I remember the evening so well. Our little family had traveled to Florida to visit Disney. Our youngest daughter, Keri, had chosen a baby Minnie Mouse to buy with her spending money. Her older sister, Stefanie, felt sure she didn't want one as she considered herself too old for Minnie Mouse. However, around 9:30 p.m., Stef changed her mind. That's when the tears started flowing. We were leaving early the next morning, so to Stef the circumstances looked dire.
Situations bombard us with increased violence, financial strain, and division. These circumstances can only be met head on with a faith that remains unwavering and unhindered. How do we do this? How do we not allow worldly events to stop us from living out our purpose? Three words come to mind - identity, hope, and partnership; and they build on one another. First, we must know who we are in Christ. Nothing can steal our faith or identity if it is built on the solid foundation of the Word of God.
Recently, I heard the Lord say, "We are going on a re-formation journey." When He spoke these words, He put such an emphasis on the word "re-formation." I knew there was a deep work of the Holy Spirit to bring change, realignment, renewal, transformation, transition, remodeling, correction, repairing, a shift and much more. There was a "rebuilding," a deep healing and a divine overhaul that the Lord was bringing forth. He was dealing with areas where the enemy had come hard against many of God's people to bring things into disarray. The Lord was dealing with areas of misalignment.
Paul said he was a "drink offering." This meant that he offered his very life, spirit, soul, and body, to the Lord and to His church as a "living sacrifice" (Num. 15:4-10; 2 Tim. 4:6; Rom. 12:1-2). He also said he not only "spent" but "was spent" for the gospel (2 Cor. 12:15). When you spend, you donate discretionary resources. When you are spent, you give everything you have, even your life. "The rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much" (The Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on the Statues: Or, To the People of Antioch, p.42).
The Lord is releasing new things and bringing you into a time of joy and refreshment! See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV I don't know about you, but I sure need a time of change and a shot of joy from the Lord. It is here and available right now! The Lord is releasing us from the dry times of the wilderness and bringing a new time of refreshment and joy. Also, the Lord is going to jumpstart your ability to hear Him and bring new strategies, plans and ideas.
Have you ever been busy all day long but when you got to the end of it, you found you hadn't accomplished anything that you wanted or needed to do? It's so frustrating when this happens. I'm usually a very goal-oriented person and can stay focused on the things I really want to do. But there was a time recently when I found myself struggling to finish things that I started because I was getting distracted by other things that needed to be accomplished as well. So, I ended up with a lot of loose ends, feeling overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done.
Let us then be eager to know this rest for ourselves and let us beware that no one misses it through falling into the same kind of unbelief as those we have mentioned. (Hebrews 4:11 Phillips) Why all these exhortations in the New Testament to go on? Why is the New Testament just made up of exhortations and encouragements and warnings to the people of God about going on? And why is the New Testament such a practical Book? Because real spiritual progress and the Presence of the Lord depends upon bringing everything that we know right up to date.
Take me to the place where I belong, the place under the shadow of Your wing, where I am to remain comforted and made safe, because I am close to Your Heart. I can hear Your heart beating with love for me, and me alone You would have died for. I must remember that You love me with the same intensity as You love your own Son. Can I even fathom that, or even understand a minute portion of that love? If I truly did, I would not be the same person. I would never struggle with unworthiness or shame or inadequacy. I would see myself as You see me to be that beautiful and lovely and overcoming Bride of Christ.
Has a storm blown into your life lately? Are you, or someone you love, suffering from the trauma of plans that have been washed away, relationships that have been uprooted, or security that has been devastated? If you answered yes to any of these questions, stay with me because how you respond in the storms of life just might determine your potential to overcome the tempest. Peter said [to Jesus], "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water" (Matthew 14:28).
I hear the Lord saying, "I'm releasing my people from bondage!" As I waited on the Lord, I felt a deep overwhelming love fill my heart for people. I was taken into a vision and saw chains and very large bags being carried over the shoulders by millions of people off into the distance. It appeared that they were doing very hard labor, similar to slave labor as I've often imagined the people of Israel when enslaved to the Egyptians during the time of Moses.