The kind of prayer I’m talking about; the kind of prayer I think this passage is talking about is substantially different from regular praying, where you ask for things and intercede for others. It’s not an activity where you’re focusing your conscious mind on God, and talking to Him about specific issues, or events, or material things in your life. It’s more like an attitude, an awareness of God’s presence; Continue reading
What happens when you are really in a bind, you don’t know what to do, and there’s actually nowhere to go? I guess the right answer is to do what you learned in church, to do what your momma and your daddy taught you about God. But many questions are subject to interpretation. There are a lot of gray areas. In the meantime there’s a lot about what you believe, and who you can trust: God, the church, people who claim to be Christians, and those who really ACT like it. Often there is nothing you can do except to lean on God, and hope to goodness that all that stuff you said you believed is really true.
So what do you really believe? Well, I believe in leaning on God, trusting in Him. Like Solomon said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding . . .” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Like the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, where they said, right before they were thrown into the fiery furnace, “The God we serve will deliver us, . . . but even if He doesn’t, we’re not going to bow down and worship the image you made.” (Daniel 3:1-30) Talk about leaning on Jesus. Whoa! To get to that level of trust in God, you have to spend a lot of time getting connected to Him, joined at the heart, so when the time comes you’ll be ready.
Luke 17:20-21: 20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
So what can we say about these things? If the kingdom of God is within us (apparently even within the Pharisees) then how can we seek it? How can we find it? What do we do to gain entry into the kingdom of God?
First let me tell you: I’m pretty sure that “the kingdom of God”, and “being saved”, and “having eternal life”, and “knowing God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and even “walking after the Spirit” are all interchangeable expressions for “having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ”.
So how do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? The Bible talks about several different ways to reach that relationship. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe (trust) in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart one believes (trusts) unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”
In John 3:16, John says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes (trusts) in Him, will have eternal life.
In Genesis 15:6 and again in Romans 4:3, God said, “For Abram believed (trusted) God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”
So what is the common element in all these verses? If you trust Jesus as a total commitment of your whole being, then you immediately begin to experience that personal relationship that is called by all those names cited above, and because you have Jesus’ Spirit residing in your heart, that very day you enter into the kingdom of God. And if you’re still trying to figure out how to trust Him; the only way to do it is to surrender your whole self to Him.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” We do lot of seeking God’s Hand instead of His Face. To me seeking God’s Hand means seeking what God can give us. Seeking God’s Face has a lot more to do with seeking to know Who God is; with getting to know Him for Himself; with developing a personal relationship with Him.
In the Bible it calls Abraham the friend of God; God says, “Shall I not tell Abraham what I am about to do?” And God allows Abraham to persuade Him not to destroy a city if there are even ten followers of God. (Genesis 18:22-33) God told Moses He was going to destroy the Israelites because they worshiped idols; and start over and make a great nation of Moses; and then God let Moses talk Him out of it. Says so in Exodus 32:1-14. About David, God says he was “a man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14) God rewarded David in many ways, and many times, and rewarded his descendants for generations because of David.
Why did God do all these things for these men? Because they were perfect followers of God? Hardly. (Every one of them broke God’s laws repeatedly during their lives; but God still took care of them.) Why? Because they all had a personal relationship with God; they trusted Him. If you want to read about other friends of God, read the 11th chapter of Hebrews. They all had a personal relationship with God. They thought, and they acted, as if drawing near to God was the most important thing in their lives. Why? Because it is. As a tool, the idea of seeking God primarily for the purpose of knowing Him for Himself is right up there at the top of the list of factors involved in drawing nearer to God.
What do you think? . . . What do you do?
1] Do you have a personal relationship with the Living God?
2] If not, why do you think that is?
3] Do you feel the urging down in you heart to have a closer, more personal, relationship with Jesus?
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe (trust) that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If you seek Jesus, you will find him. Seek means to draw near, like James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” “Diligently seek” means to do it regularly, dare I say daily; like Jesus says in Luke 11: 9, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” If you seek God, you’ll definitely find Him. God is out there, holding His Hand out, waiting for you to come seeking Him; waiting for you to take His hand and walk with Him and talk with Him. Luke 11: 11-13 says, “If a boy asks his father for bread, will he give him a stone? If he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” Did you get that? He won’t just give you what you ask for; He’ll give you (more of) HIS OWN SPIRIT, that is the SPIRIT OF THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE is in your own private heart. WOW!
Matthew 6:33 says, “If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things (the stuff that the world seeks) will be added to you.” That passage from Luke (11:11-13) about asking and receiving concludes by saying, “For to everyone who asks, it shall be answered; everyone who seeks, finds; and to everyone who knocks, it shall be opened.” It’s pretty unambiguous to me. Pretty straight-forward. I think we all fit into the criteria of everyone. So seeking must be a virtually perfect tool for drawing near to God.
PS: 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “Seek My Face”. (not just His Hand, meaning: what you can get from Him). Seek to know Him for who He is, not just what He can give you. Sit on the back porch with a cool drink and spend time with God. You’ll never forget it.