Saturday, July 27, 2013

From Mourning to Joy...It IS Possible!

(A small 4"X6" painting done by my husband's Aunt Nettie Wade. Brings me joy.)

My heart has been heavy lately. Because of numerous things. Many things that are predictably normal happenings such as losing older family members and friends of my age getting diseases that may take their lives before too much longer. At our ages things like that just normally begin to happen. But some of the things that lay heavy on my heart are things that seemingly should not be happening. Heartache and hurt brought on by selfishness or insecurity or name it, people use it to hurt other people.  The bottom line though is that all this heartache is brought on by sin....mine, yours, theirs. For after Adam first sinned in the Garden of Eden it has been all down hill from there.  Sin is what caused our bodies...and to get sick.  Sin is what causes all the problems in this old world.

This morning I woke early and instead of going back to sleep I began to read in Isaiah 61.  The first few verses there spoke to my heart and I began to feel such a comforting peace descend upon me. Isaiah 61:1-3 says this: "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all that mourn: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

Good tidings preached.  Wounds of the brokenhearted bound up.  Liberty given to captives.  Prisoners set free. Mourners comforted.  Beauty and the oil of joy instead of the ashes of mourning.  And A GARMENT OF PRAISE in the place of the spirit of heaviness!  All of this so that the LORD might be glorified!

Our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to have joy in Him!  ("the joy of the Lord is your strength"...Nehemiah 8:10) My prayer today is that myself and any of you reading this who are also heavy hearted will begin to experience our wounds being bound up, liberty given to captives and prisoners of satan's stronghold, and the oil of joy being poured on our heads in the place of the ashes of mourning!

To get this healing started I believe it's important to get into an attitude of PRAISE!  (have you heard the song that says "It's amazing what praising can do!"?)  And then I believe that in all of this, the LORD will be glorified!  And that, you know, is why we were made in the first place...for His glory! "for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Isaiah 43:7

My prayer today for you my friends and for myself, is that we will put our eyes on Jesus and let Him give us the joy we need! For we can have His joy even on the days when tears flow from our eyes! He is worthy of our praise!  "God did not die merely to save our souls, but to empower us to live in a way that would glorify God right here on earth!" (quote by Dr. Henry Morris)

May God bless you!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Offerings of Scraps

Recently a friend was sharing at church how she felt like her life had gotten so busy with work and summer gardening and outside chores that she realized she had been just giving God the ‘’leftovers’’ of her time and attention.  I could identify with that.  I think we all can from time to time.

This morning as I was reading in Isaiah, I came across some Scripture that put into a word picture how we are prone to act.  (Isaiah 44:14-17) In these verses it talks about planting an ash tree and the rain coming and making it grow.  Then along comes a man and cuts the tree down.  He cuts off part of it to make a fire to warm himself.  Then after he’s warm outside, he bakes bread to warm and nourish his insides.  And then with the “residue”….the leftovers….he takes his knife and whittles out an image.  (“…for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto” Isaiah 44:15) This is not some wooden doll or plaything that he’s taking home to his kids either!  He has made a wooden image to fall down in front of and worship!  He’s made himself a god!

Are we not guilty of the same thing? Not with a literal tree but with other things.  We spend time working, playing, buying, selling, planting, harvesting, reading, writing…you name it.  Some of the things we busy ourselves with are good things!  Our jobs provide the means to keep us warm in the winter and food on the table. Many things we do are good and necessary. But many things also could probably be left undone.  We have become such BUSY people!  And where does God sometimes fit into our BUSY lives?  He gets the leftovers. The scraps.  The residue.  We get to the place that we still try to quickly go through the motions of worshipping God but our heart is not in it.  We’re just wanting to soothe a guilty conscience and we end up doing not much more than the heathen bowing down to his whittled out image that he made from the ‘’residue’’ of his tree.  We may call ourselves worshipping God when in reality we are worshipping the things that keep us so busy and away from God.

I admit that I am often guilty.  But I don’t want to stay that way.  If Jesus were literally visiting me, I would never eat a banana and throw the peeling to Him.  I wouldn’t peel a fresh, juicy, red tomato and eat a big tomato sandwich for lunch and put the peelings on a plate and offer that to God!  But basically that’s what I’m sometimes doing in my spiritual life!  I give my best effort, my time and energy, to things of the world instead of giving my best to God first and then letting the world have my leftover time and energy.  I deceive myself when I think I am truly loving and worshipping God as I should when I just give Him my leftovers instead of my ‘’first fruits”!  He deserves to come first in my life and the life of every Christian!

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:” Isaiah 45:5

God bless you!