January 23, 2018

What If…

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Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.
Psalms 136:1-3

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Being thankful is something that should be done on a daily, hourly, and minute-by-minute basis.  I had heard of people who kept gratitude journals or thanksgiving diaries.  For a complete month, I wrote down what I was thankful for, even on the bad days when I felt like nothing was going my way.  When I started, I was certain it was going to be impossible to write down thirty things.

I’ll admit, I did struggle on some days because I was being stubborn. This was during a time when I was having real issues not being focused on what was wrong in my life. You see, if all you focus on are the things that are wrong…then it sure will be hard to see what is right and good.

Psalm 136:1-3 says to, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.”  When my brother and I were younger we used to do “what if” scenarios all the time.  Remembering that made me think…

  • What if God’s love did not endure forever?
  • What if God was not the only True God?
  • What if God’s love were not faithful?

Could you even begin to fathom what our lives would be like if God was not the way He is?  I think that if God were different, life would be a lot harder, and potentially unbearable.

  • What if God decided to be more like a dictator than a loving Father?
  • What if God did not care for our well-being, and we were just puppets?
  • What if we didn’t have freewill!?!??!

We can only imagine what our lives would be like if God were different.  So, I’m thankful that He is the way that He is and that He allows me to have freewill.

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Lord, thank You for being who You are—loving, caring, kind, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, trustworthy, honest, helpful, strong, Almighty, and just plain awesome!  Amen.

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…”.

You Are Such a Good God

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How abundant are the good things
that You have stored up for those who fear You,
that You bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in You.

Psalm 31:19

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Oh, Lord, we are so grateful for Your abundant goodness!  You have purposed and planned to take care of us—and we are so thankful.  You make it so easy to boast of our great God and to share with those around us of Your grace and goodness.  Today may we live our lives in such a way that we are not a hindrance and do not detract from the glory that belongs to You.  May our friends and family…our enemies even…be drawn to You as they cannot help but acknowledge Your blessings, Your goodness, Your benevolence as they see how graciously You care for us.  We love You…we praise You…we glorify You!  And we pray, thanking You for these things, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thankful To a Good God

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Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will
for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

“…Thankful in all circumstances“.  I think sometimes we get this mixed up with thankful for all circumstances.  This also corresponds with being content in all circumstances—not content for all circumstances.  We are going to go through some things in our lives that we should not be thankful for, but we can be thankful during the process. God does not want us to be thankful for cancer, but we can be thankful to Him while we have cancer.

God is a good God.  He will not bring anything into our lives that is not good.  God can do no wrong.  God does not make mistakes.  This being said…God is not the only being that brings things in and out of our lives.  Satan puts things in our lives.  Deception is something that Satan is very good at.  He was able to deceive Adam and Eve in the Garden, and to this day he still works to deceive mankind.  Not only this, but the consequences of our own actions brings unfavorable things into our lives.

What I’m saying is that the Bible clearly says,

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
Who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

The Bible also clearly says,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Very simply put: Good God — bad devil.

Thank God for ALL the good He has done in your life. You can thank God for bringing you through the bad in your life. You can thank God for turning a bad situation into a good situation. God can bring good out of bad. God can show you the error of your way(s) in bad situations and use His word to teach you the correct way…but God does not do bad. Do not thank God for the bad you have in your life, but be thankful to God during these times—because God is good.

Our Good God

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He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Psalm 103:5

God is and will always be good. One of the most common phrases I hear well-meaning Christians say to one another is “Everything happens for a reason.” and “God always has a plan.”

First and foremost, we must always remember the character of God—God is good. So, if your friend gets into a car accident it wasn’t because God had a plan, it was because somebody forgot to hit their brakes (perhaps because they were too busy talking on the phone).  That wasn’t God’s plan. However, God can use moments like these to reach and teach others.

I definitely believe that God can take horrible situations and stupid mistakes and turn them into something good.  Does He always?  Nope.  But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us.  There is a certain thing in this world known as ’cause- and-effect’.  Because you did not pay your electric bill, your lights got turned off. Because you did not buy groceries, you don’t have any food at home.  Because you decided to stay out all night, you slept through your 5 a.m. alarm.

God is in control…no doubt about it.  But just because you are in control of something doesn’t mean that you caused something to happen.  For instance, a manager of the store is in control of the store, but if an associate steals that does not mean he caused that to happen.  Same goes for God.  We have this thing called…yep...free-will.  I have mine and you have yours; everybody else has theirs.  Think about it!  That’s a lot of free-will that’s floating around.

Does God intercede and stop bad things from happening…of course.  Why He does or does not is His business. My job is to remember what Jesus said…

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
John 10:10

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Thank You for being good to me, God. Amidst all that is happening in the world, help me to see things through Your eyes and remember that You are good and You always will be. Amen.

Encouraging One Another

SeekingHimLogoCome and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what He did for me.
For I cried out to Him for help,
praising Him as I spoke.
Psalms 66:16-17

Listening to others tell me about what God has done in their lives is like reading a good book or watching a good movie. I always get excited and sometimes my eyes water. I love hearing about how doctors tell women they are infertile but, by the grace of God, they get pregnant with no trouble! Or how circumstance after circumstance piled on top of a person and they just couldn’t make sense of any of it and felt that all hope was gone but, God showed up and changed everything!

I especially like the stories of how a person prayed…waited…hoped…and struggled…waiting for God to fulfill a desire. Somehow those stories make waiting a little more bearable.

It is easy for us to get consumed and weighed down by our circumstances. I oftentimes find this is the case when we get into the mindset that somehow we are the only one in the world who has ever experienced, is experiencing, or will experience our situation.

And that’s why as Hebrews 10:25 advises us to,

…not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fellowship with other believers is important.

Fellowship with other believers isn’t about “paying” a church or getting attendance records up. No, fellowship with other believers is about encouragement. We are reminded through the lives of our fellowbelievers that we are not alone! Together we are stronger.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12

We aren’t called the body of Christ for no reason!  We are meant to work together.

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Lord, I am so thankful for every person you have placed in my path to spur me forward on my journey. You have given me strong friends in the most unlikely places and from the most unlikely people. Thank You for reminding me that I never know how similar I really am to a person until I get to know them. You are so awesome for creating such diversity among Your people and only the Creator of the universe could bring us together…in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Encouraging One Another

SeekingHimLogo

Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what He did for me.
For I cried out to Him for help,
praising Him as I spoke.
Psalms 66:16-17

Listening to others tell me about what God has done in their lives is like reading a good book or watching a good movie. I always get excited and sometimes my eyes water. I love hearing about how doctors tell women they are infertile but, by the grace of God, they get pregnant with no trouble! Or how circumstance after circumstance piled on top of a person and they just couldn’t make sense of any of it and felt that all hope was gone but, God showed up and changed everything!

I especially like the stories of how a person prayed…waited…hoped…and struggled…waiting for God to fulfill a desire. Somehow those stories make waiting a little more bearable.

It is easy for us to get consumed and weighed down by our circumstances. I oftentimes find this is the case when we get into the mindset that somehow we are the only one in the world who has ever experienced, is experiencing, or will experience our situation.

And that’s why as Hebrews 10:25 advises us to,

…not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fellowship with other believers is important.

Fellowship with other believers isn’t about “paying” a church or getting attendance records up. No, fellowship with other believers is about encouragement. We are reminded through the lives of our fellowbelievers that we are not alone! Together we are stronger.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12.

We aren’t called the body of Christ for no reason!  We are meant to work together.

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Lord, I am so thankful for every person you have placed in my path to spur me forward on my journey. You have given me strong friends in the most unlikely places and from the most unlikely people. Thank You for reminding me that I never know how similar I really am to a person until I get to know them. You are so awesome for creating such diversity among Your people and only the Creator of the universe could bring us together…in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Make a Joyful Noise

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Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into His Presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God!  It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

‘Make a joyful noise!’  Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice!  (And sometimes it is just that—a joyful noise.)  Do we not just love to sing our praises to the Lord God?!?  We have so many, many reasons to praise Him, to thank Him, to bless His Holy Name.

Here in Psalm 100, verse 5 offers three extremely compelling reasons to praise Him:

He is good

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for  those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

This we know…in fact, isn’t there a praise chorus that we love to sing: ‘God is good ALL the time!  And ALL the time, God is good!’

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the God of Heaven for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalms 136:26

Twenty-six (yes, 26!) times in Psalm 136, this praise is exclaimed!  (Here’s a link to read the whole psalm.)  Throughout the entire history of mankind from Adam & Eve, all the way along through the Scriptures, we read of the myriad of ways that our Great God has manifested His steadfast love.  AND He has made promise after promise to His children (us! you and me!) that His love will endure for eternity!

He is faithful to all generations

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

What a promise of hope He has made—His covenant of love to those who love Him and obey!  Our God always brings to pass His promises!  What a faithful God!

Dear Lord,
We love to make a joyful noise, Lord, singing Your praises!  You are the Almighty God Who deserves all the praise there is to give!  Thank You for Your faithfulness, Your goodness, and Your love!  HalleluJAH!  Amen.

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Today’s devotional has been written by Coleen Hayden.

Girls With Swords: Chapter 8 – “Sword Words” (pgs 126-129)

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34)

God’s love is limitless. It overflows in abundance. Our author says on page 126 that “… because out of the abundance of God’s heart, he spoke the universe of galaxies into existence.” He spoke the world into existence! This power lives within us through the Holy Spirit when we proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives (Acts 1:7-8). Did you know that? The Word, this Power, knows no boundary. It is available to anyone, anywhere.

With that said, I have some questions for you.

Have you unleashed God’s power in your life?

When we truly have something to say, God finds a way to interpret it for all who need to hear.
When we yield ourselves to speak His words by the power of His Spirit, astonishing things can happen (pg. 128).

Will you choose to use your words in a way that removes yourself from the picture and glorifies God? (pg. 128)

For far too long the Word has been interpreted rather than proclaimed. We have gotten into the habit of passing it through the filter of human experiences, social preferences, current prejudices, and the limited counsel of the human mind rather than simply declaring what was so powerfully and eternally spoken and recorded. We’ve interpreted the gospel rather than expressed it (pg. 129, emphasis mine).

Will you speak in your flawed manner or tell of His flawless works? (pg. 128)

Our God Most High is triumphant. His glorious love and wondrous mercy know no bounds.
The gift of salvation is through faith in Him alone, and all who seek Him find grace and hope (pg. 128).

Will you be part of a unified voice by allowing His Spirit to fill you? (pg. 128)

Unifying ourselves with our Father’s purposes and language will initiate or begin anew God’s plan and unify a people around His purpose (pg. 129).

It was out of this love for us that He sent His one and only begotten Son to die a sinner’s death on a rugged cross. That kind of love is beyond human understanding. I find myself wanting to understand the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ so often! But, in my limited human understanding, I know it is impossible. As Lisa Bevere states on page 129, “it takes faith to declare a language we do not understand.” I have to trust that God is who He says He is. I have to trust in His sovereignty. I have to trust in His goodness. I have to trust even when I do have questions and I do not understand why things happen. I have to believe in God as my Father, who wants to hear my questions and concerns. He wants to hear from me. He wants me to turn to Him and study His language, our SWORD, His Holy Word. Through it, He will guide and direct me and answer those questions and soothe those doubts.

Because He is GOD.

GOD IS LOVE.

GOD IS GOOD. ALL THE TIME. EVERY TIME.

When we root ourselves in God, in His Word, our sword grows stronger. It finds substance (pg. 129). We are able to stand firm with confidence.

Have you thought about the answers to those questions I posed above? What are your answers? Be honest! Have a conversation with the Lord about them. They are not easy to own up to. But, God already knows the innermost parts of us. We just need to recognize it in ourselves, too, so we can work on whatever needs fixin‘! We are all just a work-in-progress til the day we meet our Savior face to face. Oh what a day that will be!

Let’s Pray:

Father, your Word is perfect. You speak truth and light into a dark world. Help us to shine brightly for your Kingdom in our sphere of influence. Convict us where we need to be convicted and help us own up to the things that may be hindering our growth. Our only desire is to follow You, Lord, wherever You lead us. We love You so much! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!