Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)
Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Matthew 7:7-8, ERV)
In this passage, Jesus was reminding His followers to be persistent in their pursuit of God. Just because we don’t see answers right away, does not mean that we are to give up and let go of the very thing we are asking. Often it is a matter of us continuing to seek faithfully, trusting that the One whom we seek, hears and will answer in His perfect timing. God is never late, yet again and again, we grow impatient and quit asking or seeking before He is done developing our resolve to persevere. This is where being rooted in the body is so important. We can come alongside one another and encourage each other to continue in our quest for answers, wisdom and open doors. May we rise up with resolve to keep asking, searching, seeking and knocking, so that we may continue to find direction and answers according to His good and perfect will.
We must first choose ask,
For answers to come;
Our God is faithful,
The All-Knowing One.
Each time we seek Him,
The Lord we shall find;
He’s always ready,
With our hearts in mind.
When we choose to knock,
He opens new doors;
Shows us the new paths,
We’re meant to explore.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we ask, You hear our prayers and provide answers. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You for Your faithfulness to open new doors as we knock, and make Yourself known in our pursuit of You. Forgive us for not persevering in our quest to discover more of You – be it answers, wisdom or direction for our lives. Teach us to trust You in the process, so that we will persevere, no matter how long it takes to discover the answers we seek. Show us how to love and come alongside those who are in need of knowing You or Your will, so that we may encourage and lift one another up to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask, seek and knock all of our days, so that we may always pursue the path that follows Your ways. Amen.
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5
Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)
Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)
In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.
Lord, help us to choose,
And trust grace You bring.
Try not to argue,
Be ready with cheer;
For our attitude,
Can show God is near.
Let Your love light shine,
A breath of fresh air;
As we choose live right,
And show that we care.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)
What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)
When we are actively pursuing and invested in God, He is present and provides that which we truly need. It does not mean that He is an overindulgent Daddy that grants us our every whim, but rather He sees and knows what is best, and directs our steps and remains present. The more that we seek Him, the more our desires align with His. As they do, He equips and empowers us to go forth and do those things that have been stirring in our hearts. May we ever seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that all that we do is in faithful pursuit of His will.
Seek first the kingdom,
Of our God above;
As we pursue Him,
He meets us in love.
As we seek the Lord,
We learn to live right;
God’s ever faithful,
Keeps us in His sight.
The things that we need,
By grace, He’ll supply;
So we continue,
From morning to night.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek Your kingdom and pursue a life of righteousness, You supply all that we need to live according to Your will. Forgive us for not walking the way we are called to walk, or for not asking for Your help in the spaces that we need more help than we realize. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You above all else, in all things and at all times, so that we may walk in Your will; always. Show us how to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You above all else and pursue a life according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love.” – (John 15:9-10, NLT)
“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Now continue my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and He continues to love me. In the same way, if you obey my commands, I will continue to love you.” – (John 15:9-10, ERV)
As Jesus spoke to the people of Corinth, He was urging them to remain faithful, just as He had stayed faithful to His Heavenly Father. Obedience leads us to a space where we are right with God. He loves us because we are His, but the favor of the Lord is granted when we are walking in His will, rather than walking away from that which we are called. If God calls us to love Him and love people, it only makes sense that it is through our obedience that we would experience more of His love in our own lives. As we give love, we better understand and recognize what it is to receive love in return. May we love as we are loved in obedience to what the Lord is asking, and come to know and understand the riches of remaining in His love for us.
To love and be loved,
Is God’s hope for us;
That is evident,
Through His Son, Jesus.
No matter what came,
To Him on His way;
He still chose to love,
In God’s will, remain.
So let us choose love,
As done unto us;
Love in faithfulness.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to remain in Your love. Forgive us for not obeying Your command to love as we are loved. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love one another according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us might see Your faithfulness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You have loved us in obedience to Your commands. Amen.
Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. – (Ephesians 5:1, NLT)
You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)
Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. – (Ephesians 5:1, MSG)
Imitation is a form of admiration. As small children, we imitated those whom we most appreciated and the traits and strengths most desired to be duplicated. Once a person comes to know Jesus, a more defined set of ideals come into our consciousness. He who loved with His life and lived without sin, is the ultimate example of whom we ought to aspire to imitate. Through seeing and experiencing His love first hand, we learn how to love as we are loved. May we ever seek to imitate God in all that we do, so that our every word and deed is done in love, according to His good and perfect will.
In all that we do,
Let’s imitate God;
The love that He gives,
To broken and flawed.
It is by His grace,
That we know He’s good;
It’s not what’s deserved,
Yet kindness withstood.
So let us go forth,
And love just like Him;
Imitate His grace,
Again and again.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to imitate You as Your children, but You sent Your Son to show us the way and equip us to go forth to do as You do for us. Forgive us for attempting to imitate anyone other than You, as You alone are the only example that is free from all sin and without flaw. Teach us to look to Your example in all that we do, so that we may be tangible examples of Your goodness and love. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might see Your light that burns within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to imitate You in all that we do, so that others may come to know Your goodness and grace. Amen.
Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6
Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:8, NLT)
You should own nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)
Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. – (Romans 13:8, MSG)
God calls us to love one another as we have been loved. If we seek to love in the same way that God loves us, it will require a lifetime of loving those around us to carry out that to which we have been called. Love is a rare commodity – for the more we give, the more we discover we are filled and ready to pour out again and again. Every other sort of debt leaves us empty and lacking, yet love fills, restores, and propels us to pour out more. May we allow the only debt that we owe, be that of love to one another.
For we have been called,
To fulfill a debt;
The space where love lacks,
Hope where it’s not yet.
Choose not to borrow,
What can’t be paid back;
Unless it is love,
For God can do that.
Never stop loving,
Each other by grace;
This fulfills the law,
To walk in God’s way.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us the ways in which we are meant to live according to Your will. Thank You that the only thing we should owe one another is love. Thank You that as we seek to love one another according to Your will, You fill us and equip us to love as You love. Forgive us for not choosing to love like You, or for running up debts that we cannot repay. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be wise in our ways and follow You all of our days. Show us how to love one another according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we opt to owe nothing to anyone except for love. Amen.
But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)
All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)
This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her. She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.
This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.
Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner
Glory and majesty
To the Lord God,
Who created the Heavens
And the Earth;
And breathed life
Into all creatures,
Even us, His people.
He gave meaning to our being;
He called us brothers
And prepared a place
For us with Him
He breathed life into us,
Transcendent life of the Spirit –
Gave us eyes to see beauty,
Ears to hear truth,
Wills to choose His way.
The heavens reflect His omnipotence
Time without end.
God enjoys the music of the spheres,
But hears our dissonance
How worthy is He.
How infinite His love.
Holy be His Name forever. Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.
There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4
Clean up your act – the way you live, the things you do – so I can make my home with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, MSG)
This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you in this place. – (Jeremiah 7:3, CEB)
God gave this warning to Jeremiah to deliver to the people of Israel, as they were not following the path that He had placed before them according to His will. Thankfully, today, we do not have to clean up our act or the way we live to come to Jesus, but rather when we come before Him and invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us and shows us how to clean up our conduct and do right by Him. The tables were turned and the process flipped upside down, when heaven came down and made the way for us to be restored to a right relationship with our Redeemer. I am so grateful for the mercy and grace that we have been granted to come before our King as we are, and then He cleans us up and shows us how to live right, according to His good and perfect will. May we embrace the grace that He has freely given, and seek our Savior to show us the ways in which we are meant to move.
It’s not on our own,
That we get things done;
But rather by grace,
As we seek the Son.
Though there was a time,
That all changed in Christ,
His life justified.
Now we’re called to come,
To God each new day;
Where He makes us clean,
And shows us the way.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, who changed everything. Thank You that we no longer have to clean up our act and the way we live to somehow convince You to draw near, but rather we can come before You with a humble heart, seeking change, and You will cleanse us of our sin and shame, and show us the way to a new life in You. Forgive us for not seeking Your direction when we are uncertain which way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, as You gave everything so that we could be in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and generosity, just as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You again and again, allowing You access to all so that we might live right by You. Amen.
The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10