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AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30

When we talked about loving God with our heart we referenced our personality and passions. That’s pretty deep. When we talk about loving God with our soul, that’s deeper still because our soul is the innermost part of who we are. It is used as a synonym for life, our life, our essence. It’s the part God created to last for eternity. Sadly when sin entered the world it separated our soul, our life, from God’s presence. We are eternally dissatisfied until our soul finds rest in Him. Why? Because before we accepted Christ our soul was enslaved to sin. We were longing for Him, for a perfect leader in this Quest called life. After we know Jesus our souls can rest because we have “returned to the shepherd and guardian of our souls” (1 Peter 2:25).

King David was Israel’s Poet King. He often spoke about His soul, “my soul is greatly dismayed…I will lift up my soul…my soul may sing praise…my soul will rejoice…” King David knew there was more to him than his mind and body. My soul is my immaterial essence, my life breath. It is that part of me that can be separated from Him if I choose to put myself on the throne of my life. As a Christian I desire a makeover that will reform my soul so that I can love and put God at the center of everything in my life. God has promised this makeover in Romans 8:29. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Everyday God is reshaping me to resemble Jesus and that includes my soul.

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Psalm 63:1-5
Matthew 10:28
Ezekiel 18:4
Luke 16:19-31
Mark 8:36
Matthew 16:26
3 John 1:2

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

Part 3 on loving God with the heart

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…”

“So what’s on your heart this week?” Hopefully you have taken some time during our study to reflect on how to use your interests and passions for God. But what about when you see things in yourself that fall short of God’s standard? Do we assume we’re a lost cause and of no use to God? We cannot hide our good qualities or our failures from Him. He “alone knows every human heart” (1 Kings 8:39). But be of good cheer, the ungodly things I find in my heart bring me to Him in a special way, a humble way. I wish I could bring to Him a “Great Commandment Christian,” fully assembled and ready to serve, but I came broken and, though I’m no longer a slave to sin, my flesh still fights against my makeover. When I recognize this and grieve my sin then I am in a position for God to transform my heart. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but the Lord promises that He is near to the brokenhearted.

In Psalm 147 we are reminded that it is fitting to praise God. The best way to praise God is to think about His actions and his attributes. The Psalm tells us:

God heals the brokenhearted. He names the stars.
He sends rain to the earth.
He delights in those who fear him.
He has unfailing love.
He sends us his protection.
He shares his commands with us.
He controls all nature.
He communicates his word to us!
Praise the Lord.

Loving God has many facets, praising Him for all He has done is one of them. Aligning our lifestyles with His word is another. What kind of heart does God want me to have? A pure heart, a clean heart, a kind heart, and of course a heart that loves Him above all else. The kind of heart that Jesus displayed for us.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Mike

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Psalm 34:18
Matthew 11:28
Psalm 147:3
Isaiah 61:1
Luke 4:8
1 Peter 2:24

UNIT VERSE:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. – Mark 12:30

Wisdom – God’s Operating System for Your Heart

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

About five years ago I started using a Mac laptop instead of my old PC. One thing that prompted that switch was the problems I was having with viruses on my PC. As it turns out, the Mac operating system is much less prone to virus problems. It does a better job on its own, without the expense of extra virus protection services, of keeping out unwanted and damaging material that could slow down or freeze up my machine. 

Last time we talked about the good passions and desires that God has put in our hearts, let’s call them the pre-loaded software. We also talked about guarding our hearts from storing up ungodly things, let’s call them malware or viruses, that corrupt our God-given passions and desires. The human heart was made for loving and glorifying God. Sin has corrupted that heart, but by faith in Jesus we can have our hard-drive (heart) wiped clean of sin and reinstalled with God’s programs, so that it is free to function as it was intended.

The problem is that we still live in a sinful world where there are new viruses around every corner. That’s where God’s heart operating system comes into play. Wisdom. It comes from God and is the atmosphere in which all of your pre-loaded heart software works best. It is also highly resistant to viruses and will prevent unwanted items from piling up in your heart and slowing down or freezing up your system. If we, or our kids, want to love God with ALL our heart, then we need the right operating system…wisdom. “Whatever else you get, get wisdom” (Prov. 4:7) and we get wisdom by downloading it from the living and active word of God.

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 2:1-11
Jeremiah 33:3
James 1:5
Psalm 19:7
Proverbs 10:8
Proverbs 16:23
Proverbs 2:10

 

Heart Check

(Excerpt from Extreme Makeover: Spiritual Edition, a curriculum by Michael J. Meyers)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Mark 12:30

When Jesus gave the greatest commandment, He was responding to a scribe who was asking the most important question for someone who believes in the all-powerful God of the Bible. What does God want from me? Jesus was glad to answer. He quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5. The answer was simple but profound…if you want to know what God really wants from you, the answer is love – practical, everything I have and am, love – and it starts with your heart, the new heart God created in you the moment you trusted in Jesus.

The Father has created each of our hearts differently, with different passions,different likes and dislikes. He intended each of these to be used in love for serving Him and others. But our hearts are not a closed loop system. Things come in and out of our heart. Jesus teaches us in Luke 6:45 that, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” The abundance of the heart includes both the good things that God has placed there as well as the things, either good or evil, that we have “stored up” there. This is why it is so important to both know what is in our hearts already (Psalm 139:23), so we can ask God to remove anything that doesn’t glorify Him and store up good things there instead, but also to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) from letting in those things we don’t want to store up.

In order to keep our hearts in tune for loving God, we should do this check-up regularly in prayer and in the Word. How is your heart this week? Let’s do a self-check first and then we can help those around us to do the same. David was man after God’s own heart. This doesn’t mean he was sinless, but that he had a heart fully devoted to God. Let’s ask with him this week, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10)

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
1 Kings 8:61
Joshua 22:5
Psalm 37:4
Psalm 57:7
Luke 6:45
Psalm 51:10

Marriage on Mission

Upcoming Events

Hello Friends,

I am having the opportunity to speak next weekend at both Reston Bible Church’s Marriage Booster being held October 13th, as well as the Band of Brothers Men’s Breakfast being held at Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn, VA the following morning.  Links for the registration to each are listed below.  Would love to see you there. Should be a good time of fellowship and conversation.

October 13th Marriage Booster – https://www.restonbible.org/event/marriagebooster/  (Registration is FREE)

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Band of Brother’s Breakfast – https://www.restonbible.org/event/mensbreakfast/

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Blessed to be a blessing – Psalm 40. Sermon given @ Reston Bible Church

Join us in Israel!

Join Patricia and me in the Holy Land this fall with a team from Reston Bible Church!   http://www.restonbible.org/event/israel

Israel 2017 – Meyers OAW Promo 720 from Open Arms Worldwide on Vimeo.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 5 (Lesson 1)

SOUL SHERPA, LESSON 1: THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR GUIDE

family-quest-the-rockThe work of the Holy Spirit – To manifest (make known, show) the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church.

Isn’t GPS a great thing? It amazes me that a satellite high above the earth can see me, and when combined with digital mapping software, can tell me how to get from point A to B in the quickest way possible. It amazes me even more to consider that this system can see if there is heavy traffic or an accident along my route and re-direct me around it. If I take a wrong turn, it quickly notifies me. “Rerouting.” But as amazing as this system is, it is only as good as its underlying data. How many times have you followed your GPS directions only to find out that its map data is incorrect and you are at a dead end or the address data is incomplete and you end up in a business park when you wanted to be at a friend’s house? Even when the data is good, it isn’t fool proof. An overcast day or poor cell coverage can knock your GPS out completely.

But there is a guidance system that is 100% trustworthy, 100% of the time. Its data is perfectly reliable. It works no matter how dark it gets because to it, “darkness is as light.” It is an integrated system that lights your path, turns your darkness to light, guides you on the best path possible, reroutes you when you make a wrong turn, and even provides roadside assistance when you break down along the highways of life.

That is our triune God. God’s living Word, breathed out by the Father through the Son is its database. It is empowered by his Holy Spirit whose job it is to make known the active presence of God in the world and especially in his children by guiding us into all truth. Our students need to learn early that they can depend, with ALL their hearts, on their failsafe guidance system. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

 

BIG IDEA: We can trust God to guide us.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Proverbs 3:5-6
Isaiah 42:16
John 8:12
Psalm 119:105
Psalm 23:1-3

SECTION VERSE:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember Him. Then He will make your paths smooth and straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

LESSON VERSE:
Guide me in your truth. Teach me. You are God my Savior. I put my hope in you all day long. – Psalm 25:5

PRAYER:
Thank God that Jesus laid down his glory, his power, and his life so that He could become one of us and show us what God is like. Ask Him to help you make Jesus the center of your life every day.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • What did you learn today?
  • From our memory verse, what 3 things should we do? What will God do in response?
  • Who is a leader you admire? What makes God the best leader?

LIVE IT OUT!

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.

Family Quest: The Rock – Peak 4 (Lesson 4)

SPOTTER, LESSON 4: GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE

family-quest-the-rock“Be imitators of GOD, therefore, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)

The Bible makes plain that, when we are reborn in Christ, we are called to be “imitators of GOD,” that is, imitators of his communicable character attributes, those attributes GOD “shares” with his adopted children. We can know the character of our GOD because it is clearly revealed in scripture. Among his many qualities we find that God is loving, patient, kind, good, joyful, faithful, righteous, generous, courageous, creative, and, not least of all, forgiving. These are traits we should strive to imitate. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Forgiveness is sweet and grace is a great virtue when we are on the receiving end. It is something to rejoice over. But how things change when we are the “offended” party. Suddenly justice takes center stage and we begin to entertain thoughts about whether the offender “deserves” our forgiveness. We focus on our wounds and wallow in our injuries. We think that the kind of forgiveness Jesus offered his enemies on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” is impossible for us to imitate. After all He is God. But this excuse falls apart when we look a few pages further on into the book of Acts and we see Stephen imitating his Lord in the face of a brutal death by stoning. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Can we hope to attain to this level of forgiveness? I’ll let Jesus answer that one. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” With God’s indwelling Holy Spirit all things are possible.

As we close out this section on forgiveness, we should seek to help the children understand that, on this side of heaven, we are striving to imitate Christ, knowing we will stumble and fall, trusting in his forgiveness when we do, and letting Him pick us up and urge us on to continue the climb He has called us to.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

 

BIG IDEA: Forgive others as God forgives you.

 

MEDITATING ON THE WORD:
Ephesians 4:32
Ephesians 5:1
Matthew 6:8-14
Matthew 18: 21-35
Philippians 3-12-14

SECTION VERSE:
But God is faithful and fair. If we admit that we have sinned, He will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. 1 John 1:9

LESSON VERSE:
Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done. – Ephesians 4:32

PRAYER:
Thank God that He is faithful to forgive us when we choose sin instead of Him. Ask Him to forgive you today for where you have fallen short of His standard. Thank Him for his abounding love for you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • During our study has God shown you any sin in your life? What should you do?
  • Share a time when someone was unkind or unfair to you. Your response?
  • Read and discuss Matthew 18:21-35.
  • What does it mean to imitate someone? How can we imitate Jesus?

LIVE IT OUT!

  • Practice your memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  • Check with your family members to see if you need to forgive or be forgiven by anyone.

– – –

ABOUT FAMILY QUEST: At Reston Bible Church, we firmly believe that parents are a child’s first and most important spiritual leader.  In order to support you that mission, we have created a parent devotional and some discussion starters to go along with each lesson your grade school age children are learning at Quest on Sundays. Our hope and prayer is that this material will help you to engage with your children around the topics they are learning on Sunday mornings, answer their questions, go deeper with them, and find real, day-to-day applications. We are honored to be able to partner with you in the critical task of sharing Christ with the next generation.