Archives for posts with tag: delight

delight heart

Our culture seems fixated on finding passion. Channel surfing on a Sunday afternoon shows sports fans that pay lots of money to attend games where they can be part of the crowd, enthusiastically cheering for their team. Jerseys, foam fingers, and face paint are evidence of the depth of passion for their team.

We like the thrill of being caught up in the moment, and we pursue that thrill every chance we get. But the thrills we pursue are so often short lived. We have substituted  pornography for intimacy, sex for love. The passion of our political arguments usually change nothing but the other person’s opinion of us, not their politics. We choose to be a part of the cheering crowd, rather than a participant in the event. The delights of our hearts in those moments are short lived and, too often, disappointing.

I thoroughly enjoy a close score or race. It is exciting to watch people give their all in pursuit of their goal. But the outcome of the match or game rarely matters in the grand scheme of life. The thrill of that moment…only lasts for a moment. Sex becomes the impediment, rather than the first step, to deep relationship. Two weeks from now, a year from now, we spectators may not even be able to remember which teams played, much less the score. Our passion from the “stadium seats” doesn’t really impact anything but our moment and their advertising dollars. The events that bring a smile to our hearts for the rest of our lives come only from lives invested in the relationship, in the victory. We can’t know profound victory from the cheap seats. We spend our passion in pursuit of things that do not feed our souls.

God created us with the capability for deep passion. Our free will governs what passions we will pursue. What feels good in the moment may disappoint us in the long run. What is difficult in the moment may fulfill us in the long run.

What would change if we were as passionate for the things of God as we are for things of this world? How would those around you be impacted if your passion for God was as obvious as your political opinion? How would your life be different if your most enthusiastic moments were in the presence of God, rather than in front of your TV? If the thrill of your life was seeing God at work in the situations of your life, rather than just being a spectator of someone else’s success?

Many believers see Lent as a time to sacrifice – to consecrate themselves – to remove things from their life that threaten their purity or to use the desire for those things to remind themselves to pray in order to deepen their relationship with and understanding of God, to increase their holiness. God commands us to be holy – to be set apart from this world, and when we consecrate ourselves to that end, He will do mighty things for us, in us, and through us.

Don’t settle for the temporary, shallow thrills of this world. Don’t just study the stories of others who knew God. Ask God for a front row seat to his power and presence in your own story with Him. Let this season of Lent be a time when you intentionally, consistently expect Him in your day, and let your life show evidence of increasing holiness and decreasing worldliness. Ask God to give you the desires of His heart as you seek Him with all of your heart.

blind faith

Blind Faith

I like deadlines and punctuality. I like knowing exactly what’s expected of me. I like agendas, and I’m more comfortable with schedules that help me meet all the short term goals that will lead me to the finished product. But I worship the God who is bigger than my schedule and expectations.

God’s timing is so different from ours that sometimes it seems to us that he’s not paying attention because we can’t see evidence of a plan. He doesn’t ask us to create a plan; he wants us to follow his. He doesn’t need our input on a timetable or agenda; he already knows it. He tells his children what their next step should be, and he rarely gives them the map that shows the journey all the way to the end. He told Abraham to take his family and move to a place that he would should him. He told the disciples, “Follow Me”. He never actually mentioned where they would be going. He told Rahab to stay inside her house while the walls of Jericho fall around her. He told Moses to go to Egypt and bring all of Pharaoh’s work force back home to the land God promised them. There was no detailed description of exactly how any of that would work. Daniel saw God’s power inside the lions’s den; Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego saw it inside the furnace. The disciples saw it inside the storm. Gideon saw it during the battle. The women saw it at Jesus’ tomb. God never gave them the details of how their story would end or how the battle would play out. Whether or not we can see the end or suggest a possible happy ending to God doesn’t change his ability to lead us forward in victory. Details are God’s job. All he required is that we obey for the next step, even in blind faith, so that we can trust him for adventures we can’t even imagine. All that separates us from his plan is our courage to take the next step in a direction where we usually don’t know what to expect.

I like predictability, but it is delight that makes life worthwhile. God did not create us to survive and be content; Jesus said he came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). The most memorable, glory filled moments of my life are those that brought the thrill of an adventure or awareness of God’s presence amidst what I thought was mundane. While I might find a neatly stacked set of papers tucked away in my file drawer ahead of a deadline more peaceful, the moments that interrupt my day with laughter or awe or just the briefest glimpse of God’s glory are the best part.

Delight cannot be scheduled. In order to find the delight in our relationship with God or in our day, we have to have the kind of blind faith that will allow us to step out and trust the plan of this God who will not be put in a box. If we insist on a secure path based on common sense, we will may arrive at our goals punctually, and never see the delight or know the adventure that God had planned for us.

May my limited understanding of who God is allow me to have the blind faith to follow where he leads me. May I never sacrifice adelight and adventure for predictable and punctual. May my blind faith lead me to have the courage to step past what I can (or can’t!) control and experience the delight and adventure that God has planned for me.

Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of his heart.

blind faith

I like deadlines and punctuality. I like knowing exactly what’s expected of me. I like agendas and I’m more comfortable with schedules that help me meet all the short term goals that will lead me to the finished product. But I worship the God that is way bigger than that.

God’s timing is so different from ours that sometimes it seems to us that he’s not paying attention because we can’t see evidence of a plan. He doesn’t ask us to create a plan; he wants us to follow his. He doesn’t need our input on a timetable or agenda; he already knows it. He tells his children what their next step should be, and he rarely gives them the map that shows the journey all the way to the end. He told Abraham to take his family and move to a place that he would should him. He told the disciples, “Follow Me”. He never actually mentioned where they would be going. He told Rahab to stay inside her house while the walls of Jericho fall around her. He told Moses to go to Egypt and bring all of Pharaoh’s work force back home to the land God promised them. There was no detailed description of exactly how that would work. Daniel saw God’s power inside the lions’s den; Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego saw it inside the furnace. The disciples saw it inside the storm. Gideon saw it during the battle. He never gave them the details of how their story would end or how the battle would play out. The women saw it at Jesus’ tomb. Whether or not we can see the end or suggest a possible happy ending to God doesn’t change his ability to lead us forward in victory. Details are God’s job. All he required is that we obey for the next step, even in blind faith, so that we can trust him for adventures we can’t even imagine. All that separates us from his plan is our courage to take the next step in a direction where we usually don’t know what to expect.

I like predictability, but it is delight that makes life worthwhile. God did not create us to survive and be content; Jesus said he came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). The most memorable, glory filled moments of my life are those that brought the thrill of an adventure or awareness of God’s presence amidst what I thought was mundane. While I might find a neatly stacked set of papers tucked away in my file drawer ahead of a deadline more peaceful, the moments that interrupt my day with laughter or awe or just the briefest glimpse of God’s glory are the best part.

Delight cannot be scheduled. In order to find the delight in our relationship with God or in our day, we have to have the kind of blind faith that will allow us to step out and trust the plan of this God who will not be put in a box. If we insist on a secure path based on common sense, we will may arrive at our goals punctually, and never see the delight or know the adventure that God had planned for us.

May my limited understanding of who God is allow me to have the blind faith to follow where he leads me. May I never sacrifice delight and adventure for predictable and punctual. May my blind faith lead me to have the courage to step past what I can (or can’t!) control and experience the delight and adventure that God has planned for me.

Ps 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of his heart.

In a world marked by excess and materialism, it is my firm belief that Christians settle for far less than God wants them to have. We spend our lives chasing what we think will make us happy, but never seem to ever achieve the peace we hope for.  And when we tire of chasing what the world says will make us happier, healthier, smarter, wealthier, and more “acceptable”, we end up settling for less than what we wanted, less than delight.

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Abundance is defined as excessive, more than is necessary. The world tries to fill our desire for “more” with things that will disappear and disappoint. There is usually an abundant amount of food on the Thanksgiving or Christmas table, but we end up hungry for the next meal. Most of us own far more clothes than we need, yet still lament our wardrobe options. We now live in bigger houses with more luxury than we grew up with, but still seek bigger, better, newer, improved versions of everything. Our entertainment continually tries to be bigger, flashier, and have more realistic special effects than the last one. The thrill or pleasure we receive from what the world offers is undeniable, but short lived. We will never be permanently satisfied by filling ourselves with what the world offers. Gratitude for what the world gives us is quickly replaced by envy for what we don’t have or dissatisfaction that what we have is not enough.  

When God created the world, he could have done it in black in white with only what is necessary to sustain us, but he didn’t. He created a world that would delight you. Flowers could just as easily all bloom in the same color, all animals could be brown and have the same personality. No real need for taste or smell; everything could taste and smell just the same. But it doesn’t. God created different environments and periodic surprises to thrill us. There is no real need for a sunset or a thunderstorm. God created variety in color and texture and shape that isn’t necessary. God has gifted us with so many unnecessary things, just for our pleasure, to give our lives excitement and delight and variety and surprise.  Think of walking outside and suddenly smelling dirt that’s just been rained on or grass that’s just been cut. A storm coming.  Coffee brewing in the morning or bread baking. You don’t have to taste to take in nutrition, but God wanted to delight you there as well. Nobody would mistake the taste of a fresh strawberry for broccoli, no comparison between oranges and almonds. No real purpose in any of that; it’s just the extra that God throws in to delight us. God doesn’t want you to just not be hungry; he gave us variety and delight in what he feeds us with. God doesn’t want life to just exist; he wants it to be abundant, and he sent his son to us with that job description – that we might have life “more abundantly”. 

What we seek usually determines what we find. May we choose to be aware of and grateful for the abundance God has given us and refuse to settle for anything less. 

When I woke up this morning, outside my window was black.  The longer I sit here, the brighter it gets.  I find comfort in things I can predict.  Every morning the sun comes up.  The sunrise may provide different colors or even be hidden behind the clouds, but light always comes after the darkness of night.  The boundaries of light and dark that God set in place at creation have not changed.  My good days, bad days, busy days may be filled with fears or tedium or celebration, but they are all set within natural laws that do not change.  I find great security and peace in this God that does not change.  Evil and the weakness of man may change my attitude and emotions, but they do not change God.  He created a rhythm and a cycle in nature that I can depend on, that gives me security in an insecure world.

 But God is far more than just predictable security and expectation.  He is into delight.  While the sun has come up every morning this week, God has also sent delight outside that same window:  a bluebird came to feed, a nosy squirrel came and just stared in the window at me, a hummingbird hovered and fed on brightly colored blooms, sunbeams shined through our American flag.  None of those are necessary.  We could easily survive in a black and white world.  We don’t need taste for nutrition.  His creativity is manifested in the shapes and textures and variety of colors and sounds.  Consider the shape of an earthworm and a baboon.  The softness of a patch of moss and the sharp point of a cactus needle.  The brilliant colors of tropical birds and the camouflage of mountain snakes.  The chirp of a cicada, the song of a bird, and the roar of a water fall.  The smell of salt water and the smell of flowers.  Variety and delight are just as much part of God’s character as his faithfulness.  We worship a God who puts surprise and delight into our days, not because it’s part of the cycle of nature, but because he loves us abundantly.

 May I always trust the faithfulness of this holy God, and may I never miss the surprise and delight that he lavishes on me.

 Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love