ENJOY GOD

Written by Rachel Denison

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Do you agree? When is the last time you simply enjoyed God? This could look like going on a prayer walk in nature, saturating yourself in Scripture, sitting at his feet in worship, painting as the Spirit leads, writing poetry– you name it. God wants you to enjoy him in whatever way you wish or enjoy.

I hate that I so easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Dallas culture that I miss the sweet opportunities all around me to enjoy God. Do you believe God is enjoyable? I guess that’s where we should start. Do you believe God enjoys you? Do you think you are even enjoyable period?

I can assure you that God is more than excited, enthralled and captivated by you– son or daughter. (This is not just a thing for women, so please don’t miss me on this.) As God’s own child, ransomed and rescued by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, I would say you are quite enjoyed, loved and sought after by God. And that is an understatement. All I’m trying to say is God enjoys you. Period. 100%.

I think receiving the enjoyment of God is a great place to start with enjoying him ourselves. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Have you ever realized before that we enjoy people that enjoy us? When someone is listening intently to a story you’re telling with a smile in their eyes, you can’t help but feel enjoyed and enjoy being around that person in return. If you could visibly tell that someone was not enjoying your company (and couldn’t see your inherent personal value), you would consequently not enjoy them either! Enjoying God begins with experiencing his own holy, precious and outrageous enjoyment of us.

Practically, I think that looks like spending set aside time with him– coming before him in humility and honor, in child-like faith asking him to give us a personal revelation of his great love for us individually. This looks like meditating on God’s truth found in Scripture, really mulling it over, exploring it and allowing it to transform our minds. This looks like opening our hearts up to God.

I assure you he will come.

As you begin to experience his enjoyment of you, you WILL enjoy him. It’s impossible not to! He is the uttermost enjoyable person in all history and all creation of all time. He is full of endless mysteries, wisdom, revelation, glory and insight for us to enjoy forever. One of my favorite worship leaders, Jonathan David Helser, puts it this way, “All those angels, they are swimming in this ocean and they still can find no shore. Day and night, night and day, they keep seeing new sides of Your face. You are an endless ocean, a bottomless sea.”

Take some time today to enjoy God. Simply turn your heart towards him. Experience his delight, and delight in him in return. I would challenge myself and anyone reading to make a practice out of this. Let us never lose sight of how sweetly and majestically enjoyable God is.

Family Picture

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

by Gary Rosberg

I was sitting in my favorite chair, studying for the final stages of my doctoral degree, when Sarah announced herself in my presence with a question: “Daddy, do you want to see my family picture?”

“Sarah, Daddy’s busy. Come back in a little while, honey.”

Good move, right? I was busy. A week’s worth of work to squeeze into a weekend. You’ve been there.

Ten minutes later she swept back into the living room. “Daddy, let me show you my picture.”

The heat went up around my collar. “Sarah, I said come back later. This is important.”

Three minutes later she stormed into the living room, got three inches from my nose, and barked with all the power a five-year-old could muster: “Do you want to see it or don’t you?” The assertive Christian woman in training.

“No,” I told her, “I don’t.”

With that she zoomed out of the room and left me alone. And somehow, being alone at that moment wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it would be. I felt like a jerk. (Don’t agree so loudly.) I went to the front door.

“Sarah,” I called, “could you come back inside a minute, please? Daddy would like to see your picture.”

She obliged with no recriminations and popped up on my lap.

It was a great picture. She’d even given it a title. Across the top, in her best printing, she had inscribed: “OUR FAMILY BEST.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.

“Here is Mommy [a stick figure with long yellow curly hair], here is me standing by Mommy [with a smiley face], here is our dog Katie, and here is Missy [her little sister was a stick figure lying in the street in front of the house, about three times bigger than anyone else].” It was a pretty good insight into how she saw our family.

“I love your picture, honey,” I told her. “I’ll hang it on the dining-room wall, and each night when I come home from work and from class, I’m going to look at it.”

She took me at my word, beamed ear to ear, and went outside to play. I went back to my books. But for some reason I kept reading the same paragraph over and over.

Something was making me uneasy.

Something about Sarah’s picture.

Something was missing.

I went to the front door. “Sarah,” I called, “could you come back inside a minute, please? I want to look at your picture again, honey.”

Sarah crawled back into my lap. I can close my eyes right now and see the way she looked. Cheeks rosy from playing outside. Pigtails. Strawberry Shortcake tennis shoes. A Cabbage Patch doll named Nellie tucked limply under her arm.

I asked my little girl a question, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer.

“Honey…there’s Mommy, and Sarah, and Missy. Katie the dog is in the picture, and the sun, and the house, and squirrels, and birdies. But Sarah…where is your Daddy?”

“You’re at the library,” she said.

With that simple statement my little princess stopped time for me. Lifting her gently off my lap, I sent her back to play in the spring sunshine. I slumped back in my chair with a swirling head and blood pumping furiously through my heart. Even as I type these words into the computer, I can feel those sensations all over again. It was a frightening moment. The fog lifted from my preoccupied brain for a moment—and suddenly I could see. But what I saw scared me to death. It was like being in a ship and coming out of the fog in time to see a huge, sharp rock knifing through the surf just off the port bow.

Sarah’s simple pronouncement—“You’re at the library”—got my attention big-time. I resolved right then to change—to be a daddy who was there for his kids, who didn’t spend every moment studying or at the office, who was an active participant in his children’s lives. Sure, it might slow down my career ambitions a bit. But I desperately wanted my daughter to know that she was the pride and joy of my life—and that she could show me her latest drawing anytime.

It was time for this daddy to get back in the picture.

Looking ahead…

How well I understand the struggle Dr. Rosberg describes in tonight’s story. Shortly after the birth of my daughter, Danae, I finished my Ph.D. and the whole world seemed to open up to me. Radio and television opportunities were there for the taking, and a book contract sat on my desk. I was running at incredible speed, just like every other man I knew. Although my pursuits were bringing me professional rewards, my dad wasn’t impressed. He wrote me a long and loving letter, gently expressing how great a mistake it would be if I continued to pour every resource into my career and failed to meet my obligations to my wife and infant daughter. He said that my occupational success would be pale and unsatisfying if I lost the love of those I cared about most. Those words shook me to the core and made me reexamine my priorities.

Satan once attempted to entice Jesus with the “authority and splendor” of this world (Luke 4:6). He will try the same with you, making every effort to lure you away from your family with temporary treasures and pleasures. When your day is so filled with “important” activities that you don’t have a moment for your spouse or children, it’s a victory for the devil. Don’t listen to him!

Time is a precious resource that, once lost, can never be recovered. Let’s spend it in a way that creates joyful, eternal memories for the loved ones under our roofs.

– James C. Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

“Family Picture” by Gary Rosberg. From Guard Your Heart by Gary Rosberg (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1994). Used by permission of the author

That’s the Way I Feel About You

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

by Nancy Jo Sullivan

One hot July morning, I awoke to the clicks of a broken fan blowing humid air across my face. The well‐used fan had seen better days. It had only one setting, and its blades were worn and bent. It needed repair. So, I thought, did my life.

Earlier that year Sarah, our Down’s syndrome daughter, had undergone heart surgery. That was behind us, but now we faced mounting medical bills that insurance wouldn’t cover. On top of that, my husband’s job would be eliminated in just weeks, and losing our home seemed inevitable.

As I closed my eyes to try to put together a morning prayer, I felt a small hand nudge my arm. “Mommy,” Sarah said, “I g‐g‐got r‐r‐ready for v‐v‐vacation B‐B‐Bible school all by myself!”

Next to the bed stood five‐year‐old Sarah, her eyes twinkling through thick, pink‐framed glasses. Beaming, she turned both palms up and exclaimed, “Ta‐dah!”

Her red‐checked, seersucker shorts were on backward, with the drawstring stuck in the side waistband. A J. C. Penney price tag hung from a new, green polka‐dot top. It was inside out. She had chosen one red and one green winter sock to go with the outfit. Her tennis shoes were on the wrong feet, and she wore a baseball cap with the visor and emblem turned backward.

“I‐I‐I packed a b‐b‐backpack, t‐t‐too!” she stuttered while unzipping her bag so I could see what was inside. Curious, I peered in at the treasures she had so carefully packed: five Lego blocks, an unopened box of paper clips, a fork, a naked Cabbage Patch doll, three jigsaw puzzle pieces, and a crib sheet from the linen closet.

Gently lifting her chin until our eyes met, I said very slowly, “You look beautiful!”

“Thank y‐y‐you.” Sarah smiled as she began to twirl around like a ballerina.

Just then the living room clock chimed eight, which meant I had forty‐five minutes to get Sarah, a toddler, and a baby out the door. As I hurried to feed the kids while rocking a crying infant, the morning minutes dissolved into urgent seconds. I knew I was not going to have time to change Sarah’s outfit.

Buckling each child into a car seat, I tried to reason with Sarah. “Honey, I don’t think you’ll be needing your backpack for vacation Bible school. Why don’t you let me keep it in the car for you.”

“No‐o‐o‐o. I n‐n‐need it!”

I finally surrendered, telling myself her self‐esteem was more important than what people might think of her knapsack full of useless stuff. When we got to church, I attempted to redo Sarah’s outfit with one hand while I held my baby in the other. But Sarah pulled away, reminding me of my early morning words, “No‐o‐o‐o… I l‐l‐look beautiful!” Overhearing our conversation, a young teacher joined us. “You do look beautiful!” the woman told Sarah. Then she took Sarah’s hand and said to me, “You can pick up Sarah at 11:30. We’ll take good care of her.”

As I watched them walk away, I knew Sarah was in good hands. While Sarah was in school, I took the other two children and ran errands. As I dropped late payments into the mailbox and shopped with coupons at the grocery store, my thoughts raced with anxiety and disjointed prayer. What did the future hold? How would we provide for our three small children? Would we lose our home? Does God really care about us? I got back to the church a few minutes early. A door to the sun‐filled chapel had been propped open, and I could see the children seated inside in a semicircle listening to a Bible story.

Sarah, sitting with her back to me, was still clutching the canvas straps that secured her backpack. Her baseball cap, shorts, and shirt were still on backwards and inside out.

As I watched her, one simple thought came to mind: “I sure do love her.”

As I stood there, I heard that still, comforting voice that I have come to understand is God’s: “That’s the way I feel about you.”

I closed my eyes and imagined my Creator looking at me from a distance: my life so much like Sarah’s outfit—backward, unmatched, mixed up.

“Why are you holding that useless ‘backpack’ full of anxiety, doubt, and fear?” I could imagine God saying to me. “Let Me carry it.”

That night as I once again turned on our crippled fan, I felt a renewed sense of hope. Sarah had reminded me that God’s presence remains even when life needs repair. I might not have the answers to all my problems—but I would always be able to count on Him to help carry the load.

Looking ahead…

Thanks to her five‐year‐old daughter, Nancy Jo Sullivan rediscovered the reality of God’s all‐powerful presence. Many never understand that He is in our midst, ready to love us and pick up our backpacks full of troubles and fears. These people doubt, neglect to ask for His help, or fail to see how the Lord provides in their time of need. But He is there—the Unfailing Presence—always watching, always ready to share in our strife and lovingly guide us, no matter how difficult our circumstances.

When hardship and crises strike, you may be tempted to feel that God has let you down or no longer cares. Resist this thinking! Even when His solution is not the one you seek, be assured that it is just what you need for the trials you face.

We’ll spend this week talking about the trustworthiness of the Lord. Sooner or later in every Christian marriage, it’s a truth that matters more than life itself!

– James C Dobson

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • “That’s the Way I Feel about You” by Nancy Jo Sullivan. Taken from Moments of Grace by Nancy Jo Sullivan. © 2000. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.