No Desires, No Delighting

Have you ever felt like you didn’t care about anything. You were tired, exhuasted, and you feel like you are just on the neverending hamster wheel of life. At it’s very core, you don’t want anything. You have no desire for anything in particular.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there. I’ve been to the place when I find delight in absolutely nothing. Food is bland, activities are boring, successes are empty, and I’m just  . . .  existing.

I read a verse yesterday that impressed on me in a new way. Psalm 37:4-5 has always been a favorite passage of mine, but this time it helped me with a whole ‘nother perspective.

Verse 4 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Notice it does not say He will fulfill the desires of your heart, but that He will give them to you. Later on the passage tells us God brings those desires to pass after you trust and commit to Him.

This verse communiates so strongly- God doesn’t want you to be apathetic. He doesn’t want you to go through life not caring about anything. I would pose the idea to you that He wants you to enjoy life, enjoy His blessings, have hobbies and interests.

The latest idea i took away from this verse was that, If you find yourself not caring about anything, then you most likely have not been delighting in God. When you delight in God, He gives you the desire for things. And He does this so He can show His goodness and glorify Himself, by fulfilling them for His faithful servants.

So have you felt lethargic and uncaring for the things in life lately?

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how much you’ve been delighting in God.

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You’ll never want anything ever again!

Skimming over verses of the Bible without stopping to think about them is easy. Especially when we have a favorite verse coming up later in the chapter. I’ve been guilty of it countless times, and I’m sure you have been too. Just today, the Lord reminded me of a verse I’ve been skipping over for a while.

Psalm 23 is a favorite of many. It is very common to memorize this psalm in Sunday school or elsewhere. It is a very picturesque psalm with deep meaning. The ultimate truth in the Psalm is that God takes care of us. The first verse of the psalm says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

I’d just like to stop there and expound on that.

God is the one that shepherds, guides, and protects us. No one else. Even when we are under the protection of a government, organization, or even our parents, they are not the ones that look after us. God looks after us. He alone is our shepherd. He alone takes care of us, and always will.

Secondly, we will not want. This isn’t like the fleshly childish desire of wanting something, but it is the state of needing something. We will not lack any thing. You, as a Christian, will never be in desperate need of anything. Nothing at all. God takes care of you. That means in war- He takes care of you. In sickness- He takes care of you. In drought- He provides for you. In whatever state you are- He is providing for you.

This is a timeless truth that endures no matter what. God takes care of His own. You shall not want.

You may be thinking, “But I remember that time when I needed ______.” In all honesty, no matter what you think you needed, you probably didn’t need it at all. Paul went through many hardships, but in Philippians 4 he says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul learned that his needs weren’t that great after all. He always had what he needed. In all that he experienced, God took care of Him.

So I challenge you, whatever situation you may be in, or whatever crisis may seem imminent, put your faith in God. He takes care of us. He took care of David. He took care of Paul. He took care of thousands of His children throughout the ages. And He will take care of you.

As you walk in this life, seek the Lord first, and you will find that you will never want for anything.

“The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” – Psalm 34:10

Shouting for joy!

There is always a punishment for our mistakes. And since we are human, we will always be making mistakes. So in the end, we will spend our lives being punished over and over and over again. Or will we?

Psalm 32 says, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity . . .” Now, seeing that there is a man whose sin is covered and whose transgression is forgiven, there must be a way to become said person.

David says, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” David was speaking of himself! When David laid all his sin on the table and hid nothing from God, and repented and asked for forgiveness, God forgave him, and covered his sin.

Another time in scripture, David was guilty of adultery and murder. Under the law, he was worthy of death. After David repented, God told Him through the prophet Nathan, “The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” God made provision to cover the punishment of David’s sin.

God is gracious. He does not always punish us like we should be punished. Many times his forgiveness comes with overwhelming grace and we do not need to suffer the full punishment for our sin.

I challenge you, whatever you are guilty of, come boldly unto the throne of grace, so you can obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. God may chose to cover your sin, as he covered David’s, and even if he chooses not to, you can praise Him for his forgiveness and justice.

As David said, “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

Let’s praise God He forgives us, and always gives us another chance!

 

Are you in good hands?

Do you remember when you were young, and you were in a huge mess of things? Maybe you spilled glue all over the carpet, broke a vase or glass, spilled food all over the kitchen, or maybe you didn’t even do it- there was a just a huge mess. Being overwhelmed- you found mommy or daddy, and they fixed everything. They look matters into their hands a made everything- even you- better.

Remember that relief as soon as they took over. Things were out of your hands. And into their capable ones. There was no need to worry. No need to distress. You could rest knowing that everything would be fixed.

That’s exactly how we should interact with God!

In Psalm 31, David calls upon the Lord to deliver him from his enemies. In verse 5 he says, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” David put his faith in God, that God would deliver him. He placed the responsibility of his well being into God’s hands, and trusted that it would be taken care of.

Many years later, a physical descendant of David spoke very similar words when he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” Sound familiar? Those are the words of our Savior on the cross. Jesus, God of heaven and earth, while he was experiencing such agony on the cross, committed his whole being into the Father’s hands. He trusted that all would be made right, and it was.

Your predicament may not be as dire or as agonizing as David or Jesus’, but whatever your trial, you can also cry out in faith and commit yourself into God’s hands. You can trust his capable hands with your life, and your everlasting spirit. If you are bearing a burden today, won’t you commit your burden, and your whole self to His safekeeping today?

You can trust Him. He won’t let you down.

It’s easy to be a naysayer, that’s why there’s so many of them

It takes some courage to think an idea. It takes more courage to act upon it. It takes no courage to sit there and say, “That will never work.” If you look down the long road of history, you will find an incredible trail of people and ventures that were spoken negatively about until they succeeded.

It is the same with the Christian life. When things don’t look right, we will be surrounded by those who will speak negatively. It takes the power of God to have faith. We must rely on God to help us develop our faith, and it is up to us to decide to exercise it.

Psalm 3 gives us an incredible example. In verse 3, David says, “Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.” David had naysayers, just like countless others. In the next verse, David praises the Lord for his comfort. David reminds himself of God’s faithfulness. He says that God is a shield, God encourages him, God heard him, and God kept him alive while he slept.

It would seem that he encourages himself by these reminders, because when he ends his praise he declares: “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”

Hallelujah!

When David was surrounded by people who doubted God, he reminded himself of God’s faithfulness. He could have focused on negativity, but he didn’t. He focused on what God had done for him, and praised God for it.

It’s easy to be a naysayer, that’s why they are so many. But you don’t have to be. You can chose to live in righteousness and faith, and see God’s great power in your life.

I challenge you, exercise your faith and choose not to be discouraged by any situation. Remind yourself of God’s goodness in your life, and be encouraged. Stand in faith for God’s deliverance, and you will see your faith rewarded.

If you’d like a great example of this principle, take the time and check out one of the greatest stories of overcoming discouragement: Nehemiah 4:1-6:16

When your soul’s restored

There are promises in the Bible that require no action from us. God is true. God is faithful. God will reign for all eternity. Whether we serve the Lord or not, those truths will remain. Those promises are sure. Even when they affect us, like, God will judge the world in righteousness, those promises require no cooperation from us. But many if not most of God’s blessings, require our cooperation to come to fruition. Not that God is incapable of bringing them to pass without our help, but that He chooses not to act unless we are in submission to Him.

Two such blessings are found in Psalm 23:3. The verse says, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” First, God restores our soul. This has the meaning of to turn back or to return. When we are weary and burdened in this life, God has the ability to return us to strength. He restores our soul to it’s liveliness, and vitality. Second, He leads us in the paths of righteousness. Think about this for a moment, God didn’t have to lead us at all. He could simply say, “Be righteous.” And leave us to our own devices. But that is not His way. He chooses to say, “Come this way, child, and I will lead you.” He leads because He loves, and He leads to show other’s His goodness and glorify His name.

But as a good doctor cannot cure unless the patient is willing, and the one who leads with none following is only taking a walk. God cannot restore us or lead us without our cooperation. We must come to Him to be restored. We must humble ourselves and choose to follow if we are to be lead by God. This is not always an easy choice, but it must be done if we are to enjoy the pleasantness of true fellowship with our Creator.

I pose this question to you, Will you come to your Savior to be restored? Will you follow that He might lead? It is the only way to a happy and fulfilled life. Won’t you make that choice today?

Dig your well before you’re thirsty

If you can imagine a thirsty and dehydrated person trying to dig a well, I believe you can fathom the consequences of horrible preparation. As we go through life, we can be either prepared, or unprepared for the challenges that meet us.

Temptation, trials, and suffering will come our way, it is our duty to remain prepared for such hardships. Proverbs 6 tells the lazy person to look at the ant. This small creature has the innate knowledge that he must prepare for the winter. Verse 8 says that the ant, “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Just like that we must be prepared for the spiritual hardships that will come our way.

Every time you go out into the world, you will be tempted to think improper thoughts, give in to wrong attitudes, and entertain wrong ideas. You might even be tempted to do wrong things. As a Christian, you must be prepared.

David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 Realize that David prepared for possibility of temptation. He stored up God’s Word in his innermost being so that he would have protection. Christ, in the garden of Gethsemane, tells his disciples, “Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” – Luke 22:46

Fellow Christian, we cannot afford to be a sluggard in our Christian walk. We must prepare, we must arm ourselves with the Word, and we must put on the armor of God. When the battle comes, not only is our dependence on God tested, but our will and our preparation are tested as well. We cannot “do” anything to win the battle against sin. We must depend on God. But dependence comes hand in hand with obedience, and God clearly commands us to prepare for the fight.

Let us not be found unprepared!

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13

Do you focus on what He takes?

When Job experienced great loss, he fell down and worshipped God. He said, ” the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” It is interesting to note that Job first recognized that all that he had was from the Lord. He said, “The Lord gave.” Job did something that most people would not, He focused on what God gave, and because of that, He saw what God “took” in a proper light.

In Psalm 3:5, David says, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve rarely found a person (including myself) who is truly thankful that God sustained them when they wake up. Usually they focus on their stressful day, their lack of coffee, their manner of awakening. They focus on what God takes, or just anything He didn’t give.

Through this verse, we can learn much from David. That line about God sustaining him in his sleep, when do you think that was written? It wasn’t written while he was lounging in luxury in his palace just trying to find a Hebrew rhyme to put in his next album hit. No, it was written while he, the king, was on the run. His own son had turned against him and was threatening his life.

This ancient king found occasion to thank the Lord for sustaining him in his sleep, while he had his throne taken from him, his son rising up against him, and his very life in danger. He did so because he focused on what God had given him.

If a man in such conditions could still find it in him to sing the praises of God, couldn’t we?

” I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” – Psalm 34:1

Do you sit with vain people?

It doesn’t matter where you are, there is always a bad crowd. There is always a group of people who have a terrible reputation for behaving inappropriately, disrespecting authority, and getting pleasure from doing inappropriate things. These people need love, and they need Christ, but for some reason, the Bible clearly tells us that it is a good thing to avoid these people.

Psalms 1:1 tells us, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” In Psalm 26, David tells the Lord, “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”

You may think, “Didn’t Jesus spend time with sinners?” And that is correct, He did.

If we’re not careful, we can easily become confused by this apparent contradiction, but in reality, it is quite simple.  If we read Psalm 51, we find that David asks that God restore to him the joy of his salvation. David says, “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” How would David teach transgressors, if he never spent any time with them? The answer is obvious. David obviously spent time with sinners, vain men, transgressors, and other ungoldly people, he simply did not acquire them as choice companions.

In the same manner, Jesus spend countless hours ministering to sinners and publicans, but He did not choose to commune with them 24/7. Jesus took time apart with the twelve, with the inner circle, and then with God alone. Just like that, we must be cautious about who we spend our time with. There is something to be said for ministering to everyone, obviously it is necessary, but God does not want us to find our close companionship with those who reject Him and mock His laws.

As a fellow Christian, I challenge you, be careful who you become close to. Don’t unlovingly shun sinful people, but don’t invite them to your inner circle. As 2 Corinthians 6:15 says, ” what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” Learn to love and minister to others while keeping a distance that provides for your spiritual health. Be wise and discerning about how you spend your time and with whom.

As Jesus did, we must keep the proper balance between loving sinful people, and preserving our walk with God. When we keep that balance, we will have the pleasure of teaching transgressors God’s ways, while keeping ourselves unspotted from the world.

Job title: National leader ~~~ Job experience: shepherd

There’s something great about someone who does great things. A person who has an important job or completes a crucial task. We sit back and say, “If they never did that, then I don’t know what we’d be doing.” All of us humans are often impressed by what a person does in their life, but it seems that God’s emphasis is often on how a person does in their life.

 When the great prophet Samuel was anointing the next king, he was told not to anoint Jesse’s firstborn. God said, “I have refused him.” The candidate for king was David, a shepherd boy. Taking care of the sheep is, I’m sure, a crucial task, but it’s not very noteworthy. It doesn’t represent greatness.

 Moses, the great leader of Israel, spent decades keeping flocks in the desert. Yeah, wonderful. Do you think he was really racking up the qualifications for a national leader and diplomat? I’m sure the world didn’t think so. But apparently God did, and God used that time of preparation to mold Moses into the man God needed him to be.

 There are countless examples of someone doing something small in a great way.  I’m sure at some point Nehemiah felt that his cupbearing wasn’t doing much good for God, but when God used that position to allow Nehemiah to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, it was clear.

I’m sure Joseph felt that his sitting in prison wasn’t doing much good for God, but the Bible tells us that in prison, Joseph had a change of character. You see, God isn’t always focused on our changing the world for Him. Sometimes He wants to change us for Him. Sometimes the “pointlessness” of a task is designed to change us. Once we are changed, then God can use us to change the world.

 So next time you are getting ready to sweep the floor, or do that Algebra you think you will never use, remember, sometimes God will use the menial tasks to change you. But He doesn’t call every faithful person to the stage.  You may sweep the floor faithfully, and do your algebra without fail, but never get recognition. Are you willing to do that which is little, for Him? Will you be one to do the small things in a great way?

 Whatever God’s will is, be open to it. Be faithful and diligent to do what God called you to do.  You’ll be doing God’s will, you may never lead a nation, or who knows? Maybe you will.

 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” – Colossians 3:23

 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: ” – Luke 16:10