TODAY IN HIS WORD COMES FROM
Isaiah 12:5-6 (NKJV)
Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!
THOUGHT TO PONDER:
At the cross, God beckons us. At the cross He meets us. At the cross we are forgiven, set free, and made new. And at the cross Jesus shows how much He loves us, as He raises one hand to the east and one hand to the west, and says "This much."
INSIGHT INTO GOD'S WORD:
Yesterday I talked about sitting at the tree and writing on the piece of paper, "ME" and burying it. I have to admit that at the time I did this, I thought I was burying myself. I thought I was burying all the guilt, hurt and shame; and that it would all be forgotten. But it wasn't, instead it felt like a great weight had been lifted and gradually, layer by layer, I could deal with them, and be cleansed and healed in a way I never knew. It took me a while to realize that in a sense I was burying myself, so that I could be raised as something new. What God has taught me is that, I died to myself that day and I began to grow in Christ.
I have learned that there is such a thing as being loving broken down by God, so that we can be poured out as an offering. And once we are, when we are completely emptied of ourselves, we can be filled with HIM. We become an entirely new creation. But it also comes with GROWING. But before we can grow, however, we have to be rooted in HIM. And before we can be rooted in Him, something in us has to be broken down, much like a seed that is planted in the ground.
When planting a seed, it is hidden away in the darkness, as the earth breaks it down, it begins to grow roots, only afterwards will a sprout start to shoot up so we can see something new being formed. My friend it is the exact same way with you and me. God will allow times of darkness to come so we can be broken down, in order for Him to grow us into something new. There really is a "treasure of darkness." Because it is only in darkness, alone with just God, hidden away by Him, that we can be gently crushed and spread out to receive all that He would create in us.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)
My friend, long before we see the little green sprout in the garden, the seed has changed and taken on a completely new form. And it is the same with us. We will be transformed in places hidden away, long before others will start seeing the new growth on the outside of us. There really is truth to the phrase, "in order to have something new-- something else has to die in its place." And this can apply to so many things in our lives!
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
The man who loves his life will lose it,
while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.
My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:24-26 NIV)
You know there was a reason, too, why Jesus had to die in order for us to be saved. He had to die so He could come back as our Savior-- the one who conquered death. And we have to die with in ourselves in order to be made new IN HIM. When we allow God to work in us; when we willingly lay everything down and just hold our arms up and say, "Lord, here I am," it gives Him the room He needs to cover us completely so that all we have to hold onto is Him.
But the awesome thing is-- as we are transformed, we are also cleansed and healed. And once we have our hearts rooted in Him, He shines upon us, and we begin to grow. And as we grow, it is in His grace, love, and mercy. We grow under His care, and watchful eye. He becomes the gardener of our life. And just as it takes different seasons to harvest a good crop, so it takes seasons for us to yield fruit in our lives. He really does send the autumn rains and spring showers, because we actually need both.
Read James 5:6-7, Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. A farmer patiently waits for his valuable crop to grow from the earth and for it to receive the autumn and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Do not give up hope, because the Lord is coming soon (NCV).
My friend, this Easter season, what do you bring to the cross? Has Jesus been beckoning you? Has He been working to draw you to Him? Have you turned away from everything else to seek after Him? The good news is, He really is there to meet with you. Are you hungry for something you can't quite understand? Then may-- just maybe-- what you are really hungry for is GOD. And when you find yourself ready to lay everything down, when you find yourself at the cross-- when you are ready to die to yourself, God will raise you up in Jesus. You will be able to declare with much joy that, "the same God of Jacob, the same God of Abraham and Isaac-- the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL-- is YOUR God, and behold-- you are a new creation too!"
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Cor 5:17 (NKJV)
PRAYING IN FAITH:
Father God, we come before You and say "thank You" for all that You have done for us. We call upon You, the Holy One of Israel to be our God too. Lord, we praise You for drawing us to You. We praise You and thank You for bringing us to our knees at the cross where we are set free. Thank You that in Jesus, we are made new. Lord, thank You for covering us with Your hand and shielding us, as we are planted and rooted in You so that we can grow in Your grace. Father, I lift this reader up to You today. Lord, I in my mind, I place my hand in theirs to pray. Lord, I ask You to watch over them and keep them. Lord, I pray that You will give them courage, and help them to let go of all that is NOT of YOU or what YOU desire to remove from them. Lord, as You prune the dead branches that keep them from growing in You, I pray they feel the dead weight being lifted from them. Lord, I pray every branch, limb, and leaf that hinders them from bearing fruit be removed. Lord, I pray that they will become firmly rooted in YOU, so that they will grow into all that You would have for them. Lord, I pray they will feel you working in them on the inside, in places they thought were hidden away and couldn't be reached. Lord, I pray they will welcome Your covering, as You gently breakdown any resistance that may still be there, so that they can feel peace and see new growth in themselves.
In Jesus' Name,
- My friend, have a blessed and Christ filled day,