Tag Archive | independence

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 27 – Put Me First – Seek Me in the Morning

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 27 

Put Me First – Seek Me in the Morning

Lord God Almighty, help me to get up a few minutes early each morning to put You first by meeting with You alone, away from all noise and distractions. I know my days end better when they begin with You. You are the First and the Last and everything in between. You meet all my needs and fulfill all my longings. Lord, thank You for loving me more than I love myself. Please share with me today another piece of Your heart.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

O My sweet child, do not put off meeting with Me. Seek Me first thing in the morning before your feet hit the floor. Acknowledge Me and speak with Me before you get out of bed. Think of Me while you drink your first cup of coffee. Make time to meet with Me, if only for a few moments, before you begin your day. Let’s get you started in the right direction. My intentions for you are good.

I do not require too much from you. I simply want to say, ‘Hello.’ I will love you and encourage you for the day that waits ahead. I know what you will face each day, and I would love to walk you through your challenges and your triumphs, your sorrows and your joys, your work and your play. I created you to love you and I care deeply about you. I want to be involved in your life. No detail is too small for Me. Please put Me first, and seek Me in everything you do.

I am with you all day, whether you acknowledge Me or not, but I would love to partner with you. I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Would you like to check with Me before you run ahead and make your own plans? I know what’s best for you, and I would love to see you thrive and succeed.

No matter what, you do not go it alone. I am with you always (Matthew 28:20). I know you enjoy your independence and control, but I would love for you to depend on Me. I will not let you down. Consult Me for your wisdom and answers to your questions. Call to Me and I will answer you; I will tell you things you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3). Do not be the master at controlling your own life and destiny, when I am in control of all things, I know all things, and I will use all things for your good (Romans 8:28).

Worship Me with gladness. I am God. I made you, you are Mine. (Psalm 100:2-3). Worship Me in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Ascribe to Me the glory due My name and worship Me in the splendor of My holiness (1 Chronicles 17:28). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13). I am all you need. I am sufficient. You can depend on Me for all things. Seek Me first, and everything else will fall into place as it should. I love you, My child, more than you will ever comprehend. 

Prayer:

Father God, Thank You for loving me so well. Help me to partner with the Holy Spirit as He guides me through my entire day. Lord, jog my memory to think of You all day long. Allow me to hear all the whispers spoken by You, all throughout the day. Help me remember to seek You first in all I do. When I do, I will find You, and You will show me what’s best for me. Lord, I am seeking You right now for Your counsel and Your wisdom for my day. Please show me what You want me to see and hear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Lord God, I am putting You first today by spending this time with You. Please share Your heart with me now. What is it that You want me to hear and know for today? (Record all thoughts and words that come to mind.)

 

  • Jesus, You are the ultimate example of putting God first and seeking Him alone in the morning. Please show me how to do that in my busy life. Show me what will work for me. (Write the ideas and promptings that flow through your thoughts.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, please nudge me now to walk in partnership with You. Let me see a glimpse of Your work in my life, in my day. What do you want me to see and know today? (Jot down what He impresses on you right now.)

 

Review the Holy Spirit’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You for meeting with me today to show me the importance of putting You first in my life. You have all things under Your control. I need not fret, worry, or strive to create my own destiny because You have marked out a path for me. You have my best interests at heart and You will see that I prosper in all I do, in all You have planned for me. Help me fulfill the purpose for which You created me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Deuteronomy 4:29, But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 5:7, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Deuteronomy 6:5, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Joshua 24:15, But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

1 Chronicles 17:25-29, 25For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. 26For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 27Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. 28Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 28Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.

Psalm 5:3, In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 100:2-3, Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 105:3-4, Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.

Proverbs 8:17, I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me.

Isaiah 44:6, “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no God.”

Isaiah 55:6, Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.

Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 33:2-3, “This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is His name: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”

Matthew 6:33, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 22:36-39, 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Matthew 28:20, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 1:35, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.

John 4:24, “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

1 John 5:3-5, 3In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Roadblock #4 – Worry – The Enemy of Trust

Worry does not add anything to our lives; in fact, it sucks the life right out of us. Worry equals not trusting fully in God. When we don’t trust God for everything, we distance ourselves from Him. Not relying completely on God to care for us, protect us, and provide for us, we detach ourselves from Him and His enormous power. God is omniscient: He knows our every need. God is omnipotent: He is the almighty, all-powerful, invincible Lord. God is omnipresent: He never leaves us; He’s always with us. God is the All-Sufficient One: He is enough. God is trustworthy: He will do what He promises.

God does not ask us to have blind faith and complete trust in a human being. He does ask us to put our trust and confidence in Him alone. We can rest in the assurance that He will take care of us. He is the Most High God. He is dependable, reliable, and faithful.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? …Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25, 27). Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for everything. Not depending on God and trusting in Him completely may put distance between Him and you.

God loves children and speaks to them. Perhaps He does so because children are more dependent. Are you approaching God as a child? Are you dependent on Him? Remember the story of the boy Samuel? After God had spoken to him, Samuel didn’t question God; he listened and obeyed. (See 1 Samuel 3 for the whole story.) God spoke to the boy because he practiced humility and willingly served the Lord. He did not have preconceived ideas about how God would talk to him. Samuel did not practice the freedom of self-sufficiency. He enthusiastically listened to God however God chose to speak to him, and then he obeyed.

This story offers encouragement. God speaks to people of all ages and all spiritual maturity levels. He doesn’t stop calling you just because you don’t recognize Him. He keeps pursuing you until you learn the sound of His voice. He will speak to you when you are still and ready to listen.

And yet, hearing Him is not enough. God looks for people who are dependent on Him, ready to listen to and obey Him. When we practice our independence and do what we please, God may choose not to speak to us. Depending on God and obeying His lead will keep the doors of communication open between you and the Lord.

To hear God’s voice, you must become like a child: humble, with a simple faith and reverence for the Lord. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Become like a child and surrender to the work and power of the Holy Spirit within you. Trust God, and depend on Him for everything. Walk in submission to God by being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to His instruction.

Trusting in the Lord, rather than in ourselves and others, proves to be the most stress-free way to live. Giving our cares over to God, Who controls all things, prevents us from being stifled in our spiritual growth by depending on our own limited understanding. Put your trust in God today, and acknowledge His supreme influence, power, and authority in your life. Permit yourself to relinquish all control and worry to the One who rules and reigns over everything on earth and in heaven. Purchase your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak today and trade in the following lies for the truth in God’s Word.

#1: God won’t provide for all my needs.

#2:  I can’t trust God because He let me down in the past.

#3: I need to take care of things myself because God isn’t.

 

Click here to purchase book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

Roadblock #3 – Pride – The Enemy of Humility

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken individually. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

If you are not hearing God’s voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

Unfortunately, pride comes much too naturally to all of us, including me. Read about the fall of humankind in Genesis 3. From the very beginning of time, self-importance snuck into human desire. Satan tempted Eve with the idea that she could be all-knowing and wise, like God, if she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Deceived by the devil, Eve ate some and gave some to Adam. Pride initiated a sinful response when the evil one presented his temptation.

The need for independence and superiority continues to be the cause of some of our sin today. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The truth of this verse rang loudly in the Garden of Eden. It still rings true thousands of years later.

Another example of haughtiness is found in Ezekiel 28, the prophecy against the king of Tyre. In verse 17, the Sovereign Lord says, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.” God detested his arrogance. The king’s pride preceded his destruction.

In Proverbs 8:13, the wise Solomon says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Fear in this case is the same reverence for the Lord that we talked about in the previous blog. When you respect the Lord, you will detest all pride and arrogance, as He does. Yet arrogance sneaks into all areas of life. Recall that pride inventory we talked about? It may be necessary to make that assessment daily, even hourly.

If pride in any form resides in your life, don’t expect to be close to God and hear from Him regularly. Psalm 138:6 says, “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar.” As another passage I’ve already quoted says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:6-8). God spends time with humble people who submit themselves to Him and make time for Him. God distances Himself from the self-righteous, prideful, judgmental person.

When the needle on the pride-o-meter registers anywhere on the gauge, take action immediately to dispose of all forms of pride. Humble yourself before the Lord. Submit yourself to Him and exalt Him, rather than yourself. Show the Lord how much you trust in Him for everything. Relinquish your control to the Most High. Place the desires of others ahead of your own. Do not judge any person or behavior. Assume the servant position in God’s kingdom.

Do you struggle with judging others or promoting yourself to a higher pedestal? What alerts you of your arrogance? I can tell you truly, when I do not practice the humility of a servant, I should not expect God will speak to me. No matter my standing or position in the world, I am but an unworthy sinner, forgiven and saved by God’s grace alone. I am no better than anyone else. If I do not treat others better than myself, God has no business with me, and therefore no reason to talk to me.

Anytime I have seated myself on the judgment throne with regard to another human being, God has given me an opportunity to experience the same affliction, position, or experience as the one I judged. Very soon I’ve gained a new appreciation and respect for the one I condemned because I have walked down a similar path. Becoming the object of my own pride rapidly and effectively cuts me down to size. When the roadblock of pride comes down, my reception of God’s voice dramatically improves.

The Bible provides many significant illustrations of humility. Jesus, God’s own Son, displayed the ultimate humility when He left His throne in heaven and came to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb and die for our sins. Another dramatic demonstration of Christ’s servanthood took place when He washed the feet of His disciples. We can imitate this kind of humility when we selflessly serve our own subordinates, or, better yet, those we judge. This foot washing can be accomplished literally or figuratively. Think of a way you might take an unassuming position with someone you lead, manage, or influence. Is there any type of metaphorical foot washing you could perform for him or her? Maybe picking up a towel and basin of water is what you really need.

Let’s examine some of the enemy’s deceit in our thoughts, which gives birth to overconfidence. You might believe you can take care of yourself; you know what’s best for you. Or, you might think you are in control of your own life. Is it possible that thinking you are better than someone else for any reason could be hampering your clear reception of God’s voice in your thoughts? Grab your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God’s Voice today, and begin identifying what stands in your way of hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, who makes your heart His home.

Click here to purchase this book now.

Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Independence (a.k.a. Pride)

4 PrideThe other day I overheard a single woman proudly state that she had always been able to take care of herself and provide for herself. Fantastic! I’m sure she made her parents proud also. After all, isn’t that one measure of successful parenting—that your children prosper financially, support themselves, and move out of the nest? Is there anything wrong with being pleased with yourself for exerting an independent, self-sufficient spirit? Hard work is an excellent virtue and should be rewarded, right?

Independence, control, and comparison. Those words don’t sound prideful when spoken alone. However, when we rely on ourselves for everything and don’t depend on God for anything, He could view this independent spirit as arrogance or overconfidence. Likewise, it often feels good to be in complete control of ourselves, our lives, an event, a situation, another person, or his actions. The haughty monster of pride rears its ugly head in the condescending creature of control. And when we compare ourselves to others and always come out on top, a conceited nature triumphs over humility in our souls. Be careful—this sounds a bit like sitting in the judgment seat, and that’s not a position you want to claim for yourself. Judgment is reserved for Almighty God alone.

A narrow boundary exists between independence and pride, and it’s not a line you want to cross. Pride is mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven things detestable to God. Pride manifests itself in these forms: arrogance, conceit, self-importance, egotism, vanity, haughty eyes, condescension, scorn, disrespect, snootiness, loftiness, and contemptuousness. The Lord despises proud actions and attitudes. Here are a few of the many verses that describe how God feels about pride:

  • Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
  • God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
  • The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)
  • Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)

Pride erects a roadblock between you and God. If you are having trouble feeling close to God and hearing His voice, you may want to perform a pride inventory in your spirit. Do you practice humility and selflessness, or are you responsible for behaviors that are detestable to God? The verses above assure us that God will punish the proud of heart, and He doesn’t go near individuals who are full of pride.

Instead of commending yourself for your independence, turn it around, and express your full gratitude to God for His faithful provision. He created you, gifted you, provided a job for you, and rewarded you for your hard work. The truth is you are not as independent as you may think. You are completely dependent on God, because He is in control of all things.

Remove the barrier that may stand in your way of communicating with God. If you hold pride in your heart, confess it and ask God’s forgiveness. Get rid of all pride, arrogance, conceit, self-importance, haughtiness, disrespect, loftiness, and condescension before you seek the Lord to listen to His voice. Treat others as more important than yourself. Assume the position of the lowly, the meek, and the servant. Don’t take it to the extreme so that you resemble a doormat, but approaching the Lord with a contrite heart, in humility, opens the door to receiving God’s words of grace, encouragement, and wisdom.

 Pray:

Almighty God, thank You for loving me and desiring a relationship with me despite my prideful ways. Please forgive me for acting in a manner that is detestable to You. I lay down all arrogance, pride, conceit, and self-righteousness at Your feet, Lord. I trade in my haughty spirit for a spirit of humility and submission. I will try not to pass judgment on others, nor put myself on a pedestal above anyone else. Help me listen to and obey the direction of Your Holy Spirit as He guides me to adopt the heart of a servant and strive to act more like Jesus. I lift You up as the Sovereign Lord, Who rules over everything on earth and in heaven. Father, please help me to seek You for direction in everything I do and put Your desires and the interests of others ahead of my own. I cannot do any of this on my own without the power and strength of Jesus Christ. Please grant me the ability and the blessing of hearing Your voice. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.