November 19, 2017

The desires of your heart

Take delight in the Lord,

and He will give you the desires

of your heart — Psalm 37:4

He will fulfil the desire of

those who fear Him; He

also will hear their cry and

save them — Psalm 145:19

A poor man had wanted to go on a cruise all his life.
As a youngster he had seen an advertisement for a luxury
cruise, and ever since he had dreamed of spending
a week on a large ocean liner enjoying fresh sea air and
relaxing in a luxurious environment. He saved money
for years, carefully counting his pennies, often sacrificing
personal needs so he could stretch his resources a
little further.
Finally he had enough to purchase a cruise ticket. He
went to a travel agent, looked over the cruise brochures,
picked out one that was especially attractive
and bought a ticket with the money he had saved so
long. He was hardly able to believe he was about to
realise his childhood dream.
Knowing he could not afford the kind of elegant food
pictured in the brochure, the man planned to bring his
own provisions for the week. Accustomed to moderation
after years of frugal living, and with his entire savings
going to pay for the cruise ticket, the man decided
to bring along a week’s supply of bread and peanut
butter. That was all he could afford.
The first few days of the cruise were thrilling. The man
ate peanut butter sandwiches alone in his room each
morning and spent the rest of his time relaxing in the
sunlight and fresh air, delighted to be aboard ship. By
midweek, however, the man was beginning to notice
that he was the only person on board who was not eating
luxurious meals. It seemed that every time he sat
on deck or rested in the lounge or stepped outside his
cabin, a porter would walk by with a huge meal for
someone who had ordered room service.
By the fifth day of the cruise the man could take it no
longer. The peanut butter sandwiches seemed stale and
tasteless. He was desperately hungry, and even the
fresh air and sunshine had lost their appeal. Finally he
stopped a porter and exclaimed, “Tell me how I might
get one of those meals! I’m dying for some decent
food, and I’ll do anything you say to earn it!”
“Why, sir, don’t you have a ticket for this cruise?”
the porter asked.
“Certainly,” said the man. “But I spent everything I
had for that ticket. I have nothing left with which to
buy food.”
“But, sir,” said the porter, “didn’t you realise? Meals
are included with your passage. You may eat as
much as you like!”
Lots of Christians live like that man. Not realising the
unlimited provision that are theirs in Christ, they
munch on stale scraps. There’s no need to live like
that! Everything we could ever want or need is included
in the cost of admission — and the Saviour has
already paid it for us! (From: Our Sufficiency in Christ,
by John MacArthur, Jr.)
I think Brother MacArthur may have waxed a bit lyrical
on that last line when he said, “Everything we could
ever want or need…”, because it leaves the door wide
open for the deceitful heart of even us redeemed Christians
to make demands that are totally self-centred
rather than Christ-centred. Never underestimate the
sinfulness of sin or the deceitfulness of our own hearts.
(See Jeremiah 17:9 and I Corinthians 10:12). We have
not been perfected by our conversion, and if we say we
are without sin, we deceive ourselves (I John 1:8). Our
sanctification toward perfection in heaven is a life-long
task.
However, we must agree with what MacArthur is saying
because the promises of God prove true, and He
has promised us “such blessing that there will not be
room enough to receive it,” (Malachi 3:10). I don’t
know about you, but I am definitely a starter for that
kind of blessing.
So how do we cash in? What do we have to do to inherit
all these goodies? Perhaps we had better stop right
here and realise that I have already asked in the same
spirit as the rich young man who approached Jesus and
left quickly and sadly when he found the price too
high. He didn’t want to give up that which he could not
keep for that which he could never lose. (See Matthew
19:16-22).
Look at our opening verses. Note that these promises,
like virtually every other promise of God, have conditions
attached to them. You see, our Lord and Saviour
is not a big sugar-daddy in the sky just waiting to write
us out blank cheques whenever we want them. He is
King of kings and Lord of lords, Absolute Sovereign of
the entire universe. We play by His rules or we are out
of the game. Here is the One to Whom it is quite correct
to say, “Your wish is my command.” But here also
is the “secret” to inheriting all He has: When we take
delight in the Lord, when what He wants is what we
want, when my inmost delights and desires come from
seeing His will accomplished in my life, in the life of
others, in the society around me, then I am assured of
receiving the desires of my heart!
You see, it is clear that whatever God wants, God gets.
Now we know from Scripture that His time frame is not
what we would organise, but we know that no person
or being or circumstance is going to thwart God’s
will….He will get, He will accomplish that which He
desires. If we are totally in tune with Him, our desires
will be the same as His….and just as He gets what He
wills, so will we! Now we may not see some of these
things in our life times. But they will come to pass, and
we can know the joy of having contributed to the
accomplishment, the furtherance of His purposes on
earth, even though we may not live to see some things
come to fruition. Have not most of the saints through
the ages lived and laboured in exactly such hope? Do
not go around praying for or proclaiming that thus-andso
will take place because you’ve been praying faithfully
for that…you may well be setting yourself up for a
faith-shattering disappointment. Which of these attitudes
are we displaying for our children to emulate?
Which of these are we training them to have?
This does not mean we do not plan big or expect big in
this life. You bet we do: set goals and have your 5, 10,
20-year objectives in mind. And pray about them, that
they be in the will of the Lord. One of the biggest mistakes
I ever made was to piously “wait upon the Lord”
for several years as a young man and let career and
educational opportunities slide right on by. Then Proverbs
16:9 came crashing through: “A man’s mind plans
his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” See? The
promise has a condition. He will direct our steps, but
we must at least make some plans for moving
in one direction or the other, not just sit there.
You cannot steer a car, a ship, a horse or anything
until it is moving. Are we teaching our
children to be pro-active in seeking out God’s
will? Do they see us doing that?
Since my will is to do His will, when He directs
my steps in a completely different direction
than I had planned, I don’t get all frustrated,
bitter and twisted (well, not for long,
anyway!) because I know this change of direction
is from the Lord! I mean this change
of plans may not be the least bit convenient.
It may actually cost me money, seem to have
wasted time mucking about in this other area
I am now leaving and even make me look a
bit inconsistent or indecisive in the eyes of
my peers. Well, just call to mind the lives of
people like Moses, John the Baptist and even
Christ Jesus Himself.
Years ago, when single, I was planning a trip
to South America. I had saved up a nice sum
and was praying that God would confirm it. I
was also shopping for a car and had decided
on the size of down payment I could handle
and therefore what price vehicle I could afford
to look at. I found the perfect car: one
owner, a little old lady who only drove it on
weekends. As soon as I signed the papers —
and for some reason, not until then — it
dawned on me that she wanted the full payment
not just a down payment. It took all the
money I’d saved for my trip plus a withdrawal
penalty fee plus all but $20 of my next pay to
buy that car. Well, God clearly confirmed that I was to
have that car but that I definitely was not to go to
South America. Maybe that doesn’t sound like too
spiritual an experience, but I want you to know, I had
total assurance and peace of heart that God had organised
every detail. Recall events like these from your
own life and recount them again and again to your children.
This is how we are to train up our children, in the fear
of the Lord. Note how our other verse above promises
fulfillment of desires to those who fear Him. We do
what He says, not because we are afraid but because
we don’t want to do anything else! I’ve lived long
enough now to know that when I obey the Lord, I am
the one who gets blessed, not the Lord. I am not doing
Him a favour. No, No! He is doing me the favour by
graciously allowing me to know His will in His statutes,
ordinances, commandments and precepts in the
Bible. As parents it is our duty to ensure that our children
perform what is right. This is non-negotiable. We
must strive to so train them in consistent obedience to
God and His word that they take delight in it and know
no other lifestyle.
By this we will set them up for a life of true blessedness
to themselves and of true blessing to others. We
want them to be fit for use by our Master as instruments
of Righteousness in His hands, doing those good
works for which they were created (Ephesians 2:10). ?

From Keystone Magazine

November 2007, Vol. XIII No. 6
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
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