Welcome back! I have been overwhelmed and humbled reading your comments of how God is working through the study. Thank you, girls for your honesty and transparency. Thank You, Jesus!
I loved Denise's comment:
Gods blessings are real, and are meant for our good. The blessings of the world are artificial, and do not last. Worldly desires: Money,success, fame, the newest electronic gadget. Gods blessings: Love, hope, faith, salvation, and a heavenly home one day soon.
God's blessing is His will. His doing what is best for me because He knows what's best for me since He is my Maker.
Peggy shared so much- girl don't ever be sorry for not being "brief!" We love reading all of the details!!! Wow! As I read how thankful you are for things like running water.....I am reminded how grateful I indeed should be for all of our blessings!!!!
I have learned to go without much.I am thrilled if I would just have running water for today. When I do get it again, it will come out of the faucet dirty & dark...then I appreciate the bottled water but right now I'd like a shower or to be able to flush the toilet.I also love what she said:
God's blessings are love, friendships, the gifts of the spirit and the fruit, seeing His image in me more & less of myself,changes in my attitude & heart but even more of a blessing for me to see other's accepting Jesus as their Lord & Savior & allowing Him to change their hearts & lives
Here is our study for today:
But, you ask, “How do I delight myself in the Lord? I don’t know how to delight myself in the Lord. This sounds strange. Now, I KNOW how to take delight in Oprah or Dr. Phil or my favorite TV show. I know how to take delight in chocolate. I know how to love my circle of friends. I know how to delight in the latest sale at the mall. BUT HOW DO I TAKE DELIGHT IN GOD? How do I fall in love with the Lord?”
“We love because God first loved us!” (1John 4:19) We can only love God and take delight in Him because He FIRST loved us! For God so loved the world, that He have His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) God loves the world so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son so that we may live. God loves the WORLD, and you are included in the WORLD, but God loves YOU….personally. God loves YOU so much that He gave YOU Jesus.
When our youngest child Abby was about 8 months old, I was making my bed and I happened to look over at her. She was quietly napping in her swing. All of a sudden, I was filled with such an overflowing, intense, unconditional love for her. It was like a wave of love washed over me. I HAD to stop making the bed, drop everything and scoop her up, kissing her from top to bottom. I thought, "Abby, you are "addicting!" Sometimes I can't even do anything else but love on you!" I felt so much love for her.
She hadn't DONE anything.
She hadn't performed.
She wasn’t “being good.”
She was just….being.
And, I just felt overwhelming love for her. God whispered to my heart at that moment. “Tracy this is how I feel for you. I want to
scoop you up and love on you. You don’t have to DO anything. You don’t have to perform. You don’t have to “be good.” Just BE.........”
Sweet Reader, God feels that way for you as well. He has an overflowing, intense, “gotta
stop what He is doing, scoop you up and love on you” unconditional love. Beloved, we don't have to DO anything, He JUST loves us! He just has to pick us up, breathe us in, kiss us, love on us.... The God of the Universe feels that way for us! Doesn't it just bring you to your knees?
God loves you and desires that you love Him back! “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. And He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) Your God sings over you like a mother singing to her newborn babe cradled in her arms. Do you get it? Can you comprehend how much God loves YOU? He takes delight in you. You make Him smile. You are His Beloved!
How do I delight myself in the Lord? How do I fall in love with the Lord?
You get to know this glorious Father who knows everything about you. He created YOU! He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He has counted every hair on your head. He knows the desires of your heart because he has created your heart!
How do YOU get to know this God, the Father of all Creation and Jesus, the lover of our souls? You spend time with him- in prayer, in praise, in worship! Rick Warren says in “The Purpose Driven Life,” “We bring God glory by worshipping him. God wants our worship to motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty. Worship is far more than praising, singing, and praying to God. Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving Him, and giving ourselves to be used for his purposes. When you use your life for God’s glory, everything you do becomes an act of worship.”
Speaking of worship, let’s look at the Bible’s greatest Worship Warrior- David. As most of you know, David was a shepherd boy, fought and killed the Giant Goliath, became King, sinned tremendously, repented passionately, praised his God constantly, and became an ancestor to Jesus. When you read Psalms, you get a window into the heart of David. The Bible describes David as “a man after God’s own heart.” Listen now to the words of David. Listen to his heart and the delight he took in his God.
“O Lord, our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth. I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. I love You Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You. My soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands. My heart is steadfast, O God. My heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music. Awake my soul. Shout with joy to God all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful songs for the Lord is good and His love endures forever.”
This was a heart that DELIGHTED in the Lord!
Was David perfect? Far from it! You may remember that he was in lust with another man’s wife- Bathsheba. And, his selfish heart wanted what it wanted when it wanted. He took Bathsheba, and to cover up his sin when she became pregnant, David had her husband, a soldier, sent to the front line where David knew the man would be killed. But, David repented, and gave us one of the most beautiful psalms, Psalm 51. He poured out his repentant heart before the Lord. “Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”
David took great delight in the Lord and the Lord gave David the desires of his heart. What was David’s greatest desire? To grow closer to his Lord! He actively sought out the Lord. David cries out for more.
Notice the relationship again of our mediation scripture: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The first step is ours. We must delight ourselves in the Lord. God wants us to have a wild, crazy love for Him! He wants us to be completely abandoned to Him and surrendered to His love. In Hosea, God says, “Therefore, I am going to allure her; I will lead her out to the desert and speak tenderly to her.”
God wants to ALLURE us! Why does God need us in the desert before speaking to us? We are so distracted and caught up in the world. God wants to get us away from telephones and televisions, away from deadlines and commitments. Then, He can speak and be heard. Our hearts can finally hear His whisper.
So, how do you delight yourself in the Lord? You open your arms wide, you let down your guard and you ask Jesus into your heart- your put Him first. You seek him first. Jesus said, “Knock and the door will be opened to you.” And then, in Revelation, Jesus gives us an even deeper love. He stands and knocks at our door. He isn’t going to wait for you to come to Him. His “crazy-for-you, can’t live without you” love, seeks you out! He will come to your door and knock. Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus makes himself found to anyone who seeks Him, and He seeks everyone, standing at the door of our hearts, waiting for the invitation to come in.
Pray continually to fall more and more in love with the Lord each day. Continue to go to him when you are happy, sad, and angry; in doubt, frustrated, and in need. Go to the Lord for everything. Make him your best friend. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Father God, I love you! I give you all glory and honor and praise! You are the Most High. You alone are the Holy One! “Your love , O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Lord, please help me to fall in love with you more and more every day. Help me Lord to “delight myself in You.” I want to “love you with all of my heart , all of my soul, all of my mind, and all of my strength.” Create in me a “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Lord, help me to “seek You in the morning, in the evening, and in the noonday.” I love You, Lord and I give You all glory and honor and praise! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
1. How do you “take delight in the Lord?” What are practical things you can do in your own life that delight in God?
2. Write a prayer telling God how much you love Him. Tell Him that you want to love Him more. Ask Him to help you love Him more.
3. Do you need to be perfect for God to love you? How have you struggled with this lie in the past?
4. What is God revealing to you as you complete this study?
5. Read 2Samuel 11-12:25. This is the story of David and Bathsheba. David was not perfect, but loved the Lord intimately. God calls David, “a man after God’s own heart.” Write down your thoughts about what happened in this lesson.
6. When David repented, he wrote Psalm 51. Read this psalm. How did David feel when he saw his sin? Did he run away from God? Did it bring him closer to God?
7. Notice verse 13. What is David’s heart’s desire?
As you walk with God, He will begin changing your desires to become His desires. Notice the change in David’s desires. He went from desiring an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba to desiring the salvation of sinners.
Please read for Tuesday:
A Healed Heart
Do you know how much your God loves you? Do you know how much He longs for you? How much he cares for you? He is your Prince. You are his Princess, His Beloved. Jesus is sending you a love letter today. He wants YOU to know that you are HIS heart’s desire, his first love. He gave his life for you so that YOU could come home to join Him in Heaven. He loves you and has called you by name!
Transforming our hearts includes putting our trust in the Lord. We easily trust ourselves, our friends, the media, and the “world.” We need to transfer this trust to God. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Another translation says “you will live safely and prosper.” But it can be so hard to physically TRUST, can’t it? Sometimes our hearts do not want to give up control. Sometimes our hearts have been betrayed by someone and we find it difficult to trust. Sometimes it just seems too scary to surrender ourselves.
A much loved passage of scripture, my life mantra, is Jeremiah 29:11-13. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for a hope and a future. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Putting our trust in the Lord. This is what FAITH is all about, isn’t it? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is all about trusting, even though we can’t see it. Faith is to completely believe and trust that God has my life in His control, even when I can’t physically see how God is working.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” God tells me. Wow, God has a plan for MY life?
That is exciting, isn’t it? God has a plan. He is in control. I can release my life to Him! That is awesome, that is incredible… until you hear words like cancer or divorce or “your child is not performing where he should be” or “I’m sorry we’ve eliminated your position and we’ll have to let you go” or “we are moving.” It’s easy to trust God and His Plan when we LIKE his plan. But what happens when His plan is NOT our plan? What happens when His timing is not our timing?
Has there ever been a time in your life when you doubted God’s plan? Have you ever lacked trust in His timing? Write down any examples.
I’ll never forget sitting in a booth at a Pizza Hut restaurant when my husband gave me the terrible news that his company was closing and if we wanted him to keep his job, we would have to move to a different state.
This was devastating news for me. I did not want to leave my job as a teacher in an upscale school district. I did not want to leave my colleagues, with whom I had established my worth as a qualified teacher. I did not want to leave my cute house on a golf course. I did not want to leave my best friend, who had been teaching and mentoring me in my Christian walk. And most of all, I did not want to leave my mom and live 200 miles from her. It was only a 3 -hour car trip, but it seemed like a million miles. I wanted to be near my mom. I thought this plan would be the end of my happy and fulfilled life!
But God had plans to prosper me, not to harm me, plans for a hope and future. The minute our family moved to our new city, we felt a deep bond. It felt like home, like we had been here all of our lives. We fell in love with the city, but most of all the people. From the very beginning, God encouraged us in our decision to move.
The house we live in was a total blessing from God. In the natural it didn’t seem possible to own it. At the time we had two mortgages, because we hadn’t sold our old house yet. But, God always provided. Trust in the Lord and you will prosper.
We were uncertain and nervous about moving to city far from home where we didn’t know anyone. God brought many Godly friends who have been like family. Trust in the Lord and you will prosper.
I was pregnant. It was scary not to know the doctors or the reputation of the new hospital where we would be delivering our baby. There were lots of questions and what ifs. Trust in the Lord and you will prosper.
By putting our trust in the Lord and surrendering to His will in our lives, we have felt perfect peace in our move, despite any problems we may have faced. Trust in the Lord and you will prosper.
Lord, help me to trust in You and Your perfect plan. Quiet the fears and doubts in my spirit. I surrender (your own situation) to You now. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
But what do you do when you have a wounded heart, a broken heart? How can you trust God when it seems like he has abandoned you? We need to let God heal our broken hearts. We need to give him our lives, surrender to his love, and put our trust in him.
God heals our hidden wounds when we allow Him. Psalm 147:3 says “God heals the broken hearted, binding up their wounds.” We need to let God reveal our hidden wounds, accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive and release those who have hurt us. We need to be honest about the pain in hearts, both to ourselves and to God. Psalm 39:2 says, “But as I stood there in silence- not even speaking of good things- the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point.”
I believe it is, so many times, unforgiveness, that stands in the way of our relationship with the Lord- with our growing closer to Him, and corrupts our relationships with each other. Another favorite scripture of mine is 1Corinthians 13:4-7. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude or self-seeking. LOVE DOES NOT KEEP A RECORD OF WRONGS.” Let me repeat that again. Love keeps NO record of wrongs. We are not to “keep score” or keep track of when we have been wronged. But, if you are like me, you can remember those offenses, sometimes from YEARS earlier.
What I tend to do is have a PITY PARTY. I lament over how family and friends have hurt me. I’ll say things like, “Oh poor me. How could she have done that to me?” Or, “My husband should have KNOWN I wanted him to…” But, we are to release unforgiveness. We need to “let go, and let God.” God cares about your hurt, your pain. But, when you hold on to it, it can devour you. It can destroy you. God’s word tells us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger.” We are to “be kind and compassionate to another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” How can we refuse forgiveness to someone who has wronged us when Jesus has forgiven us of all of OUR sins, past, present and future? God knows us. He created us. He knows that when we have anger and hatred harbored in our hearts we cannot be complete in our relationship we Him. The Bible says “ABOVE ALL ELSE, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT IS THE WELLSPRING OF LIFE.” When we keep anger and hatred stored in our hearts it contaminates our heart. We have polluted the wellspring of life.
There is a proverb that says, “Unforgiveness is like YOU taking poison and expecting the PERSON who hurt you to die.” Think about that. Unforgiveness is a poison that kills the person who is refusing to forgive. Why does unforgiveness hurt YOU more than the one you are refusing to forgive?
Is there someone God is laying on your heart to forgive? Is there anyone in your life, past or present that you are refusing to forgive?
See you Tuesday!