live forever! “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?…He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:5, 12-13). HMM
If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth….Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. —Mark 9:23-24
The Holy Spirit, when He effects His gracious invasion of the believing heart, must win that heart to glad and voluntary obedience to the whole will of God. The cure must be wrought from within; no outward conformity will do.
Until the will is sanctified the man is still a rebel just as an outlaw is still an outlaw at heart even though he may be yielding grudging obedience to the sheriff who is taking him to prison. The Holy Spirit achieves this inward cure by merging the will of the redeemed man with His own. This is not accomplished at one stroke.
There must be, it is true, some kind of overall surrender of the will to Christ before any work of grace can be done, but the full mergence of every part of life with the life of God in the Spirit is likely to be a longer process than we in our creature impatience would wish. POM108
[N]o sin [is] so sweet that [the sanctified person] is not willing and resolved to forsake. He takes up the cross at the hazard of everything. DTC142-143
George MacDonald writes: “Nothing is inexorable but love, for love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection even that itself may be perfected—not in itself but in the object. Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love’s kind, must be destroyed. Our God is a consuming fire.”
The nature of God is so terribly pure that it destroys everything that is not as pure as fire. God desires us to worship Him in “the splendor of His holiness” (Ps 29:2). This means that He wants the purity in us to match the purity in Him. We cannot arrive at this purity by self-effort, of course, but the more we draw nigh to Him, the more the fire of His purity will burn out the dross within us.
“It is not the fire that will burn us up if we do not worship,” said George MacDonald, “but the fire will burn us up until we worship.” And the fire will go on burning within us after everything that is foreign to it has been consumed, no longer with pain and a sense of something unwanted being consumed, but as the highest consciousness of life.
God is a consuming fire. He always was, and always will be—world without end.
O God, I long with all my heart that my worship might be all You want it to be. May Your consuming fire burn out all the dross within me until everything that is foreign to Your nature is part of me no more. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.
For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.—1 Thessalonians 5:2
In the Scriptures, the exhortation to prepare for the day of the Lord is usually given to God’s people, rather than to unbelievers. Christians must be prepared for Christ’s return, so that they can properly respond to Him. The most important thing about the day of the Lord is clear: it comes unexpectedly.
In Scripture, there are several references to the day of the Lord. Often this refers to Jesus’ first coming or His second coming, but it can also refer to any time God comes to His people, either in salvation or judgment (Isa. 13:6; Joel 2:11; Mal. 3:2). Amos had predicted that the day of the Lord would be far different from what the people expected (Amos 5:18). The people of his day thought it would come with joy and singing, yet Amos said there would be grieving and judgment of sin. When Jesus came the first time, His coming caught people by surprise. Because they were expecting the Messiah to come in a different way, many did not recognize Him.
The final day of the Lord will be at Christ’s second coming. Meanwhile, there will be times when God will come to you, your family, and friends. You need to be watching for the signs of God’s convicting work in your children, your friends, and your coworkers. You must take notice when God begins to do a special work in the lives of the people in your church. It may be that you have an unusual sense of God’s presence in a worship service and you begin to intercede for those who are present. Prepare yourself now and pay attention to what is happening in the lives of those around you. You may discover that the day of the Lord is at hand.