All I’ve Ever Needed

I was reading in Revelation.  As I came to the final chapters, I did a double-take.  Within the span of eight verses virtually the same statement is made twice.

“But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.  The Lamb is its light.  And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.  Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).  And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.  But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causesan abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each treeyielding its fruit every month.   The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.   And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.  There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.  And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 21:23-22:5).

This was John’s description of the New Jerusalem as the Lord Jesus Christ revealed it to him.  How profoundly it must have astounded John!  I mean for him to mention it more than once sounds like it’s pretty important to me.  I see such an emphatic reiteration as sort of being like when your mama is trying to get your attention so she uses both your forename AND middle name.  You know?

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The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it.  The Lamb is its light… There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.

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There is no need, NO NEED, of anything other than Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God!  Are our lives a reflection of this truth?  Is there no need of anything other than Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God in our lives?  If we are not sure we could answer that question how we would like to, what might be keeping us from doing so?  Why is that or are those things keeping us from being able to say that there no need of anything other than Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God in our lives?  How could we ensure to live more and more as there is no need of anything other than Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God in our lives?

I would encourage you to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and in the Word, seeking Him.  Praise Him for graciously and mercifully revealing Himself.  Tell Him your heart, that you are or want to be desperate to live more and more as there is no need of anything other than Him in your life.  And thank Him.

Blessings,

Victoria

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ALWAYS pray and NEVER give up

Who doesn’t love when the scripture interprets the parable for you?!? “Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should ALWAYS pray and NEVER give up” (Read Luke 18:1-8, NIV84).

For me, it is very easy to pray when my heart is especially burdened.  I am quite sure that throughout my life, the closest I have ever been to God is in my times of struggle.  In those times of struggle, I definitely want relief, protection, closure, and sometimes… I even want to “fast-forward” to the time when the pain will be over.

What happens in the moment when the break up happens or the person we care about so deeply takes a turn for the worse? Have you ever gotten angry with God for allowing a situation?  Or wonder where He is and why He hasn’t rescued you?  ALWAYS pray and NEVER give up.  Don’t ever lose hope or faith in your struggles!

On the other hand, what about when things are settled?  When we leave the hospital or heal from the break-up or begin resolving the issues that tear apart a marriage?  When these struggles are over, when they are not burning inside us every moment, distracting us from everything else, do we just “get back to life”?

Have you ever experienced a spiritual drought?  The kind where your prayers almost seem like they lack heart… when things are so settled that you start your day and then seek God…maybe… instead of seeking Him in desperation the moment you wake up?

What does God prompt you to always pray about and never give up on?  This also implies always believe, always hope, and always trust that He will answer and that He will answer FULLY.

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Why the widow?

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When I read this scripture, I wonder why God used a widow.  My first thought was that it is because God uses everyone to tell His story and His glory.  Noah was  a drunk.  King David was an adulterer.  Rahab was a prostitute.  The list goes on.  And you think your sin is too big or you have too much baggage to glorify God?!?  Newsflash, He has plans for you just like He had plans for these sinners.

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I also believe that one of the many reasons Jesus chose a widow in this story is that we can all relate to her desperate and vulnerable nature…

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Widowhood presented a difficult time in a woman’s life, especially when compounded with a diminished ability to meet financial needs– a common circumstance in the ancient patriarchal world of the Bible.  From the time of Israel’s inception, God has been known as the Defender of widows (Deuteronomy 10:18 and 24:17). “Justice” among God’s people was measured in part by the treatment of widows (Isaiah 1:17). God’s compassion for the widow became the covenant community’s responsibility, which the early church naturally took up (James 1:27).  First Timothy 5:3-16 gives clear instructions about the treatment of widows.

Luke has a habit of focusing on the “underdog”.  In this chapter of the gospel alone, we see this widow, little children (Luke 18:15-17), a blind beggar (Luke 18:35-43), and a humble tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).  You see, God tells us to pray and not give up, but He continues with this parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector… why?  What does this tell us about the quality of our prayers?  Pray and never give up… but be humble.  Pray for righteous things that are of God’s will.  Pray in humility.  Pray that revels to us the sins we need to repent of.  Pray that He will be merciful to us!

I ask you, if this judge who doesn’t fear man or God grants the widow’s request, how do you think our Heavenly Father feels when we, His children petition Him?

Those of you who are parents, do you not want what’s best for your children?  Doesn’t it hurt your heart when they want for something?  Or when you need to keep them from something because it is not in their best interest?  My friends, God hears your every cry!  In fact, He knows the desires of your hearts before you speak them!  He wants what is best for you!   And He will answer!

ALWAYS pray and NEVER give up,

Carrie

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Am I Desperate for God – Part 2

Last week I told you about a journey I went on that started with asking the question “Am I Desperate for GOD”.   That question made me realize that honestly, this was a topic that I really did not know much about.  My journey led me down a path of understanding the  “What”, “Who”, “Why”, “When” and  “Where” of being Desperate for GOD.    In our prior study we looked at the first question:   What does it mean to be desperate for GOD?  In this study, we will look to answer the other four “W’s”.

The second question I asked was,  Who in scripture was desperate for God?   I believe that the Bible proves the Bible so there is no better place to seek answers than in scripture.  I believe that the Bible has many examples of people desperate for GOD and the move of HIS Spirit.

Luke 5:17-26 tells an account of a man that was paralyzed.   He got so desperate for JESUS that he convinced some friends to take him to see JESUS.   When they got to the place where JESUS was at, they couldn’t get in because there were so many people.  His desperation must have been infectious because his friends took him up on the roof of the house, ripped the roof off and lowered him into the middle of the room.

A few pages later in Luke 8:43-45 we are told of the account of a woman who had “an issue of blood”.   We know from Leviticus 15:18-20 that she was considered “unclean” and anyone that touched her was considered “unclean” as well.   Based on her condition, she probably kept her distance from people.  In fact she probably had low self esteem because she had been considered “unclean” for so long.  It is interesting that 2,000 years later we still know her as the woman with the issue of blood.  However, JESUS knew her as the woman who was so desperate for HIM that she didn’t care what people thought any longer as long as she could get close to HIM and but touch the hem of HIS garment.  She sacrificed her reputation, the scorn of the crowd, her own self worth and got desperate for HIS touch.

Near the end of the book of Luke, in chapter 19 verses 1-10 we are told about a man named Zacchaeus.   Zack was a chief among tax collectors which mean he was really hated by everyone.   The name Zacchaeus means “Pure” or “Righteous”, so I am thinking that his parents had a different career path planned for young Zack when he was born.   The bible also tells us that Zack was short…like REALLLLLYYY short…like “vertically challenged” in a big way!   Little Zack finally had power, but wealth and power weren’t enough, he had a need and he got desperate for JESUS.  The bible tells us that Zack climbed a sycamore tree just so he could have a box seat to see Jesus.   He got so desperate for Jesus that he didn’t care who saw him or thought badly about him.   Out of his desperation, Zack became a changed man!

Notice that in all of these accounts, they didn’t care about their reputation, they didn’t care about money, all they cared about was getting to HIM and being in HIS presence.   Their priorities shifted, they were no longer hiding, no longer focused on themselves or their wealth, but the were desperate for JESUS.

The next question is Why be Desperate for GOD?   Matthew 28:20, we are told “Lo I am with you always”, so then why should I be desperate for GOD?  I mean, HE is always with us…right?    I believe there are many reasons.   I once heard Tommy Tenney say that “the height of your revival will be determined by the depth of your hunger”.   That tells me that if we want revival, if we want change, we MUST be desperate for GOD.   I believe that we should be desperate for GOD because that is the example we have in scripture.   But the number one reason I believe we should be desperate for GOD is because of who HE IS and who we are not!   I believe that GOD is indescribable…He is awesome…He is amazing.   The most incredible description I have ever heard of GOD was from a message given by S.M. Lockridge, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, California.   He gave a message entitled “My King” which reminds us exactly who GOD is!

My King” by S.M. Lockridge

“The Bible says my King is a seven-way King:  He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a national King.  He’s the King of Righteousness.  He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven.  He’s the King of Glory.  He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords.  That’s my King.

Well, I wonder do you know Him?

David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.”  My King is a sovereign King – no means of measure can define His limitless love.  No farseeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply.  No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.  He’s enduringly strong.  He’s entirely sincere.  He’s eternally steadfast.  He’s immortally graceful.  He’s imperially powerful.  He’s impartially merciful.

Do you know Him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.  He’s God’s Son.  He’s the sinner’s Savior.  He’s the centerpiece of civilization.  He stands in the solitude of himself.  He’s august and He’s unique.  He’s unparalleled, He’s unprecedented.  He is the loftiest idea in literature.  He’s the highest personality in philosophy.  He is the supreme problem in higher criticism.  He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.  He is the core and the necessity for spiritual religion.  He’s the miracle of the age, He’s… yes He is.  He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.  He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior.

I wonder if you know him today?

He supplies strength for the weak.   He’s available for the tempted and the tried.   He sympathizes and He saves.  He strengthens and sustains.  He guards and He guides.  He heals the sick.  He cleansed the lepers.  He forgives sinners.  He discharges debtors.  He delivers the captive.  He defends the feeble.  He blesses the young.  He serves the unfortunate.  He regards the aged.  He rewards the diligent.  And He beautifies the meek.

I wonder if you know Him? Well, my King— He is the key, He’s the key to knowledge.  He’s the wellspring of wisdom.  He’s the doorway of deliverance.  He’s the pathway of peace.  He’s the roadway of righteousness.  He’s the highway of holiness.  He’s the gateway of glory.

Do you know Him?

Well, His office is manifold.   His promise is sure.  His life is matchless.  His goodness is limitless.   His mercy is everlasting.  His love never changes.  His Word is enough.  His grace is sufficient.  His reign is righteous and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

I wish I could describe Him to you.  But He’s indescribable – yes He is ! He’s God.  He’s, He’s indescribable, yes, He’s indescribable.  He’s incomprehensible.   He’s invincible.   He’s irresistible.

Well, you can’t get Him out of your mind,  You get Him off of your hand, You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him.

Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him.   Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.  The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree.  Herod couldn’t kill Him.   Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. THAT’S MY KING !

Now doesn’t that make you desperate for GOD?

The last two “W’s” are “Where” and “When” as in Where and When can I be Desperate for GOD?   I believe the answer to this question is simple:  “HERE” and “NOW”!   One of the great things about being desperate for GOD is that you don’t have to wait for a specific time and place, you can be Desperate for GOD right where you are, right at this moment.   Tell HIM that you want more of HIS presence.   Tell HIM that nothing is more important to you than HIM.

I want to encourage you to examine your life and see if you are “Desperate for GOD”.    Ask yourself:

  • Am I satisfied with my spiritual life?
  • Am I complacent in my relationship with GOD?
  • Do I LOVE to spend time in GOD’s Word?
  • Am I reluctant to miss my quiet time with GOD each day?
  • Is my hunger and thirst for righteousness unconditional?
  • In what area of my life am I not desperate for God?

Don’t let today pass you by.   Let today be the day where you declare, “I AM DESPERATE FOR GOD”.   It is one decision that you will not regret.

God Bless!

–Stephen

 

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this site and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to With True Hope and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of With True Hope. Thank you.

Am I Desperate for GOD – Part 1

I recently did a study on the topic of “Desperate for GOD”. As I was pondering these words, I felt the LORD speak to me and ask me “well are you?” It made me stop and I had to ask myself “AM I DESPERATE FOR GOD?”

Although not applauded in our society, it is truly an awesome thing to be DESPERATE FOR GOD! As I began to examine my life I sadly realized my own lack of desperation for God. It seems that I am more desperate for: success at work, things at home, the latest gadget – all instead of being desperate for GOD. In the world we may be told that desperation is a bad thing, but I believe Scripture actually shows something else. In fact, from God’s perspective there are many blessings and even promises in Scripture that cannot be received except through being desperate for GOD. Matthew 6:33 tells us to “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…”, literally if you get Desperate for GOD and seek HIS FACE and HIS PRESENCE, HE will supply your needs! What an awesome promise. So then why don’t I seek HIM like this? Why am I not as Desperate for GOD as I should be? Do I even understand what it means to be Desperate for God?

This last question led me down a journey to understand the “What”, “Who”, “Why”, “When” and “Where”of being Desperate for GOD. Will you join me on the journey?

Let’s take a look at the first question: What does it mean to be desperate for GOD? I believe we really don’t know what the word desperate means, do we? We live in a culture where we are rarely “in want” for anything. The dictionary defines desperate as an adjective meaning (at least the meaning we will focus on) having an urgent need, desire, etc.: desperate for attention. So that means that Desperation only comes when there is a recognized need that is beyond our own ability to meet. Literally this means having a deep desire, a passion, a yearning that can ONLY be satisfied by the presence of our HOLY GOD.

There are several portions of scripture that tell us about being desperate for GOD. Matthew 5:6 tells us “…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…” Literally blessed are those who are desperate for GOD for they will be filled. As I looked at this I realized that in our country in this generation, we don’t really know what it really means to be hungry and thirsty. Most of us can open our refrigerator, go to “Kroger’s” or stop by “Chick-fil-a” anytime we want to satisfy our hunger. If we are thirsty all we have to do is turn on the faucet and we can satisfy our thirst. Most of us have never really known the desperation of Hunger or Thirst, but the crowd that was listening to Jesus speak these words, understood exactly what he meant. They understood desperation because they didn’t have the conveniences that we are blessed with in this country. Mother Teresa – missionary to India once wrote, “People in India are physically hungry. People in America are spiritually hungry. That makes people in India better off, because Americans don’t know they are starving.” Without Jesus we all have an emptiness – even if we don’t realize it – but when we Hunger and Thirst for JESUS, that emptiness is filled.

The Psalms are full of examples of a man who was “Desperate for GOD”.

Psalm 42 starts by stating “…as the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God”. Notice it mention that the deer was worried about the hunter in the woods…it doesn’t mention that “Bambi” was looking for his best friend “Thumper”…it doesn’t mention that the deer was looking for a new place to settle down…it doesn’t even mention that the deer was looking for a vacation at the beach…all the deer wanted was “living water”! The description is of a totally dehydrated creature with only one thought…get me to the “living water”.
Did you know that the word used here in the Greek that is translated as “water brooks” literally means “perennial springs which never run dry” and is also used in Jermiah 2:13; 17:13?

A few pages later we find Psalm 63. Right from the first words we hear a cry of a man desperate for GOD. “O God you are my God! I shall seek you earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Now THAT sounds like the cry of a man desperate for the presence of GOD! The back story to this Psalm is that David is running for his life from his son Absalom, who has planned to kill him and take the throne (2 Sam. 15:23, 28). David left his palace, left his throne and was hiding in the Judean Wilderness. It is amazing to notice that he doesn’t say anything in this Psalm about missing his throne, or missing his riches or missing the power of his position. He doesn’t even mention the trouble with his son. All he wants is the presence of GOD.

How about Psalm 69? The psalmist uses phrases like: “Save me, O GOD, for the waters have come up to my neck…”, “…My eyes fail, looking for my GOD…”, “…You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you…But I pray to you, O Lord…”, “…O God, answer me…”, “…O Lord, out of the goodness of your love, in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant…”, “…come near and rescue me; redeem me…”! When was the last time I prayed like this? To me, this speaks of desperation beyond reason, beyond logic, beyond caring about what other people think, beyond caring about what may be happening in the world around you. It is a cry from deep within that can only be fulfilled by GOD.

I once heard a story of a seminary student who was given a final assignment to write a theological paper on the topic of “being desperate for GOD”. The student was a “straight A” student, but the professor was tough. Ultimately the student received a bad grade from his professor and instead of just accepting it he went to see his professor.

The student bravely went before the old professor and said “how could you give me such a bad grade on this assignment, everything was theologically and grammatically correct, I checked sources, made superior arguments and did everything right!”

The professor told the Seminary student “it was because you did not understand desperation”.

The student began to argue with the professor and tried to make his point on why he did understand desperation and why he deserved a better grade. The professor asked the student to join him at the back of the room so that he could show him something. He brought the student to a large fish tank and asked the student to look into it. He then asked him what he saw. The student began to describe the contents of the fish tank at which point the professor asked him to “look deeper”. As soon as the student began to peer over the edge of the tank, the old professor took both of his hands and pushed the students head into the water holding his head under the water.

The students began fighting but he was at a disadvantage, his arms were flailing, he was dying. When he was almost to the end, the professor let him up. The student began gasping for air. He sputtered “Are you crazy!?!?! Why did you do that???? I couldn’t breathe! Why would you try to kill me?”

The professor responded with a question, “when you were in the water what was it you wanted?”

“AIR” shouted the student!

“You mean you weren’t thinking about your grades or your paper or your career or your possessions or anything else?” replied the wise professor.

“No, ALL I WAS THINKING ABOUT WAS AIR…JUST AIR” cried the student “I WAS DESPERATE FOR…air…”.

The Professor looked at the student and smiled at him and said, “now you get it…that is desperation, when that is all that you can think of, all that consumes you.”

He then asked the student “are you that desperate for GOD”?

Am I that desperate for GOD? If we want to see a change in our world, in our country, in our town, in our neighborhood, in our church, we need to be that Desperate for GOD! God promises that when we are desperate for Him – seeking HIM, we will find Him! “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).

Join us next week as we look at the “Who”, “Why”, “When” and “Where” of being Desperate for GOD.  While you are waiting, enjoy the video below of the song “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.

God Bless!
–Stephen

 

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this site and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to With True Hope and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of With True Hope. Thank you.