James Merritt - Heartthrob
You know the first time I heard that saying that I saw on this sign, I knew I would never forget it. Maybe you've heard this before. "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it". And it reminds us that one of the greatest ways that we can prepare for tomorrow is by remembering yesterday. And it may explain why my all time favorite subject in school from the time I was in the first grade was American history. If I could do my life over again, knowing what I do today, I majored in accounting, it's helped my ministry in a lot of ways, but I love American history, especially biographies. There's one kind of book you can know I'm always reading I keep a lot of books going at the same time. But one book I'm always reading is a biography.
I just finished the biography of Alexander Hamilton. And I'm now reading a biography about George Washington. And the reason is, generally biographies are written about the greatest men and the greatest women. And the reason why they're such great biographies is because you can learn a lot of great life lessons from great people who have lived their life before you. And one of the things I learn when I read a biography is it always teaches me on the one hand on how to succeed in handling success. But a biography will also teach you how to either avoid failure or how to handle failure when it comes.
So today we're gonna begin a series where we're actually looking at the biography of a man who actually became what many would say is the greatest king who ever lived. He was a king that both succeeded fantastically, but he failed miserably. He knew victory, and he knew defeat. He climbed to the top of the mountain of prosperity. And he fell flat on his face in the deep valley of adversity. His name was David. David lived 3000 years ago and you may already be asking the question, "Time out, why are we in the 21st century studying the life of a man who lived three millennia ago". Because at first glance you would be asking a very good question. Because when you first meet David there is nothing special about David. He's a typical Jewish boy. Probably about average height, probably about average weight. He did not come from a rich family. He did not come from a very impressive family.
Matter of fact, he was a little shepherd from a hick town called Bethlehem. To put that in perspective, Bethlehem was the Mayberry of Israel, all right? Just a no nothing hick town. How he even became king is a really funny story. God told a priest by the name of Samuel, that he was gonna choose a king for Israel, a good king, the king that they should have had to begin with. And he said, "I want you to go to a man named Jesse, because one of his sons is going to be the king". So Samuel goes to Jesse's house and he says, "Look God's told me one of your sons is going to be the king. Would you mind bringing your sons out and let me meet them"?
Well, he brings out he parades seven sons before him. And every time one comes before him, Samuel says, "Nope, not him. Nope not him. Nope, not him". He goes through all seven sons, and not one of them make the list. I mean, they don't even make Mr. Congeniality. They don't win the beauty contest at all. So finally, he says, "Excuse me, do you have any other sons"? And he said, "Well, yeah, this is, he's a runt. All he knows how to do is take care of sheep. And he's the least impressive son that I have". He says, "Well bring him here". And lo and behold, he was the one that God chose.
Now, it would've surprised you to learn that more has been written about David in the Bible than any other character outside of Jesus. I bet you didn't know that. 66 chapters in the Bible are dedicated to David. The New Testament talks more about David than about any other Old Testament character. So when you put all that together, you got to ask the question. "When God decided to inspire the man that wrote this book, why in the world did he put such a hot laser focus on David"? I mean, after all, yeah he was a great king. But he wasn't the only great king that Israel had. He was a shepherd. But he certainly wasn't the only Shepherd around. He was a warrior. But he wasn't the only great warrior that Israel had to fight.
So why in the world, David? Why did God and his sovereign will choose to put such an emphasis on this man named David, and why should you and I kind of get fired up and excited which I am, about studying the life of this man? Well, before we answer that story, let me give you a little historical background. When I was growing up, I used to hear preachers a lot. They would compare America to Israel, some still do that. And there are some things I think that you could say that you look at the history of both countries it appears, well, maybe they do have this in common. And yet, they really have so much that is absolutely different between the two.
For example, America, as you know, rebelled against Great Britain, because they didn't want a King. Israel rebelled against God, because they did want a king. God never wanted Israel to have a king. You said, "Well, why not"? Because for 400 years, they had not a king, they had the king, God was their king. And God was doing a pretty bang up job. But they decided we don't want you for a king. We want a King with bones and flesh and blood, which leads to another big difference. America did not want to be like Great Britain, or France, or Spain, or all the other countries of that time that were ruled by king. They wanted to be different from everybody else. So they said, "We don't want a king". On the other hand, Israel looked around and every other country except Israel had a king. They wanted to be like every other country. So they go to God and say, "We wanna be like everybody else. We want a king".
Well, they got a king. And it really was the king that they wanted his name was Saul. And Saul seemed like he was the perfect package. He fit the bill. He was taller than all the other Israelites. He was stronger. He was more handsome. He had the it factor and you know, image is everything. He looked, he acted, he taught, he walked like a king. But what they were about to find out was that they made the same mistake we make a lot of times when we choose our leaders. They chose image over integrity. They chose charisma over character. They chose appearance over substance. They chose what was on the outside, over what was on the inside. They chose the cover rather than the book.
The problem is, God doesn't look at people the way we look at people. God doesn't evaluate people, the way we evaluate people. God doesn't measure people the way we measure people. And that's why David is so significant because I'm convinced there was one thing that was said about David, that's never said about anybody else in the Bible. As far as I can tell. It's never ever been said about anybody else in the history of the human race. And I believe this one thing explains why David is so emphasized in the Bible, and why we ought to study the life of David.
If you bought a copy of God's word today, we're in a book called 1st Samuel it's in the Old Testament. It's about nine books over from the book of Genesis. We're in 1st Samuel chapter 13. And what we're gonna learn here is why Saul proved he was the wrong man to be king, and why David was the right man. What's happening is God is using Samuel to tell Saul why he's no longer going to be king. He blew it. He had everything and he totally fouled up. And God said, "Okay, your kingdom is coming to an end". We're in 1st Samuel 13, verse 14. "But now your kingdom will not endure. The Lord has sought out a man," that he's talking about David, "The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command".
Now I don't know about you, but I'm gonna tell you about me. If I met a man or a woman and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, their life was so unique. Their life was so different. Their lives so stood out, that even the of the creator universe would say, "Now there's a man after my own heart. There's a woman after my own heart". I'll tell you right now, I wanna learn everything I can about that man. I wanna learn everything I can about that woman. I wanna know what makes you tick. What is it about you that is so special? You're even after God's own heart. So all of that raises a question. How many times have you ever found yourself in a wrong place, or a wrong situation, or wrong position?
You may be even saying, "Hey, that's where I am right now. I've just, plan cane that's my life right now. I have wound up in a place I never dreamed I'd wind up and it is the wrong place." where if we're honest, 99% of the time, the reason why we wind up in the wrong place in the wrong situation, in the wrong position is because we were following the wrong thing. It's on us. So here's my question as I set up today's message, how do you think your life would be different and better. If everyday your number one goal was to stop pursuing success, and fame, and money, and influence and to pursue God's own heart instead. How do you think your life would be different if in the morning when you got up, you said, "Lord, whatever else happens in my life to do no matter what else I do, I'm gonna do everything I can to be after your heart. I'm gonna do everything I can to capture your heart".
Well, that leads us to this question. So what was it about David? That God saw that said, "You are a man after my own heart". And before I get into this, let me just say this, you may already be saying, "Okay, I'm checking out I could never be David, you don't know my background. You don't know my story. You don't know my past. You don't know what's going on with me. There is no way I could be after God's own heart". Sure you can. David was a man just like me. He was a person just like you. And if David can be after God's own heart, we can be after God's own heart. The key is, what did David do? That made him a man after God's own heart. And as you're going to see, we can do these things every single day. Three of them, all right? Number one, walk with God faithfully. Walk with God faithfully.
Now when you're after God's heart, you have a heart for God that makes sense. If I've got a heart for God, if I'm after God's heart, I have a heart for God. Now, when you have a heart for God, you will have a walk with God. And there are two things that have to be true if you're going to have a walk with God, because when you walk with God, God decides who does the walk. God decides who walks with him. You don't get to choose, he chooses. And if you're gonna walk, you gotta go in the way he's going, you gotta walk the away, that he walks. And in order to have a walk with God. Two things have to be true. Number one, you've got to love God's word. You have got to love God's word. David loved God's word. He loved God's law. If you don't read the book of Psalms, there're 150 of them. David wrote half of those songs.
And when you read all the songs that he wrote, the number one topic that David wrote about in all those songs, how much he loved God's word, how much he loved God's law. And the reason why it's so important that you love God's word is this. When you love this book, the way you ought to love this book, and you read this book, the way you ought to read this book, and you study this book, the way you ought to study this book. Here's two things that always happen. You always will put God where he belongs, and you'll put you where you belong. When you read God's word, you put God where he belongs, and you put you where you belong. See, even though, when David was a shepherd, he always knew who the shepherd was. That's why he said, "The Lord is my shepherd".
When he became king. He knew how he became king. He knew who the real king was, he never let the crown that he wore or the kingdom that he ruled or the enemies that he conquered, go to his head, 'cause there's one thing David never forgot. He knew that without God, he would have never been king. He would still have been a shepherd. He knew without God, Goliath would've eaten him for lunch. He knew without God that he would have never killed the bear and the lion he talked about killing. They would have killed him. So number one, you got to have a walk with God. You got to love God's word. Now, if you love God's word, you will live God's word.
That's the second thing. You got to live God's word. And by the way, what's more, we hear this statement made about David, I told you it was said about him twice in the Bible. The other time you hear this about David is over in the book of Acts, and God himself clues us in on why David was a man after his own heart. Listen, "After removing Saul, he," that is God "made David their king. God testified," now this is what God says, "God testified concerning him. I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart". And God, what was it about David that you said, "Now there is a man after my own heart". "He will do," what's that word? "Everything I want him to do". God says, "Anybody that looks at me and says the answer's yes, before you ask. That's a man after my own heart. The man who says doesn't matter what you say and how much it cost, if you tell me to do it, I'm going to do it. That is someone after my own heart".
David's greatest desire all of his life was to follow God's will and do everything that God wanted him to do. Now, the next four or five things I'm gonna say it slowly 'cause they're all connected, okay? If you love God, you will love God's law. Nod your head if that makes sense. All right, if you love God, you'll love God's law, all right. When you love God's law, God's law will be in your heart, not your head, your heart. I love my wife, Teresa love her more than anybody else on this planet. I don't carry Teresa just right in my head. I carry Teresa around in my heart. Now, when God's law is in your heart, his love will capture your heart. I carry Teresa in my heart all the time and you know why? Because her love has captured my heart. And when God's love captures your heart, you will want to live out God's law that is in your heart. So it's all connected together.
And by the way, that's exactly what David said. David wrote this later on. He said, "I desire to do your will, my God," why? "Your law is within my heart". Let me tell you what that means. When you have a heart for God, and you're after God's own heart, then what burdens God will burden you. And what bothers God will bother you, and what delights God will delight you, and what excites God will excite you, and what's important to God will be important to you. See this is something and I've preached this for 40 years, and I don't think people get it yet. This book is not just a book to be read. It's not just a book to be explained. It's not just a book to be memorized. It's not even just a book to be believed. This is a book to be obeyed. This book will never come alive. It will never mean to you what it ought to you, until you take all of it that applies to you, and you live it out. That's what this book is all about.
By the way, I this first service. Do we have any former Marines in the building? Any former, oh, way back here, way back there. Okay, there's a marine, there's two or three, yeah, three or four of you. First of all to all you service men, thanks for serving the country. Thank you very much. But you wonderful patriots who are Marines, you'll appreciate this story. I was reading a book not long ago about how Marines train their soldiers. And I was reading about, true story. There was this young recruit, and he really needed to be in the Marines. He was kind of a rebellious. He didn't like authority. He didn't like rules. And so he joined the Marines. And there was this new... And he didn't understand the rationale behind the way he was being trained. And he had his particular drill instructor that was very hard on him. And he always insisted he didn't do just the big things right. He did even the little things right.
So for example, the first time they went to the mess hall to have lunch. He got all of his group together. And he said, "Now men, this is how you hold a tray. You put your right hand on the bottom like this, you put your left hand on the top like this, and you've hold the tray against your chest". Well, this guy's saying, "Dude it's a tray I mean, why does it matter whether I hold it this way or I hold it with one hand, what does it matter"? So one day sure enough, he goes in he forgets he just kinda picks up the tray like you I pick up the tray, the drill instructor saw him told him to put the tray down, told him to drop to his own his belly, told him to do 50 pushups and he said "Now, you're gonna walk around the rest of the day holding a tray, the way I told you".
And the guy was just so frustrated he says, "I don't understand, I didn't come here to learn how to hold a tray. I came here to be a Marine, why does it matter"? But later on when he was issued his first weapon and his first gun. They were telling them this is important. This is how you hold a gun when you're fighting. This is how you hold a gun when you're running. This is how you hold a gun when you're jumping into a foxhole, how do you think he was taught to hold it? Just like he held the tray, right hand on the bottom, left hand on the top, close to his chest, and all of a sudden he realized that little detail could one day save his life. See, when you're after God's heart, you wanna do whatever God tells you to do, whether it's a big thing like killing a giant, or it's a little thing like taking care of a lamb. You just say, "Lord, what you want me to do I am going to do it". That's what David did.
So you walk with God, faithfully all right? Number two, you wait on God, patiently. You wait on God, patiently. Some of you need to hear this. One of the marks of a person who's after God's own heart, and they really captured God's heart and God's captured their heart. They're willing to wait on the Lord. See you're not only willing to do whatever God wants you to do, that's just half of it. You're willing to do it only when he wants you to do it. See Saul, he made two big mistakes. And when he made these two mistakes, God said, "Okay, that's the last straw you're out of chances, you're out of luck. I'm done with you, your kingdom is over". He not only did something that God expressly told him not to do. He did it because he wasn't willing to wait on God to do it. So let me kinda set this up.
Here's the situation. The Israelites were about to go out to battle to the Philistines and I mean the Philistines they're gonna throw everything but the kitchen sink to the Israelites. The Philistines were, they were mortal enemies of the Israelites. Lind of like Bulldogs and Gators, okay? They were they were just mortal enemies. You know, I'm gonna get that in, football season started you know that right? So I had ate a lot of fried chicken last night too but listen. So you've got these mortal enemies, right? You've got you've got the Philistines and you've got Israel. And it's gonna be winner take all. 3000 chariots, 6000 charioteers, they've got more soldiers than you could count on your fingers and toes. The Israelites are scared to death. Saul's about to lead them into battle. He says, "Man, we really need God's help before we go into battle".
Well, it was the job of Samuel the priest to offer up the sacrifice and offer the burnt offerings to make sure their sins were forgiven. They were right with God, and God would go and do battle with them. I mean, and the rules were very plain. When Saul became king. He said, "Saul, now you're the king. You've got one job, you rule the kingdom, that's your job". Samuel is the priest. It's his job to offer the sacrifice and the burnt offering. So Saul, he's the priest. You're the king. You rule the kingdom. He offers up the burnt sacrifice, everybody got that background. So we read these words beginning in verse eight. "He," that is Saul, "Waited seven days. The time sent by Samuel," Samuel evidently said: "Be patient, I'll be there in a week and I'll take your business".
"But Samuel did not come to Gilgal and Saul's men began to scatter. So he said, bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings, and Saul offered up the bird offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived and Saul went out to greet him. What have you done? Asked Samuel, Saul replied, when I saw that the men were scattering and that you did not come at the set time and the Philistines were assembling it Mikmash, I thought, now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord's favor. So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering. You have done a foolish thing Samuel said, you have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people because you have not kept the Lord's command".
Now notice some of us right now you're thinking, "I don't get it. I don't understand what the big deal is". Okay, so Saul fires up the Big Green Egg, and barbecues the meat before the priest did. What's the big deal? Why is God so upset with that? Here's why God gets upset at that. When you refuse to wait on God, what you're really saying is you don't trust God. When you refuse to wait on God, what you're saying is, you really don't trust God. When you refuse to wait on God. What you're saying is, you know, "I just don't believe you're gonna come through this time. I think you've gone asleep at the wheel. I don't think you're gonna do what you said you would do. I don't think you're going to keep your promise". And anytime you don't trust God, you may not think it's a big deal to you. Anytime you question his character, his integrity, his truthfulness, it's a big deal to him.
How many times have people married the wrong person? Because they wouldn't wait on God to bring the right person. How many times has someone taken the wrong job for the wrong reason. Because they wouldn't wait for God to open up the right job at the right time. How many times has someone tried to rig the system or manipulate the circumstances rather than wait on God to work things out? Listen, I wanna give you a thought right now that I hope you'll really just superglue it. I hope you'll Velcro it to your heart, okay? When you take life into your own hands, you take God's hands off your life. When you take your life into your own hands, you take God's hands off your life. See if what Saul did came into a courtroom today, would it be declared illegal? No, it wouldn't be declared unethical.
You say, "Well if it wasn't illegal and it wasn't an ethical, why was it so wrong"? Because it was so bad. It was ungodly. It was just ungodly. What Saul did when he put that meat on that Big Green Egg. Here's what Saul did. He signed his own personal declaration of independence from God. He said, "You know what? I don't need you. I can handle things myself, thank you very much. I think I'll just take matters into my own hand". David on the other hand, totally different attitude. Here's what David said, "In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. In Lord God, I put my trust". See, David proved he trusted God, you know how he proved it? He waited on God. Say okay, "What do you mean"? Let's play the tape back. God brings Samuel to Jesse. Jesse brings David out to Samuel. Samuel looks at David, and Samuel says, "You're the one. You're the anointed one. You're gonna be king". He even pours all over his head, anoints him said, "You're gonna be the king".
Question, so did David would come king that day? Nope, the next week? No, the next month? No, the next decade? No, 15 years, David waited. Oh, and by the way, not easy years, hard years. He spent 15 years tending sheep on the back side of the desert. He spent all those 15 years fighting a giant that nobody else would fight. He spent 15 years being put on a hit list by the king he was going to replace. He's spent those 15 years running for his life from both the king that was trying to kill him and all those enemies he made when he killed their giant. So 15 years, he's hiding in caves. He's hiding behind rocks. He even one time pretends to be crazy, so the Philistines won't kill him. But all that time, he said, "God, I put my trust in you. I'm going to be king. I don't know when, I don't know where, I don't know how. I don't even know for how long I may only be king for a day. But there's one thing I know, you said I was going to be king. I'm going to be king. And I'm going to wait on you. Because no one who ever waits on you ever is put to shame".
Totally different attitude than what Saul had. So here's my question. Are you after God's own heart? Because one of the ways you'll know it is number one, yeah, I'm walking faithfully with God. I love his word and I'm living his word out. Number two, I'm waiting patiently on the Lord. I get impatient sometimes I will take matters in my own hand. But I'm not going to do it. I'm going to wait on God. And then there's one last thing. And that is you witness to God truthfully. Now let me tell you what I mean by that. Let's go back to Saul for a moment, okay? He's cooking the meat on the Big Green Egg Samuel comes up he smells the meat. He looks he says, "What in the world are you doing"? So Saul's caught, hand in the cookie jar, red handed. I mean, he is guilty flat out disobeyed God. And it wasn't anybody's fault but his own, okay.
So Samuel just says, "What are you doing"? Giving Samuel a more great opportunity. Look, just tell the truth dude, just come clean. Now look what Saul does. "What have you done? Asked Samuel, Saul replied, when I saw that," watch this. "The men were scattering," excuse number one. "And that you," you're the guy. "You didn't come at the set time," excuse number two. "And that the Philistines," excuse number three, "We're assembling it Mikmash. I thought now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord's favor. So I felt compelled," I just had to do it, the devil made me do it, had to do it. "So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering".
And let's don't be too hard on him 'cause he did what we all do when the chips are down and our backs are against the wall. We start looking for people to throw under the bus. We start looking for excuses. Put the blame on somebody else. Wasn't my fault. On the other hand, here's what we're told about David. "He chose David his servant," that is God. "And took him from the sheep pens from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel, his inheritance. And David shepherded them," this one of my favorite words, "with integrity of heart, with skillful hands, he led them". I want you to hear that little magic word integrity. I taught my boys growing up. I say to them still today, "If you don't have integrity, you got nothing".
I don't care what else you've got going for you. If you don't have integrity, you don't have anything. That word integrity means complete. It means whole, it means innocent. Let me tell you what integrity is you ready for this? Integrity is what you are when nobody else is looking. That's what integrity is. David was a man of integrity, it's telling the truth when everybody else is telling a lie. And listen, let me just help everybody here with something 'cause I've tried this, it won't work. So I'm telling you right now, I'm telling you don't even think about it. You can't fake it with God. You can't fake it with God. When you're after God's own heart, you always witness to God truthfully.
So in other words, when you fall, you don't blame somebody else for tripping you When you take the wrong road, you don't blame somebody else for changing the sign. When you mess up, you don't blame somebody else for creating the mess. If you ever testified in a court of law, you have to do it under oath right? You swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God. Can I tell you something? When it comes to God, you're always under oath. This doesn't work with God. This doesn't work with God. You're always under oath. And God says, "Look, when you open your mouth if you're gonna be a man after my own heart or woman after my own heart, you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God".
Now, what is the point of the story? Well, what is the point is we start this fantastic study of the life of David, what is this story all about? All right, listen, listen. God chooses who he uses. And he starts with the heart. God chooses who he uses. And he starts with the heart. Now here's where I wanna talk to some of you individually right now. 'Cause I know some of your thinking you're saying, "I can't be David". I mean, this is so far out of my league. This is so far above my pay grade. There is no way, if you knew me, if you knew what I'd done in the past, if you knew what I did last night, you wouldn't dare look at me and say, "Oh, you can be someone after God's own heart".
Here's what you don't understand. God's not looking for a perfect heart. He's looking for a pure heart. He's not looking for a perfect. He's looking for a pure heart. You know, there's an old saying, you ladies will remember this, that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right? That may be true. The way that God's heart is through his son.
The way to God's heart is through his son. God is willing to make a king out of any man and a queen out of any woman who will trust the king of kings, the Lord Jesus as their savior, and as their master, when they say to the God that created them, "I'm gonna love your son so much. You can't help but love me. I'm gonna give Jesus my heart. So I'll be someone after your heart". Because God always focuses on the heart. And he wants us to focus on his heart. Now, trust me when I tell you this, I don't lie, all right? So I want you to put your pens and pencils down and turn off your iPads and shuts your phone down for just a minute. I want you to look up here, everybody turn to your neighbor and say "Listen up," do it right now, "listen up".
All right, listen up I promise you this is worth coming for. It's one of the sweetest best stories, true story I've ever come, I've never told this story till today. Took place many years ago, in New York City, it was six minutes till six it was 5:54 in New York City, and a soldier by the name of John Blandford was standing in Grand Central Station. His heart was racing, his palms were sweaty, his blood pressure was up. He was as nervous as a cat. Because he's about to meet the woman who had captured his heart.
Now the amazing thing is he had never seen her. He had never spoken to her. He had no idea what she looked like at all. The way he even came across this woman was he was reading a book that he had checked out of a library, and it was littered in the margin with personal notes that were better than the book. And those notes seized his heart and when he would read these lady's words, he'd say, "This lady's fantastic, I've never heard anybody think like this and right like this. I've just got to meet this woman. I've got to meet her". So he happened to find his name on the book plate, her name was Hollis Manail. So he began to search and he found, he just found her so attractive. Just like just like magnet drawing iron. So he finally found her address and he wrote her and he told her about.. He says, "Listen I read this book and I read your notes and you just really captured my heart. And and I'd love to meet you".
Well, for the next 13 months, they corresponded they wrote each other back and forth. And so finally, one day he wrote her a letter and he said, "Would you please send me a photograph of yourself"? Well, she wrote him back and she said, "No, I won't. I'm not gonna send you a photograph". And here's what she said. She said, "If you're feeling for me has any reality and true basis. What I look like won't matter. When you come to New York, you'll see me then and you can make your decision about pursuing me or not. Now remember, both of us are free to stop or continue going after that, whichever we choose, and there will be no hard feelings".
So they had agreed that she would wear a red lapel on her rose as a way of recognizing her, and that he would be carrying the book in his hand that had introduced her to him in his hand. So it's one minute till six. He's so nervous. He's so excited. He can't wait. And all of a sudden, this beautiful woman starts moving toward him, and I mean his heart leaped out of his uniform. She was young, slender, blonde, blue eyes just drop dead gorgeous. But she wasn't wearing a red rose. And she walked up to him and smiled provocatively and she said, "Going my way soldier"?
He took one step closer, and as he took one step closer out of the corner of his eye over her shoulder. He noticed Hollis Manail just a few feet behind this beautiful lady. And she was wearing a red rose. To put it tactfully. Not gonna win Miss America. A much older lady, thin gray hair tied up in a bun behind her head. Short, not really physically attractive to him at all. And this beautiful lady walked away and Blandford said, "I felt like I was being just torn in two". He said, "On the one hand, I wanted to follow this beauty and the most beautiful woman I've ever seen". And he said, "She just captured my eyes". And yet it was the words of this unattractive, plain looking lady, that had just captured his heart.
So he swallowed hard and he gripped the book till his knuckles were white. And he walked up to her thinking to himself, "This will never be anything romantic, but I've just got to get to know this woman". He took a deep breath and he kind of squared his shoulders back and he held out the book and he said, "I'm Lieutenant John Blanford and you're Ms. Manail. I'm so glad to meet you and I would just love to take you to dinner". The woman smiled, she said, "Son, I don't know what this is all about. But the young lady that just went by you begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said, if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you that she's waiting for you in that restaurant across the street. She said, it was a test of your heart".
I have never seen Jesus. I don't really know what he looks like. I don't really know what he sounds like. I've never felt him and I've never touched him. But as a nine year old boy, his words captured my heart. And I love him like I don't look anybody or anything. And I'm absolutely convinced. When my heavenly father, the creator of this world looks down and he says, "So, all the things this world has to offer, that you can touch and feel and see and is so attractive. So you turned all of that away to love my son, whom you've never seen". Yes, Lord, I have. "You are after my own heart".