Finding What We Seek…

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” -Psalm 27:4

There is the old testament story about a woman named Hannah.
Hannah did not have any children of her own and she desperately wanted a child. So after one of the Jewish celebrations, Hannah goes to the temple and fervently prays to God to give her a child. She prays and weeps and is in deep anguish over this heartfelt need to be a mother. As she is praying and weeping, the priest Eli sees Hannah there, and he thinks she is drunk because her lips are moving but no words are coming out. So Eli goes and confronts her and even tells her to throw away her wine.

Imagine that for a second, this woman is crying out to God in one of her lowest moments and she can’t even catch a break without having Eli confront her in judgement. Hannah doesn’t lash out though, she just tells the priest why she is there and that she is not drunk. Hannah outlines her heartache and even says “I am very discouraged and I am pouring out my heart to the Lord.” (NLT translation).
The priest responds by saying, “May the God of Israel grant you the request that you asked of Him.”

Scriptures then tell us that Hannah goes home and is at peace and starts eating AGAIN. Let’s stop for a minute and recognize that in Hannah’s distress she had stopped eating and was so discouraged in her heart.

Have you ever been there?
Have you ever been so heavily burdened that you lose all appetite and thoughts of self-care?

One such moment comes to my mind in my life. My Wife had just tragically lost her mother in a horrible accident and for the next couple of days in the midst of our mourning we couldn’t eat and we barely slept. It was gut wrenching sadness and heartbreaking pain. Scripture tells us that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3)…and in our lives, most of us have experienced those times of mourning. I believe Hannah felt a certain kind of mourning in her life as well and that is why we are made to understand in 1 Samuel 1:9-28 that Hannah was not eating…or probably sleeping. Her heart was so heavy and burdened with this deep longing and sadness for a child.

In the Seeking – We Find.
Hannah sought out God in this dark moment of her life.
She knelt before God and didn’t care if anyone else was watching, and as she poured out her heart to God, and He was there listening.

Praying for Women to Hunger for God · TWR Women Of Hope


It had nothing to do with a priest answering Hannah’s pleas…although Eli certainly did that. There wasn’t some sort of mystical words that Eli spoke that eased her heart. Rather, it was Hannah’s faith in the God that she prayed to that allowed her to find peace again. There was a certainty that filled that place where her mourning had been. Faith blossomed while her mourning decayed and faded away.

There is a truth of us in this.
David certainly found it when he wrote this:
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” -Psalm 27:4

When we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, ALL these things will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). But it starts with our seeking.
Are we willing to search God and know Him? To truly know Him?! Not know of Him. Or about Him. But to truly KNOW Him?

What does it look like in our modern day to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”? Let me give you a hint: it’s not just about going to church, but that’s a great start. It is about allowing God to dwell in your life every moment of every day. To literally breathe Him in and out in your actions, thoughts and words. So much so that your old self-induced life fades away to be replaced with a self-less holy one that reflects Christ completely.

Then, when we are heavy burdened, when we face daunting days of uncertainty (that can seem be insurmountable at times) we can seek God. We can know Him, and we can get up from our places of prayer and be rejuvenated in life by His spiritual nourishment, provision and love.

Questions to Ponder today:
What is currently weighing on your heart?
Have you prayed about these things to God?
These prayers can be spoken out loud or silently. They can be written down or thought in your mind as you go about your day. But one thing that truly helps is that you verbalize your burdens to the Lord. Even though He already knows them, speak them to Him.
Lastly do you trust that God is not only listening to your prayers, but that He is in your life and is a participant in it?

May we find what we seek today…and may we be seeking God as well purposely strive to dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

-Amen.

Something more for us to ponder today.
To God be the glory.

“That Preacher was wrong – confronting a false teaching”

Confronting A False Teaching:

ImageThere is a false teaching in some churches  that I believe begs to be addressed.  At the moment of confession and even in some theological circles the notion that prosperity is just around the corner for a Christian if they just have faith and pray for it is blatantly false.  Sometimes this falsity has been preached by television evangelists to coax those with itching ears to make a commitment to Christ.  Dare I say that many of these evangelists are only interested in their continued success and for that additional statistic of “new converts”.  They sell this lie quite convincingly with words like “If you confess your sins God will enter your life and He will give you whatever you ask of Him.”  These words are twisted from the original John 14:13 passage to imply that if you just pray hard enough God will help pay your bills or buy you that new car or bring you that new job you were dreaming about.  In essence this false teaching makes God out to be some sort of Genie who grants wishes to those who call upon His name.  But how often do these prosperity preachers really explain the above verse correctly?  

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Will things really become a Mary Poppins world when we accept Christ?  Will things remarkably change for us when we confess our sins?  Yes and no.  Of course if we confess and genuinely repent of our sins God’s spirit will indwell within us.  God’s presence will be there to guide us and we will not be alone…BUT does that mean that all of a sudden all of life’s problems will disappear?  NO!  I don’t mean to sound negative or share a dismal offering here but let’s be real – We will still have to face our life and the journey that we are on in this life.  The new element that God gives us once we accept Him is that we are no longer alone on this journey and He travels right beside us.  The big key in this new element is that we no longer live for ourselves but we live for Christ – 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Once we accept the identity of God in Christ and understand what selfless sacrifice and salvation looks like we must then align ourselves with Him.  This is the pilgrim’s progress on the journey to Holiness (becoming fully like Christ).  If we accept this truth as a Christ-follower then we can discard the false teaching of prosperity.  Let me clarify this too:  The worldly prosperity false teaching which has entered the church is based upon human selfishness and greed.  But what if we were to take “Self” out of the equation?  What would happen then?

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The Answer to Prosperity Preaching: 

Taking “Self” out of the equation and following John the Baptist’s example when He said “He (Christ) must become greater; I (John the Baptist) must become less.” (John 3:30) We can then begin to understand the true prosperity of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Selflessness brings us one step closer to Holiness in our reflection of Christ.  But what is the purpose of such a leap?  Why become selfless?  

There are two basic reasons: 

(Godly Relationship – Us)

1) It takes the focus off of our earthly fallible sin-sick desires and re-aligns them to Christ’s which in turn opens our hearts for a deeper, richer, Agape Love.  We begin to see our intended purpose in our fellowship and growing closeness with God through Christ.  

(Godly Relationship – others)

2) As we grow in closeness to God in our selfless state we begin to see the struggling lostness of the world around us and are compelled by His love to reach out into that darkness.  

The false teaching of Prosperity in this world forgets to continue reading a pivotal verse in this erroneous teaching:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) 

Myth: If we ask the Father for anything on our wish list and if we possess faith enough in His presence it will be given.  What we need to recognize and combat in this false teaching is that what ever we ask in HIS NAME is for the purpose of Glorifying God.  So how does winning the lottery glorify God?  How does praying for that new car and wishing God would just give it to us glorify God?  It doesn’t.  

We must guard ourselves against this false teaching.  Stop naming it and claiming it.  God doesn’t work like that.  When we remove self from the formula of Christ-following we begin to grasp the depths of the true prosperity of the Kingdom.  God wants us to fully rely on Him and to ask Him for help and guidance, just beware of how we ask and for what purpose we are asking.  The Christian life, post salvation, may not look like a Mary Poppins world.  We may still have some rough breaks ahead, but God goes with us into those dark valleys and troubles.  He will strengthen us and guide us and pour upon us His richness of grace in the process.  

Fellow Christ-follower, don’t buy the lie of these false teachers out there who want to sell you a pipe dream.  They will only lead us astray from truly following selflessly the Christ who gave it all for the lost so that they may be saved…can we do the same?  

-Just a thought.  

 

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