The Ultimate Joy » A Journey in Intimacy with God

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Enjoy God

MC and Libby for Blog Post

She captured our hearts the moment she was born. I was taken aback by the emotions that welled up inside of me. Friends said it would be that way. I sort of feared it wouldn’t. I never imagined the extent to which we would love her.

Two-and-a-half years and another precious granddaughter later, we are smitten with these two little girls. My husband and I spend hours talking about them. We look at pictures and videos of them over and over and over again. We receive incredible joy and take great delight in everything about them.

The truth hit me like a ton of bricks one day: This is how God wants us to feel and react about Him. Have you thought that God longs to be delighted in and enjoyed by you? Have you thought of God as fun? Have you pictured God laughing? Can you see Him as playful? I’m not sure why this feels odd or why we don’t do it more. We love to laugh and have fun. We love these things because we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26). I believe He wants to laugh and have fun with us. He longs for us to delight in Him for who He is, as well as the things He does.

When I ponder how to do this, I think of how I find joy in my granddaughters. I spend hours simply beholding them. I watch to see their actions and facial expressions. I listen to what they have to say and how they say it. God has revealed Himself in so many ways, especially in nature and people. Consider the variety of species found in nature. Consider the diversity of people. Each and every one is an expression of God. They are the work of His hand, and expression of His creativity. I think some animals are even an expression of His sense of humor.  It took males and females, mountain peaks and sea shores, starry nights and sunny days to express Him. Our God is unfathomable.

Delight in His power.

Delight in His tenderness.

Delight in His love.

Delight in knowing He is beyond searching out.

Delight in knowing He is closer than you can imagine.

Delight in Him as He delights in you:

“The Lord will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing”  (Zephaniah 3:17).

The more we know Him, the more potential we have to enjoy Him. The more we know and enjoy Him, the more our lives will glorify Him. Practice Way #20 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:

Enjoy and delight in God

As you delight yourself in the Lord, He does something for you:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

The desires of our hearts will come to match the desires of His heart. And His desires are always for our good and His glory!  But it doesn’t stop there. As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desire of our hearts. I’ve watched Him do it.

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Forgiven and Set Free

Forgiven & Set Free

I’ve made the statement numerous times: God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.

I’ve usually spoken those words in relation to someone else’s sin, the times I or someone else have started to judge another for their sin. The other day, I made the statement personal.

God loves me! But God hates my sin! 

I made it really personal:

God loves Judy! But God hates Judy’s sin!

This God I love — the One I meet with, seek to know and be intimate with — absolutely and unequivocally hates my sin. I knew this truth, but somehow putting my name in that statement brought a new weightiness to it.

All sin breaks God’s heart. Hours before going to the cross to die for our sins, Jesus gazed upon the city of Jerusalem and wept: “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42). The people had just given Jesus a king’s entry into the city. But He knew that hours later almost everyone would desert and deny Him. Jesus wasn’t weeping for Himself. He wept for what the people’s sin and lack of belief in Him would do to them.

It’s the intense love of God that causes Him to hate our sin:

“Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you.”  (Isaiah 59:2)

God hates sin because His Son died to pay the debt owed for our sin.

God hates sin because our sin hides His glory.

God hates sin because He’s overcome the power of sin.

His Word is so clear: “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). Jesus died so that we might live a new life, a God-pleasing and God-glorifying life (Romans 6:4).

God hates us staying in perpetual sin because He’s made an amazing provision for us to daily be cleansed from our sin:

 “If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)

We don’t overcome sin by willpower. We overcome sin by believing that the power of sin over us has been broken. We overcome sin by believing who we are in Christ — a new creation, a saint who still struggles with sin.

What sin are you struggling with today? Call it out for what it is — something God hates, something that separates you from God, something that doesn’t have to continue. Confess it. Not doing so casually, but bowing before God in humility, realizing that all sin is ultimately against Him (Psalm 51:4).

Then, forgetting what is behind, let it go, walk away, turn toward God and believe Him for freedom from it. Practice Way #19 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:

Hate Your Sin

Hate your sin. Be cleansed of it. Walk free from it.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

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Loving Like Jesus

Love Never Fails

Living a not about me life doesn’t come easily — at least not for me. I’m amazed at the self-focus that creeps in, the self-interest that rises up. When it does, I find it helpful to zoom out from the narrow perspective of my one life and think of the BIG world we live in. I visualize the billions of people that occupy this planet. I think of the many nations across it and the great diversity of the people within each one. From these thoughts, I’m reminded: As big as this world is, our GOD is so much bigger. He hovers above it. He created it all. He sustains it all.

Above all, He loves us all. The greatness of our world doesn’t compare to the massive and intense nature of God’s love. His love is extended to those who love Him, those who hate him, and even to those who don’t acknowledge He exists.

Scripture says, “For God SO loved the world…”(John 3:16). God’s love is so great that He gave His only Son for us. He did it so that the billions upon billions of us might know Him and spend both this life and eternity with Him. And in God’s glorious plan to make His love known, He’s largely chosen to do so through His followers.

Jesus gave an astounding command. Apart from Jesus, it’s a command that’s impossible to keep:

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  John 13:34

How do we comprehend such a calling, much less live it out? God chose to make Himself known through His followers as they loved people as Jesus did:

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 

We’ve been called to agape love. It’s the holy and extravagant love of God. It’s the love with which Jesus loves us. The extensive nature of agape love is seen in its Greek definition: to love, cherish, esteem, respect, honor, favor, prize, relish, be devoted to.

Agape love believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It never fails (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Stop for a minute. Think of the intense beauty and power of this love. What if you’d always been loved by others with agape love? How would your life have been different? How would be you different?

What if you loved others with agape love?  Think of how their lives could be different, how you could make an incredible difference.

To give the love of God, we must receive the love of God. Recall Jesus’ words, “As I have loved you…”  You’ll receive God’s love as you seek and believe Him for it. When you do, your life will display the love of God that is the very essence of the glory of God! It’s Way #18 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:

Love others as Jesus has loved you.

I encourage you to ponder the words in the definition of agape love. Ask God to reveal the nature of His agape love for you. Then, ask Him to show you and enable you to love the people around you with His self-sacrificing agape love. In doing so, they’ll know you are His disciple. There’s no better way to lift the name of Jesus high!

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June 20, 2015 - 12:54 pm

Ellen - It’s official- I really am addicted to your writing style! You capture my brain and my heart, and make me think deeper! Keep writing, and I am anxious to read every post! Love you Judy!

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