Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Intimacy with Jesus

By Abigail Ludeman, with the Holy Spirit
 Psalm 27:4-One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
When I first read verse, it did not click. One thing? I ask for lots of things! Dwell in the house of the lord?  What does that mean? Isn’t he everywhere? Beauty of the Lord?  Ok, so Jesus is beautiful.  That’s nice… Seek him in his temple?  Well, there are Muslim mosques in India.
 But this verse has changed my whole paradigm. Who wrote this? King David.  Who was he?  The Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart.
Read verse again—remember this is Old Testament.  The curtain to the holy of holies wasn’t torn in two yet.  Only the high priest could enter into God’s presence. And yet David wanted to be with the Lord.  And he didn’t sit there, he didn’t play Nintendo, none of that.  David gazed on the beauty of the Lord.  He gazed…not just glanced for a moment, the beauty of the Lord captured all of his attention
I want to propose to you that there is so much more to our God than we think. Our God is a mystery.  He wants us to seek him.  He wants us to gaze on his beauty.  He wants us to be intimate with him. 
 And not only does God want us to be close to him, but we need to be close to him! I love this book The Seven Longings of the Human Heart—One thing it says is that “God hard-wired us to need, to want, and to find our satisfaction in Him and him alone…When these longings are not fulfilled in God, we are left empty, with pain, mourning and dissatisfaction.  We have built into us a God-shaped vacuum, which remains empty until we allow God to fill it by fulfilling our deepest longings.” 
You know what, we all have deep longings.  We can’t ignore that fact.  America is the picture in my opinion, of dissatisfied people.  We buy huge houses. We have so much stuff that there are now organizational companies who come and help people find a way to fit it all into their homes.  We have turned to sex, drugs, alcohol, and pornography.  60 million people in America are obese.   
And I’m not excluded.   I struggle with thinking that food will make me happy.  It never does.  I feel so bad about it when I stuff myself.  But we can only grit our teeth and resist sin for so long.  We are human, we need to be satisfied.  If I don’t go to him, sit at his feet and listen to his voice, that void will stay empty. 
Sometimes it’s hard to get away from everything in our busy lives, but we must.  The only way we can be truly satisfied is through Jesus Christ.
So go wait.  Wait on the Lord in a secret and quiet place.  God wants us to be fulfilled people, and his love is better than life. Take a couple minutes right where you are to quiet yourselves and listen to your loving Father.
This devotional message 
was prepared and delivered by Abby Ludeman
at the March Bible Quiz Meet.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Kingdom of God

by Zac Ahrens

When most people think of the kingdom of Heaven they think of a place up in the clouds. The most common thing we think of when we think of a kingdom is a large area of land ruled by a king
              The Kingdom of God is the number one thing Jesus talked about while on earth. So to start off with what is it: What is this mustard seed like, or pearl, or treasure hidden in a field? First we must ask what a kingdom is. A kingdom is one of two things. It can either be a group of people united by a common ruler, or it can be a piece of land under the control of a single person. In Mark 12:34 Jesus tells a teacher of the law that he is not far from it. This after the teacher had asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. So was Jesus talking about a physical place or a that was close by or a condition of the heart. In this case it is clear that Jesus was talking about an attitude of the heart.
              The next question is when is it? We know from the word that it will never end. So the only question is when the does it begin. Of all the questions this is one of the hardest ones to answer. The most interesting illustration we heard (but still true) is that it is like a train: It is here but still coming. It is the idea that parts of it are here already, but it will not be here in full until the return of Christ. 
              A final question is who does the kingdom of God belong to? Mark  10:14-15 says “let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” What is it about children that Jesus says the kingdom belongs to them? Personally, I think it is the trust that children have in their parents, the security they have in their parents, and the dependence in their parents. In Mathew 5, Jesus says Blessed are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. I think poor in spirit means those who know that they have a long way to go those not proud of where they are. Just as important though is the question who is it not for. The first group that sticks out is the legalistic such as the Pharisees. Another group is the proud for such people it is not impossible but it is still very difficult.
              The Kingdom of God still provides many questions. Even though we have answered a few questions about it there are still many questions about it. Such as when will Christ return and bring it in full and what will heaven be like. Such questions will be asked until the we see them for ourselves. 

 This lesson was prepared and 
presented by Zac Ahrens
at the TFC  Youth Group on 3/1/2010.