Tag Archives: pursuing God

777 Call to Prayer for Our Nation

Urgent Call to Prayer

Urgent Call to Prayer
Photo Credit: AnneGrahamLotz.com

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, has invited American Christians to join in seven days of prayer and repentance for the nation, starting today. You can see her invitation here and sign up to receive prayer alerts every day. On the 7th day, we will fast and pray for breakthrough. I invite you to join the chorus as we humble ourselves before our Lord.

The first prayer alert is posted here. Be sure to sign up to receive the next six in your inbox. And will you pray? Despite all the good things happening in the world, and we rejoice for those, our nation is at a crossroads. It’s time for the Church to be the Church, to humble ourselves, turn from our own wicked ways, and seek God’s mercy. (2 Chron. 7:14).

When I was with my family last month, including my newest granddaughter, I found myself in constant intercession for them and the world they are inheriting. I prayed that they would enjoy the freedoms we have enjoyed, especially the freedom of belief and thought. I prayed that they would not face national poverty and persecution, that their nation would not become a third world has-been. I prayed that they would be able to live well for Jesus, advancing His kingdom here on earth. And frankly, in the midst of the joy, my heart was breaking for them. And I repented for how my generation has squandered that which we inherited. It’s not too late, friends. Our God is a God of mercy as well as justice. I’m crying out for His mercy and examining my life. Will you join me?

Being Cultivated or Pursuing? Pursuing Splendor [Pt. 3]

 

Pursuing with a Purpose

Pursuing with a Purpose

Last post we looked at being cultivated by God.  While that is an excellent and biblical stance highlighting God’s work, I also know I have a responsibility to stay in the game. To be active rather than passive. To take in the nutrients provided for me. To “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14 ). To pursue splendor (my work).

So what does that look like? Of course there’s the obvious. Worship. Bible study. Prayer. Community. Service. These are all critical. But there is also something called pressing in. I wasn’t taught this in the first 30 or so years of my Christian life and I missed a lot.

Several years ago I was privileged to attend a nightly worship service in San Francisco featuring several hours of uninterrupted worship with a very short sermon. When you’re worshipping for a long time, it’s easy to allow your mind to wander. To drift. So periodically, the pastor, his wife, or a worship leader would remind us, “Press in. Stay focused on Jesus. Press in.” And as one, we would draw our focus back. And in the pressing in, the pursuing, we encounter His glory.

John Piper suggests four reasons to pursue or “go hard after” God.  I especially resonate with his fourth reason:

 The final reason why we must go hard after Christ is that he has gone hard after us and, indeed, has by faith made us his own. Philippians 3:12 again: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” This sentence explodes the false logic which says that if Christ has found us, we need no more seek him. If he has laid hold of us, we need not press on to lay hold of him.

Paul reasons exactly opposite to this: I press on in order to gain Christ, because Christ has already gained me. Paul’s conversion was not a cage to hold him back but a catapult into the pursuit of holiness. The irresistible grace of Christ overcoming Paul’s rebellion and saving him from sin did not make Paul passive, it made him powerful!

That’s what I mean by pursuing. Being intentional. Staying focused. Getting some coaching when necessary. Getting prayer support when necessary. Making a decision and sticking with it. I think that’s how we can pursue splendor while being cultivated for splendor. I think it’s both, and the key is finding the right balance.

What do you think?

 RELATED LINKS

Being Cultivated or Pursuing Splendor? [Pt. 1]
Being Cultivated or Pursuing? Being Cultivated by God [Pt. 2]

Photo Credit:  popofatticus

Being Cultivated or Pursuing? Being Cultivated by God [Pt. 2]

Pat Cultivating the Garden

Pat Cultivating the Garden
(c) Pat Sikora

So, do I allow God to cultivate me or am I to pursue him with all I’ve got? I think the answer is “yes.” Let’s look at cultivating in this post and pursuing in the next one.

I was reading one of my favorite devotionals, God Is Enough by the 19th century Quaker Hannah Whitall Smith where I found these words:

Growing is not a thing of effort but is the result of an inward life principle of growth. All the stretching and pulling in the world could not make a dead oak grow: but a live oak grows without stretching. The essential thing, therefore, is to get within you that growing life, and then you cannot help but grow. This life is the life ‘hid with Christ in God.’ (Col. 3:3), the wonderful divine life of the indwelling Hold Spirit. Be filled and, whether you are conscious of it or not, you must grow: you cannot help growing. (p.102)

I know I’m filled with the Spirit. I know I have the life of God in me. I see his hand everywhere in my life. And yet, I often feel ordinary when I long to be “a mighty oak of righteousness, a planting for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3).

On one hand I know I’m being cultivated by the great husbandman. I’m a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor (His work). As a gardener, I spend a lot of time planting, cultivating, and pruning my plants. I decide what needs to be done to accomplish my goal for each plant. I plant each one with loving care. I fertilize with the supplements I believe the plants need. And when they get leggy or out of balance or stop performing, I’m out there with my pruners trimming away the excess.

So on one hand I need to allow God to cultivate me. To direct my path and open doors for me. I need to submit to his planting, his fertilizing, and yes, even pruning. I need to “cease striving” (Ps. 46:10 NASB) and allow him to be God, orchestrating my life as he sees fit.

But does that mean I can be a couch potato waiting for a vision from God? Can I go off and do my own thing until God calls? I don’t think so. Let’s look at the other side of my responsibility next time.

RELATED STORIES

Being Cultivated or Pursuing Splendor? [Pt. 1] 

Being Cultivated or Pursuing Splendor? [Pt. 1]

 

Splendid Mighty Oak

Splendid Mighty Oak
(c) Pat Sikora

Welcome to my first post on my new blog. I’m excited. I keep thinking of truths and strategies I want to share with you. I long to develop a community of like-minded sojourners in this adventure call life. There is so much God has placed in me and done in me, and yet I confess, I’m still trying to figure it out. Will you join me in this journey?

I’ve spent so much of my life striving to grow spiritually, personally, and professionally. And why not? I’ve always known I was created for splendor. I know my Father created me for a purpose, and frankly, I’ve always thought that was a BIG purpose. I’ve never wanted to be ordinary.  My husband thinks that’s being proud or ostentatious. Why not just “be?”

He has a point. To a point. And finding that point, that balance, is the stuff of my life. Where do I need to put in some serious effort and where do I need to just “be” and allow God to do the growing? I know that resting in the Divine is essential, but I’ve also seen far too many people waste their lives wandering in the wilderness of aimless non-intentionality. Truth be told, I often feel that way about myself. So where is the balance?

What do you think? We’ll explore this question over the next couple of posts.