Delight Yourself in the Lord

Psalm 37: 4

Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Let us look at this verse a little differently today. Let’s drop off the end of it and think about the first part, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” What do you think it means to delight yourself in the Lord? It sounds like we are supposed to make ourselves a delight to the Lord. That is not what it means, though. The language is odd but the Passion Translation clarifies this statement for us, “Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life.” The God’s Word translation reads, “Be happy with the Lord.”

This verse actually means that we are supposed to be pleased with the Lord rather than trying to get Him to be pleased with us. It is just the opposite of what many people think. The writer wants you to love the Lord with all your heart. He wants you to be enamored with God. Allow me to show you a practical example of this.

I have been thinking, and writing, about how my relationship with God has changed over the years. This verse came to my mind this week while I was praying. Let me give you a little glimpse into my prayer life, not that it is the ideal, just the example I have to offer. I no longer pray about my needs very often. Truly, I haven’t for several years. I might talk to Him about what I think I need but that is not the bulk of my prayers. Instead, I usually pray about what I am supposed to do with my time. Most of my prayer time is spent seeking God’s wisdom and counsel. Well, a strange thing happened this week. I began to talk with God about what He wants me to do. What are the tasks and priorities for today? What is the vision for tomorrow? Do you want me to do this? What about that? Blah, blah, blah. I didn’t get five words out of my mouth before I stopped and said, “You know what, I am bored with this prayer. Jesus, what do you want to do? What can I do for you today? How can I cause you to smile?” Immediately I knew our relationship had just undergone another change. No longer was he just a vending machine to me, a place where I go to get what I want or need.

I have heard other ministers talk about how they commune with Jesus and it isn’t much like the formal, seminary style prayers we think about. They chat with Jesus as a best friend the key point being, it’s not all about us. These pastors that I have admired in their relationship with Jesus talk about more than their personal issues, dreams and goals. Ultimately, I think we each need to come to the place in our relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit where our conversations become just that, a conversation. I know I got bored asking about my perceived needs. I can only imagine how bored Jesus was. Thank God, literally, that he is such a gentleman. None the less, I bet he enjoys when our relationship transcends our needs.

The more time you spend with Jesus and the Father, the less inclined you find yourself to always talk about yourself and your needs. Even asking Him for His wisdom and advice all the time, while encouraged, becomes self-centered. If you want to know what God wants you to do with your life or what vision He has for you, begin asking Him what He wants. Find out what His dreams and goals are and you will find your way to help Him. You will have found your destiny and will be sublimely happy. Make Him the delight of your life by spending more time with Him and getting to know Him. Then all the pieces will fall together for you and you may find you don’t feel the need to pray about yourself all the time.

Longing, Yearning and Seeking

Psalm 63: 1

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Here are the words of someone who loves God, I mean who really, really loves God. Who do you think wrote these words? If you said, “David” you are right. One of the things I love about David is his passion for the Lord. He inspires me but also shames me a little. Another thing I appreciate about him is his willingness to express his love and devotion to the Father. I also am impressed with his ability to express these ardent emotions.

For those of us living in the western world, the expression of emotions is almost a lost art. We have learned to spurn emotions themselves, how much more the expression of them? God, though, is emotional. He is love which is more than an emotion but certainly involves the emotions. He also hates. Did you know that? Run a search on that and you will see. He and David had a love relationship with each other and neither was afraid to admit or express it. David was so demonstrative of his love for God that he made his wife mad. Maybe she was a bit jealous.

I admit that David embarrasses me a little with his confessions of love. Here is today’s verse as it appears in the Amplified version, “O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You; My soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” His longing for God is palpable. You can feel the deep yearning in his soul for the touch of God, for God’s presence. I find David’s desperate need for communion challenging but God says of David that he, “is a man after my own heart” (Acts 13: 22). David longed for the Father, trusted Him and sought to follow His ways. Some people talk about David’s sins but until God recognizes me as one after His heart then I will refrain from judging David. In fact, I look forward to meeting him and telling him how much his songs inspired me. Oh that I might be like David and yearn for the Father will all my being as he did; with a desire so strong for fellowship with the Father that he ached in his emotions and even in his body.

We are blessed that David shared his emotions and his relationship with God with us. We, like peeping Tom’s, get to peer inside and gain a new perspective on the depth of relationship we can enjoy with the Father even while we are here in the earth. “Bless the Lord oh my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalm 103: 1) and teach me to seek Him as fervently as did David.

The Prodigals’ Father

Luke 15: 20

And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.

You all know the story of the prodigal son and how he went off to another town and lived there until he squandered his inheritance. Realizing the slaves of his father’s house fared better than he was in that foreign town, he decided to return home. He didn’t have a cell phone (I guess he squandered that too) so he did not call his father to say that he was returning home. His plan was to show up and beg his father for a position as a hired hand since, he believed, he no longer deserved the title and position of a son.

Obviously, this is a picture of each of us. Jesus told this story in order to illustrate to us how Father God loves us. We don’t deserve to be called the children of our Father either. Some of us have squandered our time, our money and our skills on the wrong pursuits. For many of us we spent those resources which God gave us on our flesh or, in other words, on worldly desires. Then we come to the end of ourselves and realize that we have wasted so much precious time. So, we turn our faces back towards home, knowing we deserve nothing but hoping that we can at least have the leftover crumbs of His grace.

The thing that astounds me about this verse is that the father saw the prodigal approaching in the distance. Let’s read this again, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.” How did the father see him while he was still a long way off? The answer is that he, the father, was looking for him. Imagine the father. Every morning he arises early and looks out to the horizon anticipating the return of his beloved son. He stands there and watches for his kid. He was not reclining in his tent bemoaning the fact that the boy went off and wasted what the father gave. He didn’t judge the boy. He just searched for him every day until one day, there upon the horizon, was a dust cloud. He kept watching and praying that it might be his lost one. When the boy came into view the father ran to him.

Glory to God! This is the image of our heavenly Father who searches and watches for us. When we return to Him, He runs to embrace us. He feels compassion towards us, not hate and anger. Let this sink down into your spirit. Feel the compassion of this father towards his lost child. Now become the child as you receive your Father’s embrace. Bask in the warmth of His joy at your presence. This, Jesus said, is the way the heavenly Father feels towards you. Of course He has never forsaken those who seek Him. He longs to have us return to Him so that He can express His compassion and love towards us. He is watching for you daily, searching the horizon for your visage to appear over the hill. There is nothing which gladdens His heart more than for you to want to spend time with Him. You are the beloved. You are the apple of His eye.

Big Promise

Psalm 9: 10

For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.

There are thousands of promises in the Bible. However, they aren’t numbered so that you can go look them up one by one. Here is one though, which perhaps you should mark with a tab and some highlighting so that you can always find your way back to it. What great assurance and grounding for our soul we find in these few simple words.
God has never and will never forsake those who seek Him. Even when people kept sinning, they would run back to God and He was always awaiting their return. He was always keeping a vigil watching for them. He will not forsake us, even when we deserve it.

In truth, all of the power over your relationship with God is in your hands. He has given you His Word. He has taken His position. He says, “I am here. I make Myself available to you and furthermore, I will never, ever forsake you.” We are the ones in control. We choose to seek Him or not. Do we let the world, work, our social lives and all of the other distractions supersede our seeking? Sure we do. I do. Sometimes I awaken myself to the truth and realize that I have not been seeking Him as I should, even as I once did. Then I start again because I have the power over my relationship with God, even as you do.

The question, then, becomes, “How does one seek Yahweh?” The two principle ways to seek Him are prayer and The Word. I wouldn’t suggest you omit either one. You will find Him if you believe you will and you honestly search for Him in the Word. Just talk with Him about scripture. Ask Him what He was thinking when He had those words you just read penned. Ask Him why it was important to Him that those words find their way into our Bible. Ask Him what further revelation He can show you from that scripture. You will be amazed how many messages He can speak to your heart from one short scripture. Talk to Him about today’s verse. Go read the verses before and after it. Find out the context in which it was written. And listen. Look out your window at the trees blowing in the wind and let His thoughts gently float across your mind. I will promise you this, if you seek Him, honestly seek Him, you absolutely will find Him.

3 Things

Psalm 34: 10

But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

I am impressed again at the beginning of this week that there is a great spiritual key revealed in these few simple words. You know, if you could really hear God’s voice clearly you would surely be successful in everything you do. You would most assuredly be led down the best paths. You would have insight and wisdom that would be enviable.

This sort of grace comes through your intimate, warm relationship with the Lord. That warm relationship comes from your seeking Him with all your heart and strength. If you will do three things you will find tremendous results in a very short time. Start today. Read your Bible. Pray to your Dad. And spend a few minutes before Him in silence. Those three things will launch you into a new level with the Lord of Hosts. Don’t worry about how much you read or how long you pray. Just start where you are. That is where He expects you to begin. He doesn’t expect you to read as much everyday as someone who is in full time ministry. Just read it. Start in Matthew and just read a bit each day. Then spend a few minutes just talking to your Dad. Don’t pray elaborate prayers; simply talk with Him as your friend and father. I wouldn’t even worry about praying for all of the things you think you need. Spend those precious moments just being with Him. Then sit in silence for a few minutes. That’s it; three things that will quickly change your life. Today is a great day to start or start over.

Closer to Thee

James 4: 8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Do you desire a close personal relationship with God? Do you really want to be one of the people that talks with God, rather than at Him? Well, you can be. That kind of closeness and relationship is available for as many as who desire it. You have to initiate that kind of rapport though. God has given us free will and He is not going to violate yours. He is not going to force you into a close friendship with Him. But, if you initiate it, then He will joyously join you.

But how do you really draw near to God? The first and easiest thing to do is to spend time in His word. His word is part of Himself. When you read and search the word of God, you search the heart and mind of God. You will learn a lot about Him and you will find Him in those pages. 

Secondly, spend time talking to Him. Forget traditional ideas of prayer. Just talk to Him like He was your best friend. He likes being part of everything that is important to you. Tell Him everything. Talk to Him about everything.

Lastly, learn to praise Him and be appreciative of all that He does for you. In the beginning you might not be aware of how many things He does for you in a day but as your relationship grows, you will begin to see His fingerprints on many things in your life. When you sincerely tell any friend how important they are to your life, it always draws the two of you closer. Learn to express your gratitude.

As you begin to do any of these things you will find your relationship with Him growing and becoming closer. It all begins with drawing closer to Him.

I Have The Power

2 Chronicles 15: 2

“Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

You are in charge of your relationship with God. Did you realize that? You can be as close as you want or as distant. It is your call. In fact, did you know that God cannot breakup with you? What power that is. If you decide you do not wish to have a relationship with God then that is your call but He cannot make the same election. He has given all power over your union with Him to you.

In the verse for today we see Asa, King of Judah, being given this same message. The Lord is with you when you choose to be with Him and have Him with you. He is found when you Seek Him and His face will only be hidden from you when your turn away. God has given us power and a free will. He will even let you go to hell if you choose to. In fact, He cannot prevent it if you so choose. He has given us ultimate power in choosing how to live our lives because He wanted children, not robots. He wants to have a meaningful relationship with beings He could actually even call “friend.”

But as Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That is the part which some of us struggle with because if we do not have the relationship with God that we want the responsibility lies with us. Now, that is not what I wanted to hear; still don’t sometimes, but there is something very empowering in that statement because it also means that I can affect the relationship. I can choose whether God will be found by me or not. All I have to do is seek. He has no choice but to be found. I like that. If I choose to be with God, or if you choose to be with Him, then He has no choice but to be with us. You see, God is omnipotent but that does not actually mean He can do all things. He has hemmed Himself in by His own rules. He actually hasn’t the power in some things because He has given that power away. It was His choice. We certainly didn’t make Him do anything He didn’t want to do but once He makes a rule it binds Him as much as it does anyone else. He will not violate His laws. So, if you want to kick Him out of your life, then you are fully able. On the other hand, if you seek Him He cannot help but be found by you.

From my personal experience I can also testify that this is true. I did blame God for our relationship not being all that I wanted and I put Him on notice that I was going to hunt Him down. And hunt Him I did. After years and years of living in the desert I found that there was an oasis right over the near dune and that it was He. He was calling to me, “Come; come to the cool water and drink. I am here. I am awaiting you. He was there all along, right in front of my face but the noise in my head was too loud for me to hear. My heart was anesthetized and unable to hear. But brother when I opened my eyes and ears and went searching for Him He exploded on the scene. He was waiting for me and met me with such vibrancy that my body, soul and spirit have been pulsating ever since. And I know that I will never live in the desert again. I think about all those wasted years roaming around in the desert lost when He was right there all along trying to be seen by me.

Don’t be a fool like I was. Open your ears and eyes right now. Let God know that you intend to find Him and when you open your eyes you will find Him standing right in front of you. The power is yours. Determine what kind of relationship you want with God and make it so.