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.

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!)

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

See, I am Doing a New Thing!

I love a new year! It feels like everything old can be washed away as a clean slate is presented to us for writing a new story. I find this both encouraging and daunting. Encouraging because there really is no limit to what God can accomplish through me. Daunting for much the same reason. What will 2016 bring?

The Bible is filled with rich promises of a new beginnings, and I found it so encouraging to read through these verses the other day, I thought they might encourage you as well. My prayer is that you will latch on to these promises and find the HOPE in new beginnings:

Isaiah 43:18-19 

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Oh, how I love that one! It feels like a love letter from God. He is making all things NEW!

LWT_ANewThing

Lamentations 3:22-24 

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Let us not be consumed by worry about what the future holds, or what the past has brought. His mercy and compassion is new EVERY morning! What a great thought!

Ephesians 4:22-24 

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Amen! May we put on a new self daily, as we walk through the new year.

Isaiah 40:31 

31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Want to SOAR this year? The only requirement is that you HOPE in the Lord. Whew! That takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?

Matthew 7:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

We have not because we ask not. This one hits hard. I’m going to be asking for big audacious things this year – not only from God, but from myself and others as well.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

As much as I’d like everything to happen NOW, I must remember that God makes everything beautiful in its time. In HIS time.

Revelation 21:5

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He is making everything new! Everything. Every. Thing.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

So why am I trying to do it all myself?

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

My future is secure. What a glorious hope!

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

Yes. We plan our course. In our hearts, on our planners & calendars. After all that planning, what might happen if we gave the Lord the last word on which things to step into and which to stay away from? I think probably the best year ever, that’s what!

Oh, there are so many more! I invite you to explore the Word of God as you plan your year. Let Him direct your steps and chart your course. If you do, I believe you will look back at the end of the year in amazement at how much more God accomplished through you than you ever could have done on your own!

Problems… We’ve all got ’em

I want to share this devotion from Jesus Calling with you. This really resonated with me because of the season I am in and I feel it will resonate with some of you as well.

 

“Approach problems with a light touch. When your mind moves toward a problem area, you tend to focus on that situation so intensely that you lose sight of Me. You pit yourself against the difficulty as if you had to conquer it immediately. Your mind gears up for battle, and your body becomes tense and anxious. Unless you achieve total victory, you feel defeated.

“There is a better way. When a problem starts to overshadow your thoughts, bring this matter to Me. Talk with Me about it and look at it in the Light of My Presence. This puts some much-needed space between you and your concern, enabling you to see from My perspective. You will be surprised at the results. Sometimes you may even laugh at yourself for being so serious about something so insignificant.

“You will always face trouble in this life. But more importantly you will always have Me with you, helping you to handle whatever you encounter. Approach problems with a light touch by viewing them in My revealing Light.”

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.” John 16:33

 

 

(Jesus Calling November 15)

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Spend time with Jesus. Bask in his presence and allow him to take your burdens and your problems. They are not yours yo carry.

(View from the top of the mountain where I lived in the Philippines during the World Race September 2014- taking in the beauty of our Creator with a cup of coffee of course!)

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!

The Busy Life

I have to admit I live a busy life. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. I love having variety in my life and always having something to do. I enjoy jumping from one thing to the next. It is a constant struggle for me to rest and be still and be ok with not always having something to do.

We live in a busy, fast pace culture. We are constantly making plans and “to do” lists. I have many “to do” lists myself and I am always planning my next adventure. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I need to check where my priority lies.

We put too much confidence in our flesh to hold ourselves together. We put so much on ourselves and tell ourselves we are ok, put on a face, but on the inside we are falling a part. We try to cram in as much as we can because that is the culture we live in. Running from one party to the next, to soccer games, school events, you name it! Where do we fit in time with Jesus?

We run ourselves into the ground and don’t put our energy into things that really matter. When was the last time you asked Jesus what he wants you to do with your day? What would happen if you turned your “to do” list upside down? What if instead of rushing into the store, you stopped to talk to the person standing outside asking for a donation. I went to a store and ran in to grab one thing. When I came out I was stopped by someone asking me if I wanted to “save the ocean”. I was slightly annoyed because I wanted this to be a quick stop, but God put my heart in check and instead of rushing past them I decided to stop and talk with them. Knowing that I would not partake in what they were advertising, I engaged in conversation and they told me all about the program. In the end I told them I loved seeing the passion they have for this particular program and to not lose that passion. They were taken back by my encouragement to them because they don’t get that response, and even though I didn’t sign up to join them, they were happy I took the time to talk to them.

You never know the impact you can have on someone’s life when you simply give some of your time. Forget about the “to do” list and the ticking clock and look at the people in front of you who need love.

Think of your initial feeling you had when you met Jesus. The passion, joy, excitement, and wonder. There is a song by Bethel called “Wonder” and a line in the song is “May we never lose our wonder. Wide eyed and mystified may we be just like a child staring at the beauty of our king.”

This is how we need to live our lives day to day. We need to live in the wonder and awe of Jesus. Live in the passion of knowing Jesus! We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t have to put on a face and carry everything. He wants to take everything from us. All Jesus wants us to do is fix our eyes on him and seek his face and he will do the rest. Find time to rest, to be still, to get away from the busyness and be with Jesus. He will get it all done for us. He needs to be our top priority and everything else will fall into place. I have seen this happen in my own life, so why is it still a struggle to trust him everyday? I have to remind myself everyday to give my day to Jesus and see where he leads me. When I do give Jesus my day, everything works out and I have a better day than I could have imagined.

 

Don’t be so busy that you miss the opportunity to be a part of God’s work on earth. Great things happen when we allow God to use us. We are his vessels to bring heaven to earth. Don’t miss your opportunity to change the world!

 

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:8-11, 13-14

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This is my friend Erica sitting with two Monks in Laos. She was showing them the love of Jesus by meeting them where they were, giving her time, and listening to them.

MEDITATION

What does it mean to meditate?

As usual, Satan has taken an instruction from God to meditate on His Word and twisted it into a lie.  Meditation is a word we see in every magazine, but the use of it is misinterpreted.  It’s not sitting in a certain yoga position and chanting a “mantra.”

Actually, the word meditate translated in our Bible means to read the scriptures, center your thoughts on a verse or passage, read it again, memorize it, read it again, think on that scripture and how it will change your life for good, then take it in, apply it to your life and do it.  Let it bring life to your body, mind, and spirit.

Those of you who have been around cows will see that mind picture clearly!  There are many animals in God’s creation that “chew the cud,” but most familiar to us is the cow.  She takes in nourishment, but because she has four stomachs as she chews and swallows that bit of grass it is not assimilated into the health of her body yet, until she chews, swallows, burps up, chews it again, etc.  That chewing process takes time to get that nourishment to where it will do her body the most good.  And, you have no doubt seen a cow lying down in a field at complete rest, chewing, chewing and chewing, not concerned about anything going on around her……she is meditating!

Cow-Chewing-its-Cud

What a picture of complete rest and peace!

Oh that we would take the time to meditate on God’s Word, not just read a passage, but to slow down and think on these things, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us, and then apply it to our lives. Search the scriptures; they are the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)  You will find new treasures in His Word every time you read it.  That’s why this book, the Bible, is the Living Word……it never changes and it never gets old!

Christians around the world are being persecuted and killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and they long for the written Word in their own language.  They will give their lives for the right to keep their tattered and torn Bible!!!

Meditate on God’s Word…..make time for it.  Just take one verse, memorize it, speak it, take it into your heart and mind until it becomes life and nourishment to you for your daily living.

Psalm 119:15-16  “I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.  I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.” (KJV)

Psalm 1:2  “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

Psalm 19:14  “May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV)

SO….CHEW, CHEW, CHEW ON GOD’S WORD!!!

Learning to WALK

Today I read the book of Hosea, which is possibly my least favorite book of the Bible because it is about judgment.

Since I have read the Bible through every year for the past 30 years, I have read this book many times. Yet, today a “jewel” jumped out at me. No matter how many times we read God’s Word, it is always new food for us.

This jewel is in the last chapter, verse 3, where the prophet is talking about warfare, and says, “we will not ride horses.” The thought is that they would WALK.

So many of us want to rush through life’s experiences, when God says, “WALK.”

“The STEPS of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” (Ps. 37:23)

And again Hosea 14:9, “For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous WALK in them.”

The reason?

We learn SO MUCH MORE when we walk….even when it is hard and we would like to rush through.

Learn to WALK in the path He leads you.

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Written by Gladys for Kristin’s AndyBooks.com April 20, 2006

Comfort Zone, it was nice knowing you.

In this season of my life, God has been challenging me to be obedient and walk in boldness; two things that do not come naturally to me. It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone and saying yes to anything God has for me. And some of those things are not easy.

Comfort Zone

“How do I do that?” you may ask. First it’s about having INTIMACY with the Lord so you are able to hear his voice and do what he says. He wants us to take time out of our “busy” lives to sit and be still with him. I feel like I write about this often, but that’s because it is SO IMPORTANT! Having intimacy enables us to hear his voice, and when we hear his voice we know what direction he wants us to go in.

 

Obedience means compliance with someone’s wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority. If we love God we will want to be obedient to him. I want to please him. I want to show him love in return. However, no matter what I do or what I say, God loves me anyway! I am a sinner and God still loves me. I mess up every day and God still loves me. The least I could do is be my best for him.

 

John 14:23 “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father in heaven will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

 

Boldness means showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. This is how I want to live my life every day. And I feel obedience and boldness go together. I have a recent example, and I don’t give this example to prove what I did, it’s about what Jesus did.

 

Last week in the evening I went to look out at the ocean. I sat on a short wall and stared off into the endless blue ocean thinking about God and his love for me. A group of 4 people came up and stood to the left of me speaking another language. They were Asian and I could tell they were visiting. I felt God tell me to go over and talk with them. I sat for a few minutes more and then got up and headed over to the group. I said hello to them and asked them where they were from. They seemed shocked that I came up to talk with them. They were a group of friends from China visiting for 6 months. I introduced myself and told them to enjoy themselves here in beautiful San Diego with the wonderful ocean. They smiled and nodded at me and said thank you. Then I said good-bye and was on my way.

 

I didn’t mention Jesus. I didn’t force anything upon them. I was obedient to the voice of God to talk with them. Who knows the impact that made, but I know I brought the light of Jesus to them simply by saying hi and engaging in short conversation.

 

God wants me, he wants us, to be a vessel for him to spread HIS love to HIS children. It doesn’t matter what people think of you. All that matters is that you are doing what your father in heaven is telling you to do. He wants us to be obedient, step out in boldness, and love his children. We are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. We are a light in the darkness. We are vessels of God’s love to the world!

 

Are you taking that responsibility lightly? Or are you using what God has given you and sharing it with the world? His children are all around you. Love them one person at a time.

 

1 John 6 “And this is love; that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

 

Psalm 138:3 “When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”

 

Bold as Lions