Intentionally with Intensity, Seek the Face of God.
Psalm 27:8 (New International Version)
"My heart says of you, Seek his face! Your face, Lord, I will seek."
Know the Meaning:
Heart - The mind, will and emotions of an individual. It is the seat of the conscious and the vital center of ones being.
Seek - To inquire for; to request. To search, pursue and desire.
Face - A term used in a symbolic way in the Bible to express the presence of God. God's presence is now fully revealed in the face or person of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (N.I.V.)
Intentional - Done deliberately.
Intensive - Extremely or highly concentrated.
Seeking God with all of our heart demands that we be Intentional and Intense.
Oftentimes it is only when we are in a crisis that we become semi - sincere about seeking the face of God. I use the term 'semi - sincere' because after the crisis subsides, or the need is met, we return to casually seeking God, thinking that there is no intentional and consistent need for Him daily. This is because some only seek God for the blessings in His hands and not His face which is symbolic of His presence and Word. When we earnestly seek the face of God, we are seeking to praise and worship Him in spirit and truth. We are seeking His counsel, guidance, correction and wisdom regarding every aspect of our lives. This must be done intentionally and consistently because every decision we make affects our destiny. God is our life and the length of our days. It is because of His mercy and grace that we live, move, and have our being. There is never a time that we do not need God.
Ask yourself these questions: Have I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and if so, do I desire to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him? An intimacy that reveals the deep and rich love God has for us. A relationship that calls us into accountability and teaches us how to be responsible. A closeness that allows the Holy Spirit to search the deep regions of our heart that he may cleanse us of everything that is causing division in our relationship with Jesus Christ. An intimacy that desires His divine purpose and plan for our life.
Many times, we make major decisions without seeking the counsel of God. He becomes an afterthought rather than the first thought. When we do not seek spiritual guidance, we sink spiritually and become deceived while opening the door for confusion and chaos to enter our lives. Sometimes when the Holy Spirit reveals to us the error of our decisions, we can allow pride, guilt or shame keep us from repenting and submitting to the correcting love of Jesus Christ. With every decision there are consequences, whether they be positive or negative. Hebrews 12:6 declares: The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son or daughter. The correcting love of God is never to break our spirit or to condemn us, but rather it seeks to purify us and build us up that we may continue to grow and be one with our Heavenly Father in our heart.
When I seek my Savior and Lord intentionally and with intensity, I am allowing Him to be first priority in my life, therefore understanding that everything else is secondary. My spiritual development must be priority. So often many of us have become consumed with the cares of this world that we do not tend to our spiritual state. We are intentional about seeking status, position and power, building our careers, building homes, building our image and unhealthy relationships that pull us away from God. We have allowed these things to turn us away from the source and strength of our lives, and before we know it, God becomes an afterthought in our everyday affairs. We acknowledge Him with our mouths, but our hearts are far from Him. Proverbs 3:6 says, "Acknowledge him in all your ways and He will direct your path." We are also reminded in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." God knows what we need and He promised that He would provide for all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19.
As we continue to move forward on this journey called life, let us be intentional about seeking intimacy with our Savior and Lord by spending quality time with Him daily in prayer and devotion. Meditate in His word for understanding and not just to acquire knowledge. Seek an understanding of God's word that will progressively be manifested in our behavior, mannerism, disposition, service unto Him, unconditional love for humanity and service to our communities.
Never put anything before God! I have learned through experience that anything you put before God will turn on you and devour you. Even you will turn on you. Selah (pause and meditate.) Seek God with your whole heart and watch the amazing things He will do in and through your life. Always know that whatever concerns you concerns God deeply and He has His hands on the pulse of the matter. Do not allow any situation you are facing consume your thoughts, emotions, or speech, but rather seek God and magnify Him over the situation. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6b.
Finally, my sisters and brothers remember that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Seek His face!
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion." (N.I.V.)
Baca is defined as weeping, tears or misery. It is symbolic of the struggles, hardships and difficulties that Christians are destined to face in life.
There are times that life just happens and we find ourselves in the Valley of Baca. Sometimes we create our own Baca due to a lack of knowledge or by our blatant disobedience against God and His word. Then there are times that God ordains that we go through the Valley of Baca. Whatever the case, none of us will leave this earthly dwelling without experiencing the Valley of Baca. The word declares in Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord deliver him out of them all."
Even though we may find ourselves in a place of misery and tears, there is grace and strength present to carry us through. Remember we are passing through, which denotes we are coming out! We are able to walk through the Valley of Baca because our strength comes from God. This strength gives us the spiritual power, wisdom, humility, and endurance needed to go through Baca, despite the adversities, oppositions and trials. It is when we pray, praise, persevere, and allow the Holy Spirit to comfort and purify us, that we experience springs of autumn rains in the Valley of Baca. God can and will give us peace in the valley.
As we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, we go from strength to strength and glory to glory. Jesus is our Lily in the valley, the Bright and Morning Star. There is not a situation we will ever face in life that Jesus Christ cannot bring us through. Isaiah 43:2-3a declares, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (N.I.V.)
If we open our hearts and minds, there are great lessons and truths to be learned in the Valley of Baca. Through the agony, brokenness and pain, the heart is purified faith is built, character is developed, purpose is revealed, others are edified, and God is glorified.
Be strengthened and know that this too shall pass!
The Valley of Baca Part 2
Guard Your Thoughts and Speech
As we journey through life and find ourselves in the Valley of Baca, it is imperative that we guard our thoughts and speech. "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." Proverbs 23:7, "Death and life is in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21. As we pass through this place of misery and hardship the enemy will try to attack and flood our minds with thoughts of failure, hopelessness, and doubt. If we are not careful, we will eventually speak what we are thinking. Our circumstances are influenced by our thoughts and the words we speak.
The word of God is our weapon, and we must fill our thoughts and speech with the powerful penetrating word of God. No matter what we see we must remember that we walk by faith and not by sight. I know the reality of our situation is up in our face and has consumed our life, but the truth is God has promised that no matter what we face He has the power to bring us through. Sometimes we may bring Baca upon ourselves due to our disobedience and deliberate rejection of the truth, remember 1John 1:9 declares, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Do not just ask for forgiveness, stay on the altar and receive the purification.
Remember we are coming through! Whatever we are facing there is a specific word to be found in the scripture regarding our situation. We must, "Cast down imaginations and every high thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2Corinthians 10:5
Let us put the word into practice! Speak it out loud - God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b. "I will meet all of your needs according to my riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7. "My soul finds rest in God alone." Psalm 62:1. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." Isaiah 54:17. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2Timothy 1:7. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 3:8.
Sisters and brothers, we must fill our thoughts and speech with the word of God and know that according to His divine will, God promises to bring us through. Create an atmosphere of peace, joy, and victory by thinking what God thinks and saying what God says. We must let our thoughts, speech and actions create an aroma and atmosphere of victory. Be intentional about exalting God above our circumstances. He knows what is best for us and will work all things out for our good and for His glory!
Finally, I have walked through the Valley of Baca and was amazed at the refreshing autumn rains that I experienced in the midst of the valley and you can too!