February 22, 2018

Where Are They Headed

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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

When you’re driving down the road, do you wonder about the people in the passing cars? What are their stories? Where are they headed?

When you leave the grocery store pushing your buggy, do you see all the people silently walking in the parking lot and wonder what their stories are?  I do. I even wonder if they are in some kind of pain masked by doing routine tasks.

Immediately after September 11th 2001, people engaged in conversation more easily and were so willing to help each other—even perfect strangers.  We didn’t even have to live where planes crashed into towers or the Pentagon to feel that we were all in this together.  A tragic situation had occurred, and we were united together.  We mourned the loss of so many lives.  We hurt together as a nation.  We easily reached out to each other.  And now, almost thirteen years later, we quietly walk in different directions again.  But shouldn’t we be thinking about engaging with others more than we do since none of us knows what each day holds?  Tragedy could happen at any time.

When the World Trade Center towers fell that day and so many lives were lost in New York City and other lives were lost at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and still others in a barren field in Pennsylvania—all of those were enormous, sorrowful tragedies especially for the loved ones left behind.  We were all saddened that each and every one of those lives ended that day, and our hearts hurt for those who loved them so much!  But I hope you will understand when I say that a far greater tragedy than leaving this earth early or unexpectedly is leaving this earth without a Savior!

My heart is burdened for those who don’t know Jesus as their personal Savior.  Life is hard at times…even when you DO know Him as Savior.  (I can’t imagine life without Him!)  But for those who come to death without having believed, received, and trusted Jesus as their Savior (having asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and knowing He took their place in dying for their sins on the cross) before they take their last breath, they will enter into a horrific place called hell where they will be separated from God for eternity.  (See Luke 16:19-31.)   I wish that for no one!

To those who are saved, let us mourn and be broken-hearted for those who do not know Jesus!  Let us pray for them!  And let us engage in conversations with them as the Holy Spirit prompts and leads us.

On September 11th 2001, many kissed their loved ones good-bye that morning not aware they would never see them again.  Perhaps it’s time to start having important and urgent conversations with the people we know and love.  To decide to have a relationship with Jesus and to be forgiven of your sins is the most important decision one could ever make!  (Please see Ephesians 2:1-10.)

Do you know where your family, friends, and others are headed?

If not, let’s pray that we all start talking about Jesus with them!

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Dear Lord, we praise and love YOU!  Let our hearts be broken for those who don’t know You yet.  Guide us in when and how you may call us to approach them and in what to say. Help us start talking.  Let us use the power of Your Word and let us say it with love, as it will provide truth.  Prepare the hearts of those who speak and of those who hear.  In it all, You will lead us, love us, encourage us, wipe our tears – if need be, and comfort us.  Thank You!  In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, Amen.

God’s Help Is Needed

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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 6—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 the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 5:3

Have you ever gotten to where you knew that only God could help you?  If you haven’t, you should.  Even when you are dealing with a tragedy or crisis, realizing your need for God’s help is a good thing!  For you know that nothing or no one else can step in and save the day—no one, that is, except Jesus!  Many tears have fallen when pride has had to be broken.  Then, the help that God brings shines brightly amidst the dark clouds of despair that have wanted to hover in life’s most difficult seasons.  God’s help always matters and always makes a difference!  Do you realize you can’t do life well without Him?  Life is always better with Jesus!  Not only will you have the wonderful Presence of God walking with you daily in whatever you may encounter, but He will bless you and promises you the Kingdom of Heaven, if you are “poor in spirit” (recognizing your need for God’s help).

So, what are you waiting for?  He is waiting for you.  Simply ask for His help.  I cannot understand why anyone would not.  If pride is standing in your way, ask God to help you trample on it!

Within every heart there should be a sense of needing God’s help.  I look at my own life. My every day should be in His Hands to guide me.  Without God’s Presence and help, my days would not have meaning for this life or the life to come.  I have no problem admitting that I need God’s help daily.  And each day I seek Him in prayer.  That is where I verbally express my dependency on Him and where my relationship with Him grows.  The Bible, God’s written Word, should not be far from my reach at some point on any given day either.  From His Word, I receive His help through reading: His commands, His promises, and of stories of how others lived life with God reigning and about those who lived without Him as Lord and did not call out to God for help.  The problem is always the same: everyone needed God’s help!  The difference is that some chose it and some did not.  The choice is easy for me: I need God’s help!  I will tell the whole world in hopes that they will see that they need His help, too, and that they need a Savior!

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Dear Lord, I praise You for being the wonderful loving and caring God that You are.  I don’t know what everyone who reads this prayer is presently going through…but You do.  Please let them see that You can help them with their trials and the circumstances that come their way.  If they don’t already know You as Savior, please let that be the most important decision they make before they go any further.  I hope they ask for forgiveness of sins and, then make You Savior, King, and Lord by allowing You to transform their lives as they live their lives focused on You and desire to bring You glory.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

First…Praise the Lord

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Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or declare all His praise?”
Psalms 106:1-2 ESV

If when we drop to our knees and pray, what if our first words were those that showed praise to the Lord?  How would that affect the rest of our prayer?  Wouldn’t our hearts be more likely to keep our wonderful God as our focus and keep us in tune to the fact that He is more important than the problems that we bring to Him?  Israel often messed up, yet God was faithful to them.

The psalmist opens this psalm in wanting the emphasis to be on God—praising Him and reminding the people of God’s steadfast love before he went any further.  And to answer the psalmist’s question, “Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD or declare all His praise?” well, we can try, but we would never ever be able to list ALL of His great deeds or ever be able to finish praising Him for Who He is and what He has done, is doing, or will do.

When I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness, my problems seem to diminish; and I rest on the fact that God is able.  He can take care of difficulties, problems, and unknowns.  Where I cannot, He can.  “He can” so much better than all of us in all generations put together.  So, maybe our role in coming to God is to focus on Him and then, after we praise Him, lay our burdens and requests at His feet.  Be mindful to remember His faithfulness to you in the present and the past as you come to Him.  Remember how He has carried you when You have needed Him – even when you didn’t deserve it. Remember how He forgave you when you asked for forgiveness when you messed up and sinned—even when you didn’t deserve it.  And rest assured that He will continue to be faithful forever.

Our circumstances will continue to change, but God never does!  Our response is to praise Him forever!  Praise Him in prayer!  Praise Him in life!  Praise Him in heaven!

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Dear Lord, we praise You!  O Lord, we thank You for loving us and giving us grace in spite of what we deserve!  We lay at Your feet the great concerns of our hearts in which the Holy Spirit is bringing to our hearts and minds at this very moment knowing You are able to take care of them, Lord!  Touch these matters in such a way that it is obvious to us and those around us that You intervened and made a difference.  We can all give You, and You alone, great glory and praise!  In Jesus’ precious Name we pray.  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.

As Long As I Live

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I love the Lord, because He has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because He inclined His ear to me,
therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.
Psalms 116:1-2

From generation to generation, God has sustained His people.  He has carried them through the difficulties they have had to endure.  In these verses, we see where it begins.  ‘I love the LORD;’ perhaps we need to say that more.  If we do love Him, let’s proclaim it!  The psalmist goes on to say why He loves God… “because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy, because He inclined His ear to me.”  If you have walked with the Lord for any length of time, you know these two verses to be true.  Our hearts should burst with love for Him because He’s been attentive to our pleas for mercy and has helped us.  And you know full well that once you’ve tasted how wonderful life is with Him, you desire to call on Him all the days of your life!  And in doing so, He will be your strength for you!

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

I do not deserve what God has given me.  He has lavished love, mercy, and grace on me!  And the more He does, the more I find myself loving Him more!

Because the Lord sent Jesus to die on the Cross in my place and has forgiven me of my sins, I now have a relationship with Him that will last for an eternity. And no matter what I have to endure on this earth, I know Jesus walks beside me.  No one can separate me from His love.  If you know and love Him, the same can be said for you.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, not angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

Friends, pray.  Call on Him as long as you live!  Love Him!  Have a deep and personal relationship with the Almighty God!  He loves you and cares for you!

Dear Lord,
I love you, and I thank You for hearing my voice when I cry out to You—the first time I knew I desperately needed You and every time since then.  Every time, You have been there to help me, forgive me, comfort me, understand me, and restore me.  You are my precious and wonderful God! Thank You for hearing my pleas of mercy and for always being there!  I will call on You as long as I live!  In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, Amen.

With His Help

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Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our Help and our Shield.
Psalm 33:20

I read this verse, and I’m simply grateful that God’s always there to help me!  The Lord is always my Help and my Shield.  Friends, this is huge!  If you are a believer, you too, can say the same!  (When we call out to Him in prayer, serve Him, express our hearts about God to others, face struggles, and do life, HE IS WITH US AND WILL HELP US.  WE ARE NOT ALONE!  The Holy Spirit lives inside of us, and we have HIS POWER working in us.  Let’s be amazed and thankful for that every day.)

Bow to Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

Because He is the great and loving God that He is, friends, go to Him.  Yield your heart to Him first each day!  Ask the Holy Spirit to let you realize He’s your Help and Shield in every possible way.  Live each day/your life in a prayerful way.

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Be strong in Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

God is greater than any spiritual warfare that we may face!  You will face it, as a believer.  Be ready!  Put on the shield of faith-believing in Him and what He can do. In fact, put on the whole Armor of God every day, and be strong in the Lord!  He will protect you!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, having as shoes for your feet,
having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18

Follow Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

With the Holy Spirit living inside of me, sometimes, He wants me to “go out on a limb” for God’s glory. It may not be a popular place to be. It may take boldness and courage to go! It may not be safe! It may be lonely because others may not be with me! Some may not understand what I’m doing at first. But if that is where God wants me to go, I go because I love Him! He will help me as I go, whatever the situation is! (Lord, help me follow You wherever You lead me.)

When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them,
and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.
John 10:4

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Lord, we love You.  Let us recognize that You are our Help and Shield in every possible way.  We desperately need You.  Let us bow to You, be strong in You, and follow You—wherever You lead us—all for Your glory! In Jesus’ precious Name, I pray.  Amen.

Striving To Be On the Roof…and Then Some

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Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
And you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
In your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
And your righteousness to the upright of heart!
Psalms 36:5-10

This psalm writer uses vivid imagery to describe God’s great steadfast love. To explain God’s love and faithfulness to the vast degree it is may be difficult, but we can try to do so to others – hoping the Holy Spirit will allow them to hear and receive what’s shared so they see their desperate need for a Savior!

I keep focusing on the verse that says, “Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you…” and my heart is burdened for those who may not know God and may not know all the riches that are found in having a relationship with Him.  (We, as believers “feast on the abundance of your house,” Lord.)  Some of these riches are: peace, love, forgiveness, protection, guidance, abundant and eternal life with Him, comfort, blessings, and the Holy Spirit!  I hope you have a deep longing to be near Jesus.  If you are already a believer, get on your heart/mind someone who may not have that same longing as you finish reading this piece.  Are you burdened for someone?  Are you willing to go “to the roof?”

In Mark 2, friends of a paralytic man wanted to get their friend near Jesus so he would be healed.

And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven…I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home’

Mark 2:2-5, 11

And he did! *Read Mark 2:1-12 for the complete account.

Friends, for some of you to be near Jesus, it‘s as easy as crying out to God asking for forgiveness of sins and asking Him to come into your heart to transform your life and reign as King and Lord!  In the account in Mark, friends were willing to remove a roof for their friend to be near Jesus!  Are you willing to “get on the roof” for your friends?  (Are we sharing how God changed us and sharing with others how their lives can be changed because of Jesus?)

If your relationship with Jesus was described as a metaphor of a three-story house, are you “on the roof?”

THE HOUSE:
1st floor: You’ve prayed and asked Jesus to come into your life and heart as you believe, confess and repent of your sins, and you know Jesus as Savior and Lord. You have the Holy Spirit inside of you.
2nd floor: You are continuing to pray in your relationship with the Lord. You’re reading and studying God’s Word to let your heart be saturated with His Word.
3rd floor-You’re still covering those things on the first and second floors, AND you’re going to church to fellowship, encourage, and grow and learn with other believers.
Rooftop: You’re covering all that is in the first 3 floors and sharing with others about Jesus and what He’s doing in your life.
Rooftop with a megaphone: You’re encouraging others to share about God’s steadfast love – where they are and across the world!

I hope as Christians we desire to do more for Jesus! If we are changed, we cannot be silent or do nothing. If we are changed, let us proclaim it, and encourage other believers to do so!

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Dear Lord, help us all to be “rooftop” Christians and then some—only by Your power and only because of Your great love. Give us what we need Lord each day.  We love You, and we praise You.  We need You and so do those around us.  Empower us to share of Your love with people in the ways and places you set before us.  In Jesus’ precious Name we pray.  Amen.

A Charging Cheetah

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There’s something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t yet….

Recently, my family was riding along in the car when my daughter asked my husband a series of questions. She asked him his favorite animal in which he replied, “Cheetah,” not knowing that she was going to say that the qualities of the animal you choose might represent what kind of person you would choose as a spouse. We laughed when she told us that. Oh, it’s just fun…how could I ever be like a cheetah? But then, after a few moments of silence, as we thought about it… well, maybe I am. I can be intense—especially if I’m running toward a goal for the Lord. (And at times, I also can be like the cheetah sprawled out under a shade tree doing absolutely nothing!)

I’ve been praying…and the time is now.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for my soul.
I cried to Him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
Psalms 66:16-17

This coming week, I’m determined to cast fear aside and be a charging cheetah. I’ll pick up the pen and begin writing a project that has been on my heart for quite some time. It’ll be one of the biggest projects I’ve ever attempted. Hopefully, it will bring God glory at its completion; therefore, it’s worth chasing after! I’ve been praying about this, and I know the time is now. God has answered my prayer as the project will soon begin! (He has been patient with me.)

But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!
Psalms 66:19-20

I give Him great praise! I could not begin to attempt such a project without Him nor would I want to! I want it to be saturated with love for Him and Holy Spirit-led in every step.

People may think that something has to be completed for a prayer to be answered—but not for me! Sometimes, the beginning is the hardest. Ask a runner how hard it is to run, and you might be surprised to hear that the hardest part is getting to the track and beginning! That requires much discipline to plow through feelings, to push away other distractions, and get moving! Once you’re on the track, the running is easy. As a cheetah and as a runner must begin to run, so must a writer begin to write.

So, what is God asking you to do that you have been putting off?

Is there something He wants you to start or try?  If God has your heart, you can at least try for Him! All of us should be able to proclaim Psalms 66:16-17 at any point along the way as we see what He’s doing in us and for us.

Jesus may return or call me home before I get finished, for I don’t ever know what the future holds. But when I stand before Him face to face, I will at least know I tried with all my heart. I will not regret having many unwritten pages in my heart not spill out for others to read when there is much to share and much work to do to make an impact for His Kingdom.

Are you with me? Let’s be charging cheetahs for the sake of Christ and move forward with intensity! Pray, and give Him glory for spurring us into action for His Name’s sake. Pray throughout the process, and give Him great glory when the work is done! And, at the end, maybe we can rest under that shade tree for just a bit…before we get up and run with all we have once again for the glory of Christ!!!

I  wrote most of this devotional while my husband was in a meeting after church. He climbed into the car and said, “I thought of you. There was a picture of a cheetah in the pastor’s office.” 🙂

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Dear Lord, let our intensity be set afire because of You and You alone! Let our excuses, pitiful feelings, and earthly distractions dissolve completely away as we set before us the desire to complete those things You are calling us to do. We love You. Let our lives show that in the ways we serve You relentlessly. Thank You, Lord, for dying on the Cross for us…that alone is enough to keep us moving passionately and intensely forward in the goals You give each and every one of us! In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, amen.

Seek Him in Prayer

SeekingHimLogoOne sees rich sand in his hand and scrapes more toward him on the beach to build a sandcastle. One holds bright snow in his hand, then piles and shapes more snow on the wintery ground to build a large snowman. Likewise, one can take a verse and find other passages to support and magnify the truth and concept of the original verse. The act of building can accentuate the original in such a way that the “take-away’ is an accentuated memory or a more impactful lesson learned.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
Jeremiah 29:12

Never believe that you can live without complete dependence on God! If you try to do so, you’ve made one of the biggest mistakes of your life! When I turn through the pages of the Bible, I see many examples of those who called upon God…yielding their lives toward Him in prayer. Come to Him, and He will hear you.

NEHEMIAH

When Nehemiah heard about the destruction of Jerusalem, he at once sought God in prayer for Israel. “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, ‘O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you (Nehemiah 1: 4-7).
To see how God wonderfully worked through this praying servant, read Nehemiah 1-13.

JESUS

Jesus sought God and said a prayer of thankfulness to God for hearing His prayers and to bring God glory before He performed a miracle—bringing Lazarus back to life. “So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth…” (John 11:41-44).
God always heard Jesus’ prayers. Jesus came to earth to do the will of the Father. As Jesus went and prayed to God, so should we. God will hear our prayers!

BELIEVERS IN ACTS

When Peter healed a crippled man by the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 4, Peter and John were brought before the Jewish Council. “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’” (John 4:18-20).
Then, the believers sought God and prayed for boldness. “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus. And when they prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29-31) A prayer-activated boldness through the power of the Holy Spirit is the only kind we should desire!

Seek God, pray at once, and believe with a thankful heart that He hears your prayers and will answer them. Great things, like miracles and boldness, can happen if you seek God and pray to Him. He will hear His people when they come to Him!

Dear God, let us all come to You in prayer. In crisis, in calm, in confusion, and in everyday, let us be a dependent people who recognize that we need You to help us and guide us. With You in all things, our lives are made better and with purpose. We recognize our need. We recognize Your love. Let us recognize You as Lord. In Jesus’ precious Name I pray, Amen.

With All Our Hearts

SeekingHimLogo

Then, you will call upon Me
and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you.
You will seek Me and find Me,
when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12-13

Would you go to the swimming pool to swim and only put your big toe in the water? Would you give a bracelet as a birthday gift and only put part of the bracelet in the box? Would you love someone only on Mondays?

It would be equally silly (and quite sad, I might add) to not seek God with all your heart. Take a moment to think of your relationship with God. We are to come to Him and pray and seek Him with all of our heart. To go back to the three analogies: dive into that pool with all your heart—totally submerging yourself to seek Him!!! As a gift, think of giving your heart whole-heartedly to God! And with your time, seek Him every day of the week! (That’s not bits and pieces of our time here and there like on special occasions, holidays, and emergencies! If you go to Him surrendered with all your heart, there’s not a day that comes and goes when your relationship with Him does not matter! Seek Him whole-heartedly!)

But even though we come to Him often, let’s always be in awe of the fact that the great God of the universe loves us and is willing to listen, care, and respond to our needs just like He did with the people in the Book of Jeremiah. Let’s not ever get over the fact that He can save us, restore us, forgive us, guide us, strengthen us, and help us. Let’s call to God, come to God, pray to God—knowing and believing that He will hear us if we seek Him with all of our heart. If we do, we will find Him (verse 14)!
Jesus doesn’t want partial heart commitments.

Look at this excerpt from the Scriptures:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer asked him a question to test him.
‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’
And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:34-37

It’s always the heart condition and amount of heart-surrender that matters to God! We are to give Him our all! He alone to the full extent knows who seeks Him with all their heart and who does not.

But if we could see it, I wonder what we would see. My imagination takes me to a place of wondering. Join me for a minute….
Imagine if all people wore a necklace that had a representation of a 5-inch heart that served as a gauge dangling from it. Imagine that the hearts would be completely shaded in red for those who seek God with all their heart. Now here’s the hard part: As we moved about our lives at the grocery store, at church, at school, or work, and within our families and friends…I wonder how many dangling hearts would be sadly empty, only partially-shaded, or completely shaded red? How much of your heart and mine would be shaded red when we look into the mirror?…How does this hit you?

If this imagination exercise is here to convict any or all of us, let the conviction take us to a place in our heart to strive to live (through the power of the Holy Spirit ) “a completely, red-shaded heart for the Lord” and also desiring and praying for the same for others! Let’s all seek Him with our whole hearts!

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Dear Lord, Let us always seek You and find You because we come seeking You with all our heart. Wherever each of us is in our relationship with You, let it grow even more. Thank You for being our Rescuer, Restorer, Deliverer, and Comforter. We give You all praise and glory, and we thank You for being a faithful God Who does not change, waiver, or hide from us. Let our hearts be drawn to You daily and completely! In Jesus’ precious Name I pray. Amen.

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