The Ultimate Joy » A Journey in Intimacy with God

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An Audience of One

Theater Seating - Audience of One pic

When God first opened opportunities for me to teach His Word, He also graciously gave me a “word.” It’s one that, without a doubt, has kept me from much grief:

You have an audience of One.

I was a firstborn parent pleaser who quickly turned into a people pleaser. On some level, most of us struggle with people pleasing. As a Bible teacher, the potential existed for me to “rate” myself based on how I perceived (usually faulty in itself) people liked or didn’t like what I taught and how I taught it. Ultimately, I cared a lot about whether they liked or didn’t like me.

Truly, it would have been a very destructive path. God knew it, and early on He addressed it. To this day, He continues to set me free from it:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

This call to an audience of One runs throughout Scripture:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23). 

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men”  (Ephesians 6:7).

While we do serve one another, called to do so humbly in love (Galatians 5:13), it is ultimately the Lord who we are serving. Whether you are changing diapers, washing dishes, taking classes or running a company, you have the incredible privilege of doing it for the Lord. As we let Him guide and empower us, everything we do can be unto and for His glory.

For me, this means seeking Him for what I am to teach or write. It means trusting Him to speak and work through it. And it means lifting up everything as an offering to Him — no matter how I feel. One huge benefit is consistent: it helps get the focus off me.

The reality and privilege of this truth far exceed any ministry role, family duty or job. It’s a statement of one of the most incredible gifts you’ve ever been given.

You have an audience with THE ONE, the one and only true God.

You can enter into His presence. We can stand before His throne of grace.

There is nowhere you can go from His presence — no place on earth and no depth of sin — that is beyond His reach. There is nothing you can do that will separate you from His love.

You have an audience of One. He is pleased with you! He delights in you! He needs nothing from you, but desires — above all else — to be in close relationship with you.

Today, take a step toward your loving heavenly Father by embracing Way #14 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:

Seek the Audience of One

Whatever you do, do it for Him, do it knowing you are standing — fully accepted and fully loved — by Him.



Are You Ready for Summer?


Hello Summer, pic

For many of you, your kids are in their last week of school. It’s a crazy week! In fact, I bet it’s been a crazy month. Though our kids are grown, I remember the craziness of the month of May. I remember how I longed for and welcomed summer. I loved the slower pace of the mornings and the long afternoons at the neighborhood pool. And while I was usually ready for school to start back, summer truly was a special time.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about my summer. My teaching and writing partner, Carol Farrish, and I have a summer writing project — one we’re very excited about. Our family has a beach trip planned. And, I’ll be spending 2 1/2 weeks in Kenya with True Identity Ministries. Without a doubt, these summer days will pass quickly. But I don’t want them to pass without intention. I want my relationship with the Lord to grow this summer. No, I want it to soar!

What I want most is to love Jesus more when the yellow school buses roll again in August than I do today.

What about you? Will you be intentional in seeking the Lord this summer?  No matter how crazy the days get, or how carefree you are able to be, this is not a time to take a vacation from your relationship with the Lord.

Are you ready and willing to make this summer your best summer ever?



One Thing Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know


I love reading biographies. Each one presents a personal window into a specific time period. They present history from a human point of view. Most often, they’re very inspiring.

Reading of Abraham Lincoln’s persistence through numerous political defeats inspires us to persevere through trials.

Our dreams don’t seem so unreachable when we read of the repeated rejections Walt Disney experienced in his career.

George Mueller, a man who cared for more than 10,000 orphans through God’s miraculous provision, inspires us to be people of great faith.

And we’re deeply moved and challenged by the incredible strength of a young girl named Anne Frank as she lived amidst the horrors of war and the Holocaust.

While such biographies inspire us, there is one historical figure whose biography takes us beyond inspiration. Reading and learning about him with the purpose of accurately and intimately knowing him will not only inspire us, but, in a very literal sense, it will transform us. This man’s name is Jesus.

Consider what God’s Word says:

“All of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continue to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor, (going) from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

When we read the Word of God and behold Jesus in it, God changes, transforms, recreates and molds us into His very own image. He takes us from one degree of glory to another, making us more and more like Jesus.

Oh, that we would realize the profound nature of this promise! It’s the way God has chosen to work. John 17:3 says it this way:

Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

Eternal life began at salvation. We experience the fullness of it now as we seek Jesus.

Meditating on, internalizing and obeying the Word of God causes the One called the Word of God (JESUS!) to manifest more fully in our lives. As we read about and behold the love of Jesus, we’ll start loving others more like Jesus. As we witness through the written Word the compassion and mercy of Jesus, we’ll become more compassionate and merciful. We won’t simply imitate Jesus, but through God’s supernatural power, we’ll become like Jesus.

Let this be our great goal: that in this world we would be like Him (1 John 4:17). The fact that this is possible may be the #1 thing Satan doesn’t want you to know. So whether though distraction, apathy or making you offended with Jesus, he fights diligently against you knowing Jesus. Don’t let him win. Knowing Jesus is one of our greatest privileges. It produces profound life change and should be our greatest pursuit.  It’s Way #13 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:

Take time each day to intimately know Jesus.

knowing Jesus