Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A united heart

heart with crack down the middle
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 86:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name." Psalm 86:11


In the world of words, prevailing wisdom says if you want to make it as a writer, stick to one thing. If you've had success with mysteries, for example, don't suddenly switch to writing historical romances and then over to contemporary suspense and, for a change, science fiction.

Why?  Because it confuses your readers and erodes their trust in you. Fans of your mysteries will be put off when they pick up your newest and find it's not another whodunit but a tale about life on Mars. What they wanted, and thought they were getting, when they saw your name on the cover was a puzzle, not a space fantasy.

David in our reading today asks for God's help with something similar in the realm of his life and affections when he prays: "Unite my heart to fear Your name." My Bible's notes suggest other ways of expressing "Unite my heart": "Give me singleness of heart" and "Do not let the heart have many allegiances or distractions" - Dick Iverson, study notes on Psalms, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 752. 

Why is a divided heart a bad thing? For one, it blunts the impact our lives will have because it confuses those who observe us. But even worse, it confuses us too (James 1:4-8).

It takes only a few minutes to come up with a list of things that could compete for the allegiance of our hearts: money, security, desire to be liked, success, popularity, personal appearance and image, pleasure, leisure…

How do we get to that place of having an undivided, undistracted, unified heart?

"Teach me Your ways," the psalmist begins his request here. Teach (yarah) means to instruct, direct, teach, point, shoot, aim, cast in a straight direction. One Bible word derived from Yarah is Torah which means instruction, teaching, as in the instruction Moses got from God written in the first books of the Bible (from "Word Wealth" by Dick Mills, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible p. 710).

I believe we can make the leap and conclude that spending time in God's word (for us the Old and New Testaments) will also teach us what it means to have an undivided heart.

I love how Leslyn Musch sums up this thought in her Truth-In-Action Through Psalms: "God desires for our hearts to be undivided, fully devoted to Him, daily choosing Him above all else in all decisions of our lives" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 755 (emphasis added)

PRAYER:
Dear God, as I read the Bible, please help me to understand how its teachings apply to me. Help me to choose to put You first in every aspect of my life. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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