Day 150: Seeking the Lord (1 Chronicles 28-29; John 11:47-57)

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” -1 Chronicles 28:9

David’s parting words to his son are gold. After all, these are the words of one of the few men in Biblical history known as a man after God’s heart. Since I adore a good formula, here is what I get out of this verse:

How to seek the Lord = loyal heart + willing mind 

So, let’s take this apart. To be loyal is to give or show firm and constant support or allegiance to a person. As history shows us, loyalty stemming from fear or a sense of duty rarely withstands temptations and trials. True loyalty is generally born out of respect and love for someone or something. We are loyal to the people closest to us because of our history and years of friendship. Similarly, we can only be loyal to God if we know Him and recognize the depth of His love and mercy towards us.

How can you establish a loyal heart to God? First, get to know Him. Learn His character and preferences in the pages of your Bible. Ask Him questions in prayer. Test Him out on His word by applying it to your life and seeing what happens. It may take a lifetime to develop the kind of loyalty that David had, but it is so worth it to have that constant friend, counselor and Savior at your side through this life.

Second, to be willing is to be ready, eager, or prepared to do something. Essentially, this is about having an open mind that is willing to learn and obey the Lord’s instructions. It’s the same concept as having a tender heart that we studied back in 2 Kings – you’re open to correction and you’re quick to obey.

When you combine these two things, you will find the Lord. And He will guide and bless you in ways that you could never imagine, but it will bring you joy, peace, and most importantly, eternal life.

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Day 149: If You Believe (1 Chronicles 26-27, John 11:18-46)

In John 11:18-46, the overarching theme is that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Imagine how Mary, Martha, and their friends felt – they asked Jesus to come when Lazarus was sick, knowing Jesus could heal him. But, as we read yesterday, Jesus delayed his trip.

In verse 21 Martha is honest with Jesus about her disappointment that He could have saved Lazarus but didn’t. Earlier, Jesus said this sickness would not end in death and yet they were mourning the Lazarus’s death. Martha didn’t know the end of the story like we do. But even in her sorrow and sadness, she trusted Jesus. It is not clear if she believed Jesus would bring Lazarus back to life, but her faith was still solid that Jesus is still who he said He is. He did not answer her prayer like she hoped, but this did not destroy her trust in Him.

When Jesus meets Mary, she has similar emotions: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus did not reprimand her for being hurt and upset, but he wept with her. He met her in her grief. Even though He knew the end of the story, he could still relate to Mary’s sorrow.

Jesus moved in His timing, not theirs. I can imagine Mary and Martha questioning why He would wait to heal Lazarus. Because of the Jewish superstition at the time, many believed that there was no hope for someone to come back to life after the third day. Jesus waits until the fourth day, knowing that this would bring God more glory. All that He was doing was to bring glory to the Father and His timing is always better than ours.

Do you still believe that Jesus is who he says He is, even when he doesn’t answer a prayer like you want Him to? Can you still trust that He is doing everything to bring glory to the Father? Ask Jesus to show you more of Himself to bring you into greater faith and to Him greater glory.

Day 148: Glorifying God (1 Chronicles 23-25; John 11:1-17)

We’ve heard and read this story countless times, so much so that we’ve probably become immune to the thought of a dead man coming to life. It’s the same for the lesson that sufferings are meant to draw us closer to God and to glorify His name.

“When Jesus heard that, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified though it.'” -John 11:4

So, I won’t tell you yet again about either of those two lessons above. Instead, I’ll speak to that ache deep in your heart, the one that wonders why you’re on this Earth; that part of you that is so desperately trying to figure out what your purpose is. It’s actually quite simple:

So that God may be glorified through you. 

The details of the day to day pale in comparison to that. Because as long as I can remember to go through each day asking Him to glorify Himself through me, He will lead me into the center of His will for my life – usually without me even noticing it. It takes one step of obedience – step by step, day by day, year by year.

I did not fully understand what this means until I graduated from law school recently, and only then did I realize that God was there all along; that everything that happened in my life from the day I was born was so that God could be glorified, so that He could show what He can do in the life of one very ordinary girl. He’s doing the same in your life.

Day 147: Preparing Our Little Ones (1 Chronicles 20-22, John 10-22-42)

1 Chronicles 22 is a endearing chapter. From verse 5 through 19, a father is preparing and explaining to his son how to fulfill his purpose in God.

David said,”My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death. -1 Chronicles 22:5 (NLT)

For those of us who have children, or are planning to have a family in the future, this is a very sincere and meaningful chapter to mirror with our children. David knew the purpose for his son, Solomon, because God spoke to him. He then started preparing ahead of time, for his future, while Solomon was young. David took time to sit down and advise his son of the future plans God had in store for him, which helped pave a Godly foundation for Solomon.

You and I may not know the purpose for our children at this time, but we can help provide a solid foundation, preparing them to be men and women after God’s own heart. Reading the Bible with them, showing them how to pray, teaching them right from wrong, are just a few examples.

I have children and I know from experience that they model who I am, and in turn, they will also mirror the lifestyle that I’ve shown them. Children are a blessing from above, and in return we can be a blessing to them by preparing them, in the image of God…If you need help, God is always there to show you and your children the way!

Day 146: His Voice (1 Chronicles 17-19; John 10:1-21)

Yesterday, we talked about all the things we see, but in all of that, there is also the noise. There is a new country song out there called “Noise” by Kenny Chesney and it talks about all the things we hear today. Even in the religious sphere, there are thousands, if not millions of different voices telling you how to serve God.

It’s no wonder millennials are fed up with organized religion, saying that we much more prefer to find our own way. These sentiments may be justified, but they’re not aligned with wha the Bible says: “and the sheep follow him, for they know His voice” (John 10:4). There is one God and one voice.

“Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” -John 10:5

That’s the thing though: we’ve gotten really good at listening to the voices of strangers. We much prefer to discover “true religion” through a process of elimination. We want to know why every other denomination and religious thought is wrong before we accept one that is right. We call it a process of discovery, but really, we just get really confused until it seems (a) everyone is wrong or (b) everyone is correct. Either way, it’s not good.

Today, I challenge you to tune out all the noise: the conspiracy theories, the haters, and all the religions of this world. Open your Bible, get on your knees, and learn His voice. Keep seeking Him and He will open Himself to you until you have no doubt which way leads to Heaven. Because there is only one way. It’s narrow and not many will find it. But you can, if you can only tune into the radio frequency that God uses and then learn to follow His voice; and if anyone or anything interrupts and is strange compared to what the Bible says, then you flee as far away and as fast as you can. Your life depends on it.

Day 145: To Be Blind (1 Chronicles 14-16; John 9:24-41)

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard those words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, “We see.” Therefore your sin remains.'” -John 9:39-41

So many of our sins are rooted in what we see. As James 1:14 says: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Today, we literally see the whole World. Log into any social media site, turn on the TV or even listen to the radio, and you can see how everyone else lives. You’re bombarded with advertising whispering how you should live and look. Your social media “friends” taunt you that you’re not as pretty, your house isn’t magazine cover worthy, and your life just plain sucks. We see that and the desire for more is born.

As advertisers know, if you fan that fire of desire enough, you can hook almost anyone on what you’re selling. In fact, there is a rule of marketing that says a customer needs to see something seven times to ensure they purchase. Nowadays, you can see seven worldly things in a single minute; all of it telling you – usually subconsciously – that you must conform with the world around you.

So, we see. And then we want it. Once we want it bad enough, we begin to make it happen. Sometimes, this is a good thing. Like when we go after a career God puts on our hearts, or pursue a new friendship. But most of the time, we just end up pursuing empty things of this World that serve no real purpose and give us no satisfaction. That is where sin is born: in discontentment, in the desire for more of this World, in seeing this World and wanting to fit in.

Maybe that is why Jesus said it is better to be blind – if not physically, but mentally. To not see this World with all of its shiny promises of fulfillment and happiness. Because we have no part of this World.

What can you turn a blind eye to today? 

Day 144: God’s Timing (1 Chronicles 11-13, John 9:1-23)

While reading 1 Chronicles 11, a thought came to me, this is another great example of how God has shown us that it’s best to trust His timing. The Bible says 20 years passed since Samuel had anointed David the king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). For me, 20 years of waiting is almost an eternity, not to mention the fact that in David’s case, it consisted of 20 years of Saul continuously pursuing to kill David. David’s character and behavior while waiting on God to fulfill His promises, as well as the utmost respect he consistently gave to Saul- despite his outlandish death attempts, made room for God to keep His promises to David (in His timing). Eventually, the door was opened and David became the king of Israel.

Then all Israel gathered before David at Hebron and told him,”We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord your God told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be the leader of my people Israel.'” -1 Chronicles 11:1-2 (NLT)

God’s timetable normally doesn’t match ours, but He does fulfill His promises if we follow His leading!