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Awaken 2019: A Desperate Heart

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” - Psalm 139:23-24

What is the impact of a spiritual awakening? Much has been written on this subject, but Del Fehsenfeld Jr., the founder of Life Action Ministries, summarized it by saying, “Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and hunger for His Word.” A fresh encounter with God changes how we see Him and how we see ourselves.

Today’s verses from Psalm 139 give us a glimpse into the heart of a man named David in the midst of his deep longing for spiritual awakening which included a recognition of his own sinfulness. The raw honesty within these verses over personal sin provide a real-life example of a man who sought the Lord in desperation and ultimately experienced the amazing, restoring, undeserved grace of God. From the life of David, we discover several attitudes of the heart that are present when we truly long for spiritual awakening.  First, when we long for awakening, there is a willingness to be totally honest before God – “Search me”(v. 23).  Second, when we long for awakening, there is an inviting of whatever it takes to be right with God – “try me”(v. 23). Finally, when we long for awakening, there is a complete submission to the way of God – “lead me”(v. 24).

God deeply desires for us to experience victory over sin and for our lives to reflect His holiness. Moment-by-moment by His grace, He seeks to remove the impurities in our lives that grieve Him, hurt us, and hurt those around us. Because while sin can in no way change our eternal relationship with God, it can impact our daily fellowship with Him. In his book, Because We Love Him, Clyde Cranford said, 

“Our relationship with God is not in question. Through the blood of Jesus we were released from all our sins: past, present, and future, and thus enabled to have a relationship with God. Our fellowship is nevertheless hindered by unconfessed sins, which must be dealt with all along the way. Christ’s shed blood continues to cleanse us from the sins that hinder our fellowship with Him on a daily basis.”

Our sin is dark and deep, but our God is gracious and faithful. As we begin 2019, may we yearn for spiritual awakening. In true desperation, may we ask God to search us, try us, and lead us. 

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions: 

  • Am I being honest with God about everything in my life? See Matthew 5:8
  • Am I sensitive to that which grieves the heart of God? See Psalm 19:14
  • Am I allowing God’s Word to be the standard for my behavior? See Hebrews 4:12-13

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Awaken 2019: A Genuine Heart

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“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil.” - Psalm 101:1 - 4

Dr. Dwight Lyman Moody, one of the great evangelists of the nineteenth century, once said, “Character is what you are in the dark.” At the core of this thought is a bold declaration that if you really want to know a person’s character, you should examine who they are when no one is looking rather than who they are when everyone is looking.    

In the book of Proverbs, which was recorded in the tenth century, we read a verse along the same line as the lesson shared by Dr. Moody. However, the verse from Proverbs is about the heart – As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man” (Proverbs 27:19). In essence, if we really want to know the truth about a person, we must look past who they are on the outside to who they are on the inside; we must look at their heart.    

Today’s four verses from the Psalms speak to pursuing God’s best in every area of life. The Psalmist, David, shares his longing for nearness to God by asking When will You come to me?” (v. 1). Following this question, he resolves to walk within his house in the integrity of his heart (v.2). This has massive application for us as we begin a new year. As the people of God, our aim should be a life of Christlike sameness both privately and publicly, rather than a life that is divided or inconsistent. Many people in our culture spend an extreme amount of time and resources to achieve a certain status professionally, socially, or academically. As a result, one of the first areas that is overlooked or compromised is their integrity. In contrast, those external things should not be the primary focus for those walking “the blameless way”(v. 2). Who we are privately matters because what God sees and values is more than public perception, social media followers, and portfolio assets. God sees past the external to the reality of who we really are on the inside. 

We will never know God deeply unless there is a Christlike sameness between who we are privately and who we are publicly. Beyond that, the life of Christ in us will not be demonstrated through us at home, at work, or in our circle of influence unless we are people who walk with integrity.    

In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions: 

  • Are you a person of integrity? See Proverbs 10:9 
  • Are there attitudes or actions that need to change in your life? See 2 Corinthians 1:12
  •  How is God speaking to you about the focus on your heart?  See 1 Samuel 16:7

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