Friday, March 13, 2015

Seek with Your Whole Heart

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.”
 Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

               God told the Israelites these words after He told them they would be in exile for 70 years. He told them He knew his plans for them and these plans were for their future good (29:11)

               Several years ago, the words of our focus verse caused me to catch my breath. I learned I have to be honest with God and let Him direct my life. God doesn’t want us to “play” at belonging to Him. He wants us to be honest with Him about who we are in relation to who He is and what we want for our lives. God sees all and knows all about us. He knows our every thought, no matter what it may be.

               As we observe the Lenten season, let us evaluate our attitudes and behaviors to see if we need to allow Jesus to prune away any habits we might have that displease Him. When we feel His removing from us those tendencies that displease Him, we need to let go of them. His actions are for our betterment.
               We sometimes have to relinquish who we are and what we want. I recently read a book by Charles Stanley where he spoke of our ‘being neutral in our requests we make of God. What I came away with was that we were to lay our desires before Him and let Him work them out to His glory. We have to remember that God is in control and always has the last word on all things.

               Have you ever tried to send God prayers of thanksgiving and praise? When we do this we don’t ask for anything. I once heard an evangelist say that one day his son came in and lay down across the bed. The father was working on his computer and asked his son what he wanted. The son’s reply was sweet, “I don’t want anything; I just wanted to hang out with you.” We should all want to “just hang out with” God. Be in His presence and enjoy Him.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Seek Things Above

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ,
keep seeking things above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God.”
Colossians 3:1 NASB

Just before this verse, Paul warns the believers of some of the rules of the world that “lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (2:7 NIV) In our focus verse, Paul reminds his readers they were raised with Christ and they are to continue pursuing heavenly ideals, the things God has for them. These words apply to us in the 21st Century as well.

Recently, a friend received an answer to prayer that the whole church heard the result of. She had a concern for one area of the building that gets a lot of use. The trustees had voted to take care of the issue.

My friend trusts God for everything. I know she prayed about this issue and placed it in His hands. She models Christ before her family and those around her.  As the Chairman of the Trustees said the words, we were both so excited we started elbowing each other as we sat there, unable to contain our joy. An announced special offering will be taken to cover the cost of this needed project.

When we seek God’s guidance for any need, we give it to Him and allow Him to work through the parts we find difficult. By approaching God, we take it out of our hands and wait for Him to take care of all the roadblocks that would transpire if we worked in our own strength.

I relearned a great lesson that Sunday:

1.)    God is in control.
2.) He works out things in His timing.

3.) When these first two points are kept in mind, God makes it easy to progress through the issues of our lives.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Seek His Face

Warner Sallman  painting.

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
1 Chronicles 16:11 (NIV)

               This verse comes from David’s Psalm of Thanks. The ark of God had come to Jerusalem.
David gave this psalm to Asaph, the chief priest and those who ministered with him.

               I love the simplicity of the words. They tell me what I need to do when I am faced with issues I have no control over.

               We know life throws curves at us. What we learn from those experiences mould and shape us into whom we become. We can become bitter about certain conditions or we can become better because we have overcome them.

               When we submit to the LORD, we gain strength from Him, energy we never had before.
Whether it is a financial issue, a health problem, or an interpersonal circumstance, God can work out the situation to His glory.

                Shortly after I returned to the LORD, I read the book, Practicing the Presence of God. by Brother Lawrence. I am searching for my copy. I want to read it again. I believe that we in the 21st Century have gotten out of the habit of remembering that God is with us all the time.
               Lately, I have learned that, if I seek God and leave the issues that bother me with Him, those vexing problems of life work out in ways I didn’t even expect. Sometimes, when we intercede for another in prayer, we can only ask God to take care of that person’s or family’s needs. This also applies to petitions we have about our own lives. We have to ask God to tend to what He sees as our needs.

God Will Take Care of You

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...