Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Seeking God Day 20

haldenToday is the 9 year “friendaversary” on Facebook with my dear friend Carol. When I opened my computer this morning the Facebook elves had magically made a video that documented our friendship. As I watched the pictures scroll by, I was amazed at how many memories I had forgotten. I was also just as touched by the many memories that came flooding back to my mind even though they weren’t pictured. The video reminded me of how much I love her and how grateful I am for her friendship.

Whoever came up with the idea and program to bring old pictures into my current newsfeed was a genius. It’s the part of my morning that I love and sometimes hate the most. My heart melts seeing pictures of my children wearing diapers when today they need to be wearing deodorant. I instantly remember the clothes they were wearing, I can feel the weight of their little bodies in my arms and I remember the sweet sound of their little voices. For a brief moment, I can breathe in the memory like it was yesterday and it helps me remember who they and we used to be and who we are becoming. It’s bittersweet.

On a morning when child #2 was yelling at me because child #3 was late and child #4 was anxious because I hadn’t paid for his field trip and child #1 was still sleeping…it’s good to remember that at one time we were laughing at wearing giant Hulk hands or struggling with potty training or snuggling together on a small couch. It’s good to be transported to another time when things were either extremely good or impossibly hard. The ability to look back means that somehow time has passed and we have survived and we have become or grown or been transformed. We are no longer them, we are us. We are us because of them. Remembering is good.

I read today in the last book of the Old Testament Malachi. The verse that caught my eye is this:

Malachi 3:16

 

“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.”

The phrase, “a scroll of remembrance” just shook me to my core. It made me wonder what they had written on that scroll. What events or understandings did those leaders decide needed to be recorded? Whose names were written down? What made those individuals stand out?

All we know of them is that they “feared the Lord” and “honored his name.” Read that again and let it sink in. They feared the Lord and honored his name.

I want my name to be written on the “scroll of remembrance.” I want my character to be such that it is said of me that I fear the Lord and honor his name. I am so grateful for these Old Testament leaders. Because of them we are us. Look what is written next in the chapter:

Malachi 3:17 

 

“”They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”

God spared these people because of their faithfulness and eventually sent Jesus, the savior of the world, through their lineage. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and reveals himself to us because God saved a remnant of his people who feared him and honored his name.

I am positive that it was not easy to be one of these few, to be a member of this group. I am positive that they questioned their ability to lead. That they questioned their strength in that time of adversity. I’m sure that they questioned whether or not they were the right people for the job. But I’m so grateful that in the end they stood, they stayed, they talked. I’m so grateful that they sought God. I’m so grateful that in the end they knew that the Lord had listened to them and had heard them.

A scroll of remembrance. A written account of their encounter with God so that all would remember who he was and is and will always be. An account of his faithfulness, his goodness, his love.

We all need that, don’t we?

A story of God’s faithfulness in our lives when we were able to know that he had heard us and listened to us. That story will serve to tell the next generations of what we have learned. It will also help us remember. When everything seems impossibly hard, we need to take out our scroll and remember who God is.

Here is a song to help you remember. Jesus by Chris Tomlin

 

Seeking God Day 18

haldenA few years ago we bought a new couch that was going to solve all of our seating problems. That sounds extreme I know but before the new couch we had seating for 5 and I have a family of 6 and that was a problem. If we all wanted to sit in the same room someone had to sit on the floor and no one wanted to. The term, “seat lock,” was screamed often and ignored even more frequently on a daily basis until Doug and I just couldn’t take it any longer.

The couch we bought now takes up two entire walls of the family room and seats 9 people shoulder to shoulder. There are two reclining seats, one on each end and the back of one cushion even folds down to make a tray. It’s really quite wonderful to be able to have the whole family sitting in the same room without touching each other. It is the SUV of couches.

Here’s the problem though, Doug sits on one side of the couch, in one of the recliners and I sit on the other side of the couch, in the other recliner. This doesn’t sound like a problem, I mean we are both really comfortable with our feet up in the air however, we are 7 seats away from each other. We are literally sitting on opposite ends of the room.

I remember when we were dating and first married and the thought of sitting that far apart wouldn’t even have crossed our minds. We always sat close enough to hold hands or share a blanket. I don’t remember when we started sitting further apart?

I’m preparing a speech for a MOPS group next week on the book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a fantastic book that encourages the reader to examine themselves and their spouses to discover what their primary love language is. It also challenges them to speak to their spouse in the language their spouse understands. My language is Quality Time: giving someone your undivided attention. Doug’s is Physical Touch: using your physical presence and touch to communicate love.

It occurred to me yesterday that because of our couch, neither of us are in a position to give or receive love in the language we understand best simply because of our seating arrangements. I can almost hear Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”

Last night, much to Doug’s surprise, I left my wing and headed over to sit on his side right next to him. It was nice. He could put his arms around me and I could lay my head in his lap and we were close enough that we felt connected in a way that I haven’t in a long time. He watched TV, I read and I just enjoyed being close to him. Sitting silently together and knowing he was right beside me.

Position, posture and silence are three things that can bring us closer to the people we love and to God or they can unintentionally keep us apart. Where I position myself, what type of posture I take and how much or how little I say builds a wall or breaks a barrier.

What is your position to God right now? 

What is your posture with God right now?

Do you know what it means to just sit and breathe in His presence?

There are plenty of times that the Bible tells us to pour out our hearts to God and to bring our requests to Him, there is nothing wrong with that. But the Word also instructs us to be silent, to wait patiently, to listen for the “still small voice.” What type of environment do you need in order to do those things?

Today, set a timer for 5 minutes and sit before God in silence and listen. Quiet your inner voice, demand that it stop speaking so that you can hear.

The Bible says:

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

There is an element of confession in here. When we come near to God, I believe we can’t help but feel His holiness. When we enter His throne room, we can’t help but to notice that we come to him broken and tattered in need of forgiveness, in need of love.

The Bible also says:

Psalm 145:8-9 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 

Don’t be afraid to come to Him, to sit close and to be silent. God is good to all!

Here is a song to help you slow down and breathe in His Holiness, the song before the silence that you need to hear Him. Holy God by Brian Doerksen

 

Seeking God Day 17

haldenEye sight is something I have taken for granted my entire life. I have never known what it was like to look at anything far away or close up and have it appear “blurry.” I use quotations because up until about 4 months ago, blurry was just a concept to me, one I didn’t understand.

I remember going to the eye Dr when I turned 40 and having him tell me that although my vision was perfect on that day, that didn’t mean it would stay that way. He went into a long speech about aging eyes and focus and how everyone eventually succumbs to needing help with their vision.

I listened to him politely all the while thinking to myself that I didn’t need to worry. I remember him saying that some women find that they go to bed one night with perfect vision and seem to wake up the next morning with problems. He even told me about a few patients who swear that after a strong sneeze or coughing attack there eye sight worsened. These were all interesting stories but honestly, I didn’t feel the need to worry.

Then one morning I noticed that the light in my kitchen just didn’t seem bright enough. The next morning I had to keep rubbing my eyes because they seemed so tired. The following morning, I had to keep blinking slowly in order to see the suddenly tiny print in the Bible I was trying to read.

My brain had to process what I was struggling with because it had never encountered this problem before…was I struggling with focus? Was this what it was like to see something as blurry? Honestly, I thought, if I just rub these eyes hard enough I think it will fix everything, but it didn’t. I finally relented and broke out a pair of readers my girlfriend had given me to see if it would help.

Whelp! It did help!

I have no words.

Blurred vision is distracting, it is uncomfortable and it is discouraging. The experience can be unrecognizable at first which seems strange doesn’t it? Once it is recognized however, it has to be fixed. Who wants to live knowing that they aren’t seeing clearly? Suddenly something that was just a nuisance becomes something that can’t go unnoticed any longer, even if you have to humble yourself and wear a pair of awful readers.

Seeing God clearly is much the same way I believe. We try to see God and know Him by filtering Him through our experiences and understandings, our vision of this world. Each of us brings our own unique self to the relationship and because of that there are things about Him, His character, His love, His provision that we either see clearly or we see blurry or maybe we can’t see at all.

I recently got a text from a good friend that read like this:

I honestly never believed I’d be able to see God this way.  I was blown away at the comfort and warmth and love- it was what I imagined it would be like leaning into a dad that truly loved me, and feeling safe and warm and strong and loved and like I was held…

When we seek God, we are humbling ourselves and trying on different pairs of “God readers” to see which ones help us see Him more clearly. Seeking God means that we lay down what we believe and ask Him to help us understand who He is and who we are because of Him. Seeking God opens up a whole new world of possibilities that weren’t even imaginable before we saw Him clearly.

I take my readers off and put the on all day long. Sometimes I need them, other times I don’t. When I look up, everything is blurry when I look down the world in front of me is in focus. This on/off dance is frustrating. Part of me can’t wait for my eyes to get bad enough that I can just wear glasses all day long. I wait for the day that I can be relieved of these readers.

I also wait for the day when my vision and understanding of myself is so broken that I can clearly see God. I desire to know God so fully that I don’t have to wonder any longer if I’m seeing him in focus or if I’m “blurring” some part of His love that I still don’t understand.

Ephesians 3:17-19

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the 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.”

The More I Seek You by Kari Jobe

Choreography: Edouard Lock
– Ballet: La La La Human Steps
– This video made by: Birdiej89

Seeking God Day 16

I’m out of my routinehalden today. I slept in, ate donuts for breakfast and now everyone is awake and moving, the TV is on and it’s way past 8am. I still haven’t found any space or quiet to listen to God yet today.

I’m out of routine this month. This is the second Sunday we’ve skipped going to church, 2 weeks in a row. I know that next week it will be even easier not to go, to find something interesting to read or watch on TV and to stay in my PJ’s and sip hot coffee. It will be even easier to convince myself that it’s ok and that we are busy people and we deserve a break once in awhile. I know that we will have been out late the night before and we have a football game in the afternoon and I know that I will rationalize the need to stay in bed, for everyone’s sake.

Being out of routine is dangerous territory…at least for me.

Routine is where I’ve learned how to seek God and find him. If left up to my own devices I will find all kinds of things to distract me and divert my attention from my relationship with Jesus. I don’t come by regular quiet time easily or naturally, it’s always a struggle. Years ago I started setting an alarm to wake me up early before the kids would wake up so that I could start the day in the Word. I hated it, hated it! I liked to sleep, I needed to sleep, I was sleep deprived! Someone told me to ask God to wake me up and if it was truly important to Him that He would not allow me to sleep past my alarm, so I did. Guess what? He woke me up! No joke! I really woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep, even if I tried. I’m not sure if that’s amazing or annoying?

The apostle Paul talks about this in the book of Hebrews. The title given to this passage in the NIV Bible is “A Call to Preserve In Faith.”

Hebrews 10:22-25

 

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I’m not sure how I can offer any advice or wisdom without sounding like or being a hypocrite in light of the truth I spelled out for you at the beginning of this post.

This, routine, it isn’t easy.

Just because it isn’t easy, just because I don’t always live up to the standard and just because I have and will and do fall, doesn’t make this passage any less True. If we are to “preserve”(protect, maintain, care for, look after) our faith, then we have to establish and hold to routine, even when it’s difficult. When we find that we have fallen out of routine, we need to lay down our pride and give up our comfort and be willing to fix it.

We just do.

I do.

This post is a mirror for me to look into, if you want to look into it too, you may.

God will still be God whether I’m in bed, I’m in church, I’m at a football game or sitting in front of my TV, my position doesn’t change Him at all. What my position does change is my ability to…draw near, be assured, confess, be encouraged and spur on others. My position, my routine changes me, whether I like it or not.

Here is a song by Francesca Battistelli, that helps me open my hands, close my eyes and breathe in the Holy Spirit. It reminds me that a Christian walk isn’t lived in solitude but in the presence of the Holy Spirit and surrounded by the church.

“Let us become more aware of your presence,

let us experience the glory of your goodness Lord.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here,

come flood this place and fill the atmosphere,

your glory God is what our hearts long for,

to be overcome by your presence Lord.” 

 

 

 

 

Seeking God Day 15

haldenLast night my husband and I walked our only daughter, number 2 in birth order down the track at her high school as she was honored at Senior night. I continue to ponder how and when this happened?

I never thought I’d have a daughter. I just never did. I’ve said so many times that when she was born and the Dr said, “It’s a girl!” he could have told me, “It’s an alien!” I wouldn’t have been any more surprised. A girl? We didn’t even have a proper name picked out for a girl.

The two of us had a rocky start, we moved across state lines 10 days after she was born and then a few weeks after that I was crushed with postpartum depression. She was the kind of kid who always needed to be held, always needed to be touching me. I remember many days when Doug would come home from work that I’d pass her to him and just run, desperate for alone time.

Those days were LONG! But as I look back those years were short. Suddenly she was 3 years old and had taught herself how to read. She was 4 and was in preschool, 5 and in full day kindergarten. I blinked again and she was in junior high school and now, she’s walking beside me as I hear from the loud speaker, “Senior Emily Bierma escorted by her parents Doug and Christine Bierma.” Where did the time go?

As I look at pictures from last night, already a memory, I’m so proud of the young woman she has become and I can’t wait to see where her life path will take her, what God has planned for her. I’m almost giddy with excitement even if I am a little sad that she is no longer small.

The Bible says that we were created in the the Creators image. What does that mean?

On nights like last night, as my heart swelled with pride because of my beautiful daughter I believe that God’s heart swells with pride because of us, his children. Our stories of family and raising kids and working through relationships is in the image of our creator’s. He has gifted us with a small microcosm of his creation in our families and friendships. He has allowed us to have a taste of His love through the love we have for our kids, parents, friends. I believe that the longing we have for relationships, to be connected with people who really know us is instilled in us so that we can know His heart; that we can know Him more. Every emotion we feel is an echo of the One who created us.

Genesis 1:27

 

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”

I’m so glad to be created in the Creator’s image, to be called His child, to be known by Him. To be loved by Him~it changes everything.

There is a verse in Isaiah that speaks of the Creator’s love for us in a way that expresses a love a parent has for a child.

Isaiah 49:16 

 

“See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

You my friends, are engraved on the palms of his hands…you are ever before Him. Run to his arms.

Forever Reign 

 

Seeking God Day 13

haldenIt’s fall in Illinois. There is something that happens to the color of the sky and the sound of the wind at this time of year. Everything changes. One day it’s Summer, it’s hot, sticky, oppressive and it feels like nothing will ever change. Then in 12 hours Fall sneaks in under the cover of darkness and when the sun rises nothing is the same.

As soon as the seasons bow to each other they come. The geese fill the sky with their formations and noise. I hear them before I see them and every year I stop what I am doing to watch and be amazed. I’m amazed at how loud they are! I wonder who is leading them? Where are they going? How do they know the way?

Each day they circle my house, some days they are so low I can hear the flapping of their wings. At first they are unorganized but in about a week they will be flying with precision and formation, getting ready to leave this place and go to where God is leading them.

These geese are quite ordinary and frankly they are a nuisance during the summer. They take over small ponds, they leave their “droppings” all over and make a mess of walking trails and they aren’t very nice. A mother goose will chase you if you accidentally get too close to her nest. I’m not a goose lover! You will not find a well dressed cement goose on my front porch!

However, I smile like a small child when they fly over my house. Watching them gives me a glimpse of the glory and majesty of God, the creator. These ordinary creatures are transformed into something beautiful when God says, “Take flight.”

I have never come across a goose having a long discussion with God about his timing, their calling or their doubts and fears. When God says, “go” they listen and obey. And when they fly…they are filled with joy! When I watch them, I know that they are doing what they are created to do. It’s beautifully simple.

I don’t think geese have to seek God, they just know him. Creation all around us knows God and it shouts loudly for all who will listen about the glory of God about His presence in our lives, about His holiness. Creation shouts to all who have ears to hear that God is and was and will alway be.

Psalm 19 1-4

 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Seek God today with your eyes lifted to the skies. Soak in the blue of the fall sky or the cleansing wetness of the cold fall rain. Open your eyes and watch as the trees explode with color, all for the glory of God. And if you see the geese today, stop. Stop and look with eyes that see…really see… the majesty and glory of God.

Here’s a song that will help you lift your eyes and hands to God.

Cannons by Phil Wickham

 

Seeking God Day 9

haldenThe sun had already set as I flew down I 294 on my way home from a week long trip in Michigan. I was racing the clock, trying to get to my hometown in time to watch two of my babies perform in their first marching band competition of the year. They have been marching literal holes in the bottoms of their shoes every day for hours since June and last night was the night all of their hard work would be on display for all of us to see and celebrate.

The 3 hour drive proved to be a decompression chamber after an intense week of being challenged to explore and nourish myself and my dream. I haven’t fully realized exactly what that dream is however, I was confronted once again with the fact that God loves me enough to place a longing in my heart to become, to grow into more. Not only that, but if I am willing to take a risk there is so much more to learn than I ever dreamed possible. As I type, I wonder why I so often need to be reminded of my worth in God’s eyes? Why do I continue to be surprised by the way God lavishes his love on me?

He sees me.

Psalm 139: 1-6

 

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.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
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.

 

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

“It is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God his prepared for those who love him’ but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”

The Bible is full of verses that say, He sees you. He cares for you. He has a plan for you. He loves you. He came for you. He saves you.

The Bible also promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Why am I always overwhelmed with surprise?

Actually, I’m glad I continue to be overwhelmed with surprise. I want to be someone who continues to be shocked by God’s love. I want to live a life of wonder and continue to discover God’s holiness.

I want to be a woman who seeks God and what His will is for her life. Surprised, shocked, overwhelmed, learning. That’s who I want to be.

Close your eyes and listen to Bethel’s You Don’t Miss A Thing. I promise, it will be worth it.

Blessings my friends.

Continue to seek God.

Share with me what He is showing you.

 

 

 

Seeking God Day 7

haldenLast night before I fell asleep, I laid in the dark with my eyes closed and listened to the recording my husband had sent me of my kid’s band concert. I listened with tears streaming down my face because I missed them and I wasn’t able to be at the concert. I’m 250 miles north of my hometown on a trip of a lifetime. A time that has been gifted to me to explore and test the gifts God has given me. It’s a good thing and yet, I have to sacrifice other really good things because I’m away.  It’s difficult to trust God with the things in my life that are so precious and give up the perceived control I think I have. I want to be in all places at all times, spinning every plate without dropping even one, to be all things to everybody, not disappointing even one person in my life.

Spinning plates is something that I excel at – until I don’t. It’s an all or nothing activity. There is no 99% in plate spinning. That last 1% will kill you. If one plate falls, something breaks.

I suppose it’s a matter of trust when your life is full of plate spinning, or rather it’s a matter of a lack of trust. Do I trust God with my plates to stop trying to spin them? Do I trust God with the people and places and things dear to my heart enough to give them over to Him?

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I long for a spirit that is filled with green pastures and quiet waters and a refreshed soul; fully realizing that even though I may be in the darkest valley I’m not alone and there is nothing to fear.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I’m not entirely sure how all of my experiences this week fit together yet. I think it has something to do with listening for the shepherd’s voice and following Him. I wonder if in order to dine at the table of the Lord “in the presence of my enemies” I’m required to trust God even when the “plates” are demanding my attention?

I need a change in posture.

The verse says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

That is a posture of humility. Kneeling with my head up and my hands outstretched waiting with expectation for a blessing.

Seeking God allows all of us to lay down our “plates.” It allows us to see green pastures and to enjoy quiet waters without guilt. To dine at the table w/o fear of the enemies all around us and to accept an overflowing cup of blessing when it’s given to us. The Shepherd knows where He is going, listen for His voice.\

Here is something to listen to today. Breathe-Jonny Diaz

*Gary and Beatrice who I wrote about a few days ago are safe. Thank you for your prayers.

 

Seeking God Day 4

haldenI am a worship leader and have been for most of my life. I started singing in churches when I was 6 years old and God has given me the incredible honor of leading His church in worship ever since. It is one of the most joyful and reverent experiences of my life. When I am standing in front of His people and leading them to the throne room of God to sit at His feet and worship, I am filled with the knowledge that God created me to do exactly that. It is when I am most whole and most joyful.

It is also when I can feel the most pain. It is when my heart is the most vulnerable. Worship allows me to shed all of my masks and stand before God just as I am and receive His glory, His love, His forgiveness, His presence, Him.

Yesterday I woke up singing the song, Ever Be.

The lyrics:

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips, your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

 

 

You Father the orphan
Your kindness makes us whole
And you shoulder our weakness
And your strength becomes our own
Now you’re making me like you
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride

Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame
And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

 

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Many people have criticized praise music over the years as too repetitive, however, one of the things I love about this song is the repetitive phrase, “Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips.”

Yesterday it repeated over and over again in my mind. Forcing me to think about praising, to think about gratitude, to reflect on my God, my Savior and His love for me.

Today, my friend, as you seek God, praise Him. Thank Him. Stop asking of Him and simply soak in His presence like you are sponge. Breathe Him in and let His love fill your lungs. And then exhale your praises loudly and repeatedly. Raise your hands if you dare and allow your tears, don’t hold them back if they come. Let your praise ever be on your lips today and watch how God uses those praises to connect with you, to give you clearer vision and a more peaceful spirit.

Psalm 64:3-5 “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

If you are looking for a praise song today, use the links embedded in this post for two of my favorites.

Blessings today my friends.

 

Seeking God Day 3

haldenI clicked the home button on my phone the other day after having a nice breakfast with one of my friends and my lock screen looked like it had blown up while I was eating my pumpkin pancakes. 10 messages and 2 missed calls from my daughter in just less than 2 hours?! My throat instantly seized and my stomach became immediately upset. What could she possibly need me for this desperately? What had been happening while I was unaware?

 

Do you ever feel like that with God? “Um hello….?? Anyone up there? Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do you care?”

Jeremiah 29 has one of the most recognizable verses in the Bible. Do you know it?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

But do you know what surrounds this verse from in front and behind? This isn’t jut a feel good verse that Lord gave us but rather, it is a promise that is tied to some specific instructions and in a specific situation.

Jeremiah 29:12-14 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.” declares the Lord.

God does have plans for us but he also tells us what to do in order to experience those plans: we must seek Him with all of our heart. What does that even look like? And how could the Israelites be expected to find God while they were in captivity? If they were in captivity didn’t that mean that God had left them? This whole story is backwards.

Let’s back up even further in this chapter to

Jeremiah 29:4-7 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

The Lord had sent the Israelites into exile, that had been His plan. That is hard to accept. How could that be a plan to not to harm them and to prosper them? He had instructed them to settle down, make peace with their situation and to actually pray for those who held them in captivity. In these instructions He was already providing a picture of love for them. These instructions provided a guide for the Israelites to seek God and find peace in a place that seemed void of God and his plan.

I believe that God’s intent was to assure them that He was in control even when it looked as if He wasn’t. He knew everything. He knew where they were, He was going to provide for them in that place and then eventually He was going to move them out of captivity. That was his promise. Their situations were going to change but He never would! He never would! He was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His promises would stand true no matter what situation they were in. Situations didn’t change God, nothing changes God. He is the “I AM.”

But how do you seek God when everything around you is wrong? When everything looks or feels or sounds wrong, how do you find Him? His Word says seek Him with all your heart. To me that means you have to sacrifice your will to His. You have to stay quiet when you want to talk. You have to get up when you want to stay in bed. You have to lay down your pride when you just want to prove yourself right. You have to let go when all you want to do is hold on.

“You will find me.” he says. What He is really assuring us of is that He has been with us all along. These days, these times, these situations, they are all of His design. His plan. His future. He is in control.

Are you willing to trust Him? Are you willing to seek him and find Him?

Read the whole passage…you might be surprised by the situation, but you find God stays the same.

 

 

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