Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank You

I want to thank my friend Kieth Hackfeld for encouraging me to do this blog.

What is the greatest commandment?

"Love the Lord your God with all of your heart"

Jesus said in Matthew 2:27
"Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your mind."

A few days ago I had the opportunity to minister in a church that Pat and I consider our home church in Guatemala. This church and these people are some of our dearest friends. In this church some leaders have fallen away and at this point refuse to repent and change their ways. They are convinced that THEIR sin is not so bad. It seems that what the Bible has to say about their sins is not important. It is always like this when we are not loving God with all of our heart. When Christians are not loving God with all of their heart, mind, and all of their soul it is easy to justify our sins. It is easy to believe a lie, to make excuses.

I went to my friends church to hold their hands, to stand beside them in a very trying time. My only desire was to encourage and lift them up. I was encouraged and uplifted by their strong love for God and for His church. They impressed me with their inner strength. Their desire is to love God with all of their heart.

What is it to love God with your whole heart?

To me it means loving Him more that anything else, loving Him before anything or anyone else. It means he is always on our minds. He is first in all things. Before we think of others, we think of Him. He is always on our minds.

Before my wife and I married we were seperated for several weeks. It seemed like years. She was all I thought about. I called daily, wrote letters, I could not wait for us to be together again. I wanted to hold her hand, to be close to her. I hated the separation. I hated being apart. That is loving with your whole heart. I wanted to please her; I wanted her to be happy with me. I believe that is what it is to love God with our whole heart. He is all we can think about, talking to Him is a daily, hourly pleasure that gives us great peace and joy. We simply cannot get enough of God. We are eager to see His face, to hold His hand, to walk with Him and to enjoy His presence. More than we want anyone or anything, we want Him.

If we can master this first commandment, we can do anything. We will be living a life of obedience. We will have victory. We will bring pleasure to our great God. We will make him happy. We will be giving Him what He wants most from us. More than our tithes, more than service, more than ministry, more than anything God desires that we love Him above all and before all. Every father wants his children to love him. God, our heavenly Father wants and deserves the same and more from those of us who are his children.

Consequences of loving God with all of your heart...

If a person loves God above all else he does not have time for sin. He will not be wanting another woman. He will not want to lie, steal, cheat in any form. He will not be abusive to his wife, children or anyone else, because his heart is turned toward God. Because a man loves God with all of his heart he walks in integrity. Because he is so busy loving God he wants only to do those things God wants him to do, those things that please God, that honor God.

Loving God with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind will keep us in good standing with God. As Gods children He desires our obedience more than sacrifice, more than service. For a father in this life to have obedient children, this is a great gift. Obedient children honor their father. We honor God by loving Him more than anything else.

IF YOU LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, MIND AND SOUL you will not have time for sin. You will chose the right thing always over the wrong thing.

Confession: Every time in my Christian life that I have messed up, gotten into sin, did something bad or hurtful to another person, every time I had taken my eyes off of Jesus, It was because I was not loving God with my whole heart. It was always my fault. I was guilty.

Someone is thinking, "You cannot love God with all of your heart, it is impossible." That has become an excuse for our sin. That is why so many avoid this commandment. We do not have the luxury to pick and choose which commandments we want to follow. If we cannot love God with all of our heart, soul and all of our mind, why did God place an impossible commandment at the first and why did He say it was the greatest? We can, if we want to. This kind of love is not cheap. It is costly. The flesh has to die. Death is painful.

My church friends I told you about at the start of this blog, I am happy to report that they are well, very well. Their heart is to know and to love God. They are in good spirits and they are full of hope. I am so proud of the great strides they have made through this difficult time. They are awesome. Their worship and praise is wonderful. Guatemalans know how to worship. They are shining brightly and they are strong in the Lord and they move forward. The love they have for God can be seen on their faces.

You also can survive your problems, your setbacks, your disappointments. If you have the desire you can make it through your difficult days if you can get a grip on the FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. You start by loving Him more, giving Him more, not money, not time, but yourself. It is you He loves, not your stuff. It is you He wants.

Do it, start right now, give God more. Every day give God a little more and one day you will wake up and know that YOU LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, ALL OF YOUR MIND AND ALL OF YOUR SOUL. That will be heaven.