Sunday, February 15, 2015

Seeking God: Review

This study is a summary of the "Seeking God" series in which we looked at what it means to "seek God", and discusses how and when to pray as well as examining what keeps our prayers from being answered.

Series: Seeking God

Opening Songs:

  • Lord You're Mighty by Youthful Praise
  • You’re Name by Anthony Evans
  • Revelation Song by Lily Cruz

Seeking God

Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)
I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.

Seeking God is an attempt:
- to know God
- to understand God
- to spend time with God
- to seek the presence of God
- to interact/commune with God

How do we seek God?

Actions include:
- prayer
- mediation / listening
- nature
- reading scripture

It's about the motive and intent

Hearing From God

How did God speak in the accounts of the birth of Christ?

  • Angels - to the Jews
  • the star - for the Astrologers (Magi)
  • dreams
    • through an angel for Joseph
    • through the Holy Spirit for the Magi

God speaks to us in a unique ways

How does God speak to us?

- bible
- prayer
- other people
- dreams / Visions
- Reminding
- Voice
- Thoughts
- attention to something

What is Prayer?

Prayer is:
  • talking to God
  • listening to God
  • an offensive weapon of spiritual warfare
  • a way to thank God
  • a means to ensure God’s will is done in our lives
  • is a means of getting closer to God
  • a time for introspection and evaluating ourselves
    • explain why we deserve to receive our petitions
  • a means of allowing the Holy Spirit to make requests on our behalf

3 Levels of Prayer

1. Mail / Email
  • send your request
  • not sure if it even got read
  • you might get an answer
  • if you don’t get a letter back you wonder if your letter was received
  • similar to sending your Christmas list to Santa Claus
  • don't know what His voice sounds like

2. Phone call
  • two way conversation - you speak He responds regularly
  • know His voice

3. In Person
  • in His presence
  • spiritual encounter with God
  • face to face

Face To Face With God / Seeking His Face

Numbers 12:6-9
6he said, “Listen to my words:
“When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
  • what does God explain face to face means?
    • when He speaks clearly and not in riddles

Why Do We Pray?

Reasons to Pray:
  • to develop a relationship with God - familiarity
  • to be obedient
  • declaration of dependence on God
    • If I do this by myself I’m scared if I succeed
    • That I’ll no longer trust in you because I only trust in me  -Lecrae
  • to change
  • to come into His presence
  • to make petitions
  • to calm our anxiety
  • to clear our minds
  • to develop trust in God
  • keeps you out of temptation
  • invite God’s will to be done
  • it’s an act of worship
  • protection
  • because God listens
  • follow Jesus’ example

Our Motives Should Not Be:

  • To impress other people who are listening
  • To impress God
  • To get a lot of people to say “Amen!”

How Should We Pray?

  • There is no specific time of day to pray
  • You need to pray alone (although praying corporately is also fine)
  • We need to pray that God’s will is done
  • Share your emotions, issues and concerns with God
  • Ask for joy, peace or other fruits
  • We should give thanks
  • We need to prioritize prayer over other things that keep us busy
  • God should be the first one we turn to when trouble comes into our lives

Praying in the Spirit

1 Cor 14:15-17
15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.

The Greek word translated “pray in” can mean
    • “by means of,”
    • “with the help of,”
    • “in the sphere of,”
    • “in connection to.”

  • Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the content of the words we are saying.
  • It is praying according to the Spirit’s leading.
  • It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for.
  • the Spirit intercedes for us

Why Don’t Prayers Get Answered?

  • Lack of faith / doubt
  • Unforgiveness
  • Unforgiven sin
  • You have the wrong motives
  • Not God’s will for our lives
  • Improper relationship between husband and wife
  • Not Treating Others Fairly
  • Not fasting when necessary

Matt 6: 9-14
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
   on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
   as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
   but deliver us from the evil one.[b]
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

How We Seek God

Nevertheless, there is always something through which or around which we must go to meet him consciously. This going through or around is what seeking is. He is often hidden. Veiled. We must go through mediators and around obstacles.
The heavens are telling the glory of God. So we can seek him through that. He reveals himself in his word. So we can seek him through that. He shows himself to us in the evidences of grace in other people. So we can seek him through that. The seeking is the conscious effort to get through the natural means to God himself—to constantly set our minds toward God in all our experiences, to direct our minds and hearts toward him through the means of his revelation. This is what seeking God means.

Kayla Mueller

Kayla was a humanitarian recently killed by ISIS

In a letter to her father on his birthday in 2011, Kayla wrote:

‘I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine. If this is how you are revealed to me, this is how I will forever seek you.’

‘I will always seek God. Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature. Some people find God in love; I find God in suffering. I’ve known for some time what my life’s work is, using my hands as tools to relieve suffering.’

So you must discover what Seeking God looks like for you.

Closeness To God

Closeness to God is resemblance to His attributes

Stages of Closeness to God:

Stage 1

  • Judgmental of what others are doing wrong
    • when you see these people you get negative feelings towards them
    • righteous indignation without love
    • often times this is a mask for our own guilt
  • Feeling unworthy of God’s Presence/Love

Stage 2

  • As you get closer to God you see how far you are from God and lose your focus on how far others are
  • Accepting God's love

Stage 3

  • Loving Others
    • Spreading God’s love to others
    • You no longer see people through their faults but you only see them with love

So the journey of seeking God starts with us judging others, therefore this is where our next study begins...Judging Others.

(c) 2015 Michael Leadon

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