Whole-Hearted

Today is Friday, the sixteenth of September, 2022, in the 24th week of Ordinary time.

Peace be with you!

Day 23,563

Only six more days until Autumn begins!!

I had a great time having lunch with C, yesterday afternoon. We wound up going to Fred’s Phillies, as expected. This time, we tried, their cheesesteak fries, which were amazing. They could have been a meal by themselves. I also brought sandwiches home to Mama and S, and they both really liked them.

Today being Friday, my new (which is really back to my old) schedule has me working from 9:15-6:15 in the Computer Center today.

There were only eight baseball games, yesterday, none of which included my two favorite teams. There were some important games, though. The White Sox, who are still in the running for the AL Central, beat the Guardians 8-2. The Rays, who are in a Wild Card spot, but behind Toronto, beat said Blue Jays 11-0. That’s right . . . I did not mistype that. And, in doing so, they also did something that has never been done before. On Roberto Clemente day in baseball, the Rays fielded a starting team in which every player was Latino. In addition, they all wore number 21 in tribute to the great Clemente.

I see, this morning, that the MLB website developers brought the E number column back. So now I can tell you that the Rangers’ WCE# is 2 and the Red Sox’s WCE# is 9. Yes, I’m saying there is still a chance.

The Dodgers are still the only team that has clinched a playoff spot. Albert Pujols still has 697 home runs.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Great God and Savior, you want to lead us by the hand so that in communion with you we learn how to live a true life. We thank you for everything we have already received. Guide us still, we pray. Through your Spirit lead us in all areas of our life. Grant us the Spirit, who can illumine our hearts to help us find new courage and new strength and new recognition of the truth. All our praise belongs to you, for you alone can quicken us. You alone free us from the pain of death and from all burdens, so that in spite of toil and struggle we may always be lifted up to you, our God on high, to the glory of your name on earth. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”
(John 15:26-27 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. for the “Advocate,” the Holy Spirit, who helps us daily
  2. for communion with God, in which we learn how to live this life
  3. that if we delight ourselves in God, He will make our steps firm
  4. for the testimony and example of Simon Peter
  5. for the hope of wholeheartedness, may the Holy Spirit help me to seek the Lord with my whole heart

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
(John 18:15-18 ESV)

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 NIV)

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;
(Psalms 37:23 NIV)

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
(Proverbs 16:3 NIV)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)


There’s some good stuff in those last four verses.

As humans, we tend to, as stated in a previous blog, put the cart before the horse. We are always making our plans, and then praying for God to bless them. I’ve served on staff in a handful of churches in my adult life, and the typical course of action was to have a staff meeting and sit around and brainstorm what we should do next.

There was no question at all brought up as to whether or not we should be “doing something.” There has always been this idea that we have to be busy doing something. And if we don’t feel any strong leadership from the Lord, we must make something up.

And then we pray diligently for God to bless those plans that He didn’t make.

Three of those verses up there have something in common. It is the Lord who establishes the steps, the Lord who makes firm the steps, the Lord who establishes the plans.

Two of them make clear that it is when we delight in Him or commit to Him whatever we do that this happens.

Looking back, I wonder if we were “wholehearted” when we were doing these things. I have no doubt that the pastors had good intentions. But my goodness, for the most part we were so very young. As I’m typing this, I begin to wonder if our churches should allow people who are under forty to be “senior” pastors.

I’m not one of those “never trust anyone under a certain age” kind of people. Don’t misunderstand me. These days, I see more wisdom from younger generations than I see from many people my age.

But a person who has just graduated from seminary (or who even might still be in school) doesn’t have the kind of experience needed to be an effective pastor. But I’m also remembering the practice we had of sticking brand-new church members in children’s Sunday School classes as teachers. Egad.

But I digress.

I want to talk a little bit about the idea of being whole-hearted.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

We know that when we engage in any earthly task with less than our full attention, or less than wholeheartedly, we tend to not be successful, or, at best, do a mediocre job. “Wholeheartedness is even more essential in spiritual work, and above all, in the high and holy task of prayer and of being well-pleasing to a holy God.” (Andrew Murray)

When we consider this in the context of prayer, Murray says that “Prayerlessness is not an isolated thing to be overcome. It is related to the state of the heart. It is a way of life. True prayer depends on an undivided heart.”

This reminds me of my “life verse,” which is Psalm 86:11.

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
(Psalms 86:11 ESV)

And there we find our dilemma. We cannot give ourselves a whole heart, an undivided heart. Only God can do that for us. But He will. God, by the Holy Spirit, will enable us to seek Him with our whole heart. And then we can commit to Him whatever we do and He will make our steps firm and establish our plans. But it must go in that order, not the other way around.

I’ve heart it said that we should be looking around to see what God is doing, and then join in. I think that is great advice.


Father, I know that I have been less than whole-hearted, probably most of my life. I’m honestly not even sure that we humans are capable of being entirely whole-hearted about anything. We sure love our pet causes and projects, though. Would that we could muster the same energy when we begin to pray.

I want to be whole-hearted for You. And that wholeheartedness must be tempered with love and compassion. There is a difference between being whole-hearted and being obsessed with something.

What I desire in my life is to be seen as one who loves You with all my heart, and in doing so, also loves those around me with that same attitude. There is a calmness, I believe, that comes with this. Activity is not frantic or panic-driven. It is steady and calm, with the confidence that You are there and that You are working Your plan, which should also be our plans.

Father, as the psalmist prayed, I too pray, unite my heart to fear Your name. Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth. Help me to seek You with my whole heart, that I might find You, that I might commit my ways to You, that You would make my steps firm.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
(Psalms 25:4 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.

Advertisement