How We Truly Love

If the links don’t work for you, here is Sean’s video presentation Breakfast with Jesus and Deep Cries Out.

Todays reading is 1 Kings 8:54-61Open Link in New Window.

Here is today’s reflection by Gaby.

Our season about fruitfulness on the frontline has now ended and this talk nestles in between Fruitfulness and the “I am” sayings of Jesus. How can this fruitfulness be taken into the rest of our lives and how can we live from here on? What is important?

Picture the scene…a beautiful bride walks down the aisle towards her smiling husband…suddenly in her mind she is assailed by thoughts and premonitions of her life to come. She sees their married life flash before her eyes, the joys and the sorrows and finally their last few years as he contracts a degenerative disease and dies. With this information in her mind she reaches the front of the church. What should she do? Will she continue with the service or will she turn around and walk back down the aisle leaving the poor man alone?

In our reading we see Solomon praying some amazing prayers for the people. The particular verse that struck me was this:

v61 “And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”

And that is the prayer I am praying over you today as we begin.

As I spoke of the bride earlier I was thinking of us and our walk with the Lord. Fortunately this is not something that will ever happen to us nor a choice we have to make. We have to make all sorts of decisions where we have to trust the Lord will take us through these things and that the Lord would help us. So often we would perhaps think twice or pull back if we knew what was coming to us but often after the event you look back and realise it was not as bad as it could have been or that you might have anticipated it to be. And so for this bride. The bride is me I suppose, stepping into the Lord’s plan, not knowing what’s ahead but as we do we pray May our hearts be fully committed to the Lord and the person who is stepping forward into the Lord’s plan needs to have a heart that is fully committed to the Lord.

We get hearts that are fully committed to the Lord by trying to put him first in everything, by trying to spend the first part of our day with him or whenever is most convenient but I always find if I don’t spend time with him at the beginning of the day then the rest of the day is gone before I know it and it’s a day we haven’t prayed for.

It’s the time we grab a notebook and a pen and a bible and we can also just sit quiet and listen to see if the Lord puts anything on our hearts. I think prophecy is sometimes puffed up a bit, if we try we can all hear the Lord, whether it’s just a little nudge to go and kiss your son and then discover it’s 10pm and he’s on his iPad or to text your nephew who may be going through a hard time but that you on discovered that after you texted. That could be the Lord prompting.

I love to spend time with him on retreat. I like to go away for a day or overnight and pray and rest and reset. If you don’t have the luxury of a whole day perhaps you could try a few hours on Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon, even if you put the kids in front of a film so you can try and seek God.

What is God saying to me for my life for those around me? What is God saying to this community and congregation? How can we reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ at this time? That’s the first step for being whole hearted is to put the Lord first and put his will above our own. I could think of 50 excuses not to spend time with him or I could even say that I am always with him but actually nothing beats physically sitting down before him and speaking and listening to him and ask him once again to fill you with his Holy Spirit.

Why should I be wholehearted?

Why would I want to put everything with the Lord?
We don’t know what the future has for us. The future has become very uncertain and more now than before. If we are wholehearted for God we can put down our plans and trust his plans for us. Our plans are in his hands. We can step confidently our of the boat and know that he will lift the water up to support us. If we are wholehearted for the |Lord we can step forward without anxiety. The Bible tells us so many times do not worry about anything but so often we worry about everything. Shall I pick the cauliflower or the broccoli? Oh no I might pick the wrong one…don’t worry about it. Broccoli is clearly the best. It’s Ok we don’t need to worry about it.

Why should we be wholehearted? Because the Lord loves us.

Why should we be wholehearted? He will show us what is best for us. If we follow his plans we will be in the best safest place that we can be. We can experience the joy,love and peace that he offers us.

Why should we be wholehearted? Because he is worthy.

Why should we be wholehearted? Because he is gracious and loving and merciful and just and who wouldn’t want to be wholehearted for someone like that?

How do we live wholehearted lives?

Love

The first thing is love. If you feel like you’re lacking in love at the moment, ask God to give you love for those people around you, to give you love for the planet, to give you love for people you struggle to like. Ask God to give you an overflowing heart of love for other people and out of this can come two other things:

Living

if the way you live your life flows out of an overflowing heart of love then you will be living a wholehearted life for God.

Giving

Giving is really important. What we do with out time, our money, our attention is key. We have only one life to live so it’s really important we use the resources we have for the good of the world, for God. They’re all his resources in the first place so we can use them for his glory.

If you’re thinking “I don’t give where do I start?” I would start by giving to church and trusting us to use your money for good and what we feel God is calling us to do with it.

Pray about how much you can give. I would recommend that you always give just a teeny bit more than you think you can afford because God is going to look after you just as much as he’s going to look after anyone else. So why not be generous?

But not just giving of your money, where your treasure is there will be your heart also the Bible tells us but also giving your time and your attention. How often do we give people time but we hold back our attention? I might be physically sitting with them but am I playing on my phone, answering emails rather than listening to what they have to say?

How do we be present in the room with a person?

These things lead to us being wholehearted but the most important thing is that we pray for God’s spirit to empower us, to give us everything we need so we can give, we can live and we can love God.

Being wholehearted is about God’s heart in us.

Lord Jesus,

Please fill us once again today with your spirit and fill the holes in our hearts so we can love you and others. I pray for us today.

“And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

There will be a video version of the service and a podcast of the sermon.

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