Seek Him Shouting

We don’t to sport a face that makes people think the pastor baptized us in lemon juice when we seek the Lord.

Here’s a question: could the “normal” way of seeking the Lord for those who love Him be with thanksgiving, joy, and gladness?

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Ps. 105:3, ESV

Only to sit and think of God,

Oh, what joy it is!

To think the thought, to breathe the Name,

Earth has no higher bliss!

F.W. Faber

What if Psalm 100 were the basis of our relationship with God instead of the sourpuss attitudes we often live with?

Read Psalm 100 song and pay attention to the verbs that power us into God’s presence as we pray it:

“Make, serve, know, come, enter, give.”

Make a joyful noise to the Lord? If there’s one thing mamas don’t want their kids doing in church, it’s making noise! Here we’re commanded to make a joyful noise to the Lord as we go into His presence.

I suspect God likes it. Have you ever walked by a sports stadium when noise thunders to the skies and the stadium shakes? The home team scored!

Hey, the home team scored! Let’s celebrate! God is God. He made us and takes care of us. He’s good. His love and faithfulness never quit! (100:3, 5) His goodness and mercy pursue us like a couple of baying hounds nipping at the heels of their prey (Psalm 23:6).

Makes you want to make some cheerful noises when you realize that.

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing. (100:2) If one word could describe your relationship with God, what would it be? “Plodder? Smiler? Rejoicer? Dutiful? Or…?”

Lord, forgive me that gladness hasn’t always characterized me. I’m more of a plodder, a ‘do-my-duty’-er.

Sing, David, sing!

God is a singing God who loves beautiful melodies and happy hearts singing and expressing joy. And why not, sadness?

 Three Things We Need To Know (100:3)

Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (100:3, ESV)

The Lord is God, not you, not me, not the government. The enemy isn’t God. God is God. He’s the Source of our existence, the Eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God. He is love, hope and so much more. I’m not God, but the One Who is, is on my side. He’s for me.

We are His, not our own. We don’t exist of ourselves. Humanism tries to take back ownership from God. It’s an old lie. Underlying its claims is the idea that we know what makes us happy and fulfilled better than our Maker. We scream for our rights. I’m not my own. My body belongs to God, along with my soul and spirit. That’s not slavery. That’s a committed relationship. Not only am I 100% His, He is 100% mine.

If I rebel, I don’t have the same relationship with Him. I’m a rebel instead of a son.

We’re His people. The sheep of his pasture. Those who don’t hang around sheep, are probably saying, “Ooooh, how sweet.” Yeah… Is there anything dumber or more helpless than a sheep? Smelly, good to eat and good for wool. That’s about it. That makes one of them a tiny bit more valuable than a chicken, huh?

But a good shepherd has a committed relationship with these sheep. They are incapable, but he is more than capable. He takes care of them. Be thankful. This universe is a tough place. We’re about as capable of taking care of ourselves and providing for ourselves as a sheep. Yet God looks after us and helps us.

Come into His presence thanking, praising and blessing His name. Eugene Peterson puts it like this:

“Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’

“Make yourselves at home, talking praise.

“Thank him. Worship him.”

(Ps. 100:4, The Message)

 Why are we thanking and praising Him?

God is good. He saved me and gave me a wonderful family. Health has been His gift to me as well.

 God loves me and cares about me. My life is important to Him. He loved me before I was born and He will love me forever.

 God has always been faithful to me. He’s done what He said He would do and never let me down. He is faithful. Faithful and True is His name!

 And there is a reward for seeking the Lord like this: “So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. And he gave them the lands of the nations…” (Ps. 105:43, 44 ESV)

 Claim the inheritance that God has given His people. Seek Him with joy. Obey Him and see His mighty hand in action for you.

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Hmmm …

What the wicked dread will overtake him: what the righteous desire will be granted. Proverbs 10:22

Are you a “dread-er” or are a “desire-er?” God I don’t want to dread, I want to desire.  When dread is larger than desire we are paralyzed and don’t move towards desire. We stop and what we’re afraid of catches up to us to devour us. When we move towards godly desire, dread can’t catch us.

A Healing To See God’s Glory

Here’s a guest post from a friend, Melanie Clark. She tells us how God intervened in a special way by healing her eye.

I am thankful that I could see the beauty in the places we went. (During a recent family vacation).

Nearly 8 years ago, I woke up to a red spot in the middle of my vision of my right eye. It got bigger, and everything started turning black. My eye doctor got me in immediately, and took a 3D scan of my eyeball, which showed bleeding into the retina. He immediately was able to get me an emergency appointment with a retinal specialist at Mercy (hospital), and I had hours of testing, an angiogram, all kinds of fun things. They determined macular hemorrhage – a blood vessel in the macula of my eyeball had burst.

While I was there, an older lady was told she was permanently losing her vision, and there was no cure. Her cries were heart-rendering, and I kept getting teary-eyed thinking about the possibility that I would no longer see my kids’ faces. How I cried out to God desperately to let me have sight, so I could watch my kids grow up.

My life group prayed earnestly with us, and God provided the miracle. The bleeding stopped, and the only damage was a slight squiggle in the center of my vision when I am looking at a computer screen.

A year after that, at my annual eye appointment, my doctor told me how lucky I was to have my vision. He told me another patient had the same exact thing, and permanently lost her vision, and the bleeding was starting in the other eye, too. Since then, I have heard of others who also lost vision.

God has not always answered all of my prayers. I have not always seen miracles. But this one is so precious to me. I thank God for my sight, to stare at my kids until they tell me to quit, to see the beauty of creation, and to give glory to God that something that we often take for granted, like being able to see, is something I can rejoice over on a daily basis.

Let God Redeem Your Hurt

My oldest son, Steve’s first teaching job was at a school for abused children. Leadership told him, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Some of these abused children grow up to be abusers themselves.

Trying to save a drowning person could get you drowned.

We’re often dangerous to others when we are hurting. You men, when your wife is pregnant, agree with her. She’s dangerous. If she says 2 + 2 equals 10, you reply, “I always thought that.”

Don’t tease her about her weight or how she walks. If you do, you deserve what happens to you.

Agree with her. She is right. Always!

Everyone Deals With Hurt

Every one of us has been hurt. No exceptions. How you react to that hurt or brokenness determines a large part of the quality of the life in our heart and between our ears.

I don’t think the goal for those who love Jesus should simply be healing from hurt. We need to live from a place of redeemed brokenness. Are you living out of your pain or God’s work in that pain, redeeming it and changing it into a vessel of blessing?

When you live out of your unhealed hurt there is:

–A constant low-level pain. We can’t forget what happened and it eats at us. We lash out to protect ourselves or to get even. The people we strike at aren’t usually the people who hurt us. Anger!

–Constantly a “limp”, not from a healed wound but a hurting wound. When I was a kid I stepped on a thorn and pulled it out. I thought. The foot remained sore and got infected. Finally mama “operated” and found the head of the thorn still in the foot. When it came out I got well.

–Our vision of the future is colored/compromised by the past and our thoughts are constantly drawn behind us instead of living in the moment and hope of the future. If we’re not careful our hurt becomes our identity and without it we don’t really have a reason for living. It we’ve suffered a great loss, a period of mourning is natural and healthy. But one day we begin to live again. There will always be a scar but scars are healed hurts.

It’s different when God touches you life and you begin to live out of “healed hurt”:

–There is understanding. “I’ve been there. I’ve hurt like that. Still do sometimes.” I can minister by identifying. The word compassion comes from Latin. It means to “suffer with.” A healed hurt gives you the ability to understand and identify with another’s suffering.

–There is power. I believe God’s power that healed us stays with us and we can use it to heal others, especially those who go through what we are going through. I went through a terrible experience when I was a teenager. More than once as a pastor, I’ve listened to people tell me about going through the same experience. I was able to counsel with the word that God gave me and pray with real fervor because I felt their pain. There is connection.

–I think this hurt is parallel to the Cross. Jesus identifies with us because He was there. I felt He spoke to me once from Isaiah 53 and said that when I hurt He felt the very same pain that I feel. He carried our sins, sorrows, afflictions, sicknesses and pains on the cross. Tell Him about yours. He already carried it for you. He knows.

No Excuse For Hurting Others.

Your pain might be the reason you hurt others but there is no excuse for hurting others. Get help. Get healed.

How do you get healed? (Easier said than done, huh?)

–We admit we need healing. Doctors can help those who don’t come to them.

–You come to the Lord Jesus. You let Him redeem your heart and life. He heals, not only from sin but also sickness, doubt, pain. It starts here.

–There is power in the “cross process.” (Eph. 1:19) I’m not against psychology and counseling at all but there is a limit. With the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus working in our life there is no limit to the healing and redemption of our hurts.

–Every day we look into His glory. ( 2 Cor. 3:18). He changes us daily. Sanctification should be in process for everyone of us.

–We use the healing processes He put in place. We find a Christian friend to talk with, a mature Christian to talk with, even a professional to talk with, especially if this counselor is a Christian.

–We become a channel of healing to others. It’s so easy to spend our lives gazing at our belly button. “Poor me.” Do something! Quit griping. Quit waiting for someone to choose you for something great. Choose yourself. Do something! God’s Spirit has already chosen you.

–We get in his Word and prayer. You might respond, “I don’t have time to pray or read the Word.” You know what? I walked 500 miles. That’s the equivalent of walking from Springfield, MO. to Chicago, IL. Did I mention that I didn’t do that in one day? It was usually about 2 ½ miles four or five days per week for a year.

If you read the Bible 10 minutes a day each day of the year you will have spent 60 hours in the Word! 60 hours! Same for prayer. I call it the ten-minute revival. Anyone who doesn’t have 10 minutes (or two times ten minutes) is WAY too busy and will probably soon drop dead from a heart attack.

If we feel it’s important we will do it, won’t we? And if it’s not important, we’ll just surf the Internet some more or binge watch something ignorant.

Let’s get before God, let Him heal our hurts and them let Him redeem those scars so that they are a blessing to others.

Hmmm …

“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” A. W. Tozer

Here’s How To Vainquish Your Sin

Overcome Sin In Your Life

“Take FULL responsibility and confess it to God. He promises to forgive sin that we confess (1 John 1: 9)

“STOP doing it Proverbs 28:13 tells us that we find mercy when we CONFESS and also forsake our sin.

“Ask for forgiveness from anyone who has been hurt because of your bad choice.

“Put some protection or limits in your life that will help you not to start again. Get guidance from spiritual people for help, solutions, and accountability.

“Start spending time each day in prayer, reading the Bible, and listening or reading spiritual and biblically sound teachings. “

Rick Warren

If we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we are in Christ; we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). God forgives us and He purifies us.

From there, God begins a work of sanctification in us — that is, He sets us apart for Himself. It is a lifelong process. And yes, we are always tempted, but the power to obey the Word of God and resist the devil is there.

Often the Holy Spirit shows us things in our life that are not pleasing to God. So we try to change, but it seems like nothing changes. The more we try on our own, the more we fail. In the end we are like the man described in the Bible who tried to please God on his own but was unsuccessful.

” For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? … “(Romans 7:19, 22-24, ESV)

The solution to this problem? “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:25)

But, how “by Jesus”?

When we repent of our sins and give ourselves totally to Jesus, believing that He is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, and that He rose again, God is making a change in our life. The potential for change is there. The power to change is there, but we must make take possession of what God offers us.

” You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

“12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.. (Romans 8: 9-14)

In short, in your own strength you are not able to overcome sin, but if you truly give yourself to the Lord Jesus by faith, the strength is there to overcome all kinds the sin. He will help you. He has given you a new spiritual heart.

And if you fall, do not be afraid to repent by asking forgiveness from God. How many times will He forgive you. The number of times needed. (1 John 1: 9–2: 1) “Lord, I pray for my friend. I pray that he will repent of his sin and turn to You with all his heart. The sin in his life is overcome in Jesus’ Name. Our Lord has already conquered sin at the Cross of Calvary. The devil is the father of lies but You, Lord Jesus, You are the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. Thank you Jesus for what You are doing in my friend’s life right now. »

Here are some“ down to earth ”things you can do:

* Pick a time and read the Bible and pray every day. Even if you don’t have much time, do it.

Confess your sin to someone spiritual, your pastor, or a mature man or woman in Christ. Not everyone is mature enough for this. Ask the Lord who you can talk to.  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16, ESV)

* Ask a friend in Christ to pray with you and become responsable to him. He can ask you every week, “How are you doing in this area?” You phone him when you’re tempted.

* Be diligent in attending meetings of your church. And if you do fall … this is especially when you need the assembly.

* If there is a place or people or activities that make you fall, avoid them.

* If you fall, repent, accept the Lord’s forgiveness, and get up and go again. Do this even if you have to do it multiple times. (1 John 2: 1)

* Be serious looking to the Lord for deliverance and not yourself. “As we look at God, we don’t see each other – a blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had only repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect. As he looks at Christ, the very things that he has been trying to do for so long will be done in him. It will be God working in him to want and do. » A. W. Tozer

Trust in the Lord Jesus. He’s on your side. He loves you so much and He is for you. You are not alone in the fight. The strength is in Christ.

“9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1: 9-2: 1)

Too Old? Too Young? Too Scared?

Two things are necessary: God’s call on our life and the will to move forward in that call by faith and in obedience.

When we’re young we often figure we need to get a bit older before we do God’s will. When we’re old we figure it’s too late. We’ve done our part. Let the young people do it. 

Someone forgot to tell God about the ‘truth’ of those statements.

Lois Prater felt God’s call to missions when she was 15 years old. She went to Bible college to prepare and was already preaching but then she met this fellow and well, you know the story. He didn’t have the same commitment to the Lord as she did. But, she was going to change him. Yeah.

So, for most of her life she was a stay-at-home mom, still loving the Lord. But missions…? 

Then in 1988, her husband died. And those old missionary stirrings began to rumble in her heart. Now, well into her seventies, she went on a short organized missions trip to China, then on two other trips to the Philippines. This last journey lasted a year as she preached in the churches and served where she could.

One day a desperate man came to her and offered to sell his baby for the equivalent of $40. Lois’s heart reacted. She gave the man some money to help feed his family and helped him find a job. But she knew she had to do more.

“Lord, I’m too old to go now,” she thought. 

Still, in the Spring of 1991, she went home to Washington state in the U.S. and sold her house, car, and furniture with the idea of building an orphanage in the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. “I struggled, but I knew that what I was trying to do was something much more important than hanging onto [my] faded couch,” Prater said.

By 1994 land had been purchased and a building erected. At the age of 80, she became mama to what was eventually hundreds of Filipino children. She tackled all kinds of administrative problems, cultural problems, and some major health problems before finally turning the now well-established ministry over to another director when she was nearly 90.

Though she returned to the U.S. to live with her daughter she still made periodic visits to the orphanage.

Too old? Well …

Let someone younger do it? No one younger stepped up.

“I didn’t know anything about business, about building an orphanage,” Prater observed. “All along, I’ve just trusted in God, and He’s answered my prayers. I did what I could do, and God did the rest.”

Too Young?

But, how about those who are too young?

Well, David was probably a teenager when he cut Goliath down to size. Jeremiah surely wasn’t ready to speak to the nation at his age. At least, he didn’t think so. God thought so, though.

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”

God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
God’s Decree.

God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,
“Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do.”
(Jeremiah 1:5-10, Message version)

Old? Young? We serve a God who dwells outside of time. He’s not nearly as concerned about how many candles you will blow out this year as you are.

Two things are necessary: God’s call on our life and the will to move forward in that call by faith. In obedience. In obedience!

Too old? Too young? No education? 

Eighty-year-old Moses heard God’s call to deliver His people. You may feel like Him. “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!” (Exodus 4:13, the Message). His buddy Caleb wasn’t so hesitant 45 years later, “Here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day…” (Joshua 14:10-12, NKJV)

When God speaks, He’s not asking your age or your qualifications. He just wants to hear, “Yes, Lord.” He’ll take care of the rest as you go in faith.

Consulted: Herald.net Everett, Washington; Charisma magazine; Christian Science Monitor
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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Hmmm

Someone said that at the age of 20 we have the face that nature gave us. At 50 we have the face we deserve.