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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Mystery of Delight!

 is for Delight
1. a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture: 
2. something that gives great pleasure: 
The word Delight takes on a different hue depending on the appetite needed to fill our heart. Is the delight found in the ‘bon appetite’ coupled with status of the upper echelon of sophisticated society? Is it a desire for beauty in this world satisfied with growing a garden of flowers or painting endless paintings with a variety of hues? Is it an architectural wonder to own? Is it the ‘perfect family’? What is it we see when we hear the word Delight?

In a moment of word-filled emotion I wrote, “Delight is the sweet scent of flowers, the texture of deep blue velvet, the eye-filling extraordinary sights of rainbows, sunsets and sunrises, plus colors of spring and fall rolled into one awesome vista. Delight accompanies the melody of love, so scintillating.”

In every day life, Delight descends upon me through the words of my husband of 62 ½ years. I am soaking his foot to remove a callus, feeding him his midday meal, taking his blood pressure, giving him his eye-drops and then he remembers.  He speaks of the delight of our marriage – from the first moment he saw me. He delights in how I take care of him. He speaks through the constant haze of moderate dementia. He speaks of the feeling of timidity and awe of the responsibility he felt as we began to build our relationship as husband and wife. I thank God that he remembers and can still voice his love for me after so many years together.

Yes, there is much to delight in around us in this world. Fortunes disappear; houses fall into heaps of rubbish, cars rust. Fame is fleeting. What then is there to delight in that is lasting? The answer is love and the relationships that love begets. I Corinthians 13:13 - Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

How do we recognize Delight? Dr. Larry Crabb, in his book Connecting: Healing Ourselves and our Relationships, describes the relationship, connection. How does a relationship begin? What do we see in someone else that precedes a relationship.  After I read this illustration, I will ever think of the physical body-language that grows into a delight-filled relationship. “Brennan told me of his spiritual director’s curious habit of hopping three times whenever he saw Brennan after an extended absence. He jumped up and down with delight.” A year later my wife and I tumbled out of a crowded elevator into the hotel lobby teeming with conference participants. “I caught a glimpse of Brennan’s white hair and unmistakable smile. He turned and saw us. Immediately he jumped up and down. I was warmed to the bottom of my heart.”

Romans 15:7, “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”  Imagine with me Our Lord Jehovah’s Delight as we come to Him. Does He give a hop of joy? Do we?  We are His creation. We often see ourselves as unworthy of His Love. He gave His Son as our Savior, that we may enjoy an eternal relationship with God our Father.

He delights in us. We wonder why. The Bible tells us. Oh, it tells us why. And each verse creates a closer relationship with us. As He delights in us, we also learn to delight in Him, who is our life, our joy and our all in all. Larry Crabb writes that there are three elements of relationship.  1.  The first element is a taste of Christ delighting in us. We love each other because he loved us first.  I John 4:19.  We love each other because we see His Love in others, and this is what we want in our lives.  This brings change in our relationships with others.
 2.  The second element is a diligent search for what is good. Instead of trying to ‘fix’ others, which is not in our power, we discover God-changes in others’ lives and affirm it.
3.  The third element is an exposure of what is bad or painful. This element is not possible without the first two.   When exercised, it exposes the bad in order to unleash the good.

In her last days, my Mom often said, “God spoils me so much.”  Then I couldn’t understand how she could consider having a terminal disease as being spoiled.  Then I read… Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

The mystery of delight comes through a childlike faith and relationship / connection with our creator. He is the author of delight. Delight's first cousin is gratitude. A deep thanksgiving of all God is. Gratitude is an awareness of walking with Him, awake or sleeping. An expectation of delight comes in menial everyday tasks. Delight is the knowing of ecstasy and purity of Jehovah Jireh that never ends, another sense that is God given. A fountain of love that springs eternal from his being. 

Read these verses and let the words dwell in your heart with His delight.  Ask yourself, “Do I delight in my Savior?”  and then ask, “Does my Lord delight in me?”
• The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright. Proverbs 37:4
  The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright. Proverbs 15:8
  Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.  Psalm 1:1-3
  The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22
  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4
  The Lord detests people with crooked hearts, but he delights in those with integrity.  Proverbs 11:20
•  Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Micah 7:18

  Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”  I Kings 10:9
  “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him.  Job 22: 25-27
  Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.  Psalm 119:111

  Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting!  Psalm 147:1


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

God's Cloud Messages


is for Cloud.
   1.    a visible collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air, usually at an elevation above the earth's surface.
      2.  any similar mass, especially of smoke or dust.
3.  a dim or obscure area in something otherwise clear or transparent.
4.  a patch or spot differing in color from the surrounding surface.
5.  anything that obscures or darkens something,or causes gloom, 
    trouble, suspicion, disgrace, etc.

 Look up into the sky, and see the clouds high above you.” (Job 35:5)

From the time we are small, we look up.  It isn’t the lack of stature, but some innate desire to see what is above us, that causes us to look up.  Many a summer night in Oklahoma, my brothers and parents and I enjoyed the panorama of a star-studded sky speaking to us.  A silent movie with many a gleam and a twinkle filled our hearts with wonder as we gazed up.  We enjoyed the light of a full moon and tried to see the ‘man in the moon’.  So many mysteries stashed in the skies far away and yet are a part of our lives.  Then the clouds moved into play. 

A blue, blue sky with one or two puffy white clouds gives peace to the day.  When clouds darken to an angry dark blue churned with wind, the heart quickens its beat.  When clouds grow heavy with God-given moisture introduced with peals of thunder and lightning flash thanks is given for life-giving rain.

The Scripture begins with the words in Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the last chapter of Revelation these words are written, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 22.13

From the very beginning, God has directed us to look up. David the Shepherd Boy spent many hours in the fields looking up.  He knew where his heart’s devotion lay.  He wrote this,”I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:1-2

As I read the scriptures that refer to clouds, I am again amazed how God uses his creation for a variety of purposes.  When I read the definitions of ‘cloud’, I see that it does not portray the wonder of a cloud, its dimensions, its travels or the variety of usages. 

As I read Genesis 9:12-14, I see that the rainbow is placed in the clouds signifying a covenant to all living creatures for all generations to come.  When man invents or ‘creates’ something, the object may not last more than a season or two without tweaking or mending.  ‘All generations to come’ is a mighty long time for glimpses of the covenant of the rainbow placed in the clouds, and yet the rainbow appears and people are still in awe of its beauty.

Man often wants to tweak God’s Creation or discount it.  I read in Jeremiah 51:15 - The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens
.  Jeremiah goes on to say in verse 16 … When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens are filled with water. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.  God is a ‘hands-on’ God, who sees to every detail of our lives.

Weathermen purport to tell us what the weather will be.  They ask questions like, When will it rain?  When will it stop raining?  Only God knows for He created all the earth. We can pray for rain and we can pray for the rain to cease. As I read the following verses, I am determined never to pray that rains stop for I see clouds in a different way.

At the foot of Mount Sinai, the people gathered.  Stand with me and imagine the scene with me…. “You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while flames from the mountain shot into the sky. The mountain was shrouded in black clouds and deep darkness. And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice.”  Deuteronomy 4:11-12
Let’s move to II Samuel 22:11-13 and the description of God – “Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him.  He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.  He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth.” 

A list of descriptions of how God makes use of His Clouds.
1.    And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel.  I Kings 18:45.
2.    God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.  He wraps the rain in his thick clouds and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.  He covers the face of the moon shrouding it with his clouds. Job 26:7-9
3.    He draws up the water vapour and then distills it into rain.  The rain pours down from the clouds and everyone benefits.  Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven?  See how He spreads the lightning around Him and how it lights up the depths of the sea.  Job 36:27-30
4.    God’s breath sends the ice, freezing wide expanses of water.  He loads the clouds with moisture, and they flash with his lightning.  The clouds churn about at his direction.  They do whatever he commands throughout the earth.  Job 37:10-12
5.    Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind?  Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?  Who can tilt the water jars of heaven when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods? Job 38:36-37
6.    When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled!  The sea quaked to its very depths.  The clouds poured down rain, the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed.  Your thunder roared from the whirlwind, the lightning it up the world!  The earth trembled and shook.  Psalm 77:16-18
7.    The Lord does whatever pleases Him throughout all heaven and earth and on the seas and in their depths.  He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth.  He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses.  Psalm 135:6-7

Three times I found this phrase:  For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.  May your glory shine over all the earth.  Psalm 57:9-11

Our Lord God used the clouds as a means of clothing himself….”He opened the heavens and came down, dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.  Mounted on a mighty angelic being, He flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.  He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling His approach with dark rain clouds.  Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals.  The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals.”  Psalm 18:8 – 13

Our Lord God used clouds as His chariot – You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. Psalm 104:2-4

If you have read this far, you can see that a cloudy day is a God-day.  God may be riding the cloud you see today.  He is watching His own beloved child.  He loves you and wants  you to know.  Next time you look up and see a cloud – think of God and His Creation. Think of how He sent His only begotten Jesus to die on the cross bearing our sins, and how He arose again and returned to His Father in Heaven. Think of the time when we will live with Him in Heaven.  Think of His Love everlasting – from generation to generation. 

“…After saying this, he (Jesus) was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”  Acts 1:9-11
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”          Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!    May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.  Revelation 22:20-21
Look up and watch…with expectation to see our Lord Jesus return.

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12