Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Heart's Desire

by Donna L. Watkins

Between other great books I've been soaking in, I return now and again to continue reading in When I Don't Desire God by John Piper, a wonderful book that will guide you into living in the realm of true joy. The Bible tells us that Jesus endured the Cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 2:2).

This means that the joy sustained Jesus even through the intense circumstances and suffering of His choice to choose the Cross on Calvary.  How much could it sustain us in our own trials?  If you don't have this type of joy, John Piper's book will help you answer that question.

I have some friends who are interested in astronomy but do not know God. It's always been such a vast and wondrous subject that I could not get beyond the incredible God that made such a universe, to be able to have an interest in the actual details of astronomy. The vastness of space and the glory it directs to our God overwhelms me when I begin to consider a small piece of it.

Piper mentions in this book something that gives me hope for those who enjoy His Creation without enjoying the Creator Himself ... he says, "The heart may not even believe that the heavens are telling the glory of God. But it knows, deep down, that they are telling something more than meets the physical eye."  Piper says, "If we weren't afflicted with persistent sleepiness of soul, we might see all the glory there is in nature. But as it is, we need help from creative artists."

©2010 Donna L. Watkins - Pansy Smile
Richard Foster voices his concern "about the state of the soul in the midst of all the cheap sensory overload going on today. You see, without what Alfred North Whitehead called 'an habitual vision of greatness,' our soul will shrivel up and lose the capacity for beauty and mystery and transcendence ....  To find the right word, to capture the perfect imagine, awakens the spirit and enlarges the soul ....  The ancient Hebrew prophets cared enough about their message that they frequently delivered it in poetic form. May new prophets arise in our day that will call us to faithful living in words that are crisp and clear and imaginative."

Many churches have left behind the role of the prophet. Prophets are not Old Testament figures.  Prophets are a part of the five-fold ministry that Jesus established for His church for maturity.

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." -- Ephesian 4:11-13

Prophecy is one of the gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12, the most in-depth discussion of gifts and their use. The prophetic voice helps us to "see through" all of the "cheap sensory overload" that Foster writes about. We are Kingdom children and we need to be prepared for the return of Christ. How do we endure these end times challenges and trials without the joy of the Lord that fills us with grace sufficient for all things? I do not see that we can humanly succeed in maneuvering these troubled waters without it.

How deep are you wanting to go with God? Is there a difference in your life from those of unsaved people you know?  It's so easy for us to live life as if the instruction manual were the television and magazines, instead of the Word of God.

It seems "everybody's doing it" but in reality, following the masses is not the direction Jesus calls us to take. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it -- Matthew 7:13-14.  I've been pondering "only a few find it" for quite some time now.

We are told to take up our cross and follow Him. What that means will be different for each person, but at the foundation of all crosses is obedience and holiness. We are a nation of doing what feels good and according to our desire because self has been glorified greatly in our society. But, let's not fall short of seeking what this life on earth is all about, so that we may be assured of a life in eternity.

Some people define grace as God's love covering over all the sins we choose to commit, as if He excuses it all and "makes" us holy.  Grace is the ability and desire to do the will of God - the enabling or strength to do what a holy God requires of us.

 Do we tend to think of God like a big Santa Clause or the adoring grandparent who dotes over our every action? Do we need to seriously ponder whether our heart matches God's call to us in His Manual of Life. What is more important than that?  The Bible tells us many will be deceived in the end times.  It's easy to exclude ourself from the many ... but yet it would seem that if we look like "the many" we may also be considered that by a holy God.

The best books I've read this entire year have both been by John Bevere:  The Fear of the Lord and A Heart Ablaze:  Igniting a Passion For God.  If those titles don't interest you, you need to be concerned. We're all looking for happiness and good feelings ... there is no better place to find it than in the true joy that God gives as we snuggle up close to Him, and the more holiness we choose the closer we get and the better He looks.  Amazon allows you to "look inside" the books, so click on the links and take a look.

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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