October 18, 2017

With A Thankful Heart

seekingHimthanksgivinggraphic

Do not be anxious or worried about anything,
but in everything [every circumstance and situation]
by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart,
that peace] which transcends all understanding,
[that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Philippians 4:6 and 7

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

With a thankful heart
And a song of praise
We’ve come to You
Gathered in this place
For the things You’ve done
And for who You are
We worship You with a thankful heart

So we lift up our praise
And we lift up our sacrifice to You
Lord, we offer our prayers
And we offer our lives in gratitude
For all You do
We worship You with a thankful heart

With a thankful heart
We will give You praise
You’ve been so good
Covered us with grace
You have been our strength
In a time so dark
So we worship You with a thankful heart

Make My Life A Prayer To You

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Make my life a prayer to You
I want to do what You want me to

No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise

I want to shine the light You gave
Through Your son You sent to save us

From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You’re really there

Well I want to thank You now for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say
Oh you’re coming again…coming to take me away

I want to die and let You give
Your life to me so I might live

And share the hope You gave to me
The love that set me free

I want to tell the world out there
You’re not some fable or fairy tale

That I’ve made up inside my head
You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead

Keith Green 
written by Keith and Melody Green

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

This verse always reminds me of seeking my God during my ‘quiet time.’

David wrote about his ‘quiet time’ in the following verse.  Does the Lord hear you expressing your heart to Him in the same way?  I believe that as we are intentional and seek Him that, yes, this is how God sees us.

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].
Psalms 5:3

Here  is a great example of God’s design for our prayer life:

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 <earnest, unwearied, steadfast> used at the beginning of that verse, yes?  Other versions use similar words: devote, persevere, continue….  This reminds me so much of David’s heart—he was earnest, devoted, steadfast  in his desire to be in God’s presence.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known 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 and 7 AMP

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 intentional—seeking Him first and foremost in our quiet, devotional time—prepares our hearts for the rest of our day to be filled with continual little prayers and petitions directed to our God.  We make our life a {continual} prayer to Him.

How often do we go along through our day, accomplishing the normal even mundane tasks, all the while fellowshipping and talking with our Heavenly 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.  He used terms such as, “pray at all times,” “keep alert and watch,” “pray without ceasing.”  Listen to this encouragement to make our lives a life of prayer:

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit,
with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.
To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance,
interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
Ephesians 6:18

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

It is clear that by seeking God first and foremost, by being intentional in our quiet time 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 have made our ‘life a prayer’ to Him.

I Can Pray

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I may never sing a song that brings people to their feet
And mighty men of world renown I may never get to meet
But I have an invitation to hasten to His throne
To lay my burdens at His feet and make my petitions known

I can pray
Though the storm around me rages
I can trust the Rock of ages when I pray
And the peace I can’t explain when I call upon His Name
I just know I’m not the same when I pray

When it seems the road I’m trav’ling on just doesn’t have an end
I have found that He will be my brother and my friend
For He never will forsake me; He will always hear my plea
Because He stands beside the Father, interceding just for me

If my people
Who are called by My Name
Will humble themselves
Will humble themselves and pray

Singer/ Songwriter: Kim Culpepper
*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *
I heard this song several months ago, and it spoke to me.  I put it in my ‘maybe’ list of songs to blog, not knowing when or if I was to share it.  Over the past two months a 16 year old young man in our church has been struggling with a deadly illness and has been through several brains surgeries already, with the almost certain need for more.  Our congregation, friends and family, both near and far, are praying for this boy!  What more can we do?!

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

The songs I sing will never bring people to their feet, and won’t heal Zach.  The mighty men of world renown can visit him at his hospital bedside, but they can’t heal Zach.  This road that Zach and his family are traveling on seems to have no end.  This is a storm that is too great for any human to conquer.  Perhaps you, too, (physically, emotionally, or spiritually), are on a rugged road that seems to have no end, and are in a storm too great to conquer.

BUT GOD!  Each of us has an invitation to hasten to the Throne of the One and Only God, the Rock of Ages, Who can do anything, including heal our dear Zach and calm your storm. That is exactly what Zach’s parents, and we are doing daily, even moment-by-moment, and I encourage you to do the same.

Where else can we find peace?
Who else assures us that He hears our prayers?
Who else promises to never leave us or forsake us?
Who else can calm the storm?
Who else can heal Zach?
Who else can smooth your road?
No one, BUT GOD!

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive His mercy,
and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 14:16 NLT

Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:4

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our Refuge.
Psalm 62:8

As one song says, “Our God is an awesome God, Who reigns in Heaven above, with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God.”  With that assurance, we run into God’s Throne Room, and lay our “burdens at His feet and make my (our) petitions known.”

It is there

  • we have the assurance that He hears our prayers
  • we know that Jesus is interceding before our Father for us
  • we find our peace
  • we find our answers
  • we are “not the same when I (we) pray.”

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?…
Christ Jesus is the One who died
—more than that, Who was raised—
Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us….
Romans 8:31-39

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Whatever your storm is today, dear friend, believe that Jesus wants you to come to Him with it.  Believe He will take care of your need, no matter what is it.  When you can’t do anything else, YOU CAN PRAY.  And we, your sisters in Christ, will pray with you.  Jesus is waiting and listening…and answering.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

I Will Seek Your Face

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I will seek Your face, O Lord
I will seek Your face, O Lord
I will seek Your face, O Lord
I will seek Your face, O Lord

Lord, how awesome is Your presence
Who can stand in Your light
Those who by Your grace and mercy
Are made holy in Your sight

I will dwell in Your presence
All the days of my life
There to gaze upon Your glory
And to worship only You

Written by Noel and Tricia Richards
Performed by Brentwood Studio Musicians

 * ~ ♥ ~ ~ ♥ ~ *

I was reading a book, and the author put forth the following question…it’s 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 the truth 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, way more than sad!  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 remaining in our sorrowful state of mind…He wants us to mourn our sin (of course), to repent, and CHANGE. And then to live our lives to His honor and glory!

Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love….
Joel 2:12 and 13

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 seeking Him above, before, and instead of anything else.  He comes first—before anything else.  And so I need to  intentionally and purposefully seek Him.

We have the joy and the 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 us expressing our hearts 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 intentional…seeking Him first and foremost…prepares our hearts for the rest of our day to be 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 your 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:

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season)
in the Spirit,with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.
To that end keep alert and watch
with strong purpose and perseverance,
interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
Ephesians 6:18

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

So we see by seeking God first and foremost, by being intentional to have a ‘quiet time’ early in our day, and 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 (earnest, unwearied, steadfast, alert, intent) used in that verse, yes?  Other versions use similar words: devote, persevere, continue….

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests),
with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known 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 and 7

Keep seeking Him and enjoy your quiet time with your Lord! As you seek Him, He will be found…He 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 and 13

Those Days

SeekingHimLogo

 

Since You are my Rock and my Fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for You are my Refuge.
Into Your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
Psalms 31:3-5

Those days.  You’ve had those days—the ones where everything that could go wrong, does goes wrong.  You leave for a trip—get a flat tire, forget your debit card at home, the bank is closed for some secret holiday, get a call and it’s some sort of family emergency—and all you wanted was a nice relaxing day. Those days, or just those moments when things just aren’t working in your favor.

I’ve had those days and moments.  They used to rock my world and send me into a funk that felt like it would never end.  But, as I’ve progressed in my relationship with Christ, I have learned to lean on Him instead of freaking out.  God is our Refuge and if we go to Him, He will help us.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Prayer has definitely helped keep me sane and I believe that, the better my prayer life becomes, the more leveled I can be when things do not go as planned.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14:33

Another thing to keep in mind is that You can trust the Lord in those situations, because if anyone can bring order to them, it’s the God of order.

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, thank You for being the God of order.  Thank You for giving me the opportunity to trust You in all situations.  You are amazing.  Amen.

CHRISTLife — By Prayer and Petition

saturdayprayersandpraiseslongDo not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6 and 7

Great and precious are the promises we have been given! They bring such comfort to our hearts!

“Do not be anxious about anything….”  This always reminds me of our Lord’s words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6).  As He ministered to the vast crowd, He said to them:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Talk about being comforted and encouraged! But, y’know, Jesus’ words to them still apply to us…He is still encouraging us to ‘not worry about your life’ and asking the question of us ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’  His heart is still to guide us along to seeking first the Father’s Kingdom and His righteousness…and the ‘all these things’ that we need, and desire, and pray for…’will be given to YOU as well.’

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Make My Life a Prayer To You

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

 Make my life a prayer to You I want to do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise

I want to shine the light You gave through Your son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair, it comforts me to know You’re really there

Well I want to thank You now for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say
Oh you’re coming again…coming to take me away

I want to die and let You give Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope You gave to me, the love that set me free

I want to tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I’ve made up inside my head You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead

~  written by Keith and Melody Green; performed by Keith Green ~

♥  _________________________________ ♥

This week, over on our Seeking Him Daily Devotional blog, the writers are sharing with us thoughts focusing on Jeremiah 29:13.

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.

This verse always reminds me of seeking my God during my ‘quiet time.’

David wrote about his ‘quiet time’ in the following verse.  Does the Lord hear you expressing your heart to Him in the same way?  I believe that as we are intentional and seek Him that, yes, this is how God sees us.

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].
Psalms 5:3

Here  is a great example of God’s design for our prayer life:

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 <earnest, unwearied, steadfast> used at the beginning of that verse, yes?  Other versions use similar words: devote, persevere, continue….  This reminds me so much of David’s heart—he was earnest, devoted, steadfast  in his pursuit of being in God’s presence.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests),
with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known 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 and 7

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 intentional—seeking Him first and foremost in our quiet, devotional time—prepares our hearts for the rest of our day to be filled with continual little prayers and petitions directed to our God.  Our life becomes a {continual} prayer.

How often do we go along through our day, accomplishing the normal even mundane tasks, fellowshipping and talking with our Heavenly 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.  He used terms such as, “pray at all times,” “keep alert and watch,” “pray with ceasing.”  Listen to this encouragement to make our lives a life of prayer:

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit,
with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty.
To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance,
interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
Ephesians 6:18

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

So I think that we see by seeking God first and foremost, by being intentional in our quiet time 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 have a ‘life’ of prayerfulness.  We will be continually seeking Him throughout each day thus carrying out His will (1 Thessalonians 5:18)!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

Interested in joining us for our next Online Bible Study that starts on January 13, 2014?   Click HERE for more details!

My One Word ~ Joyful

I just love this concept of having ‘a word’ as a spiritual discipline. (I’m sure you have stumbled across this idea…recently the blogging world has been crazy busy writing about it!) Somehow…ok, God’s grace, of course…I was introduced to this idea three years ago. A bit ahead of the crowd which is sort of typical for me. You see, I don’t do trendy things, I surely dance to the beat of a different drum. But I am perfectly settled with that…it is who I am and who I imagine I will always be.

Here’s how it works:  the plan is to pray and, following God’s lead, choose ‘one word’ that will be your focus for the next year. In working through this concept it seems to be so simple and, yet, so vast in its application. I have found that my eyes and ears (and spirit!) are aware and attentive to ‘hearing’ my word whether in the Scriptures, or in study of other books, or in listening to a sermon or teaching, etc. But isn’t that just the way that the Holy Spirit leads, and guides, and teaches us? It is the still, small voice that we hear. It is His gentle leading that always bring us to ‘see’ a revelation. Haven’t you found this true?

Each of my words has always been in relation to Almighty God. My ‘one word’ in 2013 has been TRUST, in 2012 it was PEACE, and in 2011 my word was REFUGE. And these are the verses that I began with and stood upon:

TRUST
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Psalms 56:3 and 4

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

REFUGE
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them, and that those who love Your Name may exult in you.
Psalm 5:11

I can honestly tell you that drawing closer in my relationship with God in light of each of those words has changed my heart. No doubt about it; absolutely! And so I joyfully anticipate ALL that God is going to do in me in 2014 as I focus on one word—JOYFUL.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

So, what do you think…is this something you might consider doing? If you have already been praying and asking God to lead you in selecting your ‘one word,’ I would love to hear about it! And, if not, pray! Seek God’s guidance and direction! He surely knows what your heart needs. He absolutely knows what will come along your path in the next year. And, most importantly, He loves you so very much and wants to guide you along the right path for you!

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

I am praying for you, too! If you would like, I would love to pray with you…send me a FaceBook message!

*  *  *  *  *  

{ For those of you who love to read, Pastor Mike Ashcraft wrote this marvelous book My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word sharing the journey that he took along with the congregation of the church he shepherds. It’s a great book and in it he shares much more of the heart behind the discipline of ‘one word.’ }

Prince of Peace

SeekingHimLogo

Each week during the season of Advent, our blogs will focus on a central theme which is associated with the coming of Christ—His Advent.  This week’s theme is PEACE. Christians throughout the world celebrate Advent. Some light candles or sing songs; some give gifts or  hang wreaths.  All of these are simple joyous ways of extending the celebration of Jesus’s coming beyond a mere 24 hours on December 25. Our prayer is that these devotionals throughout this season of Advent would help you to celebrate His first Coming and anticipate with HOPE and joy His second Coming.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

For a child is born to us…
And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6b

 ***********************

Prince of Peace. Often times the Lord’s many names don’t mean much to us until we have experienced them personally–that’s never been the case with this name.  I’ve always favored Prince of Peace.  Don’t get me wrong, I like all of His names, but peace just sounds so calm.  The Lord’s peace is like no pill you could ever be prescribed.  It’s like no goose egg you could ever accumulate. It’s like no budget or plan you could conceive.  Philippians 4:7 best describes this peace, “…Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

I always wondered how a person could have peace when they didn’t understand their circumstances… until I experienced this peace for myself.  I’m the type of person who needs to know all the details and I need to know what all my options are and then I maul over (a fancy way of saying worry!) the problem until its over!  Then, and only then, do I have peace.

The day I was informed that my cousin was murdered was the day I understood Philippians 4:7.  I mean, what kind of plan do you make for that? What kind of options do you have?

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Since then I have leaned into a Lord Who promised, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid”  (John 14:27).

And a God Who says He “will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]!” (Isaiah 26:3).

Do I understand this tragic situation?  Not a chance.  Do I have the Prince of Peace’s peace? Absolutely.  And it’s something I grasp for each day.  I grasp and hold tight to my Savior who, being God, saw it fit to come to Earth, lay in a manger, and die on a cross.  The Prince of Peace.

* * * * *

Lord, I am thankful that You knew one day I would need Your peace.  Your peace that penetrates all circumstances.  You are amazing and gracious.  Thank You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, 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:

Eph6_18

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

* * * * *

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!