Bible Verses about Being Wholehearted

  • Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV
    But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  • Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
    And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lordyour God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
  • Deuteronomy 13:3 ESV
    you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
  • Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV
    And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
  • Joshua 22:5 ESV
    Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  • 1 Samuel 12:20 ESV
    And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.
  • 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV
    Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
  • 1 Kings 8:61 ESV
    Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”
  • 1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV
    “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.
  • Psalm 86:11 ESV
    Teach me your way, O Lord,
        that I may walk in your truth;
        unite my heart to fear your name.
  • Psalm 119:10 ESV
    With my whole heart I seek you;
        let me not wander from your commandments!
  • Psalm 119:34 ESV
    Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
        and observe it with my whole heart.
  • Psalm 119:58 ESV
    I entreat your favor with all my heart;
        be gracious to me according to your promise.
  • Psalm 138:1 ESV
    I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
        before the gods I sing your praise;
  • Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
    You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
  • Joel 2:12 ESV
    “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
        “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
  • Matthew 22:37 ESV  (also Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27)
    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
prayer-to-be-wholehearted

The Adventure of the Cherry Pie

It began with a bag of cherries.

Cherries truly are the gold of the fruit world, so I’ve only bought them twice in over thirteen years of marriage.  This time, a super sale had enticed me to carry home a bag of this sweet and juicy cherrytreasure.

My daughters tasted them once and mostly were done.  Only one daughter and I continued to enjoy them day…after day….after day….until I knew I needed a plan to use the cherries before I had to toss rotten cherries.

Obviously, the answer in such a fruit crisis is to bake a pie.  So, domestically inspired, my daughters and I made the pie crust from scratch and left it in refrigerator to chill before rolling it out into the pie pan.  Then, we carefully followed the recipe for cherry pie filling.  It said I needed four cups of cherries to fill the pie.

I had exactly four cups.  Not 4-1/4 cups or 3-3/4 cups.  Four cups absolutely on the line.

It was a sign, a heavenly smile on my cooking project.

So, my eight-year-old and I pitted those four cups of cherries (without a cherry pitter) and felt thoroughly proud of our pioneer selves.

Yet, as we stirred the filling on the stove, I felt that first quiver of nervousness, that nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, this wouldn’t be enough to fill the pie.

I was right.

Once the dough was rolled out and the absolutely delicious homemade filling that we were so proud of was poured in, we knew the truth.  We only had enough for half of a pie and I was all out of cherries.

This began the series of minor annoyances that disrupted all of my homemaking tranquility and left me stressed, bothered, tired and frustrated within an hour.

Like how I pulled out all the ingredients for my homemade chicken and barley soup and couldn’t find the chicken stock I needed, not anywhere in any cabinet in the entire house, although I knew for sure I bought it at the store that week.

And how I put the homemade bread dough into the oven in the same bread pan I always use at the same setting with the oven rack positioned in the same place as always—-and started to smell burning after 15 minutes.  The bread had risen so high it was actually touching the top of the oven and burning.

So, I pulled the bread out quickly and placed it on the counter while trying to reposition the oven racks only to smell more burning.  In my haste, I had put the bread down on a stove burner that was still on from my failing soup.  The bread was burned both top and bottom now.

It was at this point that I started crying out to Jesus…over cherry pie, lost chicken stock, and burned bread.

A week later, of course, the bothersome kitchen disasters had passed.  I bought a can of cherry pie filling that night and finished off the baked goods.  We ate the middle of the bread and I found a way to make soup anyway.

Then, I opened up the kitchen cabinet doors and found the chicken stock that had been missing just days before.  There it sat exactly where I remembered placing it, exactly where it should have been, exactly where I had looked over and over in one desperate rumble through the cabinet after another.

So, why?  Why, God, all of that unnecessary drama over things as simple as soup and bread and pie?

Maybe I don’t meet with recipe disasters and random kitchen mishaps every day….and yet every day there are the distractions: The yanking on our hearts to worry here and bluster with frustration there.  The nudging us off our faith foundation and the pecking away at our peace.

In Psalm 86, David prays over his own litany of troubles.  Eugene Peterson notes:

There are fifteen petitions in these seventeen verses: concentration is weakened by the distraction of clamoring needs (Praying with the Psalms, June 24).

Fifteen reasons for David to fall to his knees, one pesky annoyance after another, one overwhelming crisis upon another.

And it’s all just so much, so difficult to focus on Christ and to claim peace, so hard to ignore the circumstances and insist on faith.

So, David prays:

Give me an undivided heart to revere your name (Psalm 86:11).

And this becomes our prayer when life is overwhelming or when days grow difficult, when we’re hit wave after wave with bothersome trifles and knocked flat over by the powerful current.

One heart….one mind….united and unwavering in my intentional focus on Christ.  This is what we need.

Amen.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Weekend Walk, 05/05/2012–Stressing Over Stupid Stuff and an Undivided Heart

Hiding the Word:

It was all stupid stuff and it all stressed me out.

That afternoon, we spent too much time in the school library during the family reading time because my kids wouldn’t stop reading, which normally makes me grateful, but that afternoon made me a bit frustrated.

Then, while changing into her ballet clothes, my oldest daughter asked me to help her untie the knot in her laces.  “Sure,” I said, holding out my hand for one ballet shoe.

Instead, she plopped two ballet shoes into my hand that she actually had tied together last week because “it looked like fun.”  She was still giggling a week later.  I was not.  Now the slender laces of her slippers were pulled together in a knot that would have made any sailor or Boy Scout proud.

Zooming out of the school bathroom, across the school parking lot and into the mini-van, I still picked at the knot on the shoes unsuccessfully.  When we arrived at ballet, I reached into the bag to pull out the bobby pins and hair net and the other jumble of hair accessories we tote around in order to pull my daughter’s mass of princess-like hair into a perfect ballerina’s bun.

They were gone. We had left them all piled on the bathroom sink at the school.  I tugged a ponytail holder out of another daughter’s hair, made the messiest bun of all time on my oldest girl’s head, and ran into the ballet studio.

I asked the lady at the desk for scissors and held up the attached ballet shoes apologetically.  She haplessly searched for scissors—which she couldn’t find because of course most people don’t need to cut the laces of their ballet shoes before class.  Fortunately, a nice man with a pocket knife slashed the laces apart so I could run the shoes into my daughter, already poised at the barre and pointing her toes.

And so it went.  There were bigger stressors that day.  There were other petty annoyances still to come.  The crazy whirlwind of it all left me dizzy and exhausted, but I knew one thing was true:  Nothing that day was worth the frustrated attention I was giving it.

Nothing there was life-threatening or mattered in the eternal way that some things matter.  They were silly and foolish worries, just pests that nipped at my heels and made the simple treading through my day difficult.

Would less stress have made it all better?  Would untied ballet shoe laces or un-lost hair accessories have improved my day? Perhaps.

But what I really needed, what I usually need, isn’t a more smoothly running life with less obstacles and bothers.

I need the eternal perspective that only Christ can give, the reminder of what really matters now, what will still matter 20 years from now, and what God and I will agree matters when I’m hanging out in heaven and worshiping at His throne.

That’s the perspective Paul writes about in Colossians and it’ll be my verse for the week.  I encourage you to copy it down, pray over it, meditate on it, memorize it and ask God to help it change your perspective this week when life gets hard or even slightly tiresome or stressful.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).

Weekend Rerun:

One Heart And Mind
Originally published April 21, 2011

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name”
Psalm 86:11

Multitasking is my spiritual gift.  Somehow the Apostle Paul left that off of his lists in Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians.  Even if it didn’t make the Biblical list, some of you share this gifting with me.  You mop the floor, do laundry, type emails, care for children, talk on the phone and make dinner all at the same time.  What can we say?  It’s a talent.

Usually my multitasking works quite well for me and truthfully I am sometimes bored when I am simply keeping one ball up in the air instead of juggling several.  But there are those moments, I’ll confess, when I open my pantry cabinet to find that I accidentally put the frozen broccoli away there and when I open up the freezer, there are the spaghetti noodles.  It’s a sure sign that I have too much going on and things are starting to fall apart.

Multitasking may work for me (most of the time) as I clean my house or plunge through my to-do list each day and yet its a choking hand of death on my quiet times with God.

This morning I sat at my kitchen table, my place for meeting with God every day.  My Bible was open and ready, my journal and pen set to the side waiting to be used.  My cup of tea was steaming hot, strong and sweet.  Everything I needed to spend some focused time with my Savior was at my fingertips.  Everything was prepared—-except my heart.

I was distracted.  Distracted a little by projects and to-do lists, the phone and the emails left unanswered.  Distracted by my children asking and asking for help.  Distracted a little by frustrations and situations needing to be handled.  My thoughts drifted to all of those things as I read the words on my Bible’s open page.  Words that normally hold power and relevance for me, the living and active Word of God, now made dull by a scattered heart and an unfocused mind.

Not wanting to give up, I prayed over Psalm 86:11.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (NIV)

and in the Message:

“Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path.  Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear” (MSG).

I prayed, “Lord, create in me an undivided heart.  Put me together, one heart and mind—wholly focused on you.  There are so many things vying for my attention, captivating my heart, stirring up my emotions, and setting my thoughts wild.  Please fill me and focus me so that You alone are my heart’s desire.”

It’s not a magic formula, a mystical incantation that somehow brought clarity out of chaos.  No, it was a confession of desire.  A request for God’s strength in my weakness.

I am a forgetful and distracted creature, and I need the help of my God to cut through the clutter and noise so that I can pay wholehearted attention to Him.  That’s why David writes this verse as a petition to God.  He knew He needed heavenly help also.  He asks for God to “give” Him an undivided heart or, as the message says, to “put him together” so that he can be receptive vessel, prepared to hear and receive God’s teaching and training.  David knew He couldn’t achieve an undivided heart on His own.

And yet, I didn’t just pray this prayer and then sit down to the best quiet time ever, full of revelation and inspiration.  It took effort on my part to reject and discard the jumble of thoughts that kept popping into my mind.  I had to stand guard over my heart and not allow it to take my focus off God’s Word.

When I suddenly remembered an item for my to-do list, I jotted it down on a piece of paper and returned to Scripture.  When I started rehashing what was frustrating and upsetting me, I cut off my thoughts and whispered a quick prayer that God would take care of that situation.  And I returned to Scripture.

It was work, but it was worth it.

Paul prayed for the Thessalonian church, “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  By asking God to give me an undivided heart, I was making a similar petition.  I was allowing Him to sanctify me (make me holy) through and through—spirit, soul, and body—and this brings me peace straight from the God of peace.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

One Heart and Mind

Today, I’d love to hear from you!  At the end of today’s post, I’ll have a question for you.  I hope to hear your thoughts!!

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“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name”
Psalm 86:11

Multitasking is my spiritual gift.  Somehow the Apostle Paul left that off of his lists in Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians.  Even if it didn’t make the Biblical list, some of you share this gifting with me.  You mop the floor, do laundry, type emails, care for children, talk on the phone and make dinner all at the same time.  What can we say?  It’s a talent.

Usually my multitasking works quite well for me and truthfully I am sometimes bored when I am simply keeping one ball up in the air instead of juggling several.  But there are those moments, I’ll confess, when I open my pantry cabinet to find that I accidentally put the frozen broccoli away there and when I open up the freezer, there are the spaghetti noodles.  It’s a sure sign that I have too much going on and things are starting to fall apart.

Multitasking may work for me (most of the time) as I clean my house or plunge through my to-do list each day and yet its a choking hand of death on my quiet times with God.  This morning I sat at my kitchen table, my place for meeting with God every day.  My Bible was open and ready, my journal and pen set to the side waiting to be used.  My cup of tea was steaming hot, strong and sweet.  Everything I needed to spend some focused time with my Savior was at my fingertips.  Everything was prepared—-except my heart.

I was distracted.  Distracted a little by projects and to-do lists, the phone and the emails left unanswered.  Distracted by my children asking and asking for help.  Distracted a little by frustrations and situations needing to be handled.  My thoughts drifted to all of those things as I read the words on my Bible’s open page.  Words that normally hold power and relevance for me, the living and active Word of God, now made dull by a scattered heart and an unfocused mind.

Not wanting to give up, I prayed over Psalm 86:11.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (NIV)

and in the Message:

“Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path.  Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear” (MSG).

I prayed, “Lord, create in me an undivided heart.  Put me together, one heart and mind—wholly focused on you.  There are so many things vying for my attention, captivating my heart, stirring up my emotions, and setting my thoughts wild.  Please fill me and focus me so that You alone are my heart’s desire.”

It’s not a magic formula, a mystical incantation that somehow brought clarity out of chaos.  No, it was a confession of desire.  A request for God’s strength in my weakness.  I am a forgetful and distracted creature, and I need the help of my God to cut through the clutter and noise so that I can pay wholehearted attention to Him.  That’s why David writes this verse as a petition to God.  He knew He needed heavenly help also.  He asks for God to “give” Him an undivided heart or, as the message says, to “put him together” so that he can be receptive vessel, prepared to hear and receive God’s teaching and training.  David knew He couldn’t achieve an undivided heart on His own.

And yet, I didn’t just pray this prayer and then sit down to the best quiet time ever, full of revelation and inspiration.  It took effort on my part to reject and discard the jumble of thoughts that kept popping into my mind.  I had to stand guard over my heart and not allow it to take my focus off God’s Word.  When I suddenly remembered an item for my to-do list, I jotted it down on a piece of paper and returned to Scripture.  When I started rehashing what was frustrating and upsetting me, I cut off my thoughts and whispered a quick prayer that God would take care of that situation.  And I returned to Scripture.

It was work, but it was worth it. Paul prayed for the Thessalonian church, “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  By asking God to give me an undivided heart, I was making a similar petition.  I was allowing Him to sanctify me (make me holy) through and through—spirit, soul, and body—and this brings me peace straight from the God of peace.

Now, it’s your turn:

Do you ever struggle with distractions or having a “divided heart?”  Do you have any tips to share on how you focus your attention on your Bible reading or in your prayers?  What about verses that help you out? I hope you join the conversation!  You can post a comment here or on Facebook.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King