Day 147: Revelry (May 27)

Revelry means: merrymaking

A few weeks ago I was at church worshiping at the altar.  Suddenly, I felt a little one come nestle by my side as I was singing.  It was my Hannah.  I put one arm around her and continued to worship with my other arm raised to Heaven.  Then I had a vision.  I saw myself at the altar, but I was dressed in the same type of armor that the Amazon women wore in the Wonder Woman movie, and Hannah was too.  I saw God was looking at us and He said, “Lisa, even warriors take time for revelry and rest.”  In a flash I saw a war camp in the woods.  I saw myself there and I was constantly training, but God was drawing me to also make time for rest and fun.  He said it would even make me a better warrior.

That really struck me.

I have been warring for so long, I can honestly say, I struggle to find fun.  I still find time to rest.  That’s a skill I’ve been working on for years, but when things are tight, and time is stretched, and everything always feels like it’s hanging in the balance, it’s hard to let loose and have fun.

I was aware I was missing revelry, but still didn’t know how to achieve it because so many of the things that were once fun for me, aren’t any longer.  It’s like something internal is distracting me from truly relaxing.  Even in my resting times, I’m feeling the need to constantly focus my spirit.  How then, can I achieve revelry?

It all starts with trust.

Yes, you read that right.

If I’m going to let my guard down and embrace life, not escape it, but embrace it, then I must trust God.

And there’s the rub, so to speak.

I am reaching a new level of trust and it’s been so challenging, for a time I lost fun.  I still had joy, but not much fun.

Does it feel like you are trudging through life?  Does every day feel rushed and labored?

I challenge you, and myself, to go out today and just have some fun!  Whatever brings you a feeling of childlike pleasure, do that.  Be silly.  Laugh a lot.  And let all of those smiles wash over your spirit like a refreshing spring shower.  Let the water pour over the garden of your soul.  I know for a fact, God loves to laugh and have fun.  I see it in worship, even.  He will sometimes show me the funniest pictures and give me silly words.  They are silly, but so powerful.  I have learned to trust Him when He speaks to me this way and when I release it to the group, there is always a healthy laughter that seems to bring an increased Presence and calm to the room.

He is the laughing God.

A merry heart is good like a medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

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Day 146: James 3:17-18 (May 26)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. 

My question, or challenge to you today is, what wisdom do you operate from?  Do you use the wisdom of the world or the wisdom described in the Bible?  It is first of all pure.  The last time you sought out wisdom in a tough situation, was your first thought to keep your heart pure?

Then peace-loving.  Do you live out of peace?  When faced with a conflict or difficult decision do you put peace before your rights?

Considerate, submissive, full of mercy……Is this starting to sting?

Good fruit.  Our wisdom should bear good fruit.  Our daily walk should be full of promised land sized fruit.

If you are reading over this description and thinking, “I don’t feel any of that.  My life feels stressed and from one obstacle to the next.”  Then it’s time to ask God for His wisdom to invade your life.   The Lord gives wisdom very differently than the world.  It’s easy to get swept up in pride, masquerading as wisdom.  Just because you yell louder or talk more, doesn’t mean you are wise.  I seek to move past fake wisdom and into the true wisdom of heaven.

Oh Lord, tune my ear to hear Your grace.

Living from God’s wisdom will take deliberateness on your part.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s for the strong.  Those who were willing to be forged in the fires we spoke of earlier in the week.

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.  She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.  Proverbs 4:5-9

Did you read that?  Wisdom will protect you.  Wisdom will watch over you.  Let that sink into your heart and mind.

Lord, let Wisdom set a guard around my life.  Teach me to follow the path of Wisdom.  Let Her watch over me.  Teach me to embrace Wisdom, that I may walk closer to You.  You are the path of Wisdom.  To You I hold.

(The verses below are from Wisdom’s Call in Proverbs)

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.  With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.  My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.  I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.  Proverbs 8:17-21

Day 145: Forged in the Fire (Part Two) (May 25)

Another aspect that I perceive from the forging process is this, anything that can’t withstand the fire doesn’t need to be a part of you.  I keep hearing the word “sleg”.  I looked up the meaning and it’s bad, foul, decayed…..you get the idea.  I was thinking that anything that comes off you during the forge is sleg.

I believe sometimes we are forged to be strengthened, but also to remove negative things.  To be purified.

How open are you to God when He needs to point out flaws within your heart?  Are you willing to invite His gaze upon you so that you can allow Him to remove anything from within you that doesn’t need to be there?   We all have stuff.  But what I’ve observed in many people is they often dismiss their flaws by saying, “That’s just how I am.”  That statement never sits well with me.  I feel as followers of Christ, we should be in a constant growth process and I don’t want to accept anything less than being totally refined.  I realize the process will literally take a lifetime, but I never want to get comfortable with my flaws.

I’m not talking about driving yourself crazy trying to be perfect.  I’m just saying I don’t want to “own” my flaws as something that cannot be changed.  No, I’d rather see my flaws and daily give God access to mold and change that part of me so I can be more like Him.

I want to be like Jesus, don’t you?

Take a moment and ask God to pour His refining fire over you heart.  I see a blacksmith with the hot liquid pouring out.  Does it seem to burn anywhere?  Let any impurities be burned away and let them leave your spirit as the Father of lights brings wholeness to the place it used to live.  We were not meant to walk out fear, jealousy, loneliness, anger, selfishness, etc.  Let God’s loving gaze pour over that place and ask Him to come and fill the emptiness you are trying to cover up by using negative emotions and habits.  We often use negative things to keep people from knowing us.  You can choose to be known today.

God, I give You full access to me.  I choose today, to let my guard down wherever I’m using a negative emotion or behavior to strong arm You and others away from me.  I know I can trust You.  I know my mess doesn’t scare or intimidate You.  Thank You for loving me in ways that only You can.  You are worthy.  You are worthy of my whole being and my whole life. I love You, in Jesus name, Amen.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:6-7

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.  Daniel 11:35

Day 144: Forged in the Fire (Part One) (May 24)

Have you ever felt you were being forged in the fire? Have you ever felt life pressing in on you in such a way that you are certain you will be changed when it’s all said and done? Have you ever felt like your soul is screaming for relief, and then a moment comes when that scream of helplessness becomes a cry of victory and an unwillingness to be defeated by the world?  That shift in your heart and soul when you discover a stream of strength that was tucked deep in the caverns of your soul?  Would you have ever found it if life was always easy?  Aren’t you glad you found it?

I looked up a description of the forging process and discovered that forging produces a piece that is stronger than a machined part.  When the metal is shaped during forging, its internal grain texture is changed.  It sounds to me like it strengthens the part from the inside out.

We must be forged in the fire if we are to withstand the pressures and temptations of this life.

My grandparents lived through the great depression.  My grandmother would occasionally talk about what life was like during that time, but not often.  I could tell it was so hard and seemed unworthy to bring into remembrance.  But they lived through it and were likely stronger because of it.  My mom has walked out some extremely challenging life situations during her life, and none were of her own choosing.  But now, she is one of the strongest people I know.  Life brought some hard situations my way too, some of my own consequences and others put upon me, but none defeated me.  I have something so solid in my heart and soul that I am aware God has made me moldable to Him, but unbreakable to the world.  It’s beyond stubbornness, it’s a God forged part of my character.       I fully intend to carry on the legacy of my family line by not only being a survivor, but always finding a way to thrive.  That character was only burned into me from being forged in the fire. And the courage to withstand the forging came from knowing my mom and grandmother had already withstood the flames.

This came partly from deciding not to turn away from a challenge.  It came from not being a victim.  It came from countless hours on my knees before the Father and at the piano worshiping my heart into a place of surrender.

Even now, while walking out the unknown, I am forcing my heart to stay steady on God.  I am completely honest with God about how I am feeling, but I’m making daily decisions to remain grateful and to remember His promises over my life.

Have you been forged in the fire?

It’s hot and it’s uncomfortable.  At times I have felt like I would literally die, but just then Relief comes.

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’  Zechariah 13:9

For You, O God, have tested us; You refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.  Psalm 66:10-12

Day 143: When Things Don’t Go My Way, Yahweh (May 23)

I have been thinking about my ideas and plans for life.  Scripture says: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Often without meaning to do so, we begin to plan God out of our lives.  With well meaning hearts we sometimes decide what God’s best is for our lives and refuse to listen to the still, small voice inside that is directing us in a way that maybe we find offensive or discouraging, even though it’s the voice of Wisdom.

I am increasingly aware of my challenges with hearing God say things I don’t really desire to hear.  Have you been guilty of this as well?

When God seemingly changes direction, I often feel it’s because I have done something wrong.  Why would I feel this way?

Change in our life keeps us from getting stuck in a rut.  It helps us to not confine God to a box.  It is necessary.

Change.  It can seem like a cuss word.  Can’t it?

Do you trust God in your ever-changing seasons?  Are you willing to remain flexible?

I know we’ve looked at this verse before, but God is saying it again…..

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Our God desires such close intimacy with us that He will keep things flowing so you must listen and be near.  Isn’t it often when we feel we have a good hold of life, we draw further away from Him.  It’s foolishness.  Choose today what is better, intimacy with the Father.  Take a minute and go before Him.  He is here.  He longs for you.

God, forgive me for the times I have become inflexible for one reason or another.  I want to always heed Your voice.  Let my ears ever be tuned for Your slightest sound.  You alone are God.  I am Yours.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Day 142: Isaiah 43:10-12 (May 22)

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.  Before Me no god was formed nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you.  You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.”

Today as we focus on these verses, I hope you will see you were created to be a witness.  You are a witness to the world that He is God.

You may be asking, “How do I witness to the world?”

It’s simple really, just walk in the fruit of the Spirit.  Where the world would act in hate, you respond with love.  When the world is bitter, be full of joy.  Where fear abounds, walk in peace.  When confronted with a quick-tempered person, respond with patience.  When someone is rude to you, respond with kindness.  When someone cheats, act in goodness.  If a person is unfaithful, be faithful still.  Where the world pushes and bullies, be gentle.  And finally when the world says, “I do whatever feels good.”, you can respond by demonstrating self-control.

You are a witness, if you’re not a witness for God, then I imagine you are witnessing for the enemy.

I want to shine God’s light and love into the earth to drive out all darkness, don’t you?

It all starts with a hundred tiny yeses.  It continues with acting in the opposite spirit of the world like we listed above.  It ends with an endless outpouring of His spirit into your life.  And every day the cycle continues.

Lord, give me the wisdom, humility and restraint to demonstrate the fruit of Your Spirit to the world today.  Let me be so full of You that I leak into the world.  Fill me to overflowing and tip me over to spill out the goodness of Your mighty name to the ends of the earth!  You alone are worthy.  You alone are righteous and holy.  I want to walk in You today.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.  Galatians 5:22-26

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.  Galatians 2:20-21

Day 141: Isaiah 33:2 (May 21)

O Lord, be gracious to us, we long for You.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in the time of distress.  At the thunder of Your voice, the peoples flee; when You rise up, the nations scatter.  Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts; like a swarm of locust, men pounce on it.  The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.  He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. 

I wanted to take time this morning to meditate on the above scripture.

Today, I see you allowing this verse to root you in the Lord and His sovereignty in your life.  Life is much easier and less stressful when we stay rooted in Him and His promises.  It’s good to begin our day longing for the Lord.

So, this morning as you get ready to start the day, focus on Him as your strength.  Now remember Him as your salvation in times of trouble.  Acknowledge that authority of His voice and how all creation responds to hearing Him speak.  Imagine yourself lacing up boots that enable you to walk out the day on His firm foundation.  Now, I see a door and behind it is the storehouse of salvation, wisdom and knowledge.  Remember the fear of the Lord is your key.

What is the fear of the Lord?

I believe it’s walking in true acknowledgment of Who He is and the magnitude of His awesome power.

Let His faithfulness kiss you this morning.  Don’t head out into the world until you feel hope bloom in your heart.  You may have to wait for a bit, but it will be worth it.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40-31

Now look to this scripture.  Place all your hope in Him this morning.  Do you have an obstacle in your day or life and you feel it’s hopeless?  If you will hope in the Lord, He will strengthen you.  Have you been struggling with disappointment?  Ask God to breathe on you so you can soar like an eagle today, above all the troubles of the world.  Do you have a big life decision to make?  He will sustain you through the season and you will not grow weary or be faint.

Trust.

Trust is the key to joy.  I read that recently, and it really resonated with me because God had just been showing me that I was struggling to rejoice over some things because I was always trying to go ahead of His leading and plan everything out immediately.

When I walk at God’s pace I never grow weary.  When I don’t charge ahead of Him, I arrive just in time.  The waiting is less if I walk in His stride.

Won’t you align yourself with Him this morning?

Let Him set the pace and guide your steps.