Oh! To Know Him! Part 4

Holy, Holy, Holy

I know you have heard people say, “When I get to heaven I know exactly what I am going to say. I am going to ask God…”

The reality will probably be quite different. I think all we will be able to do is to state that He is holy.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Revelation 5:9

Exodus 33:19-20

And the LORD said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My Name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

“But”, He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see My face and live.

Can you imagine? How would it be for Moses at this point in the dialogue? God Almighty is about to pass His Goodness, all of His goodness, by Moses. How will he possibly stay on his feet? I would think I would either float away full of exhilaration or more likely, fall on my face in absolute reverence and worship, overcome by His presence. One thing about being in the presence of God is that it brings us to a reality of who we are and who He is. A couple of lyric lines from one of my favorite song comes to mind:

We are a moment, You are forever (Be Unto Your Name by Robin Mark)

Let’s go to Verse 19:

And the LORD said….

Those words alone send a thrill through my heart. So many times we look at the Bible and forget that it is the Word Of God. It is all from Him. It is His Words to us.

“…I will cause My goodness to pass in front of you…”

Since Moses asked to see His glory, I think His glory is at least partly seeing His goodness. God is good and perfect. Moses wanted to literally see God with his eyes. God said that He would let His goodness pass by. His goodness is an accurate representation of who He is.

“…and I will proclaim My name, the LORD, in your presence.”

He was going to make Himself more well-known to Moses. Names were very important back in those days. The name was a character description of a person. For God to have proclaimed His name in front of Moses would have helped Moses to know Him better. This was much more than just God introducing Himself –

“Though the visible magnificence of this theophany is apparent from the text, the emphasis falls on a revelation to Moses of God’s sovereign, gracious, and compassionate nature.” (Study Note for verse 19 from The Reformation Study Bible) (theophany – a visible manifestation of God)

Back to the last part of Verse 19:

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

This definitely speaks of God and His sovereignty. Here God is clarifying to Moses who is in charge as He continues to make His character better known to him.

Think back to verses 15 and 16 when Moses was asking God to go with them even though God had said that He would not go. Now think about times when you have questioned God. Sometimes we question God in such a way that it is evident that we have forgotten that He is God. We misplace ourselves in the order of things and think that we should somehow get to hold God accountable. What a dangerous mistake!

We have all done it at one time or another. There is definitely a lack of the fear of the Lord in this kind of attitude. It is easy to do when we get buried under by circumstances that spin out of our control. That is why we must keep our eyes on Him and remember that He is always ultimately in control. Like the Israelites, while Moses was on the mountain with God – we can easily lose sight of the order of things and lose sight of this amazing God who is so carefully loving us and molding us into the image of His dear Son.

Now on to Verse 20:

“But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see My face and live.”

Yet another aspect of God – He is not manageable. He is holy. He is bigger and more awesome than we can imagine or even comprehend. We can get close to Him but it will be only on His terms.

Just think about how God does things. As you go through your day, consider how God dealt with Moses and other people in the Bible who loved Him and worshiped Him. He is tender and gentle. His love is never-failing. His patience with His children goes far. He has made a way for us to be close to Him. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk more closely with Him even today. Today is the day to start!

Let’s pray:

Lord, I thank You for Your Word. I thank You that You are always consistent and unchanging. Praise You, Lord. Thank You for loving us and revealing Yourself to us. Thank You for hearing our prayers. Help us to know You and be faithful to You. You are truly all we need. Help us to know You better and trust You more. Help us to love You with our lives and please make us completely Yours. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Philippians 3:7-11

 

 

 

Oh! To Know Him! Part 3

Powerful Words

How well do you know God? Are you satisfied with your relationship with Him? Are you growing closer to Him on a daily basis? How close to Him do you want to be?

Exodus 33:17-18 (NIV)

And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.”

Two Ears and One Mouth

In the last post, we saw that Moses was really upset. It seems that Moses he calmed down at this point and is hearing what God is saying to him.

How often do we miss what God is saying to us because we will not simply be quiet and listen? I know that many times it has occurred to me after I have talked and talked to God about something, that He has actually already answered or given direction. The old saying holds true: We have two ears and one mouth – we should listen twice as much as we talk. Of course, we do most of our listening to God while we are reading His Word and in our hearts, as the Holy Spirit helps us. I surely do not want to miss anything He wants to tell me! How about you?

Let’s talk about Verse 17 now:

And the LORD said to Moses…

That the Awesome Holy God of the Universe would speak to a man is simply amazing! That He spoke to Moses… that He speaks to us… is just wonderful beyond anything we have ever encountered. Our Maker – King of All – speaks to us.

“I will do the very thing you have asked…”

What comes to my mind here is that God never does anything out of character for Him. He will always be consistent with who He is – as depicted in His Holy Word.

“…because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Moses had a very special and uncommon relationship with God, especially for that time. Moses lived under the Old Covenant before Jesus Christ came, died for our sin, covered us in His blood and His righteousness. He also introduced the New Covenant and sent the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. Today, because of what Christ did, all Christ followers can have that kind of close personal relationship with God. When God looks at us, He sees us covered in the righteousness of Christ and He is pleased with us. And, like Moses, He knows us by name. We are His children.

Now Verse 18:

Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.”

Wow! You have to appreciate Moses’ boldness here! Please note, though, that the NIV is the only translation out of the 6 I have that does not say ‘please’, ‘I beseech Thee’, or ‘I pray’ so I am sure he was not as brazen with that request as the NIV appears to indicate.

Actually, it seems to me that Moses was following up on his earlier request that God would teach him His ways and that Moses might know God better.

Knowing God

Do you want to know God? I am saying, do you want to really know God? Do you want to know Him up close and personal or keep a little space between you and Him?

He is no big old teddy bear that is for sure. Not only is He is tender, loving, and kind, but also holy, mighty, all-knowing, and ever-present. As a matter of fact, up close and personal will carry with it fear and trembling. He is an awesome God and He is not controllable or manageable – He is the One who is in control.

I think, again, of the line from CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan is a symbol of God in this wonderful book.

The Most Thrilling Experience of Life

Ahhh, but being up close and personal with God is the greatest, most thrilling experience in life. To be sure, any thrilling thing that you can think of does not and will never compare. Truly, to know God… there is NO greater thing.

As a result, in His presence, everything comes into perspective:

  • His holiness – my sinfulness
  • His incomprehensible beauty – the ugliness of my sin
  • His power – my weakness
  • His wisdom – my foolishness
  • His majesty – my unworthiness
  • His mercy – my need
  • His love – my selfishness
  • His greatness – my smallness
  • His grace – my gratefulness
  • His presence – my joy

Need I go on? We are so blessed that Holy God wants to have a relationship with us. It is just simply amazing!

A Holy Addiction

Oh, my dear friends, His presence is His glory. His glory changes us and ruins us for this world. What I mean is that we will never be satisfied with common life once we have been up close personal with God.

His glory and His presence are where I want to live! How about you? I will warn you, He is completely all-consuming – more addictive than anything or anyone you have ever encountered. Ever.

However, unlike other addictions, He makes you better. In fact, He breathes life into you instead of sucking the life out of you. He is life and He will help you love the people you should be loving and He will help you hate the sin that pulls you away.

All in all, He just makes us better people, for His glory. Ask Him to help you know Him better today!

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Lord, show us Your glory. I ask You now to ruin us for this common life. Make Your presence our all-consuming fixation and addiction. Make us all Yours, please. May we fall completely in love with You. Consume us with Your glory. Then, we can glorify You more in this place that You have put us for this time. Be glorified. In Jesus beautiful, strong name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Hebrews 12:28-13:21

 

 

Oh! To Know Him! Part 2

Moses and the LORD

I hope you will go back and read all of Chapter 33 so that you will have a little better grasp on the context of this conversation between Moses and God. I want that kind of relationship with God. Today, we will talk about true rest and His presence.

Exodus 33:14-16

Then the LORD replied, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?

I Don’t Want to Go without You!

I find Moses’ response to what God says a little humorous. It reminds of a child asking his parent for permission to do something and not even realizing that their parent has given them permission. He expects them to say “no” so he has his whole speech planned out and is in process of delivering it when he realizes that he actually has permission to do the thing he wants so badly to do.

And after this little tirade, it seems that Moses could have said, ‘Oh! You will go! Okay! Whew!!’ Of course Moses did not say that.

God’s Presence is Essential

On a much more serious note, the meat of these verses is clearly indicating that God’s presence was absolutely essential for them to go up. Moses is saying that they should not even go at all if God is not going with them.

If we, as Christ followers, would approach our lives with this mindset in action, it would change us; it would change our society; it would change the history that is now being made.

Let’s go to Verse 14:

The LORD replied, “My presence will go with you…”

How beautiful that sounds! The beauty of being a Christian today is that since Christ ascended into heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit, we can have the very presence of God with us all the time. We talked about this a few posts back. As we acknowledge Him and obey His Word, we can know that the Presence of God is with us.

“…and I will give you rest.”

Ah… Rest

Um… rest? True rest comes in the presence of God. We may sleep all night or catnap or power nap. However, true rest – restoration – comes from being in the presence of God.

As I think specifically of Moses here, I think of how he needed that kind of rest, after all, he led and struggled with a huge group of stiffnecked and disobedient people. In reality, we all need that kind of rest though. Life is a struggle with difficult things, heart-wrenching things. We live in a world that constantly pulls us toward it. We fight that pull and our own flesh, or worse we do not fight it.

Let’s think about Rest for a Minute

To rest is to stop struggling, to cease striving. How can we do that? We can know that God is indeed with us and that if we will give it to Him, He will take care of it. Sounds familiar, right?

It is not just something that sounds good. “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 is in black and white in God’s Word. That is the kind of rest that God is offering us. Real rest – to cease striving.

Let’s look at Verses 15 and 16 together:

Then Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from hereHow will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?

Three Things to Spotlight 

First:

Moses states the necessity of God going with His people. As mentioned earlier, Moses did not even want to go at all if God’s presence was not going. In earlier verses before verse 12, God had said that He was not going with them because of what the Israelites had done while He was giving Moses the 10 Commandments. This totally freaked Moses out, and with good reason.

So to be a little repetitive, Moses did not want to go without God. Remember where they were and where they were headed. They were stalled out in the desert and supposed to be headed for the “Land of Milk and Honey”. God was saying for them to just go on without Him. God did not say they could not go. He was just not going with them. Moses was saying that he would rather stay right there where they were in the desert than to go on without God. Now I hope you can see the closeness of the relationship between Moses and God.

This is where Moses was: Having nothing at all but God was/is better than having everything imaginable except God. Think about it.

Second:

Moses saw that God’s presence represented God’s pleasure. He asked how people would know that God was pleased with them if He did not go. They would appear to be a God-forsaken people.

Third:

God’s presence showed who the people belonged to. In your life, today, does God’s presence mark you as His?

Oh, friend, may it be said of us, “That woman/man belongs to God. I really do not know God but I can see that she/ he knows Him.” May people see Him in our lives.

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, that You are merciful and that You give us second chances. Thank You that You do not leave us after one or even 100 failures. Lord, I thank You that You want us to walk with You and know You. I rejoice that You are continually bringing us closer to You and helping us know You better and better. Help us to truly rest in You and grow in our knowledge and trust in You so that we can have the kind of relationship that Moses had with You. Please make us completely Yours. Help us glorify You with our lives. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Psalm 62:5-8

 

 

Oh! To Know Him!

Oh to Know Him! 

How close to God do you want to be? Are you satisfied where you are in your relationship with Him now? This week we are going to be spending time observing a conversation between Moses and God. We are going to see how really close Moses was to God.

Take your time reading this rather lengthy but captivating passage.

Our Passage for this Week

Exodus 33:12-23 (NIV)

Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with Me.’ If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your people.”

The LORD replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Then Moses said to Him, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.”

And the LORD said, I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.”

Then the LORD said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”

To be that Close to Him

What a beautiful passage of scripture! Oh to have that kind of sweet and close personal relationship with God. Moses had an interesting, even rough life with those Israelites but what a relationship He had with Mighty God! That is what I want!

We may not be hearing Him with our physical ears as Moses did but He speaks in our hearts and He wants us to walk closely with Him.

Let’s go to verse 12:

Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me.”

Wow! Just… Wow!

Obviously, we have entered in the middle of a situation. Moses is talking with God after going down and finding the Israelites in complete chaos, depravity, and idolatry. This is where he threw the first set of stone tablets containing the 10 Commandments down and broke them to pieces.

Moses would meet with God in a tent just outside the camp. This may have been where they were when this conversation took place. He is interceding for himself and the Israelites.

“You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with Me.'”

It is so wonderful to know God knows us by name and that when we receive Christ we find favor with Him. Thank You, LORD!

Verse 13:

If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways…”

Interesting that Moses did not say, “You are pleased with me,”  with a ‘Now I have made it in’ attitude and ‘that is all I need to do.’ Moses is concerned with pleasing God even as he goes about the LORD’s business.

“…so I may know You…”

Know Him/Know Him More

Isn’t it amazing how knowing God makes us want to know Him more? Moses knew God. He watched God display His might and tenderness in Egypt. He saw Him divide the Red Sea, bring water from a rock, and send manna from heaven. Moses knew God intimately because he had been in His presence in conversation with Him so many times. Though he knew Him well, he knew there was so much more to know. Moses was compelled to know Him more.

I do not know anyone personally who knows God like Moses did. Do you? I am compelled to know Him more!

“…and continue to find favor with You.”

The better we know Him, the more we want to find favor with Him. The key to finding favor with God is knowing Him.

In His Presence

We get to know Him in His Word, the Bible. I know you know that but I want to be sure!! We may not sit in His presence in a tent and hear His voice audibly but He has written us a letter – a book actually and He has given it to us, not as rules to live by and laws to uphold, not as traditions to keep and history to learn – though all these things are part of this amazing book. He gave it to us as the primary way of knowing Him. Yes, we can pray and He can speak in our hearts but primarily, we have a stable unchanging picture of Him in His awesome beautiful Holy Bible. It is a tangible inerrant way to know Him and He planned it that way for us.

Oh friend, that we might know Him!

“Remember that this nation is your people.”

Moses intercedes for the people here. He knows that without God’s presence they will all meet with nothing but calamity and even death.

We will pick up tomorrow with verse 14. Have an amazing day!

Let’s pray:

Thank You, Lord, for You beautiful Word. Thank You that You give us a place where we can go to see the accurate picture of You. Help us when we think we hear You speak in our hearts, to verify what we think we heard with a solid concrete way in Your Word. Lord, please help us to hunger for of You. Help us to glorify You with our lives. Make us what You want us to be. In Jesus beautiful name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Exodus 32

 

 

Are You Clean?

God’s Word is Truly Powerful

There are several different directions our discussion of Ephesians 5:25-26 could take. Today, we are going to talk about God working through His Word to make us clean. I have seen His powerful Word at work in my own life. Are you clean?

Ephesians 5:25-26 (NIV)

Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word.

Are We Powerless?

At one time, I was really struggling with a tendency toward a particular sin. I felt almost powerless against it and it seemed that eventually I would stop fighting and give into the temptation. Note: I used the words felt and seemed very intentionally here. We are NEVER powerless when it comes to temptation.  We always have a choice – ALWAYS!!

God’s Word is Powerful!

During the time of struggle I mentioned a minute ago, I joined a Bible Study group. We had five days of homework every week that took about an hour each day to complete. Due to the demands of the study, my time in God’s Word every day drastically increased for a period of about 3 months. Several weeks into the study, it occurred to me that I was no longer struggling with that temptation like I had been. The temptation would still occasionally cross my mind but the feeling of fear that I would eventually succumb to it was gone. God used His Word to clean that false neediness from my heart and gave me the wisdom to see more clearly.

Just for the record and to ease curiosity, the sin I spoke of was that I was seeking the praise and acceptance of people instead of seeking to please God. I was getting more and more consumed with what people thought of me.

Let’s go to the Verse:

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…”

Certainly, Jesus loved us so much that He died for us, husbands are supposed to love their wives with this same intense sacrificial love.

“…to make her holy…”

Husbands are definitely supposed to be concerned with the walk their wives have with Christ. God made the husband the shepherd of the home and as the shepherd, he is to be leading by being a godly man and teaching his family to follow Christ.

“…cleansing her by the washing of water through the Word.”

As we spend time getting to know God through His Word, He sanctifies us – He cleans us up. It takes a lifetime, and, when we get to Heaven we will have been made perfect and ready for His presence at a whole new level!

We get to know Him by spending time in His Word. This is one very good way of pursuing a relationship with Him. If we desire to know Him, and we read and study, He will show Himself to us. The better we know Him and the more time we spend with Him, the more like Him we will become. He makes our hearts cleaner as we spend time with Him. Remember, the people we spend time with show up in us. If we hang out with people who are focused on the world and acquiring possessions, we will tend to be materialistic, too. Similarly, if we spend time in the presence of holiness, in God’s Word, in prayer, we will be more holy – because He makes us holy.

What an amazing God we serve!!!

Let’s Pray:

Thank You, Lord, for Your beautiful Word. I rejoice in the fact that You love us so much that You want us to know You and be like You. You wrapped us in the righteousness of Christ to make us worthy – because we had no worthiness of our own. Help us to please You with our lives every day. Help us to know You better and better so that we can be more and more like You. Thank You for using Your Word in our lives. Help us to grow in our love for You and Your Word. Help us live out our lives growing in You – for Your glory! Thank You, that we belong to You. Please make us completely Yours, body and soul. Help us to glorify You in all we do. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

John 17:16-19

Do I Trust You? Part 2

Trust Issues

Are you worried? What are you worried about?

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As I battle my trust issues, in the light of God’s omnipotence and tender loving care and surrounded by evidence of His sovereign plan going forth, I am reminded that it does not really matter if I know the details of His plan. I just need to follow Him and trust Him.

Walking by Faith

As we walk with the Lord we are always exercising and growing our faith. For me to walk in faith is be able to keep going, knowing that in my next step there may be nothing tangible for me to place my foot on but in that case, He will either catch me or He will carry me. That is walking by faith in obedience – step by step. Yes, I know it is easy to say and hard to do. We need only to practice though and the more we practice the more accustomed to it we will become.

Let’s go to the Verse:

“Therefore…”

Here we go again! 🙂 The “therefore” points back to what has already been said. So, what follows the “therefore” hangs on what precedes it. So take a look back at verses 25-33.

“…do not worry about tomorrow…”

What is opposite of worry? Trust.

If we are worried, we have trust issues. If we are worried we are not letting the peace of God guard our hearts (Phil 4:7). Worry steals our joy and our peace. Why? because we are not trusting God. (Romans 15:13) Boy, do I need to hear this, myself, right now!

“…for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

We do not need to get completely caught up in tomorrow. Of course, we need to be wise, budget our money, pay the power bill, and such, but if we put all our effort and energy into tomorrow then we have missed today. We also are not focused on what Christ calls us to focus on. He calls us to focus on Him – to seek His kingdom and His righteousness (v 33). We need to focus on Christ and His glory instead of focusing on/worrying about tomorrow.

“Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Do you see this in your life? I do. Every day, especially lately, I am bombarded with troubles. Most of them are other peoples troubles, that break my heart and consume my thinking. When I let even today’s troubles consume my thinking, I am not doing what Christ said to do in verse 33. If I am not doing what Christ tells me to do, what is that? Right! It is sin.

Spin Cycle

As I really think about this today, I am repentant. It was Paul who said that we do what we do not want to do and do not do what we should (Romans 7:19-20). Even when we want to have peace and be obedient, it will be elusive, when we worry.

What I see is that I allow my thinking to get so consumed that it is like being in a washing machine on the spin cycle. I can try to fight the motion but I cannot get control. I must go to passages like 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. We must go to God’s Word. The strength we need to get off the spin cycle is found there, in God’s Word.

His Word Changes Us

It is amazing how God’s Word from cover to cover weaves together like a beautiful tapestry of truth, continually making us what He wants us to be and at the same time revealing Himself and His beauty to us. God uses His Word to change us – to transform us into what He wants us to be for His glory. He is in control of today and tomorrow. We must trust Him – seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. When we do that, He takes care of tomorrow.

Keep in mind that He may not work everything out tomorrow to your preference, but He will work it out to His preference and for His glory. His glory is for our good!

Sometimes we just need to be aware of something to be able to easily correct it. Unfortunately, worry is usually not that simple to deal with. Battling worry and removing it from our lives is going to happen through prayer and repetition.

  1. Identify it as worry
  2. Remember that worry is sin
  3. Know that God hates sin and will not have it close to Him
  4. Ask Him to help you trust Him in the situation and in all things
  5. Give it to Him, and every time you realize you have taken it back give it to Him again
  6. Trust Him that He knows best
  7. Rest in His peace

Just remember that God is working on all of us. We are going to be finished one day and we will stand before the Creator of All and live with Him forever in Heaven.

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You that You have drawn us close to You so that we can grow in our relationship with You. Help us see that it is the most important relationship we will ever have. We love You, Lord. Please, make us what You want us to be. Help us to be completely Yours. In Jesus holy name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Psalm 13:5-6

 

Do I Trust You?

Christian Living

These verses are part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is an actual sermon preached by Jesus Himself during His earthly ministry. It is a lengthy sermon. In it, Jesus taught us how to live the Christian life. When we are truly living the Christian life it comes from our hearts. Following Christ is not a list of Do’s and Don’ts but a life lived out in love for Him. We are going to be looking specifically at verse 33 today and next time we will look at verse 34.

Matthew 6:33&34 (NIV)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Trust Issues

I have trust issues. Do you? I often struggle with trusting God that His best is best even if it hurts. This is founded in my belief that I can wrap my tiny little human brain around what God is thinking with His all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God-sized brain. When I put it that way it sounds just as ridiculous as it is.

He is God of the Universe. He made it all and sustains it all. God keeps my heart beating for goodness sake. I know that God’s will is best and I want His will to go forth but I have difficulty because I do not know all the details of the plan. That is the control freak in me.

This passage completely addresses the fact that our physical needs are being met by God.

Let’s go to the Verse:

“But…”

That word but is not just hanging out there to be pretty, is it? To fully understand it, go back and read verses 25-32. Verse 25 does begin with ‘therefore’ so you may as well include verse 24 too. Trust me it is worth it!! Really, it is!!

“…seek first…”

This is the place we must start! Before we seek wealth, power, or possessions we must seek:

“…His kingdom…”

We must seek to know Him and His ways. We must learn to be of His kingdom – to be like Him.

“…and His righteousness…”

Truly, Christ wraps us completely in His righteousness when we become His children and He becomes our Savior and Lord. As believers, we are righteous because we are in Him. However, we must seek to live righteous lives as Jesus explains all through the Sermon on the Mount. We want to glorify Him with our lives. This will be most effectively done through righteous living. We must desire and seek to have His righteousness and our gratitude seen in our lives daily.

“…and all these things…”

We tend to fixate or focus on the things we need or think we need. If we are not careful we can let the things we “need” get between us and God. We are easily distracted by “STUFF”, especially in the USA. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is definitely a very materialistic society. Few of us have true physical needs. We may not have what we want to eat, but we are not starving. You may not have all the clothes you want but you have clothes.

“…shall be added to you.”

Focus of Life

This verse plainly says that if we will seek Him and seek to live righteous lives, He will take care of our physical needs. (Psalm 37:25)

God wants us to focus our lives on Him, not on what we need. As we do this, He is glorified and that is why we are here. We are here for His glory.

What is My Business?

I have told you guys just a little about my childhood, I think. For about 5 years, my mom and dad were divorced and then they reconciled. While Mom was doing the single mom thing, there was a point when she had just graduated from tech and had 2 job opportunities and she was really struggling with which one she should take. Mom was praying hard for wisdom.

At one point, she just knew that God was saying in her heart, “You take care of My business and I will take care of your business.” She felt He was giving her the choice so she accepted one of the positions. It was a terrible job BUT within a few weeks, she was offered a great job – a “dream job” quality job. She had no qualms about taking it. At that point, Mom knew that God had provided the terrible job to make ends meet until the right job came along. After all, that position had not been available when she was deciding between the other two.

His Business

It is my business to take care of His business and His business is His glory.

Me seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness >>> His Kingdom is His Business

All these things will be added to you >>> That is “my” business.

Do you know what is really cool? It is all His Business because He is in control. We only have to seek Him and be obedient and He will take care of the rest. He is so good to us.

Don’t you just love Him!?!?!

Let’s Pray:

Oh Gracious Lord, I am just overwhelmed with Your rich goodness and Your beautiful peace. I thank You that You are in control and that You love us. Thank You for giving us Your beautiful rich salvation. Each morning You give us brand new mercy and it never runs out. Thank You so much! Please be with each one reading this. Help us all to walk closely with You. Help us to have the strength and courage to be about Your business in all areas of our lives. Please encourage each one today. Help each one of us to never let this fact, that You are right with us, slip our minds. Help us live our lives focused on You. In Jesus beautiful name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Matthew 6:19-34

 

 

A Heart of Gratitude Part 4

All

Reflecting on the day, how hard was it to do everything in Jesus name today? I admit I hit a few rough spots where I totally blew it.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

How?

Does He want His name on the situations where I blew it? As a Christian, can I remove His name from anything I do? If I blow it and do something that Jesus wants no part of, can I just say this: “Oh well, I forgot I carry Your name. Sorry, sorry.”

That is not how it works, is it? What I do as a Christian shines on Him – like a powerful spotlight. Good, bad or indifferent. Because we bear His name, the world sees us as one unit doing things.

How do I make sure that everything I do  – whether I am saying it or doing it – is in the name of Jesus our Lord? Is it possible for me to consistently glorify Him and also be grateful to Him in all things?

“I Made it to Noon Today!”

Years ago, my husband shared something he had read back when he was in Bible college that could and should open our eyes to the possibilities of this kind of amazing life. He read something about a man who was desperately trying to go all day and never allow his awareness of God’s presence with him to slip from his mind. Each day he journaled about his progress. He recordings were like this: 45 minutes straight with an awareness of God’s presence… then to noon, and then further along.

We need to always be striving to live our lives knowing that we literally walk each step of every single day, with Christ. If you are a Christ follower, He never leaves you. The thing is we tend to get busy and forget about this minute by minute constant Holy Companion.

How do consciously live in His presence? How do we not forget about Him halfway through the day? If we make it that far??

A God-Centered Life

Even in Christian circles, being God-centered in our society is pretty much unheard of. We may say we are God-centered but our actions, decisions, and priorities are the true gauge of a God-centered person. If we live our lives with a self-preserving, “what’s in it for me?” mentality, we are not God-centered.

It takes an extreme passion for God, for His Word, and for His will to be God-centered. I have seen only one or two people in my lifetime who were seemingly predominantly God-centered. Today, I see myself far, far from it. I do want to this kind of life, but I have not been making the consistent effort to keep Him forefront in my mind.

A Concept?

We tend to live our lives as if God is a concept – and ethereal presence – giving warm fuzzies that either convict or approve. Ironically, we tend to live our lives as if when we go to confess our sin to God, He was somewhere else when we committed the sin. It is as if we are telling Him something He does not already know. But, He is with us.

If we open our hearts and begin to live our lives with the real perception of God with us, we will find it much easier to live verse 17.

  • He is with us for every breath – every single breath.
  • He is with us for every beat of our hearts.
  • He is with us when we refuse to forgive that person who oversteps kindness and cuts us with their words. God sees their sin and He sees ours.
  • He is with us when we struggle with loneliness and He says, “I am here. You are not alone. I am with you.”
  • He is with us when we know we need Him and He is with us when we think we don’t.
  • He is with us when we choose lesser things over spending time with Him in His Word and prayer.

Certainly and constantly, God is with us.

Let’s got to the Verse:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed…”

I think that covers it, don’t you? This is talking about every single thing we do.

“…do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”

Anything we do truly in the name of Jesus, will not bring shame to His good and holy name. Ask yourself this question: What have I done today that the Lord Jesus is pleased to have His name attached to? What have I done today that He wants no part of?

He is loving and merciful and He does not expect perfection from us. He knows we cannot be perfect yet. However, He does know us better than we know ourselves and He knows the motive behind every action. (Ouch! I am definitely writing this for me today! In case you were wondering.)

The things truly done in His name will bring Him glory and that is why we are here isn’t it, my dear friends. May He be glorified in us today and tomorrow!

“…giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Moreover, everything we can do in the name of Jesus and for His glory, He gives us the strength to do. We must keep in mind, we will never glorify Him on our own. So, when He is pleased with us it is because He worked through us. We cannot do anything for His glory on our own. Indeed, we really do have so much to be thankful for! Even when we do something right. 🙂

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, thank You for loving us and drawing us to You. Thank You that Your Word is so permeating  – may it permeate every fiber of us and help us to surrender completely to You and Your perfect will. Help us to be what You want us to be. Help us to glorify You in all we do and please give us the strength to walk closely with you day by day. In Jesus lovely name, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

Philippians 3:12-14

 

 

A Heart of Gratitude Part 3

Saturated

Have you noticed that what is in you comes out? What are you saturated with? If you are happy, what comes out? If you are excited about something, what comes out? What if you cut yourself, what comes out? How about if you are full of stress, what comes out? And if you are full of anger, what comes out?

Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

What if the Word of Christ dwells in you richly -what if you are full of His Word? What will come out?

If I saturate a sponge with water and lay it on the counter, when I pick it up, what will be left? Yea that’s right – water. Not to insult your intelligence or anything…

If I let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly, that is like me being saturated in His Word. So, like the sponge leaves a watermark, we can leave a God-mark wherever we go! Is that not awesome!!! Let’s explore this further.

Let’s go to the Verse:

“Let…”

We do have a degree of control in this. We must do what it takes to allow it to happen.

A Picture with Explanation

“…the Word of Christ…”

His words – the Bible is the Word of God and according to John 1:14 Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but He is God. He is part of the God-Head – the Trinity – 3 in 1.

I believe this is talking about more than just the words that would be in red in a Bible with the words of Christ in red. It speaks of the whole Bible. The whole Bible points to Christ – sometimes in plain words and sometimes in types and shadows but it all points to Christ. We have talked a little about this in past posts. We will know Him as we study His Word because it is a “picture with the explanation” of who He is. Allow who Christ is to dwell in you richly.

“…dwell in you…”

To dwell is to abide somewhere; to live there. Think of it like this: “Allow who Christ is (in all His fullness) to live in you… ”

“…richly…”

Seems to me that for Him to live in me richly would mean for Him to live in me the way He wants to, according to His perfect plan. So, what if we,

(my paraphrase of course) “Allow who Christ, in all He is to live in you the way He wants to.”

That takes the lovely language that Paul uses and gets it down to the nitty-gritty. What kind of wonderful life that would be!!

Leaving a God-Mark

“…as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…”

Here is where we can leave a God-mark. If we are allowing Christ to live in us the way He wants to, wherever we go we will leave a mark that Christ has been there and He will be glorified.

As we teach and admonish (to reprove/correct gently) each other we will be saying and sharing His words – IF we are letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. If we are NOT spending time saturating ourselves in God’s Word we will NOT have His wisdom – but the wisdom of men. In that case, we will make a man-mark instead of a God-mark.

Sponges

The truth is we are always soaking up something. We are indeed sponges. We soak up worldly wisdom if that is where we spend all our time but if we intentionally spend time in God’s Word, in prayer and with other people who love God, we will soak up God’s wisdom and we will have that to share – by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“…and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.”

That is worship! Gratitude inspires worship. So does being saturated in God’s Word. It is all so very progressive. If Christ lives in us the way He wants to live; we will live grateful lives; we will leave His mark as we live our lives. He gets glorified and we get to be all His! What a wonderful verse!!

Back to Peace

Lastly, looking back at verse 15, which we studied in the last two posts, we know that filling our minds with thoughts about God and His Word will fill us with peace. That is how we can have the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. Seeking Him, focusing on Him and reading about Him will fill us with peace. 

Let’s Pray:

Thank You so much, Lord, for Your beautiful Word. I love Your no-nonsense truth. I love how You help us apply it to our lives and I ask You to help us to truly allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly. Help us to completely give ourselves and the control of our lives over to You. Be glorified in us and help us to get closer and closer to You each day. Make us what You want us to be. Please make us completely Yours. In the beautiful name of Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray. Amen.

Go Deeper Today:

John 14:25-27

A Heart of Gratitude Part 2

And Be Thankful

The overarching idea of Colossians 3:15-17 is thankfulness. At the end of each verse, Paul tells us, in one form or another, to be thankful. We are going to stay in verse 15 for another day to explore God’s peace further.

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Drowning in Knee Deep Water

Last time, we talked about a boat in knee deep water. Funny thing about knee deep water – it can float a boat and it can also drown you – if you lay down in it! It is exactly the same with our circumstances.

When we get down in our circumstances they tend to overwhelm us. However, when we realize that we can rise above them, we see that we do not have to drown in them. Standing on God’s Word and God’s character, knowing we can trust Him helps us to rise above circumstances. They may not go away but they will not consume us either. His peace can and will rule in our hearts if we focus on Him, trust Him that His will is best and it will go forth.

Trusting Him

In the midst of hard circumstances such as cancer, the death or illness of a loved one, a move to a new place, etc. we can trust Him. We can also bring God glory by simply trusting in Him to be who He says He is and trusting Him that what He says about us is true. We are His. He is in control of our circumstances and He is more than able to take care of us. When we can rest in these facts we will have peace.

Be Prepared

Today, with Colossians 3:15 in mind, I want to share some other scriptures with you that you can read and really think about especially during hard times. One thing is for sure, hard times are coming if you are not presently in the midst of them. A great way to prepare for hard times is to have a bank of scriptures that you have memorized or at least really thought about that can help you keep you thinking on God, His will, and His provisions. God’s Word is your key to peace, and this is letting the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

Vicious Cycle

One thing is for sure: We will keep thinking about what we are thinking about until we start thinking about something else. WHAT???

We tend to think in circles especially when we are upset. I am sure you have experienced this. You think about a problem and then say, “I can’t think about this anymore!” Thirty seconds later you realize that you are back on that same worry.

I mentioned a huge loss in our family a few days ago. My mind kept going back to the loss and how it transpired. My mind kept trying to complete the picture even though I did not nearly have all the details. We have to break that circle with a new thought. The right thought will bring relief and peace.

Make Your List

All that being said, please know this, we can change our thinking by replacing the thoughts that overwhelm and consume with the Truth of God’s Word. I hope you will start a list of verses that help you trust God more and help you think about Him and how He takes care of us.

Now to the list of wonderful verses:

  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Hebrews 12:2
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • 1 Corinthians 5:21
  • Isaiah 43:6-7
  • Jeremiah 29:11-13

The Bible is full of words that tell us about God, who He is and who we are to Him. We have only barely scratched the surface of this rich mine of beautiful gems – His words and promises. He gave us His Word to help us know and understand who He is and who we are in Him. His peace will rule in our hearts if we do what He tells us to do. Seek Him like you are digging for treasure, because my friend it is more valuable that the purest rubies or the biggest diamonds! Dig them out, write them down on a 3×5 card and carry them in your pocket. Every time you feel yourself sinking, combat it with the verses that remind you who God is.

I leave you today with this prayer from Ephesians 3:16-21:

Lord, I do thank You for Your beloved whom have become my friends. I pray now as Paul prayed for the Ephesian church members:

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

Oh! How thankful we should be!! Until next time my friends!

Go Deeper Today:

Matthew 6:33-34