Tag Archives: Bible Study

Approved Unto God

2 Timothy 2:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Study. Oh, how I hated that word in High School. Of course, high school was easy for me. I went through it carefree and casual, rarely bringing home any homework because I worked it out during school time. I pulled A’s and B’s and was second in my class at graduation. I never studied and never developed good study habits. I did enough to get the grades and enough accolades that I landed a full ride scholarship at an upper echelon technical University to study physics. I was into space exploration as these were the years of the Gemini and Apollo projects. It was an exciting time of life. Too bad I wasted it all away. I dropped out of that school due to drugs and booze, and refused a second scholarship because my head was so exhausted from the high. I went to work shredding paper and making copies in a big company’s copy center. Just a day after day, high energy, low thought process job. Perfect for someone who didn’t want to study. I have to admit that I rarely came to that night shift job sober. Bit I always got the work done in plenty of time that I could take a nap before going home.

Then I got saved. This event changed my perspective. I started reading the scriptures. I started counseling with someone who helped me turn my negative life into positive thought. I got my longer-than-shoulder-length hair cut to a “business man’s” haircut. And I started to study. Not the Bible yet, but the computer systems and programs we were working with (COBOL and JCL language at that time). I started studying and got a promotion, winding up on first shift and gaining a lot of respect. I became a very valuable asset to the whole operation, and also started training other department heads how to write programs to generate their own reports. All because I learned to study!

After two years of that I met my wife while on a trip to Iowa (a long story in itself) and the Lord sent me to Iowa with no job and a girlfriend I had only met and been with three times. I got a job at a discount store chain making minimum wage and slowly moved up the ladder because I studied systems, plan-o-grams, ordering procedures, everything. At the same time, I began to see a benefit in studying my Bible and not just reading it. I’m not sure exactly when this portion of scripture jumped out at me, but when it did, I knew I wanted to be approved unto God and worthy of all he had blessed me with. So, I studied the word more and more. I used commentaries and chain-references and concordances to go through the Word with a fine-tooth comb. I wasn’t into memorization, but I was into study! Through the years I have studied many different scriptures many different ways for many different reasons. All have led me to where I am today. I still have no idea the depths and treasures that I have not uncovered yet but I will keep digging. This Word of God is inexhaustible. It will challenge even the most educated student over and over again. That is why this particular scripture is so important. As we grow in our Christian walk, God expects more of us. We constantly must study to show ourselves approved. He will always give us more as we seek more. But if we stop seeking, we will fall behind. There is no middle ground.

So, what is the best way to study God’s Word. There are many different methods. However, none of them are any good if you do not first pray about your study time and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth, which Jesus said He would do. Too many men, churches, universities and groups have studied without the Holy Spirits guiding, merely depending on their intellectual prowess to understand the Word of God. This has led to false teachings in the thousands and a scattering of people claiming to be Christians into disillusionment. As a friend of mine often says, there is only one Truth. There cannot be your truth and my truth. If you want to stay on the narrow road that leads to eternal life, the only way to get there is with the Holy Spirits guidance.

Now that you have prayed and asked for the right guidance, you have to determine what it is you want to know. One way to study God’s word is to choose a topic to study. Let’s say you want to learn more about the significance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. You’re a new Christian and you have heard messages on the price Jesus paid for your redemption, but you just don’t understand what that means. You were told if you pray and ask forgiveness for your sins, He will forgive you. You acknowledged that He took your sins to that cross so you would be free from sin. You can feel the new life within you because the Holy Spirit is starting to guide you as you pray. But how does that all work? Why does it work? This is a very big subject and spans the whole Bible. To be honest, the best way to understand His sacrifice is to pray earnestly for guidance, start at the beginning of the Bible and read it all the way through, looking for references to sin, sacrifice and forgiveness along the way. The Holy Spirit will show you that from Genesis to Revelation it is all about the blood. Without a proper understanding of the blood sacrifice in the Old Testament, you cannot possibly understand the blood that was spilled on the cross. You have chosen a subject that will take a lifetime and more to comprehend.

Once you have read all the way through the Bible on this huge subject, then you might want to go back and break it down further. You will now have a broad sense of His sacrifice, but there is so much more depth in Biblical study. It’s not just about the blood being spilled, but it is how that connects to you. Why is a blood sacrifice necessary? How has the blood shown forgiveness and deliverance in the Bible? Why do you even need forgiveness? What is sin anyway? How does the blood cover your sin? What happens when you apply the blood to your life? Why is Jesus so special that His blood cleanses my sin? Do you begin to see how a subject can be broken down further and bring you deeper into the Word of God? Jesus is very clear about wanting us to know the Father’s will for our lives. He said if we ask, we shall receive. Ask God to guide you in your study. Seek His truth every time you open up the Word. Knock on the door of wisdom so God can show you what it means for you. He promises to show you what you are seeking for.

Along the way you may come across a word that you don’t quite understand. Maybe the word love is intriguing to you and you want to understand it better. Again, you have chosen a huge subject that will take a lifetime to learn. When you look up love in a Strong’s concordance, you will see that many words are translated love. It has different meanings in different situations. Greek is a very hard language to understand but it is much more descriptive than English is. Greek breaks down into pieces each word and gives us a perspective that the English just doesn’t quite portray. Your study of this word, or any word, will take a lot of preparation and understanding of how the Greek is applied to each case of the word love that is mentioned in the Bible. Once again, you might want to break this down into studies of each different kind of love. What kind of love did Christ have? How does this love affect me? What should I do as a result of this love? Why does He love me? Looking up each separate word that is translated love and seeing how it is applied in scripture will give you a better understanding of that word.

You can now see that there are many different ways to study the word of God. I use them all. That word approved means that we are received or welcome. It is used of something that has passed the test, or become acceptable because it is genuine. This verse tells us that it is very important we take time in the Word of God. It is not enough to just accept Christ and then sit back and enjoy it. You have a mandate to know God’s word. Get in there and learn it to the best of your ability. You will be amazed at all that God will uncover for you.

Serve Only One

Matthew 6:24

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

It started before I had cancer. My friend David and I began to go through a daily Bible study called “The Walk of Repentance”. This study was one we had done while at Pure Life Ministries back in 2008. We both needed to return to a closer walk with the Lord, and felt this was a good place to start. That study was interrupted in May of 2016 by my
cancer, and picked up again in May of 2017. Every day we would text back and forth what we had learned that day about ourselves, and a short prayer for the both of us to do better.

We finished that book and did a study on Psalm 119, then a study about the psalms in general. Now we are back to that book and into week 8. After this book, we are planning to go through a book called “The Seeking Heart” by Fenelon. This is another book that greatly affected David and me while at PLM. It is a book of short letters he wrote to a lady named Madame Guyone back in early 17th century France. Fenelon speaks a lot about dying to self and humility, and I needed that in a huge way. The interesting thing about this book is that it rarely uses scripture, but is full of scriptural thought. Our plan is to take one short letter at a time and search the corresponding scriptures.

During these studies of ours, I have been using a Bible that my Father-in-law bought me way back in 1979. He bought it when I first went to the tent meeting in Fredonia, Iowa. My wife Janeen and I had been married for 10 months and we both decided to get baptized under the tent that year. Janeen was 8 months pregnant at the time. After the baptismal service my Father-in-lar bought this Bible from a vendor there. It was a Thompson Chain reference bible and it really touched my heart. If you are not familiar with this Bible, it contains very intricate reference in the columns that link together similar scriptures and thoughts throughout the Bible, like a chain.

This Bible became my only study Bible and I started making notes in it with zeal. I used one of those four color Bic pens most of the time, making notes from my own personal study and from sermons I heard. I spent long hours reading and studying things out, wanting to know about God and Jesus. I read through the Bible in a year two or three times, studying out verses that intrigued me. It was a time of great awakening in God’s word for me and formed the basis of my spiritual walk.

As I used this Bible for these studies, I slowly became aware that my love for God’s word is still there, but I don’t spend near the time in the word that I did back then. When I do read, I only read what the study asks me to and I make my notes in the pages of the study book. I really don’t study things further unless I am preparing a message to preach on Sunday. I don’t do word studies unless it is for the same purpose. I have come to realize that I have become too busy to spend more time in the type of study I did as a new Christian.

You might ask how this fits into the scripture for this lesson on not serving two masters. It is really very simple. I now take my time to do those things that I want to do and much of them include money-making duties. I work for a company that does maps of the rural farmland in the Midwest. They are called plat and directory maps, and I work on the plat side, which shows who owns the land by section, township and county. My job is to make corrections to the previous year’s maps. I am also an independent agent for Aflac, but this work has been curtailed by my cancer. I still have a tendency to be too tired to drive out of town, so I have not returned to that work and at this point don’t know for sure if I will be able to. I am also starting on another book about my cancer journey.

The last book I wrote, called “The A.S.K. Principle” did take me into the word quite often and it was a lot of fun pouring through the bible to find appropriate verses on prayer. A lot of the scriptures were already there from the original study done back in 1990. I just had to look those up again and a few more for good measure. I had learned a lot since then, and other scriptures fit into the study nicely. I started blogging this book back in January of 2017, and by early November had the book to the publisher.

The time I spend in God’s word today is minimal. I have been thinking a lot about that over the last month and realize I am trying to serve two masters. On the one hand, I am in the word every day with this study, but I am not taking notes for myself about the things I read, and I am not looking into things with the zeal I once had. I am not taking notes on sermons that I hear as often as I used to. I am torn between my time of work and of things of this world and spending more time with God.

I also see that I don’t approach His word the same as I used to. Before it was with a fascination of the things of God because I was a new Christian and I was hungry to learn more about how everything fit together. How did the New Testament tie into the Old Testament? Why is knowing about the OT sacrifices and temple so important to my understanding of Christ’s sacrifice? How do the history books have any significance in my life today? I approached the word as a child wanting more and more understanding and knowledge all the time. God honored that and has given me much wisdom and knowledge in His word.

But now I think I know a lot, and do not approach the scriptures as I used to. Other things take my time up and I am beginning to understand this verse more. I am serving two masters, and my love for the scripture is not as fresh and new as it was. I have not come to the point that I hate the scripture, but I must admit it is a chore to sit and just read it anymore. I read what I must and stop there. I am not hungry for the meat, or thirsty for the living water. I am a little stagnant in my growth and knowledge of His word. I need to change course.

Part of this is due to the internet I think. Web sites like Bible gateway have made it easy to look up scriptures and a search on various subjects has made it convenient to search scripture by typing my subject in and seeing what comes up. I don’t have to do a lot of reading and searching in the actual Bible anymore if I don’t want to. I don’t have to walk through the scriptures and pour through cross references like I once did. At the touch of a button it is all right there. Is this as good as flipping through the pages and searching for the answers? Actually it might be better from a thoroughness standpoint. But it is not better for me. It is just more convenient.

Jesus said we must become as little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). One of the things this statement says to me is that I need to approach God’s word as a child, with a hunger and thirst to know more and experience more. A burning desire to get to the bottom of what this means for me, and a faith that accepts what God is telling me and make it a practice in my life. A child is always on a quest for knowledge and understanding. As adults we can come to a place where we think we have that wrapped up, and we stop growing.

I am caught up in work so much that I don’t take time to just study the word for myself. I need to change this. I must spend more time just reading His word and making notes for myself. Studying out truths again that I once did. I must let the scripture speak to me again, as if I had not read it before. As a child. I cannot serve two masters. I want to make God the master I serve. I must make a living and this honors God. But I must not neglect His word.

Doing studies like this one online have been a help to me in this quest. I have to look things up again that I have studied in the past. I have to get into the word to write these posts. I may not use a lot of scripture here, but I listen to God when I write things down/ I always hope that what I write will speak to you about your walk with the Lord. Are you taking the time in scripture each day that you need to? Are you learning each day, or are you stagnant in your walk? Can you read the scripture with fresh eyes each time, or do you bring all the previous learning with you and think you know this or that verse and what it means?

Today I challenge you, as I also challenge myself, to start a new chapter in your walk with the Lord. If you have been taking the time to really study His word and take notes on what you learn that is good. Continue to do that. If you, like me, have been coasting through the scriptures and not taking real time to study them out, than start to do that today. Start with a new book of the Bible that you haven’t read in a while and ask God to open up your heart to His spirit so that he can guide you into all truth. Make notes and underline scripture. Make this a priority at the same time each day. For me it will be in the morning before the cares of the day take over.

This is a new day! Give all you have to God and make the most of it. Serve only Him, and love Him more every minute. He will not disappoint you!

God’s Wisdom VS Man’s Wisdom

Galatians 1:6-12  (KJV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul goes into right into the guts of his letter. He is writing to the Galatians because somewhere between his first and second missionary journeys they got off course. It is believed his first two missionary journeys we’re 3 to 4 years apart. From the references that I look at, the first occurred around 48 AD and the second around 51 AD.

In that time, the Judaizers had come in and taught them that the message Paul had preached was not enough for their salvation. Judaizers believed that Old Testament laws, like circumcision, still needed to be observed despite Christ’s atoning sacrifice.  Paul preached a message of grace. His message was that Christ’s sacrifice was enough – no more following of the law was needed.  

He is amazed that after they fervently believed in what he had preached many in the church fell for the false teaching, being deceived.   They believed what Paul called “another gospel”.  It was not the good news he had brought.

I see this still applicable in many churches today. They want us to follow after doctrines that have been passed down from generation to generation. They expect us to put aside the truth of the Gospel message for the message of men.

I have regular email conversations with my brother about having faith in the gospel and having faith in science. He is a firm believer in evolution, global warming, The Big Bang Theory and abortion to name a few. He believes these things because he claims they can be proved. Then he says they are proved by scientific theory.

Theory is defined in the online dictionary this way:

  1. 1.  coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena:
    Einstein’s theory of relativity. Darwins Theory of Evolution 
  2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to  experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

It takes faith to believe those things just as much as it takes faith to believe the gospel.  They are commonly regarded as correct, but not proven correct.

I tell him that he can place his faith in man if he likes to but I would prefer to place my faith in God. He argues with me that he is not placing his faith in man. He is placing his faith in science. I tell him that science is man’s wisdom not God’s wisdom. The Bible is God’s wisdom not man’s. Man’s wisdom is foolishness with God. (1 Cor 3:19)  The Bible tells us the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). Those who do not have the fear of God have a tough time grasping the wisdom of God.

Man finds his own knowledge. They say that their calculations of time and space are completely accurate based on a theory.  But do they know whether time can be sped up in the absence of matter over long distances?  Can they know if time can be expanded? Have they calculated how far and how fast the stars travel away from us?  Can they prove carbon dating is faultless? Could carbon dating speed up faster through time? These are all questions that I have and there are many more. All of these things are based on Theory. Gods ways are high above our, His thoughts beyond what we can think (Is 55:8-9)

The East Coast was supposed to be flooded over by now. But it is not. I believe all the temperature differences are cyclical. This cycle that we are in has happened before. And a cold cycle will come back and then we’ll be threatened by ice. They thought that was going to happen in the 70s (Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages)  and many warnings went out. Why do you think the name of the threat was changed from global warming to climate change? So many questions on their theories. The beauty of it is that science is slowly but surely starting to prove the Bible is true.  This will happen more in the future. It’s time for the scientific Community to wake, up not the Christian.

Let me get to the social issues. Man’s Wisdom tells us that abortion is a good thing. It gives a woman Freedom over her own body. Abortion has led to the largest Holocaust in the history of the world. The Nazi Holocaust is now said to have killed around 20 million total.  The US has alone has had over 60 million abortions since Roe vs Wade. Worldwide the number is nearing 1.5 billion  We have lost more than a generation and we wonder why our economy is in trouble.

Abortion also has a negative effect on a majority of those who have them.  A CBS REPORT in 2010 showed that depression, anxiety, health problems, and stress all were symptoms.  Families can break up over this decision.

If you just look at dollars, you will find that this could possible be the number one cause for government debt. Lack of tax payers into the system is now blowing social programs way out of proportion as intended.  It’s incredible when you look at that fact.  When these programs were started, no one saw us killing a generation.  But now many denominations have accepted abortion as something that is okay. Believing man’s Doctrine.

Then they say that same-sex relations don’t hurt anything. How many marriages have been broken up because of same-sex relations? How many have turned to these relationships only because of our unfaithful generation?  How many have gone down the pornographic road and seen what seems like a better lifestyle? How many have turned to this because of abuse during their youth?

The family is the foundation of our society. If the family breaks down, our society will breakdown. Family has been redefined in our day and age. There was no doubt about what a family was only 30 years ago. Now we have all kinds of questions as to what family is. And any kind of family seems to be now acceptable.

God does not say that. That is man’s wisdom. Once again we have substituted man’s wisdom for God’s wisdom. Many churches grabbed onto it and are running headlong into it. We are destroying the fabric of our society in the name of grace and forgetting the weight of truth in God’s word.  See Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:21-32, 1 Cor 6:9-10 and 1 Tim 1:8-10  This is sad.

It is incredible to me how the church is being pressured into changing the views on these two subjects. They are threatened because they think the government can take away too much. They have to submit – but doesn’t God supply if we stay faithful? Instead of preaching the true gospel they listen to the pro-choice crowd.  They listen to LBGTQ community.  They are pressed to follow man’s wisdom and not Gods, and they succumb to the blackmail.  Now we have hate crimes!  Crime is crime, no matter who it is done to.  Bullies are bullies no matter who it is done to.  We have made people who live in sin into a protected class.  Right is wrong, and wrong is right.  The church is complicit in all this.  We neglect the truth.

Christians are supposed to be light in a dark world. We are supposed to shine the light onto sin and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment. That’s not our job.  All we have to do is deliver the message. The problem is that these groups are listening to the wrong voice when they hear that message. They are listening to the condemning voice of the enemy of their soul instead of the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we have not spoken the word with love.  Perhaps we have not shown love to them by doing all we can to save them from eternal judgment.  Perhaps we have not shown them how they can be delivered.  

Paul says if anybody preaches any other message then the message of grace that he brought that they are accursed (under a curse). Paul did not preach to please men, as so many do today,  Paul preached to please God. He preached the truth that God had given him.

Paul did not learn his gospel from man and he did not receive it from men. He was taught by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul do not go to the school of the disciples in Jerusalem, although he did stay with the disciples in Damascus. They had little bearing on what he preached, though. Jesus was taught the gospel that he brought when spending 40 days in the wilderness. Paul was in the school with the Holy Spirit as well. This is where he got his revelation of grace.  There is more on this in our next lesson

Paul was a student of the Old Testament. He He knew the law as a Pharisee would (Phil 3:5). He was learned in Old Testament laws and their practice. He persecuted the church because he knew of Jesus teachings and how they subverted the law as he understood it. But when Jesus knocked him off that horse and put him in the school of the Holy Spirit, Paul realize that the whole Old Testament was pointing to Jesus all along. And he realized exactly how Jesus fulfilled the law. He knew that Grace was the way the salvation.

But the Galatians that accepted the false doctrines that were being taught to them. The rest of the book will deal with Paul coming against the belief that they had taken up. But first he goes back and shares his credentials and that will be our next lesson.

Introduction to Galatians

Our next excursion will be into Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul wrote nine different books to the churches and this is one of them. There are actually several churches in the area of Galatia, not just one Church as Ephesians or Colossians are. The churches included in the region of Galatia are Lystra, Iconium, Derby and Pisidia Antioch. Paul visited these churches on his first two missionary journeys, which tells us that he had a close relationship with them.

There’s a lot of dispute over when the letter was actually written. Some feel it was written around 49 A.D., before the Jerusalem Council took place (50 A.D.). They believe Paul wrote it shortly after his second visit to the churches. Others believe it was written between 50 and 60 A.D. There is no argument that Paul wrote the book, as the style and theme of writing is very similar to his other writings

The account of Paul’s first visit to Galatia can found beginning in Acts 13:14 and running through Acts 14:24 Barnabas was with Paul on this visit. They started in Antioch Pisidia, where Paul was asked to speak in the synagogue and was well received. He then spoke to a group of Gentiles. The following Sabbath a large crowd of Gentiles gathered to hear them and the Jews turned against Paul and Barnabas. They ran them out of town, much to the dismay of the Gentiles.

They next came to Iconium (Acts 13:52). They spoke to the crowds, both Jew and Gentile, for many weeks. The unbelievers in the region eventually turned against them and plotted to stone them, so Paul and Barnabas left for Lystra and Derby.

While preaching in Lystra, Paul prayed for a paralytic man, and when the man was healed, the people started calling Paul and Barnabas gods and worshipped them. Paul put a quick stop to that. But Jews from Pisidia Antioch and Iconium came and persuaded the people against Paul. He was stoned until they thought he was dead and thrown out of the city. But he was not dead. He came back, picked up Barnabas and made one last tour through the 4 cities before departing Galatia. The people had heard the Gospel and many had believed. The church had begun in the region.

In chapter 16 we see Paul returning to Galatia and picking up Timothy along the way. This is when Paul saw the problems that had crept up from false teaching in the churches there, and prompted him to write this letter. Paul’s third missionary trip went by these cities, but there is no mention in scripture that he visited the churches on this trip.

This is not one of the prison Epistles as it was written while he was on the road. Most people think he wrote this in Antioch or even in Jerusalem. This is also a letter that Paul says he wrote himself (Gal 6:11). Most of his writings were taken down by scribes that were working with him, so this was a rarity.

The central theme of the letter is justification by faith alone. The main reason it was written was because the Galatians were starting to listen to false doctrine being spread by the Judaizers which we will talk about later. There are many very powerful concepts in this wonderful letter that we will be exploring.

This study will carry a lot of my own personal reflections on the verses that we share each day (hopefully I can do them daily). There will also be scripture references as we go along where I feel it needs a little more background. When we get to the portion on the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) we will be covering each fruit on a separate post. I am unsure at this time how many verses I will take a day – it will depend on the content. Some days I may just talk about one verse other days it maybe 10 to 15. Each day the title of the post will go along with the theme of the selected verses for the day, as our James study did. I know that this study will be a blessing to me, and I hope it is also a blessing to you. I am thrilled that you are coming along on this journey with me and I look forward to your comments and thoughts as we go along.

Be blessed

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 2C – Seek

There is no secret to seeking the Lord, but there are some ways that we can make the experience better for us. We will discuss the ways of seeking the Lord and then, in the next post,  the blessings that we get from seeking the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:29 – But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

This is a double verse because it says if we seek Him we will find him, which is a blessing which we will discuss further next time.  There is a stipulation. We have to seek him with all of our heart and all of us all soul.  To me that means giving it everything I have. It’s not a half-hearted thing to really seek after the Lord and what He would have for you. There is so much that He wants to give you. We can have the Fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the comforter, the gift of hospitality and others that are listed in Romans 12:6-21.  Just his presence in our lives is something that seeking Him will bring. This is so important and I pray that when you do seek the Lord you will give it everything you’ve got.

1st Chronicles 16:11 – Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

This says we should seek his strength and seek his face continually. There are other verses that talk about continually being in touch with God, like Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice” and 1st Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. How often is your mind on the Lord? It seems to me throughout my day my mind goes towards Him in worship and in praise and in prayer as He brings people before me. I need to make time to seek Him as often as I can

 2nd Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This is a verse of scripture we are probably all familiar with and we’ll be looking at it in great detail in a few lessons because it is a critical to our prayer lives. Part of that famous verse says to seek His face, which is the same as seeking Him, because if we are before His face, we are before Him.  This verse says seeking His face is a prerequisite to having our prayers answered. I pray that when you are preparing to pray you will seek the Lord first.

2nd Chronicles 19 3 – Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

This verse says that a good thing has been found in me – I have prepared my heart to seek the Lord. We just talked about that a little bit. Are you in preparation to seek the Lord?  Is it something that you just do half-heartedly or with all your heart?  How well how do I prepare my heart to seek the Lord?  To me, preparing to seek Him is finding a quiet place where I can zone out the day and the cares of this world, and set my mind on Him.  They say it takes at least 20 minutes of concentration on something before our minds are clear of distractions.  When was the last time you sought the Lord for over 20 minutes?  I can honestly say it’s been a long tie for me.  Lord, help me to come to you more often with time to spare!

Hosea 10:12 – Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Here is how you prepare your heart to seek the Lord. First you sow to yourself in righteousness. That means that you put righteous things into your mind and into your heart. Meditate on Psalm 119 and the other Psalms, think about those things listed in Philippians 4:8. This is sowing righteousness into your mind and into your life. Then he says to reap in Mercy. To me that means to make sure you’re understanding the mercy that He’s given in your life and knowing that it’s on going and that you can’t live without it. You’re depending on it.  When we get to that position, we will see that we are reaping mercy on a continual basis.

Break up our fallow ground. Now we all know the parable of the sower and the seed. It says some seed fell by the wayside and the ground was hard and it did not take root at all. This is fallow ground. It’s been trodden down by life and it will not take a seed. We always think of these verses as meaning a seed into somebody’s life for salvation. But we can continually have seeds planted in our lives that will help us to grow in other areas.  We need to make sure that we’re always going in and breaking up that fallow ground in our lives so that He can continue to plant seeds, or have someone else plant seeds, into your life.

Breaking up fallow ground is not always easy.  Being in the word, open and ready to receive what God has for you that day, is the best starting point.  Read slowly and listen to the Holy Spirit within you.  He is trying to talk to you all the time.  Most of the time the cares of this world crowd out His voice, but if you quiet yourself and invite Him to talk, I am convinced you will hear Him. He will always guide you into truth (John 16:13) and will teach you what Jesus said – what the word says (John 14:26).  Listen for His voice and He will break up that fallow ground.

Once we’ve done these three steps then it’s time to seek the Lord. Then our seeking will bring the blessings that we’re going to talk about in the next post. Oh, how we need to take the time to prepare for that. Because the blessing is that He will come and rain righteousness upon you when you seek the Lord in this way

Zephaniah 2:3 – Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.

We need to understand our position in Christ which is what meekness is. Meekness is not weak but it’s a humble disposition, one that is gentle and not easily provoked, calm and cool as we would say.  It’s a powerful position, knowing that God’s in control and knowing that we can call on his power whenever we need to. When we’re in this position and we seek the Lord, we can seek righteousness and seek more meekness. This is a good and pleasant thing to do.

And lastly Matthew 6:33 –  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

In this verse, which is also probably very familiar to all of us, Jesus says we first need to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And then He will take care of all the other things that we have need of on this Earth. He is our heavenly Father and He doesn’t want to keep anything from us. The Psalm 37:25 says “ I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  He loves us He doesn’t want us to worry about the food we eat or the clothes that we wear or where shall we lay our heads. We should be concentrating on Him Kingdom and His righteousness because when we do all earthly distractions fall aside. Worldly cares will not take up so much of our time. This is a good thing.

I hope you have a desire in your heart to seek God on a regular basis.  Not only does it help us draw nearer to Him, but it also is loaded with blessings, which we will discuss in our next post.

Be blessed!