Posts Tagged ‘Seek God’

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Guest Blogger: Rick Warren

A few years ago, Rick Warren and his wife Kay went through a very difficult time in their lives when Kay found out she had cancer. Both she and Rick walked down the normal path we would all take of coming to grips with this as well as bringing it to God. Ultimately, it is in Gods hands anyway and in her case, Kay was victorious over the disease.

I wanted to share a brief note that Rick Warren wrote as he and Kay walked this path and how his perspective changed along the way. I hope you find these words helpful at whatever point you may be in your own life.

One small favor though…there is a list at the end that I highly encourage you to print up and post where you can see it each day. The list a HUGE reminder for all of us as we walk through this world of pain and good…

 What is the Purpose of Life?

People ask me, what is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. 

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body– but not the end of me. 

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. 

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense. 

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. 

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. 

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. 

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness. This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. 

I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life; there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. 

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. 
If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness,” which is my problem, my issues, my pain.” But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. 

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, and drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life. 

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when my book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy. 

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. 

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72 

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. 

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. 

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free. 

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? 

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do. 



That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings. 



Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. 


Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. 


Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. 


Painful moments, TRUST GOD.


Every moment, THANK GOD. 


Rick Warren

Until next time guys…

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Guys, I don’t know about you, but as I look out on this landscape I see in front of my right now on my television screen I find myself looking toward heaven in anticipation of what God has in store for this earth. Honestly in my eyes, things appear to be bleaker as I have ever seen and I believe that the tide of evil is moving in our direction. So in this hour of concern as to “what can I do about this” again I look toward heaven and present the very same question to God and my overwhelming response is to seek Him.

I remember reading this in scripture:

You will seek and find me if you seek me with all of your heart. “I will be found by you”, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13-14a

Remember that simple promise guys:

If you seek me you will find me…IF…you seek me with all of your heart.

If I was to go back and look at some of my favorite characters presented to us in the Bible, one of the main characteristics of all of them was how they continually sought after God through both the good and the bad times of their lives. The ominous cloud that is on the horizon is NOT the first time that Gods people have faced danger and survived. Consider this story back in the Old Testament in 2 Kings where the Assyrians were camped outside the city of Jerusalem for the sole purpose of destroying them. At that time Hezekiah, the King of Jerusalem, earnestly went to God and prayed an amazing prayer in chapter 19:14-19…you need to read this story because in his GREAT hour of need, where he feared for his life and the life of his people, he sought God and God heard him and delivered them from sure death from the Assyrians…JUST like He can do for you.

Guys, I understand I am calling your attention to a story from the Bible and its hard to relate to something that happened 2500 years ago but please understand that the God of this story is the very same God that I am asking you to seek now.

Don’t become disillusioned with seeking a God that you can’t see because the Bible is very specific about this as well:

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corin. 4:16

imagesSo what am I really saying here?

I am here to be a voice of hope for you even in this hour of confusion and despair. How can we possibly have hope when things look bleak? Because you are not in this by yourself and I will continue to throw scripture at you because that is where we Christians are called to draw our strength from…so read these:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

And finally:

Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.

Philippians 4:6-7

Guys my challenge to you today is to begin (or continue) in earnest to seek God with everything you have and I can guarantee that you will be rewarded with an internal peace for both you and your family to rest in as we move forward in these uncertain times.

Until next time Guys…

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I really enjoy reading the Old Testament because I like to see the hand of God everywhere throughout the various difficulties and challenges that each Israelite generation faced. What a life these Bible characters lived; between the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Hittites, the Midianites, the Jebusites, the Amorites and all the other “ites” working to destroy them through one means or another…One thing is clear, if the Israelites did not seek God for protection, they surely would not have survived. These armies they faced were immense and the men themselves were huge with some of them being Giants as we shall see.

Time and time again we see examples in scripture of a no possible way for victory and yet Israel survived through divine intervention Do you remember the story of Gideon in Judges 7 where God tells him that he has too many men to fight the Midianites? When was the last time anyone heard that before a battle? “You have more men than is necessary to accomplish this task”…so then after he pairs down his army to a “are you kidding me” number of 300 men, he goes out and wins a huge battle with trumpets… In our eyes, the Midianites should have destroyed this small band of men. But as was in most of the cases with Israel, the worse the odds seemed for any victory, the better God liked the scenario…because when Israel was ultimately victorious it was absolutely clear to ALL opponents, the God of Israel was truly ALL POWERFUL.

Now, we have another example in Dueteronomy with Joshua, Israel’s great General, where if you were a betting person, this battle was the ultimate long shot. In fact, the odds were so bad against Israel in Deuteronomy 3:22, God had to remind Joshua to move forward in faith and He, God…would fight the battle for them. You see from Joshua’s point of view, just counting soldiers, they would have been destroyed. But God had the situation right where He wanted it. He told Joshua:

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.

Can you think about that for a moment…”God himself will fight for you”.

Could you use some help right now with someone fighting your battles for you? Here is something I want you to think about when you are facing a difficult situation; have you considered that God may want the situation you are facing to seem overwhelming, insurmountable and frankly impossible?

Why…because God wants you to be fully dependent upon Him in all of your life circumstances and especially the difficulties because he wants there to be no doubt in your mind that you achieved victory because of Him. God prefers situations and circumstances that have no apparent (human) solution…at least to you and me…but just like in Deuteronomy 3 where the children of Israel had to face Og (who was a real guy, a predecessor to the famous Goliath of Gath…Og King of Bashan who according the Bible, was even bigger than Goliath read Deuteronomy 3:11) they moved forward in faith on the battlefield and was victorious…not on their own power, but with God right their beside them fighting…you must move forward in your own faith and take the first step. I don’t care what the odds are for victory, I only know what Paul tells us in Romans 8:31:

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Honestly guys, those are odds I can live with…

Until next time Guys…

Incomprehensible

Have you ever stopped to consider the sheer massiveness of God? And I just don’t mean His size. I mean in every way humanly possible. I say humanly because simply by that fact we are bound in what we can think and know about God.

Recently, I have been reading everything I can get my hands about God, our Creator and the undeniable fact of His incomprehensibility. Simply put, he cannot be explained in a manner that befits Him. Human speech is far to limited for this exercise and I find myself searching for more answers. Moreover, all of this reading only makes me realize how truly BIG God is and how much I DON’T KNOW and honestly, that just makes things more difficult.

How do we think about God with our limited ability to even comprehend Him?

To clarify perspective even more, A.W. Tozer said, “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” …about US. Which means if we were able to extract a complete answer to that question, we might be able to predict the spiritual future of that man.

But realistically guys, who really thinks about this besides really smart theologians? Have you ever taken the time to think about God at anytime or anywhere in your life? My guess is probably not. But don’t feel bad because in reality, most guys don’t because we don’t understand this subject well enough for it to even matter to us. The purpose of my post today is simply to explain why you should care and better yet, why you should seek God on your own to learn more about Him. Let me assure you guys up front, your personal search for Him will not go unrewarded.

We are told throughout the Bible that mankind has been created in the image of God and that makes us unique amongst all of His creation. The fact that we can think and speak makes us different. In other words, you and I can look at each another and what we see around us and as a result, can derive certain things about the image of God and who He is.

The problem as I see it is that mankind starts with such a poor idea of God the Creator that it denigrates the dignity of who He is. When you grow up with a limited understanding of God and who He is and the only information about God is what we learn on TV or maybe in a University then to me it’s very clear why 80% of today’s millennials say they are not Christians or “God-fearing” believers.

For those of you who may think otherwise, God is not hiding from us. He is not an illusive God who thinks mankind is His game and sometimes He is around and other times He is not. When we think like that, we put God in a box and I think we do this because that way, He can be more easily understandable to us.

In other words, we try to fit God into our minds but the problem is…He doesn’t fit…because our God is truly…God incomprehensible.

But before I go to far with all of this “incomprehensible” stuff and lose you, let me simply say that God’s plan for us to better understand Him came in the form of His son Christ Jesus. Without Him, the gap between mankind and God could not have been breached.

For those of you who have an inner core desire to seek God and desperately search after Him…there is a reason for that longing. Tozer said,

“The yearning to know what cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calls unto deep and the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source.”

Guys, simply put…inside you there exists something that longs God. As a believer, something is inside of us that desires Him and by seeking God with all you have, you are following His desire for you. He wants you to return to Him and the beauty of all of this is He gave you Christ to make it so easy. Christ said this in Matthew:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7

My point is simply all YOU have to do is ask…

I started this blog by telling you about the incomprehensibility of the God we serve and how can we even begin to think about something so massive? I am ending it by telling you to remember what He gave us to help us do that…

He gave us Christ and that my friends, is all we need to remember…

Have a blessed Holiday Season my brothers.

Merry Christmas from IronMan Strength,

I leave you with this video from Pentatonix…

Until next time guys…

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I found myself complaining the other day about something I now don’t even remember what it was about but it got me thinking about fundamentally why my first reaction was to grumble about the issue in the first place? Have you ever done that before? When something happens the way you don’t want it to your first reaction is to gripe about it? It can be about small or even stupid things like “why don’t you do this right?” or, “why can’t you put this away correctly?”…But the fact I was doing this got me thinking about complaining or the idea of complaining for really no good reason at all.

I think you would agree with me that there are people in this world who should be complaining or have a more valid reason to complain. For example, when you don’t have enough food to feed your family or when you have lost your job through no fault of your own…those are the folks that should be complaining. But what I find interesting is in some cases, these are the people who don’t say anything. They just go about their business and go on surviving. If they lose their job, they work to find another one. If they can’t feed their family, they find another job to make some more money to help. Please don’t misunderstand me here, this is not a commentary on work ethic or our society, it is my observation that when the going gets rough, there are people out there who simply DO and don’t complain about it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mark Woodard speak about his life experiences and his insatiable desire to be positive and to persevere, no matter what his circumstances. Guys, never in my life have I heard someone who should simply complain about his life and what has happened to him. Quick summary, when he was 10, a shotgun went off and blew half his face away. After many surgeries, he survived but he was totally blind. After receiving a 7-figure settlement, his drug-addicted mother stole most of his money and later on, a girl friend would steal the rest. Through many various struggles as a ward of the state, fights, adversity like I have never seen before, this guy struggles on. He won’t even think of quitting. He is now 25, and working to get a degree to teach blind people skills that he had to learn on his own. What I find inspiring is his perspective because complaining is not an option to him. He simply keeps persevering no matter what the odds are stacked against him. As I listened, I found myself asking what would I have done in his situation? Would I have persevered in the face of so many obstacles, or just given up? The fact that I began this blog with a confession that I was complaining about something unimportant made me realize that I wasn’t proud of myself in this area. Mark has somehow learned how to be content and persevere no matter what he faces in his life…and he can’t even see. Then I remembered something the Apostle Paul said in Philippians that brought the answer to me in a way I could understand:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Suddenly I feel really stupid about complaining about anything. Sure, I have faced adversity in my life…we all have. But the key is understanding how to be content and NOT complain. The key is to keep on seeking God and persevering with all of our might…even when it makes no sense for us to do so. God has promised to never leave us or forget us…

 

Let me leave you with this very simple thought:

 

No matter what your circumstances may be, there is always something to be thankful for…

 

Until next time guys…