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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Schenk's Mill Covered Bridge, Lancaster County 9/23/18 (Click to enlarge)
Schenk's Mill Covered Bridge, Lancaster County
The new guard prevents over-height vehicles from going through!
(Click to enlarge)

"This Is My Desire"

Message summary: Keep the desire of my heart to be after You forever, and keep my heart loyal to You.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to You" (1 Chronicles 29:18).

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

The opioid problem is in the news virtually every day. Though we don't live in a huge metropolitan area (Lancaster County has a population of about 550,000) scarcely a day goes by without a report of an opioid overdose and/or death in our county alone. Sadly it so often either masquerades as or leads to suicide as well. It is also a common topic in the course of our chaplain work and that's not surprising since a recent report states that one in three know someone addicted to opioids.

Trying to get my arms around how someone can knowingly imbibe of a substance so deadly, I understand that once opioids are used it creates an intense, practically uncontrollable desire to use them again, thus the addictive nature.

Considering this prompts a study of desiring God (which also happens to be the name of a ministry founded by John Piper).

In this world with so many destructive and deadly desires and
so many vacillating, fickle loyalties I appreciate the desire for God and the character trait of genuine, long-lasting loyalty. David prayed for the people of Israel to have this desire for God and to practice the virtue of loyalty to God in our daily text just prior to his death as he prepared to pass the torch of leadership to his son, Solomon.

The text begins with these words,
"O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel". This is a common Scriptural reminder that our faith has a root in history. It is first found in Exodus 3:15 when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush. Interestingly it is last used in Stephen's sermon in Acts 7 referring to the same occasion in Acts 7:30-32. (However in these references it more often uses the name Jacob for Israel, who of course is one and the same person.)

The text has two related petitions of prayer:

"Keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever." "This desire" in this context is the heart the people had to give to the construction of the temple. But in a more generalized sense it speaks to a heart with a desire to withhold nothing from God; spiritual, physical, or material. We sing, "I Surrender All" striving to keep this desire in our hearts forever, for there are so many things that play tug of war with our heart. We must make a firm resolve that our foremost desire will be to keep our hearts desiring God.

"Keep their hearts loyal to you." The NKJV states, "fix their heart toward You". David had expressed this same aspiration personally in Psalm 57:7, "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!" "Steadfast" means "unwavering, resolute, unyielding, deep-rooted". David was a steadfast follower of God. Of course he did have his major downfall but through confession and repentance he bounced back. Out of that deep-rooted commitment to God David wrote the beautiful songs of praise that still bless and inspire us today. (Haven devotional)

Today we encourage you to examine your outlook on life. What is your greatest desire? This desire impacts our loyalty to God. How loyal are you? The reality of "surrendering all" is an aspiration but we do well to keep it our desire forever that will in turn buttress our loyalty to God.

Allow me to paraphrase today's verse making it a personal petition to God. Keep the desire of my heart to be after You forever, and keep my heart loyal to You.

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
 I surrender all.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are influenced by many forces that seek to weaken or destroy our relationship with You. But we resolve to draw ever nearer to the One who makes life worthwhile. Your loving-kindness is even better than life, therefore we praise You; we lift up our hands in Your name for You have been our help, our salvation. May my soul follow hard after You as Your right hand upholds me day in and day out through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires" (Romans 6:12).

"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh"
Galatians 5:16).

"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"One Desire"
  Video  Lenny Leblanc

"All To Jesus I Surrender"  Video  Robin Mark

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Video   Brian Doerksen

"This Is My Desire"

"Keep Me True"  Video  Jabu Hlongwane  (South African Gospel music)

Finally today:
White Oak Display assemblers 9/25/18
Chaplain Visit Yesterday:  These White Oak Display assemblers in Palmyra are working hard. They are making the displays you see at stores like Lowes, Walmart, Bass Pro Shops and many other retailers. Due to the nature of the work flow and skills required this company is able to provide employment opportunities to many temps. They come from a variety of backgrounds, many having been out of the work force and who are often overcoming life's obstacles. This also gives us some very interesting ministry opportunities.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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