Lighthouse Series: Post 2: Lightkeeper, Trim Your Lamp

As the sun climbs its way through the clouds, the lightkeeper blows out the wick of the lantern, saving its brilliance for another night. Long hours in the blackness does not weary him. For he knows the light is victorious over the night. He protects its temple as if his life depended upon it. He polishes the lens of the lantern room, ensures the fixtures, repairs any damages, shines the brass, keeps the boat in working order, and maintains the integrity of the effectiveness the lighthouse has over the night. As the sun lies down on a bed, blazing red, along the horizon, the lightkeeper trims the wick, pours the oil, and sets the lantern aflame into the impending night. Despite the redden skies, the lightkeeper shadows the night expectantly. Keeping a firm eye out on the horizon. Hours press on, the darkness blankets the land and stars. The lightkeeper sensing the dangers surrounding him keeps his peace and wits about him. At any moment, the wind could come raging, the seas pounding, and the blackness crippling anything that is within its grasp. He has to be sure, steady, and anticipating the troubles he does not see. The pressure of the insufferable murk is tangible, and its grip tight around the tower. Nevertheless, the lightkeeper checks the oil of the lantern to ensure its usefulness to the unforeseen need and feeling prepared, he gives in to the heaviness of the night.

Suddenly, lightning cracked against the horizon, and for a moment, the lighthouse shared the light of the night. The eyes of the keeper sprang open, his heart disheveled from the abrupt awakening of the slumber of sleep. He checks the pool of oil sitting within the lantern and reclaims his peace. In the midnight hours, the lightkeeper takes a hard look into the raging sea. The rotating flame spots a ship in the distance in peril and in dire need. The keeper makes his way to the dock, to the boat lending help to the distressed. Guiding his rescuee to the Rescuer. The storm came like a thief in the night. A ship caught unprepared in the hazards of the sea. A keeper of the light pursuing his purpose, maintaining the fire above to reach into the depths of the night to draw those who are lost to the tower shores. A beautiful connection, an enduring relationship, a wooing of the heart, between those who are lost, those who keep the light, and the light that draws them near.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13

The world today is a perpetual storm. Storm of information, storm of political views, storm of identity, storm of religious beliefs, storm of “truths”, rights, freedoms, equalities, storm of what is right and what is wrong, storm of opinion, storm of misinformation, storm of education and re-education, storm of fact vs. fiction, storm of educated vs. ignorant, storm of racial injustice, storm of hate, storm of isolation, storm of division… The list forever revolving and evolving. No one is immune to the storms. Everyone participates and gets caught in it–myself included–especially me. Please understand that I am not negating the severity of the issues listed above. They are a list of symptoms and birth pains that the world is currently and has been enduring. It is easy to get lost in the sea of storms. However, the storm that is yet to come will come like a thief in the night. The ultimate storm of God’s judgement against sin. God is calling His church to keep the light, to be a lightkeeper in the midst of chaos and hatred.

What does it mean to be a lightkeeper?

Every light house has a light keeper. Someone who maintains and keeps the lighthouse light in working. This requires an immense amount of work and effort. Since the storms come unexpectedly, the light keeper must be ready at any given time to light the wick of the lantern and have enough oil to last through the night. The lightkeeper also maintains the grounds of the light house. He cuts, trims, and manages the landscaping surrounding the lighthouse, as well as, painting and revitalizing the aesthetics of the structure. He keeps the lighthouse looking bright, shiney, new. He takes great care to ensure each part of the lighthouse’s function is without fail that it remains effective when ships are caught in the perils of the night. This is a solitary profession. One that requires very little sleep, one without breaks, one without vacations. Their is little to no glory or fame for this job, but the lightkeeper remains faithful to the purpose and importance of the lighthouse so that those who are lost and trying to find their way through the darkness can be led to safety. What a humble job, but a job that has true meaning and purpose.

What does it mean to be a “spiritual lightkeeper”?

In Matthew 25: 1-13, Jesus tells the story of the 10 bridesmaids, or virgins, awaiting the bridegroom to come back to join the wedding feast. In Jewish tradition, weddings would last for days. After the initial ceremony, the bridegroom would leave to go prepare a place for his bride and the wedding guests. This usually took about a day. However, the bride and the wedding guests would need to be prepared for the groom’s return and to go with him when the time comes. Jesus emphasizes the importance of readiness. Only those who anticipate, keep watch, and take good care of their “lamps” will enter the kingdom of heaven.

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.6 ‘At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’‘All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’‘But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’10 ‘But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’12 ‘But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’13 ‘So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” Matthew 25: 1-13 NLT

This parable is in a series of parables that talk about the end of the age and the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus is comparing the Church, people on Earth at the time of His return, to the ten bridesmaids that we are the awaiting party, anticipating the return of the groom to take us on to the wedding feast. There are two types of people, those who are foolish, who are unprepared, distracted, asleep, and do not believe, and those who are wise, who remain faithful, expecting, and prepared for the groom’s return. Those who are anticipating the return of the groom and have enough oil in their lamps, even though they were asleep in the moment of the return, their lamps remained burning which the groom awarded them access into the wedding feast while the foolish bridesmaids were away purchasing more oil.

There are a couple of points to this parable that I find interesting, alarming, and convicting.

  1. Ten Bridesmaids representing the people at the end of days: At the time that Christ returns, the people on earth will be divided in two groups, believers and unbelievers. The unbelievers cannot borrow “faith” in the moment of His return. They must prepare now while we are still waiting on Him. The other thing I find interesting about the two groups is that instead of giving the five foolish bridesmaids oil, the wise bridesmaids tell the others where they need to go to get more oil. We are the Church, the believers, and hopefully, the wise. We have the responsibility to share, direct, and guide unbelievers to Jesus, the oil of all oil. The Source. This is where they can refill their lamps with faith, so that His light will shine and never burn out. We cannot “fall asleep” in the midst of the waiting and forget our purpose for His kingdom. The five bridesmaids were wise, but they also did not take any of the unbelievers with them into the wedding feast. Perhaps the moments when they were asleep, they could have been attending to the foolish ones who neglected to bring enough oil. They could have been directing them to the source, so that when the groom arrived they would be ready, and all of them would have had the opportunity to join the wedding feast. The Church must keep their eyes on the Source in order to bring Him the most glory and to bring others into the presence of God.
  2. Delayed arrival of the groom: It is interesting to me that Jesus describes the groom as being late or taking longer than usual. Isn’t this the way it feels sometimes waiting on the Lord to return? The longer we wait the more tempted we are to find things to distract ourselves from the impatience of the return. It also makes me believe that Jesus knew how we would feel in the last days. He knew it would seem like God is taking an eternity to send his Son back to the earth. Two thousand years later, we are still in the period of waiting, and now, more than ever, is it imperative to stand firm in our faith and fix our eyes on the Lord. We must seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), so that we stay alert and ready for His return. What a sweet and supernatural day it will be when all the world will see His face, fall on their knees, and profess the name of the King!

It does not matter what you have done up to this point. The Lord KNOWS you better than you know yourself. He knit you together in your mother’s womb, even before you were born, he knew you (Psalm 139: 13-14 NLT) He has numbered every strand of hair, and He call you his own (Luke 12:7 AMP). He knew each day of your life before you ever took a breath, and He still made you, loves you, and died for you (Romans 5:8 AMP). You are precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4 AMP). He is ready and waiting to wrap His heavenly arms around you (Isaiah 30:18 AMP). Will you let Him? It is not too late! You are not a lost cause. You were made with purpose and for the glory of the Lord Most High.

So, take heart! The King is returning to take us on to glory. We must stand firm in our faith (trim the wick), stay alert to the movement of the Holy Spirit and to witness to those who are lost (pour the oil), and maintain expectancy for the Lord to fulfill His promise to His people (light the match and keep watch). We are the Lord’s lightkeepers in this thickly layered world of darkness. I feel the Lord urging His people to stay awake, stay alert, and to keep shining His light because the darkness that we see and feel now is nothing compared to what is to come. Our lights must be strong now. Our hearts must be close to His. Our attention must be on His kingdom.

Let me pray for you:

Heavenly Father, Thank you Lord for being a God who patiently waits for us. Thank you Lord for your divine grace, love, and mercy. Thank you Lord for Your forgiveness and peace. You are more than enough Lord. Thank you Lord for being true to Your word. Thank you for the hope of Your return. Lord, quicken the hearts of Your people. Help us to stay alert and our eyes focused on the Kingdom. Create in us a new and strong desire to be in Your manifest presence. Guide us Lord to do Your will in these days ahead. Equip us Lord with what we need to lead people to You. Help our spirits stay connected to Your Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord for who You are, for what You have done, for what you are doing, and for all You will do. You are Holy, You are Hope, and You are Love. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!

Scriptures to Study:

  1. Matthew 25: 1-13
  2. Matthew 6: 33
  3. Psalm 139:13-14
  4. Luke 12:7
  5. Isaiah 43:4
  6. Romans 5:8
  7. Isaiah 30:18

Songs for Worship:

  1. The Blessing by Kari Jobe
  2. Won’t Stop Now by Elevation Worship
  3. Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture

The Lighthouse Series: Post 1: “I am the Light of the world…”

We live in a world plagued with darkness. The world is a ship lost at sea in the midst of a storm in the midnight hours. No light coming down from heaven to guide his way. No direction can be seen from his mast. Just utter and plain darkness. Waves towering above him threatening to consume his very existence. The wind ripping the sails to shreds attacking the identity of the ship. So he, barely afloat, drifts on at the mercy of the storm. But behold! In the distance, a pin prick of light appears on the distant horizon, glittering through the wind, walking on waves, and stepping through rain–overcoming the oppression of darkness. Hope. Land. Refuge. The ship makes his way towards the light. Withstanding the swells, persevering through the gusts, and focusing on the small beacon of hope. The ship may capsize along the way, but he is determined to reach the light, at all costs. As he draws nearer, the source of vision and refuge grows stronger, more vibrant and radiant, beautiful against the blackness and the sea. Hope and life begin to revitalize. The ship, well into the proximity of the light, starts to see the rocks against the shore–the fear of sinking at every angle. The obstacles, almost immobilizing, and nearly impossible to overcome. Between the rocking of the waves, the shoving of the wind, and the echoes of the darkness ringing in his ears, the ship fixes his eyes once more on the light. Rotating through the thick layers of clouds and storm, the trail of fire directs him towards the harbor. Safety nearly in his grasp, the wind that was once his enemy pushes him further to his destination. The light, sharpening the vision of the ship, little by little guides him through the rocky shore. As the ship comes into the harbor, he notices a mighty tower, strong, sure, and resilient. A fortress that withstands the storm and commands the attention of the waves. What was once a small pin prick in the distance is now a lodestar that overpowers the storm and empowers the pursuer. What a glorious sight! The ship, yielding to the light, the source of hope and salvation, is finally at rest and at peace beside the dock next to the tower–submitting to the authority that has conquered the darkness. The storm still rages, but the ship cannot be destroyed.

“Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, ‘I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12 (Amp)

“For you have been a shelter and refuge for me, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:3

What is a lighthouse?

A lighthouse is–a tower or other structure containing a beacon of light to warn or guide ships at sea.

A tower, containing a beacon of light. What powerful imagery that is shown. Christ, a strong tower, containing a beacon of light amongst the darkness. A tower, a citadel able to overcome any storm, any uprising of nature. A light that guides and draws near those that are seeking refuge. I can’t help but think of Mary Magdala, and what the light of Christ meant to her in the midst of her personal darkness, of the leper alone and diseased casted away, isolated from the world, the tax collector hated by his own people, a fisherman who casts empty nets, a woman by a well in the hot hours of the day rejected and unloved, a man dead in his grave, a Pharisee afraid to speak against his own kind in favor of the suffering servant, a mother looking up at the boy she raised, hung on a cross. 2000 years later, we are still a people in need of a lighthouse, a savior, a victory over sin and death, a conqueror over the darkness.

What is a beacon of light?

A beacon is a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position (our position in Christ) as a warning, signal, or celebration. How glorious is this definition? Fire or light set up in a high position (Christ at the right hand of our Father in Heaven) and his glory warns against sin, signals/guides the believer through the Word of God and through the wilderness, and celebrates our victory in Christ.

In Christ, we become the light of the world.

Jesus is a lighthouse to this world, a beacon of hope, a guiding luminescence that convicts, heals, and deepens our understanding of the Father, and He is calling His church to become His vessel, so he can use us to show the lighthouse to the world that is failing in the midst of a raging sea of sin, death, and hopelessness. Jesus is our lighthouse that brings us to God interceding for our salvation. Now, He is charging us (His church) to be the vehicle for His light, the Light and Life for the world for all the people lost at sea.

“You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 NLT

“You are the light of the world. You cannot hide a city that is on a mountain.” Matthew 5:14 NLV

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 AMP

Matthew tells us that after the ascension of Christ, after the resurrection, we, the church, became “the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” The light that we radiate is the light of the Holy Spirit that brings us from glory to glory through our walk and personal relationship with Jesus. However, we have to choose to be set on a hill. Just because you are saved through Christ doesn’t automatically place you on the hill or mountain. Our faith means nothing if we do not share it with the world–that is the will of God, the great commission. He wants the whole world to radiate His Spirit and power, for all of us to be a vast ocean of stars that are seen from the heavens. If we place ourselves on the hill, (sharing our faith, our testimony, serving others, becoming a disciple and discipling others, bearing the fruit of the Spirit), we will be a city, a shining example of the love of Christ, that cannot be hidden, that cannot be ignored, that brings the hardest of hearts to the feet of Jesus–even when our adversary is doing his best to turn out the light, he will not be able to darken the threshold of this world. But it takes all of us. It takes everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus to step out in faith, to dare to be different, to courageously share your testimony, to humbly serve others, to bring nations to their knees and confess that the Lord, our God, is King. The enemy’s time is near. He is preparing the way to take his stand against God, but… my God has already defeated him when His son hung between heaven and hell for me and for you. Jesus holds the keys to hell and soon Satan and his followers will be put where they belong. Until then, we must remain faithful, obedient, humble, and submissive to our Lord.

I implore you to search within your heart. First of all, do you know Jesus? If you do not, please leave a comment on my post or private message me, and I would love to pray with you. Also see the prayer of salvation below, you can pray that, and as long as you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Savior and Lord of your life, died to cleanse you from your sin, and resurrected to break the chains of sin off of your life and raises you into new life, that you repent and ask forgiveness of your sins, and receive His forgiveness, then you are saved. Your spirit man has been made new in Christ. However, your faith does not end there. You then need to tell someone what Jesus did for you and seek mentorship by someone mature in the faith that will help guide you through this new life Christ has given you.

Secondly, are you contributing to the kingdom? We are NOT saved by our deeds. We are only saved by faith through the grace of God. However, faith without works is dead. Are you bearing the fruit of the Spirit that can be used to bring others to Christ? Are you actively pursuing your relationship with Christ daily? Are you renewing your mind with the Word regularly? Are you serving within your church? Are you giving back what already belongs to God? Are you giving over and beyond what your tithe is? Are you sharing your testimony to those around you that need Jesus? If we are believers of Christ, now is the time to get serious, to learn and digest the Word, to walk so closely with the Lord that we are clipping His heels. There is blessing in obedience and following the will of God. There is protection. There is provision. There is power. There is grace and mercy.

I urge you Christ followers to allow the glory of Christ to radiate in and through you and for you to climb that hill and let your light shine on this world. This world needs you to show the love and light and life of Christ. The time is now to eliminate the darkness. Be a lighthouse.

Please let me pray for you,

Heavenly Father, Glory be your name! Thank you for your son, Jesus. Thank you for His victory on the cross. Thank you for His Light and Life You brought to the earth so that we can have intimate relationship with You. I pray, Lord, for anyone who is reading this that your Holy Spirit would minister to their spirit, lovingly convicting their hearts and guiding them to the truth. Thank you for your correction and healing. What a loving Father you are to us! Lord, I pray for those who are hurting in the darkness. I pray that they see the light and hope of Jesus. Lord, woo their hearts and bring peace to their spirits. I pray for those who are lost at sea that they will pursue a relationship with You, and that You would use their testimony for Your glory, honor, and praise. Lord, thank you for speaking to your people. Thank you for speaking to me. Lord, help us to apply your Word to our life and walk with You. Build a desire and hunger for Your presence and Your truth. Help us to be the hands and feet for Your kingdom. Lord, thank you for your provision, protection, faithfulness, and love. Lord, speak to our spirits and help us to remain sensitive to the urging of the Holy Spirit, and help us to remain obedient to His call. In Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.

Prayer of Salvation,

Lord, I am a sinner in need of a savior. Lord, come into my heart and be the Lord of my life. I recognize and believe that you, Christ Jesus is my savior and that You died on the cross to forgive my sin and that You resurrected from death and conquered the grave. Lord, forgive me of my sins. I repent and choose to walk in the path You have designed for my life. I submit to the cross, and I choose to honor You with my life. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness, your grace, and mercy. I receive your forgiveness and salvation. I am now a new person. Born again by Your Spirit. Thank you Father. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Songs of Worship:

Names of God: Jehovah Nissi

The Lord is my banner, my victory.

His name holds the power to conquer.

His love deepens my roots against the storm.

I call out His name as the world grows darker.

I kneel before His presence.

I surrender it all at His feet.

He adorns my head with a crown.

He declares my victory.

I am strengthened by His armor.

No weapon formed against me will prosper.

The enemy tries to kill me,

But His blood has made me sharper.

I am dressed in His mercy.

I praise His name and banner.

I proclaim His Word before me.

I receive the undeserved Love and Favor.

I will be His warrior.

No matter the battle ahead.

He is my commanding officer

No calamity I will dread.

Defeat is what He calls the enemy.

His lies cannot infiltrate the Blood.

How much stronger are we

Than when we demonstrate His love.

He has won every battle,

Of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

My future resides within His palm.

So no event will end in sorrow.

Jehovah Nissi, Hallelujah!

I carry His flag within my heart.

I can share in His victory,

Because Jesus, because Jesus did my part.

 

Devotional: “Names of God” series: Jehovah Nissi

In times like this, it is easy to feel defeated. It is easy to feel depressed, without hope, and to be overcome by fear. It is harder to see the “bright-side”, to be a voice of encouragement, to be a beacon of hope, but because of Jesus, we don’t have to do anything to have the joy, peace, hope, grace, mercy, and favor of God. Jesus living within us automatically allows us to have and access His kingdom on earth. However, we do have a role to play. In order to access His kingdom and share in the benefits of the Lord, we must choose to have faith. We must choose to “seek first the kingdom of God.” We must choose to lift up the Lord’s name with praise and thanksgiving. We must choose to seek His wisdom, and we must choose to offer forgiveness. There has never been more of an urgency to seek the face of God than there is today. Recognize this time of isolation, solitude, and reflection as a gift from God. He is drawing in His church to renew their minds, to restore their hearts, and to transform their spirit. He is longing for the church to become healthy and well–not just physically, but spiritually.

Above all, we must remember during times of trials and valleys that the Lord is our banner! He is Jehovah-Nissi! The first time we here this name of God is in Exodus 17: 15 after the Israelites had defeated the Amalek army. The first real battle of war the Israelites face after the exodus from Eqypt. “Moses built an altar there and names it Yaweh-Nissi (which means ‘The Lord is my banner’).” This battle is significant for the purpose and destiny of Israel. This is also the first time we meet Joshua, the man who would later become the infamous military commander who brings the nation of Israel into the promise land. There are many things that this battle can teach us about God, about prayer, and about our role in the kingdom.

At the beginning of this story, (Exo. 17: 8-10) the Israelites are suddenly attacked by the Amalek army. This particular army is trained in pillaging other nations and gaining their spoils. This is how this particular nation made money. What is also interesting about this nation is that it is a cousin to Israel. Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Israel). The Israelites, at this time, had not faced war with another nation since leaving Egypt, so when they are attacked they are not prepared to fight. However, Moses calls on Joshua, a brilliant military leader and man of God, to gather some men of Israel to go and fight the Amalek army. I could not imagine being one of those men, who were not really trained in battle–they were once slaves of Pharaoh, and being asked to fight an army that being a soldier was its profession. Talk about intimidating! However, Joshua and the men knew they would not be alone on the battle field. God would be with them, and He would go before them and protect the nation of Israel, as long as, Moses stood on the hilltop with his staff raised and praying to God and interceding for the nation of Israel.

Joshua and his men go and fight the Amalek army, and they were successful only when Moses would hold up his staff. As soon as Moses would drop his hand, the Amalek army would advance on the Israelites. So this seems like an easy task for Moses, right? Well, Moses is human, and I don’t any humans who could hold up a piece of wood over their heads and pray for an entire day without dropping their hand. Moses grew weak and could not hold the staff up. However, Moses had gone to the hill top with Aaron and Hur, and these two young men found him a rock to sit on. Each man took Moses’ arms so that he could keep praying. By sunset, Joshua had conquered the battlefield. (Exo. 17: 10-13) This is a key moment. Moses’ role is so vital to the success of Israel.

First, Moses’ relationship with God brought God’s presence and provision to the Israelites. Moses’ direction from God had already freed them from the Egyptians, and his constant communication with God provided them with manna and sustenance for their physical bodies during the long 40 year journey through the dessert. Israel needed Moses, but notice what is happening above. Moses is delegating the responsibility of protecting Israel to Joshua. He needs him to physically fight against the enemy while Moses did the most important work which was to pray for Israel.

I find this to be such a clear picture of our role with God. We are to be working in tandem with God, praying for His kingdom come and will be done, while also making plans to defeat and conquer the trials and enemies within our lives. Prayer is so vital in times such as this. Our nation is being attacked by a foreign entity, and we as the body have the important role of praying for our nation, our leaders, and each other. We have a duty to hold up each others arms to sustain one another through the valley.

So, how do we pray and intercede for our nation?

In Exodus 17:10, it shows Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbing a near by hilltop that overlooks the battlefield. Notice he is not on the front lines holding the “rod of God”, but instead he is heading away from the battle. This is strategic of Moses. First of all, in our last post, we know that when communicating with God Moses usually separated himself away from the crowd to meet with God’s presence, and usually the secluded place was on the “mount.” This particular hilltop in Rephidim was a foothill to Mount Sinai–the place where Moses receives the Ten Commandments. We need to find a place, with no distractions, to meet with God’s presence. Second of all, Moses goes to the hilltop to gain perspective of the fight. When are faced with battles, it is wise to separate ourselves from the fight to communicate with God and to gain “His” perspective. We need to be getting in the word of God daily. We need to be in His presence daily. We need to be worshiping Him daily. We need to be in constant prayer, communing with our Lord. This is how we intercede for our nation.

Just as Aaron and Hur held up the arms of their spiritual leader, we also should be lifting up our leaders: pastors, govenors, mayors, senators, and yes, even the president. Not just those we agree with, but especially for those we don’t. We should be sending words of encouragement, joy, and peace. We need to speak life into their families and positions so that they will also remain strong in the Lord, and their hearts and spiritual antennas will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This is so important. Christ calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is how we love these neighbors. Regardless of who they are, we kneel and pray for their protection and for God’s favor to be over them.

Intercession is so important, and Moses shows the nation of Israel and the Amalek army that God’s power is victorious. This is also a foreshadowing moment of Christ’s ultimate intercession for us on the cross. He is the Almighty Intercessor. He is constantly approaching the Father on our behalf.

If we want to see the victory of God, we must intercede continuously and earnestly. Epaharus of the Colossian church prayed fervently for his community of believers. In Colossians 4:12-13, Paul states, “Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and servant of Christ Jesus send you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect and fully confident to that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.” This is a spiritual leader who cares not just for his church but also for his community. He “doted” on his people with prayer. What a powerful and victorious picture of how we should be praying for our community, our families, our leaders, and our nations. God promises victory to those who fear him because rightful fear in the Lord aligns priorities, and it allows for you to be a co-worker of Christ to further God’s kingdom in this world. Psalm 60:4, David states, “But you have raised a banner for those who fear you–a rallying point in the face of attack.” When you allow God the victory, he not only claims the battleground, but he restores the land. He becomes the one who rallies in the face of the enemy. But in order for this to happen, we must step out of the way for God to shine. We must give up the command, and we must allow the captain of our eternal souls to call the shots.

Throughout this “shelter in place” experience, I have been hearing a pattern of words from God through multiple avenues. We cannot experience the victory of Christ in our nation because our priorities need to be called into alignment. We cannot experience the victory of Christ in our nation because we are too addicted to living comfortably and too dependent on predictability. We cannot experience the victory of Christ in our nation because our homes have become refuges for idols. We cannot experience victory in our nation because we have simply bought the lie that “we’ve got this.” God calls his people out bondage many times throughout the Bible. What a beautiful display of unfailing love, unconditional forgiveness, and undeserved hope. He is once again calling us out of bondage, and He is lovingly giving us all the time in the world to do it. The real victory He has already accomplished, but we have to be willing to raise His banner. We have to record the victory for others to see.

Lastly, in Exodus 17:14, it states, “After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, ‘Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means ‘the Lord is my banner’).” God wants us to remember the times he has shown you victory, and he not only wants you to remember them. He wants you to record them as a permanent and physical reminder what God has done in the supernatural for you. The purpose of the tangible reminder is for when the next time a battle emerges before you that you will know to raise your flag of victory and bring glory to God.

I leave you with this. “In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place” (Isaiah 11:10). This is at the heart of my prayer for our nation. May we become a land worthy of His residence.

Please let me pray for you: Heavenly Father, there are no words to describe Your worth. Your love for us is overwhelming and continual. Thank you Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice and for claiming victory over the enemy for my sake. Thank you Lord for all of the undeserved blessings You have given me. Thank you Lord for Your provision, thank you Lord for Your peace, and thank you Lord for Your mercy and grace. Lord, I ask that You bless each person reading this today. I ask that You send Your protection to surround them and their loved ones. I ask that You give them joy and peace in the midst of all of this uncertainty. Lord, help us to keep our priorities in alignment to Your word, and guide our hearts and minds to the truth daily. We need You more than ever Lord to heal our hearts, our families, our neighbors, our enemies, and to unify us in the name of Jesus. We believe that You are Jehovah-Nissi. You are our banner of victory and we raise our flags to bring You glory. We love you Lord. To You be the glory, in Jesus Name Amen.

Scriptures to Study: 

Exodus 17:8-15

Colossains 4: 12-13

Psalm 60 

Isaiah 11:10 

Songs of Worship: 

Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Upperroom 

See a Victory by Elevation Worship

Whom Shall I Fear God of Angels Armies by Chris Tomlin. 

Names of God: Jehovah Jireh

You are called

“The One who provides”

On the Mount,

Lord, God, You reside.

You are our provision

Not just for our needs

Not just for our souls

But restoration for our spirits

 Jehovah Jireh

The One who sees

The of God of Abraham

You hold the Keys.

You came to earth

Provided the ultimate need

The Sacrificial Lamb

For us, He bleeds.

His blood is victorious

His blood is our shield

His blood is our weapon

His blood makes us healed.

We need to fall to our knees

Recognize that He is the Great I Am

Believe that He is the same God

As the God to Abraham.

From Isaac,

Our generation is born

One of the tens of thousands

One of the vast number of stars

Our heritage is deeply rooted, deeply connected

To the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!

Devotional: “Names of God” series: Post 2: Jehovah Jireh

I apologize for the late posting. It has been a very tumultuous 2 weeks for my household, for my community, my church, my state, my nation,—The WORLD. The Lord has been preparing His body for such a time as this. I have been very moved within my spirit by what the Lord is speaking to me. He has been preparing my heart, and I am sure He is doing the same for each of you.

Jehovah Jireh, “The Lord will provide.” The first time this term is used in the Bible is in Genesis 22. I am sure you have heard this story of the Bible many times, and it has numerous messages. However, I want to look at these versus in the light of depicting who God is and how He is described within these versus. So in Genesis 22, Abraham is told by God to go to Mount Moriah and sacrifice Isaac, his promised child, upon an altar to the Lord. “Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’ ‘Take your son, your only son–yes, Isaac, whom you love so much–and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show.” (Genesis 22:1-2) I don’t know about you, but I would have a very hard time obeying this command. As someone who has struggled for some time with infertility, like Sarah and Abraham, I would not just be willing to give up my child. However, this is not the first time Abraham had been tested by God, and Abraham knew that obeying God’s command is way more important that his own will. This is a man who is strongly mature in God. However, just because Abraham was spiritually mature, I do not believe that that made this task any easier. I can imagine, being a parent myself, that he greatly struggled with what God had asked him to do. Nevertheless, Abraham obeyed God.

In Genesis 22:3, “The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about.” Not only did Abraham obey God, he did so immediately. He did not question God’s command, but instead, he stepped out in faith and prepared for the journey. This is what God desires out of us, immediate obedience. God does not want to control us, but He desires for us to rely solely on Him so that we can live the lives He longs for us to have. When God tests our faith, it is never to our detriment, but it is to deepen our trust and our relationship with God. This is how we become spiritually mature, and the more mature in Him we become; the more we can be used within His kingdom.

In Genesis 22:9-12, “When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Yes’ Abraham replied. ‘Here I am!’ ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” What an intense moment of faith Abraham is experiencing. But it is his faith and reverential fear of God that is what saves Isaac. Abraham was willing to give God everything. This is where God desires us to be–in a place of total and unconditional surrender. When we hold nothing back from Him, God can do miraculous and wondrous things in our lives and in the world.

In Genesis 22:13 “Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.” It is interesting the symbolic parallel that is happening in this moment. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his ONE and ONLY SON to bring God glory. Abraham in faith sets out to do so, and his faith and obedience saves Isaac. The ram takes Isaac’s place. I like the way my Bible’s commentary explains this moment, “Notice the parallel between the ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac and Christ offered on the cross as a substitute for us. Whereas God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God did not spare his own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross. If Jesus had lived, the rest of humankind would have died. God sent his only Son to die for us so that we could be spared from the eternal death we deserve and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16).” This further proves that God knows the ending from the beginning. This moment in Abraham’s walk with God proves that God can entrust to him His ultimate plan–bringing the Messiah, Jesus into this world because it is through the bloodline of Isaac that Jesus is born.

In Genesis 22:14, “Abraham named the place Yahweh Yireh (which means ‘The Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb. ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Yahweh Yireh or Jehovah Jireh meaning “the Lord will provide.” Another translation of this is that it means “the God who sees.” God saw the need that Abraham had. Abraham needed a sacrifice to replace Isaac, and the Lord provided it to him because of his unconditional faithfulness and obedience.

Whatever test of life you may be experiencing. It is important to remember that God is in control. He is Jehovah Jireh. The God who sees and the One who provides. God will take care of the people who trust in him and have faith in him and who obey his commands. He sees your needs and wants to provide for them and will provide for them if you will allow Him in. When you are needing something from God, you need to go to the “mount of the Lord” (on your knees in prayer and worship) and simply ask your Heavenly Father for His help. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Please let me pray for you: 

Lord, Heavenly Father, I come to you on the mount and ask for your provision Lord over all my brothers and sister in Christ and for those who are at the mercy of this world. I ask that you provide comfort to all that are mourning the loss of a loved one, healing to all that are afflicted with this virus or any other ailment, peace to all that are afraid of these uncertain times, wisdom to our leaders, finances and provisions to those who have lost their jobs, strength to the nurses and doctors fighting on the front lines to end this virus, encouragement to our pastors that are preaching to empty sanctuaries, love to all the children- in every circumstance- hope to all of us that are sharing in this pandemic. Lord, you are Jehovah Jireh. I believe with all of my might that you “see” our circumstance and you are already providing for us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Lord, help our hearts be open to your voice, and help our faith to be unconditional and our obedience to you immediate. We love you God. We are so thankful for your blessings, provisions, and protection. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Scriptures to study: 

Genesis 22

Matthew 6:31-34

John 3:16

Songs of Worship: 

Jehovah-Jireh by Merla Watson

Waymaker by Michael W. Smith

Trust It All (Feat. Brett Stanfill) 

 

Names of God: Jehovah Rapha

Jehovah Rapha

The God who heals

He is the power and might

That is within us revealed.

Declare His name

Stand firm in your faith

Hold onto His Word

His glory will be great

His blood covers our hearts

Flooding the doorposts to our homes

Everything is filtered

Nothing is left to roam

We take every thought captive

We submit our spirits to Your work

We come against sickness and plague

Your love and power is our ark.

You are keeping us safe

In the secret places

We respond to your protection

By lifting up our praises

Our worship is our weapon

Your glory is our victory

Our faith will sustain us

Your presence is our benedictory

Yours is the kingdom

All will bow down

All will recognize Your face

All will glorify your crown

You are Lord of All

Lord of my healing

Lord of my faith

Lord of my obedience

Lord of my trust

Lord of my worship

Lord of my praise

You are Jehovah, El-Elyon!

You ARE and that is all that matters.

Devotional: Names of God Series: Post 1: Jehovah Rapha

Back in January, I felt God speaking to me about a series of exploring the names of God to remind His people of who He is. Little did I know then, that we would be facing what we are facing now. He has called us all for times such as this. This is a wake up call for all who call Him Lord to come together as the church and declare who He is to the world.

In Psalm 9: 10, David declares to the Lord, “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.” It is so important to remember to trust your God, to know His name, and to declare His name over any and all situations you are facing. He will never leave you nor forsake you! He is always with you and going before you to prepare a way and to light your path. Remember this in the uncertain days to come.

Names in the times of Abraham and Jesus meant something to the Hebrew people. When you were given a name it carried an epithet with it that described you in some way–usually by your actions. So when you were to speak that person’s name, it was speaking life into that person. For instance, Jacob was the son of Isaac. Jacob’s name meant “little deceiver” and later we find that Jacob deceives his father by having Isaac bless him with the rights of the first born even though those rights should have been given to Esau. Jacob certainly lives up to his name. Later on in the story, we find that after Jacob “wrestles” with an unknown man in his camp. God changes his name to Israel. Israel means “one who wrestles with God.” What a powerful name. Every time that someone called Jacob from that point further Israel they were reinforcing his identity in God and therefore, also speaking life into the existence of the nation of Israel. This is who we ARE! We are Israel- God’s people-the ones who will be his representation on this earth.

There are numerous scriptures that talks about God being Jehovah Rapha-the God who heals, and there could be many series and many studies done with each scripture that I am going to address. I encourage you to study these scriptures further, and I believe God will reveal Himself to you in a way that you have not experienced Him before.

In Exodus 15:26, Moses and the Israelites have traveled from the Red Sea into the desert of Shur, and they have been without water for three days. When they finally do find water, they grumble because the water is bitter and not fit drink. Moses replies to his people, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees I will not bring on you any of the diseases of the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” God is very clear in his instructions to the Israelites. We must trust in Him, and we must obey His commands and then we will be covered by his protection of healing. Obedience is key if we are wanting God to heal us. This, again, ties back to us entering into His presence with a surrendered heart. We need to release our own agendas and ambitions, and we need to submit to the Lord. We cannot lose if we do this. We can only gain in our understanding of Him, and then, we will reap the benefits of His presence within our life.

In 2 Kings 20:1-5, King Hezekiah is dying, and he cries out to God for healing. The Bible states that Hezekiah was the only faithful king, so when he cried out to God for healing God heard his cry and granted him 15 more years and protection for his people against the Assyrians. It is important to note that his FAITH is what allowed him to be healed, and not just faith in that moment but faith throughout his life. Faith is the product of our obedience to God, and if we are continually obedient then we are continually exercising our faith, and in return, we are building a closer relationship with God. This closeness is what allows God to move in our lives because we keep a constant invitation open availability to Him. We must be obedient to Him and His commands and have continual faith in Him not just when we are in need of Him but all the time.

In the New Testament, God heals through Jesus. Jesus becomes the living healer. He becomes Jehovah Rapha in the present in human form. There are numerous accounts of Jesus healing. This is probably one of the best known facts about Jesus during His time period and today. We know Him to be a miracle worker, and a lot of those miracles were for those who needed to healed either physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

In Luke 17: 11-19, Jesus heals the ten lepers, and the lepers obediently went to the priests to be checked to confirm their cleanliness. In Jesus’ time, people who had leprosy were “quarantined” away from the society because it was highly contagious. Leprosy was an illness that could come and go, and if those who were infected with this showed signs of remission, they would go to the priests to be declared “clean” so that they could rejoin society.

In Luke 17: 11-19, Luke illustrates Jesus’ encounter, “As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered the village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ He looked at them and said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And Jesus said to the man, ‘Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.'”

In this account, it is reinforced that our faith (specifically in Jesus) and our obedience to Him are key components to having our ailments healed. When the lepers saw him, they called to him by His name and declaring His power over them. This is what got Jesus’ attention. They knew who He was and the called Him by name. They also pleaded to Him to have mercy on them. They also recognized who they were and their position in His presence. This is their act of submission to Him. This is when Jesus instructed them to go to the priests to be evaluated. He did not heal them on the spot. His healing required them to act on His command. When we want Jesus to heal us, we must head to His commands before the evidence is seen. Our obedience and belief in His command is what allows God to heal us. We must call His healing complete before the work has been finished. What a greater testimony we will have if we choose to believe in what He tells us to do. This story also brings on another important point. Once the healing has occurred, it is just as vital to give God he glory. We need to appreciate His hand moving over our life. We need to be in a constant state of gratitude, awe, and respect for God.

Another account in the book of Luke is the story of the woman who fought through the crowds while Jesus was traveling to Jairus’ house in chapter eight versus 43-48.  She had been having constant bleeding for twelve years! She was a woman desperate for Jesus and for His healing power. When I read this chapter, I read in the commentary that women in this time period would be semi-ostrized during the times of her menstrual cycle. It was Jewish law that no man could touch a menstrating woman or he would be considered “ceremonially unclean.” Men would further protect themselves by avoiding these women altogether. They would not speak, touch, or even look at them. This woman, who probably had some abnormal condition, had been treated as an unclean and unworthy “disease” that men had to avoid. She was someone desperate to see Jesus. She knew that He could heal her. She believed in Him before she even saw Him. (Oh how we are like this woman, we believe in Him before we have seen Him) Her faith was so strong that all she had to do was touch his cloak, and immediately, she was healed. She pushed through a crowd of hundreds of people hungry for the chance just to touch the robe of Jesus.

Jesus knew that he had been touched because He felt the healing power go out from Him, and he asked for the one who touched Him to reveal herself. He wanted her to show herself to Him. He wanted to show others that everyone, even those not socially desirable, were worthy of His healing and time.

Lastly, in Luke 5:17-26, Jesus heals the paralyzed man. This man was carried on his mat by his friends to meet Jesus. What a friendship and commitment. These men carried this man, and they did not just carry him to Jesus. They carried him atop of a roof and made a whole through the roof, and lifted the man down in front of Jesus to where he rested at the feet of Jesus. I am hoping and believing for friends like this. Ones who help me get to the feet of Jesus. Jesus heals the man of his paralysis, but not just because of his faith, but because of his friends’ faith. This is so important to remember that when you are seeking healing to call on the body of Christ to help lift you up to the feet of Jesus, so that he can heal you. People who surround us during these times are so important because their faith, rather belief or unbelief, does affect us. We need to surround ourselves with people who have faith in the Lord Almighty, so that they can be a source of life and light within our darkness.

Time and again, throughout the Bible God is seen as Jehovah Rapha. He loves and cares for us–our whole selves. He wants us to be healed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There is nothing more important to Him than our well being. He so wants us to rely on him solely, so that he can protect us from all that comes against us. However, we must be faithful and obedient to Him, so that we keep an open invitation for Him into our lives.

Please let me pray for you:

Heavenly Father, Lord, Jehovah Rapha, I am asking for you to heal my brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord, you are the God who heals. In your word, it states that if we submit to Your will and have faith in You that You will heal us. I stand firm on Your word as truth, and in the name of Jesus living in me, I ask boldly to heal this sickness, and to heal our land. Lord, we submit to your authority and we ask for your will to be done, your kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. Lord we bind sickness, in the name of Jesus and whatever we bind here on earth it is also bound in Heaven. You are the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Creator of everything. Who else can heal us like you can? We give You glory for Your work in our lives, for Your love You bestow upon us, and for Your peace that You release into our spirits. Lord, we walk in faith and believe that the healing has already been done in Jesus name. We choose to believe in You, no matter what. Thank you Jesus for Your healing, for Your faithfulness, for Your love, Your mercy and Your grace. We love you Lord. We ask all of this in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

Scriptures to study:

Psalm 9:10

Exodus 15:26

2 Kings 20:1-5

The Book of Luke

Songs of Worship: 

Good Grace by Hillsong

You Are Good by Rita Springer

I Surrender by Hillsong 

 

How Long Must I Wait?

How long must I wait for you O’Lord?

I need to see Your mighty face.

My heart, soul, and spirit in one accord

Is crying out to You in this place.

I desire Your intimacy.

I long for Your immediacy.

I yearn for Your Holy Spirit.

My love for you is within each lyric.

The Lord says to you, “You have sought for me,

So therefore, you have found Me.’

‘You desire me, so therefore, you have Me.’

‘I will show you My holy face.’

‘The closer you lean into Me,

The more you will feel my heavenly grace.’

‘If you invite me, I will come.’

‘No matter the circumstance, you are never alone.’

‘You are my prized creation.’

‘I crafted you from My imagination.’

‘I’ve known you since the beginning.’

‘I love you with all that is within me.’

‘I long for you to long for me.’

‘And when you call my name, I am there.’

‘No need to wait, no need for despair.’

‘I am your God.’

‘I have no limits.’

‘If you desire to see my face,

I will reveal it.”

Devotional: Seek the Face of God Series: Post 5 (FINAL Post for the series) 

How long must I wait to see His manifest presence (God’s face)?

Isaiah 55:6: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near” (NIV)

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call on Him [for salvation] while He                            is still near.” (Amp)

If you are in Christ, the answer to this is immediate. If you are yet to have a relationship with Christ, the answer to this is the moment of salvation. The moment that you call out to the Lord to forgive your sins and to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that He died, resurrected, and ascended for you to have eternal life with Him, he immediately moves in. So really the answer to this, is immediate. God is omnipresent, so therefore, He is always there. But to have the special, close intimate meeting with God, we must seek it. In Isaiah 55:6, we can sense the matter of urgency to draw nearer to God. The command to “call on Him while He is still near,” makes clear that God will only be readily available for a time (for those who are not yet believers). It is so important that if you have not yet asked Jesus into your heart that you do while you still can. This opportunity does have a shelf life, and it will, one day, expire. God so longs for you to seek Him, to know Him, so that He can do miracles in your life.

Jeremiah 29:13:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

“Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessitiy] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Amp)

I love the amplified translation of this verse. When you develop a “deep longing” for the Lord you will then need him daily as a source of survival. The best part of this verse is the last. He will be found if you seek him with ALL of your heart. This goes back to that section of our series that talks about approaching Him with a surrendered heart. When we give Him all of us, He can then give us all of Him! What an amazing gift this is! What a powerful gift! There really are not words that can fully grasp this kind of love. What this also shows is that this is a two way street. Like all relationships, we must give what we receive. So much more, we should be giving to God. He deserves all of us because ultimately, we are already His creation–His handiwork. Also, in Matthew 5:8, he further emphasizes that, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When we approach our king with a heart that is surrendered to Him and His word, then we WILL see God. His word is faithful and holds true.

Revelation 3:20: 

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (NIV)

“Behold, I stand at the door [of my church] and continually knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (restore him) and he with Me.” (Amp)

Do you hear the words of our Lord? He is already waiting on you! He continually stands outside the doors of our hearts and consistently knocks on it. He is so wanting for you to open the door so that He can come in and “eat with you.” I like how the Amplified version clarifies that phrase “eat with you” to “restore you.” The word restore means “bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate.” The “previous right” that God wants to bring back to us is the right we had to commune with him face to face as he did with Adam and Eve in the garden before the corruption of man took place. This is what we were designed and created for–a intimate, close, face to face relationship with the God Most High. He CREATED us for his own delight. What love He has for us! How could we not want to know Him? Restore also means “return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position.” God wants to return us to our former condition prior to the fall of man. He wants to remove the separation that sin created by mending our spirits and souls with the blood of Jesus. When Jesus paints the doorposts to our hearts with His blood, then the separation between us and God no longer exists. We are one. (We are not on the same level or above God, but the Holy Spirit then resides within me connecting me to my King) Lastly, restore can mean “repair or renovate (a building, work of art, vehicle, etc.) so as to return it to its original condition.” I love the illustration of this. I can see the Holy Spirit coming into my heart as the divine architect takes assessment of my heart, and tears down the old and corrupted belief systems and replaces those ungodly beliefs with His word–the Truth. In Psalm 145:18, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” If our hearts are filled with the truth, then he is already with us– there is no need to “wait” on His presence–you already have it!

Psalm 27:8

“My heart says of you, ‘seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (NIV)

“When you said, ‘Seek My face [in prayer, require my presence as your greatest need],’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face of Lord I will seek [on the authority of Your word].” (AMP)

I hope that this is the cry of your heart as we are closing our series on “Seek the Face of God.” When we are truthfully seeking God with a surrendered heart and our hearts are in a state of needing His presence, God will show up. He will send His manifest presence in abundance to complete and fulfill the destiny and purpose for your life. Take Him at His word. Seek Him and find out for yourself, and I encourage you to journal the experience or experiences you have so that you can see with your own eyes how God is showing up for you. Press in to Him, and He will meet with you Face to Face, Spirit to Spirit, and when He does, mountains will move, chains will be broken, and freedom will ring!

I will leave you with my first personal encounter that I had with the Lord after I became saved. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was twelve. I had grown up in church, and I always felt the “knocking” of the Lord on my heart. But when I was twelve, I invited Christ into my life, and then the most unexpected event happened, an event that would forever shape and mold my perceptions of God, my family, and myself. My mother passed away leaving me with an emotionally and often physically absent father. There were many nights I cried alone in my room, desperate to have my mother back, to have a family again, to feel the warmth and love and peace that a home should bring. I remember at the height of my grief telling God that I couldn’t take the pain and loneliness anymore. I was sitting on a park bench after completing a half mile run that my Aunt had led me to do. I laid down on the bench, face directed towards the “sun” and I cried and I prayed for God to make a move. I pleaded with Him to change my circumstances, to bring me peace, to fill the void of hurt, loss, shame, guilt, and abandonment. Just as I finished my prayer, my Aunt, who had been continuing her run while I was sitting alone on the bench came up to me and said, “God told me to pray with you about the hurt you are feeling, the loss of your mother and father, the shame and guilt you have for what you feel towards your dad, and for the loneliness that is so heavy on your heart.” I was so in shock that God moved so fast. My aunt then proceeded to pray with me about each aspect that I asked God to move in. Some things he moved in immediately–he healed my hurts, removed my shame and guilt, and he comforted me and filled me with peace. I remember shaking and feeling weak and exhausted after her prayer. This is the first time I experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit. He moved within me that day. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he physically touched me and met with me face to face. It was not a physical face to face, but rather a meeting of my spirit with His spirit. As far as the loneliness and abandonment, he did not deliver me from it that day. Instead, a year and a half later, I was removed from my home and placed within my aunt’s care. This move of God altered my path forever. This move is what ultimately lead me to this moment right now. His presence creates movements in your life that may be immediate or may be in the future, but one thing is for sure, he is MOVING in your life and within you.

Please let me pray for you: 

Heavenly Father, Lord, You are glorious! Your presence is infectious and powerful. We are so thankful for Your majesty, glory, and sovereignty on this earth. You are the Lord, Creator of all things. We are in awe of You and all of that You have done in our life. Lord, we believe that when we call on Your name and trust in Your word that You are there with us. You word says that You will never leave nor forsake us, and we put our faith in Your word. Lord, Your presence is mighty and has the ability to break every chain that is binding us to our circumstances. Lord, You sent Jesus to loose us from bondage, and You sent Jesus to bring Your Holy Spirit so that we may experience a face to face, spirit to spirit meeting with You. Oh, how much You love us! We thank You for Your love, we thank You for Your mercy, Your grace, and Your peace! Lord, at the moment of salvation, You painted the door posts of our hearts with the blood of Jesus–a shield to protect us from all that comes against us, and to cleanse the thrown room of our hearts for a holy place for Your spirit to dwell. Lord, help us to always trust in You, have faith in You, and to continue to grow and produce good fruit, and to keep our eyes focused on You and Your kingdom. We ask for heaven to come to earth, to send your presence amongst us, and to heal our hearts, our communities, our land. We love You Lord. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!

Scriptures to study:

Isaiah 55:6

Jeremiah 29:13

Revelation 3:20

Psalm 27:8

Songs of Worship: 

Holy Ground by Passion Ft. Melodie Malone

In Your Presence by Elevation Worship

With Us by Hillsong

Where Does He Abide?

You abide within the secret places.

You captivate our private spaces.

You are revealed amongst the weak.

You are discovered wherever we seek.

You are always within the minutes.

You are between our souls and our spirits.

You are among the heavens and the earth.

Your signature is seen at our birth.

You are located within our love.

You are presented as a dove.

You are unearthed within your word.

You are recognized within our work.

You can be sighted within the stillness.

On Your throne, you are nested.

You reside amongst the blessed.

You are the Peace that keeps us rested.

You abide within our faith.

You are discovered within our days.

Over all, you can be seen in love.

Over all, you abide amongst us, not just above.

Devotional: Seek the Face of God: Post 4

In the first post of this series, we ended with four questions that can guide us through how we seek the manifest presence of God. When we have explored throughout this series, what we need to prepare and what we need to bring with us when we are seeking the face of God. We know we need to prepare our temples, our bodies, to ensure that His spirit has a holy place to dwell. We can do this by renewing of our minds and hearts with His word, and by guarding the entrances to our hearts, souls, and spirits. We know we need to bring with us a surrendering heart when we are seeking the manifest presence of God. A heart that is totally surrendered to God and His will can fully experience the joy, peace, and power of His presence.  Today, we are going to explore where His manifest presence lives.

He lives on His throne. 

Often, I forget that God is the King of all. Recently, in my women’s bible study on Wednesday nights at my church, I was speaking to another woman about the reverence of God. In the five minutes that I spoke with this fellow woman of faith, I gained five times the wealth of remembering that we need to be in a constant state of “awe” of God. He is WORTHY above all to be praised. He is the King, creator of the universe. All exists because He exists. She comes from a Catholic background, and during the time she has spent at our church, she has observed how “relaxed” our view of God is. This hit home BIG time because she is right, to some degree. The protestant faith has moved God into a place that anyone can approach Him, He is everyone’s friend, and to come to Him as you are. While these are all true and God is all of these things, I think we tend to forget that He is also mighty, all powerful, all knowing, the ultimate judge, the ultimate king, the alpha, omega, beginning, and end. He lives on HIS throne above the Heavens within His kingdom. He is divine, three in one, and omnipresent. In Isaiah 37:16, it talks about who God is and where He dwells. “Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms on earth. You have made heaven and earth.” (AMP) What really stuck out to me is that He is “enthroned above the cherubim.” The word“enthroned” means to “install (a monarch) on a throne, especially during a ceremony to mark the beginning of their rule.” The word enthroned specifically applies to a “monarch”, a king, and He is seen to be sitting on His throne in ceremony which tells me that we should be in a constant state of praise for our King who sits on His throne. This is a ceremonial truth for our lives. What better understanding can we gain than knowing that the God of everything, the God of power and kingship loves us deeply enough to send His son so that we will never be separated from Him. It is important for us to remember that He must be praised and respected because  He is the one who sits on the throne of all–not us.

He abides within His word. 

The Holy Bible is alive and well today. It is the living word of God, and it holds a significant amount of power in our lives if we will study it, meditate on it, and apply it to our lives. When we study the word and start to write the words of the Lord on our hearts, then we are able to experience the beautiful face of God. The Word became flesh, and His blood painted the door post of our hearts so that He could shield our bodies to withstand the manifest presence of God. The Word is God. In John 1:1-2, the apostle John clarifies the divinity of Jesus. “In the beginning [before all time]  was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God.” (AMP) If we are struggling to find Him, all we need to do is to open the word, and He will be found. His presence will manifest within His word. Also, when we are studying the Word, we are drawing closer to Christ, and the closer we are to Christ the more of His presence is then seen within our life. We will start to see the fruits of the spirit emerge and flow from having Christ within us.

He lives within others. 

We know that at the point of salvation Jesus enters our lives and takes up residence within our heart. We need to keep in mind that Jesus’ mission was, is, and has always been about others and not of himself. He sees the value and potential of every person those who are believers and those who are not. His mission is to train us to love God and to love others by serving the kingdom of God. When we are taking a warm dinner to a struggling new mom, when we hold the door for someone else, when we are holding conversations with our friends, co-workers, and family, when we pass the homeless person on the street, when we disregard the lost and hurting people around us, we need to be reminded that Jesus loves these people–all people. Just as Jesus has taken up residence in your heart, He could also be within their hearts, or He longs to be within their hearts and you may be the only entrance they have for Him to enter their hearts. What a neat and powerful responsibility we have to be the example of Jesus and to love just as he loves us.

He also abides where other followers of Christ are gathered. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus declares, “where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.” (AMP) Just as their is strength in numbers, God’s manifest presence also has more resonant when we are gathered together as the body of Christ. It is so important to have our weekly or continual fellowship with other believers so that we can support one another, strengthen one another, learn from one another, and love one another. The Christian community needs each other, to stand in agreement, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to house His anointing, and to share His love with the world.

He lives within our faith. 

Lastly, Jesus lives within our faith (belief in Him) and our faithfulness (application of His word) to Him, His will, and His word. He can move in our lives because we trust in Him, abide in His peace, and live in the spirit and not in the flesh. It is His spirit within us that frees us from the bondage of sin, and our simple act of faith invites Him in to do the works he so longs to do for us. In Galatians 2:20, Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (AMP) If we are searching for God’s face (manifest presence) then we need not look further than our heart. In our hearts, He resides. 

Please let me pray for you: 
Heavenly Father, You are the Lord of all! You sit mightily on Your throne, and Your kingdom reigns victoriously over all the earth. Thank you Lord for sending your son Jesus to abide within us, so that we will eternally be interconnected with You. We love how you love us. Lord, transform our hearts to be like You, and help us Lord to live within Your will. Thank you for the truth that when we seek You we will find You. (Matthew 7:7-8) I pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ today. Lord, You know their situations, and You know the moves that need to be made. Lord, bless them and keep them. Lord Jesus, we praise You for all You have done, are doing, and will do in our lives. We are so very thankful for Your love. All for Your glory, honor, and praise, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Songs of Worship: 
“Christ In Me”by Jeremy Camp
“God With Us” by Jesus Culture
“No One Higher” by Aaron Shust
Scriptures to Study: 

A Surrendering Heart

Lord, here I am

Take me Lord

And do what you will

For it is all for you.

 

Lord, I give it all up

I put all my trust in you

Your plan is always right

Your will is grounded in truth.

Lord, with Your precious blood

Cover my earthly life

Let my spirit, and not my flesh,

Let it be Your Holy light.

Lord, I surrender my heart.

Lord, I surrender my will.

Lord, I surrender it all.

For Your love has my spirit fulfilled.

 

Devotional: Seek the Face of God Series: Post 3

What must we bring when we seek the face of God?

When we want to enter into the manifest presence of God, we must bring with us a surrendering heart. When we enter into his manifest presence, God wants to do something within us which means our hearts must be open, and we need to be in a place of total surrender. When we are in total surrender, God, then, has no limits to what he can do. Please don’t miss understand me. God is all powerful and sovereign, so He does not have any limitations. However, the character of God is a gentleman. He will not enter a situation unless He is invited into it. When we invite God into our hearts, miraculous things can happen. God’s light will shine on the areas of your heart that needs to be healed in order for us to follow His divine plan for our lives. This is the greatest blessing we could ever hope for. FREEDOM from hurt, FREEDOM from sin, FREEDOM to feel the joy, peace, and love that He is so wanting to bestow upon us.

What is true surrender?

In Matthew 16: 24-25, Jesus states to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (NLT) What I believe Jesus is stressing to His disciples is that to follow Jesus it requires a real and true commitment. That word “commitment” really stands out to me. It has the connotation of security, loyalty, devotion, and endurance. When we commit to someone or something, we are agreeing to give it our best shot, our greatest effort because we are investing ourselves within it such as a marriage, a friendship, a job, our children. We commit to things that we hold dearest to our hearts. So therefore, we cannot half heartedly pick up our cross and follow Him; we must do this to the fullest in order for us to truly have what He died on the cross for us to have. He wants us to experience, here on this earth, the freedom of God’s kingdom, and how we experience his kingdom is to surrender our wills and hearts to the Lord. This is Jesus’ commitment to you–his life.

In Isaiah 64: 8, we are shown the importance of surrendering our life to the Lord, “And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and You are the potter. We are all formed by Your hand.” If God is the potter (creator, master of the masterpiece) then why wouldn’t we want Him to mold and make us into what He has called us to be? He certainly can do a better job at making something of me than I can do alone. Also, in this scripture, I feel what the Lord is speaking to me is that allowing Him to mold us is a sign of spiritual maturity. This is when the true spiritual growth can begin. When are saved, we are like babies within the kingdom, but over time, as we grow in Christ, there comes a point where we have to actively recognize and give up our plans and wills to God so that He can have the full power within our life. The more mature we are in Christ, the closer we become to the Father, the more we experience the kingdom of God here are on earth. 

In Romans 13:1-5, Paul expresses the importance of submitting to the authority of God by submitting to the authority of the land. When we submit to authority–all authority, this is where our spirit will find freedom. When we are doing what is right in Christ, then we can be at peace within our spirit. Also, when we submit to the authority of God, we are more sensitive to His divine and loving correction in order for us to turn from sin, and then to gain what God wants us to have. It is important for us to know that God does discipline us the same way our earthly parents discipline us. God wants us to live a life that is full of the kingdom, and naturally our flesh does get in the way. When God corrects us, it is always from a place of love, so that we are not separated from Him.

In Ephesians 5:21, Paul writes, “And further submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” I believe what God is speaking to me about this scripture is that surrendering to God also means to submit to one another. When our hearts are in a state of surrender, it is easier for us to obey Jesus’ command to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love others as you love yourself.A surrendered heart has eyes focused on the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is never about the internal (selfish wants/desires). It is about the external (loving others) because this is what shows the glory of God, and this is what is furthering His kingdom.

What is the takeaway?

In order to truly benefit and experience God’s face (manifest presence), we we must bring a heart that is completely committed to God’s will, authority, and kingdom. When our hearts are completely submitted to the Lord, He can then move in our lives and into the lives of others around us. We must commit to the Lord the same way we commit to our marriages, our relationships with our children, and our friendships with others.

Let me pray for you: 

Heavenly Father, Abba Father, Thank you for your word that speaks to our hearts and shapes our lives. Lord, we surrender our hearts and wills at the cross of Jesus. Create in us, God, a new heart, one that longs for your presence and longs to see your kingdom glorified. Lord let us be your vessel to reach those desparately needing Your presence in their lives. Let Your Holy light shine within and through us. But not for our benefit Father, but for the benefit of Your Glory and to honor You. It is all about You Jesus. We love you, and we ask all of this in your mighty name, Amen.

Scriptures to Study: 

Matthew 16:24-25 

Isaiah 64:8

Romans 13:1-5

Ephesians 5:21

Hebrews 12 

Songs of Worship: 

“Touch the Sky” by Hillsong UNITED 

“The Stand” by Hillsong UNITED

“I Surrender” by Hillsong Worship 

My Temple is His Temple

I am the temple for God’s presence.

My heart is the rock of faith.

I’m shielded by Christ’s righteousness.

So that I can see His Holy Face.

I guard my temple doors by controlling my thoughts and fears.

I decorate His thrown room with laughter, love, and tears.

Christ cleans every inch of the palace where His glory dwells.

I ensure His space remains undefiled by denying the demons from hell.

For I cherish the essence of His being.

I treasure the sweet and intimate meeting.

For this life on earth is fleeting.

Yahweh-Raah, please, lead me.

Devotional: “Seek the Face of God” Post 2

What do I prepare?

In my last post, I mentioned that we would unpack these questions that were made at the end of the post about “what should we prepare?” “where should we go?” and “how long should we wait?” when we are seeking the face (manifest presence) of God. With this post, we are focusing on just the first question, “what do I prepare?” As I have been studying throughout the week for this post, I felt God was leading me to look at the story of Moses in Exodus 33. This is after he lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and he was working on guiding them through the desert to the promise land. However, the Israelites were falling short on their faith, and the “short” trip through the desert ended up becoming a 40 year adventure. Through this time, Moses met with God consistently, so that he could know God deeply (intimately), and so that he could steward the leadership position God had charged him with well which was to bring the children of Israel into the promise land.

Moses understood two things. 1) God is sovereign and powerful 2) God must be honored for who He is and not by what He does for us. So what does this mean for our post today about what we must prepare when we are seeking the face of God? We must understand that to enter into His manifest presence we have to know and declare God’s sovereign power over our lives, and we must honor God for who He is.

Well, how do we honor God?

When Moses would meet with God, face to face (manifest presence), he would go outside of the camp and into the “tent of meeting” which was a temporary temple in honor of God where His manifest presence could dwell. (Exodus 33: 7-11) This was a predetermined place that was outside of the camp which tellS us that the places where we meet with God have to be prepared ahead of time, and they need to be seclusive (outside of the camp) –a place where it is intimate–no distractions from the world. What I feel God is saying through this story is that to meet with Him we have to be intentional with our time. We have to within our heart of hearts see meeting with him as a priority, and we have to desire to make it intimate and purposeful.

What can you do to prepare a place to meet with Him?

God loves for us to desire His presence. I think that this is why He and Moses had such a strong relationship because Moses longed for and lived for the manifest presence of God in his life. In Exodus 33:12-17, Moses is having a conversation with God. He is reminding God of what He said to Him about his (Moses) mission or calling God put on His life. Moses says, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’  If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” In verse 13, Moses commands God to teach him His ways so that he (Moses) may “know” Him. The word “know” in this verse is referring to an intimate relationship with God. Intimate means to be closely acquainted; familiar; close, and it also means to be private and personal. Moses so desired a richly, deep relationship with God. Meeting with Him was more than just benefiting from His presence. It was about spending time with Him, getting to know Him, speaking with Him. It was about knowing Him better than anyone else. Moses’ heart for God is an example to us. If you are wanting more of the manifest presence of God in your life, you need to time and room for Him in your life. The same way you would a friend, a child, or spouse. Moses also knew about the importance of God’s favor in his life, and he wanted His favor not just for himself, but also, for the nation of Israel. When we meet with God and have an intimate relationship with Him, it should never be just for ourselves. The motivation should be to seek His will for our lives which is to glorify Him by blessing others. Moses wanted the nation of Israel to benefit from his closeness with God. 

Another part of this story that stood out to me was that when Moses went to the temple of meeting to speak with God, God would respond by sending his manifest presence in the form of a cloud. Each time Moses speaks with God, God’s presence is sent as another form. When Moses asks to see God’s glory in Exodus 33:18, He tells him (Moses) that “You cannot see my face for no one can see me and live.” God’s glory is so bright, righteous, and pure that our human bodies could not withstand being in His presence which is why God had to send his presence in the form of something else such as a pillar of cloud or a burning bush. Another part of the story that stood out to me is that the “cloud of His spirit” would come down at the entrance of the temporary temple. Why would His spirit not dwell within the tent? As I was studying this, I felt like God was telling me that before Christ is within us or even in this time, before Christ, God could not dwell within the temple(the heart) of man because of the separation of sin which is what makes us unrighteous, but by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, we are able to be forgiven of sin and through Christ we are then made right with God. After accepting our salvation in Jesus, we are then able to “house” the spirit of the Lord within our temple. What a mighty truth this is!

If our bodies and our hearts are then the temple, dwelling place of God Almighty, then we must seek extra care to keep our thrown rooms clean and polished for His spirit. How do we do that?

  • Standing guard over our hearts by renewing our minds daily with His word.
  • Standing guard over our mouths by speaking words of life.
  • Standing guard over our eyes by keeping our sights on the kingdom of God.
  • Standing guard over our hands by serving the kingdom.
  • Standing guard over our time so that we can keep God the center.
  • Standing guard over our relationships so that we can be encouraging to others and to be encouraged by the Spirit of God.

Over the next week, I challenge you to find your “tent of meeting” and to bask in the mighty presence of your Father. He so longs for you to desire Him in this way. I challenge you to keep a close watch over your “temple” so that God’s presence can be glorified in and through you. The bible says to trust in Jesus to bring the peace that will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7) , and we must do what the word says to protect the temple of our Heavenly Father.

Please let me pray for you:

Heavenly Father, Abba Father, thank you for your presence. Thank you for your love, peace, and grace. Thank you for your Son Jesus so that we may be able to house your spirit within us. That we may have an intimate relationship with you. There is nothing more great, powerful, more glorious than you. Help us Lord to stand guard over our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our spirits. We long to meet with you Lord, face to face. Lord God, shine your light on any areas of our hearts that need to be healed and forgiven so that we may enjoy the full richness and joy of your kingdom and your presence. We ask this in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Scriptures to Study: 

Exodus 33:7-21

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Romans 12:1-2

Philippians 4:7

Songs of Worship:

Holy Ground by Passion Ft. Melodie Malone

King of My Heart by Bethel Music 

Our God by Chris Tomlin 

Seek the Face of God

Preparations have been made

The bags have been packed

The journey must begin

To seek what I lack

He’s hiding amongst the trees

He’s luring me in deeper

Early in the morning mist

I’m reminded to “seek first.”

I find my sacred spot

I will wait amongst the darkness

Just as the morning light approaches

I see the outline of His presence

Slowly but surely, the glory of the Son rises

To shine right through Him

My soul and spirit no longer divided

My heart races as I approach Him

He is the Lord of this Earth

I live within His dominion

He longs for me to seek Him, reach for Him,

So that I will live within His mansion.

He’s prepared a place for me

So I need to prepare a place for the King

His rooms are vast and boundless

My heart is the thrown for His dwelling.

I hear Him say…

Seek my Face

As I long for yours

Prepare me a place

And I will open the doors.

I will live within you.

I will send my glory upon you.

I will fortify your temple.

I will give you my peace.

For the love I have for you is grand.

All of your burdens, I will release.

I will manifest in your dwelling.

So my spirit will leak from your walls.

So please invite me in, and I will do it all.

Devotional: Seek the Face of God series: Post 1

What does it mean to “seek” something? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “seek” to mean:

  1. to resort to: to go to
  2. a) to go in search of: look for    b) to try to discover
  3. to ask for: request
  4. to try to acquire or gain: aim at
  5. to make an attempt: TRY

When I look at the first definition, I see the need to go to God. Often, I find in my own walk with God that He becomes my last resort. When I was studying and preparing for this series, I was so convicted by His words because when I am going through something, I want to “fix” the problem. I don’t allow Him into the equation until I am tired, depressed, and ready to give up. This is not what God wants for our lives. He wants to be our first resort–not our last.

When I looked at the first part of the second definition of “to go in search of: to look for”, I was under the impression that, well God is everywhere-isn’t he? While God’s presence is everywhere (omnipresent), His manifest presence is something that we have to search and look for. In psalm 105: 4, it states, “Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might]; seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.” –Amplified Bible Twice within the scripture we see the word “seek” meaning we have to go and find His face (His manifest presence). Not only do we need to seek His manifest presence, but we need to seek Him continually. The word continually stood out to me, and it  is defined as repeated frequently in the same way; regularly; without interrupting; constantly. We need God’s manifest presence constantly, without interruption. His constant manifest presence is what strengthens our spirits, our faith, and our protection from the world.

I love the second part of that definition, “to try to discover.” This leads me to believe that God has something to reveal to us when we “discover” his presence. Psalms 16:11 states, “You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” –The Amplified Bible. When we are in his constant manifest presence, then He can show us the pathway to life, the fullness of joy, and even more for eternity. Why then are we not all running to seek his face continually? If we believe in the word of God, then why not take Him at His word? I am only just now beginning to understand this truth in my own walk with God… I still am struggling to seek his presence consistently throughout my day.

The third definition, “to ask for: request,” tells me that when we need the presence of God all we need to do is “request” his presence. When we ask for God’s manifest presence, he delightfully and most willingly responds. This is His desire also– to be in your presence. How sweet, how beautiful, how magnificent is God’s heart for us? When this hit my spirit, I was overwhelmed by the sweetness of God. His heart for His people is so gentle, tender, and loving that He so desires to have our presence. What is even more powerful is that you do not have to do anything to deserve His love. He is freely and most willingly giving it to us–even when we are in sin. Because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In Isaiah 65:24, “It shall also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” –The Amplified Bible. “Before they call, I will answer”… I hope you are hearing the heart of your loving Father. He is readily waiting, listening, and wanting to connect with you and to be in your presence. As I am sitting here writing this, I so feel the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”(Cory Asbury). That song talks about how he chases us down. If he is willing to do this for us, then shouldn’t we be willing to do this for Him? A relationship is a two-way street. I so need this reminder EVERY day. This is not my strong suit. Often, I find myself the taker in my marriage, and what makes this even worse is that I expect my husband to freely give of himself–doing chores, helping to raise the kids, pay the bills, surprise me with gifts… But what I feel God convicting me of is….what do I do to “seek” out his (my husband) love? What am I giving of myself to go above and beyond to love him (my husband)? Then I have to consider…what am I doing to seek out the presence of  my Father? What am I doing to love God?

The fourth definition “try to acquire; gain”…We should try to acquire or gain God’s manifest presence. There are many ways in which we can seek to gain His presence. Worship is my key “entering into” God’s presence. Every morning while on my way to work, I listen to my worship playlist, and during my breaks in the day, I pray and listen to worship music. However, there are many ways in which we can worship God. We can through giving, serving, taking care of our bodies, stewarding the things that He’s given us, spending time in His word, and applying His word to our lives. There is so much that God wants to do in our lives, but He needs us to diligently seek Him.

The last definition, “to make an attempt: TRY,” is what is so important to God. Apart from God, we can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. However, we cannot just sit around and wait on God to move. He does require us to do something which goes back to the truth about relationships being a two way street. If we are trying in the name of Jesus, He will meet us where we are.

What’s the takeaway?

In order to “seek” God’s face, we must do what the definition implies…seek him! I’ll leave you with a vision my husband gave me about God speaking to Him about this same topic. My husband is a hunter, and he really enjoys to go Elk hunting. (This is important to note, so that you can understand the vision) In order to go Elk hunting, he has to prepare. He has to search for the right gear that will withstand the journey “up the mountain”, he has to find where the Elk live, and then he has to sit and wait for the Elk to appear. All of which he has to do in order to have the experience of shooting an Elk. What must we then prepare in order to seek the manifest presence of God? What must we bring with us? Where must we go to find where He lives? and then, How long must we wait?

Over the course of this series, this is what we will strive to unpack.

Please let me pray for you:

Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to experience your presence. Thank you for desiring to spend time with us, to dwell within us. There are no limits to your love, and there is no greater love on this earth. How sweet it is to be loved by you. Create in us Lord a heart that longs  for your presence. Give us a burning desire to worship you through our days, and to spend time in your word. Thank you God for your faithfulness, thank you for your eternal love, and thank you for your presence in our lives. We ask for all of this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Scriptures to study: 

Psalms 105:4

Psalms 16:11

Isaiah 65:24

Romans 5:8

Songs of Worship:

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here by Jesus Culture

In Your Presence by Elevation Worship

Nothing Else by Cody Carnes

 

 

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