Deeply Enjoyed - Zephaniah 3:17

by Richard Liantonio, Hephzibah Ministries

I feel like a broken record but for a number of months I have been launching out of the verse from Psalm 145:16 where David says to God, “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” and how God touches the longing of our heart to be understood. I’d like now to look at the universal desire for the assurance of being enjoyed, not just to be loved, but also to feel enjoyed and know we are delighted in. Many of us know what it is like to be in relationship with people who we know are supposed to love us, or even say that they love us, yet we never receive the assurance that they enjoy us, we are never fully confident that they actually like us being with them. While we “know” that we are “loved,” we can have torment in our hearts as we wonder whether they actually like us or are just bearing with us. The reality is that we often have difficulty fully believing people who say they love us but don’t smile at us and enjoy not just what we do, but who we are. The same is true with God. We’ve heard all our lives that He loves us. However, if we don’t know that he actually likes us, if we never see Him smiling at and rejoicing in us, either our faith to believe that He actually loves us or the quality of love that we perceive at the heart level will be very low.

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to live that way, because the God of the Bible satisfies the longing of our heart, not just to be enjoyed, but also to know and experience that we are. Over and over the Word of God speaks of the abundant gladness in the heart of God and how he deeply enjoys us. One of my favorite verses on the subject is Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” First this verse tells us that God is with us, we are never alone, his unchanging presence is always with us. He is also mighty to save us: He is not some “nice guy” pushover floating on a cloud in heaven, He is a warrior, a fierce, victorious, mighty, conquering, heroic savior fighting on our behalf, fighting for our hearts. It is this God who takes great delight in us. He is not like many people who will give you a (fake) smile when you see one minute and not care about you the next, because He is always with you, constant, reliable, unceasing in His presence and gladness towards You. He is also not like weak people who half-smile at you because they are so afraid of you not liking or rejecting them, emotionally needing your affirmation. No, our God is mighty, strong, and self-assured and from that place of confidence He freely rejoices over you out of the abundance and steadfastness of His heart. The intensity of His delight in you is so great that it overflows in song. As the trials or even the mundane of life threaten to make you lose heart, remember the unchanging, ever-present, mighty warrior God likes you so much that right now in heaven He is bursting into song. This week take some time to shut out all the other voices that vie for your attention and listen for the voice of God singing over you in love.


June 25th, 2006

Between the gym and the show, I have been a busy person this week. Sleep hasn't seemed to be something I require much of, which is good since I haven't gotten much. Right now I have a massive burn on my finger - it was a glue gun and I was warned - my fault. Thankfully it doesn't hurt but it really is hideous to look upon.
I have had so much fun painting and cutting and sewing and building (with a real power screw driver) all this week. I know if I did this for months I would wear out, but the show is only a few weeks away!!! Everything is coming together beautifully. It's going to be a fabulous show.

Kansas City was amazing last weekend. It was every bit as hard to leave IHOP this time after 4 days as it was 3 months ago when I left after the internship. I know God has me in Franklin right now, and I want to be in Franklin now, I am very happy and content here. But if that ever changed, I would have no trouble living out there, tornadoes and everything!
It was so nice to see everyone again and be in that environment of worship and intercession. I was only going out there to see the people, but I had a great time in the prayer room and came away from the weekend feeling refreshed and like I had been on my own personal retreat.


Jack the Cat Chases Black Bear Up Tree

WEST MILFORD, N.J. (AP) - A black bear picked the wrong yard for a jaunt, running into a territorial tabby who ran the furry beast up a tree - twice.

Jack, a 15-pound orange and white cat, keeps a close vigil on his property, often chasing small animals, but his owners and neighbors say his latest escapade was surprising.

``We used to joke, 'Jack's on duty,' never knowing he'd go after a bear,'' owner Donna Dickey told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's editions.

Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

Dickey, who feared for her cat, then called Jack home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

``He doesn't want anybody in his yard,'' Dickey said.

Bear sightings are not unusual in West Milford, which experts consider one of the state's most bear-populated areas.

Can a nation be changed?

Abortion Ban Updates From Around the Nation
June 09, 2006


We are very encouraged by the efforts around the nation to stop the shedding of innocent blood through abortion. Although we realize that not every piece of legislation will pass, we see this growing movement among the states as the beginning of the end of abortion on demand in America. We pray that day will come soon!

South Dakota – Republican state legislators who voted against South Dakota’s historic abortion ban were ousted in Tuesday’s primary election. This shows that support for abortion is fast becoming political suicide. It is also an indicator of the strong support among South Dakotans for the ban on abortion. Read USA Today article.

Ohio – After a long delay, Ohio’s abortion ban bill (HB228) is scheduled for a committee hearing on Tuesday, June 13, 2006. Testimony will be heard. Please pray for this measure to pass out of committee and continue to move rapidly through the Ohio Legislature.

Louisiana – Gov. Kathleen Blanco vows to sign Louisiana’s conditional abortion ban very soon. The law would only take place if the US Constitution is amended or the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Read New York Times story.

Iowa – A candidate’s position on banning abortion has become a hot political issue in many states, including Iowa where gubernatorial candidate Mike Bloudin does not seem to understand that standing firmly in defense of the pre-born will also win elections. Re ad full story

For the voiceless,

Troy Newman
President, Operation Rescue


June 8th, 2006

One week from today I will be in Kansas City. I am looking forward to being in the prayer room again and seeing everyone from Fire In The Night.

This week was the first week of our summer schedule at the gym. I love coaching in the summer because the kids learn so much due to smaller classes and longer hours.

Last night I attended a prayer meeting regarding the teen and children's programs at church. It was the first time in a while I have sensed God speaking to me in a corporate prayer meeting, but then, it's the first time I've stopped and listened in a while. It was so refreshing and encouraging. God is so good. The Bible is full of His loving care for His people and the greatness of His majesty and splendor. And when I stop to think about it, my own lfe is a story of His greatness and goodness; He is faithful.


You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.
You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.
Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.
All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.
Your Theme Song is Beautiful Day by U2

"Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

You see the beauty in life, especially in ordinary everyday moments.
And if you're feeling down, even that seems a little beautiful too.