Friday, November 14, 2008

Ask, Seek, Knock...

We've all heard it hundreds of times. "Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you..." Matthew 7:7 This is one I find hard not to quote in the King Jimmy... ;)

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, (Matt Chandler at the Village Church in the DFW area of Texas) and he was preaching on this passage. He said something so obvious, but only in the way that is noticeable after you've heard it... Then you're like - yep - that's pretty obvious, why didn't I think of it?

We've all got the "ask" part down to a science, right? I mean usually the only thing that's missing is sitting on Santa's lap... I want this, and do this, and bring this to pass, and fix that, and heal this, and stop that, and bring this and provide that, and solve this and get me out of that and on and on it goes.

But what about "seek"? I once heard something else really fantastic while visiting a church with a friend in Chicago. The pastor said, when you seek God, you are guaranteed guidance. When you seek for guidance alone, you may or may not get it. I don't know about you, but I want what God wants. I tried it my way for a lot of years, and it didn't turn out all that red hot... I desire to seek God. Seek His face, seek His heart, seek His will for my life. If God was about just giving us what we want? What a short change! As if we can POSSIBLE know what is best for ourselves... I've often thought of it this way. God is on the mountain and He can see the terrain that lies ahead. We might be in a valley, on level ground or even on a hill, we may even think we can see what lies ahead. But God KNOWS the plans He has for us. Sometimes when He leads us to a certain path or through some sort of struggle, it makes absolutely NO sense at the time. He says, turn. We're like, but but but? It's the wrong way, Lord. Again, He is on the mountain top and knows it's a short cut, even though we can't see how that could possibly be. Or, He knows it's the long way around the maze so we don't get lost and stuck and wander in the wilderness for forty years. Whatever His reasons, His way is the best way, whether we can see that or not. So - if we keep doing what we want, what seems right to us, we are missing the boat. We have got to give God the reigns. Let Him steer. He knows the way. He made the way. His IS the way...

Knock. I sort of had a revelation about the knock part. I think it's about pursuit. We've probably also heard "Behold, I stand at the door and Knock." Revelation 3:19-20 Those words are in red, which tells us - Jesus is standing at the door. Waiting for us to invite Him in. But what would happen if we made it a daily habit of knocking on His door. Hey Jesus, got a second? PS - the answer is always yes....

Do you see what I mean about the obviousness? Ask, seek and knock. Not just ask. Asking is easy. We have to do our part, we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. It's a tall order... I'm working on it... I'm definitely not there yet. It's a process, and not a fast one. It's not boring either. God always keep you guessing. I love sitting down with Him and just waiting for Him to blow my mind. It's a hobby of His and I love it!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Another huge piece in hearing God's voice is surrender. God's ultimate goal in our lives is to be on the throne.... and He don't share. If ANYTHING else is perched up there, He can't be.

I've noticed that when we hold on to anything too tightly, it separates us from God. It clouds our judgment, it deadens our ability to hear and it certainly impacts our ability to trust what we do hear. When we are ready to truly surrender our lives, agendas and expectations, God says "What's in your hand?" And trust me there is always something in our hand. In my case, and I'm sure I'm not alone here, not only is there something in my hand, but my hand is CLENCHED around it and the thing is covered in super glue. Anyone?

The finger prying process is not a pleasant one.

The other thing I've noticed, not only in my own scenarios, but in many of those of the people closest to me, it's RARELY about the actual thing. Right? It's so much more about the grip we have on the thing. The throne that the thing is on, whether we knew it or not, or put it there intentionally or not. Kind of like when you lose something and joke that it must have grew legs and walked away, except in this case - the thing sprouted legs and strutted itself up onto the throne when you weren't looking. One day you just realize and you're like -what?? How did that get there? ugh.

I digress. Finger prying.

It goes something like this....

Something comes up. I sense it's bigger than what I realize and over time, God begins to show me that we have a problem. Usually someone else says - I think this might be a problem. To which I usually respond in an utterly clueless fashion, quickly followed by self-defense. Then when God confirms it, I'm like, uh-oh. I think you might be right. Then I start to deconstruct it, then I get more confirmation. I'm usually 1)Horrified and disgusted by this ridiculous blind spot, that you would THINK I would start craning my neck around to check occasionally. 2)Totally frustrated by the enemy's unending pursuit. 3)Determined to make it right.

Commence finger prying.

It could be a thing, a situation, an idea or even a relationship. Ultimately, it's anything that we hold onto so tightly. Why do I hold on to it? Or as a good friend always asks me - "What does it give you?" When I realize that it gives me my worth, value and security - I want it out of my hand as much as God does. The sneaky sneaky thing the enemy does, is dupes us into believing that anything other than God determines our worth.

I feel like I'm spider webbing something fierce. Try to stay with me and I'll try to get to the point...

I said earlier, it's rarely about the thing. Time and time again, I've found when I just surrender the thing, God usually lets me keep it. Hardly ever does He set it on fire and through it out the window. It's always about my heart, and His refusal to allow me to settle for a golden statue of whatever.

This was my most recent revelation. It's idolatry. When the thing is more important to me than what God wants to teach me, it's idolatry. When the circumstances are more important to me than the joy that is available to me in plenty and in want, that's idolatry. When I think I have it all figured out, or that it's even up to me to figure it out. Idolatry. When the thought of losing the thing strikes fear in my heart, I have a serious problem with idolatry.

God says, things are fine. But when they are your hope and your security, that is an entirely different issue and one that has to be handled immediately.

He is always after our ultimate good and His ultimate glory. ANYTHING that threatens those, is going down.

When faced with the choice of surrender or idolatry, it's really a no brainer. The important thing to remember, is you can't see your blind spot unless you make a conscious effort to turn and twist around and look over your shoulder. If that was easy, it wouldn't be an issue. Do the hard thing. Be vigilant. Most importantly, be listening. He longs to show us and help us. I can guarantee you if Abraham had decided to take Isaac and hide in a cave, the story would have had a different ending. What will you lay on the alter today?