The Pursuit of Pleasure

chocolate-devotional

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Pleasure’s benefits are brief and never as sweet as the lasting pleasure seeking God brings.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 1:1-2

“How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night.”

Mmmm. The silky smooth milk chocolate glides through my mouth as I bask in the enjoyment of all its flavor. Unless, of course, it is cheap, generic chocolate, wrapped prettily but lacking in substance.

Ah, yes, I am a connoisseur of all things chocolate. Ok. * Sigh *  I am a recovering chocoholic.

But what drove me to this fascination with chocolate? The taste buds that God gave me, and the pursuit of the pleasure I feel when indulging in the sweet bliss of all things chocolate. This pleasure, however, is somewhat fleeting, as the scale reminds me the next day of the cost of that pleasure.

So why did God create tastes buds in the first place? Maybe if we did not have them, we would not delight in food. It seems the senses, in general, can get us into trouble.

Funny things is, God wants us to delight – He wants us to enjoy and experience – even pursue pleasure. The object of our delight often falls so very far of what He has for us, though. Everything around us was not meant to satisfy our deepest need, only our Creator could do that.

We hunger for this satisfaction of the soul and try to fulfill it with the outward senses, but when the temporary fix wears off, we are left wondering why it did not last and what will please us next. Like the Israelites, we hunger for the wrong thing and sometimes blame God when we don’t get what we want.

Then there’s this battle with gratitude. God gives us just what we need and blesses us so abundantly, but we tend to not know our limits. We like His blessing so much we want more and more and sometimes are not content with His provision and can complain when it is removed, as if we deserved it.

I am preaching to the choir here, people. Me, too. I confess that chocolate and I are close – perhaps a little too close, sometimes. But when I realize how I have allowed the creation to become my delight rather than the Creator, it brings me to a place of humble worship.

He alone is my soul’s delight. I have an inner thrill when I consider His incredible care and sovereignty. Wow. Instead of finding delight in things, we can ask God to help us delight in obeying Him and meditating on His Word. It is in this pursuit that we find lasting pleasure that the world can never take away.

Lord, You are our treasure, the delight of our souls. May we never search for satisfaction for our souls from an unspiritual world, but only find our complete joy in God.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 9 – Salvation/Forgiveness

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God stepped into time and flesh and radically demonstrated His love for us all.

Scripture of the Day:

James 1:18

“By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

1 Peter 1:23

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

2 Timothy 1:9

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

Acts 4:12

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Created in the image of God, we lost our way and worshiped something less worthy – the creation itself. How it must have hurt the heart of our Creator that we would not see how much He loves us and choose to live as objects of wrath rather than as His children.

But God.

Stepped into time and flesh and radically demonstrated His love again, wooing us back to Himself. I am forever grateful that God would cover our sins with His own blood and restore us into a relationship with the One Who made us.

This lavish love and redemption from God fills us with 

Joy  –  affects our

Eternity    –  Leads to our

Salvation  –   Transforms the sin

Underneath – and makes us

Sons and daughters of the King of kings!

When we consider so great a salvation that He has given to us, we have to proclaim that He is Worthy of worship! My new song, “You are Worthy” depicts our need to worship one Who is greater than ourselves and the peace we find in so doing.

Lord, thank You for forgiving our sin and the guilt of our sin, setting us free to live for You! You are Worthy of worship!

Worshipful Wednesday: Revelation’s Invitation

His Revelationisan invitation (1)

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

His revelation is an invitation; the imperfect enveloped by the perfect – filled to know Him and represent Him on the earth.

Scriptures of the Day:

Psalm 75:1

“For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A psalm of Asaph. A song. We give thanks to you, O God! We give thanks! You reveal your presence; people tell about your amazing deeds.”

Psalm 76:1

“God has revealed himself in Judah; in Israel his reputation is great.”


As a worship leader it makes me smile that this Psalm opens up with instructions to the musicians. “To the tune of Do Not Destroy” – I wonder what that tune sounded like.

Either way, God’s people had something to sing about, indeed. The fact that our Creator, the King of this universe, Holy and perfect, reveals Himself to imperfect man is beyond understanding; it is astounding. Overwhelming.

Those who violated His covenant and chose fake gods over His presence – those people – He chose to love and to show Himself to.

His revelation is an invitation; the imperfect enveloped by the perfect – filled to know Him and represent Him on the earth.

As we catch a glimpse of Who He is – just a part – we are overcome with His awesome presence and led to a deeper walk with Him.

Seeing part of His character motivates us to desire to be like Him. Seeing One so Holy, so far above us, Who would choose to stoop down and help us to see, causes us to act on that revelation and to be His ambassadors on this earth.

Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself to us, moment by moment. Help us to bask in Your presence and take what we know of You to the uttermost parts of the world.

 

Worshipful Wednesday: Pause for Praise

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Inspirational Thought of The Day:

When we consider the works of God, we cannot help but praise Him.

Scriptures of the Day:

Job 37:7

“He causes everyone to stop working, so that all people may know his work.”

Exodus 34:10

“He said, “See, I am going to make a covenant before all your people. I will do wonders such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation. All the people among whom you live will see the work of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am doing with you.”

Deuternonomy 4:32

“Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it.”


There is something special about times when foul weather or illness strike so the work man does comes to a screeching halt. Like hamsters spinning incessantly on a wheel, a break in routine is jarring at first, but a welcome relief.

It is in those moments that we are forced to stop – when the busyness that encompasses us about is silenced just long enough for us to consider and ponder something other than our normal routine. When snow blankets the roads and man has to admit that even his mighty vehicle cannot circumvent them, we are humbled to realize that God made it all.

God wants us to slow down long enough to see His work. All creation testifies of His greatness. Every minute detail lauds Him as our genius Creator and heroic Savior. We hear it said many times, we read it and sing about it – how great our God is. When we consider His character – unmatchable, indescribable – it overwhelms us to even attempt to try to give Him the praise He is due.

Pause and praise Him today. Think on what He has done in your life. Reflect on His promises and His mighty deliverance. Take a break from the vicious cycle of life and breathe. That’s right. God gave you that breathe to praise Him.

The distractions of this world threaten to blind us to seeing the wonders of God. When we forget what our God has done for us, we are in danger of living for self and forgetting our very purpose – to bring Him glory and praise. That is simply what we were made for – to know Him and enjoy Him forever.

Lord, You are awesome and we cannot thank You enough! Thank You for opening our eyes to see how wonderful You are. Help us to never forget your works and great gift of salvation.

Twelve Days of Christmas Day One: Life

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Job 33:4

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Psalm 139:14

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. At first blush, this song seems rather carnal and materialistic, but the original intention was a vivid example of our lives hidden in Christ.

Although we can complain that Christmas items are out at stores right after Thanksgiving, the early church began the Christmas celebration a  month out and then the timing for the commemoration of the Twelve days of Christmas was celebrated from December 25th through January 6th, leading up to the Epiphany.

These Twelve Days of Christmas are purported by some to be an esoteric code for Christians to remember their beliefs, to others a traditional song reminding us of the Wise men who came and brought gifts all those years ago, and to still others, a secular song with no inherent meaning at all.

But for the early church to set aside a month to celebrate the birth of God is a reminder to us that we can also benefit from this tradition.  Not a month just to be busy, but time to reflect on the significance of what Christ did for us.

Arriving at a perfectly historically accurate understanding of the purpose of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” might be impossible, but perhaps a new tradition is in order.  As a catalyst for sincere praise in this season of giving, over the next twelve days this blog will reflect on twelve amazing gifts that God has given us as we lead up to Christmas.  Day one . . .

On the 1st day of Christmas, our Creator gave to us “Life“.  The complexity of the creation of mankind blows my mind.  From the tiniest cell packed with DNA, to the hairs on our head, eye color, stature, personality – to every detail God lovingly placed in each of His children – our God is awesome, a genius; thoughtful and loving.

This gift of life is often painful, challenging, joyful; a wild mix of emotions.  But to feel is to live.  Each day a gift, whether it was a day filled with trouble that sent us running to our Father, or a day filled with bliss that caused us to be filled with gratitude, every day has a purpose in the scope of eternity.  The “good”, the “bad”, however each moment is assessed by man – ALL of it is used by God miraculously woven into our lives for His glory and our good.

As we come to kneel before our King this Christmas and consider afresh this gift of life, what is the greatest gift we bring now to our Creator, but to offer our lives back to Him in worship?

Lord, thank You for life.  Sometimes it hurts so terribly bad and we wonder how You could ever take such a mess and make it beautiful, but somehow You do.  Lord, thank You for every day of this life and help us to offer each day back to You in sincere gratitude and worship.

Worshipful Wednesday: Our Awesome God

Photo Credits: loudr.fm

Photo Credits:
loudr.fm

Job 36:26; 37:5-7

“Yes, God is great–beyond our knowledge! The number of his years is unsearchable. 5 God thunders with his voice in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall to earth,’ and to the torrential rains, ‘Pour down.’ 7 He causes everyone to stop working, so that all people may know his work.”

Job 37:14-16, 20, 23

“Pay attention to this, Job! Stand still and consider the wonders God works. 15 Do you know how God commands them, how he makes lightning flash in his storm cloud?  16 Do you know about the balancing of the clouds, that wondrous activity of him who is perfect in knowledge?” 20 Should he be informed that I want to speak? If a man speaks, surely he would be swallowed up! 23 As for the Almighty, we cannot attain to him! He is great in power, but justice and abundant righteousness he does not oppress.”

Psalm 68:35

“You are awe-inspiring, O God, as you emerge from your holy temple! It is the God of Israel who gives the people power and strength. God deserves praise!”

We use the word awesome so much today, we forget what the word truly means.  When we say someone or something is awesome, we are saying it is far above ourselves.  Worthy of praise and admiration.  It is a word which our vocabulary cannot sufficiently define.  While there are amazing things which God has created, none of them come close to the wonder of Him.

In this world of self-worship, recognizing someone as greater than ourselves is not typical.  In fact, dumbing things down has become commonplace and excellence is scoffed at.  It would seem that “awesomeness” has become a common word describing anything that we think is cool.

We have become so casual today that reverence seems outdated.  But there is still a Holy God Who is truly the only one Who inspires genuine awe in us all.  We cannot understand fully His Holiness or His ways, and yet He allows us to know Him, revealing Himself to us through His Word and activity in our lives. How incredible.  In a moment he can reduce the bravest among us into a frail speck of dust, but withholds his judgment and grants mercy instead.  Awesome indeed.

The One Who gives us strength and wisdom to live is the only One we should worship.  This life cannot deliver what our souls ache for.  We can try to find meaning and joy in this life, but the deepest abiding joy is only found in Him.  We were made to worship – not just something created – but the One Who is outside time and Who has always been and will always be.  Our awesome Creator, LORD over all.  Our God is an awesome God.

Lord, You are awesome!  You are worthy!  Help us to not be distracted by the cheap substitute this world offers.  You are beautiful and beyond description.  Capture our hearts to worship You alone!