September 25, 2017

Romans 15:4 ~ Hope

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{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

For whatever was written in former days
was written for our instruction,
that through endurance
and through the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 ESV

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have begun a mini-series on the subject of HOPE.  Our devotional writers have brought light to the verse highlighted above truly bringing us ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures.’  Here are a few of their thoughts….

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In Positive Attitude, Tina wrote about a woman in the Old Testament who had great hope…

“God gave hope to Hannah.  Hannah was barren.  She went to the temple and prayed for God to take away her shame.  When the prophet, Eli saw her praying, he thought that she was drunk instead and questioned to her. When she explained she was praying for what she requested of the Lord yearly, Eli sent her on her way, asking God to grant her request.  And God did.  She gave birth to a son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord.  She was also blessed with other sons and daughters for her faithfulness. (Click here to read this account.)

God still shows up in this way today…There is power in prayer and belief.  Within these lies our hope.”

In Hope Waits, Ahmee shared that having hope means we wait…

“Waiting goes hand in hand with hope.

Sometimes it’s a matter of seconds…sometimes it’s a matter of years.  Hope can be lost.  Hope can be found.  We can temporarily lose sight of the hope that we hold.  Hope is something that we have to focus on; something that is actually intentional.  Hope helps you keep a smile on your face when it’s raining.  Hope is a matter of perspective, but also, knowing that we are loved by the Creator of the world who only wants good for us.  With God, the hope we have has a real chance of actualizing.  Otherwise, we are just wishing for good things to happen.

God has promised us many things in His Word, and because of this it is possible for us to have hope.”

In Spiritual Hope, Ann reminded us of the hope that the Word of God gives us…

“The Word of God always gives comfort and strength.
The Word of God is an oasis of hope.

Believing the Word of God and living by it takes us from the arena of hope into faith.

And hope maketh not ashamed
because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 5:5

That means hope never disappoints. The reason it does not disappoint is that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  Hope is one of the three creative principles of the human spirit. They are also abiding principles.

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Meaning that when all else fails, these three principles will remain and not pass away.  They are given to us and are in our spirits.  We are to choose to act on faith, to always be hopeful towards God, and to walk in love.”

In Circle of Hope, Cynda gave us a great example of how biblical hope works…

Scripture
Purpose = Instruction
Result = Hope

“The purpose of Scripture is our instruction.  The Scriptures encourage us to persevere, to endure.  They offer us comfort and give us hope. Psalm 119 reiterates how closely hope is tied to the instruction of Scripture. Look at the following verses:

Do not snatch Your Word of truth from me,
for Your regulations are my only hope.
verse 43 NLT

You are my Refuge and my Shield;
Your Word is my source of hope.
verse 114 NLT

This is the circle of hope—the more we seek God through His Word…the stronger our hope becomes; the stronger our hope…the more we seek God.  This serves us well in times of trouble.  Instead of being filled with despair, we can remember the nature of God and be filled with hope.”

Hebrews 13:15 ~ A Sacrifice of Praise

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{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times
offer up to God a sacrifice of praise,
which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge
and confess and glorify His name.

Hebrews 13:15

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Oh, what encouragement I have received this week as I’ve read daily through the Seeking Him devotional!  (You, too?)  Ann, Ahmee, Clella, Cynda, and Tina have each written devotionals reminding me of the importance of offering my praise—a sacrifice of praise—to our wonderful Father God and drawing me closer to the One Who I do seek to praise and glorify!

In The Fruit Of Lips, Cynda took a good in-depth look at just what a ‘sacrifice of praise’ is and asked a really good question…along with a few answers she found.

“But why are we compelled (Hebrews 13:15) to do it ‘constantly and at all times’?  Here are just a few of the reasons I found:

  • it glorifies God and pleases Him
  • (because of) His enduring love and goodness
  • because Jesus did
  • it is our shared inheritance

But, I think my favorite reason for giving thanks is to tell others and remind myself of all He has done in my life.“

Then, Ann gave us some great reasons in Praise At All Times just WHY we praise God—

  • for what He has done (Psalm 9:11)
  • a four-fold reason— because we are “…a chosen people, a loyal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God….” (1 Peter 2:9)
  • and, as a commandment (Psalm 63:7)

She wrote, “So we are all to praise God; let us make a choice of doing so in the morning …in the afternoon …and in the evening time!”

Clella shared a wonderful translation of Hebrews 13:15 with us in Proclaim Allegiance To His Name.  She wrote,

“The New Living Translation says it this way:

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus
a continual sacrifice of praise to God,
proclaiming our allegiance to His Name.

The phase ‘proclaiming our allegiance to His Name’ popped out at me.  It sounded so different than the other translations that refer to ‘the fruit of lips that confess His Name.’  I just had to do a little research to understand what this verse is really saying.

– to “confess” God’s Name is to declare, state, acknowledge His Name
– to “proclaim allegiance” is to announce publicly, or to declare something one considers important with due emphasis, which in this case would be one’s loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior.”

In Verbal Sacrifice, Ahmee brought us back to the central element in Hebrews 13:15 of ‘sacrifice.’  She reminded us of reasons we have to offer our sacrifice of praise.

“Those days when you don’t feel like giving praise are the days when praise is a sacrifice. When we praise God even in our less-than-favorable moments we are saying to Him — and those around us —

  • God is our God
  • we trust Him with our lives
  • we trust in Someone bigger than us
  • we have the Almighty on our side to fight for us”

And in Giving Thanks, Tina encouraged us to remember how abundantly blessed we are here in the USA.

“The Pilgrims were so grateful to have a land to call their own and the freedom to worship God. After such a hard crossing and a hard harvest, they decided to celebrate and praise God for what they had. Let us do the same. Continuous praise should be on our lips and in our thoughts.

Philippians 4:6 ~ Do Not Be Anxious

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{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

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.
Philippians 4:6 AMP 

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been focusing our thoughts for the past few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have encouraged us to remember that it is possible to bring all our cares and concerns…and worries and anxieties…to God through prayers of thankfulness.  Please click on the indivdual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts.

In Worry versus Thankfulness, Clella gave us truth and promises to hold onto…

“These Scriptures in Philippians and 1 Timothy tell us to pray about everything-–every circumstance, every situation, every person in our life.  We are to tell God about everything we need (and even the things we perceive we need.)  Why? Because He cares about you (each of us.)

Give all your worries and cares to God,
for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7….”

In Trust and Thank God, Tina asked a really good question…

“What are we saying to God when we choose to worry and fret over a situation? Are we saying we do not trust Him to care? Are we saying this situation is too small for You to handle, I do not want to bother you with it? Yes, my friend we are. Just as you would go to a friend, or mentor, or mom, and tell them what is going one, God wants us to go to Him and cast our problems and lay them down at His feet….”

In Anxiety, Ann enumerated five different ways in which prayer is ‘the essential cure for worry’, and reminded us that…

“Therefore, I urge each one of us not to murmur and worry when we face the  adversaries of this life.  Take it to God in prayer.  He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  And there is nothing hard for him.  All things are possible…”.

In Thankful for the Blessing, Ahmee warned us of how easy path is to treat the Scriptures with a ‘mundane’ or familiar attitude…

“So, we are to tell God what we need (or want) and then we are to thank Him for what He has already done. I feel that we are told to do this, because it is to help us remember that God is faithful and has shown us that He is faithful, but to also keep us grateful for all the Lord has helped us with and provided for us, AND it’s to help us keep a thankful heart…”

This Week…Luke 2:8-14

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In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. but the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. for this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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From Ann, Ahmee, Clella, Cynda, Tina, and myself…
we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!  
God bless you and keep you!

This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been encouraged by our writers to praise God and bring Him honor and glory… just as the angels did when they came to the shepherds to announce the Good News of the birth of the Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

In When the Glory of the Lord is Shown Upon You, Ann reminded us of our privilege and joy to testify of God’s glory…

“I therefore request us, brethren, to cry unto God to show us His glory in all aspects of life so that we can be able to testify to others.  How can we testify of His glory if we ourselves have not experienced it?  The shepherds experienced the glory.  (And, yes, they were terrified…just as the shepherds!)  But the angel said to them “do not be afraid” for he came with good news.  The testimony they had was “God brings good news.”  Trust me, God is bringing His glory in different ways and we will testify.  But I pray we will testify as we have experienced it and perceive it in Jesus’ Name.”

In God Draws Near, Clella encouraged us—through many examples—to take the opportunity we’ve been given to ‘go tell!’ others about our God and Lord Jesus…

“We may be small and insignificant from the world’s perspective, yet to God we are like the lowly shepherds–we are very important to Him. He is personal. He has drawn near to us by sending His Light, Jesus, to dwell in our hearts. During this Christmas, we have the wonderful opportunity to show others just what a personal God we love and serve by sharing Jesus—Emmanuel—with anyone who will listen.”

In Great Joy, Tina shared about recognizing the joy that we can have as we submit to God’s will…

“The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)”

This Week…Philippians 4:6

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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.
Philippians 4:6 AMP 

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been focusing our thoughts for the past few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have encouraged us to remember that it is possible to bring all our cares and concerns…and worries and anxieties…to God through prayers of thankfulness.  Please click on the indivdual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Worry versus Thankfulness, Clella gave us truth and promises to hold onto…

These Scriptures in Philippians and 1 Timothy tell us to pray about everything-–every circumstance, every situation, every person in our life.  We are to tell God about everything we need (and even the things we perceive we need.)  Why? Because He cares about you (each of us.)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7

In Trust and Thank God, Tina asked a really good question…

What are we saying to God when we choose to worry and fret over a situation? Are we saying we do not trust Him to care? Are we saying this situation is too small for You to handle, I do not want to bother you with it? Yes, my friend we are. Just as you would go to a friend, or mentor, or mom, and tell them what is going one, God wants us to go to Him and cast our problems and lay them down at His feet.

In Anxiety, Ann enumerated five different ways in which prayer is ‘the essential cure for worry’, and reminded us that…

“Therefore, I urge each one of us not to murmur and worry when we face the  adversaries of this life.  Take it to God in prayer.  He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  And there is nothing hard for him.  All things are possible…”.

In Thankful for the Blessing, Ahmee warned us of the easy path it is to treat the Scriptures with a ‘mundane’ or familiar attitude…

“So, we are to tell God what we need (or want) and then we are to thank Him for what He has already done. I feel that we are told to do this, because it is to help us remember that God is faithful and has shown us that He is faithful, but to also keep us grateful for all the Lord has helped us with and provided for us, AND it’s to help us keep a thankful heart…”.

 

This Week…Colossians 3:15-17

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 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are focusing our thoughts for the next few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have been so encouraging in their reminders to always give thanks to God through our Lord Jesus.  Please click on the indivdual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Good Deeds, Ann posted a few excellent questions to consider regarding our actions, our deeds.  And reminded us of the reasons…

“Sisters, it is good to do good deeds to everyone around us as it gives glory to God…”.

In God’s Peace, Tina shared Jesus’ example of peace…

“I like how Jesus always paced himself.  Taking the time to pray…being intentional about it.  Jesus always had a peace about Him…”.

In Thankful Representatives, Clella encouraged us to be thankful and draw others to Christ…

“When we live in peace, joy, thankfulness, and God’s wisdom, we will be representatives that show the world around us our God of love. With thankful hearts, we can sing, speak, and do that which draws others to Christ…”.

In Be Thankful, Ahmee reminded us of a few of the many things we do have to be thankful for…

“We can decide to focus on what we do have or what we don’t have.  When we choose to focus on what we do have we are generally going to find ourselves in a happier disposition than if we focused on the negative…”.

This Week…Psalms 118:1 and 2

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Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever
Psalm 118:1

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Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are focusing our thoughts for the next few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have greatly encouraged us as they pointed us to our good God to Whom much thanks is due.  Please click on each link to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Reasons to Give Thanks, Cynda …. goodness is Who He is.

“What I need to remember is that circumstances do not determine my reasons for giving thanks.  My reasons for giving thanks are summed up in John 3:16 (God so loved that He gave) and Psalm 118:1 (He is good).  Goodness is part of God’s character, it is what He is.  His love is faithful, enduring, and eternal. And those are the only reasons I need.”

In Without God’s Love, Ahmee brought our attention to what it would be like if we didn’t have God’s love…

“Without God’s love we would be some very sad people.  Without the love of God, Jesus would not have been sent for us.  Without Jesus we would all be bound by the law.  Bound by the law we’d be doomed to live far more strict lives or suffer the consequences.  Without Jesus we would be stuck trying to be”good enough.” Thank God that is not the case!…”

In God’s Goodness, Ann shared a number of Scriptures that speak of how good our God is…

“The whole of Psalm 118 praises the Lord for His everlasting love for His people…how good He is from the start to the end.  The Bible gives us Scriptures that show God’s goodness in many ways…we see the goodness of the Lord being shown in different ways.  Brethren, let us trust in the Lord always for, indeed, His love endures forever….

In Thanks and Praise, Tina reminded us to bring attention to our great God and His love—and why…

“During this holiday season, we tend to think of things we are thankful for, such as our homes, jobs, and children.  We should, but we should also pause and meditate on how God has watched His creation grow and evolve over the centuries.  We are created to tell others about His great love for you and me…”.

This Week…Psalm 119:105

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Your Word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been reminded of God’s promise that His Word brings light for our feet along life’s path.  Our devotional writers have shared their understanding with us in the devotions that they have written.  Please click on each link to read their complete devotional; but here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In The Word is Our Light, Ann reminded us that the True Light will help us with the darkness the world brings….

In John 1:9 the Bible says the Word of God is the True Light.  It is the Sword of the Spirit with which you pierce your way through the darkness of life.  If the True Light dwells richly in you then fear, defeat, failure, and all other results of darkness won’t have any place in you.  You won’t fear because the True Light will show you that God has not given you the spirit of fear.

In Guidance, Tina shared the example of the Father of Faith—Abraham—and how God guided him….

But, that aside, how can someone travel through life without knowing God?  God designed us for fellowship with Him.  Not for us to be separated from His perfect love. God chose a people to be called his own, a people to be set apart.  As God searched, He found Abram.  God calls Abram to leave his family…

In His Word – Our Light, Our Lamp, Cynda brings our attention to a couple of important points about our steps along God’s path….

The Word of God can make our steps clear.  The Bible should be used to help us walk the way God wants us to walk and live the way He wants us to live.  When we choose not to use His Word, our path becomes unclear.  We aren’t sure if our next step will be on a firm foundation or down a dangerous alley…

This Week…Proverbs 30:5

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Every word of God proves true.
He is a Shield to all who come to Him for protection.
Proverbs 30:5

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been reminded of the Truth that God’s Word always proves true.  Our devotional writers have shared their understanding with us in the devotions that they have written.  Here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Understanding God’s Ways, Ahmee reminded us of a few folks throughout the Scriptures who simply believed God’s words to be true….

“In Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God proves true…”.  We have to simply trust and believe that God is going to do as He says He will … Let’s take a look at some stories in the Bible in which the people had faith in God’s word, simply because He said it…”

In Divine Protector, Ann reminded us of numerous promises from the Scripture which tell us about our God and His heart to care for us….

“A ‘shield’ is something that protects; and so God is saying that He is a “…Shield to those who take refuge in Him.”  He protects those who come to Him for refuge … Those who trust in the Lord, rather than in things that can be seen, receive the Lord as their Help and Shield.  Consider these verses…”

In Truth We Can Depend On, Clella encouraged us to remember that what God has spoken He is 100% faithful to bring to pass….

“Does it boggle your mind to try to understand that every (all possible) word of God proves (shows beyond doubt) that it is true (accurate, faithful)?  In our human experience, with ourselves and with those around us, we know that kind of perfection and faithfulness doesn’t exist 100% of the time.  Thankfully, it is true for God’s Word…”

Click on each link to read each devotional.

This Week…Psalms 139:23-24

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Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalms 139:23 and 24

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have reached the conclusion of our series on this wonderful chapter, Psalm 139.  These final verses show the heart of a humble person who recognizes…and asks for…God’s help.  Here’s a little of what our devotional writers shared….

In Change, Ahmee encouraged us to recognize we need God’s help for this…

Do you believe that’s a person can change?  I do…I believe that a person can change, if they want to change.  We cannot change people, people have to want to change on their own or the change won’t stick.  I’m talking about true change not “appearances” of change.  Can people change on their own?  I do believe that even this is possible.  However, I also believe that the easiest change you will ever experience is with the help of God.  And by easy I mean that the tools are readily available if you will accept them. First, and foremost, a person needs to acknowledge that there is a need to change….

In Search Me, Ann reminded us that nothing is ever hid from God…

‘Search me, O God’—this is an appropriate prayer for every believer.  Not only must we hate unrighteousness in the world but we must also be aware that there may be something in us that grieves God.  We should be willing to ask God to put us through any test that would further His work of sanctification in us.  If anything offensive is found, we must turn from it and repent.

  • We cannot hide anything from God for He is the All-Knowing God
  • Our God sees everything
  • This we should know: we cannot hide anything from the eyes of God.

In Lead Me, Tina shared about the best leader—God and how He leads us…

Being a leader carries with it a lot of responsibility.  Some do it well, working hard to be available to their team and leading by example.  It is hard work to keep everyone motivated and on the right page. God is a great motivator.  He wrote us a manual for motivating ourselves and others..it is called the Holy Bible!

No matter what we are feeling, God is there with His words ready to fill our hearts.  He created the Holy Spirit to aid us to stay on the path that leads to an everlasting life….