Finding Jesus

I just want to ask, when you read the bible, are you just reading it, or are you “searching the scriptures”? Jesus said several times “to  him who has ears to hear, let him hear”…I think he was trying to tell us that understanding the Word of God isn’t going to just happen without setting your heart to it. I know someone who reads her bible everyday, quite faithfully it would seem, and yet never encounters Jesus within the pages. Does that describe you? When you read the bible, are you getting out of it only the surface of the things we’re suppose to be doing? Are you coming away from your private study full of insight on how to live, what to do, what not to do, yet totally missing the revealing of the love and life of Jesus in those passages? 1 Corinthians 13:2 says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” The bible clearly tells us that Jesus and Father God are one, and God is love. So even if you read the bible and get all this knowledge about it, if you aren’t seeing Jesus in what you read, it really isn’t benefiting you at all.

God doesn’t just want us to read His Word, He wants us to encounter Jesus on every page! (yes, even books like Numbers can reveal the heart of God’s love if you are really looking for it!) The Word of God is the essence of Jesus. If all you are looking for within it’s pages is the method on how to live, the do’s and don’ts, the how to and how not to’s, then be certain, that is what you are going to find. And if you can follow through with everything you read, you will surely reap the rewards of those teachings. But you still may totally miss Jesus, the love of God, and knowing him according to is love, not just his commands.

Every time we open our bible we should be encountering Jesus and the love of God. Every time. If your understanding of the purpose of the Word of God is just that it is to teach us how to live, you have a very narrow, works oriented view of the Bible, and God wants so much more for you than that. It’s more than telling us how to live, it’s about revealing to us our Father’s heart, the essence of love itself, the reality of Jesus Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit. If you only see the do’s and don’ts, you’ll never even see the heart of the Father when you read verse after verse of who begot who, and how many were in each tribe and family and clan. You’ll either blaze by those verses or read them just to check off your “through the bible in a year” chapter finished box, totally missing the heart of God as He is trying to show you how no one is forgotten, each one, from lowest to highest is important, valued, remembered. You’ll totally miss the Father whispering how great his love is if you don’t read his word expecting to find it.

The next time you open up the scriptures, ask Holy Spirit to reveal more than just how to live. Ask Him to reveal Jesus in the words you read, ask him to reveal the love of God and the heart of our Father. Ask yourself, did what I just read only make me a better Christian, or did it cause me to fall more in love with Jesus? Don’t stop reading until what you read draws you closer to his heart. And don’t feel like that means hours upon hours of endless reading. It’s not about how much you get into the Word inasmuch as it is how much the Word gets into you! Sometimes it may take 2 chapters, sometimes it only takes 2 verses. But when the Holy Spirit pricks your heart, don’t just blaze by it, stop, meditate, inquire of the Holy Spirit to reveal the deeper truth, the hidden treasure of what he’s speaking. Stop worrying about checking of your daily reading box, and get to know Jesus. Don’t just read about what Jesus did, learn about who Jesus is, because when you seek him, you will find him.


Redeemed from an empty life

1 Peter 1:13 admonishes us saying, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action…” To understand the context of “therefore” we have to back up a few verses to get a better idea of what the apostle meant. The the previous verses, Peter speaks of the revealing of the new birth into a living hope through Christ Jesus that had, until that point in time, been hidden. The revealing of the salvation of our souls through Jesus Christ had finally been made known. Peter says that the prophets who spoke of things to come, and even the angels themselves longed to understand the truth that has now been revealed to us.

It is for this reason the apostle says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” …but what action? I think what Peter is trying to say is, do something with this new understanding! Understand we are responsible with what we’ve been entrusted with. Before the cross, all of history longed to understand what before was only revealed to a handful of prophets, and even they did not fully understand what they were pointing to. But we have this truth. We need to prepare our minds, to be ready to share the hope that we have. This hope, Peter says, is a “Living hope”, not some hope that is unrealized. We are to be ready to offer people a living hope. Salvation belongs to us. Redemption from a life that is empty is given only through Jesus Christ.

A common cry of every human heart is to find meaning in their life. To have a purpose. To make a difference; people need to know their life matters, they count. Jesus redeems us from what 1 Peter 1:18 refers to as “an empty way of life”. People live empty lives when they don’t realize their own value. The world defines our value by the car we drive, the house we live in, the clothes we wear. We esteem the beautiful, the handsome, the fit, and the talented. We attribute value with success. We devalue the poor, the elderly, the sick. God looks at NONE of those things. 1 Peter 1:18 says we were not redeemed with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus. By this, he defines our value. Not according to who we are, but according to what was given to purchase our lives back from death, and can now enter into a life full of meaning and value!

So let us who know the hope of our calling be prepared for action. Let us be prepared to share the truth we know, that God loves each person, every heart, every soul, so much that he gave his son. God’s love gives us our value, our purpose, our reason for being. In a world that wonders what’s the point, that is trying everything it can think of to fill the void inside, let us be prepared to offer living hope, the truth of the reality of Jesus.


Notes On Private Worship

We are called to worship God in Spirit and in truth, at all times, with our whole heart. The scriptures tell us to sing and make music unto the Lord, but worship at it’s core is more than just a song, it’s a attitude, or better said, a position of the heart before God. So how do we enter into private worship times, if it’s not all about singing a song to him? If you are feeling dry in your private times and just need to prime the pump of your heart, try these seven areas of focus.

  1. Encourage Your Heart – Encourage your heart to seek his face, regardless of your situation or circumstance, and often in spite of it. Don’t rely on “feeling like seeking him” because everything is going well. Tell yourself, and let the enemy hear you say it, that you will seek the Lord while he may be found!
  2. Focus Your Thoughts – Focus your mind on His great love, His kindness, His faithfulness. There’s a time to present your requests unto God, but stir your faith up first. Get your mind off of your needs, and on who He is, what He has done, and fix your mind on Jesus.
  3. Enter With Thanksgiving – Cultivate a heart of gratitude. Be thankful. Acknowledge that He is working in your life.
  4. Declare His Great Works – To declare aloud what He he already done in your life is an act of warfare against doubt, fear, and indifference.
  5. Proclaim What He Will Do – Get Proactive, and prophecy to your life the promises of God. Speak it out. Stir up your faith and encourage your heart. Activate the promises of God and stand on it.
  6. Let Adoration Flow – As your heart is stirred, pour out your love without reserve. It’s okay to get caught up in it. It’s not about emotions, but it’s okay to express them. We don’t base our relationship on an emotion, on how we “feel” about our relationship with God, we base our relationship with God on the Word, on truth. Just remember, God created us with emotions, so He does like us to have them.
  7. Listen For His Voice – When we draw near to God, remember that He’s been drawing near to us first! Listen for His Voice. He longs to speak to us, and often will meet our needs with a word before we even make our request verbal.


This morning I woke up thinking about the first chapter of John. Right now I’m reading in both the MEV and the NIV. And in John 1:12 the MEV it says “He gave the power to become sons of God” while the NIV says “He gave the right to become children of God.” The difference in wording perked my curiosity so I wanting to compare the definition of the words “power” and “right”.

The word “power” pretty much simply refers to the “ability to do” a particular thing. pretty straightforward. What I read in the definition of “right” really expanded my understanding. Before I had attributed the word “right” as to mean “privilege”, because I qualified it by the statement “he gave” as if it was something we otherwise did not possess” and not only that, but only those who believed received, therefore making them “privileged” to the “right”. But in all it’s forms, the definition never mentions anything about privilege. Wow, it’s so much deeper!

The word “right” can be an adjective, adverb, noun, verb, or exclamation. The definition includes the following:
(adj) 1. morally good, justified, acceptable 2. true or correct as fact
(adv) 1. To the furthest or most complete extent or degree 2. correctly
(n) 1. that which is morally correct, just, or honorable 2. moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain or to act a certain way.
(v) 1. to restore to a normal or upright position.
(excl) 1. used to indicate agreement or acknowledgement

Okay, yeah, wow, let’s meditate on that til it soaks deep into our understanding! When we believe in his name, he restores us to our normal position, to the furthest most complete extent possible because it is a true fact that we have acknowledged, and is morally upheld in as a legally entitlement we came by in a certain way, which is justified and acceptable!

Lesson 6: the Heart of God that we should Rest

Lesson 6: The Heart of God That We Should Rest

Jeremiah 50:6
“My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have caused them to go astray;
They have turned them away on the mountains.
They have gone from mountain to hill
and have forgotten their resting place.”

The resting place is not a place we just “stumble upon”. The resting place is found upon the mountain. Here, God likens his people to sheep. and in Israel, for the sheep, the resting place was upon the mountain and the way there was no picnic. It’s easy to understand why the people would so easily be turned away on the journey, and linger instead on a hillside pasture. The hillside is just right there, no traversing rocky slopes and steep cliffs. no dangers hiding in shadows  The grass was still green and the sun was shining. To go from mountain to hill is to go from God’s best to just good enough. It’s the gospel without power. It’s salvation without change. It’s exchanging the truth of pick up your cross and follow me for become a Christian and get blessed. The way to the mountain might be challenging, full of dangers and require sacrifice, but the pasture lands we will feed upon and the rest we will come into is far greater than the easy way of the hillside.

God’s heart is that we should come into the beautiful bountiful inheritance that is ours, but the road to the end of our journey takes discipline, diligence, and sacrifice. The beauty of this is that we do all of it not by our might or power, but by his Spirit! Everything we need to traverse the rocky mountain is found in the person of Jesus, administered to us by the Holy Spirit. the only thing we provide is the actual sacrifice of our selves, our striving to figure it out, our struggle to make it work. It’s God’s heart that we should be at rest.

Devotional Questions:

  1. Have I been settling for less than I read about in the word of God within my life as a Christian?
  1. Is my walk with Christ easy, yet unfulfilling, or is it challenging but full of life?
  1. Am I truly resting in the work of Jesus to live life daily, or am I pursuing a “good life” that focuses on me?
  1. Have I settled for less than what God desires for me?
  1. Am I satisfied with where I am spiritual or am I really longing for a higher ground?

Lesson 5: We are Secure, So We Rest

Lesson 5: We Are Secure, So We Rest

Isaiah 26:8 “In the way of Your judgments, O Lord,
we have waited for You eagerly;
the desire of our souls is Your name,
even Your memory.”

This was Isaiah’s “song of victory”. It was to be Israel’s song as well! It should also be the Christian’s song. Why would we, or they, or anyone sign about pending judgments as “victory”? Did Isaiah sing this song because he was so convinced that he was just good enough to escape the wrath of God? Couldn’t Israel too, have that confidence, after all, they were God’s chosen people, right? Or what about the Christian, do we have no fear because our lives are changed and we should be living upright and have nothing within to be judged? Nope to all three. Well Isaiah we know didn’t think that way about himself. Though Israel was and is chosen, that’s still never been “good enough” to escape judgment. And while we should be living changed and sanctified lives,…  well, let’s not dwell on how easily we mess that up!

So how could Isaiah say he “eagerly awaited” God’s judgments? He could say it because of what he learned in Isaiah 6! He SAW God, high and lifted up, seated upon a throne, a throne that showed His sovereign rule and authority to judge the nations. He saw the distance between himself and a holy God. That’s what he saw. What he experienced was a total life changer for Isaiah. He experienced the cleansing of the Lord that only the Lord could provide. He experienced being released from the guilt of his sin. He experienced the truth that it wasn’t about his own abilities, but God’s alone.  He experienced the mystery of the Gospel that has been revealed to us!

Isaiah found a place of rest within the knowledge of God’s judgments, because he knew where his security was, it was not in himself, but in the work of God alone. How much more are we who have received the unfolding truth of the mystery of the Gospel able to now rest secure as we trust not in ourselves, but in the power of the completed work of Jesus on the cross!

Devotional Questions:

  1. When I think upon God’s coming judgment, do I have peace within?
  1. Is there anything in my life I think I need to do better to have peace?
  1. Do I need an increased revelation of the completed work of the cross?
  1. Is there any part of me that still is trying to be “good enough” for God?
  1. Is there any part of me that God has yet to possess?

Lesson 4: No Fear In Rest

Lesson 4: There Is No Fear In Rest

Exodus 14:13-14

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

A prerequisite for entering into the rest God calls us to is letting go of the fears we have in getting there. Again, Isaiah 30:15 says “in repentance and rest is your salvation…” Repentance can be a fearful thing if we don’t trust. Letting go of the outward manifestations of our fallen nature is really easier than what God is really asking for; what he really wants is the reason behind the manifestation. He doesn’t just pluck the bad fruit, he’s going to remove the dead root! In Matthew, Jesus tells us that it’s not the outward action, but the inward desire that is important.

Our Father wants to do more than readjust our lives, He wants to redesign our hearts. He wants to get in deep to the places that cause us to act and behave the way we do. And that can be hard, it can be scary. Our fear of revisiting a past wound or broken heart may overwhelm our understanding of God’s goodness and would keep us from allowing Him access to that place, and ultimately, deny us our place of rest in Him.

To enter that glorious rest, we have to be able to stand firm in our belief that He only gives life, his gifts are always good, and he is trustworthy with all our lives. We have to dig deeper than our fear, and stand on the solid ground we know; God Is Love.

When the children of Israel were about to go into their promise and realize their glorious inheritance, a resting place, they held onto the fear of what they faced more than they held to the promise that it was theirs. It didn’t look like it was theirs, after all, people lived there! It didn’t look like a place of rest, they had just traveled through a desert, crossed an entire sea bed on dry ground (miracle, yes, but still a long walk, seas are big!). They were tired, they were hungry, they were hot and had gone through a lot, and now they have to cross another river and then war against the people who were already living in the land? Circumstances would get the best of any of us, and circumstances often do.

We need to not listen to the enemy when he whispers “you’ve already come so far, does God really need that too?” Or things like “you’ve been through so much, you just can’t go back there, it will hurt too much.” Instead, we have to rise up and remind ourselves that He Is Good! He will never leave you or forsake you and we can surely say with the Psalmist “Though He slew me, yet will I trust Him.” That’s enough to put the enemy in his place. To shame the enemy and declare “no matter what He wants to do within, I trust him. Even if it hurts me, it heals me.”

God is good. Let us believe it, receive it, and allow His goodness to face down our fears and overcome the issues of our repentance, so that as we rest, He can continue the good work He began of refining us into the likeness of His grace, His glorious Son, the love of the Father!

Devotional Questions:

  1. What are the places in my heart I’m unwilling to go because of past wounds?
  1. Have I been denying even God access to those places because I’m afraid it will hurt too much?
  1. Is the enemy telling me now “this isn’t really God speaking to your heart… you don’t have to go there and stir up old wounds..” ? (be honest…)
  1. Do you desire the rest of God enough to let him into those broken places?
  1. Before you dive into those past hurts, meditate on the goodness, love and faithfulness of God, and trust him to bring you through into His rest.

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