Continue to Seek God First

Continue to Seek God First

For the last 21 days, we have been chasing after God as we pray and fast. We have deliberately chosen to focus on Him and seek His presence. We have deliberately chosen to take time to read His Word and listen to His voice. For some of us, we can honestly say we didn’t really ‘hear’ from God in a profound way during this time. For others, this has been an amazing time of growth, and we have felt His guidance and direction about something we were seeking.

Filled with God’s Glory

Filled with God’s Glory

This hour for us is not unlike the time when Moses prayed this great prayer. We, too, are at time when our nation and the world have never been so contentious with God. The name of Jesus stirs deep resentment in many people. Holiness is rare. Morality is in rapid decline. And the church of Jesus Christ is in a battle for its existence. In America, 3,500-4,000 churches a year close their doors. Churches lose 2.7 million people a year to nominalism or secularism. And 1,500 pastors a month are leaving the ministry. (Barna stats)

Experience God’s Presence and Power

Experience God’s Presence and Power

It felt like something descended on my little car, and for the first time I knew peace. I felt so relieved, I laughed to myself and then I cried, realizing all the hurt I had done to others. I then realized that people who were laughing and crying should probably not be driving 60 mph down country roads, so I pulled the car over and prayed about what was happening. I talked to the Holy Spirit as He dwelt in my little Tempo... and life has never been the same.

Uphold Righteousness and Justice

Uphold Righteousness and Justice

As Christ followers, God makes it clear that we are to take a stand against injustice and fight for those who do not have the ability to fight for themselves. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17 NIV) When I compare this command to the statistics of injustices like human trafficking, poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse, and so many others, I begin to feel helpless. How do we even begin to act justly when injustice seems to be taking over? Where do we start?

To Be Served by a Visionary Leader

To Be Served by a Visionary Leader

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This proverb takes on so many different applications to so many different settings. But let’s not mistake a ‘good plan’ as the complete thought here. A vision cannot be a ‘God given’ vision unless it is guided by... well... God. As Christians, we find our ultimate vision in the pages of God’s story, the Bible. Vision is built. Not just by human effort and planning, but by seeking God through His Word and prayer.

Recieve a Fresh Outpouring of God's Spirit

Recieve a Fresh Outpouring of God's Spirit

It seems for many believers a major disconnect occurs between the heart and mind. That being said, a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit is greatly connected to our conscious awareness of His indwelling. John’s gospel states clearly the sending of the Holy Spirit, ‘the Comforter,’ for encounter not only with us but to dwell (live His life) in us. We must be aware of His presence more than our sin.

Be Healed and Reconciled

Be Healed and Reconciled

The Lord Himself, fulfilling the Father’s will, was nailed on a cross until dead.Peter wrote in I Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. . .” In other words, we should not be surprised when we find ourselves trapped in painful, frightening, difficult, or impossible situations.

Find & Fulfill Your Destiny

Find & Fulfill Your Destiny

So often, we are the ones to decide what we want to be or do with our life. As children, we are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” There is an unspoken pressure to decide, and then somewhere around your junior or senior year in high school, it becomes spoken with a deadline affixed to your sophomore year in college. But, finding and fulfilling our destiny can only be done in God.

Be Filled with Power & Purpose

Be Filled with Power & Purpose

As we near the end of the first week of fasting, you may be tired. You may be wondering how you will be able to fast for two more weeks. It reminds me of how often in life we feel tired. Physically tired, spiritually tired, emotionally tired. We have so many things pulling at our time and making us tired. Our daily task lists just seem to get longer and longer with less and less time for rest.

Set the Desires of Your Heart

 Day 4 January 5th 2019

FOCUS: to set the desire of your heart

Psalm 27:4: 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 37:4: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

When it comes to setting our hearts in the proper place, there may be no better example outside of Jesus than an obscure often forgotten figure in the Old Testament named Ezra.

He didn’t lead the first wave of exiles back to Jerusalem; he led the second.

He wasn’t a powerful military leader, just a scribe. He didn’t even show up in the book that bore his name until chapter 7 (out of only 10).

But once Ezra arrived on the scene, he arrived in force. We learn that the hand of God was all over this man (Ezra 7:6,9,28).

That he successfully led 5,000 people with 30 tons of precious metals on a four month, 900 mile journey from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra)

That he was supremely concerned about holiness and the purity of God’s people (Ezra 9).

And that he ultimately led God’s people to repentance like few other scenes we read in scripture (Ezra 10).

So what’s the point?

The point is that all of Ezra’s success can be Biblically directed back to the place where he set his heart. This is the key to Ezra’s life of leadership and a clear guide to success with God in our own lives.

Set your heart to the study of God’s word. Set your heart to doing God’s word. And set your heart to giving God’s word away.

REFLECT:The world needs more people like Ezra. Where will you set your heart? • According to Matthew 6:33, what should you seek first?

PRAYER:Lord I want You to be the top priority of my life with nothing even close in second place. Help me, Father, to love You more than I ever have before. I want You to fill my heart, all of it, so Your love and grace can flow richly through me to everyone I come in contact with.

When it comes to setting our hearts in the proper place, there may be no better example outside of Jesus than an obscure often forgotten figure in the Old Testament named Ezra.

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To Worship With a Whole Heart

Day 3 January 4th 2019

FOCUS: to worship with a whole heart

Psalm 111:1:Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

Psalm 27:8: My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.In You, O God, I find my identity. When I come to seek You, I find that You are already here, seeking me.

What gives my worship meaning is so much more than anything that I can do or say - it is You! You are the reason I came to exist, You are the giver of my next breath, and You are the reason for my continued being. You are the reason I worship. I worship You with my whole heart. I come to worship You because of who You are! You are the one and only true God!

I bring You praise because of Your holiness. You are so gracious to me, and You have already done more than enough for me to bring You thanksgiving. I worship You. May my life bring glory to You, my Lord and my God. I want to worship You with my whole heart. I am not ashamed to declare my love and adoration for You before others.

All I am is Yours, and I belong to you. I am Your possession. May You be pleased with my worship. I long to recapture a spirit of genuine worship, a personal revival of my whole being, heart, soul, and spirit. Heaven and earth declare Your glory, O God, and therefore so do I. All of creation submits to You, and so my life is surrendered to You.

I am willing to do Your will. How can I be in Your presence and not be changed? I long to be the kind of worshipper that You have been looking for, fully devoted to You. I worship You with my whole heart.

REFLECT: How has being in God’s presence changed you?

Because everything we do can be an act of worship, how does this affect your view and more so, your attitude about common, everyday task?

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What gives my worship meaning is so much more than anything that I can do or say - it is You!

You are the reason I came to exist, You are the giver of my next breath, and You are the reason for my continued being. You are the reason I worship. I worship You with my whole heart.

Draw Close to God

Draw Close to God

You may experienced many dark seasons of feeling unworthy or uniquely disqualified from this privilege. Why the struggle? Because We know ourselves. We know our propensity to sin. We know our inability to give God the righteousness He deserves. He knows we have these struggles. And, He has an answer. First, my confidence in drawing near to God is not based on my performance. My confidence is in the performance of Jesus.