How Do You Pursue God?

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

So how do you pursue God?  Think about that question for a moment.  You pursuing Him.  The very thought causes people to twitch.  Some have even told me outright that if they have to pursue God, then He isn't worth pursuing.  WOW!

We appreciate that fact that God is with us.  That He is omnipresent and that He will never abandon us.  But what are you doing to be in His presence?

Think of it this way.  If there is someone that you really, really want to meet in person you will do all you can to make that happen.  But if there is someone you would rather keep your distance from, then again, you will do all you can to make that happen.  In other words, the relationship depends on you.

So, first of all, do you want to be in the presence of God?  It's a yes or no answer.  I know many would like to qualify that statement.  But in reality either you do or don't.

Then what are you doing to be in His presence?

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Do you worship God?  Do you desire to be in His presence?  Is there an aching in your heart to experience His love and peace in your life?  Does the very idea of worshipping Him bring you joy?  Are you willing to submit your body, soul, and spirit to Him?  

Are you willing to pursue God? 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want to pursue you today will all my heart.  AMEN  

Say AMEN

I remember praying at a altar in church.  I so desperatly wanted to experience the presence of God, but I didn't know how to even connect to Him.  I was 15 or 16 years old.  Discipleship was a practice that was handed down from generation to generation.  The older taught the younger by example.  You watched, you listened and then you tried.

So there I am at this altar and nothing is happening.  I am frustrated beyond belief.  Then a feel a gentle hand touch my shoulder and someone being to pray for me.  All of a sudden it was as if a ocean wave swept over me.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I knew that God was there.  I had never been so aware of His presence in my life.

It changed everything.

How do you pursue God?

Proverbs 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
There is a time that you will have to seek God.  Don't wait until there is a crisis in your life.  Begin to develop a relationship now.  When you need Him in that sudden moment, then you don't have to guess whether or not God is even listening to you.

Prayer connects you to God.  But what is prayer?  Talking to God.  At the end of each of these blogs is a one sentence prayer.  Now I have never intended these prayers to be the only prayer that you need in the day.  They are their to encourage you to pray and to focus on one thing.

Today's prayer will be PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to speak to You today.  (But don't say AMEN, not yet anyway.)

Talk to God right now and let Him know what you are thinking.  Tell Him what your greatest desires and needs are.  Tell Him what your greatest fears and weaknesses are.  Tell Him how much you love Him and how much you want Him to lead your life.  Then after you are finished, say  - AMEN

Oh, Grow Up!

This phrase was commonly used when I was an adolescent and young adult.  Not only did my parents tell me this, frequently, and with good reason.  But even my friends and acquaintances would chirp the, "Oh, grow up!" to each other.

It's meaning is relatively easy to comprehend.  "Quit being such a kid and starting acting/thinking like an adult."  Today I hear some people say that they have a hard time, "adulting" meaning they don't like the responsibility of being an adult.  I get it.  Now before you assume that I'm about to go on a rant about millennials, young people, or "I remember in the good ol' days" stuff - I'm not.  You're safe.

In fact, let me help you out a little.  I'm 54 years old.  I left home and started college at 16, married by 21 and was employed in my career choice by 22.  That was kind of average.  Today is a different story.  You probably need to choose your career path by middle school.  Plan on getting a masters degree and will struggle to "get out on your own" by age 25.  15-year-olds are having to act like their 25, but 25-year-olds sometimes act like their 15.  That's normal.

Let’s bottom line it.  The process of maturing is starting sooner and ending later.

But then again, you might understand this a little better than you think.

When did you ask Jesus into your life?  I mean, for real - you meant it - you sincerely repented of your sins and your desire to live your life for Him every day.

The process of growing up in our relationship with God is a process.  I've seen some people grow by leaps and bounds in a short period of time.  But for most people, it has been a marathon process for them.  Discovering more about their relationship with Jesus every day isn't as easy as taking a class or reading a book.  It is something to be pursued and experienced.

Your faith pursues, and you experience His presence in your life.

But how do you pursue?

John 15:7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Most people read the part about asking whatever and getting it.  Not so fast.  First, you must abide, wait, upon God. (More about that later) then you must allow His Words to be incorporated into your heart.  To the point, read the Bible.  

Many people read the Bible to find what they want.  You don't get it.  You read the Bible to let its words tell you what you need.  That's when our prayers are answered.  That's when we begin to experience a transformed life.  That's when we discover the presence and power of God.  

So today, what are you going to read from the Bible? 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, speak to me through your Word today.  AMEN  


God Isn't A Woman

So Ariana Grande came out with a song, God Is A Woman.

Now, in all honesty, I have not listened to the song, but I have read the lyrics.  I get it, it is an over-sexualized song.  But the title, still . . . .

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Well, that takes care of the whole gender thing.  God is spirit.  

My point isn't to bash Ariana.  In fact, I am praying for her.  But a few days ago, I wrote a blog about someone who was confronted by a believer in the fact that God is a woman.  So when I see something like this pop up in our culture, it tells me that somethings up.  

Now, this blog isn’t about women, it’s about worship.  Do we worship a personal God or the concept of God?  If we worship a personal God, then we understand that we connect to Him at a spiritual level.  That His truth from His Word is the truth, we live by.

But if we worship the concept of God, then God can be anything we make Him out to be.  God can be a tree.  He can be the universe.  He can be the "Big man upstairs."  Or, He can be a woman.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I worship You.  My Savior, my King, my hope and my life.  You are not a concept to me, you are real.  AMEN  

Shocking To Say The Least

Now I was 9 years old.  My basic understanding of things like electricity was still in development.  But one day I received an education.  You might call it the first download ever.  Because after this happened, I now knew everything I needed to know about electricity. 

So it's summer time, and I am enjoying my day.  Mom is cleaning the house, dad is at work, and I am trying to stay out of trouble.  I failed, miserably.  Now, why did I had a set of tweezers?  I don't know.  Why was I under a coffee table next to a wall outlet?  I don't know.  Why did I stick the tweezers in the wall outlet causing a blinding flash, which resulted in me hitting my head suddenly on the coffee table, ruining the tweezers, singeing the outlet and blistering my hand?  I don't know.  

My mom heard the commotion and quickly assessed the situation.  I got a whupping followed by her holding me and thanking God I didn't die.  I was glad too and honestly, I didn't need the whipping because I learned everything I wanted to know about electricity.  I WILL NEVER TOUCH IT AGAIN.  

To this day I will not mess with it.  People have asked me, "Russ, why don't you change that wall socket or replace that breaker."  I tell them the above story, and they understand.  

Now let's be honest here, that was stupid.  Not to say that you shouldn't expect this from a bored 9-year-old boy.  But it was still stupid.  

So how do you stop being stupid? 

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Well now I understand why I got a whipping.  But that was a lot of reproofing in a short period of time.  

Discipling and correction are a part of our lives for a reason.  To keep us from harming ourselves.  If we fail to listen to and heed correction we doom ourselves to do stuipd things.  But here are a couple of things you need to know about being, "reproofed".

Sometimes you will not like the source.  But remember, even your enemies can tell the truth. 
Sometimes you will not like their attitude.  Even critical critisim can be helpful. 
Don't let your pride get in the way of wisdom.  Humility breeds wisdom, pride breeds stuipidity. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to not do stupid things today.  AMEN 

Never Assume God's Plans

So the story goes like this.

King Herod had James killed.  This pleased the Jewish leadership so much that he thought to himself, let's do it again.  So he had Peter arrested.

Acts 12:6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.
Peter knows how his trail is going to go. He's going to die. So what does He do? Go to sleep. But something happens!

7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 

Now that's a jailbreak!  But notice what Peter says next.

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Peter was convinced that it was God's will for him to die.   But now, thanks to God's intervention, he knows that He still has a plan for him. 

Many times we assume that what is happening in our lives is the will of God.  That's not necessarily true.  God is more significant than our circumstances and situations.  You may find yourself, "in jail."  Meaning you may feel like your particular situation has only one possible outcome - and it isn't good.  But you serve a God who is bigger than that.  He can orchestrate your, "jailbreak" and change the direction of your life. 

Trust Him. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I need a jailbreak!  AMEN