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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When bitterness strikes

There’s a classic stereotype of a bitter old man. He grunts at most, approves of little, and smiles not at all. He lives his life casting a gloomy shadow on the lives of others. People say, “grumpy old man” and most understand this idea. But how does one become this way? There are plenty of grumpy people everywhere, young or old.

The Bible prescribes a preventative for grumpy bitterness. It says,

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

The first verse gives us two objectives to follow. God desires that we seek peace with all men. It’s easy to get in a rut of contention without thinking about it. Complaining about the boss, or that coworker that doesn’t pull their weight. How about the grumbling about that driver who drives in the most annoying way possible. The government, the greedy rich people, the ridiculous activists.

Pick something.

Without realizing it, we can set ourselves to be at odds with people over and over again. We all have our faults. We all play the part of the annoyance at one point or another. If we allow offenses to pile up, if we complain consistently instead of praying without ceasing,

Are we really seeking peace with ALL men?

Secondly holiness. If we follow the love of Christ, and the purity that comes with righteousness, then we are seeking holiness indeed. Putting others before ourselves. Putting Christ’s commands before all else. Restraining ourselves from acting selfishly towards another or participating in excessive self-indulgence.

Christ first. Us last. This is the path to holiness.

To sum up the passage, Christ tells us to look diligently in order that no man fail the grace of God and a root of bitterness trouble you. But what does this mean? Christ tells us to watch out in general for the church. Not just ourselves.

When bitterness strikes, it troubles many. Just like that grumpy old man that seems to drag the rain cloud with him, if we allow bitterness in our lives, it will trouble all those around us. It will pollute the church, and detract from the objective: peace with all men, and holiness.

God’s commands are never unobtainable. God commands them because he knows we can achieve them with His empowerment. I challenge you, seek those two objectives, and look diligently that any root of bitterness does not spring up and destroy what Christ labors in us to produce. He is laboring in us, and when His spirit is in our lives, it will bring peace!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace  . . . ” – Galatians 5:22

10 minutes could save you . . .

There’s a popular insurance ad that reads, “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” It’s sales tactic is simple, take some time out of your day and explore the possibility of . . . Think of the time it would take!

Only 15 minutes!

That’s not a lot of time. And you could save money too! This advertisement has become somewhat known in America and I’m sure many parts of the world. It’s tactic is brilliant.

So I’d like to use it.

But let’s shorten it. Let’s say ten. What could you do with ten minutes? You could aimlessly surf the internet, chat with a friend, play a Sudoku game – I’m running out, so think of something that you would do in a 10 minute window of time. You probably come across these once or twice a day. You know, that random time between appointments. What do you do with it?

I don’t know what your schedule is like. Or what you face every day. But I would challenge you, take 10 minutes every day, and invest it. Do something eternally profitable.

For instance, if you struggle with laziness – take ten minutes every day to suppress your sin nature. Do that thing that you’ve been putting off for some odd days. You may not be able to finish it, but start. And start again day 2- for ten minutes.

If you’ve noticed that worry or anxiety has been stressing you out, take ten minutes. And spend it in constant prayer. Take that time to turn your eyes heavenward. God promises that he will keep you in peace if you keep your eyes on Him.

If you’ve been feeling distant from God. Take ten minutes and spend it in His Word. Flip through proverbs, or psalms, or wherever the Spirit takes you and learn from Him. And then do it day 2. And so forth.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent more than ten minutes surfing the internet, or having a long conversation with a friend. It flies by doesn’t it? Not very much time. Take that time and invest it in God’s eternal kingdom, and you will be amazed at what He does with it.

I challenge you, take 10 minutes. Every day. And watch your world change

 

No fear- No stress- No anxiety

I have heard it been said that God commanded, “Fear not” over 300 times in the Bible. The Lord has told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. All throughout the scriptures, God tells us repeatedly, “Be at peace- I have everything under control.” And yet, in the presence of God’s repetitive reminders to be at peace, many of us constantly allow ourselves to have stress into our lives.

Perhaps we are pressed for time, and when we get on the highway, there is traffic: Did you feel that? That twinge of frustration, panic, or even fear? Or work is tough, and your hours just got cut- did you sense that tension in your gut? Maybe you have a health complication and the doctor recommended a checkup- was there a feeling of anxiety?

Perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about. I hope you don’t. But for many of us, when we are faced with a “difficulty” we initially panic. Maybe we don’t dwell on it, lose sleep, or breakdown- but the stress is there. And we allow it to be there.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

God knows about traffic. He knew what we would encounter before we even woke up today. He’s not worried. God knew your hours would be cut- He wants you to trust Him. God knows more about your body than any doctor. He will have His will- It is for you to trust Him. No matter what situation you are in- keep your mind on God. God’s not worried. He’s not stressed. He’s not overcome by anxiety. And neither should you be.

God’s plan for us is peace. He desires for us to have no other disposition that would dissuade us from peace. If there is something that must be done, there is a way for you to accomplish it without fear, without stress, and without anxiety. There is a way to accomplish your tasks in perfect peace. And that way is to keep your mind on the Creator of the universe- and trust Him.

My friends, I do not know what lies ahead of you. What rough road, or troubling situations. But, I do know one thing- Your Heavenly Father desires that you would live in peace. And He has always prepared a way for you to do so. All you must do is trust Him- and keep your mind fixed on Him.

Would you cut off your arm?

There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies when the great climax is in full motion. One character is struggling with a personal battle as well as a physical battle. His best friend and companion declares, that he may not be able to carry his particular burden, but he can carry him to where he needs to go. It’s a great scene, and it’s a good reminder to all of us what true dedication and friendship is.

Christ commands us to carry one another when he said, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” That word “forbear” literally means to hold erect. We are to hold each other up, and forgive each other’s faults.

The next verses continue to speak of living with love and peace, but then it mentions something very interesting. It says, “ye are called in one body . . .”

You know, I’ve noticed that when a team, group, club, or any “body” of members has a fault- or a weak link- it causes one of two things. Either the individuals turn on the weak one in anger and hate- or they reach out with compassion and help him. They either have the mentality of individuals, or the mentality of “what happens to you- happens to me.”

If something happens to your right arm, say it’s injured. Suddenly, you can’t work as hard. You get slower. You have pain. You aren’t efficient. Would you chop that arm off? No, obviously not! You would bandage it. Give it rest. Make adjustments so it can heal. It’s the same with the body of Christ.

To many people see a weakness in someone and want to amputate them from the body. Instead, that member needs more attention, love, compassion, and forgiveness. When it comes to the church, we need to have the mentality of, “What happens to you- happens to me.” We need to be understanding of one another’s faults and willing to uplift a brother who has fallen.

I challenge you, don’t look at yourself as an individual in the body, look at yourself as part of the body of Christ. Don’t look at your own needs and desires, see the larger picture and take notice of what others need, and the healing they might be in need for.

As the Scripture says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4

Who has peaceful enemies?

It’s not fun having enemies. Having to watch your back. Not knowing who is plotting against you. We can trust in the Lord during these times, but nevertheless it is not enjoyable. Imagine if you had peace with all your enemies? What would that be like? Even the people who hated you, didn’t feel the need to fight or plot against you.

That is exactly what God promises to the man who’s life pleases Him. In Proverbs 16:7, God tells us, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Now that’s an amazing promise.

God tells us in his word that if we keep our minds on Him, he will give us perfect peace. I always considered that to be a complete calmness and serenity during adversity, but it seems that it may more than that. If our lives please Him, He gives us rest from the contention with our enemies.

He gives us peace.

I challenge you, decide to have your ways please the Lord. If you are having severe problems with some “enemies” it may be time to ask God where you are not pleasing Him. Listen to His voice, repent where you must, change your lifestyle, and enjoy the peace that He gives to those who please Him.

God wants to reward you with a peaceful and prosperous life. All you must do is obey Him!

 

God’s time warp?

Imagine if you could have more than 24 hours in a day. If you could choose to lengthen your day. Throughout my life I’ve always heard people say things like, “We all only have 24 hours a day.” or “I wish I had more time today.” While I was reading the Scripture, I found that it seems that God has provided a way for us to get more “time” out of our day.

In Proverbs 3, Solomon tells his son to keep his commandments. Solomon tells him that the reward for this is, “length of days, and long life, and peace.” Long life and peace are both easily understandable. But length of days, seems a little confusing. How can your day be longer? Is God talking about a time warp for the righteous?

I don’t really think so. I once heard the phrase “length of days” interpreted as the ability to get more done in your day than others.

You see, when you follow the Lord and obey His commandments, He is with you. When Joseph was in Potiphar’s house, he was highly favored, and God prospered everything he put his hand to. I honestly believe that when we follow the commands of the Lord and work for His glory, then we can accomplish far more in a day for Him than we could ever accomplish by ourselves.

So I encourage you, obey the commands of God, and when you go to work in the course of your day, remember who is with you. Ask God to give you length of days. Ask Him to help you get more done in the time you have. You might be surprised how much you can accomplish when God divinely directs you.

Oh, and if you ever need a day to be a few hours longer, don’t be afraid to ask for a few hours. I mean, He did it for Hezekiah, and for Joshua, so why not for you?

Take the path that the world has labeled insane

Contemplate the fact that when God calls you to serve Him, He calls you to deny your own flesh and the entire world system that surrounds to follow Him while changing inwardly to the point of bringing death to your most intimate and base desires. When you realize that, you conclude naturally that you need God’s help in order to follow Him.

In Philippians 2:3, God commands: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;”

If we think about what is natural for an unbeliever, and what people without Christ do, we find that almost everything that is done by unbelievers IS done through strive and vain glory.

Worldly people spend their lives complaining, competing, worrying, bragging, arguing, fighting, and living in agitation.

If you live your life constantly looking out for yourself and trying to prove yourself and make sure you get “what you deserve,” then you are living like the world. Your lifestyle is not only one of disobedience, but also one of incredible stress and agitation.

God says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory. . . “

How are we to live then?  We are to live in “lowliness of mind,” while we “esteem other better” than ourselves.  When you’re humble, you don’t have anything to prove. If you consider someone to be better than you, then you aren’t concerned if they think the same. And if you deny your desire for vain glory, and live to see God glorified, then you never need to obsess over whether or not the credit is going where it’s due. God will get all the glory no matter what. Just a side note: Living humbly is living peacefully.

 

Gods’ command to us is to conclude that our benefits, and our comfort, and our pleasure, and our fair share of (whatever we “deserve”) are all inconsequential to the Glory that God deserves. The next few verses in Philippians 2, call us to have the mind of Christ and humble ourselves to the point of death.

Unless you’re facing martyrdom for your faith, I don’t think God is calling you to literally die. It’s a word picture. Think about it, does anybody want to die? Most people want to live. In fact, if a person desires death, they are usually unstable.

God’s calling to us: to deny ourselves, would appear like complete insanity to the world.

In fact, God tells us that, “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18

So I challenge you, surrender to the call of humility unto death. Take the path to lowliness that the world has labeled insane. Choose to forfeit your “rights” and live a life of peace and obedience. You can’t do it by yourself, so God has promised to help you. All you must do is decide.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

Got Grace?

In Ephesians 1:2, Paul tells the believers, “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Paul is prophesying a blessing over his fellow believers. He is, in a way, asking God to bless them with grace.

I want you to understand that this grace is not just salvation. It is something more. You see, these people were already saved. They had already received their salvation by grace through faith. They knew what salvation was. Paul was praying for something more.

Grace is favor. It is the love of God shown through gifts or special kindness. When we were saved, we accepted that. What I want you to understand is that it does not stop their. You see, God tells us that He “gives grace to the humble.” When Jesus was maturing, he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) That word “favor” is the same Greek word for grace. When Jesus matured, the grace that God showed to Him increased. Isn’t that fascinating?

God wants you to have a life full of grace. Just like Jesus increased in it, you can increase in it too. We must live our lives in submission to Him.(James 4:6) We must live in the knowledge of Him.(2 Peter 1:2) We must also accept what He has provided.(Titus 2:11) Those three principles are a recipe for an increase of grace in our lives.

So I challenge you, humble yourself before God, strive to know more about Him through His Word, and pray believing that God wants to bless you. God wants to multiply grace to you. Will you place yourself in a position to accept it?

I hope you do. And I pray that

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” – 2 Peter 1:2

What is your mind stayed on?

Worry can bring us down. No matter how wonderful your life is, you can find something to worry about. You can let any situation steal your peace. Responsiblities, sickness, finances, relationships, you name it! You can allow situations to get to you. You know how you invite worry into your life, you focus on the problems instead of the solution. Our natural reaction to problems is to focus on them, but God has not called us to focus on our problems, He’s called us to think on our ultimate solution.

Isaiah 26:3-4 declares, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" Did you catch that first part? It says, "Whose mind is stayed on thee:" What is your mind stayed on? What is your focus? If you focus on responsibilities, sicknesses, finances, relationships, etc. , you will have doubts, cares and worries. But if you focus on God and His power, you will realize how much the Lord has promised you.

Here’s a few things,

Romans 8:28
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:38-39
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Hebrews 13:5b
" I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Isaiah 41:10
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

Won’t you reflect on God’s promises? Don’t allow the cares of this life to bring you trouble. Ask God to help you as you seek to trust Him to handle all your problems. Seek His kingdom, and his righteousness and you will find that everything will come into place.