The Big, Bad Wolf

Psalm 34: 4

I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Fear is a pernicious emotion. It draws us into ever deeper dread, and it draws to us all sorts of negative experiences. Once fear gets a foothold in our spirits, it invites all its little buddies to come torment us as well. We may begin with a fear of spiders or of heights only to realize one day that fear lurks around almost every corner. That is its nature. It wants to invade every part of our lives and it will if we don’t resist it. Thank God that He is our provider in every sense.

In the context of yesterday’s verse, we looked at 1 Chronicles 28: 9, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.” In Father’s never-ending quest to encourage and edify us, He sends us this good news today from Psalms. We discover that not only does He let us find Him but that He answers us and our needs in that moment. Going one step further, when we seek Him, He delivers us from those insipid fears that plague our heart. There is healing in His wings, so every encounter with Him brings healing. He touches our hearts, our minds and our bodies with His soothing touch. His love roots out fear even that which has been lodged in our souls for many years. There are two keys, though which will help dissolve those fears.

When we search for God with our hearts, then it is our heart which finds Him. This may seem like semantics but there is a very real principle involved. Searching with your heart opens your heart to Him. The alternative is to search for Him with our minds. I am not suggesting that is a “bad” approach, just not the most potent. If you search with your mind you will still find Him but you will learn about Him more than engage with Him. This is the case because you are presenting your mind to Him. It is best if we present our hearts to Him. Allow your mind, will, emotions and personality to aid you but go to the Lord, seek Him with your innermost being. That is your heart or more precisely, your spirit.

Second, relinquish your fears to the Lord. Begin in a space where you accept and acknowledge that fear has no place in your heart. Expect Yahweh to vanquish those fears. This scripture reveals that if we are afraid, we have need of deliverance. I think we live in a time when we have come to accept fear as part of life. That is the exact opposite of the message the Father is communicating to you. His intention is to deliver you from fear. This means that you must let go of it. That can be harder than it sounds because you are surrounded by people who, almost proudly, confess to being fearful of at least something. Secondly, you may have lived with fear a long time. The familiarity may make it difficult to release the hold it has on you and that you have on it.

Fear is, functionally, a distrust of God. We don’t think of it that way, but it is true. To live with fear is to say to God that you don’t trust Him. The fear of heights or whatever is stronger, bigger and louder than your faith in God. Does that sound harsh? It is not my intention that it scald you. There is, however, an even more accurate way to articulate fear, if you can bear it. Fear is faith in Satan. It is the acknowledgement that he has power in your life and over your life. Deny that obscenity. Faith in God vanquishes fear because there can be no fear where the love of God prevails. Fear is like the big, bad wolf in the story of the three little pigs. He was big and frightening but, in the end, he was overcome, defeated.

Therefore, whatever that area is where fear has taken hold, infuse it with the love of God which has the power to deliver. Speak faith words over it. Do not continue to confess fear but rather replace those fear expressions with ones of faith.

Father is on site to deliver you from all your fears. He has promised you that if you will seek Him, not only will He answer you, but He will give you His deliverance. Don’t live below the God level, the level of life Jesus died to give you. Do not tolerate fear in your life. It is not of God nor meant to be a part of you. Call on the Almighty to be a keeper of His promises and present your heart to Him for healing and restoration.

Seek and Receive

Ephesians 1: 17

. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

A friend of mine was suffering from writer’s block. It is a most uncomfortable feeling. I thought, “I cannot afford writer’s block. The Word of the Day has to be delivered tomorrow morning at 5:00.” I have learned that our Father and His Spirit are supporting me every day in producing these “words” from Him and that I must relax and let Him lead me. Still, there are those days which present a bit of a challenge. Yesterday was one of those days. Most days I can pick up my Bible and read anywhere in it and He will show me a message. That was one of the premises of my book, Journey Through the Bible. Every book of the Bible has something to minister to us today. But yesterday, I read from Numbers, Proverbs and did a little jaunt through some of the New Testament books. Nothing. Then at 5:00 PM I opened my Bible and this verse jumped out at me. He did for me in that moment exactly what Paul prayed for us. He gave me a spirit of wisdom and understanding which revealed the Father.

My reliance is on the Holy Spirit. That doesn’t mean that I can always hear perfectly. Paul knew how we all struggle as we grow and stretch. He also knew what we need, namely the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of the Father. So here is the wisdom that I received. Even when I cannot feel the Father, even on those days when I am not receiving as well as others, He is right here with me and He is present to reveal Himself to me. He desires to show Himself to me so that I may reveal Him to you. He wants us to know Him.

Of course, I was seeking Him and His Word. So, even though I was tired and just a little less alert, He was able to speak to my mind and my heart. I hear in my heart, “seek me so that I may be found by you.” There are plenty of scriptures about seeking Him, but the point is that He wants to be found. Therefore, He encourages us to seek Him. I can’t help but thinking that His favorite game is Hide and Seek. Perhaps, though, someone should tell Him the rules because He is horrible at hiding. In fact, He hides in plain sight. One of my favorite “seeking” scriptures is 1 Chronicles 28: 9, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.”

Paul started the church at Ephesus and he had a desire that his young church would grow in the things of God. Well, that is what every pastor wants. Therefore, Paul prayed this wonderful prayer, that God might give you this gift. I will tack on my prayer today to Paul’s and I pray that you might “receive” the “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Giving is one thing but receiving is an entirely different one so I pray that you receive. I pray for you today that God will fill you with knowledge of Himself. One thing I advise, seek Him.

Seeker

1 Chronicles 28: 9

If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.

This is the advice King David gave his son, Solomon, as he began to turn over the throne to Solomon. I find it interesting to see what advice a leader gives in those moments. They always give the most essential bits of insight they have gleaned through their years in leadership.

David told his son, seek God and you will find Him. I like to say hide and seek with God is so fun because He always hides in plain sight. If we cannot find Him, it is generally because of one of two things: either we are not seeking or we are avoiding Him. I personally found that when I opened my eyes and heart to seek God, He was there. A friend of mine says of my journey, I chased Him until He got me. That is the truth. He was there all along reaching out to me, but I had to open myself to Him before I found Him. I was seeking a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him and I was sick and tired of not hearing His voice. It turned out He had been speaking and I just could not hear. Thankfully, seeking results in finding.

The problem David encountered at the end of his reign, I believe, was that he no longer sought the God of his youth. His hunger abated and he got comfortable. That is a peril we all face. We need to keep our goals so far out there that we must rely on God. I often think of the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. Do you think the water was two feet deep or over their heads? Of course, they were in over their heads. That is why Peter panicked. He called out to Jesus and was sustained. That is where I like us to be, in over our heads. Then we must rely on Jesus and Father. It keeps us humble but it also keeps us flowing in their power through the Holy Spirit.

Some people think of these seeking verses only in the context of salvation, but I think of them much more for the subsequent faith walk. It is not that difficult to seek Him and find Him for salvation but sometimes afterwards complacency attacks us and it becomes necessary to renew our seeking. I think this is what David intended to communicate to Solomon. Seek the Lord your God every day of your life and you will know how to proceed in this day. This is great advice for the ruler of a nation but every bit as important to you and me.

I encourage you to take some time today to seek God. Seek a new relationship with Him, seek time with Him or even a new aspect of your relationship. If you know Him mostly as your God, seek His Fathership. If you are comfortable with the Father, seek His Lordship. Maybe you want to know Him as friend. You can, you know. Seek His face, His voice, His hand. Seek and He will let you find Him. Seek and be found.

In Hot Pursuit

Proverb 21: 21            NIV

He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Yesterday we saw from verses 17 and 18 of Proverb 21 that the pursuit of pleasure leads to poverty. Today we are fortunate to get to see the other side of the coin. If we wish to have abundant life, prosperity and honor then we must pursue righteousness.

Now, before we fall on our faces, let us review our thinking on righteousness. Many of us were trained in the notion that righteousness equates to good works. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that kind of “righteousness” is repugnant to God. It is a rancid odor in His nostrils. Righteousness, in a word, is Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5: 21 reads, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This means that Jesus, who is and was the righteousness of God, traded his righteousness for our sin. He became our sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. Therefore, our pursuit of Jesus, is necessarily a pursuit of righteousness.

There is an interesting passage about this very topic from the Apostle Paul. “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Romans 9: 30 – 32). The stumbling stone was Jesus. I find this passage amazing. The Israelites, the chosen ones, who pursued righteousness through their works failed while the Gentiles who by faith sought Jesus attained righteousness. Wow!

Shall we, though, take it one step further? The verse for today also says that those who pursue love find life, prosperity and honor. This one is really easy, isn’t it. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4: 8). Yeah, you don’t need a theology degree in order to knock this one out of the park. God is love. Therefore, if one pursues God, then that is a pursuit of love and thus the result is life, prosperity and honor. 1 Corinthians 14: 1 says “Pursue love . . ..” It really is that simple.

So, what is the conclusion of all this? Our happiness, prosperity, peace, joy, well-being, life, and honor are found in the pursuit of the Father and the Son, merely in the pursuit. It is not in the tracking down or even in the finding. Your Father and God does the revealing. Your only part is to pursue. “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (1 Chronicles 28: 9).

Desperate Thirst

Psalm 42: 1

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.

Have you heard the story about the young man who wanted to learn the secret to success? He sought the great guru and inquired of him. When the wizened old man led the seeker into the river and held him under water until the young man was desperate for air the secret was revealed. “When you want success,” the old man told him, “as much as you wanted air, then you will find it.”

So it is with God. When we seek Him with that same kind of desperation and desire, then we shall find Him. Our souls should pant for God. We should be so desperately thirsty that nothing can stand in the way of our finding all that we want.

1 Chronicles 28: 9 reads, “If you seek him, he will be found by you (NIV). God wants to be found by you. I like to say He hides in plain sight. You just have to open your eyes and look. We must direct our eyes to see. He is there waving a flag at you hoping that you will look to Him.  “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55: 6). He is waiting.