Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Thankful Heart's Desire

So King David is preparing Israel to build the house of the Lord.  Preparing them to build the temple.  It was David’s plan to build the Temple, however Solomon will be the one who builds it because of the bloodshed that had happened at David’s hands.

As we enter into 1 Chronicles 29 we find David offers a prayer of thanks to God.  I have always loved this prayer and felt it would be appropriate for us to think on tonight given the holiday we will celebrate this week.  What I want you to observe from David’s prayer though is not just its beauty and adoration of God but rather the progression of the prayer and the effect it intends on the heart of David and all the Assembly.  Hopefully I can make that clear as we press on. Before you begin it would be helpful for you to go read 1 Chronicles 29:10-22 as that will be the focus of this post.  Did you read it?  Beautiful right?  Let’s look at then briefly the keys to a heart full of thanksgiving to God in all things and for all things.

The desire for a thankful heart must include: Adoration of God. - 1 Chronicles 29:10 

David began his prayer by acknowledging the blessedness of the Father.  The everlasting nature of His goodness and blessedness of the Lord towards His children forever and ever.

The desire for a thankful heart must include: An Exalting of God. - 1 Chronicles 29:11-13

It isn’t only that God is great and powerful but rather that all greatness and all power and all glory and all victory and all majesty and all the heavens and the earth and its contents belong to Him!

You start orienting your mind and your heart like that and you will find it easy to live a thankful life.  A life of constant worship and praise to God.   You plead with God to teach you and lead you to see all things as belonging to Him and you will find yourself more ready to give Him thanks in all things and for all blessings.

You see from verse 11 how David exalts God as high and lofty and above all things and then what comes naturally in verse 12 is an acknowledging of God’s provision.  How God has never once failed to provide for the needs.  Further, God has never failed to provide that which He calls for from His people.  Riches and honor come from the hand of the Lord alone!  David then says now we thank you, our God, and praise Your glorious Name!

We praise YOU Lord!  We thank YOU Lord!  Why?  For we have seen your display of all these attributes.  We have seen your greatness and power and goodness and love.  For this reason we lift our praises to God!  This sort of prayer leads to a devoted heart that increasingly loves and is conformed to Christ!

The desire for a thankful heart must include: Humility in relation to God. - 1 Chronicles 29:14-16

When we acknowledge God for who He is in all His fullness and then we pull back to look at ourselves by comparison it is quickly obvious that we must be humble before Him.  We are dust and ashes.  We are a sinful lot and completely unworthy to receive anything from God, let alone having the honor of doing anything for God.  Yet we find ourselves gripped by His grace and shown infinite mercies from His hand!

What is man that God is mindful of Him?  What a wonderful and loving God we serve who will lavish His goodness upon us purely from the purposes of demonstrating His kindness and grace!  David says, we are offering up all these things to you freely and willingly.  He is referring to all the materials that the people are giving for the House of the Lord to be built. 

The people are giving these free-will offerings so that the work can be done and yet even in their giving David acknowledges that they’d have nothing to give had what they have not been given to them by God in the first place!

Talking about being strangers and sojourners expresses the astonishment that they have anything at all!  How many travelers or vagrants do you know that possess anything at all?  That sort of person is usually marked by extreme poverty.  Such should have been the case of Israel yet they are blessed and all their needs and provided and God has even provided them with riches for the purpose of them freely offering those riches in their many forms back to Him for His glory!

The desire for a thankful heart must include: A Dependence on God. - 1 Chronicles 29:17-19

Having lifted God High and having humbled Himself and come lowly before the Lord David sees that not only are the riches that they have coming from the hand of the Lord, but moreover he realizes that to continue walking in such a thankful way they must depend on the Lord.

The fact that the people are giving so generously and so freely is an indication that they are in agreement with David on these things.  And if they are to continue praising God and worshiping God in such a way that the people have hearts these benevolent hearts they must plead with God for His continued leading.

David says, I know that you test the heart.  I know that you have pleasure in uprightness.  In the uprightness of his heart he and the people have offered these things and he knows this comes from God alone.  His plea is simple:  Verse 18, Keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people and direct their hearts toward you.

Church, what if your prayer this Thanksgiving and beyond was just that.  Lord, please… with every passing breath that I take, create in my heart Your purposes and bind Your thoughts on my heart.  Because what a Christian should desires is to be upright before the Lord.  We want to be upright before the Lord because that is what the Lord takes pleasure in. 

We GET that uprightness of self from God who grants it only through faith in Jesus Christ.  We trust in the God who is pleased to bestow all these things on us out of His mercy and grace!  So David says, let this continue Lord.  Let us continue to be thankful to You.  Please God do not remove Your guiding hand from us so that we never fall away from You!  Oh how I desperately want that to be my prayer and yours. 

Finally, the desire for a thankful heart must include: A Response to God. - 1 Chronicles 29:20-22

David calls upon the people to bless the Lord.  To lift their praises to God in affirmation of this resolve to live for God alone!  The people respond by offering sacrifices to the Lord.  We no longer are asked by God to sacrifice bulls or rams or lambs.  But we are called to live our lives as a sacrifice of worship to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2).

That’s my challenge to you at Thanksgiving and always.  Plead with God that according to His mercy He would stir up in you a passion for His Name that will not fade or pass.  A zeal for Him that will continue leading you down the paths of the righteous and upright.  The path that pleases the Lord and leads to eternal life with Him!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family Bookshelf: The Donkey who Carried a King by RC Sproul

We recently read the book "The Donkey Who Carried a King" to our children.  It was fantastic!  In his usual style RC illustrates a Biblical principle using an engaging story that children can understand and apply to their own lives.  In this book RC helps children understand that they should carry out every task in their lives without grumbling.  He does it by telling the story of the Donkey who carried Christ into Jerusalem.  Certainly Davey, the donkey, was overjoyed to have such a special task.  After taking Christ to Jerusalem however Davey is put back to seemingly menial tasks for which he begins to grumble.  Through a wonderful depiction of the servant's heart that Christ displayed your children too will see the importance of doing every task without grumbling as though doing it for the Lord directly.

As always this book was Biblical and a delight.  Can't wait for the next children's book release from RC.

Pick it up at Ligonier.org or Amazon.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishing through their Blog for a Free Book Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

James White on the Presidential Election of 2008 & 2012

Let me say this.  The recent Presidential Race proves one thing.  Observing both the candidates for President and the candidates for Vice-President it should be abundantly clear that Christians are failing in their task of preaching the Gospel to EVERYONE EVERYWHERE!

Thoughts on the Presidential Election of 2008

Thoughts on the Presidential Election of 2012