Are you Delighted?

delight [dih-lahyt]

1. a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture: 2. something that gives great pleasure:

When is the last time you were delighted? Reread the definition above and really think about that for a minute. Unfortunately it’s an emotion that may be in short supply lately.  It’s an emotion I truly didn’t enjoy very often until a toddler started calling me grandma.

There is nothing like having a little person in your life who brings joy and wonder. His enthusiasm for EVERYTHING is over the top.

And he DELIGHTS me.

“Watch dis, gramma!” “Gramma, let me show you!” “I wuv you, gramma.”

Such music to my ears.

Every time I find such joy in my little guy, God gently reminds me that he feels the same way about me. And I am amazed.

“For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4

“the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Rejoice over you with singing! Oh! Doesn’t that make your heart just sing?

Let’s take it a step further: If we also delight in Him, God says He will give us the desires of our hearts! What?

Just this morning, I was playing with my grandson Luca & things got really silly. Doing something as simple as throwing a ball back and forth had us in giggling fits. We were delighting in each other. And you know what? There is no desire of his heart I would withhold from him when such delight is going on.

“Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

God desires that two-way relationship with us. When we take delight in Him, it makes His heart sing and burst with joy. Remember, He actually rejoices over us with singing! imagine yourself as a child with a daddy who is so in love with you that he delights in every little thing you do!

Father and daughter laughing and bonding

Our lives are so filled with trouble and angst that I know it’s hard to think about taking delight in anything some days. But what if we did? Find the smallest thing to start with, and see it with new eyes. Begin to change your outlook. Take delight in God, and He will take even more delight in you. Don’t miss out on walking in that kind of freedom…

And see what happens to your life.

Which “One Another” Are You?

It’s hard to remember a more divisive time during an election season in my lifetime. The name calling and questioning the security of another’s faith just because they disagree is beyond crazy these days. I’m especially saddened that Christians are polarized against one another.

That’s not the kind of “one another” God had in mind when He included some 59 scriptures in the Bible with those words.

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Seriously. It’s in there. Maybe we all could use a review:

Romans 12:16 tells us to “live in harmony with one another.” Mark 9:50 says to “be at peace with each other.” Romans 14:13 says “stop passing judgment on one another.” The phrase, “Love one another” shows up 14 times in the New Testament. Other verses say to “encourage each other” (1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11), to “live in harmony with one another” (I Peter 3:8) and to “encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).

Oh, and my personal favorite, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15)

Insert gritting teeth emoji here.

I long for the days when a good old fashioned political discourse took place face to face. Live. In real time. The common decency of humans towards one another prevailed most of the time. Speaking as one who used to love politics, it was all in good fun & very few true friendships were lost over such discussions.

Fast forward to today when social media is our proverbial hiding place. We say things we would at one time never have said to someone to their face, hiding behind the veil of protection that we are just typing the words and they somehow aren’t as vile.

But they are vile. Words hurt whether they are slung from a loose and careless tongue or typed by angry hands. I’ve seen far too many of my friends become nasty word slingers in the past several weeks and if it breaks my heart I can only imagine how God must be feeling as he watches us escalate into hysteria and confusion.

As far as I’m concerned, November 8th cannot come and go soon enough. I pray the damage done is not permanent, and that we are as quick to repair relationships as we were to wound them.

 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

 

By Grace You Have Been Saved

In reading the book of Exodus, I was ministered to by the Holy Spirit as I read Exodus 20:24-26, about the making of the altar on which to offer the sacrifices for sin. God told Moses how to make it, and explained that if they made an altar out of stones, they were not to be hewn stones ,for if they used a chisel on the stones, it profaned the altar.

Why?

It was a type of our meeting with God under the New Covenant made through the blood of God’s Son, Jesus.

We have to come solely on the merits of His offering…no works of ours can be added.

“For by Grace you have been saved, through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8

But, you say, “What about ‘faith without works is dead’?” That’s true too, and Biblical, for if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, He will shine through you, and the works will follow because of Him and not because of you.

How freeing that is!

You Can’t Earn It

“But the father said to his servants, Quick! Bring the best robe and put in on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet…” Luke 15:22

You may have heard this story of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and was living in obscure poverty when he finally came to his senses and returned to his father to ask if he could work as his hired help. The father was so overjoyed his son had returned home, that he restored him to his previous status, including giving him the family ring that would forever give him all the rights to something he did not earn.

That ring, though.

Photo: Jostens

Photo: Jostens

Troy Murphy, a Wisconsin pastor who also happens to be the chaplain for the Green Bay Packers football team, tells a story about when they won the Super Bowl in 2010. A few weeks after that big game, he was running on the treadmill when he answered a phone call that went something like, “How soon can you come here to be fitted for your Super Bowl ring?” You better believe he stopped that treadmill and rushed to the stadium as soon as he could. As he flashed the ring to us and we all ooohed and ahhhhed at its bling & beauty, he said, “I don’t know if you remember, but I didn’t catch a pass during that game. I didn’t go out and make any tackles. I never ran a ball into the end zone.” And yet, here he was, the recipient of a ring that makes him part of something he did not earn.

What a gift we’ve been given!

God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be

~Brennan Manning~

 

Are You Too Near the Getting In Place?

The story is told of a little boy who had a habit of falling out of bed in the night. Finally, his mother asked him why he fell out of bed so much. He replied, “I guess I stay too near the getting in place.”

The small boy with alarm clock in the bedIt’s a picture of too many Christians who don’t seem to grow, or know the Lord Jesus better this year than last. They’re faithful in their church attendance and they even tithe. But the Christian walk is a walk with Jesus that causes us to change. As Paul wrote, we are changed “from Glory to Glory, transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Peter also cautioned us to grow in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Knowledge comes through the Word, illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

(These thoughts were first shared with Kristin in an email on August 11, 2005. Gladys was 86 years old. And yes, she loved connecting via email!)

What Legacy Will You Leave?

LEGACY.

I’ve honestly not given that word much thought, nor have I had any use for it. Deep down I knew my own mother left us a legacy. She will be remembered for her love of people, her fun-loving nature, her laugh, and of course her sermons, which God has used to change the lives of thousands, even several generations.

I guess I just didn’t think I would have the opportunity to leave a legacy. I was wrong.

How we treat people on this earth leaves a lasting imprint into eternity. Yes, what we do here matters.

Being content to sit in the corner and watch the world go by doesn’t seem to be an option. God wants more. He wants action. Action brings change. Change brings renewal. And renewal creates a legacy that reaches across generations with stories and memories. Many people think of an earthly inheritance when they hear the word legacy, but it is so much more than that.

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Legacy?

I have a little grandson who is almost 2 years old. The idea of a legacy did not hit me until recently, when God began asking me to step out of my comfort zone, and take action where I previously had been complacent. Little Luca’s face is ever before me now, as I ponder what kind of a world will I leave for him?

I heard a sermon recently that illustrated how a life of legacy looks, using the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6:1-23) Go ahead and read it, then ask yourself: What are the qualities of someone who leaves a legacy?

  •  When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of character.  In verse 3 of this story we see that Daniel had distinguished himself among the administrators by his exceptional qualities. Daniel lived a life of excellence, even though he was living in exile and was a visitor. I’d say this would be the ultimate illustration of how to Bloom Where You Are Planted, am I right?
  • When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of conviction. Verse 10 of this story tells us that when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home and prayed beside a window opened toward Jerusalem three times a day anyway. Daniel knew the penalty was death for praying to any other god or human besides King Darius. He did it anyway. That’s conviction.

“Daniel knew that the lion’s den of conviction is a far safer place than the royal palace of compromise” Pastor Chuck Olson

 

  • When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of confidence. And, I might add, not confidence in themselves. We hear a lot to talk about self-confidence, but what if we operated in God-confidence instead? Surely we could move mountains. Daniel faced death, but he went about his day doing what he believed in without concern for the consequences. I’m sure he knew the bogus decree was specifically intended to trap him. He could have whined about how unfair life is. He could have begged the king for mercy and asked for a special dispensation to disobey the law. He was very close to the king, after all. What Daniel had was an unwavering faith in God even when life’s circumstances don’t make sense. Verse 23 tells us that when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 

Don’t you want that kind of unwavering Character, Conviction, and Confidence? That’s what I’m talking about. A legacy of money is fine, but what people will talk about for generations is how you made a difference in this world.

What will be your legacy?

We Don’t Fight this War Alone

I can hear them coming. World War II era airplanes fly over our house on approach to the local municipal airport for the annual Memorial Day air show. It’s a great display of patriotism, but I get a catch in my throat every year as I think of what it must’ve been like to hear that sound during a time of war.

Imagine the tension of being set on edge by the drone of approaching engines. 

Friend or foe? It wasn’t always evident. 

War is an impossible realm of uncertainty and danger. Now our ability to see what’s going on around the world at a moment’s notice gives us a glimpse into the horrors of war. Can you imagine what it was like to feel isolated from the world when communication was cut off?

This morning God used the sound of those airplanes to remind me of another war that is waging. The constant tension of battles in the spiritual realm requires a diligent heart, always ready to fight. But unlike those in wartime who heard the planes approaching and were helpless in their defense of the outcome, we do not sit helpless.


Have you felt blindsided by the enemy lately? Even if you saw the attack coming, were you unprepared for the intensity of the battle? Were you left feeling hopeless? Helplessly wandering in the rubble that was left after the dust cleared?


We have all been there. I have been there, and I know how easy it is to think I am alone in the fight. Like any good warrior, though, I took inventory of my strategy and found this:

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah‬ ‭52:12‬ ‭NIV

And this:

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

Aaaand this:

“But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The battle, no not just the battle, the entire WAR belongs to the Lord. He will fight for you, and he will prepare you for battle when he wants you to fight alongside him.  This promise I know to be true: God will never leave us to fight this enemy alone.

Never. Never. Never.

The Choice

There’s something about waiting for an appliance repairman to show up that has me feeling captive. I spent the better part of the day today wondering exactly when during the 10am to 2pm window he would arrive. He finally called at 1:55 informing me he’d be there in about a half hour. Oh well. Day lost. Or was it?

Usually, I spend this time frustrated that I can’t leave the house, or trying not to start something big because I may have to run to answer the door. There was plenty to do. Laundry & the ever present tidying up beckoned for my attention. But today I heard a still, small voice inviting me to quiet myself and spend the time in Bible study and prayer. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I struggle with calming myself long enough to hear from God. With 3 business ventures to pursue, I am BUSY. But you know what? Today was different. Today was good. So good.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:15

It’s so easy to forget that God longs to spend time with us. There’s nothing he’d love more than to have us seek his presence in our lives. In this journey towards more intimacy with God, I’m learning that sometimes he boldly provides that time and waits to see if we will use it to pursue a deeper relationship with him. It’s still our choice.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

Today, I had a few hours of what could have been limbo, but instead I made the choice for spending time with Jesus & the rest of my day has gone well. There’s a peace in knowing God is in control and he’s got my back. A cup of coffee, a good Bible study book and some quiet time while chatting about the future and handing over the reigns for my business and family needs is so refreshing.

I highly recommend it.

Books and a coffee cup on a wooden table

God is in the Details

There are some crazy stories in the Bible, aren’t there?

If you grew up in church like me, you were puzzled about many of them. One in particular I remember was found in 2 Kings chapter 6 about an ax head breaking off the handle and sinking to the bottom of the river. It was borrowed, which made no hope of retrieval even worse, I suppose. But when the man who lost the ax head went to the prophet Elisha and told him about it…

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut off a piece of wood. He threw it into the water at that place and made the ax head float. Elisha said, “Pick it up.” The disciple reached for it and picked it up. (2 Kings 6:6-7)

End of story.

Cue my mother, Gladys. Great preacher that she was, and confused child that I was, I have a beautiful understanding of this passage these days. It wasn’t because of a sermon she preached, but a real life incident where God showed himself to be the same God today as back in the days of the great Kings of Israel. Many, many years of hearing the story told over and over again has solidified my belief that God cares about the details of our lives.

I remember her being so excited about planning a series of outdoor meetings one summer in the church parking lot, calling it “Brush Arbor Days.” This was in the early 1970’s – the beginning years of the Jesus Movement, and since we were in Southern California and had access to these things, she booked a few bands out of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, along with some gospel singers from Los Angeles, set up a stage and chairs in the church parking lot, and planned several nights of summer revival for the community.

As you can imagine, this involved needing a lot of sound equipment our little church didn’t own, so it was borrowed. One night, as things were being set up, the crew noticed a box of microphones missing. Without missing a beat, my mama recalled the scripture in 2 Kings 6 where God floated a borrowed ax head and got a group together to begin praying to float the ax head. They prayed fervently for those stolen microphones to float back to our little church before it was time to return them, or have to pay a big price. And you know what? That box was left at the church steps with an “I’m sorry” note. I can only imagine the story from the other side – how did the thief know that box must be returned?

For the rest of my life, I have remembered this story about the time God floated the microphones. God cares about the details.

Just last week a friend sent me a text asking me to pray for her daughter whose laptop had been stolen at school. Her request was that her daughter would learn through this experience how God works in the details of our lives. As I prayed for this situation, my mind returned to those microphones so many years ago, and the story in the Bible about the ax head floating to the top of the river.

And you know what? God floated that laptop. He cares about the details.

 

KNOW HIM AND MAKE HIM KNOWN

My sister, Tami, wrote about prayer in the last blog entry, and she mentioned she had not been specific in focused time prayer.  I, too, have prayers flying upward throughout the day and night, and only once in a while for any amount of concentrated time.  I tell you, we are never too old, or have been a Christian for so long that we cannot refine our intimate time with our God!!!

We all need the reminder that we are in a spiritual war, and should take our time with God in prayer and Bible study seriously.  So, my entry today is to encourage you to get into God’s Word.  His Word reveals His ways to us, Who He is, what He expects from us, and How much He loves us.

When my daughter, Kristin, went to Charlotte Christian School, their motto was “To Know Him, and Make Him Known.”  How can we know God and His Son, Jesus, if we don’t spend quality time with Him?  We all KNOW ABOUT HIM, but my question to you today is, DO YOU KNOW HIM?

Time spent with a family member or a friend is usually a “set aside” amount of time.  Will you “set aside” time to READ God’s Word, pour out your heart to Him in PRAYER, and then LISTEN listen to Him?  The amount of time you give to God is a very personal thing for each one of us.  No one can give you a schedule to follow…….that is between you and God.  But, the end result of your diligence is not how much you study His Word, but the application of it to your life.  How is spending time with Him changing you?

The Holy Bible contains everything we need for knowledge of salvation and godly living.  Did you know that the Holy Bible is the most popular book ever written? Over five billion copies world wide have been sold….and the second most copies sold of any book is two hundred million of “The Tale of Two Cities”.   Amazing, right?

King David loved the Word of God as the first five books of the Bible were written on scrolls. He wrote in Psalm 119, many verses about how he loved God’s Word………

You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.  I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees.  How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I will not neglect your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law .Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselor. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path.”

Wow! And David only had the first five books of the Bible to read!  We have the  entire Word of God to guide us, give us wisdom and understanding, and to convict us of what is displeasing to Him.

Thy Word

How can we let our Bibles sit on a shelf until we take them out to carry to church? My plea to you today is to get to know God by getting in His Word so you can KNOW HIM AND INTRODUCE YOUR BEST FRIEND TO OTHERS!