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Wednesday: With All Your Heart — 18 Comments

  1. Carmel and I visited an acquaintance of ours for lunch one day and in the course of the after-lunch discussion we got around to talking about our hobbies. He said to me, "Come and look at this." We went to his car garage, and there, laid out were the bits and pieces of an old rusty car that had obviously seen better days. Amid the rust and grime were pieces that gleamed and shone. He was in the process of restoring an old MGC GT sports car. He had bought it old and derelict, and with loving care was restoring it.

    We moved away from the area and it was several years before we caught up again. He was driving his restored MGC GT, beautifully finished in British Racing Green. It was not only a tribute to the original design but to the painstaking care and attention to detail that my friend had put into the restoration.

    In a sense that is what today's lesson is about. God created us with a beautiful design, but through our own choices, we fell into disrepair and became derelict. But God has found us and paid the price for us. He has forgiven us for our neglect and is working on the restoration in us.

    Not only has he forgiven and restored us, but he has also provided a model for us when we have broken relationships. Forgiveness provides the opportunity for restoration. That is love and grace at work.

    • Bro. Maurice, I really appreciate the way you make the lessons come alive with your analogies. I pray God continue to shower you with blessings as you continue to contribute to the lessons.

    • Thanks Maurice,that was a beautiful analogy that helped me to vividly see the work that God has done and is doing in my own life, and to connect the dots in the lesson. Tammy

    • I like that Maurice. I relate to being an old dilapidated sports car and God is restoring me bit by bit. Thank you!

  2. Why "with all our heart"? Have you considered what is necessary for true life? I would propose there are 2 essential things:

    1) Being* in ongoing connection (which involves trust and love) with the one and only Creator who alone is the source of what is termed the 'breath of life' - 'life-energy' so to speak (2 Kings 19:15; Acts 17:28), AND
    2) Being* in willing harmony (also termed 'obedience') with the mechanisms (ie design laws) through which life is 'governed' (Nehemiah 9:29; Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

    None of this is arbitrary requirement by God - it is simply reality-based necessity as Moses was outlining in Deuteronomy.

    At the same time as the lesson has rightly emphasised, we also have the freedom to either be in or out of harmony with that reality. But also because of how reality operates, our choice to be in harmony needs to be authentic - hence it needs to be with all our heart and soul (ie undivided). The reality-based importance of this is illustrated in it being repeated by Moses three times within Deuteronomy 30:1-10 in an effort to help increase the chances it would 'sink-into' the consciousness (and hopefully subsequently also the subconsciousness) of the hearer.

    Yet again, because all of the above is reality-based, it is our choice to either be in or out of harmony with what is necessary for true life (points 1 and 2 above) that will cause us to enter or miss out on that true life. As we learned yesterday, if we sew to the flesh (ie, live in accordance with self-seeking desires of our heart), as a direct consequence of that self-seeking we will perish - initially and ultimately - (Galatians 6:7,8) because self-seeking principles are incapable of promoting and sustaining true life.

    When we understand this, we can begin to 'see' that we never cross some sort of line with God where God turns against us. Rather, we cross our own line where God is no longer able to save us because we will not allow Him to. And therefore, out of His absolute commitment to our free choice to do so, God has 'no other choice' but to release us to the inherent consequences of our choice - initially and ultimately.

    Satan has successfully led much of Christianity to believe that God will allegedly be forced by His holiness to turn against us if we cross a line with God. Hopefully you can begin to see that this is not truth - and in doing so you will also see more and more clearly how abundantly and inexhaustibly compassionate and gracious God is towards us and therefore why He will always eagerly respond to all who will allow Him to do so (see Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-20; Luke 13:34; Jeremiah 29:13-14 but note inclusion of Hebrew idiom in verse 14).

    * 'Being' is an active, non-passive reality that is a co-partnership between God and us. God gives us the energy and then helps us to put that energy to work as per Philippians 2:12,13; Romans 8:13; Luke 9:23; Luke 13:34; etc.

    • Phil -
      May I point out that the new 'being' is actually based - has its Life - in a new reality/paradigm - God's Faith, Hope, and Love. All are gifts from the Holy Spirit and are made available to empower the person who is 'willing' to believe the Word of God, die to self and so allow the Spirit's promptings to become the new Life to/within him.
      Without Faith, the old 'being' is incapable to experience hope and love. Therefore, the new 'being', enabled by God's Love - Mercy and Grace -, functions/lives/exists in the 'hearing and following the voice of the Savior' (which he gladly follows); done with the full consent of the born-again believer.

      Therefore, it is not the old man that is entering a 'co-partnership' with God; it is Christ within, represented by the Holy Spirit within man, which our Creator God is actually communicating/relating/collaborating with to reveal His path. If man responds with faith, God's path becomes manifest, if he refuses, man's path is manifested.
      Therefore, I can see in the new being only the presence of God working within its own spiritual paradigm for the redemption of man. Man can only apply God's faith and hope; which will ever increase as his old 'being' decreases.

      • Hi Brigitte

        You are correct - as per John 3:3-6 because of Galatians 5:17. Your final sentence, reflecting the progressive (re-)growth that follows re-birth - aligns with Philippians 2:12,13 in that we ongoingly of necessity 'work-out' the faith and hope that God 'energises' us with through His Spirit to the ever-increasing building up of the 'new man/woman' (and therefore ever-decreasing influence of the old as you rightly mentioned). This process is one involving such a close union and harmony with God that it is referred to as oneness (John 17:21) - the initial consummation of at-one-ment as a prelude to the final and ultimate consummation of Revelation 21:1.

    • Thanks for this explanation. In response to what you've just shared, how then do we explain Deut 4:24, what does it mean when the Lord is referred to as a consuming fire?

      • Hi Grace

        Good question. Would you like to go first and let me know how you understand Deuteronomy 4:24 within the context of the chapter? Once I can see how you are seeing things, I will be able to respond better to your question.


        • In my understanding, when God is referred to as a consuming fire it lays an emphasis on His Holiness. For instance Moses was told to take off his sandals( symbolizing sins) as he was standing on holy ground(God's presence). Another example would be the practice of attaching a long rope to the priest whenever he went into the sanctuary so as to pull him out in case he died. In summary, God is a consuming fire in the sense that His holiness consumes sin; sin cannot abound in His presence, just as water and oil cannot mix.

          • Hi Grace.

            What you have mentioned is a fairly typical and widely written about understanding of what Deuteronomy 4:24 is allegedly referring to. But within the context of the Deuteronomy 4, God's holiness is not the focus of what Moses is unpacking and reminding the people of. Rather, if we look carefully at the chapter, Moses is contrasting the potency* of God with the impotency of other "gods" to emphasise the reality that the God who has chosen the Israelites is the one and only God, the God of the heavens and the earth (Deuteronomy 4:35,39). That the Israelite God is the only true God also parallels that there is only one way that life actually is possible - the way outlined by the only true God. And not only is the Israelite God potent, He is passionate (as per the metaphorical adjectives of fire and jealousy) about their welfare** (best interests) which is why He has outlined the reality of what is reality-based necessity in order for them to actually have true life and 'prosperity' (Deuteronomy 4:1; 40) in the only form in which it can viably exist. On the other hand, because the other so-called 'gods' are not actually reality and are therefore impotent - following them will result in Israel's perishing (utter self-destruction) (Deuteronomy 4:25-26) due to the actual, reality-based, non-viablity of any and all attempts at life apart from God.

            Paul also picks up Deuteronomy 4:24 as his concluding statement in Hebrews 12:29 where He has been unpacking the similarity and difference between the literal kingdom that Israel was raised up to be (but didn't fulfil) under the old covenant - and the spiritual Israel under the new covenant who is being raised up to be a Kingdom that is eternally viable because of the reality characteristics that enable it to be such. Again, there is only one option for life that is viable - God's Kingdom, which God is passionate that His creation embrace and experience (as per Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). Also again, alternative option is actually non-viable (as per Hebrews 12:27,28).

            I would propose that this is how both Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29, within the direct context of each of those chapters, align with what I outlined about the reality basis upon which life can only exist.

            There are further dimensions or facets of 'God's fire' that are metaphorically reflected across scripture (eg, transformation into 'light and likeness', including refinement and purification; release to inherent consequences) - but none of them, when carefully considered, are inconsistent with the reality-basis of the only way life is actually possible (as per points 1 & 2 in my original comment).

            * Moses refers to God descending on Mt Sinai as an example of God's potency - descending in the form of fire that did not literally consume the mountain (Deuteronomy 4:10,11). Moses also refers to God's potency to deliver Israel from the 'iron furnace' of Egypt (Deuteronomy 4:20).
            ** It is worth keeping in mind that the explanatory 'myths' related to the gods served by other nations were based around the notion that humans existed to satisfy and placate the whims of the gods - otherwise the god's would fail to bless or impose punishment accordingly. That Israel's God was motivated by other-centered beneficence directed toward His creation was a stark contrast to the self-seeking motivation of pagan gods.

  3. Present Truth in Deuteronomy

    Why are we listening to the Voice of the Father, through Moses, in Deuteronomy?
    Why not just concentrate on the Words of Jesus, John, Paul & Peter?

    Because, I believe, it is important that we understand that the message is the same. The characters of God the Father and the LORD, Jesus Christ, are the same. He loves us, we love Him, His goal for us and our desire is to be transformed into His image/likeness. His Principles of Life, that reveal His Character, have always been and will always be the same. Although, through the ages, they have been expressed in various forms to suit the understanding and maturity of the listeners.

    1John 1:5-7 Amplified Bible
    This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection]. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

  4. People mourned because of their sins have brought them to suffering. They should understand that true repentance is more than sorrow for sin. Ultimately they should acknowledge themselves as sinners and circumcise their hearts

  5. How can we know the difference between being sorry for the consequences of our sins, which anyone can do, and being sorry for the sins themselves? Why is this distinction so important?

    Ellen White tells of after Lucifer was cast out of Heaven. God the Son met with Lucifer and Lucifer beged to be let back into heaven. Informing God's Son that he would give up his evil ways. God's Son read Lucifers heart, and said NO, with tears in His eyes.

    How do we have a heart fit for heaven?

    Ask: God for a heart fit for heaven. Matthew 21:22.

    Believe: He is capable of Cleansing you from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9.
    And that He is able to heal your heart. Heal me and yes Lord I am healed. Jeremiah 17:14. Save me and I am saved.

    Claim God's promises: I am your God. Isaiah 41:10. I will Not cast you out. John 6:37. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Acts 16:31.

    • Not only did Jesus read Lucifers heart, we have the evidence of his actions that followed. He did not change, he “doubled down” to take as many with him as he could. His heart had not changed, things just didn’t work out how he thought they would and he was sorry about that.
      I have to look at my own life and ask myself, “am I really sorry”? If so, am I clinging to Jesus as He works to write His law on my heart? Has my life been transformed?

    • John - thank you for sharing this note from Ellen White that "God's Son read Lucifer's heart, and said NO, with tears in His eyes. He had to deny him access because of the persisting condition of 'rebellion' in his heart.
      There is nothing else in the whole universe so precious as Everlasting Life, it is the 'Perl of great Price'; even after all Lucifer has done, he hopes that it would be restored to him. He acknowledge by his request just hows precious this gift from heaven is to all who have Life within them.
      How far removed are we from being able to recognize the preciousness of Everlasting Life when we still, callously continue in sin, causing the loving heart of our Heavenly Father much grief?

  6. I want to join the lady heading our weekly prayer meeting to wish everyone a 'Happy Thanksgiving'. She selected precious passages to direct our spirit during this happy occasion to express our Thankfulness to God.

    Psalm 19:14 KJV - "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my Strength, and my Redeemer."
    Ecclesiastes 3:7 NIV - "... a time to be silent and a time to speak... "Lord, please guide me so that I may know when to speak and when to be silent."
    Eph.5:18-20 NIV - "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
    Psalm 51:10,12,13 KJV - "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right, constant spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee."

    Ellen White - "Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him." 'Steps to Christ'

    My Thanksgiving prayer: "Mi-yitten - may, through Your Grace, our eyes be opened to know the heartache our waywardness causes you, Heavenly Father; may it prompt us to 'teshuvah' to You, the only One who's Love returns us to Life."
    "Heavenly Father, in our daily conversations with you, reveal to our hearts the depth of your Love; manifest your Mercy and Grace and awaken abundant joy in our hearts about being called your children - your son, your daughter; confirm within our hearts the Truth that our Life lived in your Son Christ Jesus makes us one with You.
    We long to fully rejoice in our Salvation and humbly ask that you fill our heart with Your Love to overflowing." Thank you in Christ Jesus' name - Amen.


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