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.

Invest

A call to invest…

Psalm 145:3-5~ Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.  I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.  

There are ladies in each one of our generations who don’t know the unsearchable greatness of our God.  There are those in the next generation who haven’t heard of his mighty acts or the glorious honor of his majesty.  If we don’t tell them, who will?

No matter your age or stage of life, your purpose is the same- to glorify God by carrying the truth to the next generation. Investing truth is my passion!

The purpose of Daily His Disciple, and my ministry to other women as a whole, is to encourage women to know the word, exhort them to live the word, and equip them to invest the word.  It’s also the goal of our entire women’s ministry at New Life Baptist Church, where my husband is the pastor.  I recently started teaching a bible study I wrote based on Titus 2, simply titled Invest.  

I thought I would tie in some Saturday Study Snippets from the Daily His Disciple Facebook page, with the lessons from the Invest study, while I work on new content for the blog.

The first Saturday Study Snippet was this bible study tip: When we study the scriptures we need to ask ourselves three questions. (I’ll give you question one and two today, and the third on Saturday, so stay tuned!)

The first question is: What does the text literally mean to the people it was written to?  Basically, establish the historical context.(Here’s the entire post.)

Reading the scriptures this way, thinking about the original audience, will help you to properly interpret and apply the bible. Some great resources for determining the historical context of the scriptures are: Study Bibles, Halley’s Bible Handbook, Blue Letter Bible, or your favorite bible app.

Context of Titus:  The book of Titus is a Pastoral epistle, written by the Apostle Paul around 65 a.d. to one of his Gentile converts and fellow laborers-Titus.  Paul had left Titus in Crete to set up this local New Testament church.  He instructs him on how to select the leadership, warns him of false teachers in the area, gives the character and conduct guidelines of the people within the church, and exhorts them all to maintain good works as they eagerly await the Lord’s return.  The apostle Paul is instructing Titus to establish sound doctrine and sanctify disciples in this church in Crete.

Paul is stressing the importance of investing sound doctrine into every believer so that they are set apart from the wickedness they were in the midst of.

It’s sound doctrine that was needed to counter the false teaching.  It’s sound doctrine that corrects wrong thinking and promotes right living.  It’s sound doctrine that saves the sinner and sanctifies the saint.  It’s sound doctrine that establishes and grows a local New Testament church. 

The second study question is: How is God revealing himself, and what can I learn about God in this passage? Be intentional to look for the Lord!  Write down his attributes and actions, instead of just the principles and promises that pertain to you and your situation. (Here’s the entire post.)

God gave us his word so we can know him intimately and love him intensely.  But if we only read it to see how it applies to our lives or to get some comfort or peace for ourselves, without really seeking his presence, we’re missing out on a deeper relationship with the Author of our salvation.

 

~Titus 2:3-5~ The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Using our study snippet on this passage, we can learn so much about God:

  • He cares about the needs of women
  • He knows the areas we struggle with the most
  • He has a divine design for women
  • He knows we need relationships with other women
  • He is holy
  • He has a holy standard for his daughters 
  • He cares about our husbands and children
  • He is serious about his word

In three short verses we have a better understanding of our caring, holy, omniscient God!  Imagine how well we would know him if we were intentional about investigating the scriptures instead of merely reading them.  I’ll have the next question and more from the Invest study coming at ya later. In the meantime, start utilizing these two study snippets, and see how your knowledge and understanding of not only the scriptures, but also of the Savior matures.

~2Timothy 2:15~ Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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.

 

Defeating your Goliath

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The Voice of Truth is one of my all time favorite Casting Crowns songs.  I’m reminded of it as the pages of my bible fell open to the story of David and Goliath in 1Samuel chapter 17.  Grab your bible and read it real quick, you’ll be glad you did!

The Philistines were on one side of the mountain, and the Israelites were on the other, with a valley in between them.  Israel had to go into the valley and fight this battle to claim the victory and get to the next mountain.  We all have mountains that we want to reach in our walk with the Lord, and we’ll have some valleys to journey through to get there.

The valley of cancer, loss of a loved one, infidelity, betrayal, relocation, depression, or a lull in ministry to name a few.

Just like Goliath was taunting them, the enemy of our souls is waiting for us in those valleys.  He shouts his lies and spews his hatred, causing us to recoil in fear and discouragement.  Insecurity and instability plague us there.  It’s incredibly frightening to be on that battlefield, paralyzed by doubt and blinded to the joy that lies just beyond the pain.

In those moments we must listen to the voice of truth.  1Peter 5:8 tells us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. He’s roaring alright, so we need to be in our right mind, aware and alert to how our nemesis operates, and armed for battle.

I have a go-to prayer for the valleys and it goes like this:  “Lord, help me to hear the sweetness of your still, small voice, over the relentless roars of the enemy.  In the mighty name of Jesus Christ my victorious King I pray, Amen!”

  • Remember the promises in the word.  Grab hold of the fact that as a believer in Christ you serve the Living God (Jeremiah 10:10)!  He is Mighty (Deuteronomy 7:21), Sovereign (Psalm 103:19), Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6), and Deliverer (Psalm 18:2). He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), he is on your side (Psalm 118:6), he loves you (Psalm 91:14), and he will walk with you through any valley you face (Psalm 23).
  • Remember the victories of the past.  How many times has the Lord proven himself faithful? How many times did he protect and provide for you above and beyond all you could ask or think?  How many prayers has he answered? Write the answers down and refer back to them often to counsel your heart with truth.

 In the deep trenches of the valley set your mind on who you serve and what he has done in the past to build your faith for the future.

I think David must have been thinking on Exodus 14:14 as he was going to fight Goliath.  It’s one of my favorite verses for spiritual warfare, and one we should all have memorized.  “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”  This giant was staring him down, cursing him, threatening to feed his flesh to the birds and animals. No one else was brave enough to step foot on that battlefield but David.  A little shepherd boy, not trained for battle like the rest of the soldiers, but loyal to the Lord and passionate for his glory.

David’s confidence to defeat this foe was not in himself or his own abilities, it was in the Jehovah Sabaoth- the Lord of hosts.  His courage came from knowing the God he served.  He responds to the Goliath’s harassment by saying:

I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”

David defeated the giant just as he said he would, with just a sling and a stone, because the Lord was fighting for him.  We serve the Living God, nothing is too big for him, he will always get the victory. Instead of running from the battlefield or being paralyzed with fear, listen to the voice of truth. Trust in the the strength of your Savior, and give God the glory he so rightfully deserves even in the midst of your darkest days.  He is able and he is worthy, draw near to him and press on!

  • How do you respond to the roar of the adversary in your valleys?
  • What verse can you memorize to address this particular issue?
  • Write out a valley prayer of your own and recite it in times of trouble.

~Psalm 46:11~The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

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