How to live close to God’s heart

heartSamantha, my dog, an Irish Setter, is stubborn. I call her and she trots in the other direction, nose to the ground. You could conclude that she is deaf, but I know better. She hears me, but the scents in the yard are just so interesting, she  ignores me until she sees me walking toward her. Then, she decides to trot quickly to the door!  Kid learn to be selective in their hearing, too.  Isn’t it amazing how they cannot hear Mom’s voice when she is telling them to come and clean up their mess, but they can hear a whisper about weekend plans to let them go stay at Grandma’s house?

Does the Holy Spirit find you readily obedient or are you taken up with your own plans and desires, conveniently ignoring the voice of the LORD?  To be sure there truly are times when the pace of life makes you and me spiritually hard of hearing! We do get taken up with ‘’stuff” sometimes, immersed in trials and troubles, struggling through sickness, or feeling so depressed that it can be difficult to discern the clear leading of God. But, most of the time, we are rather like Sam, the setter, or that kid who just wants to keep watching his TV show. We know what we are called to do, we just do not have the desire to yield to the will of the Father.

Our Father in Heaven looks for obedience, not because He is a tyrant, but because He ultimately leads us in paths where our best and His glory merge! Moses told the people of the Lord “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-3, NLT) “The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.” (Deuteronomy 30:10, NLT)

Do not read that as God saying, “If you’re a good boy, I’ll be nice to you and give you rewards.” The richer meaning is that a life aligned to His plan, readily responsive to His directions, both enjoys His favor and avoids so much pain of consequences of sin! We are His children and in ready obedience we discover His provision for our lives – natural and spiritual. Those who love the Lord, their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength discover that the “path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter ‘till the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18, NIV)

I can tell you from first-hand experience that even obedient Christians live in a world where there are hurricanes, financial reverses, children who make poor choices, temptations, and bodies that age!  But, as children of God we experience even those difficulties differently. We need not fall into despair and bitterness. Instead, we are led by His hand, even through the valley of the shadow of death.  When our true desire is to love Him, to live obediently, we are privileged with daily ‘fellowship’ with Him, a place where we sense Him near, where we are enveloped by His love and enjoy peace.  Yes, we learn to live close to God’s heart.

Are you listening to the Spirit, obedient to the Word? Are you delighting in His way, dying to Self, discovering grace on grace?

Here’s a word from the Word. Will you receive and live in the promise?
“You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.

 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure,
O LORD; do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.”
(Isaiah 64:5-11, NIV)

_________________

Near To The Heart Of God

There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the heart of God

 O Jesus blest Redeemer
Sent from the heart of God
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God

 There is a place of comfort sweet
Near to the heart of God
A place where we our Savior meet
Near to the heart of God

 There is a place of full release
Near to the heart of God
A place where all is joy and peace
Near to the heart of God

 Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God

Cleland Boyd McAfee | Russell Mauldin © Words: Public Domain

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