Tag Archives: Passion

The Seek God Challenge Day 10

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PURITY WITH GOD MORE THAN POPULARITY WITH OTHERS

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“1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.2 Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.3 Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.4 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,5 that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.6 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”7 Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

8 Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews.9 They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever!10 You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image.11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace.12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king.14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.22 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

-Daniel 3:1-30

THINK

In many ways it’s quick to dismiss this story at its face value and I believe that comes from our familiarity of it from Sunday School as children, but try and imagine yourself in this situation. You have to decide between something easily justified in culture, in this case bowing, and purity in your following the Lord and His ways. How difficult is that, especially knowing that death is other option? What are excuses that we give ourselves for doing something we know is not pleasing God?

What kind of mindset must you have in order to respond to the King of the entire empire “…we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”? How does knowing your eternal destiny make purity easier?

 PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

Purity is not to just squash your fun. It is necessary to truly worship God. We have to seek purity if we are going to truly seek God.

Pray that God will ignite a passion for purity that exceeds a passion for popularity.

Pray that pursuit of purity will be an act of worship to your King who is worthy of all that we have.

DO

Take out your list from yesterday and circle the thing that today you are going to inject with purity, and begin to move in that area towards worshipping the Lord with that part of your life.

 Download the guide here

The Seek God Challenge Day 9

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BECAUSE HOLINESS MATTERS TO GOD,

HOLINESS MATTERS TO ME


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“and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images.4 And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.6 And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around,7 he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”

-2 Chronicles 34:3-7

THINK

If Josiah would have followed in the footsteps of his ancestors, his job would most likely have been much easier. Why do you think that instead of just doing business as usual he instead took on the status quo and began to purge the land of idols and false gods?

Josiah was not compromising even to the point of “He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.” Why do you think that he went to that kind of extreme? Does holiness really require these kinds of sacrifices?

Verse 7 tells us that it wasn’t until he had “broke down the altars…throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.” Why do you think he didn’t just make a decree and sit in the palace and wait for it to be accomplished? What does this tell us about holiness in our own lives, does God want us to just get rid of the surface things? Or does he want us to not rest until the sin is completely removed from our lives?

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

Because holiness matters to God, holiness matters to me. This statement should most likely bring some conviction in our lives. Are there places in your life that aren’t holy?

Ask God to show you all those places in your life that contain sin, take a piece of paper and pen and write those down. Take your time and be still and listen, write down every thought that comes in your mind during this time.

Holiness requires sacrifice and intensity, and a thorough examination of all the land.

Take the list that you’ve made and as you read over it, ask God to give you a plan to begin to bring holiness into your life.

DO

Take your list and circle the area of your life that you are determined to bring holiness too immediately. What has to change, be cut out, or move?

Download the guide here

The Seek God Challenge Day 8

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SEEK AND FIND

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9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.11 What father among you, if his son asks fort a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13

THINK

This passage is directly after Jesus gives the model prayer. We see that given to disciples at their request. Likewise Jesus is asking us here to do what?

Verses 11-13 give us a picture of what? What is God telling us that He desires to give us (verse 13)?

Jesus is essentially telling us here that when we seek Him we will find Him, when we ask he gives and when we knock He will answer. What are you seeking, asking, and knocking for?

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

Jesus rewards us for our boldness in our prayers. His children that desire to know Him are seeking Him greater and greater.

Ask God that your heart may desire more of Him, that you will never be satisfied with Him, and that you will always desire to know Him more.

Pray that you will be diligent to seek God boldly as you learn what it means to really ask, seek, and knock

 

DO

Take a few moments and sit down and think about what would you do for God if you could not fail, write that down and put it somewhere you won’t lose it.

Download the guide here

The Seek God Challenge Day 6

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PURSUE HIM RELENTLESSLY

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1 David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.3 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, 4 with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.

5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.8 And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day.9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”10 So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing.13 And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.

THINK

In this passage we see David’s quest to bring the Ark of the Lord to his city, when the first attempt failed he could have easily given up, but instead he waited and went back again. Have you ever tried to seek God and just felt silly? What usually happens after this kind of experience? If we are determined to be near to God what should we do then instead?

God wants to dwell with us, commune with us and lead us to walk in His ways as David did. Often times we have to be persistent in our pursuit of God, He is not someone who is simply there for us to meet with when we feel like it and will sit and wait there for us to care enough to seek Him. He is the Almighty God who is worthy of our worship and praise always. What are the barriers you’ve faced in seeking God, in the past? The last week?

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

David often used phrases similar to, “like a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you O God” to describe his desperate desire for God

Ask God to begin to show you your need for Him, and that in response your desire for Him will continue to deepen.

Ask God to change your heart from impatience and self-centered to grateful and God-centered.

DO

When the prophet Samuel was first in the temple as a boy the Lord spoke to him and Samuel didn’t realize it was God. Finally at the urging of his mentor Eli, Samuel simply said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”

Block out a fifteen minute space (look back at your list where you saw what things could be changed to make time for seeking God), and find a space you can be alone and uninterrupted to just be before the Lord. Take some worship music with you if you want or just be still before God Tell the Lord “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” and then listen. 

Download the guide here

The Seek God Challenge Day 4

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Desire is NOT Passion

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“29 And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 39:29

17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

 

THINK

For most of us the concept of seeking God’s face is awkward. Most of us don’t really have a clear picture of what that means. What is the most difficult part for you of the concept of seeking God’s face?

The concept of seeking God’s face is to know God’s person. To be intimate, to look into His eyes and be near Him. What are some ways that you can seek His face? No Sunday School answers allowed, ie. Pray, read His Bible etc. Be creative.

In order to be transformed into the glory of God requires first off knowing Jesus as your Savior, if you have never made Jesus Lord of your life stop right now and give Him your whole person. If you need assistance call Matt at 870-692-8855 he will be happy to walk you through that!

For those who have the Holy Spirit of Christ living in you, what is keeping you from reflecting the glory of Christ to those around you?

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

 

Seeing Jesus face to face has an effect on us. His presence does something to you.

Pray that your seeking will be after His face and not His hand, that you will desire Him for Him and not for what He gives.

 

Ask God to increase your desire to know Him in way that is passionate and real.

 

DO

Find a picture (online or in print) that represents the face of God to you (it can be whatever reminds of that) then save it as the background on your phone or hang it somewhere you’ll see it often (in your locker or the dashboard of your car) when you see it simply tell God that you want to see His face.

The Seek God Challenge Day 3

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12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

-Exodus 33:12-18

THINK

We see a picture here of this guy Moses who is not content with the amount of God he has experienced, if we didn’t know the point in the story we might think that God had been distant from him, but in fact he’s already met with him through a burning bush, showed His power and concern for His people through the plagues in Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea, and been alone with Him on the mountain giving Moses the first set of the law.  Yet, Moses appears to be begging God to be with him, to “teach me your ways so I may know you…” Why do you think that is? Have you ever hungered for more of God like this?

 Do you see the progression of Moses’s requests? What are they?

We see he’s moving deeper “who are you sending with me?”, “Don’t send us without you”, “show me your glory.” Moses is pursuing God deeper and deeper. He is so consumed by his God that all he can dwell on is going deeper with Him, knowing Him better, learning more from Him. It’s a passionate pursuit of God that is fueled by an unquenchable hunger and thirst for God.

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

Are you content with your current level of relationship with God? Do you desire to have the kind of relationship where you can ask God to “show me your glory”?

Pray that your life will be hungry for knowing God, that a little of Him here and there will not do!

Do you really want to know God’s ways? Are you ready to live out what His word says?

Pray that your faith will be strengthened and your knowledge of God’s desires will lead your life.

DO

Take the list you made yesterday of where your spending your time and decide on something that you can cut out or reduce the amount of time to have time to seek God deeply.

Download the guide here

The Seek God Challenge Day 2

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October 17- Pursue God with Passion

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Philippians 3:7-11

“7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith int Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”

THINK

How is just “accepting Christ” different from the passion pursuit that Paul talks about here?

Paul says that, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” which means that in comparison to knowing Jesus everything this world has to offer is insignificant. How is our worldly view of life and accomplishments different from this perspective? How would this type of perspective change how you go about your day?

Paul says “and “so somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” other translations have “by any means” he’s telling us that the difficult things (ie. Persecution, being unpopular, even death) will be worth it, in light of the goal of sharing knowing Christ deeply and sharing in His resurrection. How is that contrary to our American Christianity and the thought that only church attendance and “good living” is required for Christians? Does the thought of giving everything up to chase God scare you or excite you? Why?

The Greek word for garbage or rubbish had one of two uses: excrement from the body, or table scraps that were fit only to be thrown to the dogs. So saying that “I consider them (his abilities/accomplishments) garbage” is strong wording. Literally, Paul considers them as excrement – as dung; not only worthless, but offensive. In order to have this type of distaste for the world you must be passionately seeking God. You have to have been close enough to see Him for the things of this word to look as garbage and be offensive to you because they stand in your way of knowing Him more. What is your image of God today? Do you hunger for Him or is He just some part of your life? How can that change?

PRAY

These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.

Has you separated faith in God from a passionate pursuit of God? Is He just part of your religion or Lord of your life? When we see the King we want to know Him deeper.

Pray that your heart will be ignited and begin to burn with passion for the King of kings

Are there things in your life that you are placing as more valuable than a pursuit of God? A good way to evaluate that is what is the majority of your time spent doing?

Pray that a passionate pursuit of God would become the main priority of your life

DO

Stop right now and grab something to write with and write down an honest assessment of what you’re doing with your time. See what things jump out as obvious priorities, and which ones are causing you to seek God deeper.

To download the guide click here

Seek God Challenge Day 1

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DAY 1- SEEK HIM PERSONALLY, SEEK HIM CONTINUALLY

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“1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father,” -2 Chronicles 34:1-3a

THINK

Matt mentioned Josiah sought God both personally, and continually. What does seeking God look like in your life today? How should/could that be different?
Verse two tells us that Josiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and he “did not turn aside to the right hand or the left”. Why do you think that was?
Verse three actually answers our last question; “For in the eighth year of his reign…he began to seek…God” How do you think that seeking God caused him to do “what was right” and “not turn aside”?
Look for a second at John 5:19
“19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” – John 5:19
We know that Jesus was fully man and yet was without sin, and I believe that he gives us the secret right here in John 5:19. Do you see it? What is it?
He was in constant communication with His Father. He didn’t choose any decision on His own. He didn’t take any job, trip, or activity without the Father’s direction. Like a life GPS it gave Jesus the exact, perfect will of God the Father. For us pressing into God is the only way to learn to hear the Father in every situation. If you have surrendered your life to Christ then He’s already equipped you to be victorious you just have to learn when and how to use what. How is your life GPS operating? When was the last time you turned it on and listened?

PRAY


These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.
The kind of passionate seeking God that changes your generation is hard, persistent, and it will bring about hardship. There will no doubt come some sort of distraction that will attempt to edge out your time seeking God over the next month, it’s the things that we place the most value on that we use our time doing.
Pray that you will have the discipline to stick with it for the whole 30 days.

As you seek God you will be drawn deeper into Him, and with that comes a greater love of His character and his love for you. In light of that we’ll quickly see sin in our lives and the decisions that put us there. Holiness is not easy. Opposition from the enemy is promised, as is persecution from the world. It’s here that we decide if it’s worth it.

Pray that you will release the boldness God has given you to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.

DO


Stop right now and plan a time each day that you’re going to protect each day to seek God for the next 30 days.

Download this guide here