April 28, 2017

This Week…I AM the Door (John 10:1-10)

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Recorded in the Gospel of John, our Lord made seven statements referring to Himself as I AM

I AM The Light of the World
I AM The Bread of Life
I AM The Door

I AM The Good Shepherd
I AM The True Vine

I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life
I AM The Resurrection and The Life

Each week during this season of Lent, here on the Seeking Him blog, we will be focusing our devotionals on a different aspect of Jesus’ revelation of Himself as I AM.  The aim of Lent should be to prepare our hearts for the remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice—His trial and torture, the Crucifixion and His death…and above all, the celebration of His Resurrection from the dead.  We pray that this will be a great encouragement to each of you who read them.  And that all of us will consider the significance of Jesus’ words and, through them, be helped as we remember and are thankful for all Jesus went through during the last few weeks of His life on this earth.

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So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you,
that I Myself am the Door for the sheep.
All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers,

but the [true] sheep did not listen to and obey them.
I AM the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live).
He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance (to the full, till itoverflows).

John 10:7-10 AMP

Another incredible promise that Jesus gave…how grateful and thankful are we?!!?   This past week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, our sisters have shared some insight on these words spoken by our Lord.  Here are a few highlights from the devotionals that Tina, Laura, Cynda, Ann, and Ahmee wrote to encourage us.

In The Door Is Our Protection, Cynda shared a bit of the enlightenment she received…

“…as I was studying commentaries on this passage, I came across a statement that made me pause.  Had I perhaps missed an additional meaning in this Scripture?  Had I stopped short without completely understanding the depth of this Scripture?

“In a ‘field’ sheepfold, the shepherd actually laid his body across the entrance, to keep the sheep in and to keep out the wolves.” – David Guzik

I totally get the symbolism that Christ laid down His life for our salvation.  But I missed the part about Him being our protection. Christ is there to protect us from the evil one.”

In The Gate for the Sheep, Ahmee helped us to see the value of each of our differing journeys to salvation.  

“Our stories are so different.  True, but there is something in common with all our stories—we all said ‘yes!’ to Jesus.  There is no other way.  So, before the yes, our stories are very different. After the yes, our stories are very different. It is even possible that during the yes, our stories are very different.

The point is, Jesus said that He is the Gate for the sheep.  Well, sisters (and brothers) we all walked through that same Gate!  Saying this makes me want to high-five each and every one of you.  We are ‘in’ because of our Savior.  Yay for us! What an awesome feeling it is to have walked through the Gate.  Why not bring someone along?”

In The Door To a New Life, Tina also wrote about salvation….

“As verse 9 states, Jesus wants to give us salvation. All we have to do is ask.  Then believe we are forgiven of all of our sins.  Change our lives and begin living for God.  This changes everything.  Believing and developing a trust in God will empower you in every area of your life. You will believe you can speak before a crowd to share your testimony with others.  You will be able to tell your story with such conviction and self confidence.  You will be proud. ”

In Re-Entering The Door, Laura encouraged us to recognize that  the Door—Jesus—rescues us from distractions of this world.

“However, we can easily reenter that Door when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Christ opened the door to redemption when He died on the Cross for our sins.  He reconciled us to God, so we may have eternal life. A s the children of God, we should pay attention to Jesus and being faithful to Him.  We should not listen to a world that has turned away from God.  If we turn away from God then we will die a certain death when Judgment Day arrives.  All we have to do is see Jesus’ open Door, give up the worldly distractions, and accept Jesus as our Savior.  When we cross over the threshold of that Door, we are no longer of this world. ”

In The Door Gives Access, Ann reminded us of the abundant life available to those who accept Jesus as Lord. (Check out the list of Scriptures she provided for us!)

“Jesus said, ‘I AM The Door’ …what does this imply?  He is giving us access to use Him because those who enter through Jesus will be saved—they will have abundant life (verse 10); they will have all they need to be delivered from sin, guilt, condemnation. He is the ONLY Door; none other exists.   [These}…verses help us to understand what this Door can do and how it is going to help us.  Let us therefore choose deliberately to use this Door which will take us to the highest places. ”

Have you had the opportunity to read through these blogposts this week?  If not, I would encourage you to do so!  Our bloggers have made these as well as some other wonderful points to direct us towards Jesus, Who IS The Door to salvation and eternal life.

2014 – Be Mindful of Distractions

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This year has been for me a year of understanding what lack of focus and distractions can do in your life.  Friends, family, laziness, entertainment, illness, work, emotions, and doubt (to name a few) are all things that can be distractions!  The thing about a distraction—it only has power once it has your focus.

However, I have learned that there are things we can do to help prevent ourselves from being trapped by distractions.  Colossians 3:1-2 gives the best advice in regards to distraction.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ,
set your sights on the realities of heaven,
where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Simply put, the best cure for distraction is to stay focused on God.  Sounds simple enough, right?!?  If only….

Another way to make sure we don’t flirt with distraction is to make sure that we are doing the things that we already know we are supposed to be doing.  Here’s an example:

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war,
David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites.
They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah.
However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Late one afternoon, after his midday rest,
David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace.
As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.
2 Samuel 11:1-2

This passage is the opening to the familiar story of David and Bathsheba.  One thing that I have always noticed in this record is that David wasn’t even supposed to be home during this time.  David, being the king, should have gone to war (verse 1), but instead he sent Joab and the army…kingless.  And with single choice, one of David’s most infamous sins was committed.

We are humans.  We will sin.  If the possibly existed for us to not sin, then the sacrifice of Jesus would not have been necessary.  And we will get distracted…whether it be by something someone said or did, or by things we intend to be good.  Distraction is something that pulls you away from the path of God and the purpose He has called you to.  Be mindful of all that you choose to endeavor in because some things may just be a distraction.

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Lord, in the year to come, help us to remain focused on You, and to not waste valuable energy on things that You would not have us to do.  Let us purposefully engage in each activity and choice we make, with guidance from You showing us what is and what is not worth the limited amount of time we have here on Earth.  Amen.

Esther – Chapter 7:1-2

Here in Esther: The Beauty of Courageous Submission, Mrs. Schacht asks us the following question…it is a biggie…ready?

“…is there anything that draws you away
from your relationship with God,
or distracts you from serving Him?”

Anything.”  I don’t like to admit it…to you or even to myself, honestly.  But ‘yes’ is my answer.  How about you?  Please take a few moments, right now, and consider this question.  Perhaps ask God to reveal this to you.

As we consider that we allow circumstances and situations to distract us from the One Who we should be seeking, I am sure your heart is saddened as mine is.  Actually,…no…not saddened!  My heart is sorrowful.  But, rather than just be depressed, my next thought should be/is “What am I going to do about that!?!”  Our heavenly Father doesn’t want us to remain in our sorrowful state of mind…He wants us to mourn our sin (of course), repent and CHANGE.  And then to live our lives to His honor and glory!

As we each experience daily, there is much to distract us from focusing on our relationship with our God.  From the moment our eyes open each morning, it can be a struggle to maintain the right perspective—God first.  But we CAN rise above this challenge and choose where our hearts and minds go.  For me the impetus must be to seek Him above, before, and instead of anything else.  He comes first before anything else.  And so I need to purposefully, willfully seek Him.

We have such joy and privilege of having direct access to His throne of grace!  At any time during the day (or night!) we can seek our heavenly Father—and enjoy quiet time alone with Him.  David wrote about his ‘quiet time’ in the following verse.  Does God hear you expressing your heart to Him in the same way?

In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord;
In the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You
And watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
Psalm 5:3

Now, of course, that time you spend alone with Your Lord—your quiet, devotional time—is certainly not the only time to pray! Actually, I think, being intentionalseeking Him first and foremostour hearts are prepared so that the rest of our day is filled with continual little prayers and petitions directed to our God.

Be encouraged!  I am sure that you already seek Him throughout your day…. How often do we go along through our day accomplishing the normal even mundane tasks talking with our Father?  Or driving (yet again) to school to pickup your children; isn’t that a great time to pray?  Or waiting for them at dance/soccer/baseball practice or music lessons/cub scout meeting/Awana time/_______ (you fill in the blank); yet another small amount of time that can be eked out of our day to pray and seek Him.

Paul wrote a number of times in his letters to the Christian believers about the importance of praying.  Listen to this encouragement:

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Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

So we see by seeking God first and foremost, by being intentional to have a ‘quiet time’ early in our day, by seeking Him in our prayers and petitions, we will be better prepared to pray at all times, and, keep alert and watch, and, pray without ceasing.  We will be continually seeking Him throughout each day—thus carrying out His will!

Here is a great example of seeking Him:

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life],
Being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Those are some very intentional words used at the beginning of that verse, yes? Other versions use similar words such as devote, persevere, continue….

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known to God.
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that peace]
which transcends all understanding
shall garrison and mount guard
over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

“In every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition…with thanksgiving” …that is how we make sure we are seeking Him in spite of the myriad of distractions in our lives.  Keep seeking Him and enjoy your quiet time with your Lord!  As you seek Him, He will be foundHe promises!

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me,
and I will hear and heed you.
Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity]
and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:12,13

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Let’s Pray:

Lord, You know our desire to seek You!   We need Your help, Lord, in everything…even in turning from distraction and seeking You!  We have Your promise that if we ask anything according to Your will, You hear us.  And since we know that You hear us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of You (1 John 5:14, 15).  Thank You, Lord!  We know that You will answer our heart’s cry as we are seeking You with all our heart!

Amen!

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Defeating Distractions!

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Dear Coach Megan,

I am so frustrated with myself because I have been so easily side-tracked by distractions lately and I just can’t get a handle on it! It is beginning to affect my job and my home life, and I could really use some direction on how to focus and let God take control back of my time! I hope you can help! ~LN

Dear LN,

I think we all struggle with distractions at one time or another and I am so happy you have reached out to get some guidance on this issue in order to make best use of your resource of time. I actually led a conference call on this very topic for Girlfriends Coffee Hour Leadership this past year so I will be using that as my guide to help you. I pray this is a blessing….

 _________________

Let’s face it. We all are guilty of succumbing to distractions…. But God calls us to not to and it IS possible to keep them at bay!

Do you know what the key to this is?????

Oh yes friends, it’s all about being INTENTIONAL!!!!

We all know that the more we are in line with God’s word and doing things to further His Kingdom, the more fiery darts Satan will throw at us in his attempt to knock us off course.  We need to recognize distractions for what they are in order to keep them in their proper place and NOT give them center stage!!!

Distractions as a whole are a huge drain on every aspect of who we are. They take our focus away from what we should be doing – our tasks, goals, and purpose. This is why we have to eliminate them from our lives, if possible!  Personally, I find that if I  indulge in a distraction, an hour could go by and before I know it, I’ve blown away an entire block of time that God had meant for me to use in another, more purposeful way.  Generally, this makes me feel drained and disappointed, not just in myself for having let myself be distracted, but also about the lost opportunities and productive time I could have spent furthering His Kingdom in my home, in ministry, or in my community.

There is a flip side to this too…. When we succumb to distractions, not only are we affected but, if another person is involved, they are affected too!  If Facebook takes up all your time at home, your family is affected; and all the lives that you converse with, they are affected because they might also not be good stewards of their time.  If you bombard friends with private message after private message all day long, they are being distracted.

Essentially, a distraction is attractive because of two reasons:

  1. It gives us pleasure
  2. It takes pain away

When we indulge in a distraction, we focus our time and energy on something that is inherently more pleasurable than what we are currently doing.  Solving that problem is hard, so I’ll just surf on Facebook instead, right?  Finishing this document is going to take some time, so let me squeeze in 30 minutes on the phone with my friend.  Making that call to the customer will be challenging, so let me read the news first.  The reason these things are attractive is because they either give us pleasure or take some pain away.

I would like to challenge you to record everything you do in one day and how much time you spend doing it.  You can do this tomorrow.  As a distraction comes into play, jot down the circumstances surrounding it and how you chose to respond.  BE HONEST!!!  You might be surprised at just how many distractions are being thrown your way all day long and what is triggering them!

Here is an example for you….

I get home from work and I need to get dinner on. I am on my way to the kitchen and one of my kids comes flying downstairs in a panic because he can’t find his keys and he is going to be late for work. I have a choice to make whether his emergency is going to become my emergency, or not.

Remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? I used to love those when I was a kid! Here’s my chance to see the different ways this could turn out….

  1. I could join his emergency and lose the time I need to get dinner started and then have to just order pizza because I am out of time and my family will eat unhealthy food and I will feel horrible about it.
  2. I could say some mean words to him, scolding him for being so careless and continue on with getting dinner going. He will feel horrible about himself by the time he gets to work.
  3. I could let him use my keys and no lesson will be learned but the panic will leave my house and I can stay calm.
  4. I can prepare some food for him to take with him to work and cheer him on, in finding his keys, while I get dinner ready.

I don’t know about you, but this is real life stuff in my house. Also, one thing I’ve noticed is that the more I choose behaviors that make me feel bad like giving cutting responses or jumping to every rescue, that makes me want to spend even more time doing distracting activities because the last thing I want to do is dwell on feeling bad about myself.  YIKES!!!

You might already know the areas in your life that you have a tendency to be the most distracted by and with. If that is the case, it is time to call the distractions what they are, move forward full speed ahead, and get them out of your way!!!

You need to overcompensate in the areas where you are the most distracted!

What does this look like in real life??? 

  • If Facebook is a distraction, turn off the alerts to your phone.
  • If the computer in general is a distraction, turn the parental controls on YOU!!!
  • If people are a distraction, schedule in certain times in your day to answer phone calls, texts, emails, phone calls, etc.
  • If YOU are doing all the parenting/watching your kids while your spouse watches TV, make it a point to get out of the house and see friends at least one night a week to give your hubby that father time he needs!

God calls us to give every aspect of our lives 110% of all we’ve got.  We owe it to Him and every single life we come in contact with to be our best and not let these fiery darts cause us to falter. When we are distracted our joy gets stolen and it becomes harder and harder to get it back. Things like Facebook, family time, helping a friend, and watching TV are not inherently bad things at all…. But being undisciplined and unintentional about the time we spend on them is not honoring our Heavenly Father with our time that He has so graciously given us!

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

GCH:POTs (Parents of Teens)- Love God by Loving Others

Hi POTs!

Yesterday I posted about the first of 3 purposes for your teen’s life… To love God by belonging to Christ. So, today we will explore the second purpose:

To love God by loving others

 

It is so easy for us, as adults, to get distracted by the millions of fiery darts that get thrown our way every day… and I KNOW you know what I mean! You start your day in the Word, you give your day to the Lord, you say your “amens” and the next thing you know….. You are discouraged left and right from all the distractions satan throws at you to get you off track. Can you imagine trying to stay focused on what God has for you as a teenager… Not yet equipped with some of the skills necessary to navigate those fiery darts?

 

Matthew 22:39

Jesus added, “A second (commandment) is like equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

All of us, as Christ followers, have the purpose to love God by living each day, with love, in order to fulfill the responsibilities, daily tasks, and major roles that God has so divinely assigned to each of us as individuals.

This includes honoring God by serving with Christ-like love in all your life domains:

  • Personal
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • School
  • Job
  • Ministry
  • Community
  • ____________(other)

 

What does that look like? Well, it means that we all are commanded to trust the Lord for the strength and power needed to fulfill our commitments and meet the challenges that propel our day in all of these areas.

If we are not walking in step with God throughout our day we will certainly be knocked off course. It is so important that our teens see us walk this out. When you get thrown a distraction, how do you handle it? What are you modeling for your teen? I would like for you to go to the Lord in prayer today and ask Him to show you the areas where you might be struggling in this area and ask Him to give you HIS eyes to see where you need Him most. This should give you better insight into how to approach this with your teen. If you can relate to them where you struggle, they are more likely to listen and learn with you. Please let God into those areas where you are struggling so that He can help you break free and keep those distractions where they belong…. Out of your way!

I pray that by this point, your teen has been able to open up with you about some areas where they are struggling. Please keep an open heart and mind as they share with you. I would love to hear how this is going and please know that I am right here with you every step of the way!

Tomorrow we will discuss the third purpose, To Glorify God by fulfilling your “This I must do” dream… and I pray it is a blessing to you and your household.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord, I thank you so much for what You have been showing us this week as we have been seeking your wisdom and guidance as we help mold our teens’ hearts and souls. Keep strengthening us, Lord and keep us open to what You have for our family through this journey. Help us to see our relationship with our teens with a new perspective and keep us focused on what You have for us. We thank you for this provision, Father. In Your Son’s name we pray, amen <3

Blessings to you and yours,

Megan

megan@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

https://www.facebook.com/megan.smidt

Sign up for one of our Online Bible Study or Fellowship Groups for Women and Teen Girls here:

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