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At Florence First United Methodist, our personal and congregational commitment is to be a thriving congregation that honors God through meaningful worship, that develops people of all ages as fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, and that graciously impacts the community and the world through extravagant generosity and humble service, resulting in better lives for all.

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(256) 764-5072

 

415 North Seminary Street

Florence, AL 35630

 

fumcflo@fumcflorence.org

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  • Rev. Dale Cohen

Learning the Language of Intimacy with God


“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;

give me an undivided heart to revere your name.” (Psalm 86:12, NRSV)


The image of an undivided heart is one of the strongest images in the Bible to describe faithfulness to God. It’s such a powerful image because we know what it’s like to have a divided heart—a heart that longs for that which is mutually exclusive. As a child, I wanted to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, but when we went to the store on Saturday afternoon, I also wanted to have buy matchbox cars. The problem was that if I watched cartoons instead of doing my chores, I didn’t get paid any allowance and therefore, didn’t have any money to buy matchbox cars. I couldn’t have it both ways.

Jesus taught this principle of a divided heart versus an undivided heart when he said,


“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24, NRSV)


The writer of Proverbs put it this way:


“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (Proverbs 11:3, NIV)


Experiencing intimacy with God requires practice, discipline, and focus so that we strengthen our ability to exclude those desires that are in opposition to our full devotion to God. This week, I am going to teach about how the disciplines of prayer, worship, and labors of love are all designed to draw us closer to God—mirroring the example of Jesus who demonstrated through his life how to live in intimate connection with God. It always helps to remember that God is always reaching out to me long before I ever think of my need to draw close to God. I can be assured that God will never reject me because God desires to be in relationship with me even more than I desire to be in relationship with Him!


Through prayer, through worship, and through labors of love (missions), I am training my heart to focus on those practices that will transform my divided heart into a heart that is undivided in its devotion to God. I invite you to join us this Sunday as we experience being in God’s presence together and finding the joy that is ours when we pray, when we worship, and when we serve together.

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