Monday, February 25, 2008

The Spoils of Warfare

As many of my close friends are going through times of testing/valleys right now, I am reminded of a newsletter I recieved when I was in a very difficult time. It was by David Wilkerson. He talked about the Israelites going to war, conquering the promised land. Many times as they took a city, they returned with spoils from thier warfare which were then dedicated to the Lord and used in His service.

I was so encouraged to know that God was producing something in my life in the darkness that He would use for His glory. It gave me hope. Hope gives endurance. I have great joy now as I comfort others with the same comfort that the Lord gave me in my trials. What I learned, He is using for His purposes.

He is so faithful and good. I will even say that I count it a privelege now that I went through the valley because it gives me such joy to lift others up. To be able to understand and relate to what they are going through. To know how to fight for them with the Word of God and Praise. Oh the things He taught me when I was helpless and frail, buffeted by the enemy, sifted and upheld only by the Savior interceeding for me and the power of His blood.

Amazing Grace!! Oh I'll sing it again!! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me...
and then chooses to allow me to be yolked with Him in His Kingdom building.

And we know in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Friday, February 22, 2008

Many times when I need encouragement from the Lord it comes on the radio...Today, "I can feel your Presence here with me..."

Sometimes in my daily tasks, I can forget the nearness of God. I forget that He is ever-present with me. That He lives inside of me. Then other times I am overwhelmed with His nearness. Usually it is when I am vulnerable that I sense Him the strongest. I am so thankful for that grace. When my brother died 2 years ago. He carried me. When my son had surgery @ 6wks old, He carried me. I know He did, because I am too weak. I would have crumpled up without Him.

Tonight I went to a visitation. My little brother's sister-in-law was killed by a gunshot in the face. No one knows if it was suicide, homocide or an accident in a scurmish with the gun. All that is known (I think) is that her and her husband were having troubles and they were together when it happened (in their house) last Friday.

As I went around the funeral home looking at the picture boards, I saw a typical family. I saw pictures of her wedding. They looked so happy, like a typical couple on their wedding day, and I thought HOW? How does it go from happy beginnings to such tragic endings? Sorrow filled my heart when I thought of the hope we have in our Savior and how that hope must have been missing in this couple's home. Oh, how grieved I am. O Jesus, please wrap your arms around their family and bring them awareness of your Presence with them. Help them find comfort in your arms. Help them understand that You are good. Thank you that you know what happened. I pray that the truth would come out and there would be healing and restoration.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Saturday, February 16, 2008

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me-a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8

The Lord is for me.
The Lord is on my side.
The Lord watches over me.
The Lord rejoices over me with singing.
The Lord will never leave me or forsake me.

I am reminding myself of very basic truths that seem to be lost on days when I feel a "cloud" overhead. I think I had a bit of a virus the past few days. Headache, bodyaches...and I kept having to fight off a gloominess or a fearful feeling. Alot of times when that happens I feel guilty. Or I feel like I am a victim of the feelings. Yesterday, I prayed. I recalled that the Lord remembers that I am dust and can't overcome without Him, so I prayed. I asked Him to give me freedom from the feelings.

He did. He encouraged me. Today I am feeling free. It helps that the sun is out and it is warmer outside. I think the long winters in Wisconsin can feed into a feeling of gloominess. But I know I am supposed to rejoice in the Lord always. And every day is one He has made. Oh that I could remember to look above the clouds on those days to see the faithfulness of the Sonshine...

Another reminder of my humanity. My need for Jesus. I am so grateful for His mercy. His grace. His loving-kindness. I am so thankful for His word recording the prayers of His servants in Psalms. That I know I am not alone in this struggle.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42: 5,6a

Friday, February 8, 2008

Garments of Holiness

I am currently reading the KJV of the One Year Bible. I love the one year versions. This is my 6th or 7th year of reading through the Bible;  it is a rich experience. If you have not done it, I recommend it and you will keep going. Such satisfying daily bread. I have also read NIV, and NLT.

Today's OT reading is in Exodus 28:1-43. In verse 2 God is talking to Moses:"And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty." My heart landed on those words holy garments...for glory...for beauty...That is Jesus, what He is and what He has clothed us with. His garments of righteousness (holy garments) for glory and beauty.

Then He goes on to say; "And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (v.3)

Following is the description, in glorious detail, of how they are to make the priestly garments. Including a description of the ephod with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel engraved on two stones, which will be worn on the shoulders of the ephod. The priest carries the burdens of the beloved on his shoulders. "for a memorial" (v.12) Reminding the Lord whose are His. We, His beloved, can picture Jesus with our names written on Him as he lives to make intercession for us before God. (see Hebrews 7:25) So this picture is of Jesus, but also of us who are of the royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9) We are called as well to make intercession, bearing the names of His people as we come to the throne room. We cry out, "Lord, remember these..."

We, like the OT priests, need to prepare ourselves by cleansing (with confession), we too must be clothed in holy garments, the robes of Christ's righteousness. We too represent His glory and beauty. Oh the wonder of our calling!

Some of the elements of this garment are: gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. Kingly colors and textures. Do we really appear as royalty before our God? YES! Oh what we have in Christ! What a high calling! What a privelege!

Now look at verse 29, "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually." Jesus...continually bearing our names before the Father, us...continually bearing one another before the father (Ephesians 6: 18). Have you ever prayed unceasingly? I'm sure you have, when there is a situation in a dear one's life that is beyond human ability to aleviate or help. We pray, pray, pray. I have a couple of situations right now that are constantly on my mind and I am continually bringing them to the Lord.

Now, look at v.36,38 "And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD."...And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord."

We know that Jesus is our offering, our "Holy Gift" and that as we wear the inscription upon our foreheads (as we are set apart, made holy,) we are accepted before the Lord. Read v 41; And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.

What a profound picture of our Savior as well as our calling. We are to be consecrated (distinct, holy, set apart) and pursuing the throne of our Father on behalf of the Church. This encourages me and challenges me to be more diligent. To be more prayerful. To have a greater understanding of what the prayers of the saints mean to God. May He increase our knowledge of Him and fill us with the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Thank you, Father for all you have given us in ability to see and understand Jesus and all He has done for us. Thank you too for your high call on our lives which can only be fulfilled by the Holy Spirit living in us and the garments you have clothed us with. We love and adore you. Amen.