Have you been watching American Idol this season? Did you, like me, wonder if the show could survive another season? I must admit that I have been following this year's contestants since they began auditioning back in January.
It's been… uh, interesting... to say the least! With the addition of not one, but three brand new judges – one of them being Nicki Minaj – I felt like Idol had lost its appeal and was basically "done". I liked Keith Urban (for obvious reasons! Lol) and Mariah has always been a favorite of mine. Now Nicki… I wasn't quite sure what she would bring to the table.
After watching for several weeks now, I can honestly say that much of her feedback is thoughtful and insightful – surprisingly! She recognizes and celebrates the uniqueness of each person. She also brings her own sense of humor to the show. She is "seriously obsessed" with nearly every singer! She is often "so obsessed" with his voice, or her style. She has been "crazy obsessed" with a performer's stage presence and would pay to go to their concert "right now"! She cracks me up :)
Dictionary.com say obsessed means: to dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings, or desires of.
What are we obsessed with? Who are we obsessed with?
Is there something we obsess over with such passion that we would PAY to pursue it?
God is obsessed like that. Over us. Yes, friend – He is "seriously obsessed" with you and pursues you with PASSION! The Bible tells us that God created us for his pleasure. He pursues us and delights in us.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. (Ephesians 1:4-6 NLT)
This line bears repeating: This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Wrap your head around that for a moment. God is obsessed with us. Wow.
This truth was recently revealed to me as I was studying for a Wednesday night Bible study. In Kasey Van Norman's "Named By God" Bible study, she says: "Once you begin to let go of your doubts and truly believe that the way God designed and created you was completely intentional, the concept of his love is a little easier to grasp."
It was as if a light bulb went off. One of those "ah-ha" moments where I literally felt a shift in my perspective.
God loves us as treasured children. He "made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13 NLT)
Psalm 139 continues:
"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed."
(Psalm 139:14-16 NLT)
God pursues me.
Yes. He is.
He sent his son to pay the ultimate price for MY sin. As I consider exactly what Jesus experienced to reconcile us to God through his blood, I am humbled and crushed to think of my own selfishness. Jesus, who loved us so much and was without sin, carried OUR sin to the cross. He pursued us while we were dead (what can a dead person do?) – and gave us new life.
I want to be obsessed. I want to love Jesus like that. And I want to share that love with others. Friend, God is obsessed with your voice, your style and he paid the price to have you sing for Him for eternity.
Let's pursue Jesus with passion today.
Lord, thank you for who you are. Thank you for creating each of us uniquely and with purpose. Help us to see how special we are to you. Forgive us when we compare ourselves to others. Create in us a passion for you. Guide us as we seek you and delight in your ways. We are so blessed and often forget the sacrifice Jesus made for us. We want to live a life of freedom that only you can provide. Thank you for your grace. In your son's name, Amen.
In His Love,
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Romans 6:12-14 NLT)
I received the flyer from my boss. "Softball Challenge," it said. Hmmm... He was looking for folks to participate in a "friendly" game of softball against our parent company. FUN! Well… I play softball I thought to myself. Although it's been years since I've laced up my cleats. It's like riding a bike, right?
I actually love to play softball and have since I was 9 years old. I especially enjoy the camaraderie of team and the dugout ritual encouraging the batter to "swing level and run like the devil" – clap clap.
I can still smell the clay dirt of my hometown field and remember how the cool evening air held the promise of spring. The consistent rhythm of warming up – ground throws to first base then second, shortstop and third. Pop up throws to the pitcher. As a catcher, I was part of every play.
So I composed my reply, "Count me in!" and hit send. It wasn't long before I realized I needed to find my glove and ask my 15 yr. old to play catch with me. I needed to practice!
And so it is with our faith. If we want to grow in our relationship with Christ, we need to develop our "skills" and practice daily. Our adversary is Satan – and he's not interested in a "friendly" game of anything.
To be an effective player requires discipline. Discipline is not always easy, but it benefits the disciplined. The Bible is God's word to us. I have started reading www.BibleGateway.com each morning. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 15. Starting my day this way makes me feel stronger and closer to God.
They say a habit is formed by doing something for 21 consecutive days. May I encourage you to start each morning reading a few scriptures? Perhaps start in the book of Proverbs and read the verse that corresponds to that day.
As we discipline ourselves to spend time with Jesus, the more we will love learning about Him. And the stronger our faith becomes. Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." When we study and memorize scripture, we can call on God's promises, especially when we are down in the bottom of the 5th.
When life throws us a curve ball – and we all know it will! – let's be prepared to respond. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
So keep me in prayer – the softball game is tomorrow! I'm looking forward to reliving a bit of my youth and may be calling on memorized scripture myself. As I round the bases, I need to remember, "with God, all things are possible!" Matthew 19:26
Let's all "practice" our faith. Open the Bible. Read it. Share it. Play.
In His service,