|Volume 20 Number 1 January 2018||
The apostle Paul said in Romans 10:1-4, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” What is our heart’s desire and prayer to God for this new year? Is it something physical, material or spiritual? When our heart’s desire and prayer is of the caliber of Paul’s for Israel, success is assured! When we pray in genuine, obedient faith, we are calling down the power of God, and He will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in His Word. How do we know that? David forthrightly declared it to be a fact in Psalm 37:3-5. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” These promises are ours when we submit our lives to God.
Psalm 103:1 exclaims, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” What does that mean, and how is that done? To bless God with all that is “within” us involves our whole being—the totality of our personality and inner being as we give praise to God. It involves every faculty, power and fiber of our being united in the act of giving thanks to God. Is that our heart’s desire and prayer to Him?
How do we “bless” God? We affectionately and gratefully praise Him daily! Praises are expressions of adoration to God for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us every micro-second that we live! Why? Because He holds our breath in His hands and owns all our ways. That means He knows us better than we will ever know ourselves, since He is our Maker! “Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). Being the sheep of His pasture means He is the stately source of all spiritual food and water. Jesus said we are blessed and filled when we hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
When the children of Israel had most liberally given provisions for the construction of the Temple, David prayed and thanked God before the entire assembly. David fully acknowledged that both riches and honor come from God, that He reigns over all, and power and might is in His hand to make great and to give strength to all. In 1 Chronicles 29:13 he said, “Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.”
David further acknowledged that all things come from God, that all abundance comes from the hand of God and everything is all His own. “Then David said to all the assembly, ‘Now bless the LORD your God.’ So all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king” (1 Chronicles 29:20).
Blessing the Lord is established and ordained in Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.” The reason is in verse 5. “For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
In his book, 2nd Corinthians — Rx – Prescription for Abuses and Disorders, C.W. “Abe” Lincoln made the following observations about 2 Corinthians 4:13-14, which reads, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:13, Paul talks about the spirit of faith. That is the disposition or mind that fills and governs the heart of a Christian. Not just faith, but the spirit of faith, and the spirit of faith issues forth in courage. We not only believe, as David said, but since we do believe we speak. That’s the spirit of faith! The spirit of faith gives us victory.
2 Corinthians 4:14 says, …we know that the one that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence…The spirit of faith and the victory that gives us, Paul said, is for our benefit. We will stand with our Lord. We will be with Him in that great and final day, and the spirit of faith causes us to so speak and to so live…We also want others to hear, respond, and give thanksgiving to God, and to thus honor Him with praise. (page 45)
Giving daily thanks and praise to God is the constant mindset of the Christian because our lives are lived moment by moment not minute by minute. Have we ever given any real thought to how much can happen to any of us in a whole minute? The writer of Psalm 89:47-48 is unmistakable in depth regarding the uncertainty of life. “Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see [experience] death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” Scripture reveals there were only two: Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1).
Listed below are just a few of the challenges of Scripture for Christians. Are any of these our heart’s desire and prayer to God for 2018? If so, victory in Christ Jesus awaits!
Paul stated his heart’s desire and prayer to God was for Israel to be saved. Is it also our heart’s desire and prayer to God to become more devoted in advancing His cause—pursuing the eternal redemption of humanity? If so, those who turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3)!