Seeking God

Seeking God is not in vain if you seek: humbly, wholeheartedly and in faith that he will answer you.

What a joy it is to know God wants us to find him because he wants to be found. He wants a relationship with us. He is a forgiving and grace-giving God waiting for us to acknowledge, admit and adhere to his love. Our part is to realize we are in need of him; the start to seeking.

Personal Testimony

I grew up in a Christian, God-serving, church-going household and I am forever grateful for my upbringing as my parents guided me to faith. Growing up, I also grew very passionate about playing basketball with the goal to receive a scholarship to play in university. In 2007, I achieved that goal and accomplished a great rookie year. However, the academic side of school became a huge stress in my life and basketball became more of a job than a sport I loved. I started to question my own happiness and wondered where God was in all of this. I worked so hard, yet became so unhappy. Aren’t “Christians” happy people? I’d often ask myself. I realized I needed help beyond myself. I needed God.

Seeking begins with a realization we cannot save ourselves.

Summer of 2008, I cried out to God in desperation to find this “inner peace” and “joy” I heard so many times in church. Why hadn’t I found this to be true for me? I went straight to the source – God in prayer. Laying it all out, my fears, disappointments and feelings. Then, after much prayer, I decided to take a year off to learn about my identity as a Christ-follower instead of a basketball player.

Seek and you will find.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

I sought God in prayer, surrendering my scholarship or what else I knew to give me happiness in exchange to learn more about following him. So, I asked God for three things: the ability to keep training my basketball skills (to keep the option of playing again probable), to get a job and to travel. Within three weeks of this surrendering prayer, God answered me. I received a job as an assistance basketball coach, whilst on the side being trained by the head coach. As well as, working as a front desk clerk for GoodLife Fitness (which included a free membership). Then a friend invited me to join her to volunteer for a bible school called, “Youth with a Mission” (YWAM) in the Sunshine Coast of Australia. God gave me the three specific things I asked for in prayer (basketball training, a job and travel). To me that was confirmation that God heard my prayer. Now, it was my turn to learn about following him…

I took the year off to travel and seek God.

I took a year off of university and set off in January 2009 to travel with YWAM in Australia. During my time volunteering with the Bible school I got to sit in all the Bible lectures teaching me about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

One day I can remember the moment that all my seeking came to a halt because the presence of God met me. It was during a worship song and prayer time. I felt so discouraged that I made all this effort to serve God and I still didn’t feel he was near. I became mad and left the room towards a bathroom stall to pout. Then I prayed again, “God, why aren’t you answering me? Don’t you see all my effort I am doing to pursue you???” I will never forget the immediate answer I felt in my heart from the Lord that day. I heard within my Spirit God say, “Emily, you are here because I pursued you.

God is always in Pursuit of you.

Sunshine Coast, Australia, January 2009

God wants a relationship, a two-way-street. He wants us to respond to his pursuit of love for us. For me, I realized he wanted more than just faith, he wanted my participation or willingness to allow him to change me. The moment I realized he wanted my participation was the moment our relationship became real. He wasn’t forcing me to follow him, he was waiting for me to say “yes”.

You seeking him is a response to that initial pursuit of his.

Saying “yes” to God means repenting of our sins and adhering to his will. We learn about his will through reading the the Bible. Understanding God’s character makes his presence more known than simply waiting on a physical “feeling” to emerge.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

Psalm 14:2

I am more aware of the presence of God because of how much more I know about him. And one thing I know about him is that he calls us to seek him diligently (Proverbs 8:17) and continually (1 Chronicles 16:11). In all things and in any circumstance he is there and he is approachable because his love for us came before our love for him.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Seeking God will change your life as it did mine.

Germany, July 2009

Deciding to take that year off changed the course of my life and my faith for the better. As it lead to another month of travel and yet another bible school with YWAM in Montana, USA, called: Summer of Sports. Continuing my training on the court whilst training spiritually off the court.

After that year off, I was able to return to my university basketball scholarship and finish my degree. What a miracle that was! Praise God!

Why I share my story.

I share part of my life to encourage you that when you seek God with your whole heart, your seeking is not in vain. Every time I go back to God, whether its in a life-crisis or a day’s stresses, he answers me. He answers me in peace to not understand why some things happen and others don’t. In joy, knowing I am secure in my eternal fate or in friendships and community when I experience change and transition. The Christian life isn’t a perfect one but it is a content one, which was the most important thing I’ve learned in my year of seeking God. As I understood that my identity is not in my ability to play basketball or in my ability to make people like me, but it’s found in the acceptance of Jesus Christ.

Sydney, Australia, February 2009

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,

1 Timothy 6:6

What about you? Are you seeking God, willing to trust he’ll find you?

Are you seeking? Searching, pursuing, thinking, mediating, or striving after God in order to be found? As we seek God in faith, we trust that he answers us in the best way possible. Trusting God knows us better than we know ourselves, which includes the answers and outcomes of our prayers. We can be uncertain of how God will answer, but certain that he does answer. There is not an if he will answer but a HOW he will answer, which is the beauty of faith. When we trust in the character of God and rely on the previous testimonies of how he met us before (or others we know, or people in the Bible), we are more willing and continually able to seek him again and again.

Come to Jesus, in the current mess you are in, because your search after his presence is not in vain rather it’s a miracle in waiting.

The Blazed trail

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10

Come to Jesus with Your Baggage

Jesus Visits Martha & Mary’s House

Come to Jesus with your baggage, like Martha.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42

Martha’s Baggage

Jesus loves you. Sometimes I don’t think we can fathom how much He really does. Jesus loves me even with all my baggage… even the over-weight-need-to-pay-the-extra-25-bucks-for-it-baggage… he wants it all.

In the Bible we learn that Jesus loved His friends Martha and Mary (John 11:5). In Luke 10, Martha’s anxiety was her baggage, stressing about the order of her house and annoyed at Mary who just sat there with Jesus. What struck me was how Martha goes directly to Jesus with her concern and trouble – not to Mary. She recognizes the authority in the room and goes straight to the source.

She went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Luke 10:40

Confront Jesus with your Baggage

I just love how Martha is not scared to confront Jesus with her baggage of anxiety and stress. She is her authentic self as she approaches Jesus not withholding how she really feels. By Jesus simply responding to Martha says how he cares and loves her.

As believers in Christ, today, Jesus by His Holy Spirit is in our midst – in our hearts. Always in close proximity to us. We get this beautiful relationship wherever we are, in whatever situation we are in. Jesus is near. He wants us to approach Him for our own benefit to receive His comfort. Not be prone by our own worry and anxiety.

Let go of your baggage at the feet of Jesus. He will correct your ways and comfort you with His love. Just like He did for Martha.

Jesus will correct you and He will comfort you

Jesus corrected Martha and he comforted her with a solution to be closer to him. “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but on thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

Jesus corrects and comforts us. No one can take those lessons or love away from you. Beautiful. Jesus loves you. He welcomes you as you are, with what you have, and in whatever stage/mess you are in.

Jesus loves YOU and wants you to draw near to Him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

matthew 11:28

The Known Path of Jesus

You Will Not Abandon My Soul

A Psalm of David.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

The KNOWN Path

Despite our physical and earthly unknowns – God makes His path of life KNOWN. What is this path that David is talking about? It’s the path of following Jesus. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus says its not an easy path rather it’s narrow and hard and few will find it. But it leads to eternal life. The easy way is a wide path which seeks the approval of man rather than God. So to have confidence in this KNOWN path of God – we must follow Jesus with our lives. Regardless if its hard, because it will be. Thinking of a narrow path there is only one direction I can walk, straight. In a wider path there is so much room to roam I may actually start walking sideways or backwards, losing my sense of direction completely. I choose to follow the narrow path, where it keeps me directly inline with Jesus, the original trail blazer.

Fullness of Joy

This brings me to the second part of the verse, where David says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” So, not only is the path guarantee life for us, although hard, there is still a fullness of joy. Where is this joy found? In His presence! Where is His presence? It’s in us who believe in Him! I can receive the joy of Christ where ever I am or whatever I am doing because His spirit lives in me. By believing and accepting Jesus as my Savior I no longer fear which path to take. Instead I make a commitment to the KNOWN path that promises a fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. This brings me great peace because its not by my own strength that I must follow. It’s the Lord’s strength that goes before me and guides my steps. I have joy in knowing His presence is always with me.

I am Encouraged by the Known Path of Jesus

My husband and I have no idea where we will live or work come next year. We are facing so many unknowns about our own lives currently that this verse brings me great comfort. To know that my joy is not found in a location or in a job but its found in Jesus. His presence with me anywhere I am. Praise God for the narrow path, although hard to see (physically) where it leads, (spiritually/mentally) I know its good for me.

Time and Purpose

Procrastination

Learning something new takes time – this is true,
The reading, thinking, the studying too,
Failure then improvement is how we learn,
Unavoidable, yet a good return,
I know I will find my joy by the end…
As for now, I’ll imagine it instead.

The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

Ecclesiastes 4:5

Refusing to work only ruins yourself. Don’t allow procrastination or predication of “what might be” stop you from living with daily purpose. Procrastination tells you, “wait for the perfect time” and God tells you, the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to trust in God as He is the creator and ruler of time itself, the beginning and the end. We will make ourselves dizzy like a dog chasing his own tail trying to predict the future or wait for the “perfect time”. There is no time for procrastination and predictions. Time is for purpose and that time is now.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

Purpose made simple by Jesus.

Jesus made purpose simple not complicated. It starts with acknowledging that we are all guilty of sin against God’s judgment and in need of a saviour and in knowing this God gave us Jesus.

Jesus (%100 God and %100 man) died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-18), which tore the veil between us and God (Matthew 27:51). Signifying that we can now have a direct right relationship with God Himself. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected. He seats in heaven, living today and passes along His living Spirit to all who believe (Luke 24:46-48, Romans 8:9-11).

The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a perfect act of love that I choose to follow. The moment I repented of my sin, asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus as my saviour – my purpose for life began (Galatians 2:20).

Although my vocation, location and “dreams” change, my purpose remains the same. I glorify God as the Truth, the author and finisher of my life. So whatever work I choose to do or whatever life throws at me – I do it with the intentional purpose of giving God the Glory because He gifted me hope through salvation and eternal life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Time and purpose found in God.

Who created all?
Do we have a call?
Does it just depend?
Who stands in the end?

Striving to win, always getting ahead,
Complaining as we lie our heads to bed,
Just to beat someone else in a moment,
No one wins – everyone’s an opponent.

Only to circle back losing the trail,
Like a dog chasing his own stubborn tail.
The status, fame, followers and fortune,
And then your gone, alone and forgotten,
Wondering, what or whom shall you live for?
It’s God, who knows you, made you, long before.

With questions and answers – this sets us free,
No one can enjoy life apart from He.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

We do not have to live life on our own. Placing our hope upon things in this earth – as everything is fleeting and a “chasing after the wind”. I think now, is a perfect time to understand your life’s purpose.

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“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Psalm 90:17

Don’t Stop

I ran my first 10 km race last year and will run the same race again this year. So, I’ve begun training for it. I remembered how much I loved the mental challenge of simply running non stop until 10 km. In order to not stop, I need to run while feeling fatigued. To help myself push through the fatigue, while maintaining good speed, I focus on these two words, “don’t stop”.

God reminded me that those same two words apply to how I run after Him.

After a recently hard week I had emotionally, I opened up my journal; this time not to vent my thoughts, but to choose God’s thoughts. What would He see as most important in my life? I started listing all the external factors that I was recently complaining about. I started to question if they were most important to God. Sure, they are important, but most important? Perhaps, my spiritual growth is more important. How I love and show God’s love to others, yes, that is what’s most important. I’ve allowed my fatigue from life to stop me from believing truth.

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7.

Instead of truth I had fear…fear of loneliness and fear of lack. But if I believe God and His Word than there is no fear (1 John 4:18), no loneliness (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10) and definitely no lack (Psalm 23, James 1:1-27). This means I must keep running towards God, keep reading His Word and not stop pursuing Him (Matt 10:38-39). I train to Love because He first loved me (1 John 4:19). So when I run, I run knowing He is with me. So with whatever affliction, fatigue, heartache comes my way I don’t stop. I have hope that this race already comes with a Victory that is Christ.

…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:13-14

All it takes is a small break from your fitness regime to feel badly about yourself again. I find the same goes with my spirituality. I question where God is, when it is me that chose the break from Him. Training to be physically healthy requires discipline and perseverance as it becomes a lifestyle. The same can be said with our faith. We need to see pursuing Christ as a lifestyle we commit to daily, knowing and understanding who He is through scripture so our training becomes more effective to our lives and the lives around us (2 Peter 1:3, 5-9). Then the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) will lead your heart and begin to work through it. In order to pour out Gods goodness and experience His peace we need to be filled up and in doing so means, you, I, we… “don’t stop” running.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1