Seek!

Jer 29 13

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares YHWH, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

 

Most Christians, myself included, are eager for God’s blessings, assistance, and attentiveness to our needs. We crave to know our Creator in an intimate way and desire that He listens to our prayers. However, we often forget that there needs to be effort on our part as well. In the same way that a relationship with a spouse is a 2-way street, requiring effort from both members of the relationship, so we are expected to put some effort into our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We are told, clear as day, that we will only achieve that intimate relationship with God when we “seek after Him with all of our heart”.

 

When I was growing up, I often went to church services and programs, but never put any effort into developing my faith. I assumed that, because Jesus died for my sins, that I wasn’t expected to do anything else. I told myself, “God knows I’m just young and dumb. He will forgive me”, without ever considering how much I personally needed to change and seek after Him. It took a dramatic act of God to get my attention and drive me to look deeper into my relationship with Him. Fortunately, God led me to Atlanta Bible College, where I was able to pursue Him intentionally and with great vigor. It was during this time that I truly felt that my relationship with Him had really  begun.

 

While not everybody’s story is the same as mine, the same command from God applies to all of us: “Seek me”. We need to be intentionally developing our relationship further with our Father if we expect Him to do the same for us. So, as we begin a new year and a new decade, I want you to consider the following questions:

 

  1. How is my relationship with God and Jesus currently?
  2. How much effort am I putting into that relationship?
  3. What can I do to develop that relationship further this year?

 

May you be blessed as you seek after your Heavenly Father in 2020!

-Talon Paul

 

One way to be Seeking God in 2020 is to commit to daily being in His Word – a most wonderful place to find Him!  Come join us on a chronological Bible reading plan!  Print out the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan and start reading on January 1.  Subscribe to be a follower at the SeekGrowLove.com site and you will receive daily email devotions based on that day’s reading.  Come Seek Him!  You won’t be disappointed when He shows Himself to you.  It’s well worth the effort!   And, change a life by inviting a friend to seek with you.                                         – Marcia Railton, Editor

Read More of the Good Book

2Tim3 1617 (1)

Today’s common New Year’s resolution is to read more of the Bible. One reason people quit this resolution is that they get lost quickly, or they do not have a plan on how much they are going to read, or they are inconsistent or they do not have accountability to keep them on track. Whatever the reason people tend to start off with good intentions, but they often fall short of their goal.

The verses today are 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalms 19:9-11, and Luke 12:27-28

So why do people want to read more of their Bible? Why is it important to read the Bible? How do we stay true to our goal of reading more? How do we get started? These are all questions you may have, and they are questions that I myself have had in my life.

There are so many reasons to add “read the Bible more” to your New Year’s resolutions. Check out 2 Timothy 3:14-17. These verses tell us that we need to know the teachings and laws of God from a young age and that every word in our Bible, every scripture is inspired by God and can be used in numerous different ways. They are good for teaching and correction, seeking righteousness. Through reading the Bible we strengthen our knowledge of God which can help us strengthen our relationship with him. When our relationship with God is strengthened we are complete, and we can be empowered to do good works in his name and for his will. Another great reason to read the Bible is because knowing more about the history of our faith, the history of God, and his son and the people of God, can give us a deeper understanding of how truly amazing our God is. He is the creator of the heavens and earth, he hand-crafted every thing of this earth, and yet he chose to create you too. He took the time to create you and build his own plan for your life, and all of this is found in scripture. Jeremiah 29:11 says,” For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.” The Bible is full of stories and histories that are good for us to know, and they are good for us to draw parallels in our own lives.

Psalms 19:9-11 “The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever, Yahweh’s ordinances are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the extract of honey-comb. Moreover by them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” These verses tell us that God’s word is more precious than gold, and it is sweeter than honey-comb. God’s word feeds our spirits, and having this fulfillment does not happen if we do not know the ordinances and the word of God. This is such an awesome gift that God has created for us. We can see his love and his caring for all of his creation through his word, and we can see his true value of us through the Bible as well.

Luke 12:27-28 “Consider the lilies, how they grow. They do not toil, nor do they spin. Yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God does so clothe the grass in the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more shall he clothe you, O you of little faith?” These verses tell us how much God cares for us, and will take care of our every need. We live and breathe, we take care of other people, we help our neighbors, we take care of our families and friends, we worship God and in all these things we sometimes worry if our every need will be taken care of. In these verses we find assurance that even flowers and fields which serve very minor purposes are clothed in beauty, and we are so much more and God will take care of us. This is another reason to read our Bibles. When we are worried, sad or confused we can find solace and strength in the words the Bible has for us.

Today I want you to take this with you. The Bible is a great book that is useful in many contexts. It us useful for teaching others and yourself more about your faith. It is important for learning more about God and building a stronger relationship with him. It is a great comfort when we are in need or we are stuck in worry. The Bible was given as a gift to us, and we should treat it as this precious gift. We need to spend time in our Bibles. Going forward from reading this today, I hope that you can find a way to read more. Start by reading this blog, continue by using an app that sends you a verse of the day. You may even want to find an accountability partner to read along with you, or remind you to read. Being a Christian should not be a lonely venture. There are people out there who will support in your journey to God. I hope you’ve enjoyed today.

-Jana Swanson

Resolutions

Psalms 76-78

psalm-77

January 7, 2017

This week we celebrated the New Year and often people make a New Year’s resolution. Some common resolutions are to lose weight, go to the gym or exercise more, and to eat better. People focus on things that will make them feel better or improve themselves. And some people resolve to read their Bible more and improve their relationship with God. These are all good; however, most people give up within a month and go back to their old ways.

Ps 76:11 “Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared.”

                  In Psalm 78, David retells the story of the Israelites. He recounts the many times they called to God to help them and He answered. David also tells of all the times they turned their back on God. They chose to turn away to the easy path, the gods of the foreign lands. Is this how you will approach a vow with God? Stay close when the need is great and depend less when all is good? Just like with resolutions, having setbacks aren’t permanent. The only failure that is permanent is the failure to start again!

-Susan Johnson

 

(Photo credit: http://alifequest.net/AW82.htm)

Make Our Days Count

Psalms 38-42: Making all of our days count by living for God.

makecount

The New Year is just around the corner, and I have to say that I love each January 1st for all the possibility that it brings. When I was younger, I would pull out my journal or notebook and brainstorm the different New Year’s resolutions that I could pursue in the upcoming year. 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, or 31,536,000 seconds seemed like so much time waiting to be filled up with the sky only being the limit of what could be accomplished.

But, flash forward to the middle of the year (about the time of Fuel to be exact) and all the possibility seems a little less grand. The things that could fill up the New Year shrink a little more and a little more as the calendar days get a big slash through until wham, the calendar says December 31st.

Every year, as I begin to assemble my next planner and everything I want to accomplish, I always stop and think about the ways that God might use me in the upcoming year. It’s interesting that nestled between all of the psalms that we’ve been reading, we find psalm 39. In this psalm, David is struggling with sin for which he is seeking forgiveness. In the middle of his laments and prayers, we see this line in verse 4-5:

“LORD, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor.”

Wow, what humility to pen these verses. Mortality has always been hard to come to grasp with, and death is one of, if not the, final enemy that is defeated at the end of time. That being said, what would you give if you could know how ‘short-lived’ you would be? Would you want to know? I would be hesitant to ask for knowledge, but I understand why David would want to know. If you can learn to make the most of the time you have left.

God may never reveal to us when the end of our life will be, but Moses in psalm 90:12 says a similar phrase when he asks God to “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

When we are able to number our days and see how fleeting they are, we can recognize the importance of making each one count (so think about that the next time you binge watch your favorite show on Netflix). We all make choices of what we are going to pursue, so I encourage you to think about what choice you are making this year.

Each year, between the week of Christmas and New Year’s Day, we can always stop and reflect. We started this week by looking to the cross, we can begin each year recognizing that the cross and all the many gifts, blessings, and guidelines it brings with it is at the center of our life. Then, as the New Year comes to pass, we can rely on God to accomplish the work He has in store for us. By centering our lives around God, we can truly make our days count.

-Cayce Ballard