The great missionary to India, E. Stanley Jones, has said that the modern Christian tends to dabble in many things and to get nothing done of significance. Without commitment to a basic theme in life, we have lost our sense of purpose. Only when we gain a narrow focus do we produce much. Just as a focused magnifying glass lights a fire, a focused life fires up the lives of others.Those who concentrate upon one thing at a time advance in this world. Those who learn to focus not only change their own lives, they also change the lives of others. Focus enables us to concentrate on the task, develop patience for the process, build slowly and wisely, and bear much fruit in due season.
These important truths have led to the writing of this devotional book by Mr. Varkey Chacko. I have been blessed by the friendship of Varkey and Ann for many years. The Bible study and prayer group that started in their house in 1987 later became the India Pentecostal Church of Central Florida, in Orlando. Varkey has served as an elder of the church and has taught an adult Sunday school class for many years.This book is a result of what God has personally taught him as he prayerfully prepared materials for his Sunday school teaching and ministry to his Bible class over many years.
His personal life theme is taken from the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:8, “That I may know Him.”
Everything that Paul did after his conversion focused upon one thing – to know Jesus Christ. Not just factual knowledge about Him, not just abstractions and theories, but to know Jesus personally, in the midst of life’s most difficult experiences here on earth and in that day when he left his earthly body and met Jesus face-to-face. From this theme, we get the title of this book, My Heart’s One Desire. Mr. Chacko’s scriptural meditations tell us the different ways we can come to personally know Jesus Christ as Paul did and to know many others who have taken his words to their own hearts.
In this age of relativism, some might say, “To know Jesus Christ may be fine for you, but not for me.” Varkey Chacko shows us that to know Jesus Christ is not just one option among many. It is the only true option for lasting success and satisfaction for this life and the life to come. What does “to know Jesus Christ” mean? Varkey Chacko presents seven ways in which we come to know Him:
“See God’s glory.” What is the glory of God? In the routines of our daily lives, we can easily lose sight of God’s glory. Varkey Chacko gives us a biblical vision of God on His throne and identifies how this helps us to focus our time and energy.
“Hear God’s voice.” In these meditations, we get models of God speaking to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and Saul of Tarsus. These models can help us as we seek to hear God’s voice above the other voices of the world around us. His voice is like no other voice.
“Walk with God.” What does it mean to walk with God? In these meditations, we learn something of this through the lives of Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, the three men in the fiery furnace, Simon of Cyrene with Jesus on the road to Calvary, and the disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. To walk with God is superior to any other walk.
“Lean on God.” Our natural tendency is to trust our own judgment. We cannot know God until we “trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Learning to do this is a process that Chacko demonstrates from Jesus’ disciples as they learned to lean upon Him. To lean on God’s understanding is to have certain success.
Touching Jesus. Have you experienced the touch of Jesus? A lady touched the hem of Jesus’ garment in faith and received healing from an illness of many years. God touched the unrighteous lips of Isaiah and transformed him into a prophet. Everything God touches is made whole.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Jesus changed water to wine, and it was pronounced the best. Mary saw Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and her tears of sorrow turned to joy. To know Jesus is to know the best in life, even in trials.
Following Jesus. To be a lifelong learner, a faithful servant, and an intimate friend who longs to please Him in word and deed means we are willing to publicly commit to be a disciple of Jesus and share about Him.
Varkey Chacko makes these truths available to us in the form of meditations. To meditate means to ruminate over the things of God, to “chew the cud,” so to speak. The Lord requires our meditation to truly know Him. “Blessed is the man who meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). Meditation helps us to assimilate what God wants to communicate to us. Jesus tells Martha she is burdened by many things, but Mary focuses on the one thing she needs most. Like Martha, we have become distracted by trivia. “This one thing I do,” Paul says. Let Brother Varkey Chacko’s biblical meditations help you move toward greater focus in your own life as you learn to focus upon the One who matters most.
Rev. Dr. T. Valson Abraham
Founder/President, India Gospel Outreach
Director, India Bible College & Seminary
June 10, 2015
My Heart’s One Desire is a humble attempt to seek the glory and majesty of the triune God, who is revealed to us as the Father in Heaven, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. When Paul writes to believers in Philippi, he says, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13 emphasis added). The Scripture points to the fact that Paul was involved in countless things in his life for the Kingdom of God, but here he says he is doing only one thing. In other words, he is saying that all the voluminous things he is involved in are for the single purpose of reaching one goal: “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” All things are to be done with that one perspective in mind – eternity.
In a similar way, you will see that this book has seven parts, but all of them taken together are for my “one desire.” And that is to cherish my daily walk with Him. I sense, like never before, a quickened awareness that the Holy Spirit has laid these thoughts in my heart and established them as the foundation of my day-to-day prayer life. Isaiah says, “The desire of our soul is for Your name” (Isaiah 26:8).
Prayer can be defined as an opening of the mind and heart to God with the sole purpose of listening for and surrendering to Him in a very intimate way. Wayne Grudem has defined it as “personal communication with God.” We always want to talk, but we often do not take the time to listen (Jeremiah 5:21). Prayer is a dialogue, a personal encounter of love between man and His maker where both are speaking and both are listening. The Son of God always wants to reveal Himself to us, but it is important that we understand that the Father in Heaven alone is the one initiating the encounter (John 6:44). Prayer is your opportunity to get to know God. When writing to the believers in Philippi, Paul says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
As lovers long to communicate, prayer is also a love relationship between the two. It involves learning to devote time to sit in His presence and to experience His glory. King David experienced the significance of prayer when he wrote, “But I give myself to prayer” (Psalm 109:4) or “I am prayer.” It is my earnest prayer that these pages enhance your affection and devotion for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that they create a longing in your heart to: See Him in His Glory, Hear His Voice, Walk with Him, Lean on Him, Touch Him, Taste Him, and Be His Disciple for all the days of your life. I also pray that the Lord would continue to reveal Himself to you, the reader of this book, as you dedicate and rededicate your life to Him, and experience the “Power of Prayer” in your daily walk with Him.
SEE YOUR GLORY
You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Marketing and advertising companies have used psychological techniques that create desire in consumers and find more effective ways to manipulate people to buy products or services. While some kinds of advertising attempt to give buyers a sense of deficiency or wanting, others create desires associating the product with hoped-for attributes that they perceive in either a celebrity or a model. Psychologists, however, always tend to argue whether these desires are just emotions, or whether there is something deeper. In any event, for a child of God, all things that we see and touch are nothing but vanity, as King Solomon has said: “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
Therefore, it is important to recognize that true human desires can be satisfied only when we concentrate our hearts on our Creator and His Kingdom, far beyond what can be seen by human eyes and can be touched with our hands. As the Bible teaches us, “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). It is, therefore, imperative that we look far beyond here and desire the presence of God to satisfy that desire which God laid in human hearts “in the beginning”. Although man lost the glory he was given at the time of creation, God is still eager to reveal Himself in His glory to His creation. Our obligation is to desire to see Him in that glory.
Once we set our hearts on that goal and commit to the study of the Word of God, we will clearly see our God also desire to reveal Himself to a soul that is diligently seeking Him. He has done it many times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus said, “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). The only catch is that it is never a single-track conversation with us doing all the talking. Our time in His presence must flow in both directions. The difficulty compounds once we realize how finite our minds and intellect are, especially when it comes to understanding one of the divine attributes of God. Although God said to Moses that “You cannot see my face for no man shall see Me and live” (Exodus 33:20), God in His great providence and mercy has allowed some of His servants to have a glimpse of His glory at very specific times as chosen by God Himself. Those who did glimpse His glory witnessed an unsurpassed beauty and majesty that nothing else in this world can ever offer or compare to. Their lives were transformed far beyond human comprehension, and they achieved great things for His kingdom after that amazing experience.
Scientists and astronomers are now almost certain that there are one billion stars in our galaxy, and there are a billion galaxies like ours out there in the universe. This unfathomable universe was created by our God just by His spoken word (Genesis 1:1-2:25). He sustains all things that have been in the past, are now in the present, and will be in the future. Just a look at the skies filled with countless stars, the sun, and the moon, and their most sophisticated workings will show the infinite power and wisdom of the Creator, our God.
Throughout history, man has asked, “Why was I created? Why am I here? Why am I in this circumstance?” The Psalmist is asking the question in Psalm 8:3-4: “When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?” The Bible teaches us that God created His people and everything in this universe for one purpose and that is for His own glory. As children of God, our duty is to acknowledge His greatness and give Him the glory that His name deserves. Isaiah says, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7). Apostle Paul also answers this question in Romans 11:36: “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to whom be glory forever.”
God’s Supreme Revelation
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
God, in His mercy, sent His only begotten Son into this world that through Him we are invited into the kingdom of heaven and into God’s presence. During the life and ministry of our Lord in this world, some had the great privilege of seeing Him in person. Although many who lived in those days saw Him in His human form, three of His disciples—Peter, John, and James –had a rare glimpse of Him on the mount of transfiguration. John the Apostle was given another opportunity to witness His glory on the island of Patmos. The Psalmist declares, “You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips” (Psalm 45:2). As we enter our personal time of daily devotion, may we each have the same desire as Brother Lawrence, who lived in the seventeenth century and who enjoyed the “Practice of the Presence of God.” Moses had this encounter in the wilderness, Isaiah had it in the temple, and Apostle John had that privilege on the remote island of Patmos. As we travel along this journey and look at those who had this great and marvelous experience in their lives, there will be opportunities for us to personally begin to practice the presence of God in our own lives.
Let our desire be the same as ascribed to Richard, Bishop of Chichester, also known as Richard de Wych and who lived in England during the thirteenth-century and prayed the following way:
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day.
Take the time to dig deeper using the tools provided at the end of each section as you begin to see your heart’s desire fulfilled in knowing Him a little more clearly, loving Him a little more dearly, and following Him a little more closely each day.
Let your heart’s desire be to dwell in His secret place, and experience His glory as desired by the Psalmist: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Suggestions for Using This Study Book in a Group Setting
My Heart’s One Desire can be used as a study book in a group setting such as Adult Sunday-School classes, Family Devotions, or Small Groups of three or more people.
Here are some suggestions of how to use it in such settings:
1. It is recommended that each participant have his or her own copy of the book.
2. In a group setting, this book can be covered in one month or in seven weeks.
3. If the desire is to complete the study in one month, then read one chapter each day, and the book will be completed in twenty-eight days. The remaining two or three days in the month can be used for review and meditation. The opening section at the beginning of each part can be read prior to those chapters. Review and meditate on Key Points provided at the end of each part.
4. If the book is used for seven weeks, then read the opening section and the three chapters in Part One during the first week. During the second week, read the opening section and the six chapters in Part Two. Follow the same pattern for seven weeks. Review and meditate on the Key Points listed at the end of each part. Read from the “Suggested Readings” section as time permits.
5. Participants may write down important points that have touched their hearts and meditate on them each day.
6. When you come together, have each person share those important points with the group and how they helped in daily prayer and devotional experience.
7. Ask them to write down their questions or thoughts in a notebook and share them at the meeting.
8. Each member should respect each other’s privacy. Issues discussed should stay within the group and not be discussed with any other person.
9. Look for the interest and spiritual growth of others. Be focused on helping each other. Be cordial and respectful of others at all times.
10. Spend as much time as possible in personal meditation and prayer before you meet together as a group.
11. It is advisable to have a group leader to guide the process and offer help as needed.
Our Father in Heaven will lead you in the right direction as you seek His glory and commune with Him on a daily basis. Let that experience start from the first day of your reading and meditation.