2 Chronicles 25:2 “And he (Amaziah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.”
The book of Chronicles lists the names and exploits of the Kings of Judah and Israel post King David. It reads like a Game of Thrones episode filled with betrayals, assassinations and uprisings. King Amaziah began to reign in Judah when he was 25yrs old and he was described as someone who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart. It’s possible to do things by the book but your whole heart not be in it. It’s possible to tick the box but not own it where it counts. What has God asked of you, that you are skimming the surface on, but not really committing to? This is the difference between good and great ministry. Good ministry does the right things but great ministry does the right things with a full heart behind it. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and soul and strength (Mt 22:37). Doing what’s right in the eyes of God, yet not with a whole heart leaves the door open for inevitable compromise. It’s living with a Plan B lurking in the background waiting to pounce. Shut the door on compromise and say goodbye to Plan B. Don’t just tick the religious box and settle for surface level obedience. Live life with a whole heart. Own what God’s asked of you, embracing it in your heart. Clear your conscience and dive completely into God’s will and purpose for your life. Live from a whole heart. Selah!
Genesis 6:22 “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.”
Life is complex! Complexity seems to grow the longer one lives. Everyone at some point in their life feels overwhelmed by the complexity that exists, not only in our culture but in our personal lives. Noah, the great patriarch, found himself alive at a time when the complexity of man’s wickedness was at an all time high. Every intention of man’s heart was perpetually evil and God decided to hit the reset button of humanity and start again. However, Noah was an exception. Noah found favour with God and walked with him all the days of his life. Noah became the patriarch of a remnant that would begin the re-genesis of humanity but it required uncompromising obedience. God asked Noah to build a huge boat to preserve a remnant of humanity and the animal kingdom for the rebirth of the planet. Without any evidence of weather patterns pointing to rain or any historical context to aid his boat building directive, Noah did everything God asked of him and ended up saving the future of the world. Noah is the original superhero. The complexity of your life will only be eased when you settle firmly in your heart the Lordship question. Who is Lord over my life? Am I Lord or is God my Lord? When you surrender your heart to God and live for the audience of one, you resolve 10,000 problems all at once. Why? Because your hearts affections and directions are shaped solely around one primary thing, obeying God without reservation. Selah!
Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people..”
God is looking to and fro across the earth for people he can use to accomplish specific assignments in the building of his kingdom. Before Isaiah became a prominent prophetic voice to Israel, he firstly was an everyday believer in God who made himself available. Availability is the first prerequisite for being used mightily by God. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land“. To answer God’s call on your life, you must be first willing and secondly obedient. Not only did God call Isaiah but he counselled him in what to say. Too often we are attempting to come up with something inspirational that will connect with people, rather than simply sharing out of the well of what God has already revealed to us. If you want God to call you and use you mightily, first examine your heart and ask, “Am I available? Am I willing? Am I going to obey what he’s asked me to do? Selah!
“You will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.” (Isa 30:21)
Contrary to popular opinion, God’s Spirit is communicating far more to us than we care to acknowledge. He’s at work far more than we care to notice. God doesn’t leave himself without a witness. He uses any and many means to inform the paths we should take but we have to pay attention to the signposts he positions for us along the path of our life’s journey. God’s always speaking, it’s whether we are listening. God’s always revealing, it’s whether we are seeing. Just as a freeway has signposts directing you from where you are to where you want to be, God gives us signposts to help guide you from where you are to where you want to be. His signposts range from people we bump into, to the circumstances we face, to the opportunities before us, to the words we receive, to the impressions in our hearts and everything in between. What are the signposts God maybe using to lead you right now in your life? Pay attention and you’ll get to your destination!
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord orders his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
God is a lifesaver! We live in a day and age where we are encouraged to follow our heart, as if, each of us intuitively know what we should do by consulting our own hearts. This is not helpful advice because Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it?” The answer is no one but God can actually help us understand our own hearts. We are complex and simple at the same time. For this reason, I take courage from the fact that even though, my misunderstood heart, may plan my way, the creator of the universe orders my steps. There have been several times when my heart wanted to head in a certain direction but God has patiently aligned my steps with his purpose and plan for my life. Truth is, I’ve bucked against his alignment at times but in hindsight, I’ve always been grateful for where God has positioned my feet.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
Too many of us are leading ourselves around, rather, than being led by the Spirit. There is a tension that exists between using my brain to live and following the leading of the Spirit. Head knowledge is helpful and important. It does make a difference. But sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is more important and separates the men from the boys. God gave me a brain and I’m convinced he wants me to use it but I’m aware that my brain can get in the way of my heart and what God is trying to teach and lead me in. We must learn to live out of what God’s spirit in our spirit is revealing to us. A renewed mind is critical if I’m going to make healthy and productive decisions. There is a critical connection between a renewed mind and a full spirit. My life is shaped by the decisions I make and my choices need to be shaped by the leadership and counsel of the Spirit of God. He’s not passive but very active in seeking to guide me. I foster clarity in the Spirit by regular times of communion and being still. Life can sometimes feel very jumbled up and upside down. It will get back on track if you will surrender and seek more to be led by the Spirit of God.
Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
Wow! I love this verse of scripture. Here is a beautiful picture of God leading his people through night and day seasons by going before them in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. The people weren’t left without a witness to follow and this must have been so encouraging for Moses in his leadership of what sometimes was a group of very difficult people to lead.
In our lives, we can too easily get distracted by the opinions and voices of the crowd. The crowd can have far too much influence in our lives than what God wants or intended. There will always be someone out there who thinks they know best for you and who has a wonderful plan for your life.
It’s in these moments, that you and I need a conviction that heaven has spoken and that God is going before us to make a way in both dark and light seasons of life.
What about you? Are you following the crowd or the cloud? God loves you and wants to lead you in such a significant way. Stay focused on the cloud before you.