Diligently Seek Him!

Hebrews 11:6 AMP “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

 

The Lord is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The Greek word ekzeteo is defined as “to seek out or after, to search for.” (Strong’s Greek Lexicon #G1567)

We are told to “seek first the kingdom of God” in Matthew 6:33.  Proverb 8:17 tells us that the Lord “loves those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me.

Studying this made me take time to think back over my own habits, and I realize that all too often “diligence” isn’t the word I would use to describe my way of seeking Him. There are times when my seeking is half-hearted and other times when it is just a quick drive by, rushing through before I move on to the next thing.

Yet, deep within, I desire to know the Lord and to live for Him. I want to be zealous in searching to know Him more. Part of that means a change of heart in how I approach my time with Him, and the other part is what I do to really seek Him and find Him. Do I really meet Him in my seeking?

There are many ways that we can seek the Lord. We can seek to learn more about Him. We may do that through Bible study, or by pouring out our hearts to Him and listening to Him. We may take time to read and meditate on His Word. We may get to know Him more by sitting down with a more mature Christian and talking about how He is at work in our lives. When we feed on His faithfulness we grow in knowing many facets of His character and many of His attributes. It can be very faith-building.

We can seek to know His will for specific decisions in life through reading the Bible and praying to Him. When we discover His will we can seek to obey Him. We can seek discernment about a situation and when we have clarity, we can seek to follow the directions we are given.

Our lives as Christians should be all about seeking Him, seeking to grow in Christlikeness. And our key verse tells us that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. He rewards us with His kindness, His love, His blessings, and His protection.

I have been studying The Beatitudes, each one starts with “Blessed are the…” The recipients of the blessings are those living for Him. The blessings are amazing; receiving the kingdom of God, inheriting the earth, satisfaction, being shown mercy, seeing God, and being called children of God.

Amen, let it be so. Yet, the goal in seeking isn’t the reward, it is knowing the Rewarder in a deep intimate relationship. It is my desire to seek Him more fervently and wholeheartedly so I may continually know Him more intimately.

Consider your seeking Him and evaluate your level of diligence. And then make it your goal to diligently seek Him.

The Storm

Isaiah 40:29 AMP “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might. He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it abound]. ”

We recently had a thunderstorm, the rain poured down in buckets, so hard, that I could not see the house across the street. Then the strangest thing happened, half of the electricity went out in the house. Some rooms had functioning lights and outlets and others did not.

The outcome of this storm made me think of life as a Christian, how at times we are plugged into the Lord and at other times unplugged. We need God’s power to help us live life according to His will. We cannot fulfill His purposes when we are not connected to Him. Without Him, we are powerless to walk in Christlikeness. We can’t have victory over the enemy without Him.

John 15:5 AMP “I am the Vine; you are the branches. whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”

God’s power is our source of strength for living the Christian life. When I get disconnected because of busyness, distraction, being tired, or just feeling overwhelmed with life, I see some definite changes in me and the way I respond to life.

1. I look for satisfaction in things and people.

2. I have trouble tolerating others and become unloving.

3. I live in fear and anxiety, my trust deteriorating.

4. I get overwhelmed and dragged down with Satan’s lies.

5. I think negative thoughts about myself and others.

It is easy to see that I need the Lord’s power in my life to overcome these, but I am not always aware of my need. It ofteen takes time before I recognize my need and seek the Lord for His help.

I know God’s Word empowers me with Truth. Truth that is greater than all of Satan’s lies or attacks. “For greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.”(1 John 4:4)   The Lord is the source of my strength for all of life, but I must look to Him and depend upon Him in faith. His Word teaches me these truths:

1.  The Lord is able to bless me and satisfy my needs so that I am able to bless others.

2 Corinthians 2:9 AMP “And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come to you in abundance so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need, be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

2.  The Lord fills me with His love for others.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 AMP “And may the Lord make you to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you.”

3. The Lord will provide my protection against Satan.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 AMP “Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen [you] and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil [one].”

4.  The Lord can help me counter the negative and sinful thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV “We demolish arguments and every pretension that set itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

6. The Lord has the remedy for my anxiety and fear.

Philippians 4:6-7 AMP “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known unto God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

7. The Lord is the only one Who can satisfy me.

Psalm 6:11 AMP “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fulness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

The electric company had to be called to come and fix the problem in order for our power in the house to be at full service.

When I am struggling, trying to go it on my own power and failing miserably, I know I need to call on the Lord to help me. I need to look at His Word to take in truth and pray for Him to empower me for every situation in life.

Are you connected? There are many storms in life that can cut us off from the Power we so desperately need in life.  Are you living empowered by the Lord and the truth of His Word? Ask the Lord to help you be aware of what areas you need more of Him and His power in your life. He is more than able to supply all that we need!

The Bread of Life

John 6:35 AMP “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry and he who believes in, and cleaves to, and trusts in, and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time). 

It only seems fitting that after I share about my disappointment and discontentment in a recent post, that I follow up with a post about Jesus being the Bread of Life, the One Who truly satisfies.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they complained, they were dissatisfied with what they had. They thought they missed the things of Egypt. They thought they would have been better off if the LORD would have just killed them back in Egypt, because at least there they had plenty to eat. But now in the desert, they complained that they had been brought out of Egypt to starve (see Exodus 16).

I have found that when I wander in wildernesses, off of the paths the Lord has for me, that I also end up complaining and grumbling. I become dissatisfied and discontent.

The LORD heard the complaints of the Israelites and told Moses that He would rain down food from heaven that the people could go out and pick up each day. This food was called “manna” which literally means “what is it.” God knows exactly what it is that we need.

The Israelites had been worried about dying from starvation. Our plight is worse than the possibility of just starving, we are born dead in our sins. We are without hope. Hell-bound. We need the LORD’s help in a desperate way. Again, He knows what it is we need. He provided and provides all that we need.

Jesus says in John 6:48 NLT “Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. However, the bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever;  this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live.”

Jesus goes on to say in verse 51, that, the bread He gives, He gives for the life of the world. Jesus gave His life for us.

The LORD met our desperate need with Heavenly Manna. Jesus is the only way that we can have life eternal. He is “the spiritual bread of the everlasting manna.” Jesus is “bread to the souls as bread is to the body”. He nourishes and supports our spiritual life, as bread does the bodily life. He is “the bread of God, born in Bethlehem, the house of bread”. The manna given to the Israelites would become rotten and putrid if kept overnight, but Jesus is everlasting. Manna supported the life of the Israelites as they gathered and ate it each day. It was given specifically for the Israelites.

Our Heavenly Manna, Jesus, “preserves and perpetuates life” forever. He restores our lives. He gives life to us when we are dead in our sins. He is the fulness of grace for all believers.

Ephesians 2:1 AMP “And you [He made alive] when you were dead [slain] by [your] trespasses and sins.

Jesus satisfied God’s justice, He satisfied God’s wrath. He provided the blood sacrifice necessary for our atonement.

2 Corinthians 5:21 AMP “For our sake, He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that we might become [endued with, viewed as being an example of] the righteousness of God, [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable, and in right relationship with Him by His goodness]

Thank you Jesus!  Jesus is our divine provision, our Bread of Life for life. He is that which sustains our lives  He came to earth to fulfill God’s will, giving us eternal life. He satisfies like none other can.

Praise God for the Heavenly Manna He gave to us, as we too have wandered in the wilderness of sin. He has fed us and continues to meet our needs.

Note: Personal understanding gained and some quotes from from the Matthew Henry Complete Commentary-public domain)

My Keeper

Psalm 121:5a, 7-8 AMPC “The Lord is your keeper … The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

 

I have a “Keeper.”

The Lord is my Keeper. What an incredibly comforting thought! The word keep means to guard and protect.

There is so much evil running rampant in this world, it is frightening to even think about what might happen when you walk out your door. But the Lord gives believers some important promises in these verses. Promises that, if taken to heart, can reduce our fears and increase our faith, trust, and confidence in Him. It is so helpful to fill your heart and mind with His words of promise. Hate, evil, and uprisings will continue until Jesus returns, but we have His Words of promise to hold tightly to.

This is the kind of confidence the apostle Paul had in the Lord.    2 Timothy 4:18 says, “[And indeed] the  Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil, He will preserve me and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Paul was certain that he would be delivered no matter what was to take place. Because of Paul’s confidence in the Lord, his ministry continued to move forward. He trusted in the Truth of the Word, and lived out God’s will.

The Lord will stand by us also, He will strengthen us when we find ourselves in times of difficulty or danger. The Lord keeps us from all evil. He guards us from the dangers that we don’t know about. He is our Protector in all the perils of life.

He keeps our life. The KJV says “He preserves my soul.”

Psalm 97:10-11a AMP says,”You who love the Lord, hate evil, He protects the souls of His godly one (believers). He rescues them from the hand of the wicked. Light  is sown like seed for the righteous and illuminates their path.

No evil will happen to us that will endanger our salvation. Nothing can happen to us here except that which God allows according to His purposes for our ultimate good.

He lights our paths. Darkness can be frightening, but bring a light into the room and you can clearly see what is there. God gives us light to see where we are going. He keeps both our going and coming. He will continually guide us. He always keeps watch for us.

Isaiah 54:17 KJV “No weapon that is formed against thee shall  prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

Life is fragile. But, the presence of the Lord and His strength goes with us. We can move forward as Paul did fulfilling our missions to the glory of God. Evil will continue, hatred will lead many to harm others, but our God is bigger than all of that. He is our Keeper through it all.

Hold tight to the One Who keeps you! And say with Paul, “To Him be the glory forever and ever!”

What Are You Expecting?

Psalm 40:1-2 AMP “He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

 

What are you expecting? That is a catch-22 question. Our response, to what life brings, greatly depends on what we are expecting. When our longings or expectations are not met with what we desire, we often respond with either being somewhat disappointed to feeling deep discontentment.

Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”

It is hard to struggle with disappontment. Recently, I was writing in my journal, and I made a list of the disappointments I felt. The list was about things that had not turned out as I had hoped. None of these were new to me, I had being mulling each of them over in my mind for a few months. It was when I wrote them down that I dug deeper and found even more. They were hidden away, but had been piling up inside for the past few years. There were so many things to be feeling disappointed in.

I realized how, little by little, they had started to weigh me down until I felt like I was carrying around a boulder. The burden of them was pushing me down deeper and deeper into the muck and mire of disappointment until I landed in the pit of discontentment.

It had been becoming more and more obvious to me that my joy was disappearing, my hope was lacking, and my heart was becoming more and more ungrateful. I had been praying to the Lord to fill me with joy, to increase my hope, and to help me have more gratitude. But, nothing changed. God seemed silent. I felt frustrated, didn’t He want to help?

More time passed by, and I knew my relationship with the Lord was suffering. I wanted a quick fix, but the Lord wanted repentance. I was looking for Him to do it my way, but He wanted to do deeper work in my heart. The Lord showed me my sin of having a heart filled with discontentment. Living with a discontented heart is serious sin.  It is, in reality, doubting the Lord’s goodness, doubting His wisdom, and questioning His faithfulness.

The Lord knows what I need to accomplish His purposes in my life, yet my eyes are on my own desires. I miss seeing His blessings when I am so focused on my wants. I forget that He is my Perfect Father and the Giver of all good gifts.

The Lord wants us to see His blessings and to respond with a grateful heart. He wants us to be content and satisfied with His gifts. Ironically, I have a problem when I listen to people with an “entitlement attitude”, but sadly, that is the attitude I was having before my Heavenly Father.

He showed me I need to keep my eyes on Him. I need to put more effort into recognizing the blessings He gives me and less emphasis on what I am lacking or thinking I need in order to be happy. I need to give thanks for all He has blessed me with.

Discontentment is a “horrible pit”, it is a place of “tumult and destruction”.  I was feeling agitated and in turmoil within as I focused on my disappointments. Those feelings were tearing apatt my relationship with the Lord. I was questioning God’s goodness and love for me as I weighed whether He answered my prayers the way I thought was best. My expectations were wrong and they were that “miry clay”,  I kept slipping and sliding down the slope of disappointment, becoming more and more stuck in those feelings in the deep pit that was only getting deeper.

The only way out was with His help. I needed to recognize my sin and repent. I needed to be reminded that achieving satisfaction in the things of this world is a lie from Satan. The Lord had to remind me of what is Truth. He helped me to understand what I can expect.

I can expect the Lord to be Who He says He is because He does not change.

I can expect Him to give me His best, even when that is not what I most want, because He is all-wise.

I can expect everything He gives to be given in love and to fulfill His perfect purpose and will for my life.

I can expect Him to answer prayers that are in His will for me.

My expectations that led to discontentment were not remembering Who He is, my eyes were blinded by my selfish single-mindedness of wanting what I wanted to make me happy. It is not that any of the things I wanted were bad things, but they were things that I had allowed to become too important to me. They were things that were leading me to take my eyes off of the Lord and His love for me more and more.

The lessons I learned through this makes me say with David, “…He set my feet upon a rock , steadying my footsteps, and establishing my path…” The rock is His truth, my feet are steadied in knowing the truth of my sin and repenting of that sin. He has established my path as He teaches me ways to learn contentment. This is an ongoing lesson. I constantly need reminders to keep my eyes on Him.

He has put a song of gratefulness in my heart, praising Him for Who He is, for His gracious ways of convicting my heart, and His perfect wisdom for me and my life.

What are you expecting?

Are you living in the muck and mire of disappointment?

Do you find yourself sinking into a deep pit of discontentment? It happens so subtly, we are hardly aware of how we are distracted and pulled into sin. Satan has a way of leading us to put our attention on what we don’t have.

If you find yourself in that pit, look up and ask the Lord to lift you up onto the rock of His truth. Repent, He will graciously answer your prayer. Your heart will sing a new song!

The Lord is the only one Who can fill us with true satisfaction, everything in this world is a counterfeit.

His Satisfying Presence

Psalm 23:6b “and through the length of my days, the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.”

David completes verse six with knowing that he will “dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (KJV)”. Home. What a comfort that word brings. Yet, this home means so much more, it means dwelling in the presence of the Lord, being fully satisfied by His presence, not just for a moment here or there as in this life but forever, constantly, without end.

David tells us that,”The Lord  knows  the days of the upright and blameless and their heritage will abide forever in Christ” Psalm 17:18 AMP.”  Forever in Him, that is what David wanted and desired above all. Even those many years before our Savior’s birth, death, and resurrection David knows that only on God’s presence could there be full satisfaction. David came to know the Lord’s presence as he sat out in the fields guarding the sheep, as he led them besides still waters, and as he made them to lie down in the green pastures. He learned how to be in the secret places of the Lord’s presence as he meditated on the Word of God that he hid in his heart. There under the stars he came to really know the Lord and to known the satisfaction that His presence brings. And now he writes of dwelling there forever in his life, in his heart, and finally in eternal life. David learned to know God’s love and this makes him want to live in the Lord’s presence continually. David wrote this about the Lord:

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!  The children of men take refuge And put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light do we see light. O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, Your righteousness (salvation) to the upright in heart.” Psalm 36:7-10 AMP

Jesus, the Light of the world, gave His life for us and gave life to us because of the goodness and love of God. God has called us into union with Christ and into communion with Him. Our union and communion are eternal, forever. Once we have received Him into our hearts accepting His death and resurrection as payment for our sins we can be sure of all that we have in Him.

We seek to find satisfaction on the earth in various ways, with varied things and people, but when we clearly know His presence we see how all else lacks in satisfying. It is when we realize this, that we too look forward to dwelling forever in His presence and knowing the full satisfaction that this brings.

We are told in John 14 of the Father’s house and the many rooms there. Jesus tells us that He goes away to prepare a place for us and promises His return. It is in heaven that we will truly know what it means to be satisfied in Him as we will truly rest in His presence and fully know His love.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we the living ones who remain [on this earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 AMP

There is that foreverness in the “always,” in the description of the word  as “the eternity of the eternities.” Can you say with David that you too will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?

This future hope helps me make it through the rough times. But, it is everyday that I need to know more of His presence in my life. I need His satisfying presence moment by moment.

Mercy Chases After Me

Psalm 23:6a AMP “Surely or only, goodness, mercy, and unfailing love follow me all the days of my life.

What a beautiful promise. This is an amazing statement by David considering his life, the hard work as a shepherd and then the years he was chased by King Saul. Yet, David knew the Good Shepherd’s guidance, love, and protection.

The Hebrew word for “follow” is “radaph.” The word radaph means “to pursue, to run after, to chase”

The Lord is relentless and passionate in chasing after us. His pursuit began before we were even born. It all started before the foundations of the earth were formed. And it came to fruition when God gave His only begotten Son Jesus to die for us (see John 3:16). The  Lord is full of grace, showing mercy to all who come to Him through Jesus. But it doesn’t stop there. The psalmist, David, tells us that His goodness, mercy, and unfailing love will continue to follow us.

Psalm 25:10 says, “All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

Take time to think about your life, how has the Lord demonstrated His goodness, mercy, and unfailing love to you?

Consider how He leads you in His wisdom.

Consider His protection and provision.

Consider His presence in your life.

Consider how He makes His Word to come alive to you.

Consider the times you have strayed, like a sheep, and the Good Shepherd has drawn you back to the flock.

Jeremiah says, “It is because of the Lord’s mercy and lovingkindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassion fail not. They are new every morning, great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

We truly would be consumed by Satan and his evil schemes in this life if it were not for the Lord.

We also would be consumed by the great Consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:29), if not for the hope and grace we have in  Jesus. Jesus is the only way to the Father, Jesus covers us with His righteousness, so that we are not consumed.

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