Finders, Seekers

Do you remember a time when you couldn’t pick up your phone to access a global source of information in a matter of seconds? We are so accustomed to having a map, dictionary, encyclopedia, calculator, instant news, weather, etc. at our finger tips, it’s no wonder we freak out when we lose our smart phones or worse, drop them in the toilet.

Yes, I’ve done that.

Twice.

I haven’t the foggiest notion of how Google works, but I do know that you have to frame your search inquiry correctly to get the results you want. As search engines evolve and algorithms track your previous searches, it gets easier to find things out. For example, I do so many searches for Scriptures that Scripture references now pop up whenever I type in a few words. Alexa listens to our conversations and then an ad for that very thing magically pops up on our FaceBook feed. We are living in a time when artificial intelligence not only responds to our inquires, but actually directs our behavior. Big Brother is not just watching us, he has moved into the guest room and has commandeered the best fluffy comforter and the biggest bathroom in the house.

But none of this happens until you initiate a request for a response. You start the process by seeking something: a product, an answer, a direction … you seek, and Google finds.

I wonder if the Wisemen would have found Jesus faster if they had Google Maps and a Star Finder app.

Last Christmas someone sent me a card that read, “Wise people still seek him.” I love that. Whenever we stretch out an arm to shade our eyes and cast our vision outward, we can easily find God. He is never far away from our presence, and longs to be found.

He can be found in the eyes of a homeless man looking for help. He can be heard in the cries of a child separated from her family at our nation’s border. He can be felt in the palm of a dying grandmother, longing for one last hand-holding with her grandson. He can be seen in the Sunday morning choir as they stand to bring their harmony into worship. God can be found in God’s people everywhere: all we have to do is look.

In seminary, a professor taught me that the Bible is God’s love letter to his people. In Scripture, we find not just the answers to the complexity of the world and beyond, but the Answer to everything in Christ Jesus.

The Old Testament is the search. The New Testament brings the answer.

Hebrews 11 The Message (MSG)

11 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

6 And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

Anyone who wants to approach God must believe that God cares enough to respond to those who SEEK him. Ask, knock, and seek, and you will find.

Psalm 105 English Standard Version (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

    make known his deeds among the peoples!

2  Sing to him, sing praises to him;

    tell of all his wondrous works!

3  Glory in his holy name;

    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

4 Seek the Lord and his strength;

    seek his presence continually!

Got questions? Need answers? Feeling empty and long to be made full?

Seek God today. He will be found.

Sunrise Reflections by Michelle Robertson

To A “T”

Last week I wrote about something fitting “to a T.” I was curious about that phrase, so I did a little research. (This happens all the time … I start looking things up and suddenly hours have gone by. It’s a wonder I get anything written.) The phrase “to a T” refers to something that fits precisely. It apparently comes from one of two sources according to https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/to-a-t.html:

  • ‘T-square’ has something going for it, in that a T-square is a precise drawing instrument, but also lacks any other evidence to link it to the phrase.
  • The letter ‘T’ itself, as the initial of a word. If this is the derivation then the word in question is very likely to be ‘tittle’. A tittle is a small stroke or point in writing or printing and is now best remembered via the term jot or tittle. The best reason for believing that this is the source of the ‘T’ is that the phrase ‘to a tittle’ existed in English well before ‘to a T’, with the same meaning; for example, in Francis Beaumont’s Jacobean comedy drama The Woman Hater, 1607.

In the last month I have counseled two people who are having doubts about the existence of God. I reassured them that doubt is part of the process and advised them to keep seeking and searching for God. I know that they will find him, as God is not offended or put off by our doubts. Whenever he is sought, God is always found.

So, to push the metaphor a little bit, I think “Doubting Thomas” might bring a new meaning to “to a T” … we often fit precisely like Thomas when it comes to being unsure of things of faith. Has your faith ever fit “to a Thomas”? Mine has.

John 20 (Common English Bible)

19 It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”

24 Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”

26 After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”

2Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

2Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”

30 Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. 31 But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.

So here is the good news. Unlike Thomas, we probably won’t encounter the resurrected Jesus on earth in this lifetime. But we certainly can see God all around us. The troubled teenager I spoke with could easily recount times when she saw God’s activity, as he delivered her from foster care to a stable home of a relative. The gentlemen who expressed doubt could easily see God’s work in the care ministries of the church.

Where do you see God at work today? Can you recall a time when you knew God had prompted someone to help you? Do you see God in creation, the sweetness of a newborn, or the casserole that showed up when you were sick?

It’s okay to doubt. Just keep looking … God is there.

Seeker’s Path by Kathy Schumacher

With All Your Heart

Last week I had the opportunity to take a walk with my four-and-a-half year old grandson. That “half” thing is important. He understands that four-and-a-half is more than four, so you’d better get it right or you will likely be corrected.

We were holding hands and just walking along when he said to me, “I like being with you, Nana.” Be still my heart!! Somehow I managed to respond, “I like being with you, too, Connor” before my throat closed off with the raw emotion of that sweet moment. Connor won’t remember it, but I know I will carry it to my grave.

Oh, to be four (and a half) again, and be able to live in every moment with such singular focus! The pleasure of taking a walk with a grandparent, the lack of worry about whether or not lunch would be provided, the easy and carefree days…one blessing of childhood is that it is probably the only time in our lives when we get to focus on one thing at a time.

Imagine if we could corral that feeling when it comes to our relationship with God. Imagine if we could spend five minutes a day just thinking about his love for us, the many blessings we receive, and his constant presence, without distraction or concern for anything else.

When the Israelites were taken into exile to Babylon, they longed to return to Jerusalem. They missed their home, hated being strangers in a strange land, and thought of nothing else. But God instructed them to settle down, plant gardens, celebrate weddings, and make a life for themselves while they waited. Ever wonder why?

I think a clue is found in verse 13 of Jeremiah 29:

Jeremiah 29 (New International Version)

12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

You will find me when you seek me WITH ALL YOUR HEART.

You see, while their hearts were divided between living in exile and longing for home, they couldn’t focus on God. They weren’t seeking him because they were looking for their past, for a way home, and for a way out of their current situation. But when God instructed them to settle down by settling down, they settled their minds, their lives, and their hearts. Suddenly they were able to seek him with ALL their hearts. Whenever we do that, we find God.

What is dividing you today? What are you seeking instead of God? Is a longing for the past preventing you from being in the Lord’s presence in the present?

Guess what…God is seeking you with HIS whole heart. When we do likewise, he will be found and made known to us.

So call on God today. Pray to him. Seek him, not just with a fraction of your attention, but with all your heart. Seek, and you will find. Guaranteed.

Seek God in the Way that He Seeks You by Michelle Robertson

The Google

Do you remember a time when you couldn’t pick up your phone to access a global source of information in a matter of seconds? We are so accustomed to having a map, dictionary, encyclopedia, calculator, instant news, weather, etc. at our finger tips, it’s no wonder we freak out when we lose our smart phones or worse, drop them in the toilet. Yes, I’ve done that. Twice.

I haven’t the foggiest notion of how “the Google” works, but I do know that you have to frame your search inquiry correctly to get the results you want. As search engines evolve and algorithms track your previous searches, it gets easier to find things out. For example, I do so many searches for scriptures that scripture references now pop up whenever I type in a few words. Alexa listens to our conversations and then an ad for that very thing magically pops up on our FaceBook feed. We are living in a time when artificial intelligence not only responds to our inquires, but actually directs our behavior. Big Brother is not just watching us, he has moved into the guest room and has commandeered the best fluffy comforter and the biggest bathroom in the house.

But none of this happens until you initiate a request for a response. You start the process by seeking something: a product, an answer, a direction…you seek, and Google finds.

I wonder if the Wisemen would have found Jesus faster if they had Google Maps and a Star Finder app.

Occasionally during the holidays you will find something that says, “Wise people still seek him.” I love that. Whenever we stretch out an arm to shade our eyes and cast our vision outward, we can easily find God. He is never far away from our presence, and longs to be found.

He can be found in the eyes of a homeless man looking for help. He can be heard in the cries of a child separated from her family at our nation’s border. He can be felt in the palm of a dying grandmother, longing for one last hand-holding with her grandson. He can be seen in the Sunday morning choir as they stand to bring their harmony into worship. God can be found in God’s people everywhere: all we have to do is look.

In seminary, a professor taught us that the Bible is God’s love letter to his people. In scripture we find not just the answers to the complexity of the world and beyond, but the Answer to everything in Christ Jesus. The Old Testament is the search. The New Testament brings the answer.

Hebrews 11 The Message (MSG)

11 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

3 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

6 And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

Anyone who wants to approach God must believe that he cares enough to respond to those who SEEK him. Ask, knock, and seek, and you will find.

Psalm 105 English Standard Version (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

    make known his deeds among the peoples!

2  Sing to him, sing praises to him;

    tell of all his wondrous works!

3  Glory in his holy name;

    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

4 Seek the Lord and his strength;

    seek his presence continually!

Got questions? Need answers? Feeling empty, and long to be made full? Seek God today. He will be found.

Layers of Light by Michelle Robertson.