"Because people are naturally self centered, we tend to view the whole world - even God's activity - in terms of our own lives. Of course, we want to know what we should do and how events will affect us. But that is actually an inverted life-perspective....My focus needs to be outward on God and His purposes, not inward on my life." (pgs. 32 & 33.)
I once heard a teacher quote Hebrews 4:12 like this, "Our faith is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joints and of marrow." I searched different translations just to make sure I was not mistaken but NONE of them write Hebrews 4:12 the way he stated it. The English Standard Version says,
"FOR THE WORD OF GOD is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
For me, when the instructor changed those words he also switched the focus from God to man. Afterward, when a loved one said to me, "It's like he said, our faith..." to which I answered, "It is all God! If left to me, things would go very wrong." Without Christ who strengthens me, (Philippians 4:13) I will fail on my own power and wisdom (or lack there of, rather).
In THE MACARTHUR DAILY BIBLE John MacArthur writes, "David says that opportunities for giving to God are tests of the character, 'test the heart,' of a believer's devotion to the Lord."
I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. (1 Chronicles 29:17. ESV.)
Today as I read from Acts 11:1-30, verses 23 & 24 stuck out to me. In regards to Barnabas who was "sent out" and "to go as far as Antioch", scripture says,
"When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord."
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26. ESV.)
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27-28. ESV.)