Ditch the Distractions and Delight in the Lord

Well it’s day two of the new year and I finally have my #oneword. Like several of you I’ve decided to forgo resolutions and focus on just one word for the year.  After much prayer, and several applicable and awesome words, I finally settled on the best word for me in this season of life, and that is delight.

I chose delight because it’s the one word that God kept bringing me back to over and over again.  More than anything else, I desire to bring God glory with my life. One way to ensure that I do that, is to delight in Him.

~Psalm 37:4~ Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

According to blueletterbible.org delight means to be happy about, and take exquisite delight in.  Merriam-Webster defines delight as a high degree of gratification or pleasure, joy, and extreme satisfaction.

The Lord wants us to find happiness, gratification, pleasure, joy, and extreme satisfaction in Him.  Not in food, family, or friends, but in fellowship with Him.

He wants us to go to the source, to be filled to overflowing so we have everything we need to pour out on those he’s entrusted us with ministering to.

The word delight is found in 50 verses in the KJV.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Psalm 94:19~ In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.  When we’re overcome with worry and have runaway thoughts, it’s helpful to talk it out with friends or family, but only the Lord and his word can bring true peace of mind and pleasure of soul.
  • Psalm 119:16~ I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Instead of turning to my phone or to-do list, I need to remember to put time in reading and studying the word first. I just read a blog post by Gretchen Saffles from Well Watered Women about putting the #wordbeforeworld.  You can read it here: http://wellwateredwomen.com/blog/i-resolve-2018-wordbeforeworld
  • Song of Solomon 2:3~ As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.  I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.  Instead of looking for satisfaction elsewhere, I need to sit under the shadow of my Savior who satisfies my soul with his affection, shades me from the heat of affliction, and sweetens my heart with his attention.

Delight isn’t just for us, there are a few places that delight pertains to the Lord.  Here are a few:

  • Proverbs 11:1~ A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.  The Lord delights in fairness and justice, as he is a just Judge. He gets great pleasure from us doing the right thing, and maintaining a proper balance in life.
  • Proverbs 12:22~ Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.  I had my kids memorize this verse early on, as their natural sinful tendency is to lie to keep themselves out of trouble.  Instead of confessing their wrongdoing, they would hide it or blame their siblings.  It’s not just important for our kids to know this verse though.  We need to deal truly in life, and be honest with ourselves and others. Prov. 28:13, 1John 1:9.
  • 1Samuel 15:22-23~ And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.  The Lord, as a perfect Father, delights in obedience. Stubbornness is viewed by God as iniquity and idolatry because it exalts my will above the Lord’s.  I could sacrifice so much for him, but if I ignored his gentle prompting to give him preeminence, I’d be in rebellion.

Simply put, the Lord delights in integrity. He wants our life to line up with his word, for us to be women of character.  As we start a new year, it’s the perfect time to examine our walk and see where God wants us to improve to bring him greater glory.

If I had to sum up my walk with the Lord in the past few months, the one word that would characterize me lately would be distractedThat needs to change.

Social media, shopping, shows on Netflix… they’ve all stolen my attention from my Savior. And he wants it back. Hence delight.  

Despite my failures the Lord remains faithful, compassionate, and gracious, because that is who he is.  He is such a good God!

~Psalm 103:14~ For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

I’m going to delight in the Lord by being intentional to spend time in the word before anything else gets my attention.  I’ll delight in him by replacing worry with prayer, complaining with praise, and fear with faith.  I’ll choose to feed my Spirit with the scriptures, solid biblical teaching, and spiritual songs instead of catering to the lusts of my flesh.

I’m not always going to get it right, and neither are you.  We’ll make wrong choices and be inconsistent.  At times our #oneword will be forgotten.

No matter how many times we mess up, God’s mercy endures forever.  God restores us to right fellowship when we repent of our foolishness.

~Psalm 130:4~ But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

We don’t want to look back at the end of 2018 with regret. Let’s be diligent to seek his face, disciplined over our flesh, and determined to be killin’ it all year long!

Ditch the distractions and delight in the Lord. He is worthy!

~Psalm 119:35~ Make me go in the path of thy commandments, which I have loved.

Thankfulness 

Giving thanks for so many things today!

From my handsome and hardworking husband, to my four fantastic children who love Jesus, and the team of faithful followers we’re blessed to be able to do life and ministry with- my cup overflows!

Every day isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, but it’s a blessed life.

I’m grateful for the grace of God that supplies the strength we need to glorify him every day. He is so good to us!

There was a time when things weren’t so great though. My husband and I had kids and were married very young. We basically all grew up together.

We loved each other the best we could, but we were two selfish sinners endlessly seeking our own way. Needless to say, it was a rough ride for a long time.

You can click on the link below to read the rest of our story. It’s my first guest post I wrote for Inspirational Life. I hope it’s a blessing to ya! Be sure to checkout some of Rachel Lane’s posts on that blog as well. 🙂

Thanksgiving blessings,

Annie

p.s. If you’re in a troubled marriage, don’t lose hope. Jesus is in the miracle-working business! He repairs, restores, redeems, and revives relationships that are designed to bring him glory. He did it for us and he can do the same for you! Put Christ at the center of all you do, and pray without ceasing.

~Proverbs 3:5-6~ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

via Thankfulness 

 

“I’m a Fool!” Wisdom from Proverbs

Wisdom from the Proverbs

I distinctly remember the shame I felt when the realization struck me, and I had to honestly and humbly admit- I’m a fool. To spill the beans on this is contrary to my natural tendency to conceal and deal privately with the Lord on the issues of my heart.  But in order to help women to walk in the wisdom of God’s word daily, I have to divulge how I obtained wisdom in various areas of my life.

It was early on in my walk with Jesus.  By my standards I was a great wife. I cooked, cleaned, and cared for my family.  Yet I was harboring bitterness and unforgiveness. Carrying the baggage of the past around like a ton of bricks, constantly pointing out my husband’s flaws, and nagging him to be a Christ-like husband and father.  

Without a sober mind or a submissive will, I dug in my heels and set myself in array against my husband as public enemy number one.

I was so self-deceived.

Painful as it was, allowing the Lord to reveal my true character according to his word was necessary to my spiritual maturity, and the strength of my marriage.  

The Lord had placed a deep desire within me to be a godly woman, but I had no idea what that meant, so I began to study it out.  Popping off the page were the role and responsibilities of a wife in Ephesians 5 and Titus 2, and the character and conduct of the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31.  God started to highlight key verses contrasting the wise and the foolish, unveiling a godly woman as a wise woman.

~Proverbs 2:6~ For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

The result of that time mining the scriptures was a broken and contrite heart, and my pride was crushed to the point of repentance.

The Wise Woman:

Virtuous~ Proverbs 31:10-31.  Her virtue originates from her fear of the Lord, and it’s the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7) It’s her relationship with God that fills her up and gives her the strength, honor, and ability to minister so well.  The verses that really convicted me were 11-12~ The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  Consumed with myself, I was definitely not loving my husband well, or doing him good. How about you?

  • Can you say that you do your husband good and not evil? 
  • Would your husband agree?

EdifyingProverbs 14:1~ Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  Piece by piece my marriage and family was being further destroyed by my foolish behavior. Instead of pointing out the things my husband was doing well, and being thankful, I focused on the things that he didn’t do.  I wasn’t shy about voicing my discontentment.  My thinking was that if I didn’t tell him, how would he know, and how would anything change? 

What the Lord taught me was that all I really needed to do was pray, and leave my husband in God’s hands.  I started reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian, and my mindset toward him began to change.  The more you pray for someone the more you love them, and this book definitely helped me to love my husband better and build my house.  It’s a must read!

  • Do you regularly pray for your husband?

The Foolish Woman:

Clamorous~ Proverbs 9:13~ A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.  Ouch.  I had to admit that I was a trying and tumultuous woman, and I didn’t know it all.  That one hurt because I like to know what I’m talking about.  I like to be right, and honestly, before I studied this all out I was oblivious to my foolishness and thought I was right.  I justified my attitude and actions based on my husband’s behavior.  

  • Does drama seem to follow you wherever you go?
  • Are you the kind of woman who’s always in an uproar about one thing or another?
  • Have you decided that you’ll be a virtuous wife when he starts being a godly husband?

Contentious~ Proverbs 21:9~ It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. 19~It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.  Proverbs 25:24~ It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.  Lack of trust in his leadership, and my need for control made me an angry and argumentative woman. The Lord showed me that I was really lacking faith in His ability to lead our family, take care of our every need, and mold both of us into Christ-like servants.  It was a heart problem and a faith issue.

Continual DroppingProverbs 19:13~ A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.  Proverbs 27:15-16~ A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.   The incessant nagging grated on my husband’s nerves like a leaky roof dripping into a bucket below. It never accomplished a thing.  It just provoked his pride and made him defiant to do anything I asked.  

  • Do you have a control problem?
  • Are you angry and argumentative?
  • Do you nag your husband? 

~Proverbs 16:32~ He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Faced with the reality of my sinful condition I confessed, repented, and purposed to love my husband biblically- with a sober mind and submissive spirit, allowing him to lead our family, and cultivating love and peace in his heart and our home.

My husband is now a godly man who loves Jesus, and preaching God’s word.  He’s faithful, he’s a family man, he’s a really hard worker, and he loves me like Jesus does.  He’s got his role and responsibilities down, and has for several years.  He wasn’t changed by my nagging.

It was the power of the Holy Spirit, through the word of God, spending time with godly men, and going to marriage retreats together that transformed him.  I have the husband I prayed for.  And all glory goes to God alone!

While I don’t see “I’m a fool!” on the bios of any women these days, and I doubt it’ll make it on a t-shirt, the truth is written on their heart, and worn in their attitude and actions.

~Proverbs 12:4~ A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

A crown or a cancer… you choose.

 

A Devoted Disciple

The Demeanor of a Devoted Disciple of Christ

This picture is of precious souls who had never heard of the name of Jesus. Awestruck by the fact that while their own people shunned them as outcasts, a white woman from America left her comfort, and children behind, to come and speak to them about this God-man who loved them, died for them, and wanted a relationship with them. They didn’t receive Christ as Lord and Savior that day, but the seeds of the gospel were planted.

This trip was a life-changer for me.  My husband had been several times, but this was the first time I got to go with him, and a team from our church. It was an unforgettable adventure with Jesus.

It was in India that the Lord taught me what it means to be a devoted disciple of Christ.

Not just in the sacrifice to go, or the world vision he gave, or the broken heart for those who still haven’t heard the glorious gospel, or the evangelizing and teaching. All those things certainly do show that we are devoted to the Lord, and learning and growing as his disciples.  But the Lord really laid two things on my heart that makes the difference between a devoted disciple and one who is just going through the motions.

Surrounded by women in the slums of Mumbai, I witnessed firsthand what devoted disciples look like. Women who are destitute by the world’s standards but are so rich in Christ. Women who had truly forsaken all to follow him.

With light in their eyes, a smile on their lips, and a joy that was simply contagious, they gathered with eager anticipation to hear the word of the Lord. Sitting on the dirty floor of the slum house, smaller than my bedroom, these women listened intently via an interpreter to what the Lord gave me to teach them.  Even though I went to India to invest truth in them, these women taught me so much about the heart we all should have as we learn from and live for Christ.

Before we get into the heart of the devoted disciple, we should answer the question- What is a disciple?  A learner and student of Christ.  Someone who sits at the feet of Jesus and adheres to his teachings.

Jesus is our Master, our Teacher, instructing us how to treat others, how to pray, how to have eternal life, and how to receive rewards in heaven, among other things.  Every time we open his word to learn from him we should pray to have the demeanor of a devoted disciple.  Our sisters in Christ showed me what that looked like.

  • A Devoted Disciple is Hungry:  Some of the women I taught there didn’t own a bible, or couldn’t read, so anytime they got to hear the word of God it was a treat to them. They were so eager to listen and soaked up every word. For some of them, it was dire circumstances of life that led them there. Their spiritual hunger reminds me of two passages: 1Samuel 3:19~ And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.  And Proverbs 27:7~ The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don’t know your circumstances, but I’d be willing to bet that you have a full belly, a full schedule, a full life…  If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you have a full bookshelf as well. In my house we have several bibles, I have it on my phone and computer, so I have unlimited access to the word of God at any given moment. I read and study it regularly and I get so full of the word that I think this dulls my sense of hunger for it. It begins to lose it’s luster, and my devotion to Christ wanes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 To be honest, I’m not sure when I last sensed a deep spiritual hunger in my soul. That may disqualify me as a “good pastor’s wife”, but so be it. I do want that hunger back that I had as a new believer, when everything was fresh and new. And I want to be a devoted disciple. I know the hunger and thirst for God will come through draining seasons of drought, or from wandering in the wilderness like it did for the children of Israel.(Psalm 107:4-6).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is what my flesh fights. The uncomfortable, unsettling, and unknown.  I have to pray that God will do whatever it takes to give me that hunger and mold be into a disciple who is completely and totally devoted to him.

~Matthew 5:6~ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

  • A Devoted Disciple is Humble:  Humility was the other thing that marked these disciples in India. They were teachable women who recognized their desperate need for the things being taught.  So often women are defensive when they’re taught about biblical womanhood and godly character.  They get offended at every little thing, are prideful and obstinate, not willing to change their mind or life to line up with God’s word. They get stuck in sin patterns because they won’t simply humble themselves before God and be teachable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         To be a devoted disciple of Christ we must humble ourselves, recognizing that he is the Teacher and we are the student, that our hearts are deceitful and wicked, and that left to our own devices we would be a miserable hot mess!  We don’t know it all, and we don’t have it all together, we need his instruction and direction.

~Isaiah 57:15~ For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 

Our sisters in India had this hungry and humble demeanor because they were so immensely grateful for their salvation. They came from the lowest caste, where they were considered worthless and treated no better than dogs.  But Jesus didn’t see them that way.  He chose them, accepted them, forgave them, and regenerated them. He placed value on them, and adopted them into the family of God.  They went from rags to royalty by their faith in Christ.

Because of all he had done for them, they were deeply in love with Jesus. I pray I can love him like that and be a hungry and humble devoted disciple of Christ daily. Oh that he would restore a right spirit, return the joy of salvation, and revive the hearts of all those who have grown complacent.

~Psalm25:4-5~ Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

I AM

Lately I’ve been joining groups on social media to connect with other like-minded bloggers, so that I can learn from them and network with them.  One of the things I’ve been asked on several of them is to give a snippet of who I am and what my ministry is about. I don’t know if you find it difficult to narrow your identity down to a few sentences or not, but I do!  It’s not something I particularly care for, but it’s necessary.

In the book of John, Jesus did the same thing.  His “about me” section included seven statements that reveal to the world who he is.  He started them all with the two words – “I am”, and they’re fabulous!

If you read my last blog post titled Secure in the Savioryou know that I recommended both the Psalms and the book of John as reading that will help build Savior-confidence to get victory over insecurity. Here I’ve paired some of the verses from Psalms with the seven “I Am” statements that Jesus made in the book of John.

  1. The Bread of LifeJohn 6:35- And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. Psalm 73:26- My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.  He is our sufficiency! He alone can satisfy the deep needs of the soul.                                                                                          
  2. The Light of the World~ John 8:12-Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shll not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  Psalm 18:28~ For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. He lights up the darkness of uncertainty, unpopularity, and unknowns.                                                                                    
  3. The Door~ John 10:7-Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. Psalm 100:3~Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Shepherds build a pen for their sheep to sleep in at night, with one gate as the door for entry.  They name and lovingly care for their precious flock.  At night they call each by name and stand at the gate to check them carefully before putting them in the pen. When they’re all checked, he sits at the entrance to the pen to guard them through the night. If you have answered the call to salvation, you are one of the Lord’s sheep, he knows your name.  In fact, he made you and named you himself! You are not invisible or insignificant.  Even if no one around you cares to befriend you, be confident of your Savior’s intimate knowledge of your every detail. He is our protector, and caretaker. This passage also reminds us that Jesus is the only One who can allow us entrance into heaven and grant us eternal life and a place in the Kingdom.  There is no other way to God than through faith in Jesus Christ.                                                                                                                                                     
  4. The Good ShepherdJohn 10:11- I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Psalm 23~ The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. God is our provider, leader, restorer, and comforter.                                                                                                                                          
  5. The Resurrection and the LifeJohn 11:25- Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  Psalm 49:15-But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. God holds the power to bring the dead to life!                                                                                                                                                              
  6. The Way, the Truth, and the Life ~John 14:6- Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the lie: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  Psalm 86:11~ Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.  The Lord holds all knowledge. This scripture should be a consistent prayer to remind us to fear the Lord and not man.  To walk with Jesus on the right path, in truth, and enjoy the abundant life he died to give us.                                                                                                                                                         
  7. The True VineJohn 15:1- I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Psalm 121:5- The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. God is our source of all life, strength, stability, and fruitfulness.  Apart from him we can do nothing, but through him, we can do all things.

With all of these “I am” statements that Jesus makes, he’s saying: “That’s it, I am all you need.  Everything you’ve been searching for- It’s in me.  I am that I am, the self existing One, the God of all creation and I want you to be my sheep.  I want you to hear my voice and follow it.  I want you to believe in me and trust my words.  Don’t trust your heart, or your looks, your abilities or talents.  Don’t rely on your friends or family or anyone else but me.”    

We just have to take the time to read his “about me” section!

~Exodus 3:14~ And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.