Know God: He Knows Stuff

SEPTEMBER 30

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Can we know God… can we really? I believe God created Adam for the very reason that He desired to be known… intimately. He wants to be known and He wants to be with you constantly. Besides. . . He knows stuff, some really good stuff worth knowing!

Good and God

Maybe, however; the better question might be… do we want to know God? I think I do, but how much is up in the air. How much I Love God starts with discovering first, how much I truly desire to know Him and if I have any desire to continue seeking to find out more about Him. This self-discovery into my own heart and soul can be deafening in its silence when asking the question “Do I want to Love God to the absolute fullest that my soul and heart are capable of?” If at once there is a buzz of activity deep inside me, I’m probably on a decent path to finding my way into the inner heart of God, Himself. But if even the slightest hesitation occurs and silence arrives upon asking the crucial question, there is a substantial problem within my soul.

God desperately loves me. He wants to know me and most importantly, BE known BY me in the closest of ways. He will pursue a pursuing heart but He will never force Himself upon my heart. He will make known His goodness and his presence. He will demonstrate his Power and Grace and even make Himself constantly available… but the final steps are mine to take. To know God is to know and discover a Love so perfect, unleash a Power so magnificent and incomprehensible to the human soul but it requires two things: accepting Him and the Truth of who He is – FULLY – and it also requires getting to know the source of that Love, Grace and Power personally and deeply.

I don’t know God, but God certainly knows me. . . and He knows me quite well. More to the point, there is a vast array of interesting (and very useful) things beyond the ordinary that God not only knows, but understands. So much knowledge and comprehension right before me that goes largely under utilized. Why would I not want access to all He knows? Uncovering even a minuscule amount of this could dramatically alter not just how I view life. . . but how I live and respond to everything daily. They say ignorance is bliss, but in this instance, I think ignorance is just, well. . . ignorant. And unnecessary.

When I decide that I finally desire to know God – really, REALLY know Him – I’ll find myself walking in a manner I never knew possible. I’ll even be content in those moments where God doesn’t shed understanding on the mysteries of my circumstances. Because fully knowing God will also bring a quiet understanding and peace that if I need to know something, He’ll let me know. Otherwise. . . I’m pretty content to stay ignorant.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Joshua 6:27

27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

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Where Grace Resides. . .

SEPTEMBER 29

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I feel so scattered and frazzled, but God’s Holy Spirit has been invited to work and minister here, today. With shaken confidence the Lord comes quickly to soothe and encourage and give me peace to press onward. This is a hard day. It is also a very good day… but only if you view it through the eyes of the Lord. From our natural perspective, it won’t always look how we’ve been programmed to see things.

What are the subtleties of God’s Grace? Do you recognize them? How foreign is God’s Love to you, or is it becoming more and more familiar to your heart with each passing day? Grace may save the man but it cannot save the man AND his idol. So I ask myself: what is keeping me from seeing the Grace of my God and consequentially fully experiencing it? I tend only to notice Grace in it’s grandeur but how often am I missing the subtle hints of God’s Grace? A wife’s smile, a child’s hugs and kisses, a friend’s kind words of encourage, a stranger’s random act of kindness and compassion? God reveals so much of Himself and His Grace in these moments – moments that I tend to pass right on by without any thought or acknowledgment to God what so ever.

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Don’t rob yourself of some of the greatest blessing God longs to bless you with daily, blessings that are far to easy to miss when we fail to truly pay attention and open our selves up to the subtleties of His Grace each day. The beauty of life can be seen when we open our eyes to see it. We seldom see tomorrow since we live mostly in today but God is a God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is where His Grace always resides, too.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Joshua 3:7-9

7 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.

8 And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'”

9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.”

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Growing Old Sucks. . . (Suck It Up and Deal With It!)

SEPTEMBER 28

IMG_6184 Rest between shots Between takes

Ahh, man… getting old sucks. Getting old in ministry REALLY sucks! Part of what I struggle with in the aging process in ministry is the fact that what I’m dealing with is simple karma. I deserve the struggles I’m having due to the foolish arrogance of my own youth. And part of the struggles are simply a part of the natural order of things.

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In our youth, we have vision and dreams. Our ideas are so bold that the older generation scoffs and scorns us yet we know God speaks to us and we are right.

Yet as we age, we find wisdom and we begin to understand the value of patience and listening to The Lord. In both instances, we are very susceptible to making grave errors in our judgment: we are wary of new ideas and may no longer be as willing to make those leaps of Faith as we did in our younger days. But we are wise enough to realize we no longer have all the answers. The question is… are we wise enough to hear out those younger then us to whom God has now given His dreams and visions to?

The younger generation will seldom listen to their elder statesmen. They haven’t learned how to value the wisdom of those who’ve gone before them. But that’s not my problem – that’s God’s lessons to teach them. But I will say this: they are far more inclined to ask what I think and seek the wisdom of my experience when I’m inclined to hear out their crazy ideas and give serious considerations to the visions they have. Our plans for successful ministry hinge upon new visions and unspoken dreams of young men but require the wisdom of old men to see them carried out successfully. God set it up this way on purpose, in order that both young and old would learn to lean on each other.

When I was younger, it felt as if no one listened to me. Funny… it still seems that way. It’s exactly the same issue, regardless of where you are in your life or ministry: you wish to be heard but don’t desire to listen.

I thought at this stage in the game, people might value my experience. I hoped that I’d someday reach the place where others might seek out my advice, my wisdom, my insight. It still feels like nobody cares to listen to what I might have to say. And today, I feel as vulnerable and insecure as I did when I first entered ministry. But what I didn’t know then that I’ve learned over the years is that there is only one voice that matters. I do listen more then I use to, but when I arrive at these moments of insecurity and doubt, where it seems as if no one believes in me anymore – or even gives me enough notice to even give me THAT much thought, I stop and laugh! Haven’t I felt this way since the very beginning? All that’s change is my perspective from my age and a few gray hairs! In my youth, my mind told me “They won’t listen cause they think you’re too young” versus my mind telling me “They won’t listen to you cause you’re too old…” That is the voice not of others, but of the enemy. He baits my ego using pride and insecurity. And I’m still falling for it!

I wasn’t too young back then for God to use me just as I’m not too old, today. The question is whether I’m willing to listen to His voice and allow His Holy Spirit to continue leading me. I have the wisdom to hear those brilliant, wonderful visions of young men and a bit more patience to consider everything they say. I know that if they choose to seek me out, I’ll be right here and if they don’t… I can be alright with that, too. Ultimately, it has no bearing on the tasks God has set before me. I still have a great deal more to do. And each day, my only goal is too seek God first and foremost to discover where HE needs me.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)You’re not done until The Lord says you are done… there are still lands to possess and territories for God to occupy. As long as I continue to be willing and available, The Lord will use me to accomplish His Will. We are never used up until the moment we decide on our own to cease following our Lord where He is calling us. Resist the urge the give up. . . The Lord, Almighty, isn’t even close to being done with you, today. Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Joshua 13:1

Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.

Sanctified To Be. . . Blessed Or A Blessing?

SEPTEMBER 27

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What I do is a blessing… but am I… a blessing?! There is a distinction.

Am I sitting in a 30 minute parking zone? Often I think I find myself double-parked outside of God’s presence. We’re having quality time together in His presence, but with every passing moment, I know my time has expired on the meter… and I can’t afford another ticket. My parking could be validated. In fact, it already has been yet still, I’m hustling for change.

Commit everything to the Lord means my time, too. Yet I want to treat my time alone with God, or my service with God or even my worship with God as items I can easily check off my lengthy “To-Do” list so that I can move on. And in this hurried and frenetic state, is it any wonder that my trust in Him somehow gets misplaced? Until I can learn to walk with Him at His pace in His manner and in His way, I’ll never be able to commit everything I do to Him. And I will never be capable of Trust. He wants a fellowship, a shared experienced with me; a partnership; a deep friendship. He’s waiting for me to stop being a shallow, superficial friend; He keeps hoping that I’ll stop parking at the meter and pull into the parking garage. He keeps waiting – patiently – for me to ask for His help in everything I do before I desperately need it. Until then, I suppose He’ll keep tossing me some loose change as I shout out “I’ll be right back, Lord…” even though we both know it may be awhile before I actually do manage to come around again.

Sanctify yourselves in the blood of Christ through a willingness to be transformed by Him. Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Psalms 37:5-6

5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Sanctify yourselves in the blood of Christ through a willingness to be transformed by Him.

Proverbs 13:20

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

That Stinging Pride

SEPTEMBER 26

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Pride stings and when the harsh realities of prides destructive wake dawns on my soul, I find myself yet again wondering what the heck was I thinking?

It’s amazing that I even have any pride. Really. Am I so foolish to actually think I’m so smart as to know more then God? Pride sucks. It sucks the Joy out of every good blessing from The Lord. It sucks the peace right out of every quiet and reflective moment God gives me. Pride whispers, prods and talks too much. I can trace almost every bad decision I’ve ever made back to my pride. And when I’ve succumbed to my pride again, I look up to find my pride long gone as the Light of Jesus Christ shines His light on me on my disgrace.

But praise God for His patient Grace. He is constantly teaching me how to distinguish His voice from the voice of my pride until I begin to hear pride’s voice as an annoying, scratchy, unbearable sound to my ears. Despite this, pride never shuts up and I have to constantly work to shut out pride’s grating voice and tune my ears to the soft uttering of the Lord’s sweet voice. Trust that soft voice and learn to distinguish when He is speaking to your heart and when your pride attempts to interrupt. The soft voice brings wisdom while the that loud, obnoxious voice only leaves you in disgrace. I know this all too well. Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Psalm 22:8

“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

He Will Be Sovereign

SEPTEMBER 25

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We can never underestimate the power and effect of our impact and effect on people. I wonder, in amazement, at the subtle ways God is constantly working in my life in how He places the right people at the right time in my life to speak the right words of encouragement. I get so locked in on my own circumstances that too often I fail to see the many ways He really is working.

I wish I could make people be kind. I can’t. But I’m hesitant to be overly harsh on how others are treating me and what gives me pause is the observation of how I am treating others. But the most difficult situations to deal with are those in which I find my children being mistreated and verbally abused. You can’t MAKE other people be kind. The only thing I can control is whether I am kind to everyone I meet… and I can do my best to teach my children to do the same. But the injustice of this world and the cruelties endured by my children are difficult to explain away. It is a foreign concept to love and be kind to those very people who seek to crush us with their words. My children cannot understand why other people hate them so and it becomes a constant battle to not only teach them to remain true to how God wants them to act and respond (in love) but also push out those hateful words of others and focus instead on the true voice of the Lord, in which they must find their true identity. Convincing myself is difficult enough, but convincing my children is nearly impossible.

God angers me. It’s not right, I know that, but I do get angry with Him. I forget that it grieves Him even more then it does me. And when my tears dry up and my heart softens, I feel God’s comfort and His presence and I know that He is still working and moving in their lives as He’s been doing all along. A youth pastor, and children’s pastor; a principal or a teacher; a church member or some random stranger… God sends people into our lives at the same moment He is also sending us into the lives of others to be vehicles of comfort and encouragement. And sometimes, this is enough… it’s all we need to get through this present trouble. Hurting sucks. Seeing your children hurt, well… that’s almost unbearable. Through it all, God remains true to Himself and to His character: faithful, true and good. My God is sovereign in all things and He walks beside me through it all. That is the Hope that I hang onto in my darkest moments and those of my children. There is peace. There will be blessing. He will be Sovereign. . .  particularly in the darkness.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Psalm 10:17-18

17 O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The Daily Grind

SEPTEMBER 24

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The daily grind is something not to dread but relish. Push through & enjoy the difficult tasks God has deemed you competent of completing. When I stop to think about it, there’s really nothing better or more satisfying then working up a good sweat for the Lord. Sure, going through a difficult season is never fun but once we’ve come through it together – He and I – the satisfaction of realizing that I made it through is beyond comparison. Similar to months of working out in the gym or training for a sporting event, I also find that I’m stronger and smarter, too.

Are we enjoying the hard work God puts before us? He looks to test you and I in how we approach the hard work of those times absent of excitement, an excitement which seldom comes before the efforts of hard work and grinding things out. If I am unwilling to enjoy a bit of hard work then how can I learn to fully enjoy the end results? So much more do we learn and see of God within the grind of a regular day and so much does God see in these moments, too. The push and grind of a good, hard day of laboring before the Lord – toiling in His fields – has it’s blessings and it’s rewards. At the end of these days, the well-earned rest is all the more satisfying. Enjoy your toils for The Lord today. And then enjoy His peaceful rest that follows.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Today’s Scripture:

Joshua 1:6-9

6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.

7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Quiet in the Battle

SEPTEMBER 23

It takes many hands to help even one

I wonder if life will ever be easy. Probably not. The question is, how to find Joy in a life of tremendous struggle? It can be done, you know, but it won’t come to you easily. Oh, it’s right there but you have to get up in the morning and seize it. God brings me the opportunity every day to walk in the Joy of His strength and bask in the rest which is found in Him.

When do I take a break and find my center again? When do I stop to pray and spend even a little bit of time with The Lord… THAT’S when I find the most rest. I am so caught up in my battles that it never seems as if I will ever get a break or find a moments rest. “Make time for God and renew thy self!” I read today in my devotional. What wisdom. I must make the time for time will never make itself for me! Even in the midst of the battles – even when I am near the brink of defeat and can’t possible afford to turn even one second’s attention away from the battles at hand. But I must.

Quiet your thinking and center all thought on the most High then watch as He fills you up again… even on the battle field. Steady Your heart. Center your thinking on Christ and His wonderment. Trust God with the outcome. And then… Prepare for the victory as you rest up for whatever lies ahead. Do these things and regardless of what happens, you will win… God will see to it.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

Sean worn outToday’s Scripture:

Psalm 61:1-3

1 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;

2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,

3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Proverbs 14:10

The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.

Jericho Falling

SEPTEMBER 22

Ruins of Jericho at Sunset

Ruins of Jericho just before Sunset

“I CAN make a difference, dad…      just NOT today…”

The real crisis of my soul is no easy problem to fix. Fixable? Yes. But much work and attention to details will be required. And I’m not always so certain that I am up for the task… and that will be the greatest hurdle to overcome if God and I are going to first, address then adjust the issues which have created this deep crisis within my soul.

Are you for us, or for our adversaries?

Have you ever felt like this? To believe in Christ but doubt His ability to change you is to have the shallowest of faiths. There still remains within you a strong resistance to His Will. I have arrived at such a place, when I find myself doubting whether He can truly change me, as to question how

I really can be called a follower of Jesus. As I seek Him earnestly, I come away understanding that at the heart of my heart’s dilemma is the absence of complete surrender to the Will of God. There still remains somewhere within my heart a stronghold of resistance to the Will and Grace of God. I must root it out and thoroughly bring it under the heel of His Holy Spirit.

Take off your sandals from your feet,

for the place where you are standing

is holy.”

Like Joshua at Jericho, I cannot inhabit the promised land until I eradicate these strongholds that resist the Will of my God. He will not inhabit a place with a hostile enemy nearby and He will not fully inhabit a heart still hostile to His Will. We must seek out these pockets of rebellion within our hearts and let the Holy Spirit bring these strongholds down.

I am the commander of the army of

the LORD. Now I have come.”

I’m not saying Jesus doesn’t come into our hearts from the moment we ask Him in there. But from that moment we ask Him to cross over, He does so immediately and at that moment we are now at war with our flesh. But I want Christ to conquer my entire heart, I don’t want Him just to inhabit the outer limits of it. We will always be searching out the strongholds lest they be allowed to co-exist in the land that is now rightfully God’s. They will divide our loyalties to Him. When one stronghold has been pulled down, we move on to find the next one and the next after that until every inch of our hearts belong to Him. The battles are easily won if we follow the battle directions of the Holy Spirit.

Joshua laid an oath on them at that

time, saying, Cursed before the LORD

be the man who rises up and rebuilds

this city, Jericho. At the cost of his

firstborn shall he lay its foundation,

and at the cost of his youngest son

shall he set up its gates.

I must decide today that I will seek out the Jericho’s within my heart and pull them down. But it will require that I decide to let certain things go that I think I still want to hang on to. It’s really not a crisis after all… it’s a matter of who’s Will I truly believe will bring me the greatest outcome… His or my own.

Peace, Sean Gutteridge

 

Today’s Scripture:

Joshua 5:13-15

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”

14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”

15 And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 6:26

26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. “At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.”