Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Your Heart’s Desire

Over the past couple of years, many of my friends have seen my family and I go through some very difficult times. Some have even asked me, “How are you even able to make it through it?” Others will quote the last part of Psalm 37, “4b he will give you your heart’s desires.

They seem to forget about the early part of the verse. If you have forgotten or do not exactly remember it, the psalmist writes, ”Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” 

What does the verse really mean to those who are facing unemployment, illness or some other major problems or obstacles in their lives? As I had mentioned earlier, my family has gone through many heartaches in just a short period of time. The latest was the illness that nearly took my life. The medical bills alone consumed almost everything we had. We were left with almost nothing. But, we knew that God was there and that He would provide. 

My father and father-in-law were perfect examples for me to derive strength and inspiration from. Both men were very proud of being self-sufficient and worked very hard to provide for their families even when it meant going without many times.

Earlier this week, one of my colleagues at work related a story about her father. She told me that he would go to work with a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread for lunch. While others were going out to eat, he ate a simple, cheap lunch in order to save money for his daughter’s Christian education. Between housing, education, and other things, there wasn’t that much left at the beginning or end of the month. So, he went without to provide for his family.

Each father goes through the same thing for his family. He goes without so that they can enjoy life. The real question is why do they do it? The answer is very simple. They take delight in knowing that their families are able to enjoy life. It is that delight that keeps them going and doing everything that the family needs. They do not call it a “duty” or “suffering”. They do it out of love for their family. 

Christian fathers thank God daily for the blessings of their family and for the ability and opportunity to continue to serve not only God but also their families. Even as I grow older, I learn that my delight comes from providing for my family and, most importantly, serving God and His Kingdom.

But, there are times when I wish things were easier. I sometimes find myself wishing that we didn’t have to go through the difficulties we experienced and continue to experience. For example, I am still dealing with the consequences of my illness. Each day that I have to endure the discomfort is another day and reminder of what I face daily. There are times when I beg the Lord for better or more blessings. God gently reminds me that His grace is sufficient.

Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, tells them what God told him about, what he refers to as the thorn in his side or Satan’s messengers. He pleads with God three times to take it away. God responds to his pleading, “9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.

What I have learned over time is that my purpose in life is simple. I am to take delight in the Lord and follow the example of His son, Christ Jesus. I am not to concern myself with other things. I do not need to wonder where He is or if He will provide for my needs. All I need to do is to take delight in Him and know that He will give me the desires of my heart. 

The second part is the most difficult for most of us. It is the “heart’s desire” part that really confounds us. I am sitting in a mall as I write this message. As I look around, I see people with shopping bags and money and credit cards flashing all over the place. If I were to approach some of them and ask what would make them happy, many would ask for more money, a bigger house and a brand new car. Those are the top two things that most lottery winners buy first after getting their huge pile of money. Many say the same thing, “If I just had more money, I would be happy.”

Psychologists have all said, “Money does not bring happiness.” In fact, money seems to bring only more problems and headaches. Some lottery winners spend everything and end up worse off then they were before they had money. Some declare bankruptcy while others spend and spend and spend in order to find happiness. 

In his first epistle to the young pastor, Timothy, Paul gives him the following advice in chapter 6, “10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Think about the words of Paul as it pertains to our heart’s desire. Money only brings woe when it becomes the root of our existence. When we begin to crave money, that craving becomes our desire and it causes us to wander away from God. We begin to beg God for more and more money. It seems that the more money we have; the more of it we want and desire. Money seems to just drives us away from God and not any closer to Him.

So, what should our desire be? We should not only bend our knees to God, but we should also bend our hearts to Him. The desire of our hearts should be God’s desire for us. When we seek Him and His will in our lives, things always get better. 

When I looked at our bank account and saw the money dwindling away with each medical bill, I felt that I had no way out of this predicament. I thought that we would lose everything and have nothing. There were so many times when I drove past a homeless person on the street and prayed, “Lord, please do not turn us out onto the street.”

Just like Paul, I received the same message from Him. Reading from “The Message” translation, God said in 2 Corinthians 12, “At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, 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.

I chose this translation to reiterate the words of God to Paul. When we align our hearts to God’s will and let it become the desire of our hearts, things change for the better. We become more appreciative of the blessings that He showers upon us daily and we are humbled by the one gift of His, salvation, that we received when we accepted His son as our personal Savior and Lord.

I ask each of you reading this message to think about your heart’s desire. Is it more money that you desire with the idea that more will make things better? Is it a bigger house, faster car or more of what this sinful world has to offer? Examine what each will do for you. Will faster, bigger or more really bring you happiness or will it result in a craving for more? That craving only leads to destruction and brings more woe and want. 

If you look to the Lord and take delight in Him by not only bending your knee but also bending your heart to His will and love, you will soon find the true and real desire of your heart. God will always provide for your needs and show you the way, but you have to allow His will and love to guide you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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