December 14, 2017

Who Am I?

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 You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Psalms 139:5 and 6

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever-wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise

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There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And I fall down again
I can sing ’cause You pick me up
Sing ’cause You’re there
I can sing ’cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

 Chris Tomlin
written along with Ed Cash and Matt Redman

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My whole being shall be satisfied…and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psalms 63:5

To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:12

Take a moment, please, and think back to last night as you laid your weary head down on your pillow…. Did your thoughts turn to praising the Almighty with joyful lips?  Did you remember the blessings and mercies and grace that He had given to you throughout the day?  Did you meditate and consider how very much He had helped you and guided you?  Did you recognize that He had protected you…and did you rejoice?  (I ask these same questions of myself!)

I think, for most of us, we DO thank God for the day that has just past.  But…then perhaps we get distracted thinking about all that has occurred during the day.  We remember conversations—good AND not-so-good.  We think about unfinished tasks and projects.  We add to the ‘to-do’ list we carry around in our heads.  Maybe we even start worrying over the next day that hasn’t even begun yet.  But there is a better idea!  Try thinking these things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

So take another moment, please, and think about yesterday again….  Was there truth?  Were things right?  Can you remember something lovely that happened?  Did a friend do something you admired?  Did God’s blessings cause your heart to sing His praises?  I venture to say that yes…YES!…there were true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and PRAISEworthy things!!!  Thinking about these kind of things will cause us to praise our great God with joyful lips.  Remembering  the grace and mercy that He gave to us will give us much to meditate upon.  Dwelling upon the goodness of our God will lift our heart and we will rejoice!

Tonight, as you again lay your beautiful head down, sing and speak praises to Your Father!  Instead of worry and concern, allow all the truth, the right and lovely, the pure and admirable, the excellent, the PRAISEworthy things to fill your heart and mind.  Give praise to the One Who supplied your needs, Who protected you, Who led you and guided you.  Rest, my friend, in the comfort and blessing of His presence…and I am sure you will wake up in the morning, saying as the Psalmist did:

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;
yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning;
for You have been to me a defense and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Unto You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
for God is my Defense, my Fortress, and High Tower,
the God Who shows me mercy and steadfast love.
Psalms 59:17 and 18

And, perhaps, singing the sweet words of this song…

How can I keep from singing Your praise?  How can I ever say enough?  How amazing is Your love?  How can I keep from shouting Your name?  I know I am loved by the King…and it makes my heart want to sing!’

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Almighty God, You are Holy, You are Faithful, You are Sovereign, You are Love!  Please help us through Your Holy Spirit to remember to think on the true, the right, the lovely, the pure, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy things…and to praise You, Lord!  We do sing out our praises…in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

 

Imperishable Hope

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again
to a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled
and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
who are protected by the power of God through faith
for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5

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Did you just read what Peter said?  We have a living hope to an imperishable inheritance  through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  AND it is a place reserved in heaven with Jesus and our Father.  What a great promise we have!

We all have a hope to be with God in Heaven one day.  As we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior we will be there.  It is like waiting to go on a long-awaited trip, or finally being able to accomplish a dream.

The Jewish people have hope for their Messiah to come, one of a conquering one.  We know the Messiah has already arrived.  Our job is to pray for the people of Israel to realize Jesus as their Messiah and to demonstrate to them who we are in believing in Jesus.

With the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948, the people have begun resettling the land which God promised would happen.

For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land
who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered,
heal the broken, or sustain the one standing,
but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.
Zechariah 11:16
God has a plan and has given hope to His people—from selecting Abraham and Sarah, to bringing the people out of captivity in Egypt, to David being chosen as king.  God has a plan to bring us to Him as His own.  Our hope is in Him and He is attainable.
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Father, thank You for loving us and for grafting us into Your family.  Help us share the hope you have given to all of us with others.  Help us not be afraid to be bold.  Give us courage.  In Jesus’ name, amen!

Enter the Peacemakers

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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

Peacemakers:

a person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, especially by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight

Do you know a peacemaker?  Are you a peacemaker?  All of my life it seems I have been a peacemaker.  I usually try to smooth ruffled egos, or try to sooth the person who feels that he/she is not respected enough.  Sometimes this is a tiring task.  It can take a toll on you and on how you help others if you are not careful.  Paul tell us in Galatians 6:9-10 (ASV) 

And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. So then, as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.

Why do you suppose God wants to bless the peacemakers?  I like to think it is because of them that treaties are made, pacts are adhered to, and wars are stopped.  Some of these agreements may be for economic reasons but the peacemakers have a unique gift of diplomacy.  These people have a way of studying the opponent by learning the culture and other customs.   For instance…did you know that in Middle Eastern culture, when in negotiations, you are not to speak first?  It is a sign of weakness.  Silence is not the enemy and we should not be afraid to use it.

Today, look at your words and actions, do they glorify the Lord? Do your words honor God as well as lift up and exhort the person to whom you are speaking?  Growing up, did you hear the words, “If it isn’t nice, don’t say it.” How many times have I spoken and then replayed the scene in my mind of how I have failed to build someone up.  This is not meant to condemn but rather to reassure you that you, too, can become a peacemaker—a person who builds up.  To do this we need only to be silent, when we want to speak words that are not kind. Especially when  we use sarcasm to disguise words that would be intended to hurt and wound.

God wants to use us in all of our ways. We may not feel adequate but be assured that God will use you where you are and give you the tools you need to start fresh.  Begin you day with “God, help me to learn something about the person who tests me every day.  Show me his/her heart and give me the peace that You are in control. Let me look at him/her through Your eyes.”

Biblical Common Sense

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We have now entered the season of Lent.  For many Christians, Lent is taken as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter where God miraculously redeemed mankind by resurrecting His Son from the dead. It is also a time to consider what Jesus said and did; and how we should be living in light of His Words.  ✞ ♥

During this season, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have chosen to focus our devotionals on Jesus’ instructions and admonition communicated in Matthew chapter 5—the Beatitudes.  Jesus said, “Blessed are…” and He went on to give instruction as to how to be “blessed.”  To be ‘blessed’ is to ‘be happy, or to be envied.’   Truly for the Christian, we ARE blessed—oh, how very blessed we are!  Those who observe our lives should clearly be able to tell that we ARE blessed—and that we KNOW it! ✞ ♥

Please consider Jesus’ instructions along with us.  We pray that our words will encourage you and spur you on to be prepare your hearts for the joyous celebration of His Resurrection!  ✞ ♥

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, 
for they will be satisfied. 
Matthew 5:6

Every year for the past eleven years I have filled out a survey at my children’s annual physical checkup.  From ages 2-6, I am required to ask them the question, “What do you do when you’re hungry?”  Of course they respond with “Eat,” or “Ask for food,” things such as that.  I’ve always wondered why this question is asked…why such a common inquiry is made; even small children know what to do and how to respond.  But there must be a reason that each year we are reminded to quiz our children on such a simple thing, something we see as common and natural.

When I read this Scripture, I thought of this scenario.  We know we’re supposed to seek God and do as He commands and instructs; doing this leads to righteousness.  In a sense it is biblical common sense.  We hunger for God’s Word and for His guidance and love. and when we hunger, when we strive, we find righteousness.  Just as the pediatrician reminds us to look closely at common things, so does Christ.  Sometimes we become so engulfed in our life that we forget to consciously thirst for Christ and to be hungry for His word, His direction.  So He has given us reminders, such as these verses, to look at and to remind us.  This is more than an answer on a piece of paper.  It is a reminder that when we seek Him and when we thirst for him, He will fill us.  When we seek…we will find.  When we thirst…we will be filled.  Common sense, yes; but the reminders are much needed, much desired.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7

He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty
Luke 1:53

Let’s Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, there are times we forget common things, like what to do when we’re hungry.  Like the pediatrician, You remind us of what we sometimes forget to see—that our thirst for You will lead to righteousness and that we will be filled when we hunger and thirst for Your Word.  Lord, remind us to seek You daily.  And to thirst for You always.  Increase our desire to be filled, so that we will not forget the common things, so that we will not forget to seek, and ask, to find and to hunger.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

It Is Well – Matthew 5:4

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We have now entered the season of Lent.  For many Christians, Lent is taken as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter where God miraculously redeemed mankind by resurrecting His Son from the dead. It is also a time to consider what Jesus said and did; and how we should be living in light of His Words.  ✞ ♥

During this season, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have chosen to focus our devotionals on Jesus’ instructions and admonition communicated in Matthew chapter 5—the Beatitudes.  Jesus said, “Blessed are…” and He went on to give instruction as to how to be “blessed.”  To be ‘blessed’ is to ‘be happy, or to be envied.’   Truly for the Christian, we ARE blessed—oh, how very blessed we are!  Those who observe our lives should clearly be able to tell that we ARE blessed—and that we KNOW it! ✞ ♥

Please consider Jesus’ instructions along with us.  We pray that our words will encourage you and spur you on to be prepare your hearts for the joyous celebration of His Resurrection!  ✞ ♥

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Matthew 5:4

~  Music and lyrics – Horatio Spafford / Performed by Selah  ~

Joy of the Lord

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Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Nehemiah 8:10

Joy can be found in the Lord’s Word.  Simply put—if you want it, it can easily be found.  Joy is most certainly NOT a scarce commodity for the Lord.  The sanctuary of the Lord sounds like a safe place to me…it IS safe!  It sounds peaceful…it IS peaceful!

Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live
in the House of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.
For He will conceal me there when troubles come;
He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.
At His sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
Psalms 27:3-6

My favorite part of this passage is that “He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.”  How quickly I forget that my battles are not my own. Never were my battles intended to be my own.  The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has more than enough capability to handle all the battles that could possibly come my way.  Heaven’s Army sounds pretty big to me—it sounds pretty capable of taking care of ALL battles.

For the Lord God is our Sun and our Shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in You.
Psalms 84:11-12

Trusting in the Lord brings joy.  His word says that He will ‘withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.’  His joy is a good thing and I’m thankful that He doesn’t withhold it.

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Dear Lord, how awesome You are!  Thank You for the gift of Your joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In His Courts

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O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God, And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Psalms 84:8-12

To be fully aware of the Presence of God is such a wonderful blessing!  To be in awe of Him, to worship and adore Him, and to be thankful that you are able to trust Him is an incredible way to live life!  He loves us and hears our prayers.  Every day in the Presence of God is another opportunity to love God, to have hope in Him, and to praise Him!

The psalmist describes the great honor and joy it is to be able to love, to serve, and to adore our great God by saying, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.”  Amen!

Do we truly grasp what all we have in even a single day because God so desires to bless us who look to Him and trust Him?  Wherever God places us in this life, let us be found being thankful, faithful, and content.  For knowing God and being where He wants us to be is the absolute best place to be if that is what God wants for us.  It’s in the knowing Him and being where He has called us that makes life and existence wonderful and abundant—not the job title or position we have that makes life so worth living…it is God!  Even one day living, loving, and serving God is so much better than living a thousand days in any other different way!  That’s just how good God is.  That’s just how wonderful having a relationship with Him is.  I want to be His child.  I want to be His servant.  I want to be in the center of His will and where He places me.  What a huge honor it would be to be a “doorkeeper” in Your house, O Lord!

As you look to Him, He will rain down blessings on your life where you are serving Him.  Be overjoyed that you have access to a God that loves you, blesses you, and is always with you…I am!

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Dear Lord, thank You for loving us and allowing us the opportunity to know You as Lord and Savior.  Help us to be so very thankful and to be content in the places where we serve You each day.  Please continue to bless us.  And may we never get over Who You are and how You have transformed our lives for our good and for Your great glory!!!  In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, Amen.

Trusting in the Lord

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Psalms 84:8-12
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God, And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!


~  Better is One Day written by Matt Redman ~
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How many of us have had one of those days that will not end.  You know, where things keep happening that are just mind boggling, that we are at a loss for words? What do you do when that happens to you?  Is your first response to pray, or to complain?

As we walk through our life, God offers us opportunities to walk out our faith or to stray from it.  There are people who watch every move we make.  These are Christians and non-Christians, new believers and old believers.  God knows what our choice will be.  He knows if we are going to search for Him and His leading or whether we choose to walk out our own.  As we mature and are not afraid to choose Him, we build such a faith and trust that God will not let us down.  But we have to trust that God will do the best for us.  It will not line up with the world view.

As you start your week, think on the things of God.  He will honor our willingness to serve Him.  It is not our works that please Him, it is our love and friendship.  Just as God loves His people, He loves us the same.  When He brought out His people from Egypt, He did not take them the short route—He took them the long way.  He knew that His people would not be able to go to war against the other nations from the beginning of the journey.  He knew He would have to help them to develop their trust in Him.

Only…who wants to wander in the desert for forty years only to die because of unbelief?  Once those who had not believed they could go into the Promised Land died, God then promoted Joshua; and Joshua took the people on the journey to begin taking the land that God had promised the Hebrew nation many hundreds of years before.  I want to be like Joshua, I want to profess that my God is more than able to protect and sustain me no matter where I am.  How about you?

Joshua was able to defeat the enemies and lead God’s people for many years.  He loved the Lord and obeyed the God throughout his life.  Joshua never aged, grew weak, or lost his eyesight.  Because he followed God without question, he lived a very long life before he died and went to be with God and Moses.

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Father, thank You for the men and women we find in the Holy Bible that teach us what it looks like to follow, believe, and trust in You with all of their hearts.  We want to come into Your presence on that great day and worship You with all that we have!  You are awesome and mighty to be praised.  Please bless the women who are seeking You and investing in Your word each and every day.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Blessings of God

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O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Behold our shield, O God, And look upon the face of Your anointed.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Psalms 84:8-12

The last line…“How blessed is the man who trusts in You!”…pay particular attention to it.  It is a universal truth no matter how hard things can get.  God blesses us every day.  Just pay attention to it because you could miss it in the blink of an eye.

My children are a blessing.  When the opportunity arises, we have camp-outs in the living room.  (Yes, even on school nights.)  Well, we had one last night.  When the kids camp out, I sleep in the living room with them.   I had gotten up early to read some of my policy class work.  Well, I got sleepy. I figured I would take a quick 10 minute nap before the kids got up.  Right as I was drifting off, I felt a little arm brush across my face.  I opened my eyes to see my daughter climbing up into my arms.  What a blessing to get such love in the morning.  I guess God knew that I would sleep past the ten minutes and blessed me with love to keep me awake.  God is so awesome!

God gives us blessings all day.  If we trust in Him and believe in Him, He blesses us with His protection and love.  He becomes our sunshine and we shine with His love to those around us.  Every day is not promised, but at least when I get up in the mornings, I know that I am standing in the court that He created here on Earth.  I am standing on the threshold of His home because I know that is the next home I will have when I am done here on Earth.

A day with God is better than any day without Him.  Just being in a relationship with Him brings a smile to my face.  I place my faith in Him to get through hard days and good days.  If it were not for God, I do not know where I would be right now.  God puts us where we are for different reasons.  We may be able to figure some of them out, and we not be able to come to the conclusion.  Just remember that God knows what is best for us, and He blesses us in that way.

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your blessings.  Without them, our days would be longer and miserable.  I pray that we appreciate Your blessings and not take them for granted.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.