SEEKERS…I Chronicles 13

At my second church, I started a Wednesday night Bible Study called ‘the Seekers’.  We gather at the parsonage.  Invite people from the neighborhood.  All are welcome.  Unfortunately, decades before, the governing board rejected people from our racially-mixed neighborhood.  Because of their color, they could not be part of the church family.  The community was changing.  The church was not.

But I love a challenge.  To see what God can do.  Seeking His direction and His will.  That’s how our Bible study got its name.  Seekers.   Consisting of college students, teens, new converts to Jesus, people from India and the Caribbean, mixed-race couples, the elderly–basically anyone seeking to know the Lord better.

1 Chronicles 13 offers a sobering reminder about seeking the Lord.  King David wants to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem.  What’s the Ark?–basically it symbolizes God’s presence with His people.

David seeks the Lord–‘Let us bring the Ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul’ (v.3).  What?  All during King Saul’s reign, a nod in God’s direction never crosses their minds.  God’s people had turned a blind eye and a deaf ear.

But just them?  Couldn’t be us!  How foolish when we cut out time in God’s Word.  Or pray only emergency prayers.  Is that smart?   When I’ve taken that path, it only leads to bigger messes.  Going MY way.

Am I alone?  Wish I was.  You know when you’re seeking His direction for the next turn in your life.  No mystery if we’re honest with ourselves…and with Him.  Seek the Lord.  GPS–God’s Positioning System!  Be a Seeker…of Him!  Always!

Lord, we want to follow you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Advertisements

RAIN OR SHINE!…Psalm 72

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we get way too much rain in the winter.  More than our fair share!  A recent one doused our backyard with so much H2O, we feared our lawn would be washed away.  Puddles everywhere.  Ground saturated.   Brown mud where green turf used to be.

Fear not!  Sun came shining back.  Our lawn dried up and, with a little help from reseeding and peat moss, we’re back on the right track until the next winter!

Sun and rain.  We need both.  Psalm 72: 5-6–‘May they fear you while the sun endures…May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!’

‘Sun and rain’ can become good goals.  A call to be all that we can be… for others.  To be like the sun that warms, especially in those cold disappointments that come.  When the frigid hand of death grips tightly, may I be warm, and compassionate and comforting.

Warmth to nourish seed-faith in a new believer– to help someone else to set, root and grow.  Warmth to draw alongside, keeping the enemy from freezing out trust.  Sun!

And rain.  Adding moisture to a dry life.  Purpose where there’s little.  Quenching thirst for the Lord and for human friendship.  We can be rain to another’s drought-stricken life.  Rain!

My prayer is that these devotions will be like sun and rain.  I want to partner with you, letting you know that you are not alone.  Neither am I.

Even better to know that we’ll always have Jesus by our side.  Always.  He will be our sun and rain…forever!

Thank you, Lord, for fellow travelers in our Christian journey.  Especially Jesus.  Amen.

BLESSINGS GALORE!…Psalm 84

In Psalm 84 the word ‘blessing’ is used a number of times.  The first ‘blessing’ comes in verse 4– of being in the Temple.  With God.  Singing His praises.  The best blessing of all!

There’s more?  Verse 5 tells of blessing as we seek Him.  That longing to find Him and His will for our lives.  The third blessing is hinted at in verses 5- 7, where those who trust in God can’t even measure all His blessings.

In Hebrew, the word ‘blessing’ is ‘b’raca’.  Pilgrims go through the ‘Valley of Baca’ on their journey to the Temple.   ‘Baca’ refers to a desolate place.  Psalm 84 reassures them that even in that dry valley they can walk beside Him, arriving safely in that place of blessing.  From ‘Baca’ to ‘B’raca’!

Here’s something strange.  In some churches I’ve pastored, I found myself utterly bored.  Couldn’t wait to get out.  What was missing?  I now know–the challenge of ‘baca’!

My last church was down to eighteen members ( before I arrived, thank you!).  They talked about selling the property.  Had been a church of over three hundred two decades before, a thriving congregation.  Now they were ‘baca’ for sure.  Dry.

The call came to serve the Lord as their pastor.  My reaction?  I loved the idea of being in ‘baca’–dryness, to see what ‘b’raca’-blessings the Lord had in mind.  What happened?  God not only showed us His blessings.  He showered us!

Don’t fear the ‘baca’ you may be in.  Look to the Lord.  Ask for His ‘b’raca’-blessings and see what He has in store.  Seek Him.

‘Blessed are those…as they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs…blessed is the man who trusts in you’ (Psalm 84:5-6,12).  Couldn’t have said it better!

Thank you, Lord, for mighty blessings.  Amen.

 

AND THE WINNER IS!…2 Kings 2: 1-18

Elijah has a competition with Baal’s priests.  Baal has it easier.  Wood and a bull animal–let Baal set fire to them.  Do something, Baal!  But nothing happens.

Now Yahweh, God of Israel, has wood and a bull, but also water drenching and soaking them.  Will Yahweh send down fire?  Can He?

Which god is true?  Baal, the god of fire and water?  The ancients picture him standing, his hands upright, with one holding a hammer for thunder;  and, in the other, lightning bolts.  He has bull’s horns on his head, symbolizing virility.  The god of fire!  Cry out to Baal,  you his priests!  Or just cry!

You know the outcome.  Yahweh of Israel overcomes all the obstacles.  Fire falls from heaven, a blazing inferno leaves a scorched desert.

Baal?  A fireless flop!  His fire extinguished.  His priests a bunch of crybabies.

Many times God is associated with fire in the Old Testament.  Moses at the burning bush.  By night in the desert during Israel’s forty wandering years.

In our Bible text today, we see Elijah and Elisha walking and talking together when suddenly a chariot and horses appear surrounded by fire!

I was thinking about when worry heats up, might it be the moment to step back, seeing what the Lord has in mind?  Not to fear the ‘fire’, but to let it be for my guidance and comfort, sensing His presence in the flames much like what Daniel’s three friends experienced (read Daniel 3).

Fire–not to hurt us but to light our way.  Maybe we’ll experience a proverbial ‘cloak from heaven’ giving us new purpose and direction in life as it did for Elisha

Lord, we need faith to see you in the fire of life.  Amen.