Monday, November 30, 2015

experiencing the love of Christ

artwork by Tamara Peterson

As I pondered this delightful work of art by Tamara Peterson, I could suddenly hear the deep baritone voice of George Beverly Shea singing the beautiful old hymn, The Love of God.

Composer Frederick M. Lehman describes the process of writing this hymn, which he composed in 1917 in Pasadena, California: “The lyrics are based on the Jewish poem, Haddamut, written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany. One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work, we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the first two stanzas and chorus of the song, since the lines of the third stanza, Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made, were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky, had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in a hospital after he died.” This drew my heart to a word study of the word fullness from  Ephesians 3:19

NIV: and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Amplified:  [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

NLT: May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Phillips:  and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!

Wuest: and to know experientially the love of the Christ which surpasses experiential knowledge in order that you may be filled up to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Young's Literal:  to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled--to all the fullness of God;

Fullness in Greek is pleroma from pleroo means to make full, fill, fill up, fullness, full measure, abundance, completion or what fills. Pleroma describes a full measure or abundance with emphasis upon completeness. Pleroma is completion and describes what is fulfilled or is completed without any gap. The sum total. The totality. Pleroma speaks of the total quantity and emphasizes completeness. Pleroma was a recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes.

Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest writes: “The word “fullness” is pleroma. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon gives the following: “that which is or has been filled; used of a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e., manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers; in the New Testament, the body of believers, as that which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ.”

Pastor John MacArthur has said, “To be filled up to all the fullness of God therefore means to be totally dominated by Him, with nothing left of self or any part of the old man. By definition, then, to be filled with God is to be emptied of self. It is not to have much of God and little of self, but all of God and none of self.”

Pastor Steven Cole writes: “The top rung of the ladder (to use Spurgeon’s phrase) is, “that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). “The fullness of God” probably refers to the perfection of which God Himself is full. Paul is praying that we will attain to spiritual perfection, having all that God is fill us to overflowing. As our capacity to receive it grows, He keeps filling us again and again. The idea of fullness implies total dominance or control, so that God perfectly controls our minds, our emotions, and our will.”

Pastor Wayne Barber on filled with the fullness of God: “Everything that fills God fills me and controls me and satisfies me. I am living in a realm now that I didn’t know was possible. I am loving people I didn’t think were lovable. I have put up with people who used to give me a fit. I am handling circumstances like never before. God, what is going on inside of me? God says, "You haven’t seen anything yet. Keep on trusting Me. I have other levels I want to take you to. Walk in the fullness of what I have to offer you." That is it. That is the Christian life. Paul is praying that all of God would dominate all that you are. In other words, that all of God would dominate all of you. I picked that word "dominate" very carefully because the word "filled" implies dominate. The Greek word is pleroo. It is the word that means "to be filled to the brim." If you fill a glass of water and fill it to the brim, that’s pleroo. It is filled full. There is no room for anything else. There is the implied meaning of satisfaction. You have a satisfied glass if it is full of water. What is a glass for? To be filled up. When you put the liquid to the top it must be satisfied. Nothing else is needed to satisfy the glass. So in light of Paul’s prayer, Paul is saying when we are empty of sin and we are empty of self and filled up with the fullness of God, then we begin to understand what satisfaction is all about. There is also the implicit meaning of dominance. Whatever fills a person dominates that person."

What are you filled with?
What is coming out of your life? Look at your life. Are you filled with fear and jealousy or are you filled with the Holy Spirit of God?

Lord Jesus, we believe that whatever fills a person dominates that person. Fill us today so that our mind, soul, and body is dominated of the Spirit of Christ. Thank You that You don’t want to give us more head knowledge about Your love. Thank You that You help us understand and comprehend Your love for us—so that it really sinks in and goes from being head knowledge to heart knowledge about how very much You love us. Thank You that You give us a heart to experience for ourselves the limitless love of Christ. Knowledge isn’t enough. Great speeches or sermons won’t suffice, neither will hearing what You did in someone else’s life. It takes the Holy Spirit imparting power to each of us to fathom the depth and length and width, the incomparable nature, of God’s amazing love for us in Your finished work on the cross. Thank You that You cause our roots to go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love for us. Thank You that as we receive and experience Your love in our own hearts, Your love can flow through us to others. Grant us the power to understand the limitless extent of Your love. Be the center of our lives, our homes, our churches. In Your precious name we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 3:19

Look In
—as you meditate on Ephesians 3:19 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 3:19 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Your grace IS sufficient...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

This beautiful work of art by Tamara Peterson inspired me as I listened to the most anointed song, Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) by Hillsong Worship...this drew my heart to a word study of 2 Corinthians 12:9:

NASB: And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Amplified: But He said to me, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

Phillips:  but his reply has been, "My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely." Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ.

Wuest: And He has said to me, and His declaration still stands, “My grace is enough for you, for power is moment by moment coming to its full energy and complete operation in the sphere of weakness.” Therefore, most gladly will I the rather boast in my weaknesses in order that the power of the Christ [like the Shekinah Glory in the Holy of Holies of the Tent of Meeting] may take up its residence in me [working within me and giving me help].

Young's Literal:  and He said to me, “Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;” most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Christ may rest on me.

The Message: and then he told me, "My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.

A Greek word study of this Scripture reveals that Jesus’ first words are "is sufficient" which places emphasis on our supply of His grace; a truth which gives us encouragement to face difficult times. Jesus' response to Paul follows a chiastic pattern (a literary device in which a sequence of ideas is presented and then repeated in reverse order. The result is a “mirror” effect as the ideas are “reflected” back in a passage. Each idea is connected to its “reflection” by a repeated word, often in a related form...e.g., he came in triumph and in defeat departs) sufficient
B...for you
 power weakness perfected

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect IN weakness.”

IN distresses—circumstances forced upon you, reversals of fortune against your will. This could refer to any situation where you feel trapped. You didn’t plan it or think it would be this way. But there you are, and it’s hard.

IN persecutions—wounds, abuses, painful circumstances, acts of prejudice or exploitation from people because of your Christian faith or your Christian moral commitments. It’s when you are not treated fairly.

Whether IN distresses or persecutions, Corrie Ten Boom encourages us...Look at self and be distressed,Look at others and be depressed,
Look at Jesus and you’ll be at rest!

The word grace comes from the Greek word, charis meaning “to rejoice.” Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it.

Charis is a word which can be somewhat difficult to define but one of the most familiar definitions is "God's unmerited favor." In the present context, grace speaks of the supernatural power available to Paul to enable him to bear up under his "weakness", the trial of a thorn in his flesh. Grace is God's unmerited help for one undeserving with no thought or ability to give recompense. Grace is not some static concept but is a dynamic force, which totally transforms the believer's life beginning with salvation, continuing in our sanctification, and then all through eternity in our glorification. Grace enables the believer to endure without grumbling or complaining, and enables our weakness or suffering to be used for God's glory.

Grace is God’s supernatural provision for our every need when we need it. God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy He does not give us what we do deserve.

Pastor John MacArthur writes: “When God declared to Paul in answer to his prayer, “My grace is sufficient for you,” He affirmed the total sufficiency of His grace for every need in life—to believe the gospel; to understand and apply the Word to all the issues of life; to overcome sin and temptation; to endure suffering, disappointment, and pain; to obey God; to serve Him effectively; and to worship Him. God’s grace was sufficient for the deepest pain Paul (or any other believer) could ever experience.”

Pastor Hanmer William Webb-Peploe was born in 1837, in England.
When asked about his favorite Bible verse, he replied in writing: A very large number of texts have been, in my lifetime, of special service to me, through the goodness of God; but that if I have to choose one out of the whole book which has been of special help to me, I should mention the words in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee,” which were made by God’s mercy at a time of special trial a blessing of remarkable force to my soul. It had pleased God to remove my youngest child under circumstances of peculiar trial and pain, and I had just laid my little one’s body in the church yard when, on returning home, I felt it my duty to preach to my people on the meaning of trial, and finding that this text was in the lesson for the following Sunday, I chose it as my Master’s message to them and myself; but, on trying to prepare my notes, I found that in honesty I could not say that the words were true, and therefore knelt down and earnestly asked God to “Let His grace be sufficient for me,” and while I was thus pleading I opened my eyes and saw a framed illuminated text, which my mother had given me only a few days before, which was placed upon the wall during my absence at the holiday resort where my little one was taken away from us. I did not notice the words on returning to my house, but as I looked up and wiped my eyes, the words met my gaze, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The ‘is’ was picked out in bright green, while the ‘my’ and the ‘thee’ were painted in another color. In one moment the message came straight to my soul, as a rebuke for offering such a prayer as “Lord let thy grace be sufficient for me:” for the answer was almost as an audible voice, “How dare you ask for that which is? God cannot make it any more sufficient than he has made it: get up and believe it and you will find it true, because the Lord says it in the simplest way: “My grace is (not shall be or may be) sufficient for thee.” The lesson that came to me, and which I seek to convey to others, is, “Never turn God’s facts into hopes or prayers, but simply use them as realities and you will find them powerful as you believe them.”

After the homegoing of my Daddy, Eston Willis, we discovered in his Bible the following poem which describes our Master Weaver's plan…
My life is but a weaving, between my Lord and me; I cannot choose the colors. He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow and I in foolish pride, forget He sees the upper and I the under side. Not till the loom is silent and the shuttles cease to fly, shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why, the dark threads are as needful in the Weaver’s skillful hands, as the threads of gold and silver, in the pattern He has planned.

Consider the underside of a handmade tapestry described in this poem. The elaborate coordinated threads on the exterior side of the fabric, woven with precision and creativity, produce a work of art intended by the weaver. The side that will not be seen, however, is a tangled mess of thread, yarn, and knots. How similar to life! Christ uses what appears to be random circumstances with no meaning—simply knots and tangles—and makes something beautiful out of them.

Lord Jesus, help me keep my focus on You, even in suffering, knowing that You are at work mending and making whole, raising up the broken to life...IN my weakness...
thank You for Your promise that Your grace IS sufficient for this day. Thank you for the power and grace of Your Holy Spirit, Who gives me the strength to persevere in prayer even when I am at my weakest moment and ready to give up. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9

Look In—as you meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on 2 Corinthians 12:9 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

rest is worship...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

This beautiful Bible journaling artwork by Tamara Peterson inspired me as I listened to a new song by Jonny Diaz, BreatheWhen the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say, “Just breathe, just breathe. Come and rest at My feet and be, just be. Chaos calls, but all you really need is to take it in, fill your lungs, the Peace of God that overcomes, just breathe, let your weary spirit rest, lay down what’s good and find what’s best, just breathe, just breathe, just breathe…” This drew my heart to a word study of the word, “rest,” from Matthew 11:28-30

Amplified: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [Jer. 6:16] For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Phillips: Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Wuest: Come here to me, all who are growing weary to the point of exhaustion, and who have been loaded with burdens and are bending beneath their weight, and I alone will cause you to cease from your labor and take away your burdens and thus refresh you with rest. Take at once my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find cessation from labor and refreshment for your souls,  for my yoke is mild and pleasant, and my load is light in weight.

The Message: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Rest (refresh) in Greek is anapauo, from ana, which means again, back, or even as intensifying the meaning of the verb pauo which means to cease or give rest. Anapauo means  to cause someone to become physically refreshed as the result of resting from work. Anapauo can also refer to spiritual refreshment or revival. Anapauo signifies “to cause or permit one to cease from any labor or movement” so as to recover strength. It implies previous toil and care. Its chief significance is that of taking, or causing to take, rest.

Pastor John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, notes that...”The Greek word anapauo expresses something more than rest, or a mere relaxation from toil; it denotes refreshment likewise. When we are enabled to view our sins as laid upon Christ, that those who come are accepted in the Beloved, that there is no more condemnation—but pardon, reconciliation, and adoption, are the sure privileges of all who trust in Him—O the sweet calm that immediately takes place in the soul! It is something more than deliverance. When we are brought nearer to Christ, and taught to live upon him as our sanctification, deriving all our strength and motives from him by faith, we obtain a comparative rest in this respect also. We find hard things become easy, and mountains sink into plains, by power displayed in our behalf. How is this rest to be obtained? If it was to be bought—we have nothing to offer for it. If it was given as a reward of merit—we can do nothing to deserve it. But Jesus has said, "I will give you rest!" Our title to it cost Him dear; He purchased it for us with His own blood; but to us it comes freely."

A missionary in Africa experienced great difficulty in trying to translate the Gospel of John into the local dialect. He faced the problem of finding a word for “believe.” When he came to that particular word, he always had to leave a blank space. Then one day a runner came panting into the camp, having traveled a great distance with a very important message. After blurting out his story, he fell exhausted into a hammock nearby. He muttered a brief phrase that seemed to express both his great weariness and his contentment at finding such a delightful place of relaxation. The missionary, never having heard these words before, asked a bystander what the runner had said. "Oh, he is saying, ‘I'm at the end of myself, therefore I am resting all of my weight here!"' The missionary exclaimed, "Praise God! That is the very expression I need for the word believe!"

Rest is worship. Whatever stress or chaos may be in your life right now, Jesus invites you, just as he did the crowds he was teaching: “Come to Me. Give Me the heavy load you’re carrying. And in exchange, I will give you rest.” Jesus knows the challenges and deadlines we face and the weariness of mind or body we feel. He understands the stress, tasks, and responsibilities that are weighing us down. As we lay all that concerns us before him, His purpose replaces our agenda, and his lightness and rest replace our burden.

Rest is worship. The verdict is final. The case is never going to be re-tried—irrevocable. On that we can rest—we are justified on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is a blessing to know that I am, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling.

Lord Jesus, Thank You that I can rest in Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that I can rest as You carry my burdens for me. I give them all to you and I gladly receive Your rest! Teach me Your wisdom that is humble and pure, and help me to walk in the ways you set before me. Thank You for Your mercy and love that invite me to continually experience Your Peace and enjoy Your Presence, living my life resting and trusting in You!

Look Up—meditate on Matthew 11:28-30

Look In—as you meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

our Good, Good Father in Psalm 23...

artwork by Krista Hedrick

This beautiful work of art by Krista Hedrick inspired me as I worshipped with our worship leader, Conrad Johnson, to the anointed new hymn, Good, Good Father, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like, but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone. You're a Good, Good Father, It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are, and I'm loved by you, It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am. I've seen many searching for answers far and wide, but I know we're all searching for answers only you provide, because you know just what we need before we say a word. Love so undeniable I can hardly speak, Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think, as you call me deeper still…into love, love, love…You are perfect in all of your ways…You are perfect in all of your ways to us…this drew my heart to a verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23 in this commentary by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe from The Transformation Study Bible:

Psalm 23:1—The present tense verb “is” means, “the Lord is shepherding me,” indicating an ongoing relationship. Eastern shepherds guarded their sheep, led them, provided food and water for them; took care of them when they were wearied, bruised, cut or sick; rescued them when they strayed; knew their names; assisted in delivering the lambs; and in every way simply loved them.

23:2—The word translated, “leads,” in verse 2 means “to lead gently.” You cannot drive sheep. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and follow him, just as we listen to Christ in His Word and obey Him.

23:3—God cares for us because He loves us and wants us to glorify Him. The shepherd cares for his sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd.

23:4a—This is the central verse of the psalm, and the personal pronoun changes from “he” to “you.” David is not speaking about the shepherd, but speaking to the shepherd. In the dark valley, God is not before us but beside us, leading the way and calming our fears. The “darkest valley” represents any difficult experience of life that makes us afraid, and that includes death.

23:4b—Sheep lack good vision and are easily frightened in new circumstances, especially when it’s dark. The presence of the shepherd calms them.

23:4c—The rod was a heavy cudgel with which the shepherd could stun or kill an attacking beast, and the staff was the shepherd’s crook, which he used to assist the individual sheep.

23:5a—Another word for “feast” is “table.” This table doesn’t necessarily refer to a piece of furniture used by humans, for the word simply means, “something spread out.” Flat places in the hilly country were called “tables,” and sometimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these “tables” and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold.

23:5b—The shepherd would examine the sheep as they entered the fold to be sure none of them was bruised, injured, or sick from eating a poisonous plant. To the wounds, he applied the soothing oil, and for the thirsty, he had his large two-handled cup filled with water. He would also apply the oil to the heads and the horns of the sheep to help keep the flies and other insects away. The sheep knew they were safe, and they could sleep without fear.

23:6—As the shepherd lay each night at the door of the sheepfold, he looked back over the day and gave thanks that the Lord had blessed them with goodness and mercy. Dr. Harry Ironside used to say that goodness and mercy are the two sheepdogs that help keep the sheep where they belong. We live our lives one day at a time, because God built the universe to run one day at a time. There must be a time for labor and a time for rest. When we try to live two or three days at a time, we cannot enjoy today. Eventually, this catches up with us physically, emotionally and spiritually. As an old man, David looked back over his long life and came to the same conclusion. In spite of his sins and failures, he had been followed by goodness and mercy, which is the Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28. Under the old covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd,  but under the new covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep—and we shall meet our Shepherd in heaven! “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17). As David looked ahead, he knew he would be in heaven—the Father’s house—forever.

When I am praying, I picture Jesus Christ, my Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. As I pray, I take whatever concern I have, or the person for whom I am interceding by the hand. I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand…knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us…and I walk away, thanking God for how He is working in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding. I experience a feeling of peace…as Catherine Marshall prayed, Lord, I trust You…You know what You’re doing…I relinquish my will to Yours.

O Heavenly Father,
we ask you to wrap Your Loving Arms around us today. You are close to the brokenhearted and You save those who are crushed in spirit. You are our Shepherd, we lack nothing. You make us lie down in green pastures, You lead us beside the still waters. You restore our souls. You lead us in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us. You are Emmanuel, God with us, we are absolutely certain, You are with us at this time. Your rod and Your staff, Your Holy Spirit and Your Word, they comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You anoint our heads with oil, our cup overflows with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Look Up—meditate on Psalm 23

Look In—as you meditate on Psalm 23 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on Psalm 23 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Monday, November 2, 2015

it's all about the heart

artwork by Krista Hamrick

I pondered this beautiful work of art by Krista Hamrick while worshipping with our worship leader, Conrad Johnson, to the anointed new hymn, No Longer Slaves You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song of deliverance, from my enemies ‘till all my fears are gone. I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God. From my mother’s womb You have chosen me, Love has called my name. I’ve been born again, into Your family, Your blood flows through my veins. You split the sea, so I could walk right through it, All my fears were drowned in perfect love. You rescued me, so I could stand and sing. I am a child of God…this drew my heart to a word study of the word heart from 1 Samuel 16:7

NASB:  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Heart, kardia, does not refer to the physical organ, but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will.
Kardia gives us medical terms such as cardiac, cardiovascular, etc. Just as the integrity of our physical heart is vital to our physical life, in a similar and even more important way the integrity of our spiritual heart is vital to our spiritual life, for our spiritual life impacts not just our enjoyment of time, but of eternity.

While kardia does represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality, in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. For example, in Proverbs we are told, “As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4). The heart is the control center of mind and will, as well as emotion.

The Scottish writer John Eadie writes, “The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the centre of spiritual as it is physically of animal life.”

Biblical scholar W.E. Vine writes that kardia “came to denote man’s entire mental and moral activities, and to stand figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, and so here signifies the seat of thought and feeling.”
Pastor John MacArthur commenting on kardia writes, “While we often relate heart to the emotions (e.g., “He has a broken heart”), the Bible relates it primarily to the intellect (e.g., “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Matt 15:19). That’s why you must “watch over your heart with all diligence”  (Proverbs 4:23). In a secondary way, however, heart relates to the will and emotions because they are influenced by the intellect. If you are committed to something, it will affect your will, which in turn will affect your emotions.”

Pastor Marvin R. Vincent writes, “Kardia is the central seat and organ of the personal life of man regarded in and by himself, Hence it is commonly accompanied with the possessive pronouns, my, his, thy, etc.”

Pastor Robert Haldane states, “Christian obedience is obedience from the heart in opposition to an obedience which is by constraint. Any attempt at obedience by an unconverted man, is an obedience produced by some motive of fear, self–interest, or constraint, and not from the heart. Nothing can be more convincing evidence of the truth of the Gospel than the change which it produces on the mind of the believer. Nothing but almighty power could at once transform a man from the love of sin to the love of holiness.”

Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that when You look at me, You see my heart covered by the blood of Jesus...You give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. You give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. You give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. You give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. You give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, You give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, You give me a heart that welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I gratefully surrender all. Morning after morning.

Look Up—meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7

Look In—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.


(in)courager community group 21 Stories of Generosity 31 days of encouragement Abba able absolutely certain abundance mentality acceptance accepted accepted in the Beloved adopted adoptee adoptees adoption adore A Feathered Nest agape All-Adoptee Growth Group all is grace Almighty Alone Yet Not Alone alpha waves Amazon Best Seller Ranked #1 A New Song anthology approval Armageddon Ash Wednesday ask atmosphere attitude attune senses author authority Back to the Future baptism bear beautiful beauty Because He Lives Bedouin Dinner beginnings ended beholding believe believing Believing God Beloved Be Still My Soul Bethany Hamilton Bethlehem Beth Moore Beth Moore Bible study birth blessed blessed assurance blessing blood of Christ blue Schwinn bicycle book launch Boot Camp Broken Vessels burdens butterfly effect Caesarea called Capernaum care cared cares Central Park centurion Challenger change chosen Christ Christ-centered Christ Jesus Chris Tomlin coffee for your heart Colton Michael Duncan comfort connect-the-dots count it all joy creating change creative creative problem-solving creative thinking creativity critical thinking crowned crown of thorns Dan Brawley Dancing With The Stars darkness dawning deeply loved delight desire determined purpose divergent thinking do the next thing Easter eastern hills education elaboration Elijah Ellis Island El Shaddai Emmanuel emotions empty nest empty tomb encouragement encourager encouragment Ephesians epiphany essay eternity everlasting love Experiencing God extravagant extravagant grace face-to-face faith fasting Father favor fill filled finding patterns fixing our eyes on Jesus flawless flexibility fluency Forever forgiven forgiveness fullness future Garden of Gethsemane Garden Tomb generosity giveaway goal-setting God God's love God's presence God's sovereignty God's will God's Word God is sovereign God with us Good Good Father Good News gospel grace grateful greatly blessed grief guarantee Harold Edgerton heal healer healing heart heaven held He lives hemisphericity highly favored His glory His Presence holy ground Holy Spirit hoop skirt of light hope I AM identity imagination imagine in Christ inheritance innermost Inspire Intensive Tutorial intercede intimacy Israel January 28 Jerusalem Jesus Jesus at the center Jesus Christ job interviews John 3:16 Jordan River joy Judean Desert justifies knock know Him known Lamb of God lavish learning life Living Bible location Lord Lord Jesus Lord Jesus Christ lose loss love loved love of God Matthew 7:7 meditation Mediterranean Sea Memorial Day memories memory mercies mercy Metropolitan Museum of Art milk drop coronet miscarriage modalities moment in time mother mother and daughter Mount Carmel Mount of Megiddo Mount of Olives Mount Tabor move forward multisensory mysteries mystery Nathaniel National Prayer Breakfast new song New York City Niagara Falls no condemnation nonfiction One Thousand Gifts originality overcome overwhelming obstacles panorama panorama. sovereignty panpharmacon past peace perception periwinkles positive relinquishment power praise pray prayer present preserve Press On proactive problem solving prodigal prodigal son providence Psalm 23 Psalm 37:4 purpose questions redeemed Redeemer redemption reflecting Rembrandt remembered remembering renewing the mind rest resting resurrection righteous righteousness Rock of Ages Roman Amphitheater Romans Chapter 8 ropes of grace sandwich generation Savior Scripture Sea of Galilee searching secure seek self Sermon on the Mount servant leadership seven habits Shepherd's Fields small thing that makes a big difference snow patterns social media Solomon's Temple soul sovereign sovereignty speak speaker Spirit of Christ Spirit wrought STAR format stewardship story Strawberry Fields strength sufficient Sulphur Springs sunrise sunset to sunrise superabounding grace supernatural synagogue synergistic synergize Tampa targeted selection testimony thankfulness thanksgiving the blood of Christ the empty tomb thief on the cross think forward to the future thinking thoughts Throne of Grace time timeline timelines timeline template transformation transformed trust trusting Truth Truth of God's Word Twenty-third Psalm unconditional love Under His Wings unforced rhythms of grace Valley of Jezreel vision visualization wait walking waterfalls weakness Western Wall when God ran wife win/win win a free book without Christ I am nothing Word word study worry worship wound writer writing written Yardenit You're Going To Be Okay you're loved You Already Have An A you are free indeed Young Life

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