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Proverbs 2:1 — My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

Slide1Chip Ingram, in his book “God, As He Longs for You to See Him” makes the statement, ‘God has created each of us with an innate desire for deep, meaningful fellowship with him.’

We know this to be true from the very beginning for the Bible gives us a brief glimpse into the heart of God when we’re told in Genesis that God walked each evening with Adam and Eve. He talked with them as you would talk with an intimate friend.

While sin placed a barrier between God and man, it didn’t destroy God’s desire for that intimacy that was lost in the garden. When Jesus died for us, the barrier was destroyed and fellowship with God was available once again!

The problem is, the enemy doesn’t want us to realize what a marvelous position we have with God. Our vision of God is clouded with religion, tradition, lies and misunderstandings. So, can we really know God as he wants us to know him? YES!! But how?

Proverbs 2:1-5 gives us path we can follow to know God as he wants to be known. I’ll warn you though, it’s not an easy path to follow. However, it’s well worth the journey.

Proverbs 2:1 tells us, “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.”

The first step in knowing God is to listen. Listening is a lost art in our society. There are so many distractions calling us away from God. Here’s what I’m learning about listening:

  • Remove distractions. In my physical life that may mean putting the phone/device down, turning down the TV and/or turning my body in the direction of the one I’m listening to. With God it’s a similar thing. Put away the distractions, get alone when you can give him your undivided attention.
  • Eye Contact is crucial! It amazes me how much power is behind looking the person you are listening to/talking to has. When you are talking and looking each other in the eyes it seems to put a connection that isn’t easily taken away. The same is true with God. Physical eye contact isn’t possible of course, but train yourself to focus on one object as you seek him. It could be a distant object. It could be a picture or a verse. This one is a tough one, but your Heavenly Father WANTS to build this relationship. When you look into the eyes of God you don’t see judgment, anger or hate, you see love, grace, mercy and passion for you.
  • See the Love. I’ll confess to you that I may be the world’s biggest sap. However, although we’ve been together for years, there are times when I look into my wife’s eyes and she still takes my breath away. Why? Because I love this woman more than anyone (except Jesus of course). When you seek to know God try to envision the passionate love he has for you. He loved you so much he gave the one thing he cherished most, his son.

To know God as he wants you to know him is to learn to see the great love he has for you and listen to him through His Word (The Holy Bible) and prayer.

PRAYER: Father, there are so many distractions that keep me from really knowing you. Empower me to listen to you, to focus on you, and to see the passion in your eyes for me. I’ve failed you so many times but I want to know you more. Help me to see you in your glory. Amen.

“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” John 4:29 (CEV)

Everyone knew here in the small town she lived in. The men, when no one else was looking cast a lustful eye her way. The women looked on her with disgust. She quit going to the temple after her fifth divorce. Marriage wasn’t for her anyway. Men were users. Now that she was living with her new boyfriend things were just fine. The people at the Temple and throughout town were hypocrites intent on reminding her of the big scarlet letter emblazoned on her chest.

That’s why she showed up at the well that day at noon. Sure, it was the hottest part of the day but no one else would be there. Lugging the water home without the accompanying glares of the women was well worth it.

Then there was that day everything changed. As she neared the well she was met by  a group of Jewish guys. They were laughing and taking up the entire path. She stood aside so they could pass. “Dirty Jewish…”, she didn’t let herself finish the expletive. She may be Samaritan, but she knew the law and the commandments.

She rounded the corner and came face to face with yet another Jew. This man was sitting near the well. Strange, it was as if he were waiting for someone and that someone was her! She chased that thought from her mind as she heard him ask for some water from the well. The ensuing conversation was one that changed her life. She was her belligerent, stubborn, feisty self until he asked about her husband.

That took the wind out of her sails. Still, something made her look into his eyes. She expected to see judgment, but there was acceptance; She expected to see ridicule, but there was love; She expected to see the hatred all Jews had for her, but she saw love.

Their conversation was cut short as the same group of men she’d met earlier returned. She scurried off to town. She forgot about the stares. She forgot about the judgment. This was too important to hold grudges.

She went from house to house, from street corner to street corner, to the Temple; Wherever people gathered she told her story.

Come and see the man who knows my deepest, darkest secrets;

Come and see the man who understands my brokenness and pain;

Come and see the man who respects me like no other man ever has;

Come and see the man who is more interested in relationship that religion;

Come and see the man who loves me.

That was the day everything changed. She didn’t have to have a degree to tell her story, she just had to have an encounter with Jesus.

Like the woman at the well, each of us have wounds and bruises from the trials of life. Like the woman at the well, Jesus is waiting for us to come to him to receive the water of life that will never run dry. If you haven’t done so yet, come and see the one that wants a love relationship with you. If you have found him to be all he says he is, tell others what he has done for you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I thank you that even though you know my deepest struggles you still love me. I pray that others may ‘come and see’ the life of freedom you offer us. Amen.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

It’s during those wilderness times that true character shows forth. Set aside for the moment the fact that Jesus was the son of God; that he was fully God and fully man. Born of a virgin, Jesus was perfect in all his ways, yet this divine person had within him the emotional and physical attributes of man as well.

Isn’t that the same as us in some respects? We are created in God’s image. Within each of us there is both divine and earthly, and in that is the conflict we deal with for all of life; the battle between good and evil; the struggle to regain the relationship with had with our creator and the desire to fill the void humanity has left in us.

Gerald G. May states: “There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake.”

Stunning words. Meditate on them for a moment. “A desire within each of us… We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake.”

That desire rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. When we are weakest it whispers in our ears. When our dreams seem less likely to be fulfilled it screams accusations. When our choices lead to pain for ourselves or others it mocks us.

Jesus Christ knows how you feel during those times of weakness. Forty days without food would make any man weak. Forty days without bread leads the body to scream for comfort; awakens the desire within for fulfillment.

When we are at our weakest desire pleads with us to take matters into our own hands. We don’t deserve to be treated this way. Life would be better if others would listen to us. I can find what I need in a new relationship, a new job, a new set of surroundings.

When confronted with desire in the form of the great enemy, Satan, Jesus response was classic. It’s not about bread. Even the physical yearnings of hunger and the weakness brought on by a lack of food did not keep him from being focused on the true source of fulfillment; the true cure for desire.

Later, Jesus would say in the Sermon on the Mount, “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are the ones who will be filled.”

Where has desire taken you? What path have you found yourself on that you never imagined you’d walk? What physical pain are you enduring because of your attempts at quieting the screaming voice of desire? Jesus is enough. His forgiveness, grace and guidance through the Holy Spirit is the only way desire will be silenced.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I wrestle daily with the attacks of desire on my thoughts and attitudes. I want it my way. I want to fill this hole in my soul with things I know are temporary fixes. Fill me with your Spirit and quiet the voice of human desire today. Amen.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

A dear friend of mine passed away suddenly a few weeks ago. While she was in her mid-seventies, she was more active than some half her age. She left behind three adult children, several grandchildren, many, many special friends and Suzie (not her real name).

Suzie was a young, special needs child that my friend adopted at a young age. She’d come from a very bad home life and had been bounced from one family member to another and several foster homes. That changed when she was adopted. My friend raised her as her own, helped her to excel to the best of her ability and watched her mature into a beautiful young lady.

Suzie wrote a letter to ‘her mom’ which was read at the funeral by someone else. It started something like this: “Dear mom, I remember the first time I met you. I asked you if you wanted me. You said yes.”

If there had been a dry eye in the house up to this point, it was gone! ‘Do you want me?’

The words still linger in my mind. We all ask that question. Not in so many words, not in such dire times, although for some we do. We all want to be wanted. We all NEED to be wanted. It’s an intrinsic part of our human nature. That’s why we seek relationships; why we work so hard for status, power and riches. The need to be wanted is at the heart of our social networking sites or our favorite night spots.

The need to be wanted also has a negative effect. When we can’t find fulfillment for the hole in our souls that screams for acceptance we try other relationships that may harm us, harm other people or destroy our bodies with drugs, alcohol or other things.

“Do you want me?”

It’s a question Jesus answers on a daily basis. “I will not leave you as orphans.” Get it? He wants you. Orphans have nothing to give. Orphans have an unknown past, and may bring emotional, physical or intellectual baggage that you aren’t ready to deal with. But Jesus says, I don’t care about all that. I want you.

Each of us is an orphan in a spiritual sense. Each of us have nothing to give, no hope for the future and carry enough luggage to fill an airliner. Our need to feel wanted is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. He makes no requirements other than that we accept his gift of adoption into his family.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, there are so many times I feel alone, rejected or unable to meet the demands of today that others put on me or I put on myself. Thank you for adopting me. Thank you for wanting me, baggage and all. Amen.

You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing. No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth. I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop singing your praises, my Lord and my God. Psalm 30:11-12 (CEV)

A prayer of Praise and Worship:

Heavenly Father,

I come to you today in worship and praise for all you have done for me. I thank you that during those darkest times of my life, those times when I couldn’t feel your presence at all, I know you were there. I praise you for protecting me from my own decisions, and the evil actions of those around me.

I continue to be amazed that you, the Creator God of the universe loves me the way you do; that you have forgiven me of my past, understand the weaknesses that still haunt me, and promise me that my relationship with you will last for eternity because of your Son, Jesus Christ. All, this and because of my position with you, I can call you my daddy.

Like David, I dance before you today. Whether I am in silent worship or a rousing service of praise and worship, my soul dances before you. I can’t contain myself. The praise of my heart finds no words to express themselves. My Spirit will always sing your praise because my worship of you isn’t a time, place or activity. My worship of you is a very part of my essence.

Lord, I am surrounded by many things that still cause me to worry; things that shake my faith at times; actions I take and words I utter that I know are displeasing to you. Forgive me for my weakness. Empower me to praise you during the hard times that still attack me as well as the times of victory and prosperity.

You, O Lord, are my God and I will praise you from the depths of my heart forever and ever. I look forward to the day when my worship is face to face. Amen.

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February 2023
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