Tag: Seek the Lord

“Come!”

Scripture reading for August 4th: Amos 4-6, Psalm 55, Matthew 14

Key Scriptures: Matthew 14:28-33 “And Peter answered Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.””

Jesus had been alone praying while He had sent the disciples on ahead in a boat. A storm arose in the middle of the night and Jesus came to them, walking on the water. They were terrified, but Peter asked Jesus to have him come to Him on the water. Jesus issued the invitation and at His Word, Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water. The wind and waves then caught his attention and he began to sink. Crying out to Jesus, Jesus took his hand and rebuked him for his lack of faith.

Psalm 55:16 “I call to God, and the Lord will save me.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I know all things are possible at Your Word. Help me to overcome doubt and get out of my boat of self-sufficiency and walk with You. You are the Son of God!

Amos 5:14-15 “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; It may be that the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”

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Sharing the faith!

Scripture reading for July 14th: 2nd Chronicles 15-16, 1st Kings 16, Philemon

Key Scriptures: Philemon 3-7 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”

Paul wrote this short letter to a fellow-worker in the Gospel who had a church in his home. He commended Philemon for his love and faith and prayed that his sharing of his faith would result in full knowledge of all the blessings of Christ Jesus. Faith is like a muscle, that when exercised and shared grows stronger. God reveals Himself to us more and more as we possess what we already have. Paul had been comforted by the reports of the ministry of this brother and was filled with joy. Encouragement flows from Paul’s heart to this minister.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, give me open doors today to share my faith in Jesus Christ with love to those You send. As I share my faith, open my mind to know fully every good thing that is mine in Your kingdom.

2nd Chronicles 15:1-2 “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

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Battling desires with prayer!

Scripture reading for November 4th:  James 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  James 4:1-4  “What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it.  You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.  You quarrel and fight.  You do not have, because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you many spend what you get on your pleasures.  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?”  

James was concerned about quarrels and strife in the church that came from worldly wisdom because of envy and jealousy.   These desires sprang from the old nature that should have been put to death by faith in Jesus Christ and total dependence on His mercy.  The people that were following these desires were not seeking God in prayer and submitting to His will.  When they did ask, they were asking with selfish motives so that God did not answer!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers pray asking for God’s will and kingdom to be done on earth as in heaven.  They love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength!  “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”  (Zephaniah 2:3)

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Prepare to meet God!

Scripture reading for September 13th: Amos 3-5

Amos, a country preacher, used plain language!  Country people don’t usually beat around the bush.  They call it like it is. I imagine that Amos made a few people pretty mad!  For instance, in Amos 4:1 he calls the women of Samaria “cows”.  These women were likened to the well-fed cattle of Bashan, a farming area east of the Sea of Galilee.  These women were demanding drinks from their husbands and were oppressing the poor and needy while they enjoyed an abundance.  Amos promised them that God’s punishment was on the way.

Amos told the people to go up to Bethel and sin.  They were religious and brought offerings that they boasted about.  God had tried to correct them and get their attention, but to no avail!  (Amos 4:6, 9, 11)   The final call was for them to prepare to meet their God!  (Amos 4:12)  Amos then took up a funeral lament for Israel as if she had died and met God!  (Amos 5:1-3)

What was Amos’ remedy for these hardened religious people?  He told them to seek the Lord and live!  (Amos 5:8-9) Their God had power that should be feared and He should be revered!  They were to seek good and not evil.  God eternally hates evil and his wrath is always against it.  (Amos 5:14-15)

Amos reproved this religious people again for saying that they longed for the day of the Lord!  He told them that it would be a day of darkness, not light for them!  (Amos 5:18)  It would be like a man fleeing from a lion, only to meet a bear.  These people were going through the motions and God hated their songs, festivals, feasts and offerings!   He wanted justice and righteousness that resulted from His people living by faith in the fear of the Lord!  (Amos 5:24)

As we listen to this farmer-preacher, we hear truth spoken in plain language.  The times he lived in are a lot like ours.  Are we sure we are seeking the Lord with our hearts, and not just words and ritual?  Do we hate evil and love good!  Are we working  for justice and help for the poor.  The day of the Lord is coming!  We must be prepared to meet our God!

“. . . prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” Amos 4:12b

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Un-plowed Ground

Scripture reading for September 9th: Hosea 9-11

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.  But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception.” Hosea 10:12-13a

When I was younger, we would often plow under red clover that was sowed along with the oats crop.  Red clover would produce nitrogen that would make the corn grow better the next year.   The dirt turning over and the smell of that fresh soil was special.  Usually a flock of seagulls would follow the plow to pick up worms and a chicken hawk would scout out scampering mice as they ran down the furrow.  At night, coyotes and foxes would also come out and find rodents running in the furrows.

Hosea’s illustration was not about plowing dirt, but about the soil of hearts that had grown hard and had not produced a crop in a long time.  The ground had to be broken up to receive the seed in hope of a crop.  The sowing had to change, too.  Instead of wickedness, false promises, lawsuits and idolatry, the people needed to sow a crop of righteousness so they could reap unfailing love.  (Hosea 10:4-5, 12)

God often takes the weeds of our lives and uses them to become fertilizer for a good crop.  For instance, if we were delivered from a life of drugs and drunkenness, we are able to minister to those who are bound by those habits.  Someone else might have struggled with sexual temptations and upon breaking up their fallow ground, the old habits enable that person to minister to others who have similar strongholds.  The plow has to be put to the hardened and overgrown ground to prepare it for the crop of righteousness.

Hosea encouraged the people to seek the Lord until He showered righteousness on them.  We must ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking until the answer and crop comes.  Prayer keeps an open line with the Lord and keeps our ground broken and ready for a crop of righteousness.  A broken and contrite heart, He will not despise!  (Psalm 51:17)

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Stay connected with God!

Scripture reading for April 26th:  2nd Chronicles 13-16

“Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin.  The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2nd Chronicles 15:2

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2nd Chronicles 15:7

King Asa started out right and did right in the eyes of the Lord.  He proceeded to remove idols from the land and commanded God’s people to seek the Lord and obey His laws.  The land enjoyed peace under his godly rule.  When an attack came from Zerah the Cushite, Asa called out to the Lord for help and God answered him. (2nd Chronicles 14:11)  King Asa had a great victory as he walked close to the Lord.

God saw something inside of this king that He addressed through the prophetic ministry of Azariah, son of Oded.  He encouraged Asa to keep on seeking the Lord and to stay with the Lord.  He warned him and his followers that if they forsook the Lord, they would end up in trouble.  He told King Asa to be strong and not give up.  God would reward him for his work.

The prophetic word is meant to strengthen us, but we must stay humble and teachable.  Asa was humble at the time of an earlier word, but later Asa went his own way without consulting God and enlisted the Syrian King Ben-Hadad with monies from the temple treasuries.  The prophet Hanani  told him he had done a foolish thing and would now be at war.  Asa became angry with the seer and imprisoned him.  He mistreated some of the Lord’s people as well.  He got a disease in his feet, but refused to seek the Lord and only went to doctors.  As a result, he died.

Thank God today for the prophetic word that seeks to warn and encourage us.  Ask the Lord to teach you what you need to know.  If you have a hard heart, connect with His amazing love and let this word encourage you.  Be strong, do not give up, for your work will be rewarded! 2nd Chronicles 15:7

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Prepare to meet your God!

Scripture reading for September 12th: Amos 3-5

Amos was a country preacher who used plain language that cut to the chase!  Country people don’t beat around the bush.  They call it like it is.  This is a good trait, but sometimes lacks tact in the eyes of those who are more refined!  Amos likely made a few people pretty mad!  In Amos 4:1 he called the women of Samaria “cows”.  These women were likened to the well-fed cattle of Bashan, a farming area east of the Sea of Galilee.  They were demanding drinks from their husbands and were oppressing the poor and needy while they enjoyed an abundance.  Amos promised them that God’s punishment was on the way.

Amos told the people to go up to Bethel and sin.  They were religious people who loved to put on a show.  They boasted about their offerings as if they had produced them all by themselves.  God had tried to correct them and get their attention, but to no avail!  They would not return to God with humble and contrite hearts!  (Amos 4:6, 9, 11)  God had sent famines, plagues, war and trouble to wake them up but they failed to respond.  The final call was for them to prepare to meet their God!  (Amos 4:12)  God had power that should have been revered!   He was now ready to call them to stand before Him in judgment and the results would not be pretty!

These religious people said that they longed for the day of the Lord!  Amos told them that it would be a day of darkness, not light for them!  (Amos 5:18)  It would be like a man fleeing from a lion, only to meet a bear.  Because their hearts were not in their religious devotion and assemblies,  God hated their songs, festivals, feasts and offerings!  He wanted justice and righteousness, not a religious show!  (Amos 5:24)

As we read about this farmer-preacher, we see that he spoke truth in plain language.  The times he lived in were a lot like ours.  We need to be sure we are seeking the Lord with our hearts, and not just words and ritual.  We must hate evil and love good!  We should be working in our day for justice and compassion for the poor.  The day of the Lord is coming!  Will you be ready?

“. . . prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” Amos 4:12b

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Mighty to Save!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah 1-3

“The great day of the Lord is near–near and coming quickly.  Listen!  The cry  on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. . . Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.  In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” (Zephaniah 1:14, 18)

Zephaniah was raised up during the time of Josiah, a godly king of Judah who led in a revival.  (2nd Chronicles 34:1-7)  Josiah cleansed the temple and the land of idols and repaired the temple.  However, this revival was shallow and did not deter God’s people from their complacency and half-hearted worship.  Zephaniah was given an end-time message of coming judgment for the wicked on the ‘day of the Lord’. This day would come suddenly with no time to escape.  It would come to all who live on the earth! (Revelation 22:12-13)

“Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you.  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility: perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:1-3)  The remedy for this coming day of wrath was to gather together as God’s people and humbly seek Him!  It sounds so simple and yet is so profound.  God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.  (1st Peter 5:5)

“Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel!  Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!  For the Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy.  The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;  never again will you fear any harm. . .The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:14-15,17)  These are some of the most encouraging and comforting words in the Old Testament.  God answers prayer and does for His people what they cannot do!  He saves us with His mighty love!

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Be strong! Do not Give Up!

Scripture reading for April 25:  2nd Chronicles 13-16

“Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin.  The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2nd Chronicles 15:2

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2nd Chronicles 15:7

God is good at warning and encouraging!  King Asa started out right and did right in the eyes of the Lord.  He proceeded to remove idols from the land and commanded God’s people to seek the Lord and obey His laws.  He rebuilt the fortified cities and the land enjoyed peace under his godly rule.  When an attack came from Zerah the Cushite, Asa called out to the Lord for help and God answered him. (2nd Chronicles 14:11)  King Asa had a great victory and was walking close to the Lord.

God saw something inside of this king that He addressed.  He encouraged Asa by the prophetic ministry of Azariah, son of Oded.  He encouraged this victorious king to keep on seeking the Lord.  He reminded him to stay with the Lord.  He warned him and his followers that if they forsook the Lord, they would find themselves out there on their own and in trouble.  He ended the prophetic message with encouragement. He told King Asa to be strong and not give up.  God would reward him for his work.   Prophesy is always to build up, not to tear down.  (1st Corinthians 14:3)

The prophetic word does build us up, but we must stay humble and teachable.  Asa was humble and teachable at the time of this earlier word, but later Asa went on his own to Damascus and enlisted the Syrian King Ben-Hadad with monies from the Temple treasuries.  Again the Lord sent a prophet to warn and correct Asa.  Hanani came to him and told him he had done a foolish thing and would now be at war.  Asa became angry with the seer and imprisoned him.  He mistreated some of the Lord’s people as well.  He got a disease in his feet, but refused to seek the Lord and only went to doctors.  As a result, he died.  He had started out right, but failed to heed the word of the Lord!

Thank God today for the prophetic word that seeks to warn and encourage us.  Ask the Lord to teach you what you need to know and how to stay humble and able to obey.  If you have a hard heart, open up to His amazing love and let this word encourage you.  Be strong, do not give up, for your work will be rewarded! 2nd Chronicles 15:7

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