Sermons & Blogs
Ashley Steelman • March 24, 2020
One of my all-time favorite top 10 authors is Paulo Coelho, and one of my all-time top 10 favorite books is his Manuscript Found in Accra. I’ve recently been listening to it again on audible. So much of what he writes seems to sync with what we are experiencing at this time.
He says, “I'm not worried about tomorrow, because God is there already, waiting for me”
There were a few of us talking about this virus. We talked about the fear and confusion we are expected to feel, tempted to feel, in contrast to the peace God gives that “surpasses understanding”
What is going to happen? What is our tomorrow gonna look like in light of what is happening in the world today? I don’t know. But “I’m not worried about tomorrow because God is there already, waiting for me.”
Pastor’s key text this past Sunday was 2 Chronicles 7:14. “...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It’s an invitation.
He concluded by encouraging us to pray Psalm 27. One verse seemed to jump off the page in light of the two. Another Invitation.
Psalm 27:8 “When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalms 27:8
“Seek my face.”
This is the key to thriving in an otherwise unstable, unpredictable, hostile world. It isn’t by seeking stability, comfort, riches, or security (or toilet paper). Seek God! Seek God Himself! Psalm 34:4 says I looked for the Lord, and He answered me. And He took away all my fears.
I think Verse 8 is smack dab in the middle of this psalm for a reason. It’s the heart of the message. Shoot! It’s the heart of everything. In the ancient world, before printing presses and Kindle, these scriptures would be read out loud. You had to be good listeners. People would have known when they were at the center of a message, and they knew that the lesson to be learned was there – in the middle. Ain’t that how it is with us too? Don’t we learn the best/hardest lessons while we are in the middle of something?
And here it is in Psalm 27, almost like it’s purposely tucked away in the middle – waiting to be found by those who are seeking. This is the precious nugget we’re supposed to take away from this: God is inviting you, “Seek My face, seek My presence!” So let your heart respond obediently: “Your face, Your presence, Lord, I will seek!”
Even as I’m writing this, the phone has rung with one need after the other, one crazy situation after another. People desperate for prayer. Why? Because who else can we turn to, but God.
I’m gonna leave off with three thoughts from Psalm 27
- God breaks down fear in his presence. If we are afraid we need to get in the presence of God. Not for what he can do for us, but for who He is. This ain’t just being sentimental... God’s character does the work of wiping out fear because he is light and salvation. He is our stronghold. God speaks truth where fear lies- that’s his light. God rescues us from fear and despair- that’s his salvation. God holds us, carries us, sustains and protects us from the effects of fear- He’s our stronghold.
- In God’s Presence, I am safe. Many of my fears relate to the unknown. I’m afraid of the things I can’t control. God hides, conceals and lifts his people up in times of struggle. He changes our fear into praise... Being in the presence of God is not some emotional experience or philosophical idea. We are not just temporarily safe. We are promised eternity. In his presence, he extends love to us and for us which results in our preservation and care. We don’t just get some warm fuzzy feeling, we are safe in him.
- God is at work in the middle of all this. I’d love to tell you that all the things that make us anxious in this mess- the fear of sickness, of the instability of the economy, of the unknown, will just disappear when we come to God, But that’s not what this passage says. It ends with a call to wait. And in the waiting God builds courage and strength in us. The good news is not that whatever bothers me is gone, but that the God who cares for me is here!
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we don’t have to be afraid because God is already there. His love is simple; His invitation is simple.........”Seek My Face,” that’s all.
How do you sense God’s invitation to seek his face?