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Having a Heart for God

“I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts 13:22 

In Monday’s devotional I shared with you about how surgery three years ago was necessary to repair damage that caused a heart attack. Since that time, I have been under the care of an excellent cardiologist, taking a regimen of appropriate medication, and intentionally working to make sure I am as healthy as possible.  

Caring for my heart is utmost in my mind most of the time. During the past year, the global pandemic has heightened my awareness of how vulnerable I am, and my need for careful precautions and minimizing potential health risks. I want my heart and my life to be as healthy and strong as possible.  

The Bible tells us that Israel’s King David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Now that is a strong heart! This declaration about David has been questioned often, especially due to so many incidents in his life that tend to indicate the contrary. Without going into the detailed story, scripture recounts how David was guilty of adultery, and to cover it up, committed murder too. At times he was ruthless and focused on military dominance and power. All of this seems quite the opposite of God’s heart of righteousness, love and grace. 

David’s life was a portrait of success and failure, and the biblical record highlights the fact that David was far from perfect. But what made David a cut above the rest was that his heart was pointed toward God. He had a deep desire to follow God’s will and do “everything” God wanted him to do. He was a man after God’s own heart. 

So, what is the lesson in this for us? First, we should not follow in David’s footsteps or imitate his actions. David, like so many of the characters in the Bible, are not examples for us to follow. Yet there is a truth behind David’s intent to “do what God wanted him to do.” Although he often failed, David’s desire was to obey God in his life. 

Secondly, David sinned but was truly repentant. He admitted his sin and made steps to change his sinful ways. In the end he asked for and was granted forgiveness. In his latter years, David lived in obedience to God. With a willingness to admit our sin and to amend our bent to sinning, this is the way we all can live with a strong heart for God. 

Posted by Bob Winstead
Tags: devotion
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Take Time to be Holy

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24 
Walk slowly during Lent and don’t rush ahead to the victory of Easter. Take time to be holy. The beautiful old hymn with that title urges us to speak often with the Lord and let him guide your life. That is what is holy. We think our holiness is accomplished at the moment of Jesus’ victory, but that’s our salvation. We are indeed saved, but we must also be sanctified. Holiness comes when we allow Jesus’ influence to reign in every aspect of our lives. On our way to Easter, it’s tempting to run past the tragedy of sin and the pain of the cross so that we can rejoice in the resurrection. But we must be remade, and that takes time. 
Jesus offers us a better way forward into a holy life. We need to ask ourselves every day who has the most influence on us, and if we aren't sure it's Jesus, we need to draw close to the cross. We need to walk where he leads us however hard the way might be. A caregiver had served for many years looking after a frail woman whose family lived far away. As we stood at the casket saying goodbye, she wept and said, "I thank God for her. She blessed my life. Oh she blessed my life." This was no assignment. It was not a job she just clocked in and out of. Her loyalty and love couldn't be purchased. She had given it all and surrendered it freely because she had a close relationship. 
Taking up the cross brings us closer to Christ and helps us drop all the things that keep us apart from him. Through repentance we receive God’s mercy and we are restored into relationship. Holiness is tied to the cross and reminds us what Jesus means to us. With our hands full of his grace, we can’t hold onto our grudges. With our hearts touched by his love, our pain is given purpose. Walk slowly during Lent and look to Jesus. 

Take Time to Be Holy | William D. Longstaff

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; 
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word. 
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak, 
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. 
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; 
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. 
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; 
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see. 
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide; 
And run not before Him, whatever betide. 
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord, 
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word. 
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul, 
Each thought and each motive beneath His control. 
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, 
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above. 

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