Discoveries in Faith

Short, uplifting Bible lessons designed to build faith and inspire obedience. 

Changing Theology?

Has your theology changed in the last 20 years? I hope so. A maturing theology reflects a growing understanding of God. An example of this from my life is my take on Psalm 37:4 which says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

When I was a teenager and even a young adult I understood this verse to mean, 'If I am a good Christian then God will give me what I want.' It was almost as if I had a personal genie in the bottle that I could summon to give me whatever my heart desired.

Then somewhere along as a middle-aged adult, someone pointed out to me that what Psalm 37:4 really meant was that if we were good Christians (delighting ourselves in the Lord) then God would deposit into our hearts noble desires. 

Now as one who is old enough to get unsolicited AARP applications in the mail, let me share with you my current understanding of Psalm 37:4. Here is a paraphrase.

If I will lovingly desire and pursue God with my whole heart, then as I love God I will begin to love the things He loves. And as I love and desire the things God loves my heart is purified from selfish desires. This is important because God never promises to give us the desires of our flesh. But as my heart is purged and molded toward the will of God then yes He will lead me into fulfillment. As my heart mirrors the righteous desires of the Father I will pray with confidence and faith knowing He will surely bring to pass the holy dreams He is stirring. 

 

 

Distractions to Worship

Mary consistently worshiped Jesus. She is seen at the feet of Jesus near the beginning and the end of His earthly ministry. What a remarkable woman to learn from. She worshiped Jesus despite the distractions that tried to pull her away from the Lord. Today we battle the same distractions.

THERE IS THE DISTRACTION OF THINGS

Luke 10 describes meal preparation led by Mary's sister, Martha. Can you hear the clanking of the pots and pans? Can you smell the bread coming out of the oven and the roasted meat on the fire? Martha is nearly hysterical as she pleads with Jesus, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me alone to serve?" The Lord gently chides her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosed the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:40-42). 

THERE IS THE DISTRACTION OF PEOPLE

John 12 describes another meal. This was a banquet celebrating the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Martha knows better than to bother Mary who is again at the feet of Jesus this time pouring out costly perfume upon His feet. The devil-inspired disciple Judas now is the one who challenges Mary's worship, "Why was this ointment not sold and the money given to the poor?" Here again Jesus defends Mary's worship, "Leave her alone . . . the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me (John 12:5-8).

Worship is not easy. Both private and corporate worship must overcome these twin distractions. There are always good things to do and there are always needy people to help. May God give us grace to ignore every distraction and worship the Lord.

Heart Check

In discussing our love for Him, Jesus listed the heart before soul, mind, or strength. And heart-felt love is always mentioned first in parallel passages. Click on the following verses to see for yourself.

Deut. 6:5

Mark 12:30

 

We are to love God with our entire being, but it is significant that scritpure always lists the heart first. Yes we are to love God totally with our thoughts and efforts but it begins with heart-felt passion.