God says do not harden your hearts – I have been meditating about this for a little while now in the hope of being able to understand in a practical way what this might look like and how it impacts our lives when it happens. I began for some reason to think about muscles and how they work and are renewed. As I sat there I tensed the main muscle on my leg and kept it tense for a short while. As I did this I noticed that even though this was a voluntary movement it nevertheless rendered my muscle useless as in this state of tension nothing could enter nor exit from it. I also noticed that unless I relaxed it the muscle would cramp up and remain hard and in pain until treated.
Very clearly this morning I heard "It is time to make reservations of faith." By definition, to make a reservation is 1) to put something on the books, 2) to set aside an area of land for occupation or 3) a right to an estate being conveyed! There are, however, other kinds of reservations. When you have a reservation about something it signifies DOUBT. This is why the reservations we are to make now are ones of FAITH. Let me share what the Holy Spirit unpacked about each of these.
"...Everything is against me!" - Genesis 42:36 Eventually, Benjamin along with Jacob's other sons learned that their brother Joseph was second in command in Egypt. Joseph revealed his identity, and Jacob was reunited with his son whom he had not seen for more than 13 years. He had thought Joseph to be dead. So often we believe our dreams are dead. There seems to be nothing left in our world to live for. Everything appears to be against us.
Music, at its essence, is what gives us memory. Stevie Wonder
In the past, I sang every single day. Now, like many others, it seems that my harp has been hung on the willow tree (Psalm 137:2)…only singing at a worship services, but not alone. For this New Year, I hear the Lord say, "SING!" You are created as an instrument that can sing. Music holds the power of creation. The stars sang at creation and the angels sang at the birth of Christ.
Many of God's people are hurting from other people's acts against them. Some are even hurting from their own acts against themselves. In Jeremiah 8:21-22, the prophet cried out: For the brokenness of the daughter of my people am I broken; I mourn; dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? The truth is that there is a balm for hurt now. A physician is here. Recovery is available for the health of God's people, all daughters and sons. When Jeremiah spoke the words above, the people of Judah had turned away from worshiping God. Instead, they turned to worshipping idols. They committed evil acts against one another.
Wedding toasts are normally awkward, funny, or moving. If you can avoid the first and combine the second two, you're doing something right. I went to a wedding recently, and was deeply moved by a simple acknowledgement from a father to a son. "Son, I have never been disappointed in you, and I am so proud of you." Maybe it was just me, but it felt like something shifted in the atmosphere of the room. I'm pretty sure every male there at least had a tear creeping at the edge of their eyes. It was a beautiful moment none of us will forget.
The Holy Spirit showed me a massive stadium filled with people. When the speaker came out, the crowd rose to their feet with a thunderous applause. I could not see who the speaker was, neither could I see what gender they were, but then I heard them announce, "Please take your seat." I then recognized that this was Jesus Himself making an announcement to the body of Christ. The Lord says, it is time to take the seat that I have assigned to you.
In the midst of believing God for a miracle this Christmas season, or even in the midst of spiritual war, we should know how to have joy. We don't need a new baptism of joy, we need to return to the joy we once had. We need joy to permeate our hearts! King David proclaimed: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit." Psalm 51:10-12 (NKJV)
Ephesians 4:23-24 "...and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." Renewal is such a powerful experience - something we are to experience daily as we spend time in His Presence. Renewal takes place as we are engaged in our devotion to the Lord, by communing with His Holy Spirit. It is the relationship that brings renewal - and the Word of God is used in that process. The religious leaders in Jesus day did not recognize Him as they should have, because they were "experts" in the scriptures, rather than excelling in relationship with God, they failed to see Jesus for Who He was.
I hear the Spirit of God saying: There are tears coming, but they're coming to set you free. Don't fight them; don't reject them, and most certainly don't dismiss them. For they are coming to cleanse and to renew. What once was very painful in your life is going to be healed through the tears you will shed. I created tears and they serve a very deep purpose. Precious one, don't be ashamed of the tears you are going to shed; for they are coming to help wash away the grief and the pain you carry; they are coming to help bring a refreshing to your heart and soul and yes; even to your physical body.