Tag Archives: seek

A Much Needed Christmas Sign

This morning as I tried to get my heart in shape for Christmas… which isn’t always easy… I kept hearing the song “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and His banner over me is love… His banner… over me… is love. If you know that tune, it is likely stuck in your head too! You’re welcome! But that’s okay, we need to remember that what ties the cradle to the cross is a love that has been there since the creation of time.

I’m not sure if the scripture came first or the song this morning but none the less it’s been a good study.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. ~Isaiah 11:10

From that one scripture, so many others began to run through my mind like the banner song.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (ensign) over me is love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Here’s your sign…

and mine too. While the world is so focused on the physical things of life that bring temporal joy (which I can be so guilty of) the very evidence of our salvation which is the love of God, often takes a back seat. It’s why there can be so much stress around the holidays. Our focus is not on the main thing. The reason Christ came was to prove His love for us. And somehow or another the focus seems to get off Him and on to us.

Here’s your star…

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root of the offspring of David (root of David), and the bright and morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16

Long before the star was in the heavens proclaiming the birth of our Savior, the Bright and Morning Star had His place in the Heavens. He knew there needed to be a plan to saved fallen man, and as the lineage of Adam to Christ, with David in the midst became filled with countless characters of less than perfect reputations, the plan stayed perfect. Amazing.

Here’s Your Savior…

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel. God with us. Is He? Or has He been shoved to the side like the wrapping paper that was only important when it concealed the goodness. Then once the goodness of the gift was discovered the paper wasn’t important.

Do we not treat the Word of God, “God with us”, in that same manner? Once we’ve discovered His salvation we no longer find the paper important. And while the wrapping paper certainly isn’t the important part of Christmas, The Word of God, which is how He delivered our salvation to us is important for our relationship to continue. Without it, He is no longer central focus.

Here’s What You Seek…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (His rest) ~ Matthew 11:28

I don’t know what you need this morning, but I needed to hear words of encouragement from God that would draw my mind back into the central focus of the season. Jesus. I needed that banner waving before me, draped between the two trees; one signifying life, the other death. Together they symbolize the gift of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. The latter of which I cast to the side in exchange for the chaos and mayhem of the season. Praise God I can’t lose eternal life or I’d misplace that in all the wrapping too!

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How to Apply the Balm

Why is it that the people of God seemed to be so continually perplexed when it comes to the things of life? Parents have no concept on how to raise their children without the help of books by authors they’ve never met, the school is left to discipline and teach manners of those that don’t even read the help books, and the moral decay of our schools is evident on the evening news. It is for certain a scary world we live in. The adults aren’t any better off than many youth; morality is situational and objective for themselves, but yet they believe it should all means be defined by the law for all others. Police are viewed as the enemy, there is no respect for authority from the White House to the Church house and in the words of a man who once attended our church but fell out to world “We’re in a mess.” So what’s the answer? Before you think this is a blog of discouragement and chastisement, read on.

This is a word that will sooth your soul…

Jeremiah 8:22 says:

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Israel’s idea of the law had become subjective and their world was in a mess too. And so Jeremiah, the weeping prophet; who preached repentance to God’s people, had the same questions that I had at the beginning of this blog. I have those questions because I see so much heart ache and pain in every direction. Parents want to be good parents, children want a home filled with love, employers want trustworthy staff, churches want committed members, but it all seems to be unraveling because nobody is asking the right questions.

Where is our healing? Where it’s always been… in the Balm of Gilead. Jesus.

I know, I know, His name is on billboards, social media memes and in every sermon you’ve heard preached, and yet your world is still a mess. I think I know why. Because we’re not applying the balm.

The Acknowledgement

God has been after me for…. Ever… to use my talents in a greater methods. You see, I know I have the abilities… I just don’t apply them. You know your own issues, but when have you actually applied Jesus’ word to it? And what does that look like?

The Accountability

Israel needed to repent. They thought their ways were good enough and God would take care of them, because after all, they were the chosen. Don’t we each feel sometimes that God will cover us, come what may, even if we’re not exactly where we should be? Or is it only me? Repentance doesn’t necessarily mean that we have some massive sin, (although it could). But it could mean that you have a spirit of rebellion by not seeking God’s solution before mans.

I see more and more frustrated parents who seldom if ever darken the door of the Lord’s house with their children and yet they want good kids. Good kids need to know the only One who is good. Jesus. He is the balm that can sooth the heartache in the homes that are filled with disrespect and unruly children.

Another often heard conversation I have is with people who are hurting because friends and family have let them down and left them broken. I see people who have been abused in ways that I can’t even imagine and they have no desire to seek the One who can apply a balm to their heart and soul that will heal that hurt for eternity and love them as they long to be loved. He’s a cry away.

The Application

The Balm of Gilead known as Jesus, isn’t available online or in the store. It’s freely available for the asking. Salvation is immediate upon the request to ask Jesus to come into your life and accepting His work on the cross as payment for your sin. But peace,direction, guidance,  contentment, happiness and a wholesome life is only found in those who continually seek a relationship with Jesus for their home. Now… everyone may not be saved in the home, but the one who is can seek the guidance and wisdom of God, and to the best of their ability, live it. As it’s lived, the healing balm is applied. And sometimes it even gets onto the ones who have rejected the Lord and they too feel it’s soothing effects and desire to know the Lord of all, Jesus

But Now… an awkward alliance turns awesome!

broken chick

Joshua 9

12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:

These were the words spoken to Joshua and the children of Israel by the Gibeonites in order to deceive them into believing they were from a far country; yet instead they were neighbors to Israel for whom God had instructed Israel to make no treaty with. Joshua knew enough to talk to God before he went into battle, but what’s the harm in a peace treaty? God loves us to be buddies, right? Ummm… not always. It wasn’t long before Joshua had figured out that he’d been duped, but they had already sworn peace in the name of the Lord, and that’s serious business. So instead of killing the Gibeonites, the Gibeonites became Israel’s servants.

All sounds innocent enough, but Israel had still sinned in that they had failed to seek counsel of God. God may continue to use you, He may continue to bless you, but not to the degree that He would have if obedience had been factored in. But it’s the rest of the story that I love about the Israelites and the Gibeonites. They were not supposed to be mingled in with the children of God, and deceitfully got there. But God’s got a plan and as human as we are we can’t mess it up. God used the humility of Gibeon as a life lesson. They were humbly willing to be servants to the house of God if their life was spared and because of their willingness to serve Him He continued to use them.

After Joshua 9

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle, just as Joshua had commanded.
  • Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  • God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  • Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25)

Isn’t it great what God can do with us when we come to Him in humility and love, willing to be used where ever it is that He sees fit. As Gentiles we were not God’s chosen people, but in His great mercy He allows us to be a part of the family of God, grafted in, adopted in as one of His own. It was an awkward alliance that Joshua made, but because of it Gibeon was saved. Stop kicking yourself because of your past mistakes and rather see if God can turn awkward into awesome!

Can You Say It Was Good?

it was good edited
For several years my job has been grant funded positions of one sort or another. As another closes out there’s always a time of reflection and evaluation on the project, celebrations of success and accountability of failures by staff and grant partners. There have been times that I think the Federal Government has the opinion that they created and mastered evaluation; that theirs is the standard for which we are measured. I’m glad that’s not the case, I’ve witnessed their standard first hand. That’s not a dig… that reality. It’s not just the federal government, its man in general. We all have our own ideas, concepts and standards of what we deem good and often very good which is usually nothing more than substandard work, point A to point B thinking, let’s get’r done. As I read through the first couple of Chapters in Genesis this morning I was drawn into the very first evaluation phase of the creation project.  Seven times from Genesis 1:1-31 God viewed the project and saw that

“It was good.”

The final time, only the day that He created man did he say that it was “very” good.  He had created man and woman, “in his own image.” Vs. 27 reads

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

I have to wonder how far we have come from that image today. God created man and woman and sat them in the garden of creation, giving them dominion over all his work and I’m sure until Satan entered the picture that image was unmarred. I love to dwell on the thought of what the days following creation must have been like. Oh how I long for a time of innocence where the mind is not bombarded with wickedness and distraction does not set in to deny myself fellowship with God. Today the image of God is recreated in the new man upon the day of Salvation; we are the image of God that a lost and dying world seek, yet what do they see? If I look back on my day can I say “and it was good?” I fear my evaluation tools may even be a bit rusty. I mostly come home at night and collapse into a state of mindlessness, happy the work day is done. There’s not an evaluation. An honest evaluation of my life should be measured upon the life of Christ.

  • Did I serve as He served?
  • Did I seek time alone with God as He did?
  • Did I sacrifice as He did?
  • Did I sanctify myself as He did?
  • Did I study the scripture to show my self approved?
  • Did I share the gospel of Christ?

Those are the standards by which I am to evaluate my life. What did I do for the Kingdom? Just as God placed Adam and Eve in the garden with a plan: Verse 26 says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God’s plan was that they were to care take and enjoy His creation and walk with God. Although the plan varies from person to person, God’s still got a plan. We’re the caretakers of something and someone. Who and what has God planted along the pathway of your garden today? And at days end when you’re done tending to it will you be able to say “and it was good?”

God’s got a plan… work it!