“…know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…” (1Chronicles 28:9 ESV)
There are some things that many times as Christians we tend to forget as we serve our Lord and maker. Many times, we serve Him with all our hearts and willing mind but according to our terms.
Other times we serve Him doing what is commanded but just as an outward show
so that others may see and we may fit in with the people around us.
David, talking to his son Solomon gave him this charge just before giving him the plan and
instructions of how to build the temple and everything in it, as he had been instructed by the LORD.
It is important to note that the first instruction he gave Solomon was to know God. This makes me think of Jesus talking to His disciples in what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)
Many times, we think we know God and seem to be doing all the right things as a result of it while in reality, we have created our own god. Knowing God means that He too knows us.
It’s the difference between the wife to the president saying she knows him and a child in a village saying he knows him. The wife lives with him and has a relationship with him while the child in the village knows about him and has heard about him from the TV or Radio. Knowing God means having a relationship with Him where He does acknowledge you as a son and by His Spirit, you cry out “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). Anything short of this and we risk being told on that day “I never knew you; depart from me.”
The LORD has given us the Bible that we may know Him and therein know how to serve Him. As we study the Bible, we get to know Him and understand how He wants us to serve Him and live.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
The next instruction to Solomon was to serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind. After knowing the LORD and His ways we are then to serve Him with all our hearts, no parts within it being left behind, wholeheartedly. We are to serve Him with a willing mind too. This reminds me of the command given to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 6:5) and later repeated by Jesus as the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37) to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Deuteronomy says might). It is in knowing the LORD and loving Him that we are able to fully serve Him. Once we love Him with all our heart and mind then it surely does follow that we will serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind.
Once we know God then we will for sure know that He knows all things. We cannot deceive Him with outwards appearances and doing things in His Name when our hearts and minds are far away from Him. We saw how God replied to that “I never knew you; depart from me”. Or as Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 ESV)
The LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. We, therefore, cannot deceive Him by acting in pretense. We have to be all in or not at all. Love Him with all heart, soul, and mind or not love Him at all. Serve Him with the whole heart and willing mind or not at all. Why? Because He knows our hearts and we cannot hide from Him.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV)
Let this not discourage us from knowing, loving and serving our God but be encouraged as David encouraged his son “if you seek Him He will be found by you”.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV)
Let us, therefore, seek to know the LORD and serve Him with a whole heart and willing mind.
By Julia Kiama
Julia Kiama is a sinner saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. She is a homemaker, married to Brian Kiama and are blessed with two kids.
The Battle Within
Several times I have fallen into despair in my Christian life because of my sins. The thought of being a failure once again lays heavy on me. How could I have fallen prey once again to the snares of the enemy to my evil desires? Did I not learn my lesson the last time? Did I not resolve never to fall into the same pattern of foolishness again for sin and temptation happens way before it consummates in an action? Indeed, in both retrospect I can trace from whence I began to fall and I judge that I was aware of what I was doing, I was never ignorant but aware. Would I be wrong to say that I took pleasure at the time in doing that thing which now I hate, which is shameful and which now condemns? And as if that evil isn’t enough comes an even greater evil. The voice of the enemy beats at me when am down whispering lies to my soul. And what’s the lie? It’s that there is no hope for me. He brings to the stand his witnesses: my previous resolves, contrition, repentance, past mourning, and they all testify against me and they are right. I was there, myself am my witness. And thus, he makes his case his conclusion that I cannot be trusted, I am living a lie, that it’s futile to try again, the outcome won’t be any different, and the question is why not be just what my “nature” seems to indicate I am? Why “deny” yourself? And this may even begin to make sense.
The Great Advocate
Then suddenly there’s a commotion in the courts of my heart and mind. The great advocate has come and immediately with an authoritative voice declares “that’s not so.” And everyone is wondering “what, can any plea be made? is there any hope?” Though my situation is desperate I am attentive, I feel that sweet light hope kindled in me again and I am aware it’s because of the presence of this person. He has a book in his hand and hands it over to the judge whose countenance before one could not bear but now has suddenly changed, there’s happiness in his eyes as if in the presence of a friend. The terrifying yet now happy judge looks at the book for a while and in a twist of events rises and makes the declaration not guilty. What! And interestingly am the only one who’s surprised even my accusers doesn’t seem at all moved it’s as if he already knew the outcome. Everyone but the judge and the advocate clear the court room. The advocate walks towards me but am ashamed to look at him and so I sink my head to my chest. How can I be justified when I know am guilty of the crimes accused of? What now, what next. The accuser made a good case, I was a recurring criminal. But he whispers something in my ear “are you now to give up.” And I suddenly realize what that means. Giving in as the devil would have me do sealed my destiny to eternal doom. I realize that his attack wasn’t based on the fact that he knew he had a chance with the outcome declared by the judge but rather he was hoping that the judgement would come from me. And now I remember why I always got up back again, because there was hope. I am overwhelmed and go sown on my knees and as the great judge for forgiveness and he looks at the advocate and replies with a piercing warm calming smile “it is well.” I mean am beside myself, I can’t explain what it is I feel at the moment but I love it. The judge clears the room but his smile and words have forever been inscribed in my heart. Then the advocate as he prepares to live hands me that book that he previously gave the judge and upon opening it I find my name written on it and beside it the words that he sounded previously. And the reason is written right below: that my debt had been paid once and for all and who paid it? The great advocate. And as he leaves, he tells me “go and sin no more” And I cannot tell you how much I want to live up to that admonition. My motivation will be the great kindness I have been shown. Yes, am weak but he is strong. He knows that I will fail time and time again but his promise is this the verdict will always be “not guilty” and let that serve to motivate me. All this I found written in that book he left me.
Friend, if it were left to our works to be justified in the presence of God then we would be right to despair but thanks be to God he knew that we are without ability in of ourselves to live up to his standards and so he sent his Son to do that in our stead. And now he sanctifies us day by day through his word hence true the text:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2nd Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Therefore, let us not despair this would prove dangerous but let us keep fighting for our victory is assured. And so in times of need( whatever it may be) let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us and we will for we have a great high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses because he’s no stranger to them but has firsthand experience. And so, the admonition is “let us hold fast our confession.” In all things, even those dreadful times may we look to him. There’s always forgiveness and a willing strong and ready hand to help us. And may we find grace to do just that. Amen!
By Ron Dennis Mwenda
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When the whole world is not only preoccupied with but worried about the COVIC-19 pandemic, I desire that our attention be riveted upon our sovereign God and His infallible Word.
Psalm 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (ESV)
Throughout history and in the Scriptural evidence that God has graciously recorded for us, it is seen that the sovereign purpose of God must prevail, it never fails. God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11) and His will is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). As believers, we have this strong assurance that all things really are in the hands of our God and therefore we need not be afraid. We know that God works all things together for good to them that love Him (Romans 8:28) and so whatever betide us, we can, by God's grace, thankfully submit to His will. For as long as we belong to God, we shall continue on earth until the time that He has planned to take us home comes. Let us then be careful to obey Him and to live our present time for His glory.
Romans 14:7-9 “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living." (ESV)
By Mercy Chirie
Growing up I have come to see how hard life can be, not only through my share of experiences but through those of my friends and other people. Tough times come with trials of many kinds that overwhelm us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers [and sisters], whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV).
James writes to the early church Christians encouraging them to endure in their trials and more ironically to count it all as joy. Naturally trials come with a lot of pain, fear, doubt and sufferings and yet God calls us to count it all as joy. To do this comes with the knowledge that, trials are not utterly meaningless, God allows them our way for the testing of our faith, which produces perseverance to make us mature and complete. Trials hence are an important part in our sanctification as believers.
The knowledge of what God intends in our trials makes it easier to go through trials with hope and an assurance that God is still for us. God is good! This does not change when we are faced by trials. In fact it is in His goodness and for our good that He allows trials to come.
“For they disciplined us for a short time(our parents) as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For a moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Heb 12:11-12 ESV)
It is for our sanctification that the LORD allows trials.
In a world that is so enticing to us we can so easily lose our focus when we turn from God to the world; trials remind us of what is important and eternal.
When we start getting comfortable in our Christian walk that we no longer seek to grow, not yearning for spiritual milk like newborn infants, nothing creates the desire in us to grow as trials do.
When we grow in self-righteousness thinking we are perfected on this side of the earth, trials show us our fallen state and makes us realize that we still have a long way to go in sanctification. For though we may be justified our sanctification is continuous until we are glorified. God uses trials to reveal our hearts, to bring our sin to our attention that He may bring us by His grace to repentance and sanctification.
This calls us to remain steadfast in trials, to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds. For;
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12 ESV)
By Julia Kiama and Syprose Gwako