Amos 5:4 Seek God And Live

Seeking on a boat

This is what the Lord says to Israel: “Seek me and live;” Amos 5:4 

Most people want to live. They appear to do everything that they can to keep from dying. People go to the doctor to get medicine and surgery to cure them of sicknesses and injuries in order to prevent death.

During the time of COVID 19, people are putting on masks and isolating themselves to prevent sickness and death. People fear dying and will do whatever it takes to prevent it, accept for the one thing that will prevent death.

Amos tells the people that God is telling them to seek Him in order to live.

In a world that is dying, many are living in fear of death. Yet, many are turning away from God, refusing to accept that Jesus is the only way to life. God does not want to punish and destroy anyone, yet His holiness demands it. God’s grace has made a way to stop the judgement of death upon every person.

There have been many in the church that have turned their backs upon God and sought life in other ways, the ways of the world. The sinful ways of this world, however, will only bring about chaos, death and destruction. Their ways will only bring about temporary life, a moment of joy that will flee very quickly into depression and death.

All a person must do is seek God and His ways to find life. Jesus died so that everyone else may live. He is willing to give that life away for free, just by believing and following Him.

As the world is seeking ways to live, the believer has the answer and needs to point the way. The church has life, but must be willing to live it and share it with this lost and dying world.

You have access to true life that will never end, an eternal life. It is your choice if you will seek God or you will choose to seek other people and things. One brings eternal, true life, the other brings temporary life, then death.

Focus your life on seeking after God and what He desires for you. In spite of the death and sickness all around you, you will live for eternity. This body of yours is only a temporary dwelling place on this earth. It will not last forever, but your soul will.

Who, or what are you seeking today? Seek God and live.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God and His ways for your life; that you will live your life by God’s standards; that God will strengthen to turn away from the ways of this world; and that you will know life in Jesus. 

Joel 1:14 Cry Out To God

Cross overlooking a city

Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God and cry out to the Lord. Joel 1:14

During times of great disaster, sickness or unrest people are scared. People are dying and many are living in fear, not sure what is going on or what is going to happen next. They do not know when things will change and get back to normal.

Many are looking to the government or other organizations to solve the issues of the day. Those groups are at a loss as to what to do or how to cage things. They compete against each other as to the best route to take, yet, not a whole lot changes.

During the time of Joel, the nation of Israel was being overrun and destroyed. He calls for the people to fast and cry out to God.

When great disasters come upon people, the world really does not know what to do. Sometimes it is the world that is bringing on the problems, raising persecution against all believers.

God often allows disaster to come when the people are refusing to serve Him with all of their heart. The church is not being His witness and people are living in sin. God wants their attention, thus brings on disaster.

As this occurs believers must begin to fast and cry out to God. They need to seek forgiveness for their sins and not doing His will. The believers can turn the eyes of the people back to God and get them on the right track.

God is a God of mercy and forgiveness. He is quick to relent bringing on disaster if His people will call out to Him. The land as a whole must cry out to God and turn from their wicked ways so that He can heal them and the land.

You may be going through a time of disaster or trouble, or you may know of others who are going through it themselves. Start with yourself with crying out to God for His mercy. Then as you cry out to God, call on other believers to do the same.

As God’s people call out to Him, He will show up in His great love and mercy. The land, no matter what nation you are a part of, needs you to be crying out to God for it. Seek God and know His salvation.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God’s forgiveness for your sins and the sins of your land; that you will seek God’s mercy upon all people; and that you will humble yourself and live for God.

Isaiah 38:17 Sickness For A Purpose

Rock near waterfall

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. Isaiah 38:7 

Suffering and sickness occur on a regular basis with people all over the entire world. The range of sickness that occurs is extremely wide. Some sickness are of a minor, temporary sort, while others are life-threatening and bring about death.

One of the questions that is commonly asked by most people is why the sickness? Why does one get sick? Why does one recover and another does not? Very rarely does a person look at a sickness or disease as something good or as a benefit.

Hezekiah had followed God faithfully for a time, but then started to walk away from Him. Isaiah comes to him telling him that he will soon die and must get his life in order. After asking for some more time to live, God grants it. Hezekiah realized that the sickness was for his benefit.

There may be times when a sickness is a wakeup call to a person. One can be facing death in the face and has to make a choice as to whom he will serve, self or God.

God has mercy on people and wants everyone to be saved. He may use disasters or sickness to get one’s attention. This is especially true for those who already believe in Him and have been following Him. God can strike a person to get him to get his life in order.

Many people who are facing death suddenly have a different perspective on life. They realize what is really important, and it is not money or positions, but real life. They also begin to realize there is the rest of eternity to deal with.

As a believer, your life should be focused on living for God in every area of your life. This means you will strive to flee sin and be His witness in this world.

Take a look at your life and see how you are doing at truly following God. Does your life show one who loves God from the heart, or one who loves God only in words?

God is giving you a chance today to get your house in order. You may or may not have tomorrow, but you do have today. Don’t make God have to strike you to get your attention. Live for God while you can and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus promised.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will live for God in every area of your life; that you will see God’s hand at work in your life; and that you will trust God with your life. 

Fruit Of The Spirit: Forbearance/Patience

Patience on blackboard

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Over the last few weeks I have looked at the fruits of the Spirit–love, joy and peace. Now I will be looking at forbearance or patience. The NIV translates the word as forbearance, while many other translations translate it as patience. Both carry the meaning of holding up under pressure or during trouble without anger, anxiety, or frustration.

Patience is something that is not often seen in this fallen world. Things cannot happen fast enough. No matter how fast something is, in a short time people want it to be faster.

Take a look at computers and how fast they are today compared to forty years ago and yet, people complain that they are not fast enough. Or look at the speed of driving down the road. Regardless of how high the speed limit is, there are some who will drive faster.
Frustrated with computer

The patience in these situations are just with things. People are also lacking in patience when it comes to life situations. Promotions do not come fast enough, someone does not return a text or phone call fast enough, a person is not checking out fast enough, and the list goes on indefinitely.

Others are also not patient with themselves. They did not learn fast enough, they did not change fast enough. They were not successful enough or some other fault that they see in themselves.

For many believers a lack of patience is found in waiting for a person to change a habit or for God to answer a prayer.

In all of these ways and many more people are not patient.

The bible is filled with examples of people who were patient and those who were not patient. Joseph was given a vision of him being a ruler. Before that came about he was thrown into slavery and into prison. But after many years of patience, he became the second in power over Egypt, only under Pharaoh.

Empty prison cells

David was anointed to be the next king of Israel. He had to run for his life for many years before he became king. He had multiple opportunities to seize the throne, but he would not take it by force. David waited for God to hand it to him. He waited in patience for God to move.

Job went through may trials and a lot of loss in his life. Yet, he waited patiently for God to restore him and stop the trials. He refused to curse God in his struggles, even when he did not understand what was going on or why it was happening.

The ultimate example of patience is Jesus:

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2b-3

The ‘enduring’ in these verses is patience. It is putting up with trouble and keep going forward without anger or frustration.

Snowy mountain

Jesus had taken on the all the sin of every person for all time and the anger of God the Father’s wrath against that sin so that you and I could have forgiveness and life. As He did that, He did not complain or murmur. He took with patience and love.

Now with describing patience from the bible and examples of how patience was displayed, what does that mean for you and I?

Good thing you asked! We are to live our lives just as Jesus lived His…with patience. So what does that look like?

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

If one is patient, he will not be quickly provoked to anger. In other words he will not get angry when someone does something wrong or does not change like he thinks they should.

Roaring bear

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

It takes a lot of patience to keep doing what is good and right. This is especially true if the person who you are doing good to is not grateful or despises you. Be patient because there is a reward for you from God if you do not give up.

Wrong way sign

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

God is love and we are to be like God—love. Everything that we say and do or do not say or do not do must be done out of love for God and for others. When we have the enduring perfect love of God in our hearts, we WILL be patient with ourselves and with others.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

When you are anxious about anything, you are not at peace. Something is wrong and you are worried about it and striving to change it. Instead of being anxious bring it to God with thanksgiving and allow Him to deal with it and guide you through the situation. Relax and be at peace about it, rather than uptight and anxious. God is in control, let Him be.

Anxious lady

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 

You will have afflictions, sicknesses and problems, Jesus promised that you will have trouble. Be patient. It will not last forever, though it may feel like it at the moment. Hold on and be patient because God is in control and is bringing you through the situation.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

People will do wicked things. Good people in the church will do mean things or wrong things. Be patient and wait for God to move. Don’t forget God is in control of every situation. He sees what is going on. Be patient as you wait for Him to take care of the situation.

Control room

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

You do have faults, but God is working on you to fix them. He is building you into the image of Jesus. Do not be so harsh and impatient with yourself, but keep moving forward in Jesus with His Holy Spirit growing and changing daily. God will finish the work in you He set out to do. Be patient with yourself.

There are many other verses throughout the bible that talk about patience. Take the time to look them all up.

Seek God in learning to have the patience that the Holy Spirit can bring into your life. In order to get it, remember that you will have to go through some tough struggles challenging your patience. You cannot learn patience without a struggle against it. People and situations will challenge you.

Satan does not want you to be patient, but to blow your top and get angry, causing you to say and do things that are sinful. He wants you to fail and he will do what he can to bring that about.

Hold onto God and be led by His Holy Spirit and you will have patience.

Holding bars

When you are bearing His fruit of love, you will have joy. When you are bearing the fruit of joy, you will have peace. When you are bearing the fruit of peace, you will have patience or forbearance. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear His fruit. It is worth.

Thank you for continuing with me on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Please feel free to share this with someone who can use it. Any comments or thoughts will be appreciated.

Next week I will be looking at kindness. I hope to see you then.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Meaningless

Question on paper

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 

People search for meaning to why things occur as they do. Children are always asking why they have to learn some subject or topic in school. They do not see any meaning or reason for it.

Murders occur on a regular basis and people wonder why a person does the killing, especially in mass levels of killing. People want to know the meaning of why there are wars going on.

Disasters and sickness occur in the lives of people and people are always asking why. There does not appear any reason for these events to happen.

As people seek to find answers to why things happen, most often the answer appears that the event was meaningless, with no reason that one can see or understand. When this occurs, there are many who find life is meaningless and want to end it.

Solomon starts out this book with stating that everything is meaningless. There was no reason for anything.

Looking at most things there does not appear to be any meaning for why they occur. From the world’s viewpoint of everything that occurs, there is often no reason. Things often look hopeless and with no real purpose.

Those who believe in God, however, see things from a different perspective. Events in this life are seen from God’s eternal point of view, though often it is also difficult to see or understand.

The believer knows that things that are bad that occur happen because of sin. Sin brings people to do what should not be done. Sin has brought death, sickness and meaninglessness to many things in the lives of people.

Only in Jesus does one begin to see reason and meaning to everything that occurs. Without God there is no purpose for anything. God is the one who gives life and purpose to a person.

Going through your life, you will encounter things and events that do not appear to have any meaning or purpose. Turn your focus off of those events and onto God. Gain an eternal perspective of what is going on.

Realize that a lot of things that occur are because of sin and sinful choices.

Holding onto and believing in Jesus gives meaning and purpose to everything. Never forget that God works all things out for those who believe and trust in Him.

Your life does have meaning and purpose in Christ Jesus. Lean on Jesus and hope in Him.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that God will reveal your purpose in this life; that you will know the hope you can have in Jesus; and that God will reveal meaning to events in your life.