January 23, 2018

This Week…Psalms 139:19-22

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If only You would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of You with evil intent;
Your adversaries misuse Your name.

Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord,
and abhor those who rise up against You?

I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Psalms 139:19-22

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have continued along in our series on this wonderful chapter, Psalm 139.  The passage that our devotional writers have written on is NOT an easy one.  But each of them has reminded us of the standard that God has for us and the example that Jesus set.  Here’s a little of what they shared….

In Loving Our Enemies, Ahmee reiterated the standard we already know….

Did Jesus agree with sinning?  No.  But yet he was still able to mingle among sinners.  Jesus did not stand apart from them and shake his finger at them. Not our Jesus.  That is just not how He operated…We are so quick to point fingers at other people, especially non-believers.  We cannot hold non-believers to the standards we would believers—they don’t believe what we do.  Our first goal should be to win them over and show them God’s love and mercy.  I say this in regard to Psalm 139:22, where it says, “I have nothing but hatred for them, I count them my enemies.”  The psalmist does say this, but we have been called to love those in the world.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Matthew 5:44

As followers of Jesus, He obey His commands…and if He said that we are to love our enemies…then we are to love our enemies.  He is not saying  “Love all the sin that your enemies do.”  Nope.  He is saying—love the person, hate the sin.

In Attitude Towards Righteousness and Wickedness, Ann reminded us of God’s attitude….

Having meditated on God’s great love for him, the psalmist reciprocates with great love and loyalty to his Lord.  His anger is stirred against those who oppose and blaspheme God’s wonderful name.  In deep sympathy with God and His cause, he so identifies himself with the Lord that he hates what God hates and loves what God loves.

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Hebrews 1:9

This shows that it is not enough for God’s children to love righteousness, they must also hate evil.  We see this clearly in Christ’s devotion to righteousness (Isaiah 11:5) and His hatred of wickedness in His life.

In Respect, Tina reminded us of the importance of respect….

Through respecting and honoring them, I am showing the same respect for God.  God tells us we will be blessed with long life and abundance when we respect and honor our parents.  But we also need to teach this to our children and to those around us.  When everyone has a respect for each other, then this world will become a better place.  It only needs to start with us.

Honor your father and your mother,
so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20: 12

This Week…Psalms 139:17-18

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How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with You.
Psalms 139:17 and 18

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have continued along in our series on this wonderful chapter, Psalm 139. Our devotional writers have reminded us how vast, how precious, how awesome are God’s thoughts of us.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Thoughts, Tina reminded us about being still and waiting on God….

David was a great example of waiting and sitting before the Lord.  He would go to a quiet place and meditate on the great love God had shown him and his family…David was wonderful at being humble.  He did not let the fact that he was a king stop him from baring his heart and soul to the One who formed him in his mother’s womb.

As we wait on God to answer our prayers, we may become discouraged thinking, “He does not care about my little issue…” or,  “I have asked way too many times about the same thing….”  Let’s change our thoughts.  Let’s see how they align with Scriptures.  God wants us to acknowledge that He is first in our lives (not second, or third, or even fourth).  We need to train ourselves to put Him first in all that we do, all that we think, and all that we are.

In What He Thinks of Me, Ahmee reminded us of Who’s thoughts of us we should be concerned….

…However, not all opinions should be accepted.  In fact, before we accept anything about ourselves we should prayerfully go to God.  He can show us our flaws in a different light and show us what He thinks and show us how to change.  God does that.  Now, if God says that it is so, then it is so.

…We are loved and thought very highly of. God sees our potential and loves us right where we are.

This Week…Psalms 139:11 and 12

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 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Psalms 139:11 and 12

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have continued along in our series on this this wonderful psalm, Psalm 139. Our devotional writers have reminded us that even when we ‘are in the dark’, God still sees us.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In God Sees, Tina wrote about the fears we all have concerning our sins…

We all have that secret sin...you know…the one that, if someone discovers it, we feel they will never love or respect us again.  As believers we can be truly terrified of being found out.  But what if what we thought was a horrific secret wasn’t so bad after all?  What if  all we had to do was confess it to God and ask Him for help us to overcome it?

You see the evil one has a way of playing with our minds.  He makes us think we can’t change.  He makes us think that life is hopeless.  But it is not hopeless.  God created us and He has a vision, a purpose for us.

In God Sees All, Ann reminded us that it is just not possible to hide anything from God….

Our God sees everything and we cannot hide anything from him. He is omnipresence and omniscient (all-knowing).  Indeed darkness and light are all His—He created them.  He is the one who separated darkness and light (Genesis 1).

The good and the bad things we do are bare in the eyes of God.  Therefore whatsoever we do, let us be Christ-conscious not man-conscious.

This Week…Psalms 139:7-10

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Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Psalms 139:7-10

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

In Divine Presence, Ann wrote about the comfort of knowing we are always in His care….

“A child of God can never move beyond God’s care, guidance, and supporting strength.  He is with us in all situations in whatever the present and the future brings.

‘Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord.
‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:24

His Divine Presence shows us the following:

• with God’s presence we are assured of being protected, strengthened, and well taken care of
• fullness of Joy
• we need to have the fear of the Lord

In Hold Fast, Tina shared by the example of the Apostle Paul how God’s hand holds us, guides us, leads us….

“God had plans for Paul.  We may not see what our path is, but God does. Being trained by the best rabbi and becoming a Pharisee, Paul would know how to explain the plan of salvation in easy, simple terms, or be able to speak for hours defended why Jesus is the fulfillment of these scriptures. I mean, who else is God going to tell (as he did to Ananias):

But the Lord said to Ananias,
‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument
to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings
and to the people of Israel.
I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.’
Acts 9:15-16

Can we be used in this way?  Yes, we can.  All we have to be is willing subjects to go and preach the Word, teach where we can, and spread the good news to all people as God opens those doors.  Who will answer the call?  Pray, seek, learn…and God will use you for His purpose.”

This Week…Psalms 139:5 and 6

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You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Psalms 139:5 and 6

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 In His Love Surrounds Us, Tina wrote about what it is like to have God ‘hem us in’ through the examples of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua….

hem:

to surround in a restrictive manner
to confine—usually used with in<hemmed in by enemy troops> (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

If we can follow this, we can see how God covered the Israelites in Egypt.  God worked in the lives of Abraham, Moses and Joshua…God surrounded His people with love and protection. A hemming in for the people…if only they would see and understand.

How often are we like the Israelites?  There can be a blessing waiting for us to grasp…if only we will let down our defenses and kneel before our God in holy reverence.

In Divine Hand, Ann shared about the significance of ‘the hand of God’….

The hand of God signifies-

• the presence of God     • the favor of God     • the availability of God

The hand of God will guide us if we let it do so as we submit ourselves wholly to Him.  Check out the following verses:

Psalm 139 :10
Psalm 23:3
Romans 8:14
Psalm 108:6
Isaiah 41:10
Psalm 89:21
Isaiah 19:16
Isaiah 59:1
Deuteronomy 7:8
Isaiah 25:10Acts 4:30

And as Jabez cried out to the God of Israel 1 Chronicles 4:10,

“O Lord that You bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let Your hand be with me and keep me from harm
so that I will be free from pain…
and God granted his request.

 

This Week…Psalms 139:1-3

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 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Psalms 139:1-3

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have looked at the Truth that our wonderful God knows all about us.  Our devotional writers have shared this understanding with us in the devotionals that they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In God Loves Our Brokenness, Tina reminded us that God can use us for His glory….

God loves our brokenness. Why? Because it is through our brokenness where He can begin to ‘FIX‘ us. God will:

  • F ocus on what is right in us, He will help us build our character to be a reflection of Him
  • I ntends to heal us and will use us as
  • eX amples of His great love and mercy

Also, God can use our past to help others to see Him as our Redeemer.  We can know that God will soften our hearts to forgive ourselves and use our lives to win others with similar situations to Him.  We just have to be willing.  We have to allow ourselves to be molded and shaped into what God can use. We will not be perfect; we are human.  But God can use our humanity to reach those who are unsaved…we will be able to reach others with our lives and show how God redeemed us from our path of sin and unrighteousness.

In To Be Known, Ahmee shares how much it means to her to be ‘known’ by God….

These three verses focus on one of the many aspects of God that I truly love and adore—He knows me.  Coming from a place in my life where I felt misunderstood, weird, different, and alone into a relationship with my Lord Who knows everything about me has been amazing.  Some people have things about themselves that they want to hide or hope others never find out…and they behave the same with God.  I’ve never been that way.  God knows everything about me, whether I tell Him or not.  And He knows everything about me whether I want Him to know or not.

Nothing I do, say, or think as well as nothing I have thought, said, or done,  can change the fact that God loves me.

  • He loves me just the way I am.
  • He doesn’t separate the good from the bad.
  • He doesn’t only love me when I behave.
  • He doesn’t only love part of me.
  • He loves all of me.

In Divine Knowledge, Ann relates how these characteristics of God—His omniscience and His omnipresence—are described throughout Psalm 139….

In verses 1-3 of Psalm 139 it shows God knows all our inward thoughts, motives, desires, and fears as well as our outward habits and actions.  He knows all we do from the beginning of the day to its end.  In everything we do, He encircles us with His care and lays His hand of favor upon our heads.  Our God knows everything and so we should not deceive ourselves that He is not there watching when we are doing what is not pleasing unto Him.  He sees all.  Refer to the verses below for a good understanding of how God operates:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
He will not grow tired or weary
and His understanding no one can fathom.
Isaiah 40:28

He reveals deep and hidden things,
He knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with Him.
Daniel 2:22

…do not be like them for your Father knows
what you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:8

…and again, The Lord knows
that the thoughts of the wise are futile.
1 Corinthians 3:20

This Week…Psalms 9:9-10

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The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed.
A stronghold in times of trouble;
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You.
For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
Psalms 9:9-10

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been focused on the Truth that our wonderful God and Lord is our Stronghold and never forsakes those (us!) who seek Him.  Our devotional writers have shared these promises given in this week’s passage through the devotionals they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Blessings Are Better, Ahmee shared a really good perspective….

Here’s a thought: instead of asking God to give you money, why not ask Him to show you how to biblically manage your money so that you are better equipped to avoid money shortage situations.  Here’s another thought: instead of asking God for a better job, why not ask Him to show you how to appreciate the one you have.  My pastor told us that miracles are nice, but blessings are better.  At first I didn’t get it, but he explained that miracles go against natural happenings.  You know…the impossible.  Blessings go with natural happenings, i.e., blessed with a promotion for your great work or money in savings because you managed it correctly.

So, are you asking God to do all the work? Or are you willing to do your part?
God loves to help.

In God’s Promises, Ann reminded us of the promises made to those who seek God….

Indeed, those who seek the Lord will never be forsaken; that is the promise of God to us.  He also said “Seek Ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto You”…What is it to seek the Lord?  Seeking the Lord means seeking His presence…having access to Him.  The Bible repeatedly calls us to seek the Lord and to seek His presence continually.

Now set Your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.
1 Chronicles 22:19

God has made these promises to those who seek Him:
• Deuteronomy 4:29  But if from there You seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all Your heart and with all your soul.
• 2 Chronicles 7:14   If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
• Proverbs 8:17   I love those who love Me and those who seek Me find Me….
• Luke 11:9   So I say unto you, Ask and it will be given to you, seek you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

In Shelter In God, Tina encouraged us to remember that God is our Refuge and Shelter….

 Shelter 
1: a structure that covers or protects people or things
2: a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance
3: a place to live

Refuge  
1: shelter or protection from danger or trouble
2: a place that provides shelter or protection

For those who have grown up in a normal household, you probably have a healthy reality of what a home should be—calm, peaceful, neat, well-groomed…both inside and out. At least I thought this was so.  Growing up for me was not this way…  I learned life was not always fair. But God always provided a way.

I had choices to make: I could either live thinking about what had been taken away from me…or I could give them to God and know He would be faithful to restore them back to me.  So I made those choices, everyday, to live (and still do).  I do not always succeed but I do my best.  God is my Shelter and my Refuge.  He is the one I am learning to run to for all things. Not to others, but to God first.

This Week…Psalm 31:19

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How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
Psalm 31:19

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we  have been reminded of our God’s GREAT goodness!   Our devotional writers have shared the Truth given us in this week’s passage through the devotionals they have written.  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Fear of the Lord, Tina gave us two examples: the Israelites who did NOT have the fear of the Lord as opposed to the first-century Church who DID live in the fear of the Lord….

“The first-century Church (shown to us in the Book of Acts) practiced the fear of the Lord.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria
had peace and was being built up.
And walking in the fear of the Lord
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Acts 9:31

The early Church chose to focus on what was good in their lives and keep up their community by seeking daily to bless others and be God’s best.

We can walk in this way as well.  When we are coming into a state of turmoil, we can choose to walk in God’s goodness by following His Will in our lives.”

In God’s Goodness, Ann shared numerous Scriptures relating to the goodness of our God….

“Let me just show you a few verses in the Bible that show the goodness of God.

• Psalm 25:8  Good and upright is the Lord therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.
• Psalm 33:5   The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.
• Psalm 34:8   Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
• Psalm 119:68   You are good and what You do is good, teach me your decrees.
• Psalm 145:7  They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
• Matthew 19:17  “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The above Scriptures speak to us in many ways, showing us the ways of the goodness of the Lord.  It is by His grace and His lovingkindness to put in store all this goodness just for us.  The beneficiaries of His goodness are you and I—as long as we do His will and walk in His statutes.  God’s goodness is immeasurable. The grace of God takes us to that level where we are able to receive this goodness.”

And in Using Blessings to Share God, Ahmee encouraged us to be sure to point others to the goodness of our God….

Psalm 31:19 says “…blessing them before the watching world…”.  I like that!  God blesses us before the eyes of the watching world.  He is using us to draw attention to Himself so that others will be saved.  God reaches and searches and hunts down. Truly, I cannot see how any one person might be able to say that they did not know of the Almighty God.  In this world of evil He has done so much.  So, let the world watch!  Let them watch and let them see!  But don’t forget to point them upward.  Use your blessings as the opportunity to point someone to God.

This Week…Psalms 25:6-7

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Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and unfailing love,
which You have shown from long ages past.
Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of Your unfailing love,
for You are merciful, O Lord.
Psalms 25:6-7

In Forgiveness for All, Ahmee  reminded us of how great God’s forgiveness is…

Have you ever forgiven someone and then find yourself still thinking about it?  That’s when you have to remind yourself that you forgave them.  Human forgiveness is flawed.  We remember what was done to us.  Given some people can just let stuff go, but most people still remember.  God’s forgiveness is different.  God does not remember our past sins.  God’s Word says plenty about His forgiveness.

Then He adds, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

In God’s Mercy and Goodness, Tina  wrote about David, and his example of a repentful heart…

You have to love how transparent David is in his prayers to God..David made a habit of pouring out his heart and soul before His Almighty Father.  David was human and he made mistakes just as we do. The only thing is he had a repentful heart; and, most of the time, we are busy and forget to confess our sin.  Then it all turns to regrets, and kind of piles up into such a huge mess that we even forget where the top or bottom is.  Daily…hourly…by the minute we should bring our issues, our thoughts,  our prayers to the throne of God.  Often we need to leave them there, leave them at the foot of the Cross because He is better able to handle each of our needs, wants, and desires.

In Divine Remembrance, Ann gave us some additional examples of men calling on God to remember them…

Nehemiah 

Remember me, O my God, concerning this,
and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done
for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
Nehemiah 13:14

David 

Remember me, O Lord, with the favor Thou beareth unto Thy people,
O visit me with Thy salvation.
Psalm 106:4

Jeremiah

 Lord, Thou knowest: remember me, and visit me,
and revenge me of my persecutors;
take me not away in Thy longsuffering:
know that for Thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
Jeremiah 15:15

The criminal who hung alongside Jesus

And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me
when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”
Luke 23:42

This Week…Deuteronomy 7:9

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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 commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we  have been so encouraged as we meditated on this wonderful verse!   Our devotional writers have shared the Truth given us in this week’s passage reminding us that our God ‘is the faithful God…keeping His covenant of love…’  Here are a few of their thoughts….

In Faithful God, Ann wrote about the incredible love and relationship that God had with the children of Israel….

It shows God’s gracious gift based on His love and mercy for rewarding the Israelites with faithfulness.   Moses warned the Israelites that continued possession of the land would be contingent on their perseverance in faith and in obedience to God.  If the Israelites became wicked like the Canaanites they, too, would be dispossessed of the land.  In other words, His love and mercy in His giving of the land was not unconditional.  If the people turned away from the Lord and forgot His word they, too, would surely perish.

In Don’t Complain…Instead Know That I Am God, Ahmee reminded us of the complaining attitude of the Israelites ….

God decides when we are ready for something. But often how we choose to look at our circumstances effects how long something takes.  The Israelites complained and complained and complained.  {They loved to do them some complaining!}

  • Numbers 11:1a says, “Now the people complained about their hardships…”
  • Exodus 15:24a says, “So the people grumbled…”
  • Exodus 16:2a says, “In the desert the whole community grumbled…”
  • Exodus 17:2a says, “So they quarreled…”

From all the complaining they did, one would have never guessed that God would free them from captivity.  I mean, that’s kind of big! …Yet, and still, they complained.  Here’s the deal: God doesn’t forget His promises.  Solomon said it this way,

…O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven or on earth –
You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants
who continue wholeheartedly in Your way.
2 Chronicles 6:14

We don’t need to complain…God has done so many things for us, why not focus on those things rather than the things that are wrong.