Devotional - Seeking Jesus; Finding God

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. – Deuteronomy 4: 28-29 (NLT)

    The key verses today are God prophesying to the nation of Israel about their eventual time in captivity in Babylon, which would not come to pass until many centuries later. Throughout the Old Testament we see Israel constantly falling out of the blessings of God through spiritual adultery. The chasing after other Gods and forsaking the one true God. The God that delivered them from the slavery they suffered in Egypt. Remember God provides us with such gripping and detailed stories of the faithlessness of Israel as a warning to us about how we need to be careful with how we live today:

    These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. – 1Corinthians 10: 11 (NLT)

    We too were once slaves and the world was our Egypt. It held us in bondage to sin and it was not until God delivered us that we truly tasted the freedom He always intended for us. Like the Israelites before us however, we too can find ourselves in a state of captivity after being delivered. We too can be spiritually adulterous towards the God that purchased us with the blood of His only Son. We can bow down at the altar of mammon and worship money instead of the one true God. We can bow down to the altar of lust, pride, or anything else the world and the devil offer up to our flesh to worship. From those places however, the Holy Spirit will convict us and we too can turn back to our God and search for Him again. Not that He had ever moved but that we search for the level of intimacy we once had, maybe when we were first saved and everything seemed so alive. Maybe we are not even in a truly backslidden state as much as we are just starting to get a little colder in our walk. The years pass by and sometimes they can weigh on us. Our own interactions with other Christians can leave us feeling hurt or scarred and as a result sometimes our relationship with God can suffer. The key verses today remind us of the simplicity of finding God – we must seek Him with all of our heart and soul.

    As simple as this may sound however I think that sometimes we can fall short in our seeking. We can relegate God to a second tier status in our lives. We seek Him but maybe not quite with all of our heart and soul. Maybe we get frustrated because we think God is not hearing us when in reality we are not truly seeking Him as we ought. For a closer look at this let’s examine how some people in the Bible pursued Jesus when they knew they needed Him. The first such example is when Jesus was leaving Jericho and a large crowd had started to follow Him. There was a blind man named Bartimaeus who heard that Jesus was walking by.

    When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. – Mark 10: 47-51 (NLT)

    Sometimes when we are seeking Jesus we need to throw decorum aside and shout out to Him beloved. Sometimes we have to drown out the noise machine around us and the critical voices we always hear. It would have been easier for Bartimaeus to give in to the rebuking crowd and keep his mouth shut. But he screamed louder – Have mercy on me! If he had decided to remain prim and proper – he would still be blind. If he had decided to give in to his critics – he would still be blind. At the end of the day your relationship is with Jesus. Not your family, not your friends, not your church. I love my mother dearly but she did not die for my sins. I love my pastor dearly but he cannot cure my blindness. Only Jesus can open my eyes to see again. Only Jesus can make my ways straight. Sometimes however, I may have to raise my voice a bit higher when I am seeking Him. I might have to ignore those around me, telling me to be quiet.

    The second example from the Gospel is the woman with the issue of blood. This woman suffered for twelve long years. The Bible tells us that she sought the solutions of the world and medicine only to go through all of her money and still be no closer to being healed. How many Christians can relate to this woman? Far too many I would guess. Far too many Christians struggle with conditions that can sap years away from their lives. Depression, anxiety, or physical ailments. Far too often we can turn to the world for our solutions. Solutions never to be found at the bottom of a pill box. Never to be found at the bottom of a bottle. You see the world will happily take all of your money and offer you nothing tangible in return. Pills that mask symptoms and create secondary dependencies. Alcohol to dull the pain. Therapy designed to help you cope with your problems, which means to teach you how to live with them. God doesn’t want you living with your problems beloved – He wants to take them from you! After twelve long and disappointing years this woman hears that Jesus is coming by and the Bible says she pressed through the crowd just to touch the hem of His garment because she knew if she did, she would be healed. Here was the reaction of Jesus:

    “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” - Luke 8: 45-46 (NLT)

    The beauty of Scripture! Someone deliberately touched me! When was the last time we sought after Jesus in such a deliberate manner? When was the last time we sought after Jesus with such expectation! I am amazed and saddened at how many Christians live out their Christianity with seemingly no expectation. They go to church service after church service with no expectation. Prayer vigil after prayer vigil with no expectation. That is the difference between religion and relationship. Religion can become rote and dry. When you are in a relationship however – you expect things. When that relationship is with the Creator of the entire universe – how high should those expectations be! Twelve years of suffering – nothing my God cannot handle. Problem kids, troubled marriage, unfair boss, bad economy, poor doctor report – nothing my God cannot handle. But do we seek Him? Are we pressing in through the crowd? Are we pressing in to merely touch the hem of His garment? Or are we content to continue to try and see if the world can solve our problems?

    Our travels now take us to Capernaum where Jesus is again teaching and swamped by the crowds.

    When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them,four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2: 1-5 (NLT)

    The paralyzed man and his friends tried to press in like the woman with the issue of blood but they were unable to break through the crowds. They refused to give up however. They refused to be limited by the apparent defeat. Picture this now. They climb up on the roof, with their paralyzed friend! They dug a hole in the roof and proceed to lower their friend on his mat until he is right before the Savior! That is an overcoming faith! That is a radical way to seek the Lord! That is what is sometimes required from us. That is seeking Him with all of our heart and soul. The sad truth is that we give up far too easily in prayer and in seeking God. We live in a microwave society where we expect everything done yesterday. Then we try to hold God to those same standards even though the Bible tells us that His ways are so far above our ways and that a day in our lifetime is like a thousand years to Him. Not only do we tend to not press in, we barely press at all. We certainly do not seek to climb the roof to lower our needs before the Lord. You see this paralyzed man had plenty of obstacles in his life. He had plenty of obstacles that day. He could have very easily given up and given in. But instead, he and his friends persevered and found a way around the obstacles separating them from Christ. Likewise, we too will have many obstacles at times between us and God. The world is very good at offering up distractions. It offers up a level of busyness that is not as busy as we make it out to be. I have watched friendships fall apart because people convince themselves they are too busy to call. While that can be devastating, it is even worse when you let it disrupt your relationship with Christ. We spend so much time on the temporal things of this world and so little on the eternal things of God.

    The last example for today comes from when Jesus visited a region known as Tyre. A woman came to Him and begged Him to cast a demon out of her daughter. The problem was she was a Gentile woman, born in Syrian Phoenicia. Here was the exchange:

    Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.” “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. – Mark 7: 27-30 (NLT)

    What do we see here in this story? With Bartimaeus we saw that we need to ignore the critics and cast decorum aside when seeking the Lord; possibly even needing to raise our voices and shout a little bit! With the woman with the issue of blood we saw that we have to turn away from the solutions the world offers us and press in to touch Jesus. The paralyzed man with his friends taught us that no matter how many obstacles the world and the enemy throws up at us we need to persevere and find ways to overcome them when seeking the Lord. This last story however, highlights the lynchpin for all of them – humility.

    You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud.You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. – Psalm 18: 27-28 (NLT)

    In our darkness beloved. In our wilderness, valley or desert. Whatever Christianese euphemism we want to use. When we find ourselves in the very captivity the key verses spoke about and we need to seek the Almighty God we must always remember that it starts with humility. There is far too much arrogance and pride in modern Christianity. Too much of a man focus. This woman approaches Christ with a very real and personal problem. Her daughter is possessed by a demon. The initial answer given by Jesus is not exactly flattering, is it? She has two choices at this point. She can be offended and prideful and walk away with her demon possessed daughter no better off or she can humble herself before the Master and beg for the mercy she needed. Likewise, we too can face similar problems when we seek the Lord. The initial answer may not be something we like or wanted to hear. Sometimes we have to ask twice. Sometimes we have to persist in prayer. The answer is not always delivered in our time line. David waited for over a decade to ascend to the throne of Israel and despite having multiple opportunities to kill King Saul – he never lifted a finger against God’s anointed. Today we have congregants so arrogant and prideful they think nothing of touching the anointed of God at great spiritual risk to themselves and their families. This Phoenician woman sought God desperately and with unashamed humility. You see, Bartimaeus may have had to shout over people but he had plenty of humility before the Lord and his sight was restored. The woman with the issue of blood may have had to push through a lot of people to seek Jesus but she was ever so humble when Jesus called her forward. The paralytic and his friends may have had an aggressive manner in which they overcame the obstacles placed in between themselves and Jesus but they were acting in faith, not arrogance. And what do all of these seekers have in common? Their approaches all may have been radical but they were different. Yet in common we see that they were all answered. Bartimaeus could see again. The woman’s blood issue was healed. The paralytic could walk again. The Phoenician woman’s daughter had the demon cast out of her. God always answers when we seek Him.

    Where are we today beloved? Where does this Word find you? Are you in need of the Master’s touch? To restore your sight, to heal you of your infirmities or to help you to walk straight again. Do we allow the voices around us talk us out of seeking the Lord with all of our heart and soul? Do we dare to shout out to the Son of David – have mercy on me! Are we pressing in towards Jesus or are we way too casual in how we seek Him. Do we believe with great expectancy that just a brush with the shadow of Jesus could cure everything that ails us! Do we look at obstacles as the very thing that will prevent us from finding God when we need Him most or as the impetus to climb to the roof in order to find Him! It doesn’t matter if we are Jew or Gentile. Man or woman. From the region of Tyre or Phoenicia. We all have one thing in common. We need Jesus. We need Him in every area of our lives. We need Him in every trial that we face. We need Him in the good times and the bad. In the valley and on the mountaintop. There may be times when we need Him even more. When we find ourselves captive in the Babylon that is this world. When we so desperately need to be lowered in front of Him or just to brush by the hem of His garment. He is always willing beloved. He is always willing to heal. He is always willing to deliver. He is always willing to be our God but sometimes we have to seek Him. No beloved sometimes we need to SEEK Him. With all of our heart. With all of our soul. Let nothing stand between you and your Savior today.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – October 8, 2012


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