The sacrifices of our great cloud of witnesses are in the name. Therefore let us not merely cast it off as though it were nothing.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).“
God wants us to seek Him and the good news is, “those who seek Him will find Him (Prov 8:17)”. He delights in our seek and beckons us to come. However, the kind of seek He is looking for is fervent and all-encompassing. Furthermore, it is life-long.
We must be committed to a lifelong, whole-hearted, pursuit of intimacy with Jesus. Then we will pray to Him and He will be found by us.
I think many times we seek the Lord and become discouraged when we don’t hear from Him right away. If we are not getting a response perhaps it is because we are half-heartedly seeking. Sometimes we may not realize that our whole heart isn’t in our praise, song, or prayer.
- Am I having devotions that are void of devotion?
- Have I offered God the works of my hands but not my life?
- Am I preferring leisure and comfort to the wholehearted pursuit of intimacy with Jesus?
Intimate worship springs forth from an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship with God must be sought like precious gold. When we seek the Lord we can’t do it casually we must do it passionately with all our might.
I’ll tell you like the saints of old used to tell me, “Ninety-nine and a half won’t do!”
We do not seek Him in vain!
During these difficult and tumultuous times, many succumb to hopelessness and fear but I have come with a message of hope. The Lord is still in the prayer answering business!
“I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right (Isaiah 45:19 NKJV).”
The prophet Isaiah speaks on behalf of God to the coming pagan king, Cyrus. Cyrus was anointed and appointed by God to deliver the children of Isreal from Babylon. However, there was nothing special about Cyrus that caused God to move.
There was something special about God’s heart for His people. He loved them with an everlasting love and He heard them crying out to Him for deliverance. Today, God is the same. He loves His people and He will answer them.
“It is a wicked thing to think God ever says to His people, “Seek Me in Vain,” David Guzik said in his commentary on Isaiah 45.
God wants us to bring our troubles to Him, Whatever they are! When times are at their worst cry out to God even more. HE WILL ANSWER YOU!
This is the Word of the Lord for you today and every day that you are breathing! Whatever it is, He wants you to bring it to Him BECAUSE He will set it right, if not in this life, then in the life that is to come.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jer 29:13 NASB).”
“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb 11:6 NASB).”
“Those who have the New Jerusalem in their eyes must have the way to it in their hearts.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Consider Jesus. Consider the believers who have gone before us and how by faith they obtained such great testimony. How did they do it?
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:1-2 NKJV).”
They let their faith drive. They took no care for what terrain faith would drive them through because their eyes were set on the place faith was taking them. The believers of old were able to endure the rough terrain, hardship, and difficulty because they were acquainted with the joy set before them.
- Get the New Jerusalem in your eyes and in your heart
Our heavenly home should be real to us. We should be able to feel it coming just over the horizon. Imagine Him coming with the clouds. “King of Kings” written on His thigh with armies of angels at His side, imagine the New Jerusalem coming down from God.
The Kingdom of our God becomes more tangible and real in our hearts the more we look at it.
We must read about it, meditate on God, and enjoy sweet communion with Him. Taste and see how good He is, lose ourselves in worship, and find ourselves in worship.
With the fullness of our God and the hope of finally uniting with Him, the one we adore in our sights, we can endure it all. That is not to say we will want to endure it all but we should know that whatever it is, we can make it through.
Jesus endured it all and He did so for the joy set before Him. The coming joy that helped Jesus endure the tough stuff, the cross, the persecution, the shame wasn’t just the streets of gold that adorn our heavenly home. In fact, one might put it this way, “He didn’t want heaven without us.”
The joy that helped Jesus endure the tough stuff was the thought of being with us. It was knowing that He would save us all with this one act forever. It was foreknowledge of the sweet communion with us to come that helped Him endure the suffering to obedience to the father.
- Don’t accept the suffering of life and the chastenings of your Father without pausing to enjoy the sweetness of His fellowship
WORSHIP. Take the time to commune with God. Worship is intimate. Drink of Him all. Commun with Him in prayer. Commun with Him in the Word, commune with Him in worship, commune with Him in other believers. Neglect one part and eventually you will feel it. This is the well of living water that we come to drink from often. This is how we endure the tough stuff.
- Love the way to Zion
“Having placed their happiness in God as their end, rejoice in all the ways that lead to him, all those means by which their graces are strengthened and their communion with him kept up. They not only walk in these ways, but they have them in their hearts, they ley them near their hearts; no care or concern, no pleasure or delight, lies nearer than this. Those who have the new Jerusalem in their eye must have the ways that lead to it in their hearts.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalms 84
The tough stuff is one of the ways our graces are strengthened and our communion deepened. Let us not despise it. We must learn to take this pilgrimage in stride. It’s a marathon not a sprint and the Holy Spirit is the one who helps us keep pace.
- Grit your teeth and obey
I know this is a less popular one that is not often talked about but just doing it because you know that is what God wants might be a thing. And that is all that I can say about that.
- Rest in complete assurance of the reward for your sufferings
Lastly, consider this, God honored Him. God has exalted Jesus to the place of the highest authority. He sits at the right hand of the Father forever making intercession for humanity. Nothing comes to the Father but through Him.
Can we not also perceive that we will receive the reward for our suffering also. We will be honored when we have completed our course. We will see our God face to face. He will have us and we will have Him. Finally.
Now, we know that while we are enduring hardship it doesn’t always feel like some grand quest for the Kingdom, that’s why it’s important to unite ourselves with other believers who can hold us up and strengthen us when we are going through the tough stuff.
Brittany Henry is a worship leader anywhere there are thirsty hearts and ears that want to hear. To learn more about her ministry you can visit BrittanyHenryMinistries.org
Knowing God is the whole battle.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God,” John 1:2 KJV
To truly love the bride of Christ we must know Christ. We must be deeply acquainted with the Father’s heart for all people and when we adopt His heart for the church we are able to love her.
One way to know God and His heart is to study the Bible. It gives us insight into who He is, how He feels and what He may do. In John 1:2 we see that God is His Word. Know the Bible and know God.
The other way to know God is through worship. Worship is how humanity responds to a Holy God. Intimacy with God can be felt through sweet communion with Him in Worship. Proskuneo is the Greek word for worship. It literally means to kiss the hand. Have you ever kissed the hand of your maker? It’s intimate and not in a sexual way. It is a spiritual closeness reserved for those that are in the Spirit.
Prayer is another way humanity can know God. Speaking to God, learning to recognize His voice and choose to obey what He says is the mark of those that know Him.
When we put these three things together, we are able to know God so deeply we become one. We begin to become like Him. This enables us to do what God desires and want the same things God wants.
What does God desire for His people but that they would be with Him, that they would love Him and love each other? Therefore, let us consider three main attributes of the triune God and His heart for the church through the eyes of the Israelites. This will give us insight into what the posture of our hearts should be for the Bride.
Three Main Attributes
In Exodus 34 there is an account of God passing by His servant Moses and proclaiming His own attributes. This list encompasses those attributes.
We must remind the remnant to keep on loving and forgiving. We must encourage each other to suffer long with one another and most importantly we must recall how much Christ loved the church. The church is a central character in God’s story. Our generation is falling away from the church in record numbers.
“It seems all-too-often our churches are actually causing more damage than good, and the statistics are showing a staggering number of millennials have taken note. According to this study (and many others like it) church attendance and impressions of the church as well as people leaving the church, are the lowest in recent history, and most drastic among millennials described as 22- to 35-year-olds. Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low). 59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out. 35 percent of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good. Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far),” said public school teacher Sam Eaton in a recent article written for Faithit.
If we look at the body as individuals, we might find it hard to endure its imperfections. We may struggle to forgive the humanity of our leaders and fellow sojourners but for the cause of Christ, we must endure.
We must keep on the road to Zion with our eyes on the prize; our God. When we adopt the heart of our God for His Bride we can love her and suffer long with those, who are in-fact like us, who make up the Church.
This is how we love the church. Through love, mercy and long-suffering; like Christ.
Brittany Henry is dedicated to reconciling lost men and women to their God through influence. By serving her family, writing spiritual songs, authoring books, and building wealth through entrepreneurship she is an example of how women should conduct themselves as strangers in the earth. To learn more about her contributions to the Kingdom of God visit FVANETWORK.com and BrittanyHenryMinistries.org
This blog was originally published on behalf of Cornerstone College of Virginia.