Seek God with your whole heart and Pray for America!

In August of 2009, my mother and father gave me a MacArthur Study Bible as a birthday gift.  Mom had written down a scripture passage from Isaiah on the inside cover of the bible about the need to seek God.  At the time, I may have given it a glance but I honestly don’t remember. My time spent reading the bible was limited at best.  All of my focus back then was climbing the “corporate ladder” as I worked toward earning a six figure income.  However, eleven months later, almost to the day, I suffered a massive stroke while at the office.Christians must seek God with our whole heart as we pray for America

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6

I remember it like yesterday; sitting there talking with a member of my marketing team as I finished a delicious Philly cheese steak sandwich.  I was trying to open my package of sugarless gum and I dropped it.  No problem, I picked up the gum as I tried to remove the cellophane wrapping but then I dropped it again.  My friend joked, “What’s wrong clumsy?”   I told him I was not feeling too well and maybe he should take me home.  He was hesitant to do so as he said I did not look right.  Another colleague that I had been conversing with previously came rushing over to my office to see me because she said I sounded funny in our last conversation.

I scoffed at her as I told her to “get outta here” not even realizing that the left side of my mouth had begun to droop.  She immediately called 911.  It was at that moment I began to see that things were definitely serious.  I had struggled through self-imposed difficulties of congestive heart failure two years prior but this was scary!  I called my mother to let her know the ambulance was on the way.  She was flooding me with questions as the EMT’s arrived.  I handed the phone to my friend so he could keep my mother informed as much as possible.

I’ll never forget how calm the EMT’s were as they examined me.  A deafening hush came over the bustling office.  I could hear my co-workers whispering and feel their looks of concern. The EMT then asked me “Do you want to go?” I replied, “Go where?”   He said, “to the hospital.”  I quietly asked him, “”Do you think I should go?”  He felt that something had happened and I should get checked out.  I said,  “okay, let’s go.”  In an instant, they sprang into action. After those intense minutes, they asked me to lie down on the florescent yellow gurney as they quickly strapped me down and  wheeled me past stunned co-workers and friends to the hospital.  If you would like to know a little more about the devastation of the stroke and the impact it had on my life, you can read about it on my about me page.

I share this turning point of my life with you to make a point.  In those eleven months since receiving the bible from my parents, I may have read from that bible less than five times. I picked it up only to make room on my bookshelves for sport and car magazines. I avoided attending church like the plague.  I was in the prime of my life financially, making more money than I had ever made!  Sometimes I offered up “prayers of guilt” driving to work in my beautiful car asking for forgiveness.   I mostly prayed because I wanted God’s help on an important project but I was not truly repenting.

Even though I was persistent in those prayers the purpose was mostly selfishness.   It’s by the grace of God this Friday will mark the 6 year anniversary of the day I “stroked” and it feels like ancient history!  PRAISE GOD!

God has blessed me in so many ways since surviving the stroke!  However, there are times I think back to all the pain and suffering I could have avoided.  I am wounded by the lives of family and friends that were affected by that catastrophe. Oh how I wish I had begun to diligently seek after Christ from the time of my salvation!  I feel this from the depths of my heart…this is why I write. I want to share about the transforming love and power of God but also to remind everyone God hates sin!  There are consequences…we reap what we sow!

My Heart cries for America

I know that is the primary reason why my heart is saddened by what is happening in the country I have been blessed to live in for almost fifty years.   Unfortunately, I can relate to what is happening to our country because I lived that way for many years.  The compromising, rationalizing, and the outright arrogance to sin against almighty God. Do we as a country believe that God will stand by allowing these sinful actions to continue?  Look at what happened to God’s chosen people of Israel as they turned away from Him.  Just like any loving parent, God disciplined them and sometimes very harshly.

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, thus they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines… for eighteen years they afflicted the sons of Israel… so that Israel was greatly distressed.” Judges 10 :6-9.

This became a,wash, rinse, and repeat cycle with the Israelites as they continued to not seek God.   Numerous times throughout history they were disciplined for their desire to not seek after God.   I’m afraid America is headed down a treacherous path as we slowly move away from one “nation under God.”  However, there is a glimmer of hope my fellow Christians! A hope which begins with us diligently seeking after God.

What does it mean to seek God?

I wanted to dig a little deeper on the word seek.  I love all of the definitions found in the dictionary.  Here are a few: Seek; to search for or to try to find. To ask for help or advice to try to get something. To try to discover or to go in search of.  As I read these definitions, it made perfect sense to me.  I need to be searching for God both diligently and consistently.

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless; how can it be made salty again?”  It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13,14 & 16.

 

In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus instructs us to be salt and light in the world in which He has left us.  Back then salt was not only used for flavoring but as a preservative since there was no refrigeration available.  God wants us to live our lives for Him in a dark world that is slowly decaying.  We are to not only be a shining example but to act as a preservative.  By preserving and shining, it allows unbelievers the time to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  God wants more people to know him as their Savior and have the honor of joining us in Heaven someday!

So how can we as believers seek God diligently?  We must be purposeful in our daily living.  It is easy to fall into the routine of “living for God.”  As a “serial planner” I love to have everything scheduled out and organized.  Have I talked with God first asking Him to show me how He can use me today?  We must be persistent in our prayers seeking God’s will and we must persevere in our trials trusting His wisdom.  God warned us the Christian life would not be easy but we should take pride in the responsibility He has given us.  God is trusting us to live for Him…what an honor and a privilege!

As we approach our Independence Day celebration in the next few days, say a prayer for America.  Ask God to give you a burning desire to seek Him diligently.  Be the salt and light that Jesus asks of you.  I promise you will be amazed at everything God reveals to you as you seek Him!  Have a safe and blessed time of celebration and reflection my friends!

"Horace Williams, Jr.'s non-fiction Christian Worship and Prayer book, Unleash the Power of Prayer in Your Life: A Power that Transforms Lives, briefly and eloquently explores the benefits of prayer and the richness of having a personal relationship with God. Williams answers many questions in his book, including what prayer is, when and how often should one pray and how forgiveness impacts one's relationship with God. Each chapter in his book addresses a power imparted through and by prayer, Unleash the Power of Prayer in Your Life: A Power that Transforms Lives is most highly recommended." Now available on Amazon. Get your copy today.

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36 comments on “Seek God with your whole heart and Pray for America!

Horace,
Thank you for sharing such a powerful story with us. I also can relate to being a “serial planner.” How many things have I missed out on because I wanted to stick to MY plan instead of being open to letting God use me in the way he saw fit for that day, I wonder? I’m grateful that he pours new mercies out on us each morning and allows me to start over again, to see what he has planned for today!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks for visiting and your comment Kylie. I am still a ” serial planner” but I am learning to ask God for guidance when things don’t go as I’d planned or hoped for. It is such a blessing as He teaches me patience, expands my view of things and grants me wisdom. Thank you again for the visit. Have a fantastic Sunday and blessings to you and yours!

You have such a powerful testimony, Horace. I’m always encouraged when I hear more of your story and how you allowed God to work in your life. May we all be wise enough to do the same, with or without such serious issues like a stroke or other major change!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thank you Lisa for visiting and your sincere comment today. I must admit that initially I never thought of my story as a testimony. I just really wanted to get back to work but during those quiet nights in the hospital and rehab, I began to see God for who He really is and understand what being a Christian means. I share my story of transformation to hopefully encourage those who are hurting or have been in a dark place and a warning to Christians to keep God first in our lives. It does not mean things will always be easy but God will bring us through no mater what we are facing! Always great to hear from you Lisa. Have a wonderful week and continued blessings to you and yours!

Horace, your life is a powerful testament to how amazing GOD is, my friend! Thank you for sharing! Hope you had a wonderful 4th! GOD bless you! 🙂

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks Tai. I am thankful for the opportunity that God has given me to share my story of faith. My Savior continues to transform me each and every day. I am a work in progress but I will never take my eyes of Him. I am blessed by His grace and unconditional love. Thanks again for stopping by; so glad you have rejoined us and are blogging again. I had a much needed relaxing 4th of July. Have a wonderful week and may God richly bless you in all your endeavors!

Such a good word about purposeful living, Horace. You underline the importance of being in God’s word every day. When I am, it is much easier to focus on God’s purpose for my day than my plans – I’m a list maker too and nothing gives me more pleasure than crossing things off that list! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story! #overthemoon

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks for the visit Cathy. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I am living each day to seek God with my whole heart. It does make a difference in the day when He is directing your path. Thanks again for the visit. I hope you have a wonderful week and may God richly bless you in all your endeavors!

Horace, I’m so grateful for what God did in your life 6 years ago and the burden he’s put on your heart ever since. He is doing something amazing in you and I am so moved by your message of hope. As a society, we certainly seem to be on a dark path, yet God still shines his light brightly. I really appreciate your point about being both the salt and the light. Our role as Christians is not just about shining but also calling others back to God and his standards. What an honour it is to partner with Christ in this way. Thank you for being His messenger!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Amen Marva…we are partners with Christ and He asks us to live for Him! I am blessed that you were moved by this post because we do have HOPE! Our hope is in our Savior, Jesus and we can be a shining example of hope and love in spite of what goes on around us. July 1, 2010 is a day I will never forget. It is the day hat God redirected the course of my life and for that I am forever grateful. It is my hope and prayer that God will use me for His glory and that many are encouraged and come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior by my testimony. Thank you so much for the visit and the kind words. Have a fantastic Sunday and may God bless you and yours!

Horace,
Thank you for the hope-filled reminder to continue to be the salt and light to those around us. It becomes more difficult as we are swept into a nation falling further and further from the ways of God. But there is always hope! Although I hate that you suffered a stroke and still struggle with health issues, I am so thankful for the beautiful work Christ has done in and through you! Thank you so much for being such a valuable part of #MomentsofHope!

Happy 4th of July, my friend!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Lori from the first time I read one of your posts I knew your love for God ran deep. I am thankful that you have invited and welcomed me to be a part of Moments of Hope. I have been blessed by you and so many there each week. I thank God for the opportunity to share my ongoing moments of hope as He has rescued me and continues my transformation daily. Thank you for your support and encouragement; it has truly been a blessing to me my friend. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend and may God richly bless you and yours!

Thanks for sharing your story, Horace. I’m sorry you had to go through such an awful experience but I’m glad you can see how God has worked good in the midst of it too. Great reflections on intentionally seeking God- it’s so important that we do.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Yes sometimes we must have to travel through the valleys to get our eyes back on Christ. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to live for and serve Him with my whole heart! Thanks for stopping by Carly. Have a wonderful holiday weekend and may God bless you and yours!

Horace, you mentioned on my blog each of us has a unique story. This is your story and God is using it. I am sad about the stroke and it’s effects it has, but I am thankful God got you to a point where He can use you. If He had not we would not have “met” and be able to encourage each other. Our country desperately needs more Christians who will take a stand against sin and work to turn this country around. I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for speaking out and for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Hey, thank you Lori for your sincere and heartfelt comment! What you do is an encouragement to myself and so many. God is using you my friend! It allows me to continue sharing my faith story. I am blessed that God is continually transforming me into the man that He created me to be! I was just speaking to someone today how my heart is saddened for this country as we move away from God but I hope that my light will shine brightly as an example of Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful weekend my friend and try to stay cool..it’s getting hot! Blessings to you and yours!

Hi, Horace! Thank you for sharing your story. It is crazy how we are living life one way and how when we accept Christ, our life is never the same again and it is for the better. I very much enjoyed reading your post and how we are definitely in a Judges cycle. This country needs much prayer. Thank you for sharing your post! Blessings 🙂

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks for visiting Kelly and your comment. Yes, I wish that I had lived for Christ after accepting Jesus as my Savior at 5. I think I was more scared of going to Hell than anything. During my stroke recovery, I began to listen to pastors teaching God’s word and started to realize the responsibility that Christ has placed on us. Ever since then, I want to share the the truth of God’s amazing power and love. He continues to transform my life every day! I pray for America and it’s leaders and I hope to make an impact for Christ going forward. Thanks again for the visit. Have a blessed holiday weekend!

      Hi, Horace! Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. Prayer for the leadership in this country is so very important. I’m glad you are sharing how God is working in your life, and how you are ministering to others. Thanks again for sharing your post with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week! Blessings 🙂

        Horace Williams Jr Post author

        Thanks for the visit and your comments Kelly. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story of faith and the transformation God is doing in my life. As we Christians we should prayer for our country and live a life that glorifies Christ. I will have to visit Social Butterfly Sunday. Someone must have shared this post there and for that I am thankful. Hope you enjoy the rest of your week and may God richly bless you and yours!

Horace, I was encouraged after reading this post. I get frustrated with the way it looks like The US is drifting so far away from what pleases God, but you’re right…there is hope. We are called to be salt and light to those around us. Thank you for writing this.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks Dawn for visiting and your comment. I am pleased to read you were encouraged reading this. Yes there is hope for the world…we must be bold and show the example of Christ ‘s love to everyone and pray for our leaders too. It is my prayer that we will have people in leadership that love the Lord. Thanks again for the visit. Have a wonderful week my friend and may God bless you and yours!

Loved this, Horace. I’m a patriot at heart and so I’m grieved at where we are today as a country. But, it also provides great opportunity! Great opportunity to shine amongst the decay. To preserve God in this world. I will be sharing this! Blessings in your journey, my friend.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thanks Pam I’m glad you appreciated this post. Yes this is a time for Christians to shine brightly for Christ and hopefully our country will turn to god. I pray our leaders will seek God direction. thank you for sharing. Have a fabulous week! Blessings to you and yours my friend!

Nann

Dear Horace – this is such a testimony to how GREAT GOD IS. Back in Noah’s day the people had over 100 years to turn to God, yet no one got on the ark with Noah and his family. I imagine many ran to find him when the rain started but it was too late. God loves you so much he allowed a stroke to occur to make sure you would be on the ark in time. As you said – what an honor and privilege to be able to serve such a God! Thank you for sharing this – I am praying that many others would read what happened to you and allow Jesus into their hearts before it is too late.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thank you Nann. I’m blessed by your prayers and I pray that many will read my story and see the awesome love of god! Though it is undeserved I will thank Him for His love every day. I pray God’s will is done for my life as I seek to live for and glorify my Savior!. Have a terrific week and may God richly bless you and yours!

Horace, isn’t it amazing how God is using your experience to reach so many others for Him? I am always moved by your words and thank you for sharing so authentically. Thanks for the reminder to be purposeful, persistent and persevering as we diligently seek God. Blessings to you.
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    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Yes Carlie it is beyond amazing! I thank God for the opportunity to share my story of transformation. I pray that many are encouraged to follow Him as well. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. Blessings to you and yours as well!. Have a fantastic week!

Horace, This resonates deep within me. In October a rare neuromuscular disease hijacked my body and my identity. Thank you for encouraging me along the journey. I enjoyed meeting you on the blog Purposeful Faith Tuesday #RaRaLinkUp.

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    So nice to meet you as well April! I’m glad you could relate to this post. My mother called me this afternoon after proofing for me to let me know how moved she was by this. I knew I had to publish. I want to pray for America and I like to add your health issues to my prayer list as well. i know it is debilitating at times but keep your eyes on Jesus. He will bring us through the fires!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thank you Dolly. It is only by God’s grace that I have come this far. I still have some painful reminders to keep me humble and focused on Jesus but I would not have it any other way! Thank you for the visit and your words of encouragement. Blessings to you as well!

    Horace Williams Jr Post author

    Thank you Cynthia. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Yes a stroke is something I would never wish on anybody but sometimes God has to do drastic things to get our attention. I am thankful for the opportunity to live for Him so that He is glorified. Have a fantastic week and good health to you and yours!

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