I love that Scripture says in multiple places that God delights in us. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines delight as… “a high degree of gratification or pleasure; joy; also : extreme satisfaction.”

Think about that for a moment…

When God thinks about you, He smiles… He experiences a high degree of satisfaction and pleasure… He feels joy… He is extremely satisfied.

Ask yourself this question, and answer it honestly… Do you really view God as thinking and feeling that way about you? Or do you figure He’s probably frustrated with you… upset at you… frowning or scowling at you?

How you view Him is important because it determines how you approach Him. If you think He’s mad at you, you’ll approach Him fearfully and with little hope of goodness from Him. But if you view Him as delighted over you, you’ll approach Him with love and be confident that you will receive blessings from Him.

Too many people think God is mad at them and that He is looking for any little opportunity to punish them. He’s not. He’s looking for every opportunity to bless you… to bring that same delight, joy, pleasure and satisfaction to your heart that He experiences when He thinks of you.

Why not take this one weekend, these next two and a half days, to live determined to take God at His Word and view Him as delighted with you? When you think of Him, picture Him smiling as He says your name. Believe that He loves you and wants to give you good things for your life. Delight in Him like He delights in you.

I’m convinced that if you will change your perspective toward Him this weekend, you will find that life is so much better as you live in His pure delight!

I’m going to assume that since you are reading this, you must be human. And since you are human, I will also therefore suppose that you have faced hurt or unfair treatment in your life… like the rest of us. You’ve probably been wounded by people who were supposed to be for you, on your side.

When that happens, it’s normal to feel emotional pain, to feel betrayed, to wonder why this bad stuff is happening to you. That’s okay initially. And some wounds are deep enough that they just simply take longer to heal. That’s understandable.

But at some point on the journey, we need to come to terms with the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people. The question then becomes… What will you do with the bad stuff that has happened to you in life?

In the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, we read the story of someone who was done really wrong by those who should’ve been closest to him. His name was Joseph, and God had given him big dreams for his life. As he began to share these dreams with his family, his dad discredited him, and his brothers hated him for the dreams. They hated him so much that they started to kill him, but decided to sell him into slavery and tell their dad a wild animal ate him.

There is no doubt that Joseph was done wrong. But it got worse for him before it got better. Though he excelled as a slave for a high-ranking Egyptian leader, he was falsely accused of attempting to rape that man’s wife… and whose word do you think they believed, the slave or the lady? So Joseph was sent to jail.

In jail, Joseph excelled again and even predicted the futures for two servants of the king based on their dreams. They promised to remember him, but one was executed and the other forgot Joseph for a long time. Finally, Joseph was called upon to interpret a dream for the king, and it was then that he rose to prominence as the second in command for the entire nation of Egypt.

A famine ensued, and Joseph’s brothers showed up to get food from Egypt where Joseph had led a successful food saving and distribution plan. When they showed up, Joseph was confronted with a choice. There stood the very guys who had done him wrong. And it was within his power to set things straight.

In that moment, Joseph chose to give God credit instead of giving his brothers blame. Yes, they did bad things to him, but he chose to instead focus on how God used the bad they had done to work for all their good. He probably didn’t see it in the pit or the prison, but he certainly saw it the day they showed up to buy grain from him during the famine. Perhaps that was why he wept so intensely… the sudden understanding of how God had used the bad to set up the good.

I guess the question before each of us today is the same one Joseph faced that day his brothers showed up… Will I choose to give God credit or give those who did me wrong the blame they deserve?

God promises that He will set the record straight on our behalf, and that He will work everything that happens to us in life… the bad as well as the good… for our benefit and His credit… IF we will let Him.

The choice is ours today… Credit or blame? Let’s choose to see how God has worked things out for our good and give Him credit. In the end, we will win with a choice like that!

Last week in church, the sharp, twenty-something worship leader pulled out an oldie-goldie… a song I cut my teeth on as a kid growing up in church. The song was “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” We sang the words, “Look full in His wonderful face,” and they just resonated in my heart.

I realized that when it comes to Jesus, I don’t have to hang my head in shame because He has forgiven my past. I can “look full in His wonderful face.”

I realized that He doesn’t want me to just cast Him a sideways glance occasionally, but He genuinely wants me to slow down and “Look full in His wonderful face” so that we can spend time together.

Full… unashamed… unhurried… unobstructed… not fearful… not worried… not distracted.

Full… straight on… eye-to-eye… loved… appreciated… desired.

He doesn’t want me to look away. He wants me to see Him… and He wants to see me. How great is that? To be loved so deeply that He wants me to look full in His wonderful face?!

And His truly is a wonderful face to look into! A face full of grace… full of forgiveness… full of love… full of power… full of healing… full of joy… full of peace… and so much more.

Today, look full in His wonderful face… “and the things of earth, will grow strangely dim, in the light of of His glory and grace.”

You might think that because I’m an author, I love to read. I do read. Leaders have to be readers. I guess I like to read. It’s just that it takes me a long time to read… not because I have a disability, but because I process as I read. I can’t skim a book and gain the major points, set it aside and move on. My mind just doesn’t function that way.

So, I’m super selective about what I choose to read… not just topically, but the size of a book. Too many pages, and I just get bogged down. I don’t read any book… other than the Bible… every day. So most of the books I choose to read are 200 pages or less. In fact, when I wrote my first book, I was determined to make it between 100-150 pages for people like me who can’t stand a long book.

Truth is, I’ve never read War and Peace, and the rest of that story is that I probably never will. Nor do I plan to read other books which require multiple volumes and have thousands of pages.

There are some really big books out there. I might eventually read Laura Bush’s Big Book of History, or the Big Book of Jokes for Kids, but you shouldn’t expect to find me reading most big books.

Yet I was intrigued when reading Scripture to find that God has at least one big book. I’m not sure if it’s one giant book or a book with multiple volumes. I don’t know whether it is on a scroll or in digital format. I just know that Scripture records for us in several places that God has a book that would have to be big to hold all it contains. And you might be surprised to find what He writes in His “Big Book.”

For example, God’s “Big Book” is a Big Book of Tears. Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

That’s crazy, right? Of all the things God could keep track of and write in His “Big Book,” He chose to record your every year… and mine. Most of us want to forget most of the things that bring us to tears in life, but God chooses to record those experiences and feelings for eternity.

Why? Why would He do that?

I believe He does it for two reasons:

1) He wants us to know that He knows… and cares. Sometimes we hurt and think no one notices or cares. God keeps a record of our tears to let us know that He is right here with us… that He knows… that He cares… that He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15).

and 2) He is keeping track of everything the enemy of our souls has done to cause us sadness and pain so that He can bring him to account for those actions, and bless us for the times when we have been mistreated. Isaiah tells us that God will restore to us double for our trouble. How would God know what double is if He wasn’t keeping a good record? So, He captures every tear in a bottle, and records the instance in His “Big Book of Tears.”

If life has brought you to tears today, just know that He knows… He cares… and He is going to set things right one day. That’s one big book that might just be worth reading!

I have worked with teenagers and young adults for more than 2 decades now. One topic of interest always pops up for those who are Christ-followers… the will of God. I admit, I’ve had my fair share of trying to figure out what God wants me to do… when He wants me to do it… where I need to be doing it… etc., etc., etc. Sometimes, the harder I try to figure out His plan, the more confused I seem to get.

I know God has recorded every moment of every day of my life in a book (Psalm 139). I know His plans for me are good, plans that will prosper me and not harm me, that will give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29). And I even know that He orders/directs/determines my steps (Proverbs 16). So because I want to please and honor Him, I want to be in His will.

Over the years, knowing His will has been difficult at times, but just last week, something hit me between the eyes that I should have seen and known and understood long ago…

The key to always being in the will of God… to always being where He wants you to be, when He wants you to be there… is to walk WITH Him. The disciples were always in the will of God when they walked with Jesus and did what He told them to do, when He told them to do it, where He told them to do it, etc.

And if we will just make our effort that of making sure we are walking with Him, we will be right where we ought to be, doing what we ought to be doing. So, while I may not know where He is taking me on this journey, I do know how to stay with Him. And that is exactly what I intend on doing.

If you’re struggling to know His will for you, why don’t you join us on the journey? He’s calling out to you to come and follow Him today, too!

If you have watched our YouTube channel (Team A’s Life) last year in our first season, you probably discovered that PR31 and I love a good garage sale… both shopping at them and having them. You would also know that we differ on how to price items, and that we approach the buying process from a different viewpoint. But we still love them nonetheless.

We were talking today about how certain items ought to be priced when having a garage sale, and PR31 says to me, “Isn’t it crazy that pieces of your life can reduced to placing a sticker on them and selling them for 25 cents?” It totally caught my attention. We talked about how things that seem so important at one point in our lives, we are more than willing to part with as if they didn’t matter to us at all… like they are almost not worth selling later on.

I’ve been thinking about that off and on throughout the day, and I’m reminded of how Jesus said in His famed “Sermon On The Mount” in Matthew 6 that we should focus our attention on what really matters in life… those things that are going to last into eternity… that we should store up treasures in Heaven where they cannot be taken or destroyed… or in my words, sold for a quarter at a garage sale.

In the long run… like the forever, eternal long run… people are what matter. Relationships are what matter. Kindness, love and respect matter. Generosity and grace are matter. Feeding the hungry, healing the hurting and helping the poor matter. Taking care of widows and orphans matters. None of those “things” could ever be sold for 25 cents at a garage sale. But they just might generate some interest in your account in Heaven.

So before you buy that thing you just can’t live without today… ask yourself how long your satisfaction with it will last and how much you’ll probably sell it for in a garage sale five or ten years from now. That may make you think twice about whether it’s really worth it or not. When the next best seller has been written… or this season’s hot fashion trend is then a fashion faux pas… or that latest technology is totally outdated and no longer even supported by most devices, will it really matter that you had any of it?

I’m not against having cool stuff. I’m just more in favor of making sure I keep my priorities right. I want to stockpile treasures in Heaven instead of getting a quarter for something at a garage sale here.

Note: Straight-up spiritual post with a hope-filled word of prophecy for someone who needs it today

We live on four acres in the woods… as you can tell from the view from our front door in the picture above… and we love it! Living in the country like this affords us the opportunity to really experience the seasons (such as they are in Louisiana).

It’s definitely Springtime here right now. Azaleas are blooming in vibrant pinks and Dogwoods in their brilliant whites. The dull grays and browns of Winter’s “lifeless” sticks have, in the last week or two, almost suddenly become lush with all shades of bright green foliage. I’m sure they had budded, and it probably took longer than I realized, but I keep catching myself telling PR31 how those leaves seemed to come out of nowhere practically overnight.

Then, in just last week or so, PR31 came through the living room around 6:40am and told me that she had to go outside and listen to the birds. When she did, she said she heard so many different birds singing and chirping. I believe her exact words were, “It’s like the whole world is coming alive at that moment.” I began listening for that each morning during my time alone with the Lord, and she’s right. In fact, more than one morning, I went outside to hear it for myself. Sure enough, sometime between 6:35am and 6:45am all the birds in the trees around our home… along with the neighbor’s rooster… welcome the new day with their song.

Then yesterday, as I was thinking about all of this, I believe the Lord spoke something to my heart to post for someone today…

“Like the birds all starting to sing at once between 6:35-6:45am… and like all the flowers blooming and trees turning green as they once more they put on new leaves, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead says to you today that He is causing you to come to life again after a dark night… after a dreary winter season.”

I don’t know what you’ve been going through exactly. I just know that He put in my heart to say to you that He knows everything in your life has seemed dull and lifeless for awhile now. There have been moments when you have wondered if everything was dead. But in the same way that Christ rose from the dead on the third day… and that suddenly we noticed the birds singing their daily morning wake-up chorus… and that new, bright green leaves seemed to suddenly appear and fill out the trees and bushes… so God is stirring you to life once more! What has seemed hopeless and dreary will soon be blooming with hope and full of vibrancy! Even “rainy” circumstances which come your way now will only serve to produce more depth of color to add to your dazzling display. And others will stand back in amazement and watch as you display the glory of God’s work in your life, singing a wake-up song of your own to Him!

Open your eyes, and look around you at a full-color life. Open your ears, and listen to a song announcing a new beginning… a new day dawning… new life bursting forth! Soon you will see that “Winter” is gone and “Spring” is here. And it begins today!

Each night, we sit on the floor next to the boys’ beds and read a Bible story from each of their Bibles, and then we pray together as a family before they go to sleep. Earlier this week, it just so happened that Angela was reading in Austin’s Bible about the Passion week. That night, she read what the Scriptures say about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane from Mark 14:32-42. Along the way in his study Bible, there are little one-line commentary thoughts and activities that go along with the story.

Angela read these words aloud…

“Jesus was sad, so He prayed.”

When she said it, I was struck. I have times when I’m sad. I mean, normally, I’m pretty upbeat. But I have my own moments of melancholy. In fact, I had an afternoon and evening just recently when sadness hit me out of nowhere. I couldn’t pin-point its cause. I was just sad.

Ever been there? What do you do when you are sad? Do you mope? Do you cry? Do you call someone… a family member or close friend?

When Jesus was at what was probably the saddest moment of His life on this planet, He chose to pray… to talk with His Heavenly Father about what was going on in His life and how it was making Him feel. He took His overwhelming sadness to the only One who could actually do anything about it. In the end, God didn’t change the situation. But He did strengthen Jesus to be able to endure it. In fact, what Jesus faced over the next 24 hours seems almost incomprehensible to me when it comes to emotional, physical and spiritual suffering. Yet, in His sadness, He kept the conversation going with His Father.

And He made it. He made it through the difficult times to the victorious times. (I’ll share more about those Monday.)

Here’s the thing… When you’re sad… especially really sad… like depressed… or when you’re grieving a loss… it can feel like nothing will help. When you don’t know what else to do… when you don’t think anything or anyone can help… do what Jesus did… Pray! Have a conversation with God and invite Him to get involved in your life. Even if He doesn’t change the situation… although sometimes He does… you will at least gain the strength you need to make it through the dark Fridays of despair to the bright Sundays of hope!

If you’re sad today… Pray.

It’s so easy for us to see our own faults, flaws and limitations. For example, when I play basketball, I am acutely aware that I am only 5’8″ tall. Without assistive eyewear, I can’t read the “E” on the top of the Snellen chart in the optometrist’s office. When I look at the balance in our checking account, I understand our spending limitations.

I could go on, but you get the point. We all have stuff we’re not capable of on our own. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible for us to achieve something greater than we can in the natural.

Check out what God said to the Jewish people through His prophet Isaiah…

“Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor,and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation. Abraham was only one man when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.” (Isaiah 51:2)

Abraham was only one guy. In fact, he and his wife were one couple who struggled with infertility. Yet God said they would be the ancestors of many nations/people. God extended that promise to say their descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore… too many to count. And it happened. Abraham’s “only” was that he was only one guy. Sarah’s “only” was that she barren. But when God blessed, generations… people groups… nations began. Abraham was “only” one man, but when God blessed him, he became more.

What’s your “only” today? What’s that thing that limits you… restricts you… prevents you in the natural from being all that God says you can and should and will be? Is it your age? You’re “only” 15. Is it your health? You can “only” walk from the bed to the kitchen without being out of breath. Is it your education? You “only” have a G.E.D.

You may be limited by your “only,” but God is not. When God blesses you, you become whatever He is capable of making you. So, go ahead… state your “only.” That will just show how big the miracle really is when God blesses you and you become more than you could on your own.

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And here’s a little postscript for us all… We need to remember this applies to others as well, not just us. The next time you see someone and you are tempted to think they don’t have what it takes, just remember that God can bless them also, and they can become more than they are right now.