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Daily Devotion and Scripture

A Passionate Sacrament

A passionate sacrament

1 Corinthians 11:26
26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (NIV)

 

I am not radically passionate about the Super Bowl. I’m sure it’s because my team is never in it…at least not since the ’90s. Yes, I am a Cowboys fan. I watch the Super Bowl. It is entertaining to me. I even choose a team to root for, but my heart is not really in it. I enjoy it, but with dulled devotion.

We can easily slip into the same place with the prescribed sacraments. There are things we do religiously that we appreciate. We know God wants us to participate, but our hearts are not in it. If we are not careful, The Lord’s Supper will become a passionless ritual.

Paul is teaching us in this passage that this sacrament should evoke within us a passion that proclaims the death of Christ. Eating the bread and drinking the wine of Christ must be done in such a way that we burst forth in our spirit with overwhelming thanksgiving because Christ died for us that we might have life.

Do we not know? Do we forget? Are we so satiated with the pleasures of this world that we struggle to enter into a spiritual place when we partake of communion?

If so, perhaps we are not following the command of Christ. It’s possible we are not truly remembering God sending the Holy Spirit to come upon a virgin that He might become flesh. We don’t think to really remember this man, who was God and knew me before I was conceived and my sin, surrendering His body to my deserved castigation.

Have the copious scenes of excoriated flesh on our screens anesthetized us from grasping the love required for Jesus to be repeatedly struck only to stand and wait for another lacerating blow ripping skin from the bone? Are we too far removed from Biblical times to correlate his crucifixion to our sin? Yet that is what He did for us. It was personal for Christ because He has known and loved those He died for since the beginning. In His divinity, He knew every person intimately and He died for each one of us. When we partake of the Lord’s supper, let us remember and passionately proclaim what He did for us personally.

 

Prayer: Let all my religious movement be done with passion whether it be praise, worship, prayer, fasting, hearing of the Word, baptism, or the Lord’s Supper. Please help me. Amen.

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Daily Devotion and Scripture

The Power of Song

The power of song.

Psalms 59:16
16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble. (NIV)

If we only read our text today, it seems a simple declaration of praise sung almost every Sunday in our churches. But the context finds David in his home under siege from his own King who has betrayed him and seeks to kill him. The word ‘literally’ is overused these days, but literally, David knows there are mercenaries outside his home intent on ending his life. And what does David sing?

I will sing. I will sing of your strength. I will sing of your love. In the morning, I will sing.

This hymn is a call to the Lord for rescue and for the Lord to scatter David’s enemies. It reveals to us an assurance in David’s heart that God would protect him through the night’s assault and in the morning, he would be singing of the greatness of God. But his song doesn’t begin in the morning. He sings in the assault knowing he will still be singing in the morning. In the darkness, he sings a prayer of protection full confidence his song will change in the morning to a song of awe for the God who will answer his prayer.

Song for David was a weapon. Throughout the psalms, David sings over his own fear. It is still a spiritual weapon for us as well. To sing a song of praise forces us to push out the words of the song despite the words in our hearts. Fear may rest in the heart, but the song refuses to listen. To worship in song is like the cattle chute forbidding us to move anywhere but to Him.

There are critical moments in our life where we must choose to sing to the Lord not because we feel what we are singing but because we need to feel what we are singing. We need to cast off fear, shed our depression as if it were dead skin, scrape off the grunge of darkness. With each phrase and each melody sung in full voice, we are putting our faith to work, believing for what we cannot see, certain God will keep His promise.

These moments are not lip service to God. Our desire is to have the faith found in the song. We are not being fake. Rather, we have taken hold of our chosen weapon for the moment to do battle against all that would kill our faith and our soul.

 

Prayer: Lord, teach me to sing when I don’t feel it. Let the song guide me to the Throne Room. Let each stanza would the enemy until he retreats back to where he came from. Amen.

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Daily Devotion and Scripture

A Spiritual Communion

A spiritual communion

John 4:24
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

 

God has created us in His own image. And He is a spiritual community by Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit. His desire is to incorporate us into His community. This is not your average cul-de-sac community. This is a spiritual, above the cosmos, community. We can’t drive there. We can’t fly there. We can’t human our way into this community. Religion won’t get us there. God is spirit and community with Him is established in the spirit.

Every human has been created with a body, soul, and spirit. The body is self-explanatory. We see it each day in the mirror. Our soul is life. It is our breath filling our lungs and blood pumping through to give life to our body. Our spirit is that part of us designed for spiritual community. Our spirit seeks out community beyond the frame of our body. Our spirit will commune with other people on a level deeper than our skin and bones. It will commune with other spirits unhuman. And if we are going to be in community with God, our spirit must commune with the Spirit of God.

Spiritual communion with God fills us with all that He is. It is an encounter producing an overflow of love, goodness, mercy, laughter, and peace. It comes with a strong assurance that He will care for our needs according to His riches in glory. This communion wipes away tears of regret, fills us with hope, turns our eyes towards the good and lovely of every moment. It is supernatural peace.

So how do we commune with God in this way? Jesus, in this passage, tells us it is through worship. Worship is the exaltation of another thing as our personal deity. Usually, we think of worship as singing. There is a difference between singing and lip service. I can sing the church songs but never worship. I must sing from the heart making every word my own as I exalt Jesus as Lord.

We also must worship in truth. To worship outside of truth is hypocrisy. To sing with all of our heart out of the depth of our soul the goodness of God only to turn around and treat others as if they have no value is hypocrisy. To exalt God as God, I must honor His lifestyle requests. Living every day exalting Him as God and expressing His goodness with passion brings us into the spiritual community of God, who is spirit.

 

Pray: Lord, help me not to worship with my song but not my life. And help me not to rely on living a good life to find communion with God. Amen.

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God of the Old Testament Jesus of the New Testament

The God of the Old Testament compared to Jesus of the New Testament

I know for some, this seems like a strange question.  Jesus is God and Jesus actually said that if we had seen Him, we had seen the Father.  This is true, but few would argue that the God of the Old Testament seemed quite different from the Jesus of the New Testament.  We must be clear in our doctrine.  Jesus is God and God is Jesus, but the doctrine of the Trinity also makes clear they are also unique to one another.  In this way, God the Father, who is Jesus, is nevertheless unique to Jesus and vice versa.

In the current series that I am teaching, Undignified, I discuss the importance of understanding the uniqueness between the Father and the Son that we might have the right attitude in worship.

The foundation text of this series is found in 2 Samuel, Chapter 6 where we see the Ark of the Covenant which was the chosen place of manifestation for the Spirit of God to be with Israel is being carried on a cart.  This had been forbidden by God, but David, in his zeal to recapture the Ark to its right place, overlooked or ignored God’s prescribed way of moving the Ark.  Consequently, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled putting the Ark of the Covenant at risk of falling over.  A man by the name of Uzzah reached out to keep the Ark from falling.  His intent was to honor the Ark and the Presence of God.  The need for him to steady the Ark came out of a deformed method of moving the Ark and consequently, God struck Uzzah dead.  We never see Jesus striking anyone dead for what seems to be a very small infraction.  After all, it was not Uzzah’s decision to put the Ark in a cart and he was only trying to help.  Nevertheless, we see what we could characterize as an extreme reaction from the God of the Old Testament that appears to contradict the character of Jesus in the New Testament.

The Old Testament is full of times when God acts in this way.  After the battle of Jericho, it was discovered that one man out of the entire army had taken some loot from Jericho after God commanded everything be destroyed.  God’s command was for this man to be stoned along with his wife, children, and animals.  Would the Jesus of the New Testament ever do something like this?  Jesus brings to our mind the love, mercy, and compassion of God, not Judgment.  In fact, Jesus said He did not come to judge or condemn, but to give abundant life.

Each person of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals different traits that all belong to the one true God.  Jesus reveals to us the compassion, love, kindness, and mercy of God.  And the God of the Old Testament is all of these things.  For example, when Uzzah touched the Ark, God could have condemned King David since it was his decision. Because David represented the whole nation as King, God would have been justified to destroy the entire nation, but instead, He was merciful.  The God of the Old Testament is Jesus and has within all the characteristics we see in Jesus, but in the Old Testament, God, in the Old Testament, reveals a unique characteristic of God that can be found in Jesus, but it is not as prevalent.  God reveals His unapproachable holiness.

Jesus is holy, but compassion and kindness are His forte. God, in the Old Testament, is compassionate and kind, but His forte is unapproachable holiness.  He hates sin.  In fact, Scripture says He cannot look upon sin.  On the other hand, Jesus actually walked with sinful people, purposely engaged with sinful people, and became our sin on the cross.

The amalgamation of both persons of God reveals more of God than either would without the other.  God is holy.  He hates sin and He calls us to perfection, to perfect holiness.  This is not hyperbole.  God expects us to do exactly what He has commanded us and there are consequences, sometimes severe when we disobey.  Jesus emphasizes forgiveness when we disobey.

If we only knew God through Jesus, it would be easy to compromise, to take Him for granted, to obey when it served our purpose, and ignore His commands when we could see no benefit.  For example, God commands us to have no other gods.  When Israel took other gods, the Lord let them be defeated, destroyed, annihilated.  But when we put our trust in our own money, and our ability to make money by taking on extra work that keeps us from the command of gathering together with the saints, we really don’t expect any kind of punishment.  Knowing God through Jesus alone deforms our worship where we give God less honor than He deserves.

The New Testament church is enamored with the Jesus of the New Testament but we have forgotten the God of the Old Testament.  We must be reminded that God never changes.  The God of the Old Testament who had a high standard for our worship did not change in Jesus.  Jesus is the Good News that we are forgiven, but we can’t abuse God with deformed worship because of the grace shown in Christ’s forgiveness revealed on the cross.  Our worship needs to be reformed so that along with loving Christ for His love and compassion, we do not take God for granted as if disobedience in what we believe to be small areas is not that big of a deal.  Deformed worship causes distance between us and God and we lose some of all that He is.

Take me to the king

Take Me to the King!

 

She had nothing to offer.  No one had poured anything into her life.  A life of emptiness and pain, forgotten and undone, she lived her life outside of the reputation accepted by her world.  Never a hope to grasp nor a dream to fulfill, she released hope to avoid the pain of disappointment.  She had no one then she found Jesus.  Nothing would keep her from the king.

 

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Luke 7:37-38 (NIV)              

 

We don’t know how or when this woman first encountered Jesus.  We don’t know if she met Him in person, perhaps He prayed for her, maybe she had heard Him speak.  All we know was that she was a sinful woman.  She had been forgiven much as Jesus used her stream of devotion to illustrate entire acquisition of forgiveness born out of authentic repentance.  

Free GiftThis woman, rich in heartache, emblemized by the perfume that had served to facilitate fleshly indulgence becoming her method of adoration, poured herself out at the feet of the man who forgave lavishly.  He soothed her torment with acceptance.  For the first time, she felt valued and when she again heard that Jesus would be in this home, she would not be denied the privilege of anointing Him with her worship.  No doubt she had given her body to many and never imagined anyone might desire her heart.  When she found a man who loved her, nothing could distract her.  

Controlled by judging eyes and harsh words her entire life, but now, in the home of her accusers, she worshiped in freedom without taking notice of who else might be in the room.  She had come boldly to the throne of grace.  Oh to know the beauty of acceptance that overwhelms the shame.  This was her joy and it is ours.  

Many will judge, criticize, and discard you like rubbish.  Their words ring loud and often in our ears.  We cower and hide to escape condemnation to no avail.  Imprisoned by what others see when they look our way, we want to shrink and disappear, but when we come to the Throne of Grace, His acceptance knocks down the arrows of their words.  To know this love and acceptance moves us, changes us.  We hide no longer, but come out boldly in the value He has bestowed.  We cry out to Him. 

I will not be stopped.  Say what you will, you cannot keep me from Him.  He loved me first. I am acquitted in His presence.  He is my freedom and I will not be kept away.  Beat me and I will keep coming.  Shove me, push me, run me out, I will only return more determined than ever.  Take me to the King.  Take me to My love for I am His beloved.  I am only His.  I am only His and He is mine.  Take me to the King.  I will pour out my past, my pain, my hurt and He will receive it all, every Hell I have walked in, He will take it from me.  Isolation, shame, and fear, I will pour it out and He will remove it from me as my Healer, my Physician.  He will make beautiful in me even my past, even my sin, even my hate, anger.  He receives from me all that people hate and loves me anyway.  Take me to the King!  

 

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 


Rolling RiverLet Justice Roll on Like a River

For today’s Verse of the Day, I think I am just going to jump right in.  This topic hits at the core of our society still today:

Amos 5:24

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (NIV)

In this verse, the words ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ are almost synonymous.  These two words are very closely connected. We live in a day where justice is a hot topic.  We have about a million Law and Order-type shows. Some of the most popular movies are murder mysteries where someone is trying to right a wrong.  Even the Marvel movies have heroes that form the Justice League. Wait…is that Marvel…or is it DC…ahhhhh, I just can’t keep it all straight! I’m more of a Looney Tunes kind of guy.  Anyway, the point is that these heroes are supposed to be exacting justice…Read More

 


Looking Into the MirrorLooking Into the Mirror

There was blood running like a small river down the side of my face.  I hadn’t felt it. I didn’t even know it was there and I was about to walk out the door and go to work.  The blood would have quickly run down my face and ruined my brand-spanking-new Walmart shirt. What a waste it would have been!  Thankfully, as I was making the last walkthrough of the house turning out lights before I left for work, I reached into the bathroom and looked into the mirror and saw the blood.  But what if I had never looked into the mirror? I would have been like that bloody horror figure. I would have frightened my staff. They would have run out of the church with screams and shrills afraid of the blood-covered monster 🙂 Read More

 

 


The Wisdom of MercyThe Wisdom of Mercy

God is rich in mercy

I just recently had someone ask me, “So if a child rapist asks for forgiveness, God forgives?”  The answer, of course, is yes. In our finite mind, this seems absurd. But we have to put this into the right perspective.  God may forgive, but He still allows consequences. He may allow a person to receive the gift of salvation, but this doesn’t mean the person doesn’t go to prison.  It doesn’t mean the person never has to face up to what he or she has done. In fact, God commands that we make restitution which is to do everything we can to make right those things we have done wrong. Nevertheless, it is very easy to think that God is too kind to the wicked.  And that brings us to our Verse of the Day…Read More

 

 

 


 

Why do You go to Church?

 

Why do we go to church?  Do you go because your Momma makes you go?  Do you go out of obligation?  Do you go to see friends?  Do you want to hear a good sermon?  Why do you go to church?  Do you sing?  Do you sleep?  Do you snore?  Why do you go to church?  And that brings me to our Verse of the Day:

 

But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?

2 Chronicles 2:6 (ESV)

 

Solomon reminds us of why God allowed man to build a temple.  The purpose was simply to make offerings before the Lord.  There are many different reasons we give for going to church, but the one reason that comes from the Lord is that church is a place where we make offerings to Him.

If we come to church and do not make offerings, what is the point?  Offerings in the Old Testament were symbolic of repentance, praise, worship, and supplication.  This is what should be happening in church.  This is what should be happening in us when we go to church.  When you are in church, there must be repentance.  It is to take time to note where there needs to be a move away from sinful thought, action, attitude, or words and confess these to God with a commitment to turn away from these things.

There should be praise.  Praise is just that-expressing the goodness of God.  It is to declare His love, His power, His authority, His position.  Praise is more than acknowledging who God is, but expressing our admiration and appreciation for who He is.  It is to exalt His name above all names.  We do not do this so that He will understand how wonderful He is.  Praise is taking time to remind ourselves of how wonderful He is.  Praise is thankfulness and appreciation for all He is and all He has done.

There should be worship.  To worship is to humble ourselves in homage and reverence to the Lord.  We praise Him to remind us how wonderful He is, but we cannot sincerely praise Him without first humbling ourselves before Him.  Worship is to declare him to be God and we to be His servant.  We cannot enter into the Presence of God without humility.  If we attempt to come into the presence of God in pride, He will humble us with discipline.  If we humble ourselves, He will exalt us and bestow His honor upon us (Proverbs 29:23).

There should be supplication.  Because we recognize that He is God.  And because we remember that He is good and desires good in our life, we can cast our cares upon Him in prayer.  When we come to church, we pray and ask the Lord to help us in our time of need.  We stand in the gap for others who need the strength of God’s mighty hand.

Why do you go to church?  Are you doing these things when you get there or are you watching your clock, judging the quality of the music, the entertainment factor of the message?  God has called us to His temple, to His church building for the purpose of making offerings to Him.  The music helps us praise and worship.  The prayers are our supplication.  And the message disciplines us as His servants.  But we have to get our mind ready for these things.  To neglect the purpose of going to church will leave us very religious and very empty.

 

Leave me a comment.  Do you think Christians come to the church with the right spirit?  Do you?

 

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

 

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Why Is There So Much Singing in Church

Why is There So Much Singing In Church?

“Why is there so much singing in church?” he asked me one day after church, “I’m just not the singing type.”

In dealing with men, I have heard this quite a bit.  I have heard this from some women also, but mainly men.  And for some who may not understand why God calls us to sing, it can seem a little strange.  But let’s look at today’s Verse of the Day:

 

Psalms 105:1-2

​ Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

make known his deeds among the peoples!

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

tell of all his wondrous works!

 

I know many people will use our excitement at a football game and compare it to how we should be in church.  I can understand this analogy and to some degree I agree with it. But if I were to happen across Patrick Mahomes today, I doubt if he would still be filled with the same level of emotion as the day of the Super Bowl.  As Christians, we are not striving to win. We have already won. The devil is not going to be defeated one day. He has already been defeated. As believers, we are ‘in Christ’ and Christ already has the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).  Even when the Kansas City Chiefs think back to this year’s Super Bowl, they may get emotional, but it won’t be the same. So, I understand why we are not as ‘pumped up’ at church like we might be at a football game. Competition is filled with the mystery of the unknown, but Christianity is steeped in victory.  Yet, God calls us to an emotional response to Him.

Throughout the Old Testament, we are called to ‘shout to the Lord’ and to make a ‘joyful noise.’  Why does God command us to shout? What is the purpose of shouting and singing? Take a look at this passage?

 

Ephesians 5:18-19

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

 

We are to make melodies with our hearts.  Music is an emotion manifested. Songs are written from the heart.  When they are truly sung, they are sung from the heart. Music is an earthly medium to help us express our soul.  Since the beginning of time, music has been used to express joy, sadness, fear, and love. Just hitting the notes with our vocal cords is not singing in the Biblical sense.  The word ‘sing’ in Scripture comes from an original word that means ‘behold.’ To behold something is to take note of something impressive or extraordinary. To sing in the Biblical sense, we must be filled with awe for what we are singing about.

It is easier to think about God at church because that is the sole purpose of going to church.  We go to church to help us slow down from the toiling of life to remember that God is good. It is not that we can’t do this somewhere else because we can.  But it is easier when we set aside the time and place to do exactly that. Music is very similar.

Music, by design, attempts to bring us to behold something, to ponder upon it with awe and amazement.  It is not that I cannot be in awe of God at any time and in any way because I can. But the earthly music helps my spirit get in the right place just as the physical church building helps my mind focus on the right thing.

When you go to church, do you sing in the Biblical sense?  If not, what is difficult about it? If you are able to sing with all your heart, how does this help you in your relationship with God?  Leave us a comment so we can learn from one another.

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

A New Way to Worship

A New Way to Worship

I love to worship as we do in church.  I love the old hymns of the church and I love the new choruses that exalt the name of Jesus Christ.  I raise my hands. I lose myself in the moment. The Spirit pours Himself into me and I am overwhelmed by the presence of God within my own spirit.  There is nothing like worship, but there is another way of worship. Let’s look at our Verse of the Day:

 

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship

(NIV)


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When we sing songs, the Bible refers to this as offering a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).  When we go to church and sing songs together, we are sacrificing our time, our agenda, our breath.  But when we serve the Lord, we are giving Him our time, our agenda, and our breath. We are exalting Him.  The Bible says that with whatever we do, whether eating or drinking, we need to do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  There is nothing spectacular about eating or drinking. Ok, maybe if you are one of those super-eaters that can eat 60 hot dogs in 60 seconds, then maybe that is spectacular.  Anyone else ever wonder how those people can be so skinny? Anyway, that is for another time 🙂 The point is that we are to spend all of our activity, every single day in a way that brings glory to our God.

Sure, there are things we can do for the Lord that are clearly for the Lord…volunteering at Church Under the Bridge…helping in Children’s Church…cooking for the homebound.  But what about the way you dress? Yeah, that’s right..the Walmart-wearing-no-sense-of-style-preacher just asked you about the way you dress. Shouldn’t we dress to the glory of God by at least trying to match our socks?  What about the way we drive? Ok…I know I just crossed a line there, but maybe we should drive in a way that brings glory to God. That is especially true if we have a Jesus fish on our car 🙂

This is a mindset.  It is dedicating our daily activity, ordinary or spectacular, to the glory of God.  It is waking up and saying to the Lord, “In all things today, I want to be a representative of Your goodness.”  This keeps our minds focused on Him. Our connection to the Spirit will be more prominent in our lives and He will bless us, overwhelm us.  It will change the whole makeup of our day as we try to walk in each moment to be an example of what it means to be a child of God. Even as I am writing this, I am correcting my grammar and misspellings because to not do so will limit my influence in the world.

I know that in the church, we say it is all about the heart, and this is true.  The Lord cares about our heart first and foremost so it may seem that the way we eat or drink is not something the Lord would concern Himself with.  But we also have to remember that even though God looks at the heart, man looks at the outer appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). Our spiritual condition is not determined by our outer appearance or the simple things we do every day.  But to be a good influence, we need to understand the world is judging us in how we behave, how we talk, and how we look every day. Let’s worship Him in this new way!

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 


Books and Workbooks

 

Be Filled with the Strength of God

Be Filled with the Strength of God

One of my favorite Scriptures is Proverbs 18:10.  It says the name of the Lord is a strong tower. I love that.  I have in my mind a scene from the times of Downton Abbey where there is a massive tower built of unhewn stone that stands tall and has been there for centuries.  The strength of the Lord is beautiful to those who have felt they were so deep in the valley, there was no coming back. We, as believers, know that our strength comes from the Lord, yet many of us continue to operate daily seemingly without the strength of the Lord.  And this is where our Verse of the Day comes in:

 

1 Chronicles 16:11

11 Look to the Lord and his strength;

seek his face always.

(NIV)

 

The Bible gives us everything we need for truth and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3), but sometimes we forget the Scripture describes itself as a mystery (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).  Reading the Bible is a good thing, a very good thing. But the Bible is also the breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Breath is something that cannot be seen. We need the Holy Spirit to help us to be able to catch the nuances of Scripture that reveal the deep mysteries that lead us to that peace, joy, and power that God has bestowed upon us. 

Not only do we have to learn the deep mysteries found in the Word of God, but then we also need for the Holy Spirit to work in us and change our hearts giving us the power, the love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) to be able to walk in these mysteries.  This is the mystery behind our Verse of the Day.  

Look to the Lord and His strength.  The Lord is our strength. He is our strong tower.  He is our ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  No weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17) because He is our defender (Psalm 119:114).  He is the Warrior who is also our Dad. The fierceness of our God is magnified because He loves us as His children.  Think about what you would do to protect your child. How much more does God with a pure heart want to protect us and how much abler is He to protect us because He is God!!  Praise His Holy Name!!!

But the key is found in the second phrase.  “Seek His face always.”  

So many people have iPhones now and they use Facetime for video calls.  My son is in the Navy and my wife wants to see his face because she misses him so.  They use Facetime. But this is not sufficient. Before Apple iPhones, facetime meant being in the presence of someone face to face.  And it was not simply to be in the presence, but it was to spend time with one another. When Esther desperately wanted to save her people, she needed to be in the presence of the King (Esther 5:1-2).  

God is not an entity of power.  He is not the force of Star Wars. He is not the higher power of AA.  We must remember that we have been made in His image so our soul and our spirit are in His image.  He is a person. He has emotions. He talks and He listens. And most importantly, He wants facetime with us.  The whole of Scripture is God trying to nurture this relationship with mankind. He is constantly working to be in our presence.  We, on the other hand, are distracted by so many things. We connect with the Lord in our spirit, but our eyes and our flesh are stimulated by the busyness and stress of this world that we do not connect.  God pursuing our attention is more the norm than us communing with our Heavenly Father. But the strength of God is released into us when we are face to face with Him.

When we do not take the time to blind our eyes to these issues of life and focus on Him, we remove ourselves from the face to face posture we need and what He craves.  Like Peter taking His eyes off of Christ (Matthew 14:29-30), we lose power and fall into the sea of our earthly flesh. If we want strength, we must always seek to be in the presence of God.  The Bible says to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). This is the key to staying in the presence of God. We must keep Him at the forefront of our minds.  We must always be in awe and praise of who He is to us in our spirit. Pray. Worship. Sing to the Lord. Remind yourself of His goodness with every breath throughout your day. Then you will be filled with the strength of the Lord.  And you will become like the tree planted by the water, so strong, withstanding great wind, and providing fruit to all those who are near. The strength of the Lord is not just for when we are in trouble. It is to be in us for when others are in trouble, they can find His strength in us.

And never forget that He wants to fill us with strength.  God wants you to overcome. He lives to see you succeed in the face of trials and tragedies.  He wants to fill you with His strength.

 

2 Chronicles 16:9

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

(NIV)


Pastor Lee and AmyPastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach.  He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years.  His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life.  He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years.  He has three sons and one daughter-in-love.  For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.

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