Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 47

At times I feel as if my emotions are all over the place. This past weekend I felt devastated by the harshness of some of the things in my life. Yet God revealed to me I am not hopeless - I am not alone. I am blessed.

In the New International Version, Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." In the KJV those words are: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Thoughts of peace - an inward peace where I am not anxious about anything. The peace of God that truly transcends all understanding and guards my heart.

Philippians 4:8-9 says: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

If I dwell on things that are are worthy - peace will reign in my life. When I give in to the cares of this world and worry about the things that I cannot change, anxiety will reign. My emotions are all over the place because I am not fully living in this word.

So that is where my struggle is. How do I walk in this word? It literally takes practice. When I find myself worrying or imagining awful things happening, I have to take those thoughts captive. I need to recognize where they come from and deal with it but I cannot let it reign in me. I cannot let those anxious, fearful thoughts feed me spiritually. I have to hope. I have to believe. If I hope and believe on the beautiful things that God has told me to concentrate on, I am liberated into the fullness of God. Once I've experienced that liberation, I experience the Glory of God.

I see the Glory of God as a covering. It protects my mind and my heart and my soul. The Glory of God is like healing oil that repairs my brokenness. The Glory of God is a literal shelter, my hiding place. Living in the Glory of God allows God to be everything He needs to be in my life. My relationships on this earth are important but my relationship with Him is ultimate. As He becomes ultimate, the joy of the Lord fills me regardless of my circumstance and that joy becomes my strength. When my joy becomes rooted in the glory of God I cannot be shaken. Life may be hard, tragic things may happen, but my joy is complete and that promise is eternal.

In the NIV, Nehemiah 8:10 says, "the joy of the lord is your strength". I've always concentrated on this. I've prayed it. But I missed what was RIGHT before it. It says, do not grieve for the joy of the lord is your strength.

Basically at this time the people were grieving because they were wounded with the words of the law. When they heard the law they understood their sinfulness. They wept to think that they had offended God and sinned against Him. They wept over their guilt. They were then healed and comforted with words of peace. It was well that they were affected by the word of God but if they yielded completely to their mourning it would consume them. Sorrow for sin must not hinder our joy in God. Instead they should put on the garments of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness.

In Isaiah 61:3 it says, "that for all those who mourn in Zion, they will be given 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."

Joy is SO much more than we realize. And so much more than I can talk about here, even more than I understand. We shouldn't be joyful out of performance or duty. It needs to truly abide within us. The joy of the Lord will rise and grow within us and arm us against the enemy. We take away the enemy's power when we let joy rule our life. In joy we are able to carry out the Great Commission. We are able to minister and comfort and help those who feel helpless.

Today's Reflection: Out of the brokenness of my life I pray that you replace beauty for ashes. I give thanks through my brokenness I was led to you. I give thanks that you delivered me out of sin and out of harms way. I thank you Lord that my time of mourning has passed and that you have filled me with joy. That it will fill me soul and spill over affecting those around me and that it will protect me against the enemy. Because of Your great love, I am healed. I am like a broken pitcher dropped on the floor in a hundred pieces. You took each piece and put me back together. I was shattered and anyone else would have swept the broken pieces away. But you saw beauty. You saw how I could be put back together and used. I can still see the cracks from the broken pieces but regardless of the scars I am usable. I am made beautiful and purposeful. I am beyond humbled to experience Your love and Your saving grace. A mere thank you is not enough. My life is yours.

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