Thanks for Seeking God With Me.

If you need some Christian Nonfiction books to read, check out 5 Powerful Ways to Show Love and Heroine: Rising to the Challenge on Amazon

Reasons To Seek God, part three

Read Psalm 91.

This is one of the places I go in the Bible to reassure myself of God’s arm of protection wrapped securely around me. I said before that I should’ve changed the title of this series to “Reasons For God To Put His Arm Around You.”

God wants to be close to us for many reasons. One is so he can guide us, another is so he can whisper sweet words into our ears, and still another is so he can protect us.

When I was little, I could stand on my father’s feet and he would walk with me and leave only one set of footprints. We can be like that with God. If we are so close to him that we’re covered by his shadow and our feet don’t even touch the ground, then we can rest in the protection that he provides.

If we’re walking on God’s feet, then we won’t fear “the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

I especially like verses 14 and 15 spoken in confidence from a heart of faith as a reminder of God’s love for us.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Reasons To Seek God, part two

James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you.

I said last time that I should’ve changed the title of this series to “Reasons For God To Put His Arm Around You.”

This season is a great time to allow God to comfort each of us in a sweet embrace. He chooses to be with us because he loves us, but he waits for us to choose to be with him.

Seek God for his presence. Find him in a place designed for just the two of you. Initiate a time of quietness where the world leaves you with the one who loves you more than anyone else.

When I have company over to visit, we sit around the room and speak in a mildly loud voice. When my husband and I are the only ones in the house, we tend to get closer and speak more softly. When we embrace, a whisper is just fine.

God will speak to a congregation through a willing person. However, that message is rarely as intimate as the one he speaks into your heart when you’re alone with him.

Take some time this season to be alone with God. And let him get as close as he wants.

Reasons To Seek God, part one

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I should’ve changed the title of this series to “Reasons For God To Put His Arm Around You.”

God wants to be close to us. If God were to put his arm around each of us individually, one of the things he’d do is guide us.

I’m reminded of the time my husband and my brother went Christmas shopping with me. We entered a jam-packed mall whose stores beckoned me. I tried to look in the front windows to see the very cool gift ideas and big red sale signs, but I had to be quick about it. My brother was on one side of me and my husband on the other side of me as they walked me down the center of the mall’s main hallway. Both had a hand on me because I wasn’t looking ahead, but kept my head glancing side to side as stores passed more speedily than I’d wished.

As a Christian, I think God guides us like that. His determination to get us where he wants us means he has to pull us along with his arm around us. Although we’re willing to go where he leads, we aren’t always aware of what’s ahead. We just know what we’re passing at the moment.

If we keep walking with God, he can speed us past the temptations that aren’t worth our browsing. If we stop at a sale that God isn’t interested in, we may miss the really important stuff he wants us to see.

Take the time this season to walk with God. And let him guide you.

A Quick Response To God

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

What must I do to please God?

The answer is simple. First, believe that God is. Second, seek him.

But how do I seek him?

There are many ways to spend time with God. He’s waiting for you to choose one.

You can read your Bible and ask God to help you understand what you’re reading. You can pray simple “Getting to know You, Lord” prayers. You can sing songs of praise to him in church, in your car, or even in the shower. You can lengthen your mealtime prayers to include thanking God for one thing you’ve learned about Him recently.

If you are a child in a crowd of adults and everyone’s shoes look the same, you might feel lost. Your first inclination might be to cry out, “Daddy!” He’s probably watching you look for him, waiting to see what you’ll do. You might think you’re lost, but he knows exactly where you are.

He might scoop you up into his arms to comfort you. He might put his face next to yours and tell you something to do. If it’s time to leave, he might tell you to put your coat on. You might want to obey, or you might not. But he knows what is going on around you better than you do.

Your best move is to obey.

My point is that there are moments when God calls to us in response to our heart’s cry. We hear and either acknowledge that it’s God or we become fearful and refuse to believe that God would speak to us. And when we acknowledge that God has called to us, we have to make the decision to seek him.

Since God rewards those who seek Him, our quick response to God helps us be in the right place at the right time to receive that reward.

Two Mistakes, part two

Mark 10:35-45

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

"You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What was their mistake? James and John asked without a servant's heart. Their attitude got them into trouble.

The best leaders are the ones who know what the work is like. They roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They lead by example. They have followers because they serve their followers.

Jesus came down from Heaven to work among us. He led his followers by his example. They could see his servant attitude all day and all night.

Americans have become spoiled. Everything is too easy. That has slipped into our churches too. When our prayers are about making our life easier, we run the risk of getting on God’s nerves. He is patient and will forgive, but there comes a time when God expects us to snap out of it and change our attitude.

We need a servant's heart when we speak to God and to others.

Two Mistakes, part one

Mark 10:17-22

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One think you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

He heard, but went away sad because he didn’t want to obey. Why did he not want to obey? Why did it not bother him to miss out on seeing joy in the faces of the people who received his stuff?

The man didn’t know what would happen following his obedience. God takes things from you for your benefit and replaces what you’ve given up with things you need. Instead of worrying about maintaining his bank account, he should have worked on maintaining his relationship with Jesus.

I think he didn’t know Jesus; he just knew about him. If he’d taken the time to get to know Jesus on a personal level, he would’ve seen what happens to people who obey Jesus without hesitation.

Two common mistakes we make in our relationship with God are: not taking the time to get to know God and not having a servant’s attitude. Next week I’ll bring a scripture about attitude.

Taking God For Granted

Luke 17:12-19

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

All ten heard, obeyed and were cleansed. One gave thanks. Jesus was joyful with the one, but disappointed in the other nine. When we hear from God, we must obey. But even before we do what he says, we can turn and give him thanks while we’re on the way.

The difference between the one and the nine was a passion for giving thanks to the God who did the miracle. The nine, being Jewish, took their law seriously, but they didn’t have a passion for expressing thanks to God. The Samaritan saw Jesus and spoke his gratitude to God over and over in a loud voice.

Today, I can get caught up in the necessary tasks of the day and not take the time to stop what I’m doing to spend a little quality time with God. There is so much I can praise Him for.

Am I taking God for granted? I hope to learn from the lepers and act out my thanksgiving to God on a daily basis.

November is a good month to begin making schedule changes to include more thanksgiving in your day. I hope you’ll join me.

Determined To Obey

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

My children have normal attitudes. I’ve heard my fair share of “I don’t want to” when I ask them to do a chore. I usually respond, “You don’t have to want to do it, but you do have to do it.” Lots of adults pay taxes they don’t want to pay. To be honest, I don’t really want to cook and clean. But if I don’t do it, who’s going to?

Jesus wasn’t looking forward to the crucifixion he knew was ahead of him, but he knew no one else could do his job for him. His obedience wasn’t just for him. It was for us too.

In our relationship with God, there will be things we’ll have to learn to do even if we don’t want to do it at first. Some people have a hard time praying for their enemies. Some don’t like giving away part of their income. We have to remember that if God asked us to do it, we should be determined to do it.

If we focus on the fact that it is God’s will, and God knows what he’s doing, then we can get our faith stirred up enough to go against our own will - and obey God.

You never know how someone else will be affected by our obedience to God.

Prayer Attitudes

Mark 6:45-46
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat
and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Many times we pray, complaining and whining about our hardships or our needs. Or we tell God about our situation and issue direct orders about how we want Him to fix it. Other times we just beg. When we catch ourselves being distracted by our problems or by the gossip of the day, we should rethink our prayer attitude.

Jesus dismissed the crowd and prayed alone. He was intentionally listening with a desire to obey.

People wanted to kill him, but he didn’t let that distract him. He kept a great prayer attitude throughout his life on the earth.

When you get rid of distractions, you can focus on God. That’s why many people close their eyes during prayer. If we’re distracted by what’s around us while we’re praying, maybe we need to change locations.

Intentionally listening to God with a desire to obey means not allowing interruptions to steal your time with God. I know of a man who bought a house with one more bedroom than he needed. He called that room his prayer room. Occasionally, he locked himself in there, read his Bible, took notes, prayed, worshipped, and listened for God’s guidance. The prayer room was a place to block out all distractions. This was where he, like Jesus, went up on a mountainside to pray.

If we went to God alone everyday to listen for HIS plan for our day, how would that change what we do? Would we act on his plan or ours?

What Do You Expect?

Right after the 176th verse of Psalm 119, we find a small seven-verse psalm written by a man in distress. Psalm 120 begins:

“I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.”

The rest of the psalm describes the frustration and anguish he lives in. But I think it’s interesting that he started out with the knowledge that God answers him.

That is why we pray. If God never answered anyone, why would we persist in our prayers? Why would we bother bending a knee?

We know God hears us and answers. Expecting God to answer affects your prayers.

What would happen if we started all our prayers with this attitude?

If You Hear God's Voice

Psalm 95:7-8
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert,
where your fathers tested and tried me,
though they had seen what I did.

At Massah and Meribah, God told Moses to show the people that even in the desert, in a desolate place, God could provide for them everything they need. The people needed water, so they complained to Moses. God told him to take his staff and strike the rock so water would flow from it. That was the first time. The second time, God told Moses to take his staff and speak to the rock to let the water flow. Moses had struck the rock the first time and it worked. He had his staff with him. He apparently thought God had forgotten that rock-striking success, so he struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it in obedience to God.

The water flowed a second time. But was Moses successful?

God was merciful and gave the water anyway, but he had a little talk with Moses in Numbers 20:12. “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’”

When God speaks, we must remember and obey every word. God is merciful, but he expects us to trust him. His way is better than our way. We may not know why we’re supposed to speak to the rock rather than strike it, but if he said “strike”, then that’s what we should do.

If you hear God today, know that he is able to do anything. Be thankful that he asked you to participate with him in whatever task he assigned. Also know that you won’t be doing it alone.

He is with you.

Listen to God

Psalm 85:8
I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints
– but let them not return to folly.

How will we receive peace with God if we refuse to listen to him?

One of the synonyms for folly is stupidity. We’ve all made stupid mistakes. Everyone knows it’s better to learn from your mistakes than to keep making the same mistakes over and over. The one who refuses to climb out of the pit of folly is living in arrogant stupidity. God wants to help all of us stay out of the pit. Don’t go back to your mistakes. Learn. Grow. Move on.

Imagine how your world will change if you wake up every morning reading the words taped to your alarm clock. “I will listen to what God the Lord will say.” As you shower and dress, if your mind and heart dwells on the fact that God Almighty wants to visit with you, then you are more aware of his presence. You live in expectancy.

Listening for God on a regular basis gives him a chance to speak. Our minds are busy scheduling our jobs, necessary errands, appointments, school meetings, and sports practices. When do we wind down and listen to God? If you need to write it on a calendar to keep an appointment with God, do it.

It’s worth it.

The Fear Of The Lord, part eight

Psalm 86:11
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

I think I understand what a divided heart is.

There is room in my heart for only one God. The Almighty God, Creator of the universe, is the highest authority. He alone is God. But many times we humans want to be God. We know what God wants us to do, but we want to choose our own path. We make our own decisions without his guidance.

A divided heart has trouble focusing on the path because there are two options. His way and our way. Since we don’t know what the future holds, we often make choices that lead us to disappointment and despair.

An undivided heart makes one choice and sticks to it. Trusting God to show us the right path when we can see only two steps in front of us is sometimes scary. But an undivided heart will be focused on God’s path. Faith tells us to follow God even if we can’t see the path.

When we look back on our journey and see where God has led us, everything seems to make sense. We respect God more when we see how trusting him always works out for the best. He proves his word is true and his path is right, but we must give him the chance.

Yes, Lord, teach me your way.

The Fear Of The Lord, part seven

Proverbs 14:27
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

Building a relationship with God on the foundation of a deep reverential respect is what will turn the possibility of failure into the opportunity for success.

We are given a lifetime of choices which determine how rocky or sweet our road will be. How we make those choices is guided by our relationships. We learn from who and what we see.

Who surrounds your life? Do you pick friends who will lift you up or drag you down? Do you invite God to be a part of your life everyday or a few times during the year? Who do you see most often and what are you learning from them?

The fear of the Lord is an attitude. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of gathering what we need to make good choices.

When we pull from large deposits of wisdom and knowledge which we’ve received from the heart of God, our earth experience can be full of life. But when we stop seeking God and turn away from his wisdom, we turn away from life. Turning to God with a deep respect turns us away from deadly mistakes.

Our attitude of respect for God is a place not to visit, but to stay. It helps us enjoy life.

Keep seeking him.

The Fear Of The Lord, part six

Ps 25:14
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.

When someone shows deep respect for God, a reverential respect that flows naturally from his heart, God pays attention. He wants to speak to us, but he waits for those with an ear tuned to his words.

Listen to the world around you. Listen to how everyone treats the name of God. Some people use his name as a curse word, some as an exclamation of surprise. This isn’t showing respect to God, or in other words, the fear of the Lord.

If I went through my day using the name Mary, Bob, or Rufus D. Frankenheimer as some people use the name of the Lord, I would get all kinds of strange looks. Am I the only one who sees how weird that is? No one asks if you’re praying when you use God’s name without speaking to or about him.

I’m not amazed when those who disrespect God complain that God doesn’t speak to people. I’m not amazed that they can’t hear the daily guidance God wants to give us. When you treat God the way anyone wants to be treated – with respect, that perks up his ears. He notices that you’re interested, you’re listening to him, you’re willing to respond to him.

Who would you confide in? Personally, I’d rather confide in those who show respect.

The Fear Of The Lord, part five

Ps 103:11, 17

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him…
…from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children…

I’ve noticed that some families share the same sense of humor or the same cooking skills or the same ability to sing. It’s given from one generation to the other through a long line of descendants. Have you seen a kind person and then met that person’s parent who’s also very kind? Kindness probably was a family tradition for them.

People who acknowledge God as their Heavenly Father can come together as brothers and sisters in a very large family. None of us is the same, yet we all possess the same family trait: the fear of the Lord.

Since we, as God’s children, fear or revere or have high respect for him, we can see how God pours his love on us throughout the generations. We tune our senses to notice him in our lives. We can see his family receiving the love of a father in so many situations. We see him as Protector, Healer, and Guide. He cares about us because we are his family.

But our limited minds can’t conceive of the greatness of his love. So we use words that mean “really big”. The psalmist tries to give us a picture of God’s big love for us, “for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love.”

Growing up in the comfort of a loving family will probably flow down through the generations beyond my children. I’ve seen my older relatives showing signs that they have felt loved by their parents too. It reminds me of the book I used to read to my children before bedtime. Guess How Much I Love You has stuck in my daughter’s mind so that to this day she still competes with me about how big our love is for each other.

I imagine God listening to our fun competition and answering each of us with his own, “I love you more.”

The Fear Of The Lord, part four

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Didn’t we read last week that the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom? And now we’re reading that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of many things. You can build a strong, rich faith when you start on the foundation of the fear of the Lord.

Knowledge is a key ingredient to a rich and full life, but you must mix it with plenty of wisdom and discipline. Stir well. Let it bake in the presence of the Lord until done. Then serve.

Building on top of the fear of the Lord is easy because he gives us the ingredients and the tools we need. You can build a tall wedding cake that won’t topple if you’ll just receive from the one who has all knowledge.

Fear the Lord. Respect his ways. When he gives you something, ask him to teach you how to use it. Remain willing to learn, and be amazed at how well he teaches.

The Fear Of The Lord, part three

Ps 111:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.

We admire those who are wise among us. Most of us want to be thought of as wise. But where do we go to get more wisdom when we run out?

We go back to the basics.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning or the foundation of anything good. You build on top of a healthy respect for God. Once that foundation has been laid, the steps toward wisdom can begin.

Wise people have understanding. The truly wise have been following the precepts or laws of God. His precepts were laid out for us long before we were here. It’s our job to find them, read them, follow them. God is the one who grants us the understanding.

If we desire wisdom and understanding, we must look closely at the word ‘beginning’. When we acknowledge that God is to be feared with a deep reverential respect, we begin the development of wisdom in us. It grows like a seed. Unseen, but active.

Our consistent attitude of obedience to God’s laws and our consistent fear of the Lord feeds the growth of wisdom. Over time, the fruit of our consistency is visible and useful.

Another verse that comes to mind – and fits well with the above – is Proverbs 13:10. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Fear God and let his guidance rule in your life, and then wisdom will grow.

The Fear Of The Lord, part two

Psalm 130:3-4
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.

For many of us, the weight of sin is heavy. It burdens our walk with undue strain.

We don’t need to walk through our lives under the heavy burden of sin. Not when God is standing by, waiting to forgive. He wants to lift our load, but we hold on to it. We struggle and wonder why life is so hard.

For those of us who have allowed God to take away our sins, it’s like an enormous boulder has been lifted off our backs. I can straighten up. I can walk upright. I can dance in the presence of the Lord who has freed me.

If God took an accounting of our sins by watching us try to manage under the weight of it, no one could walk. We couldn’t even stand. We wouldn’t be able to lift the load from each other because our own load would be too much for us to even move.

But God forgave us. He took the sins of the whole world on himself.

That’s a lot of weight. But he’s God, and he can manage it. He threw the whole package into Hell where it belonged. That’s why God is feared.

He did what no one else could. He is respected for his awesome power to lift our sins and destroy their hold on us. God is feared because of his desire to remove the sins that we committed against him, knowing we would sin again.

When we see that God doesn’t number, categorize, record, and store up our sins, his love is revealed. When we see that his forgiveness is sure, we gain a deep reverential respect for God called, the fear of the Lord.

The Fear Of The Lord, part one

Proverbs 14:26
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
and for his children it will be a refuge.”

Developing a relationship with God is a construction project. It goes slowly, brick by brick. One day you’ll look up to see how much you’ve contributed to the relationship and find that God has contributed too.

As you work at your relationship, you find that there’s more to it than you first assumed. It’s more than just work or responsibility. It’s actually fun.

Maybe time gets away from you during prayer. You stop looking at your watch to make sure you spend enough time praying. Soon, you have to set a timer to make sure you leave the place of prayer to get your other duties done. When you realize that you’re not focused on one little brick anymore, your construction project takes on new meaning. It’s bigger than you thought it could be. It isn’t just a brick wall; it’s a fortress.

While you work on this fortress, you might find your hidden wounds are being healed. God is a great healer. You can trust him with all the secret places of your heart. Building a relationship with God is a blessing that brings deep joy. A joy that heals places only God could touch.

God blesses the efforts of the humble and diligent. It’s hard to build a secure fortress when all you do is talk about it and plan it. Those who put in the work, get to see the finished product.

I’m in the habit of sharing my faith in God with my children. I’ve prayed with them and for them. I won’t be holding their hands for the rest of their lives, so I’ve done what I could to point them to the one who will be with them forever. My relationship with God shows them that God is consistent. He’s constantly with us. My hope is that anyone who watches me will see God.

Your relationship with God will be evident even to your children. So keep working on the most fulfilling construction project you will ever work on.

Keep seeking God.

Learning From God And Realizing It Later

Read Luke chapter 24. This is the story of Cleopas and his friend who were on the road to Emmaus.

The two men were talking about the recent death and "possible resurrection" of Jesus when Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. But they didn't recognize him. They told him that some from their group had gone to his tomb and it was opened, but they hadn’t seen the Lord.

Jesus explained the scriptures to the men, but they were still kept from recognizing him. When they approached the village, they urged Jesus to stay with them because of the late hour. He went with the men, broke the bread, and disappeared as soon as they recognized him.

How must they have felt, knowing they had Jesus with them the whole time and only knew it was him just before he left? Of course, I’d be elated that I was given the opportunity to visit with him. Wouldn’t you love for Jesus to explain the scriptures to you?

They had just arrived in Emmaus, but they jumped up and went straight back to Jerusalem. Apparently, the late hour didn’t bother them so much then. They were sped along by the new energy inside them from the encounter. The Lord had risen indeed, and they had actually seen him. They had good news, and they wanted to, no they had to share it.

Once back with the other disciples, the men explained what happened. While they were speaking, Jesus appeared there with them.

Can you imagine Jesus popping up at your next Sunday School party and joining in the conversation you’re having about him?

But we have to remember that God is with us right now, wherever we go. And he can explain the scriptures to us. There have been times when I’ve read a portion of scripture and I became awestruck as the words became more understandable. They took on deeper meaning. God reminded me of other scriptures I already knew that related to what I was reading.

God meets us where we are and strengthens us as we seek to understand him better.

So keep seeking him.

To Hear Him Like Mary

In Luke 10:38-42, Martha opened her home to Jesus. Her sister, Mary, sat at his feet, listening to what he said - instead of helping Martha prepare a meal. When Martha complained, Jesus simply answered her with, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Mary knew where to go to hear words of life spoken by God. Many times, our busyness keeps us away from him. Even when we get in our “servant mode”, we can still miss God.

In order to hear from God, we may have to re-arrange a few priorities. Maybe miss a couple of meals. Jesus was able to supply their meal without Martha’s help, but she couldn’t see the possibilities. All she knew was that it takes more than one woman to feed a room full of men.

Setting aside the plans and preparations may be our first step to hearing from God. When he’s ready to speak, we have to be willing to stop and listen.

Thanks, Mary, for setting a good example for us as we continue seeking God.

Written In Stone

I'm sure you've heard someone say, "These are suggestions. They're not written in stone."

We all know something that was written in stone. God crafted the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) without editing and rewriting. He carved them in stone with His finger, according to Exodus 31:18.

But do we treat them as if they were suggestions?

Sure, it's easy to keep most of them. "Today, I think I'll keep the commandment about not murdering."

However, we find a few of them a little harder to keep all the time. What if your parents haven't acted in honorable ways? Is it okay to not honor your mother and father if they've been dishonorable?

This reminds me of the time God wrote not in stone, but in sand. He asked if any of the onlookers was without sin.

Yes, we should obey God. We should honor our parents because God said to. We are not without sin. We shouldn't expect our parents to be. Honoring them in obedience to God is one way to honor God.

When we go to God with the plea, "Give me a sign", we should expect Him to remind us of the sign He carved out of the mountain. If we take His commandments seriously, He is able to lead us back to Himself. But seeking Him will always be unfruitful if we are unwilling to follow His leading.

We should read the signs already laid out for us, and continue seeking Him.

Seeing God's Message

When we pray, we sometimes ask God to show us an answer. Often without realizing it, we have our expectations set on a certain range within which He should move. We draw a box in the sand and ask God to write the answer in it. In an effort to help us see Him, He lets a wave wash the box away.

I love reading about Peter in the Bible. He wasn't very different from us. He loved God and wanted to obey, but human limitations colored his expectations.

In Acts 10:9-23, we read about Peter's vision. God gave clues to what was about to happen with Cornelius. Peter didn't have all the information yet, but he was warned not to call impure what God has made clean.

When we have clues from God, whether in a vision or from scriptures, we have to do the work of applying God's message to what He sends our way. I say "do the work" because it isn't always easy to do. God asked Peter to do something that was unusual, but had to be done because of Peter's calling.

Do you have a unique calling that requires something unusual? Has God given you clues to help you with your calling - and you feel like you don't have all the information yet?

Be patient. Do the work of applying God's message to what He sends your way. When you see God's message, know that there's a responsibility associated with your calling. And you are able to do what He's asked.

To be successful, you must keep seeking God.

Direction from God

Psalm 89:19 Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people...

God speaks to those who diligently seek Him. But God also speaks correction to His beloved children.

I have heard from God in a variety of ways. God always says exactly the right thing - whether I realize it at that moment or not. At first, it may take me a little while to comprehend all that I can see when I look back on the experience later.

Since I desire to obey God, a godly sorrow flows in me when His correction comes, and then repentance floods. He can turn me around with a word. But His comfort isn't far behind.

Wouldn't you love to be one of the faithful people to whom God speaks in a vision?

Me too. I'll take any form of communication necessary as long as I keep hearing God.

Nevertheless, I would much rather hear direction than correction from God.

It's okay to ask

Psalm 50:13-15 "Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

Almost everyone understands that God doesn't want us going to church to put money in the bucket to pay for whatever miracle God will throw our way. God isn't a miracle vending machine.

God is a real person who responds to our faith and our cries for help. He comforts us when we can't stand on our own. He sends people to teach us how to pray. He helps us develop our faith so when we find ourselves in trouble, we can thank Him for already being there in the midst of it, ready to show us the way out.

Giving thanks is sometimes a sacrifice. There are times when we have to kill our own desire to flee in fear. Instead of fleeing, we speak out our faith and thanksgiving. We do this because we know God will respond.

He wants us to call upon Him in the day of trouble. He's ready to deliver. And when He does, we can't help but honor Him.

Don't think that God is tired of hearing our plea for help. He's happy that we're running to Him.

Texting God

I once heard a pastor tell a group of children that God has a phone number. He proceeded to tell them to look up Jeremiah 33:3. This is where God says, "Call to me and I will answer you..."

I find it interesting that when we call people we listen for an answer, but when we call God, we just talk.

Listening for God is a part of seeking Him. And it's almost a lost art.

When we pray, it isn't really like texting God. But almost. We send our message and expect something to happen. If God should ever answer us with the same attitude we use toward Him, it would freak us all out.

I've heard a lot of people pray over the years. Some pray with a performance voice and some use a humble tone. Some pray prayers others have written and some pray from their own heart. If I were God, I know what I'd prefer.

I like how God says He will answer us, according to Jeremiah 33:3. "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

When I read that, I feel like a young student with her chin in her hands, staring up in awe at The Great Teacher. Almost anything He says to me will be great and unsearchable, and certainly something I don't know.

But He's spoken to me wisdom that I can use most of the time.

I think I'll keep listening.

Don't Forget His Teaching

Proverbs 3:1-2 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

We all like to hear about God prospering us, but like the prodigal son, we leave our current prosperity to find out that we’re nothing on our own.

God commands us to obey so that we will have what he provides. Since he only gives good gifts, it is the fool who abandons God. Why do we think our own way is better than God’s?

God wants us to know him. He provides for us everything we need, and he teaches us to enjoy it. But I’m simply amazed at how often I’ve ignored what God has said.

I’m not angry and rebellious, maybe just neglectful at times. God understands and extends his hand to me when I’ve obeyed and when I haven’t. He is merciful – without a doubt, but I’ve had to endure consequences of my actions and inactions.

If only I could obey God at ALL times. His commands will prolong my life indeed. And bring prosperity in many areas.

Thank you, God.

God Teaches Us

Jeremiah 16:21 “Therefore I will teach them – this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.”

I love knowing God will teach us. In Psalms 32:8, God explains, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

God wants us to know Him. In our seeking, we can be assured that he wants to be found. I think he sets up some love ambushes to grab our attention. He probably follows us until he sees our willingness to be taught.

And like kindergarteners learn how to read, we have to be taught the basics of how to seek God. He has so much for us, but we must build a foundation of seeking.

When we let him teach us to revere him, we can move on to more of what he wants us to know. Seeking is a process. There are tests to pass at each level.

But God is with us, helping us know him.

Seeking God's Face

Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

When you meet someone for the first time, you generally speak to them while looking them in the eyes. However, many people look at God’s hands to see what he has for them.

My husband used to return home from a business trip to the shouts of “What did you bring us?” from my kids with their eyes trained on his hands. I think we do that to God. We ask in prayer, “What are you going to bring me today, Lord?” When we should be simply showering him with love and affection.

I want to know God on a deeper level. I want to have a better relationship with him tomorrow than I did yesterday. That desire is embedded in my DNA and will probably continue on through generations.

When I get to Heaven, I’ll look into the eyes of God. But for now, I’ll be satisfied just imagining his face as I pray.

Diligence, part two

Prov 17:24
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

When a man wants something bad enough, it’s always in his mind. For example, if he wants to buy a Corvette, he’ll see one going down the highway beside him and admire it. He talks about it at work and thinks about it at home. He might research them on the internet.

That’s how we are with God’s wisdom. I want it. I read it. I talk with my family about God’s ways and speak God’s word. I have a Bible at my desk and one in my bedroom. I think about God’s wisdom – because I want it.

If you’re focused on something and don’t give up, you usually get what you’re after.

But with God, keeping wisdom in view is easy because it’s what He wants for you too. He sets up tiny reminders because He knows you’re seeking Him.

Diligence, part one

Prov 13:4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Would you spend tons of time and money getting Super Bowl tickets, and then not go to the game because you don’t want to fight the crowd? I think not. You've chosen to begin your journey, and if you stick with it, you'll get your reward.

If you think seeking God seems like a good idea – and it is! – let me encourage you to stick with it. Be diligent about reading God’s word. Stay consistent with prayers. Don’t quit in the middle of the process just because as you get closer to God, He seems a little scary.

Yes, God is big. And He’s powerful. But getting closer to THE ALMIGHTY is strangely peaceful and comforting.

If you’re afraid of what He might say to you if you ever actually hear His voice, please listen to what is spoken throughout the Bible, “Do not be afraid.” God is drawing you closer so He can teach you to love like He loves.

Stick with your journey. Understand that knowing someone as complex as the Maker of Heaven and Earth takes time, patience, and diligence.

You’ll learn a lot, and find surprises along the way.

You’ll learn that God laughs. His children make Him want to love and bless and give. Praise Him. Laugh with Him.

If you take the time to know Him, your reward is immeasurable.

Knowing God

Proverbs 18:15 – The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.

When we seek God, what are we looking for?

I read the Bible to find out what God has said. I look to Him for my answers – and to help me use the right questions. I’m looking for God’s guidance.

The great thing about God is: you don’t get His guidance without also learning something about Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us. He wants us to get to know Him, but He has to go slowly because of our limited understanding.

Seeking God is really finding that place inside you where God resides. Sit down, get comfortable, and wait on Him. Talk to Him – and listen. Find out who He is.

Never forget He is a real person who wants to be with you.

Do We Seek God?

Psalm 53:2 God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who seek God.

It’s normal for people to have questions. Christians have plenty of questions. But are God’s children looking to Him for answers?

God looks to see if any seek Him. To me, that means He’s willing to meet us halfway. He won’t come down from heaven to run our lives for us. He’s waiting for us to ask Him our questions.

How many of us think we know it all? In some ways, we act like we know everything. We have our absurd arrogant attitudes to overcome. We beat up others who think differently than we do. We protest when people call our ideas false truths or heretical myths. How dare they!

But God waits.

The verse right before this one reminds us that the fool believes there is no God. Are we acting like there is no God by not seeking the one we know has all the answers. Why do we pretend to be experts instead of asking God for His input?

Do we seek Him?

How many of our arguments could be stopped by both parties bowing together before God? If we sought after God’s wisdom instead of seeking after our right to be right, would we be able to share more love among God’s children? They will know us by our love, not by our ability to argue well using scripture to prove that we’re right.

The next time you think about God, imagine His eyes covering the earth like search lights. Imagine Him spotting you with your eyes on Him.

Let God find you SEEKING HIM.