“Your face will I seek” Ps 27:8

God is, of course, omnipresent—He is everywhere

Ps 139:7–12

What does it mean, then, to seek His face

What does it mean, then, to “draw near”

Isn’t He everywhere already? Isn’t He constantly with us?

When we speak to someone, we don’t look at their their kneecaps

we don’t stare at their feet or back, we’re not focused on their stomach.

We address their face.

The face is the target of our occupation

The face is the “relational gate” into a person’s mind and heart.

To seek God’s face isn’t to find a place in space where God is located.

Rather, it’s to have our hearts enabled by God’s Spirit

to sense our Lord’s reality and presence

“The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain”

Deut 5:4

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel:

for he said, I have seen God face to face,

Gen 32:30

On this wise you’ll bless the children of Israel, saying to them,

The LORD bless you, and keep you:

The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you:

The LORD lift up his countenance on you, and give you peace.

And God will put His name on us; and He will bless us.

Num 6:23–27.

Father God we “pray to seek Your face

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 will I hear from heaven,

and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

2 Chron 7:14

To lose a sense of God’s presence is to lose God’s face

There’s a deep ache in our soul

when we’ve lost sight of the face of the one we love

How long will you forget me, O LORD? for ever?

how long will you hide Your face from me?

Ps 13:1

To seek God’s face is to seek communion with Him,

To seek God’s face is to experience real interaction with God,

To seek God’s face

is to share our feelings our thoughts and our love with Him.

To seek God’s face is to revel in the love of God

To seek God’s face is to know His love shed abroad in our hearts

by His Spirit engulfing us in the tender affection of Christ

Rom. 5:5

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Our Blessings

Jesus assures us

We’re blessed when We’re broken as we’re
released from ourselves and resting in God

We’re blessed when we feel abandoned and
rejected.

It’s then that we’re in the arms of Christ’s love.

We’re blessed when we know Jesus design of us

these are riches beyond our wildest dreams

this is prosperity that money can’t buy

We’re blessed when Jesus is our only nourishment.

When the delight of feeding on Him satisfies
our hunger and refreshes our longing with our completeness in Him.

We’re blessed when our care
and investment in others lives
is an investment in Jesus and
a deposit in the bank of God’s glory

As we grow in compassion for others we feel
Christ’s compassion through us and for us

We’re blessed when our inner being is filled
with the purifying grace of God’s forgiveness

For in the stress and anguish of others rejection
is where we feel our acceptance in Christ alone

This is when we see God

This is when the Prince of peace
erases our turmoil

This is when our God of all comfort
eases our pain

This is when the joy of the Lord transforms
our greatest sorrows into our greatest delight

We’re blessed when in agitating impossibilities
We exercise peace making diplomacy

This is a Godlike approach of sacrificial giving

We’re blessed when we don’t waste life
in winning in every conflict.

We’re blessed when we refuse to succeed
by aggressive competitiveness

We prosper through cooperation

We gain through promoting
the fragrance of reasonableness

We’re Blessed when we’re hounded by hurtful
rejectors whose goal is to cause pain in our soul

Let Jesus take the wheel of our total wreckage
If others claim we’re irreparably damaged

Let our creative life changing King of our life
pour His righteousness’ into every hurt

We’re Blessed when others revile us,

when they denounce us

when they discredit us

when they defame us

when they disparage our expressions

when they berate us

when they condemn our character

when they slight us with slander

Will guess what! That’s a plus

We’re in good company

That’s the resume of faiths hall of fame

That’s how Jesus was treated

Serial slanderers are lifting us up to live
out a life of Christ within

All the beauty of God’s creation is
now on exhibition in us
as Jesus is manifested

Matthew 5:3-12 personalized

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A Wonderful Anniversary

10 years ago today.

The Lord joined me to Jill Stephens a women who loves this old radical Bible thumper

I thought of becoming Stephen Stephens

He that finds a wife finds a good thing,

and obtains favor of the Lord.”

Prov. 18:22

Marriage is God’s idea.

God created everything and proclaimed

it all as very good

Genesis 1:31

But God saw Adam was lonely and He said,

“It is not good” Genesis 2:18

“It is not good that the man should be alone;

I will make him an help meet for him.”

God put Adam to sleep.

He went to sleep in the will of God

and when he awoke, there was Eve:

the perfect helpmeet,

the woman God had created just for him!

God married them and paradise was perfected.

Marriage is God’s perfect and beautiful idea.

It still is.

I was asleep for 61 years and 3 months

Then I found the wife God designed for me

Finding a wife is not the same

as finding a woman.

Solomon had no trouble finding women.

His position and power, his good looks

and his big bank account and personal charm,

and his wit and wisdom made him

attractive to women.

He collected a thousand women

one way or another,

but it is doubtful that he ever

found a wife among them

Ecclesiastes 7:27–28

He did genuinely lose his heart

to one woman and,

from all we know about her,

she could have been the perfect wife

for whom he longed.

However by the time he met her,

he had already been married

sixty times and was living

with another eighty women

Song of Solomon 6:8

so she turned him down cold.

Song of Solomon is a fascinating,

Christ-exalting,

pride-abasing, devil-exposing story

Phillips write of 7 Brides in the Bible

The brides of the Bible make an interesting study.

Seven of them taken together give us a picture of marriage and a

picture of the church.

Marriage, is supposed to mirror the relationship

of Christ and His church

Ephesians 5:22–33

In Eve we see the formation of the church.

She was a member of Adam’s body, complete and one in him

just as he was complete and one in her.

In Rebekah we see the faith of the church.

She was united to the one who had been to mount Moriah

and now stood on the resurrection side of death.

We see her journeying to Isaac; she is led

step by step by the one sent from his father.

Rachel’s story sets before us the foes of the church.

She gave her heart to her beloved, but she had to wait.

She had to face greed and envy in others.

She had to sow in tears before she could reap in joy.

In Asenath we see the future of the church.

She was made to sit with Joseph in high places.

She was joined to him who had a name above every name.

Before him every knee was made to bow.

Ruth depicts the footsteps of the church.

She walked from Moab—

the land under the curse of God—

to Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer

who loved her and bought her and made

her his very own.

Michal mirrors the failures of the church.

Although she was married to David,

she married another and lived

a life of ease when she should have been sharing the rejection of

the Lord’s anointed.

In contrast to Michal,

Abigail depicts the fervor of the church.

In her life we see Christ given His rightful place as Lord.

Fourteen times in eight short verses she referred to David as lord

1 Samuel 25:24–31

By the death of Nabal she was set free from the law of her husband

to be married to another, even to him who was the Lord’s anointed.

There is nothing accidental in the forming of this composite picture

of the church.

The types of the Old Testament, when properly understood,

are as accurate as mathematics.

Jill Stephens Midkiff is my perfect bride and my wonderful help mate,

as she completes me and adds to my life all God’s favor in amazing

abundance

A man may find a wife but finding a good wife is

discovering and adding to your life a priceless treasure.

A good wife is a token of the Lord’s favor

A good wife is a godly, helpful bride.

Finding a good wife is not blind chance

A good wife (not merely a woman) is from the Lord,

and is an expression of God’s loving favor.

We are unwise to give our affections to just any women,

God is the true producer and designer of the Hallmark romance saga

He’s our faithful guide to the proper object of loves

intentions for our life long committed attention.

There’s no unequal yoke,

there’s no hindrance to our souls-progress

and there’s spiritual rapture when we entwine our inner spirit

with a marriage that can’t be broken asunder.

God’s threefold cord with Christ in the middle

of Jesus perfect union is unbreakable.

“Joyous is the husband of a good wife;

And the number of his days shall be twofold.

A brave woman rejoices her husband;

And he shall fulfil his years in peace.

A good wife is a good portion:

She shall be given in the portion of such as fear the Lord.”

Ecclus. 26:1–3

Ecclus is The Book of Sirach, also called

the Wisdom of Sirach or Ben Sira,

A Jewish work of ethical teachings,

from approximately 200 to 175 BCE,

written by the Jewish scribe Ben Sira of Jerusalem

Proverbs 12:4 proclaims

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:

but a bad women brings shame and is as rottenness in a mans bones.

A good wife implies godliness.

Godliness is found when we marry in the Lord,

and we’re to only marry the one who is the Lord’s design for us.

To be unequally yoked is to be wed to a child of Satan,

It is dreadful

An unequal yoke is a deformity to our soul

The destruction of our world owes it’s chaos

to the self-pleasing delusion of wrong relationships.

Godliness on both sides of a marriage relationship creates beauty,

Where there is mutual fitness

God’s heart is opened in glorious blessings

There is mutual honor

There is holy wisdom

There is peaceful comfort for life—

There is miraculous help from heaven.

There is romantic communion and spiritual affections,

that lifts and elevates from earth to heavens glories.

Our best source for union is to place every relationship in Jesus hands

Pleading to our Lord too

“Choose thou mine inheritance for me”

Every good gift and perfect gift comes from above

from our Father of lights

As Adam received his wife—“from the Lord”—

I have received Jill Stephens Midkiff “from the Lord”

and she is good and perfect for me

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Promises to rest as an anchor for our soul

When we feel lonely

Jesus tells us

He’ll never leave us or forsake us

Heb. 13:5

Jesus is our intimate companion

When things appear a tangled disappointment

Jesus informs us of His love relationship in us

“And we know that all things work together

for good for us who love God”

Rom. 8:28

for we’re called according to His purposes

God has goals, purposes and plans in every

minute detail in our lives.

Every particular, every circumstance, every unscheduled peculiarity is deliberate, intentional and calculated by God’s loving hand for good for us

It’s our glory and it’s an honor to search God’s

purposes and specific intentions out

When we feel overwhelmed with inadequacies

Jesus speaks to us saying

That His Spirit helps us in our weakness.

For we don’t know what to pray for as we

ought, so the Spirit Himself intercedes for us

Rom. 8:26

When we feel criticized

When we feel rejected

When we feel used and condemned

Jesus speaks to us saying

Who are they that condemn you?

I’m Christ Jesus,

I died for you—

more than that,

I was raised for you—

And You are raised with me

I’m Your advocate at the right hand of God, 

I’m constantly interceding for you

Rom. 8:34 

When our burdens and worries are oppressive

When we feel like no body knows or cares

Jesus speaks to us saying

Cast all your anxiety on Me

because I care for you

1 Peter 5:7 

When we feel destitute and disadvantaged

Jesus speaks to us saying

In my Father’s house are many mansions.

If it were not so, I’d have told you that

I go to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, 

I will come again and will take you to myself,

that where I am you may be also

John 14:2-3

We need anchors for our soul in the stormy

seas of life

When we feel like we’re tossed overboard

When we feel we’re sinking and drowning

in disappointments and setbacks

Jesus voice is our anchor

And He says

“be still before the LORD

wait patiently for Him.”

Psa. 37:7

And Jesus assures

they who wait for the LORD will renew their strength;

they will mount up with wings like eagles;

they will run and not be weary;

they will walk and not faint

Isa. 40:31

I have a little dog who demands attention from me all day.

She barks constantly.

I’ve tried to redirect her barking.

But she wants to be in our lap all day

and in our bed all night.

Everywhere we go she wants to go.

Jesus tells me be like your little dog

I know her vocabulary is limited to a growl or a bark but her passion is clear.

She wants to be near to us, even in our lap.

Jesus tells us

let me see your face, let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet,

and your countenance is lovely

Song of Solomon 2:14

Make haste, my beloved,

and be like a deer

on the mountains of spices.

Song of Solomon 8:14

Who is this I see coming up from the wilderness, leaning on and arm in arm with her lover?

I found you in the forest,

and I woke you up to my love.

Song of Solomon 8:5

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Growing In Trust with Every Step

‘…be transformed by the renewing of your mind’

Rom. 12:1-2

When God guided Israel from Egypt to their promised land

why didn’t He provide a fleet of stretch limousines?

Why did they travel slowly step by step?

We read in Psalm 13 a lament about all these unchanging aggravations

And how the Psalmist was faced with continual challenges

And with what appears to be unsolvable problems

The groaning complaint is how long will these troubles last?

The Psalmist pleads that God will intervene

He appeals that his enemies would be corrected

He implores God to change the opinions of others about him

He requests that his life would have a positive impact on others

He pleads that he won’t be disgraced before he dies.

He cries for immediate help,

He begs for vindication.

He admits his doubts

He asks that his heart would be filled with trust in the Lord

He urges the Lord to lift his heart up to an attitude of praise and gratitude

In the wilderness of this world we’re led step by step and day by day and

there is constantly opposition in our path to teach us to draw on God’s solutions

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Let Us Feel Your Ears On Our Lips Psalms 5

1 Give ear to our words, O Lord, consider our meditation.

Listen to our words, O Lord

Listen, O God! Please, hear us

Please, pay attention! Respond

Give us sensitivity to Your voice

Help us in our so many ramblings

Cause our expressions of praying to be on target

I say the wrong things all the time and my attitudes are so icky

Father we give You all our groans and we pour out our cries to You

Drench us in Your Unmitigated love

Douse us in Your Unreserved grace

Drown us in Your Unrestrained mercy

Please, God, please hear our prayers

please, listen to our groaning heart

please hear our silent moans of sadness

2 Hearken to the voice of our cry our King and our God for to You will we pray

You are our King

You are our God,

We need Your help

Lead us

Help us lean on You every moment

Guide us to trust You

We need You in all our circumstances

You hear every detail we give it all to You

Every morning we lay out the puzzle pieces of our lives

our life is confusing but we put all on Your altar

We watch for Your acting

Please make Your fire to descend on us

Please reach us

Please touch us

Solve our broken pieces

Only You, Lord can put us right

3 our voice You’ll hear in the morning, O Lord;

in the morning will we direct our prayer to You and we will look up

We lay out all our particular life details At Your throne of grace

we place our life At Your feet we rest each challenge for Your action

We eagerly wait for You

Please speak into our heart

4 For You are not a God that has pleasure in wickedness

neither will evil dwell with You

Keep us from twisted people

Deliver us from socializing with fools

Keep us from inviting Evil over as our houseguest

Wickedness turns us off

It upsets our stomach, God

You expel all that’s evil

You can’t stand arrogance

5 The foolish will not stand in Your sight

You hate all workers of iniquity and promoters of perversity

Make us salt and light

All Hot-Air-Boaster will collapses in front of You

Make our speech gracious and salted with Spirit promptings

You shake Your head over trouble-Makers

Develop us to be constructive and uplifting energy givers

In Your presence, fools trip over their own pride, falling flat on their faces

You sweep them out the door

So manifest Your presence in every inch of this world with obvious clarity

6 You will destroy them that speak lies

the Lord will abhor the violent and deceitful man

Let the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You

God you’ll destroy liars

Fill us with Your truth

You’re disgusted with the Blood Thirsty

You’re irate with all Truth-twisters

Your landfill is brimming with liars

Your disposal services gathers up murders and fakers!

7 But as for us, we will come into Your house

in the multitude of Your mercy

and in Your fear will we worship toward Your holy temple

And here we are, Your invited guest

This is amazing this is incredible!

We enter Your house;

We bow in awe and worship

We delight in the privacy of Your presence

We enjoy Your mercy and love, seasoned with abundant grace

When we enter Your house of worship, and we kneel in reverent awe

8 Lead us, O Lord, in Your righteousness

because of our enemies; make Your way straight before our face

We’re Waiting for Your directions

We’re asking to get us safely through enemy lines.

Take our hand, Lord and guide us safely through enemy territory

Show us the right way to go show us the right way to live

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth their inward part is very wickedness

their throat is an open sepulcher

they flatter with their tongue

Every word they speak is a land mine

their lungs breathe out poison gas

Their throats are gaping graves

their tongues slick as mudslides

A perpetual stampede of lies gush from our enemies’ mouths,

They trample everything in sight

Like open graves, their gaping throats threaten to devour us

10 Destroy them, O God let them fall by their own counsels

cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions

for they have rebelled against You

Pile on the guilt, God!

Let their so-called wisdom wreck them

Kick them out!

They’ve had their chance

Their smooth-talking tongues are wolves in sheep’s clothing

Make them pay, God!

Let them bury themselves in the graves they dug for us

Banish them!

Send them into exile for turning against You.

11 But let all those that put their trust in You rejoice:

let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them

let them also that love Your name be joyful in You

But you’ll welcome us with open arms

We run securely for cover in You

Let the party last all night!

Stand guard over our celebration

But reward Your faithful followers as we can’t stop shouting for joy!

Wrap Your strong, loving arms around us as we celebrate Your name into eternity.

12 For You, Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor will You compass us as with a shield

You are famous, God,

You welcome our reaching out to You God

you fill us in delight for You and For Your solutions

Unleash Your protective nature on us, Lord;

shield us with Your loving-kindness.

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Rescuing Others Is Seeking God

Search for the Lord and for His Strength;

Continually Seek Him

1 Chronicles 16:11 NLT

If you know people who have wandered off

from God’s truth, don’t write them off.

Go after them.

Get them back and by doing this

we’ll have rescued precious lives

from destruction

and we’ve prevented an epidemic

of wandering away from God.

James 5:19-20 personalized

Sometimes we’re stymied on every front

from touching others.

But God’s throne room of grace is open

24×7.

We have continuous access to our

Sovereign

Our Lord energizes us to plead for

His gracious and wonderful impact on

each individual He’s given us to love.

“For everyone has been defeated by sin;

we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Romans 3:23 Personalized

It’s time to come back from our wandering

We’ve walked in wasteland circles long enough.

Now turn, come to the God of all graces

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Increase Our Faith

George Müller cared for approximately 10,000 orphans

in the city of Bristol in the 19th century.

Müller’s faith continues to encourage us in

trusting God in each trying circumstances.

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We’re Starved Foe Affection

“Please, God, no more yelling,

no more trips to the woodshed.

Treat us nice;

We’re so starved for affection.

Can’t you see we’re black-and-blue,

We feel so beat

We’re clobbered badly in our soul?

God, how long will it take for you to let up?

Break in, God , and break up this fight;

if You love us at all, get us out of here.

We’re no good to You dead,

We can’t sing in your choir if we’re comatose

and buried in some tomb!

We’re exhausted of all this—

Our fatigue is excruciating.

Our existence is a flood of tears.

Our inner being is soaked and mucked in sorrow

Our eyes are sunken dry holes;

We’re nearly blinded by loss of fluid,

We squint and grope in disoriented blindness.

Get out of here, you demon controlled gougers

God! I know You’ve heard our sobs.

Let me feel You in my hungry soul

grant our prayers. answer our heart.

Make these cowards disappear,

Cause all opposition to disappear in disgrace,

Psalm 6:1-10 personalized

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Guide Our Every Step

Point us directly at You, Lord;

Lead us straight to Your heart.

When we walk down the street,

put Your arm around us

so our enemies can see whose side You’re on.

We’re like a thirsty deer

A deer whose being chased by oppressors

The fears of tragic pain is everywhere

We’re panting for comfort.

We’re parched and lonely

We need Your touch

We need the streams of water if Your presence,

Our soul yearns for You, O God.

Our heart thirsts for You,

You are our God, You are our perfect Father.

We long for You

Our passion is to be in Your presence constantly,

We want to sense being held by You

in every moment of our lives

Psalms 42:1 personalized

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