Seek Me.  You will find Me.

Seek Me. You will find Me.

Jeremiah 29_13From the still small voice of God, He is saying, “Seek Me.”  The still small voice that spoke into existence all things.  That still small voice that brought life from death.  That still small voice that the mountains bow down to.  That still small voice that captures your heart and holds it so gently waiting for you to submit to His love.

From that still small voice of God, He is saying, “You will find Me.”  He is not hiding.  He is not hidden.  He is ready to take you by the hand and pick you up and lead you in His ways.  His hand is not hardened by anger.  His hand will not pick you up and drop you.  His hand is strong yet gentle and filled with grace and mercy.  His hand will guide you into His loving care.  Hold (to his hand) to God’s unchanging hand. Hold (to his hand) to God’s unchanging hand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand

Sheltering in the midst of the storm

Psalm 91:1-2 1 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.””

I have come to like watching the Weather Channel. Mostly because I’m interested in the local weather. Or I like to know what weather lay ahead if I’m traveling. But sometimes I see and hear about severe weather like hurricanes and tornadoes. I watch live feeds from the areas and see the devastation. I sometimes get to watch the rescue efforts and the people who come to provide relief for those who have lost everything.

I must confess that I take for granted where I live and what we have. We’ve had storms, sometimes even heavy storms, but I have never lost everything as a result of the weather.

The Word of God tells us that those who abide (to remain, continue, stay) in the secret place (the presence, intimate residence) of the Most High shall abide under the shadow (covering, overwhelming protection) of the Almighty. It is where our protection from the storms of life exists. In the loving strength of God who has overcome everything and given everything so that you may find peace and rest.

It reminds me of the old Dottie Rambo song, “Sheltered in the Arms of God”. The chorus says,

So let the storm clouds rage high,

The dark clouds rise, They don’t bother me;

For I’m sheltered in the arms of God.

He walks with me, And naught of earth shall harm me,

For I’m sheltered in the arms of God.

Those who face natural disasters often place their trust in the efforts of others to support them, provide for them, and get them back on their feet. We are instructed in the Word of God to place our trust in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV) What this verse is saying is that the Lord will support us, provide for us, and get us back on the path He has ordered for us. But how often do we forget? Those who don’t have a relationship with the Lord as Savior, have no other way. They must trust their own experience, skills, and efforts of others. That is their only way. But as Christians, we’re told the Jesus is the only way. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

Friend, my point is this. The world is a difficult place; a lonely place. We face things that are sometimes overwhelming just like facing disaster. How do we respond to what the world throws at us? Our response should be to run to the place where God can shelter us. The most secret place of the Most High. We should run into the arms of God in an intimate relationship with Him. So that when the world is at its darkest, when the clouds of evil rise, they won’t bother us. We are sheltered by Almighty God Himself, where He takes our hand and walks with us. Where He leads us to His everlasting love and protection.

Do you know how to begin an intimate relationship with God? Has anyone ever told you? Well, it’s pretty simple. Humble your heart and pray. That’s where it begins. With a humble heart, begin to talk to the Lord and invite Him to remove your fears, wipe your tears, and rescue you from the evil and pain of this world. Prayer is simply talking to God. It’s not complicated. When you lift up a prayer to God, He promises to hear you. It may be hard at first, but once you humble yourself and begin to talk to Him from the deepest parts of your heart, you will experience such peace. And in that peace, resides the everlasting love and promise of life eternal. I can help you with this. Will you pray these words with me? It’s not the words that brings eternal life. It’s a humble and believing heart that releases God grace and mercy. Grace and mercy that none of us deserve, but is available to all of us. Please pray.

Dear Lord, I humble myself before You and ask You to hear my prayer. Lord, I cannot stand alone any longer is the world. I face so many things that overwhelm me at times. I’m in need of Your protection and sheltering. But most, I’m in need of a Savior. Forgive me Lord.  Lord, I believe that You suffered and died for the sins of mankind including mine. I believe that You died so that I could have eternal life. I believe that You are the only Way. Lord, after Your terrible death on the cross, You rose from the dead to defeat sin, my sin, once for all. Lord, come into my life and my heart and be my Savior. I submit myself to You and receive Your mercy and grace. Thank You Lord for saving me and giving me eternal life. I love You Lord and pray in Your name, Jesus. AMEN

 Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 119:114 NKJV – Sometimes I just want to hide

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

Did you ever have a day where you just wanted to become invisible to everyone around you? Maybe you made some poor choices or you might have said something you shouldn’t have said. Sometimes we just want to hide and hope what just happened will go away. Recently I made a poor choice and stood by a decision I made only to find out that people were not happy with my decision. When the discussion with them on the decision I made concluded, I realized I made an error in judgment. I just wanted to hide. I was wrong. I made a poor choice. My decision was based on inaccurate information. Yup. These kinds of events will happen. I placed my trust in something that proved to be weak.

God says that we can come to Him; He is our hiding place and our shield. You know, when it was all said and done, I felt the need to find God. I wanted His assurance that He was near. I wanted the feeling of security. I wanted to be safe. I wanted His comfort. I am more embarrassed than hurt by the inappropriate decision I made. But yet, I desired the presence of God to cover me.

God defends His own, especially when we are the most vulnerable. Today, I feel a little vulnerable. Nobody intentionally wants to make a mistake. Nobody intentionally wants to make a decision that is wrong and that affects others. But as Christians, we too, sometimes face trials and persecutions. We are no different. I was wrong and made a poor choice. But we must never forget that our eternal security is never threatened. I ran to God for cover. I ran to God for His security. I wanted a safe refuge. “Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more.” (Psalm 10:17-18 NKJV)

My hope rests in God. It is a total grounding of my confidence and expectation in God’s goodness and care even in the face of trouble. I have learned a lot. I will learn even more. Will I make another poor choice? Maybe…Probably. But maybe I have learned to stop before I make a poor choice and seek my refuge first in God’s eternal and incredible wisdom and care. “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5 NKJV)

Friend, I have learned so much today. I share this with you so that you know that in the face of trials and poor choices and wrong decisions, we have a place to find shelter. We may have made a poor choice or wrong decision, but we don’t have to feel alone and secluded. We have a safe refuge. We have a hiding place. God is ready and able to gather us up to shelter us, to comfort us, to teach us, and to set us back out to do His will.

Precious God, thank You that we can run to You and seek refuge. Thank You that You are our shield. God, You walk with us even when we make poor choices and bad decisions. You never leave us. You are there to pick us up and dust us off and set us out again to do Your will. Thank You God for Your faithfulness. May all we say and do give glory to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 59:16 NKJV – God is our defense and refuge

But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.

I cannot even count how many times I have shouted the essence of this verse at the top of my lungs to the Lord. I may not have said the exact words, but I have thanked the Lord time and time again for being my defense and rescue when I’ve gotten myself into something I shouldn’t have. And each and every time, the Lord has accepted me into His fortress and protected me from further injury or damage (both physically and spiritually).

I have learned that God is my absolute protection. He is my Rock on which I stand. His Word is the truth and my sword against the enemy. God is worthy to be praised. But above all, I speak about numerous times I’ve shouted praise to God for again defending me against the enemy. Some of those times, I’ve found myself ensnared in a trap left by the enemy that I didn’t see. And God lifted me out of that trap and covered me with His hand of protection. Those are the kind of situations where we are “blind-sided” and we don’t see it coming. But I have to admit there were times that I chose to step off of the path that the Lord placed me on and got stuck in the miry clay and began to sink. It was my choice. I made the error or mistake in trusting in my own devices and not on the faithfulness of God. I’ve cried out to the Lord and repented and found that His mercy and grace was made available to me. Praise the Lord!!!

God the Rock is our security. “The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22:3 NKJV) Although we know this, how often do we find ourselves walking in our own ways and our own security? For me, I find myself making the wrong choices more than I would ever want to. Please don’t judge. I’m human and so are you. Sanctification is a process and I am a work in process. All of us are being molded by the Master Potter. It takes time for the piece of clay to be made perfect. It takes time to mold and remold and remold and then put in the fire, only to find that there are still some things wrong. I am so pleased and thankful for God’s eternal mercy and grace He gives to me and to all of us. God will never give up and He will complete what He has started. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV)

Friend, all of God’s people should honor God in every aspect of our lives. And part of honoring God is giving Him our worship and praise for the things He accomplishes in our lives. We are undeserving of anything from God, yet His grace and mercy is poured out on us time after time after time. It is never ending. Will we sometimes make mistakes and find ourselves in trouble and in need of God’s assistance? I know I probably will. I think you will as well. But thanks be to God that we can come to Him. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)

Remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NKJV) I will sing of God’s great power and mercy over my life every day for He has been my defense and my safe refuge. He has never left me and is as close as my call upon His name.

Dear Lord, thank You for being my refuge and strength. I will sing praises to Your Name. Your mighty and glorious power is new for me each morning. Forgive me Lord when I walk outside of the path You have placed me on and find myself in trouble. Thank you for not turning away from me in my cry for help and rescue. Thank You for Your mercy and grace that is applied to me when I come to you humbly and repent. Teach me Lord through Your Word to recognize the traps of the enemy and to be aware of the snares that are left to capture me. I give You the praise, in Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Ezekiel 18:31 NKJV – Change of heart

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel recognized that a new heart and spirit were gifts from God and not the product of any human effort. Ezekiel pleads with his audience to seek these gifts not through their own merit but by repentance. God’s justice displays His righteousness as it conforms to His moral law “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV) and is seen in His perfect will. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit comes to take residence within a believer’s heart, renewing them and directing their hearts toward a greater love for God. “I will give you a new heart and put a spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV) The Holy Spirit transforms the human heart, enabling it to love and obey God.

But you might be saying, “But how can that happen? How can something change my heart?” Fallen man has a mind that is in conflict with the mind of God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV) Nevertheless, the mind of man is capable of knowing God and can be changed and renewed by Him. “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV)

Not having a relationship with God leaves us morally and spiritually without life. But we are rescued from spiritual darkness by God through salvation. He brings union with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the above foundational scripture, Ezekiel was pleading with house of Israel to turn around, about face, turn from sin and turn towards God. It is the same today. We must turn away from sin, throw it overboard, and break all identification with it.

God loves us so much that He gives us a choice. We can choose to seek the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, and will all our mind or we can choose not to. Repentance opens the way for blessing. God loves you so much. He desires that all people should repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) God is patient and not willing that anyone should die in sin. He loves you that much! That is what Ezekiel was pleading about. (Get the point about God’s love for you)

Friend, how does the process start for a new heart and a new spirit? It starts with a humble prayer. God hears and answers prayer. You have access to God and His presence through the work of Jesus Christ. Humbly ask God to create in you a new heart and a new spirit. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NKJV)

Dear Lord, I humble myself and ask for Your ear, Your presence. I know Your name, but don’t really know You. I am sinful but don’t want to die in my sins and be forever separated from You. Create in me a new heart and spirit to follow You and call You Lord and King. Forgive my sins and my old way of life and begin Your work in me. I believe in You, Jesus and how You died for me. You defeated my sin and death by Your resurrection. I rejoice because You did it for me. Pour out Your love on me, Lord, as I turn away from sin and turn to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 15:12-14 NKJV – Greater love has no one than this

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”

I am persuaded that I will not love like others love. I will love like Christ loves me. Such love is an outgrowth of a life that has witnessed the dramatic quality of God’s love. Jesus died on behalf of those He loves. Such love requires that we also love God with our entire heart, soul, and strength.

How a person loves is formed early on in life. Some people love as they saw their parents and family love. This can be a warm and genuine love, or it can be a static love. If you came from a home where warm genuine love was displayed, you may find it easy to love someone else. But if you came from a home where love was really just a word and not demonstrated, you may find it more difficult to love.

Some people came from homes where they witnessed their mom and dad split up and their love for each other vanished. If you came from a home where you witnessed this, you may find it difficult to trust anyone with your love as you don’t want to be hurt. And then some may have come from a destructive home where they witnessed fighting and pain and violence. If you came from a home which was destructive, you may find it impossible to love.

The love demonstrated by Jesus Christ by His suffering and death on the cross reveals God’s amazing love for all mankind. Jesus Christ’s love stems from His Father. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35 NKJV) The love given by Jesus to all of us when He freely gave His life for us on the cross inspires us to believe that there is no greater love. No matter what we have seen or what we have lived through, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life. When Jesus suffered and hung on the cross, you, my friend, were on His mind. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NLJV) He gave up His life because He desired that you be able to spend eternity with Him.

Eternal life is a gift of grace and mercy. “So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 NKJV) You may believe that no one can love you like this. I remember thinking “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me.” But that’s simply not true. Jesus loves with an everlasting love. “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) This kind of love is shown in God’s character by which He is compassionate, accepting, and generous. He shields us from His wrath and forgives us. We can be confident that the Lord loves us. It’s His unchanging and faithful nature. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV)

Friend, Scripture offers an understanding of what true love is and it is based on the nature and character of God.   God’s love is not static nor is God’s love untrusting. God desires and intimate relationship with you. That relationship is fueled by a daily commitment to prayer. In time of prayer, you can partake in the fullness of God’s love because as you speak to Him, He returns an answer. Prayer is two way communication with the desired outcome to be closer to God each and every day. And you can be confident that God hears and answers every prayer you pray.

And you can trust in God’s love for you. That is why I can say that I will love others as Jesus has loved me. Faithfully, never changing, and with His full mercy and grace. Would you like this kind of love in your life and then be able to love others just like Jesus loves you? Do you wish to have a relationship with Jesus? You can receive this. Just simply pray.

Lord, Jesus, I want to know and experience the love that You have. I’ve not lived a life that is filled with genuine love. I am seeking love that is never ending, that is full of mercy and grace and is accepting no matter who I am. I’m told You have this love for me. I confess that I need You in my life so that I can experience Your love and demonstrate it to others. Come into my life Lord Jesus and be my Savior. Teach me Your ways and pour out Your love on me. Help me be a light to others. Thank You Jesus for dying for my sins and bringing me new life when You rose from the grave. There is no greater love than this. I commit my life to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

 

Luke 11:1 NKJV – A daily encounter with God

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

I’ve written about many aspects of prayer and the power of God in prayer. I’ve written about this particular scripture in the past; how the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. But today, I use this scripture to make another point about prayer. The point is that a daily encounter with God in prayer is vitally important. There is a necessity of connecting with God Almighty on a daily basis.

Jesus set an example with His disciples on the importance of prayer so that they might become more like Him. For us too, this is our goal; to be Christlike in everything we do. It’s called sanctification. We are being set apart or sanctified from the entire world so that we embody in mind, body, and spirit the image of Jesus Christ. And in regards to prayer, we need to be like Jesus.

It was customary that religious leaders of that time were expected to teach their disciples how to pray. Prayer is based on God’s love for believers. Through God’s grace, He provides things we do not deserve, while through His mercy, He shields us from those things we do deserve. Hallelujah! A vital aspect of our prayer is its purpose; to allow the will of God to be accomplished in us for the glory and honor of Him alone. God promises to hear and to respond to the prayers we offer. “O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” (Psalm 65:2 NKJV)

I believe that if I am to be called a believer in Jesus Christ I must reflect my longing after Him. I must demonstrate that I long to be like Jesus. Scripture accounts for this longing. “Then you will call upon Ne and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13 NKJV) What this verse is saying is our restoration is predicated on our seeking God with our whole heart in prayer.

Friend, access to God is a privilege. We have access to God through Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9 NJHV) The disciples wanted to know how to pray because they witnessed Jesus’ access to His Father and wanted that. The disciples wanted the connection that Jesus had. Believing in and declaring Jesus Christ as Savior, draws us to be in His presence and to have a relationship with Him continually. To know God is not merely to know things about Him. That’s head knowledge. But to know God is also to experience His presence and power. To know God is to be transformed by Him. Prayer brings us this knowledge. The more we have conversation and intimacy with God in prayer, the more God reveals Himself to us. Prayer along with the study of God’s Word equips us for what He has called us to do. God gives knowledge of His greatness and grace through the experience of Him, submission to Him and in answer to prayer.

Precious Lord, thank You that we have access to You through Your grace and that when we call upon You in prayer You listen. Open up more time in our lives to spend time with You. Forgive us Lord when we set You aside to accomplish other things that could wait. You alone are our only hope. May we search for You with all of our heart. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!