Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ which is the church as it was written in the book of Acts by Luke. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses sixteen through thirty-four of the seventeenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul transitioning from where he previously was in Berea to now being in the city of Athens. As you begin reading with and from the sixteenth verse of the seventeenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul having been brought forth from Berea where he had taught concerning Jesus the Christ in the synagogue of the Jews, and yet found the same type of opposition he experienced in Thessalonica there as well. In order to truly understand that which is found in verses sixteen through the end of the chapter in this passage of Scripture it is absolutely necessary that you begin reading the chapter from the beginning and consider that which took place in the previous fifteen verses. When the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts concludes it does so with the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy departing from Philippi where they had just experience a supernatural act of God while praying and praising God in the midnight hour while in prison. Luke writes and records how Paul and Silas were imprisoned and fastened with shackles and fetters, as well as with a jailer who would keep guard and watch over them. The account goes that the apostle Paul and Silas were worshipping and praising the living God there in the prison cell at the midnight hour, and while they were worshipping and praising the living God there was suddenly a great earthquake that shook the very foundations of the prison. Not only did the earthquake shake the foundations of the prison, but the earthquake also caused each and every prison door within the prison to be opened, and each prisoner’s shackles and fetters to be loosed from their physical bodies. When the jailer realized what had happened he drew his sword ready to kill himself supposing the prisoners themselves had escaped. When the apostle Paul realized what the jailor was about to do he yelled out in the midst of the prison instructing him not to harm himself, for all the prisoners were still in the prison. Upon realizing what had happened the jailor came and knelt before Paul and Silas and asked them what he needed to do to be saved. What you find and read next is not only the jailor believing on the Lord Jesus the Christ, but also Paul and Silas preaching the word concerning Jesus the Christ in their hearing before the jailor washed their stripes, was baptized together with his entire house. What’s more, is that Luke goes on to write that the jailor brought Paul and Silas forth from the prison into his own house, and set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is that not only was the foundation of the prison shaken, not only was every prisoner’s prison door being opened and their shackles loosed, but the jailor and his entire household believed on the Lord Jesus the Christ and were baptized.
The sixteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts concludes with the magistrates and the sergeants instructing the apostle Paul and Silas to depart from their region having learned and recognized that they had beaten and imprisoned Roman citizens without trail and without cause. FROM THE PRISON CELL TO THE JAILOR’S HOUSE! As you come to the end of the sixteenth chapter you will find the apostle Paul and Silas departing form the prison after having been instructed by the magistrates and sergeants to depart from that region. Upon leaving the prison house Luke writes and records how the apostle Paul and Silas entered into the house of Lydia, and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them and departed. As you come to the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that upon departing from the house of Lydia Paul, Silas and Timothy passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, and came unto Thessalonica, which was a city in what is now modern day Greece. Upon coming to Thessalonica the apostle Paul and Silas went into a synagogue of the Jews and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus is indeed and is in fact the Christ. It is absolutely amazing and incredible to read what is written concerning the apostle Paul, for when entering into the synagogue of the Jews the apostle Paul reasoned with them—not only that Jesus must needs suffer, die and be raised from death to life on the third day, but also that this same Jesus who suffered, died and was raised from death to life on the third day was indeed the Christ. It’s worth noting that Luke goes on to write how some of those whom Paul spoke to believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas, as well as the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will not only find certain of the Jews believing on the Lord Jesus the Christ, but you will also find a great multitude of Greeks, as well as a great many women who believed in the Lord Jesus the Christ. We would be incredibly wise and discerning to recognize and pay close attention to this, for it wasn’t necessarily the gospel which the apostle Paul taught and preached that caused the events which took place in Thessalonica to take place, but it was the response to that message. Luke is very clear that when the apostle Paul had reasoned that Jesus had indeed suffered, died and risen again on the third, and that this Jesus was indeed and was in fact the Christ, there was a great number of Greeks and women—as well as some of the Jews themselves—who believed in the word which the apostle Paul had spoken, and believed on the Lord Jesus the Christ. What we must recognize, however, is that when the gospel is preached there has always been and will always be two different and two distinct groups of people. On the one hand you will find those who receive the word of God with joy and gladness and believe with their hearts, and one the other hand you will find those who are unable to hear and receive the word, and who will be moved with envy at the response the word concerning Jesus the Christ illicit when it is preached.
If you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that there were those who heard the word which the apostle Paul preached, and who believed on the Lord Jesus the Christ, however, there were others who would and could not hear and receive the word, and were moved with envy at what was taking place in the midst of the city. Beginning to read with and from the fifth verse you will find that the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar. What’s more, is not only did these unbelieving Jews help set the entire city on an uproar, but they also assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring the apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy out to the people. Upon their being unable to find Paul, Silas and Timothy, all those who sided with the unbelieving Jews declared that these men which had turned the world upside down had come there as well whom Jason did receive. What’s more, is these unbelieving Jews and those with them also went on to declare that Paul, Silas and Timothy behaved contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there was another king, one named Jesus. The beloved physician Luke goes on to write how these unbelieving Jews troubled the people and rulers of the city. The ninth verse of the chapter concludes with the Jews, the rulers of the city, and all those which were present taking security of Jason before finally letting him go. When the tenth verse of this chapter begins and opens, it does so with Paul and Silas being sent away by the brethren by night unto Berea because of the great opposition which was present within the city of Thessalonica. Berea was somewhat different from Thessalonica, for although there was indeed a synagogue of the Jews, and although the apostle Paul and Silas entered into the synagogue of the Jews and reasoned with them concerning Jesus the Christ, the response within this city was different. The beloved physician Luke writes that those in Berea were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things which were spoken unto them in their hearing was so. As a direct result—not only of the teaching and preaching of the apostle Paul, but also as a result of their searching the scriptures—many of them believed in the word Paul and Silas preached, and in the Jesus whom they taught and preached as having suffered, died, and risen again on the third day. What’s more, is that we also read how of the honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, there were not a few who believed. Thus, that which we find within this passage is a wonderful reception of the teaching and preaching of the apostle Paul and Silas, and many of the Greeks believing on the Lord Jesus the Christ, and in the word which the apostle Paul preached. In the thirteenth verse, however, you will find that when the Jews which were in Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came there also, and stirred up the people. Oh please don’t miss what took place in Berea, as well as in Thessalonica, for as a direct result of unbelieving Jews which would and could not receive the word which the apostle Paul preached, two cities were stirred up as a result of their actions and words.
I find it incredibly interesting to think about and consider the fact that not only did the apostle Paul and Silas face and experience trouble, opposition and tribulation in Thessalonica, but they also experienced the same opposition and trouble in Berea. It’s worth noting that the brethren initially sent Paul and Silas away from Thessalonica because of the opposition which was present there, and yet the very trouble and opposition which they were sent away from followed them to Berea. If you consider that which is found in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts—as well as that which is written and found within the seventeenth chapter thus far—you will find Paul and Silas beaten with many stripes and imprisoned in Philippi before the Lord shook the prison, caused the prison doors to open, caused shackles and chains to be loosed, and caused Paul and Silas to emerge from the prison before renting unto Lydia. What’s more, is that as if the beating and imprisonment they experienced in Philippi wasn’t enough, they found themselves experiencing opposition and trouble in both Thessalonica and Berea. It would be unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica which would stir up the people like an angry hornet’s nest, and thus inciting a riot among the people within that city. What’s more is that Luke goes on to write and record how the unbelieving Jews and those who conspired together and sided with them assaulted the house of Jason when they could not find the apostle Paul. It’s worth noting that whenever the word of the Lord is preached there will always be two different types of people who will be present in the midst of those who hear the word. On the one hand there will be those who hear and receive the word, and as a direct result of hearing and receiving the word believe the word, as well as in the Lord Jesus the Christ. There are and there will be others, however, who will not and cannot receive or hear the word which is being preached unto them, and as a result of their unbelief and inability to hear the word will attempt to disrupt the work and word of God. What we find and what we read in the first fifteen verses of the seventeenth chapter is not only an attempt by those unbelieving Jews to disrupt the work of the Holy Spirit, but also to silence the word of God. DISRUPTING THE WORK AND SILENCING THE WORD! There is not a doubt in my mind that what we see in the physical and what we see in the natural was not incited by unseen and supernatural forces who were aware of the presence, the person and power of the Holy Spirit in both Thessalonica and Berea, and sought to do anything and everything they could to both silence the word and disrupt the work. In all reality, this is what took place during the days in which Jesus the Christ walked the earth, for the religious leaders of that day—the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the Pharisees and the Sadducees—as well as the Jews themselves sought to silence the word which He spoke, as well as to disrupt the work which He had been sent to do. If you read the four gospels—particularly and especially the gospel which was written by the apostle John—you will find a tremendous resistance and opposition to the word and work of Jesus the Christ. You cannot go more than five chapters in the gospel of John before finding this resistance and opposition to the word which Jesus preached, as well as the work which He had been sent by the Father to fulfill and accomplish.
I am convinced that if we going to truly understand that which is found and written in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts it is necessary and imperative that we turn and direct our attention to the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel which was written by Matthew. If you want to truly understand that which took place—not only during the days in which Jesus walked this earth, but also that which took place during the days of the apostle, you will need to examine the parable which Jesus spoke concerning the seed which was the word of God, and the four different types of soil which are always present when the seed of the word is sown. Within this particular chapter you will initially find a parable which Jesus spoke concerning a sower who sowed seed, and how that seed fell on four different types of soil. With each different type of soil this sower sowed upon, there were different responses to the soil. Perhaps one of the greatest truths and realities concerning the parable of the seed and the sower, as well as the interpretation and understanding Jesus provided concerning this parable is that each type of soil cannot say that it did not receive the seed. Despite the fact that the responses themselves were different, there was not a single soil source that could state that they did not receive the seed. There was absolutely none who could deny and even claim that they did not receive and did not hear the word which was being preached unto them, for Jesus made it very clear that those within each of the four groups of soil received and heard the word which was being preached. We must recognize and understand this particular reality—not only to understand the nature of sowing the seed which is the word of God, but also to understand that which is found in the first fifteen verses of the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts. It is within the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew that we find the following words which were written concerning the parable of the seed and the sower, as well as the understanding and interpretation of the parable:
“The same day went Jesus out of the house, and say by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went in a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up; some fell upon stony places, where they had no deep ness of earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deep ness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scored; and because they had not root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given,a Nd he shall have more abundance, but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received see among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitful ness of riches, choke the word, and he be cometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also heareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:1-23).
I would say it’s somewhat difficult to find and locate each of the four different types of soil which Jesus spoke of in the parable of the seed and sower in that which was written concerning Thessalonica, however, we can without a doubt encounter and come face to face with the fact that there were those who heard the word, received the word, and believed the word, and as a result, believed on the Lord Jesus the Christ. With that being said, there were those who would and could not hear the word, and as a result of being unable to hear the word were unable to receive the word. If you are neither able to hear, nor receive the word I would dare say that you cannot and will not believe the word, and will find yourself on the outside looking in. It was those Jews who could not hear and listen to the word which was being preached that not only sought to disrupt the work, and not only sought to silence the word, but also assaulted the house of Jason who lived within that city. When we come to the account of the apostle Paul in Berea we don’t read of unbelieving Jews being present there, but rather those same unbelieving Jews which were in Thessalonica coming unto Berea and stirring up the people there. This they did simply because they heard that the word of God was being preached by the apostle Paul in Berea. Completely discontent with the trouble they stirred up in Thessalonica and determined to once more disrupt the work of the Spirit and silence the word these Jews came to Berea where they stirred up the people of that city as well. What we find as a direct result of this stirring up of the people is the brethren there in Berea sending away Paul to go as it were to the sea. While Paul himself was being sent away, Luke writes and records that Silas and Timothy remained there in Berea. Scripture is unclear what Silas and Timothy did there in Berea, but we know that the apostle Paul was not only sent away from Berea, but was also sent away from both Silas and Timothy. In the fifteenth verse of the seventeenth chapter you will find that those who conducted Paul brought him unto Athens, and upon arriving in Athens the apostle Paul sent word requesting Silas and Timothy to join him there in Athens. It is in this context and in this setting that we come to the sixteenth verse of the seventeenth chapter and find the apostle Paul having experienced trouble and opposition in Thessalonica and Berea, and having now come unto Athens which was the chief and capital city of Greece. Having been sent away by the brethren from Berea in the face of opposition and trouble, the apostle Paul came unto Athens—perhaps a city which he did not originally intend on coming unto. I must pause for a moment and speak to the reality that there are times in our lives when we might find ourselves in a place we neither anticipated, nor expected. There are times within our lives when we find ourselves being brought to a place, or coming unto a place—not because the Holy Spirit spoke unto us, and not because of an encounter we had with God, but because of experiences we have within our lives. The apostle Paul came unto Athens—not because
ARRIVING IN UNEXPECTED PLACES! I feel the need to pause here for a moment and speak to the reality of times within our lives when we arrive at unexpected places we perhaps never anticipated, nor considered ourselves being in. I can’t help but be reminded of Jacob the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, and how when he left his father’s house he did not leave because an angel of the Lord had appeared and spoken unto him, nor even because the Lord Himself had spoken unto him. When Jacob left his father’s house he did so because his brother Esau sought to put him to death because of cheating him out of both the birthright and the blessing. Jacob is a perfect example of times in our lives when we find ourselves departing suddenly from where we are and perhaps even arriving unexpectedly at a place that perhaps wasn’t even on our radar. There is no indication within the book of Acts that the apostle Paul had any intention of going to the city of Athens, but what we find in the book of Acts is the trouble and opposition in Berea causing him to be launched forth from that place, and being brought unto Athens. We must recognize and acknowledge that it wasn’t even the apostle Paul who brought himself to Athens, but it was those brethren who had conducted him which brought him unto this city. Oh, there is something absolutely incredible about what we find and read within this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the fact that there are times within our lives when we are engaged in the work of the kingdom and engaged in the work of the Holy Spirit, and yet we find ourselves in unexpected places—places we perhaps had no intention or anticipation of traveling to or being in. It is possible to walk with the living God, to follow Jesus the Christ, and to be led by the Holy Spirit, and to find ourselves in unexpected places—simply because of events which have taken place within our lives. If the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts reveals anything to us, it’s that there are times in our lives when situations and circumstances may force us to move on from where we were, as well as times within our lives when we find ourselves in unexpected places—places we never intended on journeying to or even being in. If you look back over and upon your life can you identify times within it when you moved from one place to another—not because you perhaps had any interest, desire or intention of moving forth from that place, but because circumstances and situations where you were previously forced you to move in? What’s more, is can you identify times within your life when you found yourself in a place that was wholly and completely unexpected and uncharted for you—a place which you had absolutely no intention of ever coming to or arriving? The seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts not only brings us face to face with the reality of moving from one place to another because of circumstances and situations, but also arriving and finding ourselves in unexpected places we perhaps had no intention of being in. The question you must ask yourself—the question I must ask myself—is what do we do when we perhaps find ourselves in those unexpected places. How do we react and how do we respond when we are in the midst of those unexpected places and those unplanned arrivals and departures.
What I so love about how the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts ends and concludes is that while it is true the apostle Paul found himself in the midst of Athens having neither planned nor intended on being there, he was still able to minister the word of the kingdom and the word concerning Jesus the Christ. Beginning to read with and from the sixteenth verse you will find that while the apostle Paul waited for Silas and Timothy there in Athens his spirit was stirred within him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. This is quite unique and interesting, for not only do we find the apostle Paul in a place of waiting in perhaps an unexpected place, but we also find him troubled in that unexpected place. WAITING IN UNEXPECTED PLACES! TROUBLED IN UNEXPECTED PLACES! If it is true that there are times within our lives when we find ourselves in unexpected and unintended places then it also holds true that there are times when in the midst of those places we find ourselves in a place of waiting. What’s more, is that we might not only find ourselves in a place of waiting, but we might also find ourselves in a place of being troubled. The beloved physician Luke writes and records how the apostle Paul was troubled within his spirit when he saw the city given to idolatry, and as a direct result of his spirit being troubled, he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. While the apostle Paul was in this unexpected place at perhaps an unexpected time, he found himself disputing with the Jews, with devout persons, and with any who would listen to and meet with him. While there in Athens, we also find and read of certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountering him while some would ask what this babbler would say, and others would declare him to be a speaker of strange gods, for he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. It would be these Stoics and Epicrueans who would bring him unto Mars Hill, which was the highest court in Athens where they asked him point blank concerning this new doctrine whereof he spoke unto them. Furthermore, they declared unto him there at Mars Hill that he brought certain strange things to their ears, and they would know what those things were. What’s more, and what’s quite interesting is that Luke goes on to write how all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Pause for a moment and consider this reality, for though the apostle Paul might have found himself in an unexpected place at an unexpected time, and although he might have found himself waiting and troubled in that place, he would once more find himself in the midst of both Jews, devout men, and even philosophers there in Athens. Regardless of whether or not the apostle Paul intended on coming unto Athens, he would find himself standing in the highest court because he was introducing this doctrine concerning Jesus the Christ and the resurrection.
If you read the words which are found in the speech which the apostle Paul delivered there in Athens you will find the apostle Paul speaking unto them and acknowledging them as a devoted people, and even worshipping at the altar of AN UNKNOWN GOD! The apostle would then go on to declare unto them that that which they ignorantly worshipped with no understanding—it would be that whom He would declare unto them. The apostle Paul emphatically declare that this Unkown God which they worshipped was none other than the God which made the world and all things therein who was indeed the Lord of heaven and earth. What’s more, is that the apostle Paul would go on to declare unto them that this God whom they ignorantly worshipped did not dwell in temples made with hands, nor was He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, since He gave to all life and breath. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would go on to declare that this God made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the all the face of the earth, and determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would also speak of seeking this Lord and happily feeling after Him and finding Him, though in all reality He is not far from any one of us. Oh please don’t miss the words which the apostle Paul spoke, for not only did the apostle Paul declare that the Lord of heaven and earth did not dwell in temples made by and with human hands, but the apostle Paul also spoke of us seeking the Lord, and happy feeling after Him that we might find Him. It’s worth noting the apostle Paul not only spoke of this ‘UNKNOWN GOD” whom they worshiped ignorantly as being the Lord of heaven and earth, but also not being bound and confined to temples made with human hands. Even more than this the apostle Paul would go on to declare that this God was not far from any one of us, and that it is in Him we live and move and hav our being. Taking this even further, the apostle Paul declared of this living God that we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device, but was indeed living and active. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that not only did the apostle Paul declare unto them that this UNKOWN GOD was the Lord of heaven and earth, but also that he was not far from them. Furthermore, the apostle Paul would declare unto them that this God did not dwell in temples made by and with human hands, and was not like unto gold, or silver, or stone which was graven by the art and/or device of men. The apostle Paul would conclude the words which he spoke unto the Athenians there in Mars Hill by speaking of repentance, and how there were times when God winked at ignorance, but this living God now demands, asks and requires repentance within the hearts and lives of men. What’s more is that this God has appointed a specific day of judgment in which He can and will judge men and women based on their righteousness in His sight.
The final verses of the seventeenth chapter of the book of Acts are quite astounding, for while it is true the apostle Paul might very well have found himself in the midst of an unexpected place while waiting for his companions and friends, and with his spirit being troubled within him, he would ultimately find himself standing in the highest court in Athens. Standing in the midst of devout men, standing in the midst of Jews, and standing in the midst of philosophers, as well as perhaps the leading rulers of Athens the apostle Paul would speak unto them concerning the living God whom they worshipped in ignorance. This is actually quite astonishing when you think about it, for even when we find ourselves in unexpected places at unexpected times there is a plan of God in everything—even when we don’t see it and aren’t aware of it. There is not a doubt in my mind that although the apostle Paul himself might not have expected or planned on being there in Athens, there was a divine plan of God that included him standing in the midst of the highest court there in Athens as he not only spoke of, but also defended the living God who was Lord of heaven and earth. What’s more, is the apostle Paul also went on to declare unto them that this God was not far off and could indeed be felt and found. This God was nearer and closer unto them than they thought, and did not dwell in temples made by human hands—despite however many temples might have been present in Athens. What’s more, is that this God was unlike any other god which was made of gold, silver and stone which was fashioned by the art and devices of men. This God gave life and breath to absolutely everything in the earth, and it was in this God we live and move and have our being. Oh that we would read the words which are found in this passage and allow ourselves to be directly and completely confronted with the reality of a living God who gives life to everything, who is nearer and closer than we think, and desires to be felt and found. Oh have you experienced and encountered this living God who not only desires to be felt, but also found? THE GOD WHO DESIRES TO BE FELT AND FOUND! If there is one thing we must understand when reading the words found within this passage of Scripture it’s that the living God desires to be felt and found, for it was the prophet Jeremiah who emphatically declared the following words according to the word of the Lord: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hear Kean unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when the shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into this place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:11-14). What we find and read within this passage of Scripture is not only the awesome and incredible reality that this living God is closer and nearer than we think or imagine, but also He desires to be felt and found by all who would call upon and seek Him. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whether we are willing to call upon His name and seek Him with all our heart. The question we must understand and ask ourselves is whether or not we are truly and indeed seeking the Lord with all our heart in order that we might feel and find Him.