Beyond The Sacred Page

 

Beyond the Sacred Page, I seek Thee Lord

 

Where do you think is the first place, and maybe the best place, that you should go, if you want to seek the Lord?  Would it be the very word of God, the bible?   If someone doesn’t know much at all about God, where would they go to learn about God?  The bible!  Right?

Jesus was speaking to a crowd of Jews one time (as He did so many times) but on this particular occasion, He said;  “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them, you have eternal life;  It is these that testify about Me.”   That’s in  John 5, verse 39.   So Jesus Himself is saying that it’s the scriptures that testify of, and reveal, the Son of God!   And of course Jesus also said in  John 14:9;  “..He who has seen Me. has seen the Father..”

So whether you’re looking for the Father or for the Son, you’ll find them in the bible.  Jesus said, in  Mathew 7, verse 7;  “Ask, and it shall be given you;  Seek, and ye shall find;  Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”   

 

God, is REVEALED, in the pages of the bible.  The bible tells us who God is, and it tells us what God loves, and it tells us what He hates!  It tells us about God’s power, and about God’s presence, and about God’s nature.  About His love, and His compassion, His mercy, His long-suffering, His GRACE.  His omnipotence, His omnipresence, His unlimited knowledge, His Sovereignty, His fairness (or just-ness).  And about His wrath.  The bible tells us about God’s eternal plan of salvation, through Jesus Christ.  It tells us the gospel!

The bible tells us about the creation, and of the fall of man.  It tells us about sin!  And it tells us about sacrifice, and about atonement, and forgiveness.  The bible tells us about the covenant with Abraham, and about the covenant with Israel, and about the covenant in Christ’s blood.  The bible tells us about eternity, and about heaven and hell.  It tells us about angels, and it tells us about satan.  About the Holy Spirit of God, and about the spirit of disobedience to God.

The bible tells us, about “..all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  (2 Peter 1, verse 3)

Everything that you could ever NEED to know, can be found in the word of God.  On the sacred pages of the bible.  And so if anyone would seek to know God, and to know His will, the bible is surely the place to begin.

 

Beyond the Sacred Page

 

But we can seek God in other places as well.  Other places, in addition to the bible!   We often times sing a hymn, that’s called “Break Thou The Bread Of Life”, and it’s on page 28 in our hymn book.  We typically use it as a hymn before the Lord’s supper, but you could sing it any time.  I just want to read to you the first verse of that song though.   Because it was a phrase from this song, that caused me to give some thought to seeking God, in other places, besides the bible.

Here’s the words of the first verse;  “Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord to me.  As Thou did break the loaves beside the sea.  Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee Lord..  My spirit pants for Thee, O’ living Word.” 

“Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee Lord”   God’s presence is certainly not limited to the pages of the bible is it?  No, God’s is everywhere!  And we can seek Him, and find Him, everywhere!

Psalm 139, verses 7 thru 12,  is such a great passage, about the presence of God.  I like to hear it, over and over again.  “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit?  Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there:  If I make my bed in sheol, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.  If I say;  Surely the darkness shall cover me; Even the night shall be light about me.  Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day:  The darkness, and the light, are both alike to Thee.”   

Don’t you like that passage?  Couldn’t you listen t it over and over again;  How it talks about God’s wonderful presence, everywhere?  Do you remember the song called, “I Love To Tell The Story”?  It’s #83 in our hymn books.  And the first verse of that song says; “I love to tell the story of unseen things above;  Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus of Jesus and His love.”

And then the last verse says;  “I love to tell the story;  For those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest.”

Sometimes it’s the things that we know the best, that we just like to hear again and again;  Like..  “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit;  Or whither shall I flee, from Thy presence?”

And so again, we can seek the Lord, anywhere!  Not just in the pages of scripture.  And don’t those words simply encourage us to do just that?  To seek the Lord everywhere?  Because that’s where He’s at, everywhere!

Acts 17, verses 26 & 27  tells us;  “And He made from one man, every nation of mankind, to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him, and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”   

Don’t think that the bible, is the only place that you’ll find God.  “Jesus said;  “Seek and you shall find..”  I’m sure we can apply that to seeking God.

 

Look for God, within His Creation

 

I’d like to suggest to you three “places”, outside of the bible, that you can seek God, in your daily lives.  The first place to seek God, is in nature;  In God’s creation.

When you were a child, or maybe even since you’ve been an adult, haven’t you spent time just looking at the clouds, and seeing all the different shapes they make?  And you can try to “see things” in those shapes that the clouds make.  Surely you’ve done that.  Oh there’s a puppy, or there’s a eagle soaring.  Or whatever you might see.  Did you ever think that that’s God putting on that show for you?  We can see God in those clouds!

When’s the last time you sat and watched a big lighting storm, light up the night skies?  That’s God up there isn’t it?  Putting on a show for us,  that all the fireworks of man, can’t compare to!  How about looking into a clear night’s sky, and admiring all the countless stars out there, twinkling and shining bright.  What is it that makes the stars seem to twinkle?  I suppose there’s a scientific answer to that, but to me, it’s just God.

Surely  Psalm 19, verse 1,  is right, when it says;  “The heavens declare the glory of God;  And the skies proclaim the work of His hands!”   

If we want to find God, just look at His creation.   “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”   (Romans 1, verse 20)   Some say, “There is no God!”  Even though, He’s everywhere!  And He’s not far from any of us.

And so why don’t you make it a point, every day, to seek God, everywhere around you.  In the stars, and in the clouds, and in the sunshine, and even in the rain.

Let’s sing two verses of a song, would that be OK?   Would you open your song books to #250;  And let’s sing verses 1 & 2, of that hymn, and think about finding God.

 

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Look Within Others

 

Here’s the second “place” that we could seek to find God, every day.  Let’s really try our very best, to seek God, in other people.  That would sure be better than to seek the faults in other people wouldn’t it?  Seek, to see the Lord, in the people that we meet, and in the people that we know, and in all the people that we worship with, and in all the people that are the closest to us, every day of our lives.

In other words, find the good in everyone.  We’ve all got good in us.  In a sense, we all have GOD in us!  Let’s find God, in the people we share our lives with.  Romans 8:14  tells us;  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”   

At many times, I’m know that we’ve all, seen in one another, the Spirit of God.   And that’s what we need to be looking for, ALL the time.  So then, if at times, one of us should allow something to get in the way, of that spirit of God showing forth, let’s look beyond that something, beyond whatever it was that got in the way, and let’s just keep looking for, and finding, God in each other.  We’ll find what we’re looking for!  If we look for faults, I’m sure we can find some in all of us.  But if we look for God, I’m sure we’ll find Him as well.  In each and every one of us.

If we want to find God in one another, let’s look where God would look.   We’re told in  1 Samuel 16, verse 7;  “For the Lord does not see as man sees;  For man looks at the outward appearance;  But the LORD looks at the heart.”   That’s where we need to look when WE look at one another, at one another’s heart;  And I’m sure we’ll find God there.  

Even if someone gets a burr under their saddle, forget that..  And just keep looking at the heart.  Where would we be, if the Lord didn’t look beyond the surface?

Here’s another nice hymn that we sing, that has some very appropriate words on this subject.  The hymn is called “Have Thine Own Way Lord.”  Here’s what the last verse says;  “Have Thine own way Lord, have Thine own way;  Hold o’er my spirit, absolute sway.  Fill with Thy Spirit, till all shall see, Christ only always, living in me.” 

We need to help people see God in us, by being “filled with His Spirit”.    But just make sure that that’s what you’re looking for, in others.   Because I think you’ll find just what you’re looking for.

 

Look Within Yourself

 

Here’s the third “place” that we should be looking for God.  We should always, look for God, in ourselves.  Look for God in yourself, so that you know that you’re living according to His will, and that you know you’re indeed on that straight and narrow path, leading to life.

2 Corinthians 13, verse 5  exhorts us to;  “Examine yourselves, as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is IN you?  Unless indeed you fail the test.” 

Hebrews 3 verse 6  says;  “but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house;  Whose house we ARE, if we hold fast our confidence, and the boast of our hope, firm until the end.”   Stay firm in your confidence, and in your hope, and in your faith, to make sure that Christ remains in you.    Look within yourself..  Look for God right there in your spirit;  In your heart, and in your soul.

I talked last week about that “perfect law of liberty”, in  James 1:25,   that serves as a mirror, to our soul.  A mirror, that gives us a reflection of ourselves, to see if God is really in there.

If God is there, then you have all the confidence in the world;  MORE confidence than this world has to offer!   “If God is for us, who is against us?”   Romans 8:31.   “Who can separate us from the love of Christ?”  (Verse 35)  No One!   Not if God is there within you!

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, (that’s God) He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit, that dwelleth in you.”  (Romans 8, verse 11)  

Seek God within yourself;  You’ll find Him there if you put your mind to it.   Romans 8, verse 13  says;  “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; (because if you’re living according to the flesh, then you won’t find God there)  But, if by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  Because if by the Spirit of God dwelling in you, you put to death the deeds of the flesh, then God IS, right there within you!

 

So then;  Look for God, and find Him, in the sacred pages of the bible;  And look for Him in all of creation, because He’s there, and He’s easy to see.  And look for God within others.  You might have to “overlook” some things.  But then, isn’t that what God does for you?  He overlooks a lot, through Jesus Christ.  And finally, look for God in yourselves.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, the Lord promises, in  Hebrews 13, verse 5.   So don’t ever leave Him!

 

 

 

 

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