While He May Be Found

Posted on 09/21/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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WE BRING THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE

We bring the sacrifice of praise
into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to you
the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to you
the sacrifices of joy


I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES

I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
be in my mouth


BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name

For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Seek the Lord while He may be found. That's what Isaiah 55:6 says. Seek the Lord while He may be found. And it is part of my joy today to seek the Lord in this passage, to seek Him together with you, as we seek the Lord together, while He may be found.

Let's read this together, Isaiah chapter 55; and let's start with verse six and read all the way to the end.

Isaiah 55:6-13 (NKJV)

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 "For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."


What an honor and a joy it is today, Lord God, to read the words inspired by You, words that point us to You and to the Truth that is You.


Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.

The word translated "seek" means

- To frequent a place.
- To seek in prayer and worship.
- To practice, study, follow, and seek with application.

So the first part of verse six, we could read like this:

Be frequently in the place where God is.
Seek God in prayer and worship.
Practice, study, follow, and seek by applying to Life, the Word of God.

And by Word of God, I mean God Himself.

So let's go with those for a few minutes.


1. Be frequently in the place where God is.

We could ask the question, where is God? But perhaps a better question might be, where is God NOT?

Psalm 139:7-12 (NASB)

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

THAT is the question. It's not a matter of where God IS; rather, it's a question of, where ISN'T God?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Fly me to the ends of the Universe, and stop at every planet in every star system in every galaxy on the way. God will be on every single one, and everywhere in between.

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Take the Breath from my body and lay me to rest in the netherworld, and God will be there as I breathe my last, and as my Life leaves this temporary vessel, this earthen temple. And as I sleep, whatever that turns out to mean, and I await the sound of the trumpet, God will be there too.

If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

That's why I said the question is not "where is God," but "where is God not." If I were trying to get away from Him, that would really complicate things; and the only place I could temporarily escape God would be in the fantasy world of my human mind.

Most of us are lost in the replica of the world our minds create, and if you want to see someone who is taking militant refuge in the mythological prison of their earthly mind, someone who insists there is no God might be an excellent example.

For God is everywhere. There is no where He is not. If we experienced Life first hand, we would know this. If we question it on any level, or have to be reminded of it, then that just means we've gotten a little too caught up in the world our minds have created for us. The roles created there for us to fill. The character we have been cast to play.

When your earthly life ends and all those things disolve, as they most certainly will, there God will be. DURING this earthly life, all of those things just tend to get in the way, as we are lost in the only place where it can APPEAR as though God is not.

So... Be frequently in the place where God is. God is everywhere, so this doesn't mean we need to travel to a church building or a synagog or a geographical place of worship. Instead, to be in the place where God is, means to let go of the place in which you can cease to see Him.

Lots of Christians go to church seeking to meet with God. And they might encounter Him in a wonderful way. But that's only because, in that corporate anointing, they were drawn out of their mental worlds long enough to be where He is.

There are many different names people have applied to such an event, and most of them imply that the person has reached some place they weren't by doing something long and hard enough.

And while all labels are imperfect, those are partially true.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NASB) says this:

13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

I'm not going to try to box God into a definition with which our minds can be comfortable enough to imagine they have figured Him out. I personally find futility rather..... futile.

But when you do something with "all your heart," you know deep down, without thinking about it, and perhaps only BEFORE you start thinking about it, you know what doing something with all your heart means. And you know when part of your heart is opting out.

Maybe part of your attention is still holding onto your story. Maybe just out of "the corner of your eye," so to speak. Perhaps part of you is still involved in your mind's trying to add to itself by doing this or that supposedly spiritual activity.

And God might reveal Himself to you anyway. He yearns for, He deeply desires, to have that intimate connection with you. And if He waited for you to get it just right, none of us would ever find that place of union.

But it might be worth realizing that you are already One with Him. And it is your getting caught up in the cares of your life's story, or the pleasures of them, that causes your attention to leave that place where God is. Which is everywhere, and whose presence can be covered up only by identifying with and getting lost in the imaginary world produced by your earthly mind.

And since this is where our attention tends to be repeatedly drawn, and where it tends to stay, we go back to #1: Be frequently in the place where God is.

An example of what this means could be this: You've been sitting there feeling the feelings of your circumstances and of the "you" your mind thinks you are. These feelings are manifold, and create an aura around you -- an atmosphere that feels as though it is your life.

And you forget about God's Presence. Yes, you remember God exists, and you can bring back up the thought that His Presence is all around you. And those thoughts and memories can help to point your attention back to where He is. But until that happens, even if you still BELIEVE it is true, you are not experiencing it and KNOWING it as long as you're lost in the things of this earth -- the thoughts, feelings, ideas, personal and collective stories, self-images, of this earth.

So frequently, as we remember throughout the day that we have gotten lost in an earthly perspective, we draw our attention out of our mind, out of its stories about what it thinks is our Life, and we bring our attention back into the place where God is.

And we don't need to do mental gymnastics. In fact, the striving of our human mind, while it can point us in the right direction, it can't take us there. You might just breath. Just feel your breath go in and out. Yes, mystics and New Agers do this. But they also eat and drink. The fact is that your body, your literal physical body, is the temple, the literal dwelling place, of God. So if we're not afraid to bring our attention fully into our earthly minds, we most certainly shouldn't be afraid to bring our attention fully into our physical body. That can produce a stillness, a quietness, a space in which you can be still and know that He is God, as you feel, not think about, but feel, His presence inside your body as your attention is in that place too. And you can Be frequently in the place where God is.


2. Seek God in prayer and worship.

Both prayer and worship should be a part of every believer's life. With them, we connect to the source of Life. Without them, we start to become distant from the Person who represents that Life.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "Pray without ceasing." These three words have been used to write entire books. Pray without ceasing. And we could talk all day about what it means to pray. But I think we can all agree that praying is communicating with God.

That communication could be a request, or an intercession, or just a little talk. It could be part of a time of listening, a time of "groanings that cannot be uttered." But whatever form it takes, praying is..... well, praying.

In Matthew 6:6-13 (NKJV), Jesus says this:

6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.


So before this, Jesus points out the way in which the Pharisees prayed. He said they prayed in public for the purpose of being seen as holy. And because they were trying to be rewarded in that way by men, the only thing they accomplished was earthly recognition, but they were not communicating with God.

So Jesus points to the principles of true prayer. First He says that, instead of trying to be seen by others, it should be between us and God. That doesn't mean we can't pray in public, especially considering that even HE prayed in public; rather, it means we shouldn't pray with the intention of being "heard by others." We're communicating with God, and that connection with Him should be the only thing that matters to us.

Next, He says we shouldn't use vain repetition in hopes that saying a lot of words will make God hear us. That's what the human mind does. But God isn't interested in our WORDS; rather, God is interested in what is BEHIND our words.

God isn't interested in what your mind recites to Him. Instead, God is interested in YOU. And YOU connect with GOD by being interested only in HIM.

In verse eight, Jesus says, "your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." So it's not your words that matter. God couldn't care less about how eloquent you are. Or whether you word things in just the right way. Or even whether you use words at all.

And finally, Jesus says, "In this manner, therefore, pray." Not, "use THIS vain repetition when you pray," but "in this MANNER."

Now, we don't have time today to go into the principles to which the "Lord's Prayer" as it's commonly called, points. But it calls us to focus on Him where He is; not behind the "Pearly Gates," but in a heavenly realm. Which, incidentally, connects with your physical body in which He dwells.

It calls us to fully surrender to His kingdom, which is within us, and to His will, which is where everything that happens is ultimately heading.

It calls us to put our full trust in Him to provide all our needs.

It calls us to not only seek His forgiveness, but also to accept it instead of being the rogue judge who punishes us for a debt that's already been paid. And in that forgiveness, it calls us to forgive others; for if we don't forgive others, we cannot receive forgiveness ourselves.

It calls us to not be drawn into temptation, the temptation that comes when we're drawn away by our earthly mind's desires; and in not being drawn away, we know we also will be delivered from the evil one.

And throughout it all, we ascribe all the kingdom, all the power, and all the glory, to the Timeless, Eternal, Ever-Present One.


Now, our minds could make up all sorts of rules and regulations out of this passage. We could simply recite it in a way that Jesus had just told us not to. Or, we could know the place of stillness, the place of trust, the place of complete rest in Him, to which these words are pointing. And THIS kind of prayer is the prayer in which God is calling us to be, as we seek that sweet, unending contact with Him.


Seek God in prayer and worship.

Worship isn't just singing songs. Worship could most certainly take that form, and singing and raising our hands is what generally comes to mind when we think about worship. But true worship goes beyond our thinking.

In John 4:23-24 (NKJV), Jesus says this:

23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Now, this isn't a suggestion, such as, "A good way to worship is in spirit and truth." Rather, this is an imperitive. "Those who worship Him MUST worship in spirit and truth." So what is spirit? And what is truth?

The word translated "spirit" means:

- the vital principal by which the body is animated.

Interesting words. They don't really mean anything in themselves. They only point to something they can't really describe.

Your spirit is beyond your earthly mind's ability to grasp and define. It's the essential you. It's the REAL you. Your mouth can sing. Your hands can raise. Your body can kneel. But as God revealed in Isaiah 29:13, we can draw near to Him with our mouths and honor Him with our lips, while our hearts are still far away from Him.

It's not your body that is drawing you toward worship. It's not your human mind that is drawing you toward worship (the best IT can do is make you afraid to NOT do something you THINK is worship). Rather, it is DEEP that calls out to DEEP. It is the deep, the spirit, the Life of God that calls out to the Life that you are. And that Life you are is what can truly worship the Life that He is. Beyond mental concepts; beyond these words; beyond rules and regulations; beyond tradition and ritual.

So we must worship Him in spirit.

And we must worship Him in truth.

One of the definitions of that word translated "truth" is this:

- that which is free from pretence, falsehood, or deceit.

"Well, I'm free and clear there." Are you really? Maybe you are. But it's so easy to fool ourselves. Or, more accurately, it's so easy to become lost in our mind's fooling itself. And we believe that foolery.

We might sing because it's time to sing. But are we really worshiping? Or are we just going through the motions? If you're waiting for the song service to end, then you just might be doing the latter.

True worship is a place of humility; not self-abasement, because that requires a focus on YOU; but a place of TRUE humility that comes only when your attention is fully on His glory, on His Presence, on the Life that He is; and not just with your mind, as it comes up with words and concepts ABOUT God, but with your spirit, as it sees Him directly, Being in Intimacy with His Being. With no definition or explanation required.

And if you're struggling with getting past the imaginary need to grasp that with your mind, then just ask God to reveal it to your spirit. You might know that you know it when you enter into it apart from your mind's insistance on labeling and categorizing and packaging it.

Truth, in this context, is that which isn't an act; it doesn't need a story; and it is greater than the deception that you can figure it all out.

When God calls you to "Be" with Him, He isn't asking you to think about it first, or to be clever enough to put it into words (as if that's even possible). No, worship is far beyond any ritual or series of steps. And ultimately, it can be taught only by example, and by direct revelation of that to which the words of Scripture are intended to point.


So,

Be frequently in the place where God is.

and,

Seek God in prayer and worship.


And finally,


3. Practice, study, follow, and seek with application.


Practice. That's something we do regularly. It's the way we live.

Study. That's not limited to what a student might do to a subject in a text book. But it's something to which we give extended attention. It's something upon which we focus.

Follow. We go where He goes. We do what He does. We speak like He speaks. We are as He is.

Seek with application. Part of seeking God is real-world application. It's a real, daily state of being. And since we are to seek Him with all we are, it's something that should consume all.

As 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) says, "do all (things) to the glory of God."

All things. All things. At all times. Or, more rightly, NOW. Always now.

What is right in front of you right now? Seek God in it. Not, seek for some sort of mental insight into some deeper truth that you can write down on paper. But with your spirit, with that Life that you are, not your life's STORY, but the LIFE, that power, that which enables you to breath, to move, to exist; with your Life, your Being, know the Life, the Being of God in that which is right in front of you right now. And honor Him right now in what you do or don't do.

If you take action right now, see Him in it. If you do nothing right now, see Him in it.

Seeking differs from our idea of it in that, while you can seek for the next piece in a puzzle you're putting together with only your mind, seeking God requires something much deeper than that.

Your mind can operate in auto-pilot. But God wants YOU. Your mind can think about God, and that's good. But only YOU can truly seek Him, and only YOU can commune with Him right now.

Which brings us to the last truth I would like for us to consider today, and that is this:

Seek the Lord while He may be found.

Yes, this implies, and other passages of Scripture plainly state, that the time is approaching in which it will be too late for someone to find Him. But if you seek Him in the only time He may be found, that's not even something you need to ponder.

And the truth of the matter is this: the only time God can be found of you is...... NOW. And right now, it's not too late. Tomorrow, which is always an imaginary time that never really arives, it IS too late. Right Now, is the only time you can seek Him, and it is the only time He can be found.

In the past, without realizing what I was doing, I've determined that, maybe the next morning, I would seek after God. But I missed it. I could NOT seek God then, and I could NOT find Him then, because I was only PLANNING to seek Him, and He cannot be found in the future.

YOU CANNOT FIND GOD TOMORROW.

The only time you can seek Him, and the only time you can find Him, is right now.

So don't wait for tomorrow. Don't wait to be invited to the altar. Don't wait for even the next "moment," as if there is any moment besides the Present moment.

Seek God with the Presence that you are, RIGHT NOW.

Turn your attention away from your earthly mind, away from the self that your mind thinks you are, away from the story that you've believed is your Life (but is not), and turn your eyes upon Him instead.

Let the distracting thoughts of your mind pass by, as you see Him right now.

You will see that His thoughts are not the same thing as the thoughts of your earthly mind.

You will know that the way you look at and do things is not the same as His ways.

As the rain comes down,
As the snow falls from heaven,
As they water the earth,
As the watered earth brings forth flowers,
As that growing life gives you food to eat;

That is the nature of the Word of God, that Word which is, right this moment, going forth from His mouth. And without any striving on your part, without having to understand it all, figure it all out, and put it into a box your mind can understand, it accomplishes the purpose God has for sending it.

You can go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills break forth into glorious song for the King of that Glory, and the trees dance in His wind.

All because He Is.

All because He Is Life.

All because His Word, His Life, breathes from His mouth into everything, everywhere, and His will happens.

Nothing can stop it from happening.

And if you stop running from His Spirit, His Life, by becoming lost in your earthly mind, in its image of you, in its story about you and your circumstances, and you seek Him, you see Him, right here, right in front of you, behind you, beside you, around you, inside you, right now;

Then you find Him. Continually. You worship Him. Completely. You bow in humility to Him. Without striving. And you are One with Him. Without separation.

And if you're hearing my voice right now, regardless of whether you're gathered with us while this service is taking place, and you haven't given your life to Jesus and received His forgiveness and His Life, then this same statement applies to you as well: you can't find Him tomorrow. You can find Him only Now.

Fall upon Him now. Surrender. He is the Life that gives you breath. He is the Life that gives you food. He is the Life that gives you comfort. He is the Life that can give you true peace.

Ask Him to forgive you for your sins. Surrender to following Him in all things. And find Him right now.

He is Glory. He is Splendor. He is Majesty.

He is Beauty. He is Stillness. He is Vitality.

He is Life, and apart from Him there is no Life.

And NOW is when He May Be Found.


I'd like to open this altar, and you're invited to make your way to the front and spend some time in stillness with Him.

If you'd like for one of us to talk or pray with you, you can instant message one of us, or for those listening outside of Second Life or at another time, you can point your Internet browser to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and you can contact us there.

Whenever you need to leave, you are dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way up the stairs into the room to your left, and we'll meet in there in a few minutes for some fellowship.

Come, and let us seek Him While He May Be Found.


*** listen to the audio to hear the closing prayer ***