What Shall We Pursue? – Part 1

Praise the Lord! We are saved by grace! We are saved only by, through and because of the blood of Jesus. We are saved by faith . . . not by works, lest anyone should boast. We know we could never earn our way into heaven by working and yet we still have some work to do. We know God doesn’t love us more if we “do” more.” His love never changes. It never fails. He never leaves us alone nor forsakes us. And . . . yet . . . we can not be hearers only. We must do something. For we, also, know that faith without works is dead and though righteousness was accounted to Abraham because of his faith . . . still . . . God wanted him to demonstrate his faith in action (some very difficult action, by the way.) He called him to be circumcised and . . . to sacrifice his son . . . and God was pleased as Abraham obeyed. Are we to “do” differently than Abraham . . . or the apostles or Noah or Moses or Esther or Rahab . . . or . . . Jesus?

So . . . what “works” are we talking about? Why do we do them? How do we determine the ones we will “do” . . . the ones we won’t and why? Perhaps our proper, our purest “works,” spring forth naturally from simply pursuing what it is that we are called to pursue. That being, I believe . . . the two greatest commandments . . . to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds and the second like it . . . to love others as we love ourselves. Jesus said that in these two commandments ALL the law is fulfilled. That seems to make what we should spend our time on . . . what we should be pursuing . . . very simple and very clear . . . and yet . . . somehow we still don’t “get it.”

As I pondered this, I began to ask; what is it that we pursue? Are we not pursuing that which we spend our time on? Would that time spent then, in actuality, be our “works”? If so, would it not be true that what we are working for can be clearly seen, by where and on what we are spending our time?

Pursuit . . . defined by Webster, is an effort to secure or attain. Synonyms include chase, hunt, search, activity and preoccupation.

So, what is it we are chasing after, hunting for, searching out? What are we preoccupied with . . . pleasure, comfort, security, safety, fun, success? Or . . . holiness, purifying our hearts and minds, His glory, spreading the gospel to a lost and dying world? Are we pursuing others who are hopeless and hungry (both physically and spiritually) and may be one of (close to) 150,000 that die each day – many of whom do not know Jesus? One hundred and fifty thousand . . . each day. Who and what are our lives about . . . Jesus . . . or . . . me and mine?

Perhaps our works . . . are simply our pursuits . . . those things we run after . . . and are many and varied. The work we are called to by God may be much different than the works we often spend our time doing, and are often burned out by, as we try to include both what this physical world seems to offer and still fit in, our “service” to God. Our work for Him may be demonstrated by being the hands and feet of Jesus in someone’s life – yes . . . baking a casserole for a family in need, or taking dinner to a family who has just suffered loss or sitting in the hospital with your brother in Christ. It is helping your neighbor with their lawn . . . it is holding Bible studies in your home or at your office. It is interceding in prayer. It is studying the Word of God. It is hosting events at your church. It is all those things. Oh, but, we are busy! Yet . . . pursuing and doing may be two very different things. I ask . . . What is it we are pursuing? I know we are “working” for the Lord and we wouldn’t do much of it, if it weren’t for His call on our lives . . . but what are we pursuing? Not . . . doing and rationalizing . . . as the time we “gave up” for Him . . . but pursuing.

I venture to say . . . the majority of us are pursing happiness, either for ourselves or for our children. We continue to live life, busily . . . and there Satan has had his power . . . and . . . we have lost ours. We have been distracted, entertaining ourselves and our children. Working and playing and going to every activity, as fast as we can . . . so busy, so full that there has been no quiet time to sit with the Lord and learn how . . . so we can teach our children how . . . to pursue God instead of achievement or success or “self” esteem or being entertained. Others of us are simply not happy at all and since happiness seems an elusive, maybe impossible thing for us to attain . . . we no longer pursue anything. Of course, God wants us to be happy – He loves us. But I suggest that we are not called to happiness, but rather to Holiness. And somehow, amazingly, if we will do it . . . as we pursue Holiness . . . we become happier; content, secure, peaceful . . . joyful. As we, on the other hand pursue happiness . . . though for a moment at each level we may feel elated . . . it dissipates like a vapor and we must move to a new place . . . something different or something more or . . . just something. The pursuit of anything that seems to offer happiness . . . other than a relationship with God . . . other than becoming more like Jesus, more perfect, more loving, more Holy . . . is simply an illusion. An illusion put into place by the deceiver, by the father of lies – Satan himself.

How, then, do we pursue what we are called to pursue – Loving the Lord our God with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind? We first must move close to God . . . in order to know Him . . . so that we love Him the way He asked us to. I believe there is perhaps a process for learning to love like that . . . one way, at least, that looks like this:

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

I think most of us thank God regularly and it may, in fact, flow forth easily. We have been taught to be thankful. But perhaps a moment reflecting on the Lord’s goodness to us and to remind us to count our blessings is in order. To remind us to dwell on the good things that we have been given . . . and to remember that every good gift comes from above! Thanksgiving for what He has done and for what He has provided opens the gates through which we enter the inner courts of the throne room. There God, Most High, sits and Jesus is seated at His right hand. Thanksgiving is the way we enter the gates so that we may address the Lord, our Father in heaven, the King of kings . . . in prayer. So, do let us thank Him for every gift He gives us . . . small and large . . . and every provision and way He has made for us, including, simply, our daily provision. Many of us have so much, even during this financial crisis, that we often take for granted, to a degree, what we have. We don’t think about it or clearly and deeply understand that so many people in the world are starving and that it is only by the grace of God any of us are who we are and were born in (or able to live in) this great, rich and blessed country. We are not here by our own intelligent positioning. We were placed here by God, in His grace and mercy . . . for His purpose. He can just as easily remove us from this place or remove His hand from blessing our country. So let us thank Him that our home is the home of the free! Lets us thank Him for every good thing in our lives; our shelter (whatever that means to you), daily food (pray thanks before dropping that chip, candy bar, smoothie, etc., into your mouth, not just at “full” meals – understand where it came from and remember Him for it.) Thank him for our children, the beauty that surrounds us, our health (all parts that are good), for good friends, the church family, freedom to worship our Lord, our pets, the sunshine, the rain, our beds and fireplaces and praise and worship music and accessibility to it. . . for everything . . . and . . . even for our trials (James 1:4 says to Count it all joy, for the testing of our faith produces patience and we are to let patience have it’s perfect work in us, so that we can be made perfect and complete.) Wow – even “bad,” with God is good! Let us pursue . . . talk with Him, entering His gates many times each day . . . with Thanksgiving!

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Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them


Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
James 2:14-26 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab, the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Galatians 3:1-9 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing – if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (NIV)

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 1:17 Every good and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving. And will call upon the name of the Lord.

Ephesians 5:20 . . . giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I Chronicles 29:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
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Prayer

Oh Lord, my Lord . . . I thank you that you reign in heaven and on the earth. I thank you that your mercies are new every day. I thank you, Lord that you are my provider and for every blessing! I thank you for specifically for _________________, ________________, ________________, ________________, and _______________ (Fill in the blanks) I thank you that Your thoughts toward me are more than the grains of the sands and that you know every star in the heavens and that you call them by name. I thank you that you know my every thought and every intent of my heart and that you forgive my sins and that you will create a new heart in me. Blessed is your name in all the earth. I lift you up and praise you Lord! God of heaven, King of Kings Lord of Lords. You are my deliverer and my provider. I thank you, Lord, that you limit Satan in his plans to harm me. I thank you that you will not allow more than I can bear . . . even though it sometimes feels that I will not be able to withstand it . . .You give me grace. You give me mercy. You comfort me through it. You strengthen me and I thank you for all that You do. Thank, Lord, for walking beside me through each day and for redeeming me in the end. Thank you, Jesus, for being willing to come to earth and die for me and for interceding on my behalf as You sit again on the throne with God. Thank you for depositing Your Holy Spirit in me. Thank you for empowering me with Your Spirit and for sealing me and marking me for the day of redemption. Oh I praise You, God . . .for You are great and Your name is greatly to be praised! Thank you, Lord, for being You and calling me! I bless You now. I bless Your Holy name and the name of Your son, Jesus and Your Holy Spirit. It is in Your sons most precious name, I come and bow at Your feet – Thanking You, Lord, for all things . . . Amen.

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Practical Application

1. List your weekly activities and how much time you spend on each:

Activity Time Spent each week

___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________
___________________________________ __________________

2. Based on what are you spend your time on – what are you pursuing, chasing after, hunting for, searching out? What are you
preoccupied with? Pray that God gives you a clear mind and the ability to “see” your own heart in this.
_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________

_________________________________________

3. List fifteen (or more) things that you are thankful for – Count your blessings! Name them one by one! __________,____________,___________,___________,_________

__________,____________,___________,___________,_________

__________,____________,____________,__________,_________

4. Dwell this entire week on thanking God . . . all day, every day for everything around you. Thank Him for the small things. Thank
Him for the big things. Focus only on His blessings and gifts in your life. Take every thought captive and put the bad, the negative, etc . . . out of your mind – for this week. Thank Him for what He is doing through every event and circumstance in you life and what He will accomplish for you and for His kingdom. through and/or, in spite of them. Thank Him that what Satan means for evil – He means for good – . . . ultimately . . . whether you can see how or not . . . Trust Him, turn to Him and just thank Him. Let us begin our deep pursuit of the King of Glory!
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned.

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1 Comment »

  1. close2him Said:

    thank you!


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