This week is Thanksgiving week, and instead of doing a Thanksgiving teaching, I thought I would do a teaching I did a few months ago titled "Hand vs. Face".
To understand what that means you will need to read through this study and find out.
With the Thanksgiving holiday, comes remembering all the things we are thankful for.
Our family, and our jobs, our cars, and home, our health, we could go on and on.
This weeks study is sort of being thankful, but not for the things we are blessed with. But rather, being thankful for God.
"I know about God and Jesus and the bible and all that stuff, and I'm thankful. What more do I need to know?" You may be saying to yourself.
Let's get started with our main verse.
Ex 33:18-20 18 And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." 19 Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." 20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."
Moses was speaking with God and desired to see the face of God. This verse was God's response.
So think about your walk with the Lord. What has it consisted of?
I'm not talking about works or the things you do, but rather I'm talking about your relationship with Him.
We all have a relationship with God, or you should have, and if you don't I pray that you will.
But it seems that we all have a relationship with God like kids do with their parents.
Normal conversation and going about our lives.
But think about it, when your kids start saying nice things to you and start with how wonderful you are, the first thing we think of is, "OK, what do they want."
And we do the same thing with God, kind of buttering Him up, getting Him ready so we can ask for something.
If you think about your relationship with God, how much of it is true praise and not asking for anything? Verses asking and no praise at all?
Do you spend more time asking from God then acknowledging who He really is?
If your motive for praise to Him is to receive, then it is not true praise, but rather self-seeking praise.
Meaning we are praising God in hopes of getting something in return.
But don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with asking from God. Jesus even mentions this in the book of John.
John 16:24 "Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
You see, the disciples were so busy spending time with Jesus that they never really thought about the things they needed, such as a home or food or clothing, or even their marriages. Only when they talked amongst themselves and took their eyes off Jesus, did they start thinking about these things.
And that's how we should be. Spending so much time with the Lord that we don't even think about the things we need, or think we need.
When we take out eye's off the Lord then we think we need a better car, or job, or husband, or wife, or clothes, or?
Only one time do I read of Jesus asking anything for Himself, and that is when He was in the garden.
Matt 26:39 (NLT) He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."
Jesus did not want to go through all the pain He was about to endure. But it wasn't the physical pain that Jesus was thinking about here, but rather the pain of being separated from God for the first time in all eternity. Because God cannot be in the presence of sin and that is what Jesus became for us on the cross.
Jesus acknowledged God for who He is and even says "not My will but Yours be done. Denying Himself and wanting God's will and not His fleshly desire to be filled.
This weeks message is titled "Hand vs. Face", and you may have been wondering what that means?
As we saw with Moses, he desired to seek the face of God.
And that's what this weeks teaching is all about.
We so often seek God's "hand of giving" verses "His face of Who He is".
So many times we see God as a giving God, which He is, but He is more then just a giving God. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth.
He is the one who defeated death and sin on the cross. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
God is not a Santa Claus or a genie that we can make requests of and get what ever we want.
God is a God of order, and Love and Compassion.
God is a God of truth and wisdom. He is all knowing.
God is worthy to be praised and worshipped.
We so often seek God for a wife or girlfriend. We seek Him for healing of our marriages. We seek Him for more people in the church, or a church building. We seek Him for cars or homes or clothing or food or a better job.
Give me, give me, give me. I want, I want, I want.
There is nothing wrong with seeking the Lord and wanting His will in your life, just as Jesus wanted God's will to be done and not His own.
But what ever happen to I love you Father. You are worthy of all praise glory and honor.
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.
Read this next Psalm and think about sharing it with your family this Thanksgiving, reminding them what an awesome God we serve.
1 Chron 16:8-36 (NLT) 8 Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his miracles. 10 Exult in his holy name; O worshipers of the LORD, rejoice! 11 Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching. 12 Think of the wonderful works he has done, the miracles, and the judgments he handed down, 13 O children of Israel, God's servant, O descendants of Jacob, God's chosen one. 14 He is the LORD our God. His rule is seen throughout the land. 15 He always stands by his covenant-- the commitment he made to a thousand generations. 16 This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. 17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to the people of Israel as a never-ending treaty: 18 "I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession." 19 He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. 20 They wandered back and forth between nations, from one kingdom to another. 21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf: 22 "Do not touch these people I have chosen, and do not hurt my prophets." 23 Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. 24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. 25 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be revered above all gods. 26 The gods of other nations are merely idols, but the LORD made the heavens! 27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty are in his dwelling. 28 O nations of the world, recognize the LORD, recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. 29 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. 30 Let all the earth tremble before him. The world is firmly established and cannot be shaken. 31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations that the LORD is king. 32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy! 33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise before the LORD! For he is coming to judge the earth. 34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 35 Cry out, "Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you." 36 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!
And all the people shouted "Amen!" and praised the LORD.
11 Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching.
True worship that's how you seek the face of the Lord instead of His hand of giving.
But also remember what He said to Moses:
20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."
So what does that mean to us if we are seeking the face of God?
It means death.
"Ouch", just the sound of that hurts.
Yes it does and to see the face of God is not always a simple process. It hurts.
Heb 12:1-4 (NLT) 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. 3 Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
Jesus endured pain and shame on the cross, and as the scripture says, "He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven."
Sometimes there has to be pain in order to die of our old self.
That is the price to be paid for seeking the face of God. But it is a price worth paying.
As you grow as a Christian you may ask God for things that people say are totally stupid to ask for.
I remember a time about four years ago when I asked God for a trial to help draw me closer to Him. And God was faithful and just to fulfill my request.
It may sound like a crazy request, but God knew my heart. My request was not for anything other then to grow as a Christian and grow closer to Him. And I can happily say that I have grown closer to Him and have grown stonger as a Christian.
And through the process there was a cleansing in a certain area in my life with that process still continuing.
Now I have asked God for another request, and that is to see His face. Not physically, but the way I have been talking about. Seeking who God truly is and not the God we make Him out to be. The God of the Bible is the God I want to know.
And even though this is a new process I am going through even now, once again there is a cleansing process within me.
Does it hurt? You bet it does, but it's a good hurt. Like when you cut yourself and you pour alcohol on the cut. It foams and burns and you jump up and down because of the cleansing of the infection in the cut. But it's a good hurt because you know it's a cleansing hurt.
So many times we come to the Lord and say we are broken before Him. Which is true. But I also see it as an old white coffee cup broken in pieces.
When we come to the Lord we are like that old white coffee cup all stained with coffee on the inside, but when we accept Jesus we are like the cup which God puts back together.
Even though the cup is put back together, there is still the stain of the old coffee in it.
And in order to get rid of the stains, there needs to be a lot of scrubbing and soaking in bleach.
That is how we are right now as Christians, put back together by God but still the old sinful self just seems to hang on just like the coffee stains in the cup.
But there is a cleansing that occurs in us all.
1 Cor 6:9-11 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Have you been practicing any of these lately, or has the thought of any of them been consuming your thoughts lately?
We have been washed by the blood of Jesus, just like the coffee cup that has been washed. But if you start to pour coffee into it again, the stains will return. And if you start playing with your old sins again they will cling to you again.
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Do you desire to truly know God?
Are you ready for the cleansing process that will come from it?
We give our lives to Jesus but we also hang onto some of our old sins.
Today, are you ready to let go and let God?
John 5:44 (NLT) No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from God alone.
Do we spend so much time honoring man rather then God? Or do we honor the sins of the world by accepting them into our lives and homes.
What do you watch on TV, or listen to on the radio? What about the movies you go and see, or the books or magazines you read? What kind of sites to you go to on the Internet?
Who is truly getting the honor in your life, God or the world?
As Christians, we are to be examples to others.
What example are you giving?
Are you going to church just to look or feel good, or maybe it's a club that you meet at once a week? Or is it because you truly desire to know the Lord more and grow as a Christian desiring to worship Him?
Let me give you an example of what could happen with you if you truly decide to seek God's Face.
For those of you that don't know, I'm a musician and have played on the worship team for a couple of years at church. But there came a point just a few months ago when I had to step down and stop.
And here is why.
1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Speaking with the tongues of angels is worshipping God.
And when I was playing I was no longer worshipping God. It no longer became a joy for me to play to Him, but rather a job or task that needed to be done.
Why did I continue? Because no one else would do it.
But you know what, even though I'm not up there, people still worship the Lord!
This is something I knew I needed to do for a while but ignored it. But one evening as My wife and me were meeting with our best friends (One who is a worship leader), we were reading this passage and the Lord spoke to me about what I was doing.
So a cleansing is also a revealing of your heart to yourself, which is a scary thing. Because when your heart is revealed to you, you either do something about it, or ignore it and if you ignore it your heart becomes hardened, even as a Christian.
I know this may not be an uplifting teaching that makes you feel good. But I believe it's one of the most important things we can do as Christians.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
God straight out says that He desires us to have a knowledge of Him.
Rev 14:6-7 6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-- 7 saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."
"Fear God and give glory to Him and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."
You say you Love God? This is a good thing and I believe that it's true, but do you truly know God whom you love?
1 Cor 13:4-7 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In these verses the one that stands out the most for this teaching is, "Does not seek it's own."
If we want to truly Love God, and seek His Face, we must no longer seek for ourselves.
We must be willing to allow God to do what ever it takes to remove the sin in our lives, no matter how much it hurts, or what we lose.
We where created too truly worship and praise the Lord. The angels were created for that purpose. But we have the free will to choose to worship Him or not.
Today you have that choice. It will help you to be stronger Christian, plus a better knowledge of who God really is!
It's time to be people of God, and not people of a church building!