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

Prayers for the Women I Know

Dear Heavenly Father, the most high God, the creator of the world and everything in it. You made, know and see the largest of creation – the mountains, the seas, and you know each animal that rest and live among them. You are vast, great and powerful and everywhere at one time. Yet, you delight for us to know you personally because you know us personally. You seek the 1 out of the 99, desiring a personal relationship with care, comfort, counsel and connection. I praise you for your mightiness and your gentleness. You can stop a storm and comfort a heart in one second. I come to you, oh mighty God, in prayer for the women I know and pray for them today.

For the Women I Know

I pray for the women I know that you would connect to them on a deeper more intimate level where there isn’t a doubt you aren’t in their midst. I present to you God these particular women in my life that long to know you more… seeking to find your peace. May you present to them your miraculous love and affection. Change the course of their life for the better. Help them to see you as alive and in pursuit of them. Make them know and feel your peace as it rests within their soul.

Specific Prayers for Women in Need…

God, I present these women to you in need of your divine power, grace and love. I pray that you would mark in them a stamp of your care today and forevermore.

I pray for the women that doubt you in disbelief, I pray that you would break down those strongholds of lies, deception and power of the enemy and open their eyes to see you.

I pray for the hurting women, Lord, comfort their heart in care, help them to see your working love in their midst.

I pray for the women in stress, God, in decision making mode and chaos – protect and guard their minds from negative self-talk and guilt, free them from the pressure to perform or to be perfect and offer up your grace. May your grace be enough for them today, so they can walk in contentment.

God, I pray for the women that are sad, please grieve alongside them – help them to see that their pain is your pain too and you are more than available to hear their cries. Rescue their souls from darkness and remove the lie that says, “I am alone”, as they never are when they have you.

God, I pray for the inspired women with big dreams, give them direction, hope and reassurance of their next steps. Offer up your confirmation of what to do next. Build up their faith to wait upon instruction.

Finally, Lord, in Prayer I Ask

Finally, Lord, give us all patience to parent, energy to use and joy to sustain us. Thank you for the women who seek your face and long to know you more. Present yourself to these women and offer up your holy power to renew, refresh and refrain their minds to know you more. Amen.

Psalm 93 – The Lord Reigns

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

PSALM 93 ESV

No One Cares

In midst of anger and an overwhelming sense of helplessness, I can get in this whirlwind of “no one cares”.

Poem

Craving approval,
Acceptance and love
From people, places and things.
I mustn’t let that be.
I’m in desperate need.
For God’s love and new mercy.

Emily Aspinall

Overwhelmed by the Assumption

Maybe you’ve felt this too – overwhelmed and in need of help. Sometimes we assume “no one cares” and in this state we must look in our hearts and seek the Lord. The Lord who comforts, convicts and councils us by His Spirit. Showing us how He cares.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

God Cares For You

God is love (1 John 4:16, 1 John 4:16), which means his love never “clocks out” or turns off based upon what we do or not do. To turn around this lie of “no one cares” starts with knowing who always cares; God. By knowing God more helps me to realize the less “care” I need from the world. The less care I need from the world the more care I need from God. A constant awareness of where my help comes from.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Be Someone Who Cares

So next time I start to believe this lie I need to turn it around by purposely caring for someone else. Why? Because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, by His grace through faith we are saved from death. Christ equips us by living in us by His Spirit, He dwells. I can love others not based on what I think they deserve but based on the grace (unmerited favour) I received from God. Something I did not deserve, yet He loved me anyways.

Perseverance

Perseverance Poem

Could time stop?
Just for a minute… or ten.
I just need to catch my thoughts which are running ahead.
I need to slow down, process some pain,
not sure when it’ll feel fine, like it did the other day.
I’m not sad about my future, I’m actually thankful.
It’s the current state of my mind that is painful.
If time stopped just for me, I could catch my breathe and work out the possibilities.
What to do, how to do it, and work through my responsibilities.
Alas! Time ticks forward not slowing down today.
I guess this is perseverance; working through difficulty without delay.

Emily Aspinall

Follow the Trail

As we walk the trail of following Jesus we will face mountains in our life. To stay on trail you must climb the mountains along the way. This requires perseverance – “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. If you know hiking, you know the pain it takes to endure and you know of the reward that waits at the top. You eat your snacks, take in the view and give yourself a real satisfaction of “I did it”. Perseverance is agreeing to climb the mountain then actually climbing the mountain and finishing the climb to feel that satisfaction. It’s a process not a product. You can’t just buy perseverance and slap in on yourself – you have to endure the difficult terrain to get it.

Why I wrote the Poem

I wrote this poem because I wanted to avoid that climb. I wanted to be okay with stepping off the trail for a moment. Asking God, give me another way, please. But the funny thing about the trail is that it doesn’t give you many options. There is only one trail and it’s narrow (Matthew 7:14). Most of the time, along the trail, there are mountains to climb. The more we CHOOSE to climb them, the easier the climb will be.

Don’t Step Off the Trail – Persevere!

Anytime I choose to persevere God meets me in midst of my struggle. I witness the provision of God come through time and time again.

God is asking us to stay on the trail of following Him, how? With perseverance. We cannot have perseverance without testing our faith during difficult terrain that scares us. Perseverance means you don’t quit easily despite the mountain you face.

So, I am thankful I do not control time because it forces me to constantly make a decision. Will I climb this mountain or wait for a new one to appear? In my experience, waiting for a new one to appear is deciding to step off the trail of following Jesus. And for me, there is only one trail I am willing to take and that is following Him, the original trailblazer.

Overcome your Mountain with Jesus

Mountains (or hardships) are inevitable in life. It’s the choice that we make that determines if we find perseverance or not.

Stuck in fear? Distracted by the heights or are you willing to just take that first step? Perseverance is continually taking that step… one foot after the other until it becomes part of who you are. Don’t underestimate the power of Jesus who has given us His Spirit to endure all things.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4 NIV

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life

Follow the Trail

I have been a follower of Jesus since I was around 4 years old. I cannot remember the exact moment of giving my life to Christ and at the same time I also cannot remember ever doubting His existence. Sure, I’ve questioned His presence in my circumstances, current situations or struggles throughout my life. But never doubted His existence of being my Saviour and Creator – “being the way, the truth and the life”. There is something very faithful about God in that. He never left me believing He was “not there”. I always knew deep within my soul that he was there and alive with me. Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life. I believe this to be true.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

Commit to the Trail

Committing your heart to Jesus means to repent of your sins and opening your heart to receive Jesus as your Saviour – forgiver of your sins (past, present and future). As well as, receiving this certainty of His existence and presence. This never leaving presence that is always in pursuit of you and your heart. The more I turn myself upward to God the more He turns INWARD to me. To gain more of God’s presence you must first believe that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life for you. Rejoice that there is a trail and Jesus created it for you to walk on. So you can have a lifetime of faith in His presence.

Jesus is our way to God – allow Him to mediate in your heart so you can have daily communion with Him. Despite what you encounter, endure on the trail you can rest in knowing you are never alone. The ever powerful, all-knowing, full of love and the creator of the world: God, is always with you. For me, this has always been true and I walk more boldly, more confident and more in peace knowing He abides in me.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:1

Preach and Reach the World

Sometimes, as Christians, we doubt our ability to preach and reach the world because we assume “we’re not enough” or “we don’t know enough”. Well, guess what, we’re right! HA – did you see that coming?? But praise be to God! “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). We are not enough to preach and reach the world – not without the grace of God. His working Spirit in us. This is a beautiful thing to rely on because it takes the pressure off of what we can do and unto what HE DOES! Amen? He creates the change we want to see in the world. He gives growth to what we sow.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

1 Corinthians 3:7

We are God’s Fellow Workers (1 Corinthians 3:9)

God delights in us (Psalm 18:19). He loves us enough to save us and enough to use us. We are commissioned by Jesus to witness and make disciples. We have a part. Our part is to take the spotlight off of us and onto Him when we share who He is and what He does in our lives. This is the start in making disciples – by talking about who we follow and why we follow.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

The only way people will see a real change in you is through the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is how we preach and reach the world. We need to exercise what God has given us through the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). As well as, acting according to the wisdom we know from reading His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 4:4, Joshua 1:8).

Allow the Grace of God to be enough

Remember you are not enough – but by the grace and power of God, HE IS! So, allow His grace to speak to you and through you. Every one of us has a story of how God came through in our lives at one point or another. These are simple ways we can preach and reach the world to hear about Jesus. By testimony.

Out of all the apostles in the Bible, Paul says he is of the LEAST of them, yet he writes about 1/3 of the New Testament. How?? By the grace of God.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

1 Corinthians 15:9-11

You ARE enough because He, Christ in you, is.

Therefore, as you received
Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in him
Colossians 2:6

Victory in Vulnerability

Without vulnerability there is no victory.

Christ as Vulnerable

God volunteered His vulnerability through His Son, Jesus Christ, for us. Through vulnerability Christ endured pain on His way to the cross and while on the cross. Jesus’ mission on earth was entirely vulnerable as He exposed himself as fully man and as fully God. Proclaiming His identity as the Messiah and Saviour to all. Many times throughout the Gospels we read Jesus saying, “its not my time yet” or simply disappearing to escape from the crowd. He knew people would try to kill Him as soon as He exposed His identity as Messiah. I can’t imagine a more vulnerable position than that. Yet, we read on. When it was time for Christ to be crucified we read the most vulnerable words out of Jesus’ mouth, saying:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Mathew 27:46

When I read that I thought, wow, God is really highlighting a vulnerable moment of weakness here, or so it seems. But, when I read ‘The ESV Bible Study’ foot notes, I got more clarity on the meaning. The foot notes describes His words like this: “Jesus expresses faith, calling God, “my God”. Surely he knows why he is dying, for this was the purpose of his coming to earth. And surely his cry, uttered with a loud voice, is expressing, not bewilderment as his plight, but witness to the bystanders, and through them to the world, that he was experiencing God-forsakenness not anything in himself but for the salvation of others.”

Salvation is the deliverance from sin and its consequences brought about by faith in Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ is our life’s greatest Victory because it saves us from our own deserving death. Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sin by dying on the cross. A vulnerable act from a victorious God.

Christ as Victory

We know that Jesus did die, but three days later rose again (Matthew 28:5-7). Then as Christ appears to the disciples, with still holes in his hands from where he was crucified, he commissions them. He said, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20).”

The vulnerability to victory doesn’t stop at Jesus’ death and resurrection but begins again through us by His Spirit.

Pray


I pray we become a people vulnerable to share the Gospel wherever we are. Not scared by what others may think or intimidated by not “knowing enough”. But believing that God is always with us. For where there is vulnerability in Christ there is also Victory in Christ. Not my will be done, but yours, Oh God.
Amen.

The Ascension

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:1-11

Servanthood

Doing the big or little things for people is not just serving them, but ultimately it’s serving God.

“Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”

Matthew 25:37-40

Servanthood in Christ

I can be self righteous thinking my words on a blog or my voice on a podcast is much greater in the Kingdom than simply wiping my child’s bum.

Servanthood looks like loving the least. If you only serve to gain recognition then it’s more like selfish-hood not servanthood. I want to serve out of my love for Jesus because that’s where the blessing is.

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:12-17

Holy Servanthood

There is no such thing as a great man of God, only weak, pitiful, faithless men of a great and merciful God.” – Paul Washer

The more I understand how Christ served people the more I understand His love for them. “I did not come to call the [self-proclaimed] righteous [who see no need to repent], but sinners to repentance [to change their old way of thinking, to turn from sin and to seek God and His righteousness]” (Luke 5:32 amp). The more I accept my weakness the more I am drawn to God’s love.

When I understand God’s love, I feel loved, and when I feel loved I show love. Loving others despite how we feel about them, their circumstances or their belief systems. We can do this by seeing their need and asking God, is it I to meet that need for them today? If so, God show me how. As it’s through your love for me that allows me to show love for others.

Pray to be a good servant

Dear Jesus,
How difficult it is to simply serve others without judgment. Help me to learn to serve with a clean heart and with your loving lens. I need to see people – my family, neighbours, friends, community – the way you see them. Help me to meet the need of my own child. She has many needs. Too many to count. Help me to not see those needs as insignificant but as significant to serving your Kingdom. As your Word says, “whatever you did not for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 40:45). I repent of my need to be seen by others in order to serve. To be praised, admired or acknowledged by man rather than by you. For freedom comes from Christ alone and not by the approval of man (Galatians 1:10).
Amen