Look at The Heart

So often we look at the plaques and certificates on the wall and the accomplishments of an individual to assess their qualifications for a job, even as a prospective pastor for our church. I believe that in our Scripture today we will learn to do what God does – look at the heart, or as one translation says it: at the thoughts and intentions of the individual. You see, college and seminary will teach us to be smart, but only God can touch the heart and help us to be like Him. Which do you prefer for the next position you will fill?

DATE POSTED Sunday, 2021-10-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Samuel 16:6-7; 18
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”

APPLICATION: For years I served on various Search Committees looking for church pastors and/or church staff. For years I also interviewed applicants for jobs where the individual would be subject to my supervision. I now hope that things would have been somewhat different if I had long ago studied this chapter of 1 Samuel in more detail! A lot of times we often hear the saying ‘Common sense is just not that common anymore’, perhaps that comes from a person intent on being obedient but without applying their heart to their actions. Notice that as soon as Samuel saw the looks, stature and age of Jesse’s oldest son, he was sure he knew who God’s pick was for the next king of Israel. But God not only knew the heart of the next king based on history, but also based on his commitment to God and his future dependence on God to make good decisions. Friends, I believe it is beyond amazing how God was preparing the path for His new king. In Saul’s depression, he needed the calming music of a harpist. God had been preparing David for this opportunity from a very young age. Also, God had arranged for one of Saul’s advisors to have knowledge of David and He gave the advisor the boldness to share what he knew about the heart of David: 1). Talented – meaning that he devoted his time to learning an instrument that he fell in love with, the harp; 2). A brave warrior – usually this will be a character of a man with great confidence in what he and God could do, in spite of the circumstances around him; 3). A man of war – David had principles towards things that were important and necessary at times, even if that happened to be ‘war’; 4). Good judgment – we know that David was the youngest son, so to be considered for this character trait, he must have listened well and obeyed. No doubt his dad was a key mentor, but this advisor also knew that God was super important in David’s life; and 5). The Lord is with him – just as David was credited with having the Lord on his side, I pray that we too will be so much like Jesus Christ, that the world will give reference to our relationship with God. For He is also on our side!
So let me encourage you dear friends, to live your life for the One you serve. May it be evident whose you are. Also, let’s learn from this experience by Samuel, look at the heart of a person, not at the outward appearance or on their personal achievements. God has blinders on for the latter, and He concentrates on the heart of man instead. So should we!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Forego the outward appearance and concentrate on the heart of man. This is good for every purpose in life, and for every person that we meet or associate with!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, instead of spending so much time and money on improving our outward appearance, please continue to teach us the lesson that is so prevalent in today’s Scripture. Please teach us to constantly work on the heart, based on what You have commanded, and on what You demonstrated to us while You were here on earth. I truly believe that others need to experience how much we care based on our actions and kind words. I pray that it will be very evident to them that it’s all about Jesus, and nothing of our sinful selves. Be glorified today precious Lord, even through Your humble servants who need Your touch in every aspect of life. Please reach into the hearts of the unsaved today also, may this be the day that they will experience You in all of Your fullness. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

It’s Not You They’re Rejecting

Way too often we take the weight of the world on our shoulders and assume that everyone is out to get us. For they are rejecting our message and our lifestyle. In fact, they just don’t like us, and won’t listen to us! Be encouraged today, for our Scripture gives an example of where God helped His servant realize that it was really Him that they were rejecting. As we become more like Christ, this will happen to us also. Here’s how we should handle that…

Monday, 2019-06-17

Bible Reference: 1 Samuel 8:6-8
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the LORD for guidance.
7 “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me (God) they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment.

OBSERVATION: Way too often we take the weight of the world on our shoulders and assume that everyone is out to get us. For they are rejecting our message and our lifestyle. In fact, they just don’t like us, and won’t listen to us! Be encouraged today, for our Scripture gives an example of where God helped His servant realize that it was really Him that they were rejecting. As we become more like Christ, this will happen to us also. Here’s how we should handle that…

APPLICATION:  Times have not changed very much, for when we consider how churches treat their pastors when they really preach the Word, without regards to whose toes they might step on, then I believe that we could easily identify with Samuel and the Israelites. Friends, it is so unfortunate that we tend to blame someone else for issues that we have caused. It is likewise unfortunate when we look beyond the issues in our own lives, or the condition of our family, or our church or our group, and see so much wrong with others. Let’s think for a moment about issues with a church. Of course, we all know that it’s not the building where the church meets that is the problem, it’s folk like you and I that attend the church that causes the challenges. So look no further than inside yourself when issues arise. Changing pastors will have a similar effect as it was when God told Samuel to go ahead and give them what they want. In most cases things will only get worse. Friends, unless we commit and dedicate ourselves to becoming more like Jesus in every aspect of our lives, then anything we become a part of will suffer from the sin brought into our lives by the world. Becoming one with Jesus, means a perfect life, a life without sin – and that should be our aim everyday friends. Only then will we contribute positively to our churches and the groups that we become involved in. Remember, the world hates Jesus. Always have, and always will. So if we look enough like Jesus, they will hate us also, just like God told Samuel. So what shall we do? Determine this day who you will serve, and give it all you have. Be determined to serve only God and His righteousness, so that He might be glorified in everything we do and say!

PRAYER: Lord we so desperately need You in our lives. We want to add positively to groups that we become involved in, because of Your love that is steeped in everything we do and say. Anything else would only add to the confusion and the hatred that normally results. Unfortunately, this also happens in church groups we join, so we are seeing churches that are marred terribly by the impact of this evil world, instead of seeing a church that is always ready to forgive, always looking out for the best in the other person, always contributing to the best in others, always praying for and supporting their pastor/shepherd/leader. Lord, it is very obvious that we need more of You in our lives individually so that we can see more of You in our churches, so that we can see Your church effectively reaching out to the lost community that we serve. We need You in our lives personally Lord, please humble us to earnestly seek Your face and allow You to rule in our lives.