Posts Tagged finding God

Pathways Disclosed

Jeremiah 29: 11 – 14a

“For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29: 11 is a pretty familiar passage and certainly good news. We want to know that God has good plans for us. He knows the plans He has for us, He hasn’t forgotten. Those plans are not of calamity but of good things.

That is all great encouragement from the master encourager. That was not enough for me today though. It is great that God has good plans for us but, speaking for myself, we need to know those plans. We need to hear His ideas for our lives. That is why God didn’t hang up the phone after verse 11. He kept speaking. He knows the rest of the story too, that we need to hear of these plans. So He says, “Call Me, come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (v. 12). That is a good answer to our questioning Him about these good plans He has for us but for many of us even as we hear His words our hearts descend into doubt.

Maybe, I will call upon Him and maybe I will pray to Him, but will He really listen to me and more importantly, will I hear Him? He assures us that when we seek Him with our entire heart, He will be found by us. “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” (v. 14).

These words are meant to give us assurance. First of all understand that praying to Him is not meant to be a religious activity. It is meant to be a conversation. It isn’t all about laying a petition at His feet. The best prayer is pouring out your heart into His lap. Just get real. Tell Dad exactly what you are feeling; exactly what you are going through. Tell Him where your doubt lies and ask Him to shine light on those areas for you. 

When I read verse 11 I always picture a path. I understand that His plans for me, His goodness and provision, lie on the path which He has ordained for me. You need to know where your path lies. Therefore, you must also seek Him and not only in a global fashion but also as to specifics in your life. Which road are you to take? What is your vehicle? He has a path all laid out for you that will take you to the land of your dreams and ambitions. We’ve just got to get on the right road. Seek Him, inquire of Him. He has big and great plans for you.

Hearty Seeking

1 Chronicles 22: 19

Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God.

If you want to know the secret to living victoriously in Christ I believe this is it. I remember how dramatically my life changed when I resolutely and determinedly sought God. Now I have entered a new phase of seeking where all of me is more fully engaged in seeking Him.

It is interesting to me that the scripture says to set our hearts and souls to seeking God. I spent many, many years seeking Him with my mind. That was not a completely empty pursuit but it sure was not fulfilling. I loved God and sought His wisdom but when I began to pursue Him with all of me, life changed.

For me the big difference was getting out of my intellect and into my heart. I found this difficult because I interfaced with the world through intellect and reasoning. I didn’t “feel” my way through life. I listened to people talk about connecting with God in their hearts and honestly, I couldn’t even feel my heart when I meditated. It was pretty humbling. And I don’t claim to have laid hold of the prize yet but I do know that an intellectual relationship with God is not what He sent His son to the cross for. Intellectual relationships are what we have with professors and with books. It is not the basis for a relationship with our resurrected Lord, he who gave his life for us. We are intended to be as close to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as we are to our spouses and children. It really is a matter of the heart. How satisfied would your spouse be if your relationship was solely intellectual? Boring!

Here is a bit of good news though. Father says that if we will seek Him, He will be found by us (2 Chronicles 15: 2). But what does this really mean, to seek Him with our heart and soul? It seems that we must not only abandon the pursuit of our minds but that we must also turn our perspective in so that we connect first with our own hearts and souls. Then as an exercise of our inner person we engage the Father. When we were born again the Father, Son and Holy Spirit came to live inside of us. They have taken up residence in us. Therefore, if we wish to find the Father we need not search the heavens or the air about us. We need only turn our attention inward. Unfortunately, many of us have divorced ourselves from an internal life. We were either deceived about the primacy of the intellect or we closed off our hearts because we had not the strength to endure. Often it might have been a bit of both. But we are not cowards. There is nothing in our hearts that Jesus can’t handle. In fact, he has already healed all of our wounds. He is the salve that coats and heals. Therefore, we needn’t be afraid any longer. Our Lord is bigger than our fear, bigger than any past injuries. No matter how badly we may have been injured nor how long we have made it a practice to cordon off our hearts, he is greater than those obstacles. He can restore to us a tender heart which is our divine right and our divine construction. We were made to be tender and when we really understand who we are in Christ we will also appreciate that there is no weakness in tenderness. A tender and compassionate heart is what gave Jesus the strength to go to the cross.

If we want to live in Christian victory; if we want to have all that Jesus came to give us; then we must live our lives integrated with him. We must set our hearts and souls to seeking him and he will be found by us. We must have an impressionable and open heart in order to succeed. Jesus is our perfect way and He has provided for us strength and security. Fear not! Seek the Lord with all that you are and you will find great joy and victory in him.

Come In the Water

2 Chronicles 34: 27

“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD.

There is a huge revelation in this verse for those who can hear it. It is this; let your heart be tender.

I confess that I have experienced great difficulty in this but my difficulty has, in the end, made me a bit of an expert. I have experienced the strain of trying to connect with God through a hard heart and the joy of experiencing Him through a tender heart. I can say with no doubt that one cannot enter into a deep and meaningful relationship with God if one’s heart is tough and calloused. That is why I so often write about allowing God to heal your heart. I know that God longs to have close, personal, daily communion with you but that you cannot hear Him if your heart is not tender.

I cannot help but recall the great frustration I felt when I desperately wanted to hear God speak to me but just couldn’t. I thought He wasn’t speaking. It felt like I was living life in a barren desert. Then, by grace, I learned that if I would be brave enough to allow Him to touch my heart that He would come into my life in a way that would not only satisfy my great hunger but that would also fill me to overflowing with His love, mercy and grace. I know beyond any shadow of doubt that the deep relationship that we crave with our father requires that we have a soft, tender heart through which He can commune. He doesn’t abide in our brains. He abides in our hearts so we must be able to engage our hearts in order to hear Him speak and to enter into the love relationship that He wants to share with us.

Our society does not teach us to be tender-hearted, rather the opposite in fact. Yet, many of you long deeply, hunger even, for the kind of relationship with the Father that you hear other people talk about. Honestly, it is natural for you to yearn for Him in that way. Your spirit, that place where your life force resides, craves the connection with the Holy Spirit. It is life. So, we must go against our training to allow ourselves to feel, to be tender. Frankly, many people do not have the courage for this kind of journey but once we realize the prize the journey becomes so much easier. There is no need for fear really. When you touch your heart you will find God and He is well able to care for you. It is what He wants to do after all.

If there is one encouragement I would give you above all others it is to allow God to touch your heart. Allow Him to heal the fears, the injuries and answer all of the questions. When we allow Him to heal our hearts then the tenderness which is His nature begins to saturate our beings. I am not telling you that you will turn into a crème puff. Actually, it is just the opposite your heart will become tender but you will have more courage than ever before. Frankly, it is fear that causes most people to harden their hearts. Once you have touched God in your heart and have the truth of Him living there you will have the courage of David. You will find that you also have the tenderness of David as well. You are going to like the real you that is revealed as the walls begin coming down and trust me, the people around you will too. The real you is glorious but is hidden in the recesses of your heart. Open up your heart and let the glory shine out. In your tenderness you will find great power and you will find love. Come on, jump in, the water is fine.