Part 5: Chapter 1 – Day 6: Complete

Welcome to Day 6 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the sixth free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

Jesus has very specific instructions on where to go and where not. So, each place we are led to, even if it ends in a breaking, we can be sure, was always purposed by Him.

Jesus knew many Jews’ hearts would be hardened and yet He went to His own first. For that was always His plan: to restore the House of Israel unto Himself and to keep the covenant He had made unto them.

And yet it is because they did not at first receive Him, as they looked to the outward and not the inward, that the grace of God could be extended to us Gentiles:

John 11:11-13 ESV
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Likewise, when the Good News we share today is not received in the places God leads us to, we need not fret and be discouraged. For, we fight from a place of victory for victory. Where God calls us out of a place that has not received His Word in us, He is inviting us to release our fleshly perspective, for His heavenly perspective: to fight with the sword of life, instead of the sword of death:

“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 14:9, ESV)

Just look at this beautiful Promise given to the Jewish people:

Romans 11:11 ESV
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.

That shut door upon their hardening hearts, as God led His disciples out into the world to draw all men unto Him, was never God turning His back! They may have stumbled, but held safe in the Promise, they could never “fall”, for their weakness and stumbling was always known by God and purposed to open the door to us Gentiles. An open door that would make His own jealous and draw them back home also.

Now, as I look back on the seven years since Jesus brought this lost sheep home upon His shoulders, I see all the places God led me into and back out of with new eyes. I see God purposely opening and shutting each door, to lovingly train and discipline me to see situations and people, as He sees them.

He was uprooting my pride, my clinging to fleshly control and my reliance on my own ability to attract others to Jesus, through my squeaky clean outward adherence to the law. For, as I wanted to point the finger at those rejecting me, God put a mirror up to my own face to uncover my own blindness and hypocrisy:

Matthew 23: 23- 28 (ESV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

He has not just been cutting off branches (people) that were bearing no fruit in my life, He has also been exposing and uprooting the weeds – of unbelief, hatred, envy, greed, bitterness, unforgiveness, idol worship and pride – the enemy had planted in my own heart.

He has been cleansing the inside of my cup, showing me that it’s not about what we put into our mouths (i.e. the religious rules we adhere to, as we try to steer clear of what is “unclean” or “evil”), but about what comes out of our own mouth that defiles us. For, what comes out of our own mouth, springs up out of our heart: the wellspring of life. And if that heart is infested with weeds, these weeds will choke the beauty and life of Christ in us.

I have blamed others for the sins I committed – seeing their sin as the root cause of my own. I have felt helpless, as I have battled in the flesh. I have been consumed by fear, as I have focused on all the evil I see around me, on the sins others are committing that are wounding my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was blinded by my own iniquity. And yet, God tells me:

“Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, CEB).

I am without excuse. I cannot blame others for my own sin or the sin of other traumatized brothers and sisters of mine, when I have seen God’s eternal power and divine nature in action. No spiritual power of darkness has power over me or those I am interceding for, when I worship my sovereign God and acknowledge His power and control over all.

Resting in Jesus, when others sin against me or when others sin against my brothers and sisters, and returning to Jesus, when I am convicted of my own sin, is what enables me to be an overcomer – to fight sin with the Promises of my God and with His love and grace, and not with self, unbelief, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, greed, selfishness and idol worship.

I now see that God purposely made me outwardly unattractive to those I idolized, in my confession of weakness and sin. For, He knew that the rejection of those I idolized, as I chose to obey Him, would put me before a choice: I could stay and deny Him, by continuing to fight against flesh and blood (the blind leading the blind), or I could go and bear fruit that abides.

Empowered by my Savior, who delivered me from sin and death, I chose to do the latter. I chose to join Jesus in His death and resurrection to fight against the principalities, against the powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, by declaring the authority and victory of Christ over sin and death. I released those I left behind into the hands of my Alpha and Omega, whom I trust to complete what He has begun in them and in me.

What I now see is that the more pruning I have been through, the more the gentle and meek Spirit of the LORD has been growing in me. For, through each breaking, God has compelled me to surrender my fleshly control and fighting to receive His fruit of self-control and peace. He has been teaching me to fix my eyes on that which is eternal – Jesus – and to rest in His sovereign control and completion.

Through each and every breaking, God has cleansed my eyes to see as He sees. I can almost hear Him saying to me, after each breaking, what Corrie ten Boom said to her carer in her final years: “Child, you have to learn to see things in the right proportions. Learn to see great things great and small things small.” (p.25, The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, Pamela Rosewell Mooore). I now see that it is all of these closed doors that have in fact placed me in the center of God’s will for me – now strengthened, trained and equipped for what is about to unfold.

Yesterday, one of my sisters and I were talking about my Mum and how we know that even though she went to heaven at 59 years of age, it was her time to go home and to hear Jesus say: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” God didn’t fail my Mum or us, in taking her home so young. He gave us the gift of cleansing our eyes to see what He sees: His Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.

Now, when I catch my heart aching as I watch other women walking with their children and their Moms, I find myself speaking a blessing over these women and their Moms. I now know that these Moms, unlike mine, have not yet fulfilled their task on this earth. God is teaching me to cast my burdens upon Him – upon His living and abiding Word.

What of those Moms who God takes home, when their own children are not yet adults? I cannot speak for those children or their Dads and the pain they must carry. But I do know my God well enough now that even if my own human heart fails me on this earth and God takes me home, before my girls have grown up, I trust Him to be a Mother to them and a Wife to my husband.

I trust my God to make something beautiful of it all and that ultimately they will see me again and I will see them again: fully healed and whole. Because as God reminds us:

[Our] flesh and [our] heart may fail, but God is the strength of [our] heart and [our] portion forever.

Psalm 73:26 (ESV)

Five years ago, Jesus woke me up to read the story of Him feeding the five thousand and that very morning my then little three year old said: “Mama, Jesus is hungry for the bread and the fish.” She affirmed what God had spoken to me, just as she has again recently.

There were 12 baskets left over on that day Jesus fed five thousand with the lunch the little boy gave Him. 12 baskets filled with bread and fish. Jesus told me: “Anna, don’t you see? I am already with the fish. My broken Body is already lying right next to the fish.” And those 12 baskets are the 12 tribes of Israel: all of His people accounted for, not one star is missing or gone:

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.

Isaiah 40:26 (ESV)

6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. 

PSALM 95:6-7 NIV

And what has Jesus drawn my attention to repeatedly in the last few years, but I didn’t “get” until today? That in the other miracle of Him feeding the 4,000, there were seven baskets of left-overs. Seven is the number of divine completion (just have a read of Revelations: e.g. 7 churches, 7 lampstands, 7 plagues) and reminds us in the incomplete we see, to look to the eternal completion of God: to see by faith and not by sight.

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Matthew 16:5-12 (ESV)

Did you know my father-in-law’s name means “exalted Father” and my husband’s name means “behold a Son” and my name means “grace”. Each of us carry names given to Jewish men and women. Even in that I see God speaking of His Promise of restoration and redemption – declaring that He is the Alpha and Omega. The First and Last is He! As Bettie heard in prayer yesterday: “We are His garden, with the planting of His choicest love within us for Him.” And our Good Gardener has the final say over His garden. Praise Him!

Colossians 2:10 (KJV) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Part 4: Chapter 1 – Day 5: Design

Welcome to Day 5 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the fifth free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

Is God currently calling you, like me, to something, where all you can see is the lack of human rapport you have? What if our inability to outwardly attract others to Him, is precisely God’s design?

Put yourself in Moses’ shoes, knowing all we do today about the traumatic impact of being separated from your birth mother at the young age he was. “Studies have shown that PTSD actually does affect the functions of the brains in multiple ways. The three areas of the brain that are impacted the most are the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These areas all play a part in regulating emotions and responding to fear.” (Source: https://highlandspringsclinic.org/blog/can-emotional-trauma-cause-brain-damage/). Likewise, trauma has been directly linked to various chronic, physical illnesses. I wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if the heart trouble I am currently being treated for, is directly linked to the trauma I have walked through in the past.

And yet, it is precisely when traumatized Moses is living in the desert, after having fled in the wake of his impulsive and sinful actions (no doubt directly connected to his inability to regulate his emotions) that God seeks Moses out and calls him for His purposes. Moses had sought revenge for his people, killing a man who he had watched cruelly beat his own people, and then he was forced to flee for his own life.

11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

Exodus 2:11-15 (ESV)

At perhaps the lowest point in his life, when he definitely didn’t feel confident in his (Prodigal) reputation, his ability or his rapport with his people, God called him. It is from this place of weakness and knowing his inability to outwardly attract and lead his people, that God calls and builds Moses up to become a hero of faith.

So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord was concerned about the Israelites and that He had looked [with compassion] on their suffering, then they bowed their heads and worshiped [the Lord].
EXODUS 4: 31 AMP

I believe that as Jochebed laid Moses in that basket she lovingly wove to protect him and keep him warm, God was already preparing Moses for the calling upon his life. As Moses’ mother placed her trust in the sword of life, as the sword of death threatened to kill her child, God already saw how He would use the trauma of this separation (pruning) to strip Moses of his confidence in his own ability and the rapport of man. And isn’t it when we hit rock-bottom, being stripped of all our confidence in our own ability and man’s rapport, that we become as clay in the Potter’s hands, trusting His intentions and design?

Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?

Isaiah 45:11 (ESV)

Do you see how God always takes what the enemy meant for evil and turns it into good?

Recently, my Dad discovered, as he did research for his soon-to-be-published book on heroes of the resistance during World War II, that there was a common thread in many of their life stories. Yes, they were all believers, but there was something else that connected them. What was that? Childhood trauma. What if trauma is actually the burial ground for pride and the birthing ground for confidence in God?

Father, today, we bring before You Your calling upon our lives. We confess that all we can see is our lack of human rapport and ability. But we thank You for stripping our confidence in our own reputation, our own ability and our own rapport with people.

We praise You for Your Son in us. We praise You for Your holy Word to us and join You now in declaring that the plans and purposes You have for us shall come to pass because not one Word of Yours ever returns void.

Thank You that it is not by might, nor by power but only by Your Spirit that Your work can be done in and through us. Thank You that our past impulsive and sinful reactions do not define our today or our tomorrow, only You do!

Thank You for showing Moses and King David in their own impulsive and sinful reactions that You are not a God who condemns us in our sin, but that You are a compassionate and righteous judge, who turns what the enemy meant for evil into good. Thank You for using trauma to strip our confidence in ourselves and to grow our confidence and trust in You: in Your grace and Your ability to perform miracles in and through us. Thank You that when we are afraid, we too can put our trust in You, casting all our cares upon You, so that we too might become bold warriors of faith and grace.

In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

“Lord, keep me close to Your heart,” she said in her daily prayer, “so that I see things as it were more and more from Your point of view.” . . . “Child, it is not as much what happens, but how we take it that is important. God is watching to see whether we allow the problems to defeat us, or whether we will go through them in His strength, being made stronger for the next problem and ultimately for the final end battle.”

p.85 & 109, The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, Pamela Rosewell Moore

Is God currently calling you, like me, to something, where all you can see is the lack of human rapport you have? What if our inability to outwardly attract others to Him, is precisely God’s design?

9 “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’” 11 Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
12 I made the earth
    and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.
13 I have stirred him up in righteousness,
    and I will make all his ways level;
he shall build my city
    and set my exiles free,
not for price or reward,”
    says the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah 45: 9-13 (ESV)

Part 5: Chapter 1 – Day 4: Chosen

Welcome to Day 4 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the fourth free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

Chosen

A phantom pain
Still pierces
Gnawing my resolve
Though dead to sin
My past still calls me
Lie down in shame
To mocking tongues
Telling me I'm captive
To what's no more.

I shift and fidget
Nervously
I use my tongue
To defend myself
And those I love
Yes, I subdue
The phantom's pain
But only now behold
Not freedom's portion
But fear and shame
My lot becoming.

I've wrapped myself
In changing
Worth of man
Mocking
Never-changing
Perfect Love
In me.

But then
I see
The One
Who silent stood
So safe, secure
In His Father's love
He walked toward
The Cross
For me.

The One who
For the joy
Set before Him
Bore my sin
On a Cross
Esteeming not
Its shame
But declaring
In His surrender
The weight of glory:
That love
Conquers all.

Stripped naked
And there pierced
He chose to die
That I might not
Stay chained
To fear and shame
But tethered to
His love and mercy:
Go free.

So, I take up
My Cross
Dying to the old
To rise anew
To life everlasting
Joining Christ
In His death
And resurrection.

I look upon this King
All our sins
See covered pure
In grace's veil
He's borne our sin
And all our pain
Perfecting us
In weakness
That I might now
Walk free.

Yes! I am free
To clothe myself
In the Good News
Of the Cross
To run, unashamed
And unafraid
To boast in the grace
That sets us free
To die to sin
And live unto Christ.

So, I yield to love
In silent witness strong
The Word in me
Securing
My righteous path
Yielding me
To join Christ
In His death and
Resurrection
Set free.

To no longer walk
Away from this world
In seeking the living
Among the dead
But to follow Christ
Into the world
To be sanctified daily
In my Living Word
To recognize
Each one He's sent me
As not of this world
But His.

May I now become
Who Christ
Always created me
To be
His grace
Chosen from the womb
Into this aching world
To go
To immediately recognize
Jesus - our Messiah -
In the least of these.

May I now ever declare
In my own weakness boasting
Christ's Perfect Love
Conquers

All.

Part 5: Chapter 1 – Day 3: One

Welcome to Day 3 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the third free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

One


I look

And see

Goatskin.


No seeming beauty

Nor majesty

No seeming kin

To draw me in.


And yet Your heart

Beats there

And leads

Me there return.


Friendship

Woven

Least

Expected.


For in the sitting

In the breaking

There of bread

Communion

You are weaving.


Goatskin

Covered You too

Temple

Of Your promise.


A most precious

Gift as babe

Shrouded

In the waiting.


Your purposed covering

Our knees to bend

Not unto man

But Christ alone.


Word made flesh

Curtain of divide

Your Body

Broke.



Your Temple

In three days

You alone

Rebuilt.


In weakness

From the womb

We're woven

Shrouding wisdom

Of a secret heart.


Until Your breath

Begins to blow

Hardness lifting

Living stones

Revealing.


No, there is

No seeming beauty

Nor majesty

In us.


Nothing

To attract us

To Your beauty

In each other

Not until

Your Spirit pours.


That we might learn

To beat in step

Not to the outward

Seeming.


But in step

With the Spirit's weaving

Rising now

In the Father, Son and Holy Ghost:

One

Part 5: Chapter 1 – Day 2: Peace

Welcome to Day 2 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the second free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

Peace

Caught
Between two w/Words
The religion
I know

And the Son
Of God
I hear
Beckoning.

I wrestle
With the Alpha
And Omega
Who asks me
To surrender

The letter of the Law
I know
For the Living Word's
Searching
And knowing.

But what can I do
But open the door
To my Lord's knocking
To sup with Him?

Where can I go
But to the only One
Who has the Word
Of life?

So I surrender
My known
To be known
Fully and wholly

By the only
True God
Who stills
My heart
To know

The world
And all who dwell
Therein are
His.

I yield to my King
The cup of suffering
To my lips now take
And drink

In communion
The Living Word
To my Father
In thanksgiving lifting

I break
The bread
And take
Eat.

I fill my heart
With the
Law fulfilled
Who calls for me

To join Him
In His suffering
To know Him
In His death and resurrection.

My sovereign God
Who walks me
To the tomb
To show me what
He already sees:

"Unwrap him now
And let him loose"
I hear my Savior
Calling.

His work
Of surrender
Just invites me
Into

More.

More JOY
Before us laid
Than we could ever
Think of, ask for
Or imagine.

For, Christ's blood
Was shed
For this:

To reconcile
All things to Him
Whether on earth
Or heaven

To make

Peace.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2: 5 – 8 (ESV)

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

John 13:8 (ESV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

John 15:1-3 (ESV)

Part 5: Chapter 1 – Day 1: Come

Welcome to Day 1 of Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is bringing forward the first free will offering of goatskin (no outward attraction).

I woke up from the dream with a start. I was supposed to be praying, after all!  But as the images from the dream replayed themselves in my mind, I realized that God had gifted me with thoughts from Him.   

In the dream I found myself down in a deep ditch.  Above me I could hear the sound of cars whizzing past on the roadway just on the other side of the ditch. A panic began to swell in my heart.

How would I ever be able to go as fast as those cars above me? I could not get out of the ditch, and I certainly did not have the strength to go beyond a slow, steady plod.  And then I heard the voice of the Lord behind me, calling me to follow Him.

The panic now rose to desperation as I cried out, “But God, I can’t follow you! All of the cars are going too fast! I cannot begin to maintain a speed like that and catch up to them and to You.”  

The answer I heard stilled all my fears: “You will not miss my will for you. I don’t require you to keep pace with anyone other than myself. And I am aware of your weak and slower pace. You can follow me just as you are.”

Most days I am keenly aware of how the pace of my life has changed. And most days I see nothing attractive in this slower pace. But there are times when the Lord steps into my weakness and shows me another side to this life that I might call so unattractive.  He is the One who brings a beauty in this place that seems awful and painful.  And He is bringing to me an aspect of HIS will that I would not see from any other perspective. 

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” Isaiah 53:1-3

Come


On the outside looking in

My days appear so drab

Nothing attractive and nothing

To win a second glance

Or even a cheer.


On other days when the pain

Brings a swelling

The drab becomes ugly

The gait takes a turn

To the dark side of exclusion.


But on the inside looking out

My heart cries can’t be heard

By a world rushing through

Spinning on with life

Neglectful of the weak.


Where is the beauty in a life

Squandered by slowness

Pushed down to days

Spent alone and with fear

With days seeming vain?


Come, follow me!

Come, take up your cross!

Come, taste true Love!


I hear a voice calling through haze

From One also rejected

Who counted the loss of this world

Nothing to gain my one soul

To win Eternity’s prize.


Who for the Joy set before Him

Endured the Cross,

Yet we esteemed Him

Stricken by God

For my pain He died.



What if the slowness

The weak and lame places

have become the road

Where Holy dwells?



What if I offered my

arms up to Him

Who bore my disgrace

And found His arms aching

for others also to hold?



I will therefore all the more gladly

come with Him outside the city

to see with His eyes

and hear with His ears

To share this love

above all others.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:13-14

Part 5: Chapter 1 – Goatskin: No Outward Attraction

Welcome to Part 5‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to the freewill offering of goatskin. She considers the humility of our Savior, whose own outward unattractiveness, as He walked this earth, reminds us to be still and know the inward beauty of His Spirit in ourselves and others. And Bettie and Anna invite you to join them, as they close in prayer and as they add their own freewill offerings of goatskin, in Christ Jesus, in the coming days.

As you read along, Anna would love for you to consider these questions:

In what ways have you ever felt outwardly unattractive, in your weakness? How has God’s pruning work in your life been opening your eyes to the beauty of Christ hidden in yourself and in others?

Luke 22:14 ESV ‘And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”’

The very breaking apart God had declared as His gift to me, I first saw as my shame, wondering what would have happened if I had stood confidently in His love. Wondering if those in authority over me would have been able to receive the Word of God, if I had stood firmly in Him.

I was filled with regrets, for my confession of the sins of idolatry and pride did not reflect a changing of my mind. I was not grounded in godly sorrow and humility. Over and over again, I asked God to forgive me, ironically believing in my pride that I “should have” known better and done better. It was as if I believed that God would return me to that which He had purposefully broken me apart from, if I did enough penance.

But as God returned me to something I had written, more than two years later, I was suddenly overcome by His gentle, piece by piece leading and discipline of my heart over the years. This time, as I looked back at His pruning, I was humbly convicted of my sins, of my weakness and need, and of God’s power. I was deeply moved by His kindness to me, and how He had protected me in my blindness of sin.

This time, as I confessed my sins anew, in deep awe and humility, I found myself asking Him to cleanse me by His blood, so that I would deep down know that the old has gone and the new has come. As I did so, I found myself lifting up this Scripture:

I will restore to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent among you.

Joel 2:25 (ESV)

And in that lifting up, a flood of memories came over me. In the past few years since His pruning, in telling my own story of how God has been healing my heart, others around me have opened up to tell me their stories.

I recalled how, as I listened to them share of the lack of compassion shown toward them or their loved ones in their weakness and need, my heart had ached for them to know God’s love for them. But I also remembered how in that deep yearning for them to know this truth, God had shown me that He was already affirming them in the truth, as I sat with them and just listened to their stories.

For, in my listening and in my weeping in their presence, God was affirming them as His. He was stripping the enemy’s accusations against them and proving His undying love and mercy for them and their loved ones.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight

1 Peter 3:3-4 

I was God’s gift to those I listened to, but they were also God’s gift of family and home to me, in a time I desperately needed to know I was seen and loved.

Now I see how, through His pruning, God has been opening my eyes to recognize the gift of His inward beauty shining inside of me, in my outward unattractiveness, as my weakness and need lies exposed, for all to see. As I recognized and affirmed the beauty of His Spirit in those before me, I now see how He was recognizing and affirming the beauty of His Spirit in me.

Now, I know how to answer those who keep asking me if I have found a new church. I can tell them that I have already found my church. For, God has purposely stripped this PK (pastor’s kid) and MK (missionary kid) of her idol of church, leading me “outside the camp” to heal me and to heal my long lost brothers and sisters in Christ.

God is redefining church family, ministry and fellowship for me. He is closing the door on what I knew each of these to be. Through His living and abiding Word, He is opening the door to His much higher and bigger thoughts and purposes for me. Now, I know that He is revealing the healing of His Body in the breaking of bread.

Beautifully the word for mercy and compassion in Hebrew comes from the word “womb” and so when we speak of God’s compassion we literally speak of the love a mother has for her unborn child in the womb. Isn’t that beautiful?!

In what ways have you ever felt outwardly unattractive, in your weakness? How has God’s pruning work in your life been opening your eyes to the beauty of Christ hidden in yourself and in others?

Dear Lord Jesus, 

We come before You now and confess that we have not always seen your beauty. We counted You stricken and afflicted by God. We have looked the other way, instead of towards You in ourselves and each other.

But now that You are opening our eyes, we are beginning to behold with wonder Your true Grace. You are altogether lovely, and there is nothing lacking in You. 

May You continue to transform our hearts and minds, as we look upon You. Still us to recognize the inward beauty of Your Holy Spirit’s Presence in us and with us. We long to be made more like You.  In Your precious Name, Jesus, we pray. 

Amen.

Day 1: Come

Day 2: Peace

Day 3: One

Day 4: Chosen

Day 5: Design

Day 6: Complete

Day 7: Love

Part 5: The Sword of Life

Welcome to Part 5 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to the Sword of Life – the living and abiding Word of God. Bettie and Anna look forward to sharing the chapters for this new part with you soon, which we will add to the bottom of this post.

Jesus – our sword of life – is given to us to train us in righteousness, slice through the enemy’s accusations and make us One in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He teaches us to see with the eyes of heaven and to judge situations in His wisdom and discernment, loving others as He loves us.

Exodus 28: 29 – 30 (ESV) So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord. And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the Lord. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the Lord regularly.

More than just bearing the judgment for our sins upon His heart, as the High Priest once did, He took those sins upon Him fully, going to the Cross to annul the charges against us and to take up residence in our hearts. All, so that we might learn and be empowered – through His moment by moment revelations of the Word – to join Him in His suffering, laying down our lives for each other, to see His Kingdom come.

So, now, we don’t have to physically go to a High Priest for guidance: that High Priest lives inside of us.

Numbers 27:21 (ESV) And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”

Ephesians 6:17 (ESV) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

But how does this sword “[pierce] to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and [discern] the thoughts and intentions of the heart”? Once, as I walked in the forest, God stilled my heart to notice how the pruning of trees can help us better understand the sword’s function in our lives.

Have you ever stood looking up at a tall tree and seen a circle etched into the trunk or a kind of circular bump, where a branch was once cut off? That is a tree wound.

A photo I took in our local forest

Yes, even trees carry wounds. Next time you are near one, place your hands on the callus: the wound that has healed, but can still be seen and felt.

WHAT DOES A WOUND LOOK LIKE?

As children and as adults, we go through much wounding, just like these trees. Strangely, wounding a tree, by cutting its branches, helps to keep it healthy and strong. A good Gardener will cut off weaker and dying branches, so they don’t snap in a storm and fall on our heads. But He also cuts off or prunes back healthy branches, so the tree becomes stronger, and does not become top-heavy.

Jesus tells us that He is our good Gardener. So, like the good Gardener, He also cuts off weak and dying branches, and even prunes back healthy branches to make our hearts stronger in Him. In His Word, He puts it like this:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15: 1 – 8 (NIV)

So, strangely, by cutting and wounding the tree, or vine, Jesus is healing it. And interestingly, God’s Word also tells us that it is by Christ’s stripes (His wounding) that we (His Body) are healed. Do you, like I, see how in that wounding God is in fact inviting us to join Him in His suffering, to carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of love toward each other. Or as Paul puts it:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

Colossians 1:24 (ESV)

And yet, even in that burden He invites us to carry, He also beautifully reminds us that He is the Vine and we are the branches. So, when that wounding comes, through His pruning, He longs for us to remember that He has already carried our sin and pain, and the sins of others toward us and their pain, to the Cross, so that we, and they, don’t have to carry its weight. He invites us into the light yoke of His love, as He teaches us, through the pain of the pruning, to abide in Him.

You see, that tree, or vine, is the Body of Christ. It is all of us, His children (branches), learning to grow and flourish in the role God has ordained for us, with Christ at our head. God teaches us, through His pruning, to let the mind of Christ – His thoughts and plans – richly dwell in us and determine our thoughts, plans, actions and speech. For, He knows that then we will produce fruit that abides in love (Jesus and life) and not fear (the enemy and death).

Sometimes this cutting away can feel like a punishment, but actually it is a sign that Jesus cares deeply for us. Sometimes, it may look like He is only cutting good things out of our life or slowing us down, right when everything is starting to take off. But He is in fact rooting us more deeply in Himself. For, as He cuts off and prunes back branches in our lives, He only does so, so that what we produce abides (remains eternally), flourishes and is completed in Him.

Through it all, He stops us from abiding in pride and fear, and from living from our own strength. He doesn’t want us taking over responsibilities that are His alone to carry, because He knows that in doing so, we will become weary of doing good and lose heart. So, He wields His Sword of Life to hem us in and lead us back out into a spacious place in Him.

Through His loving gardening of our hearts and lives, Jesus is awakening more and more of the new and soft heart of love in us. And that new heart beating inside of us is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude; it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Because that heart of love is Jesus inside of us.

GROWING IN GOD’S LOVE WHEN WE ARE HURTING

Jesus carried our sin disease, so that He could not just show us sympathy, but empathy. So that in coming to our aid, He could do so intimately knowing what we are going through as human beings and what we need most in each moment to heal and be made whole. After all, He tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. So, it’s as He opens our own hearts to His love that we can love others well.

In His Word, Jesus reminds us, that we – His people – are perishing because of our lack of vision.  When people hurt us or our loved ones, we can see the hurt (sin) they are doing, but unlike Jesus, we cannot see what is at the root of their actions. We cannot see into their hearts and, therefore, do not feel the compassion, Jesus feels for them.

But when Jesus took upon Him our sin and walked to the Cross to break the curse of sin upon us, He did so weeping for the very ones crucifying Him. Why? Because He did not look with His physical, perishing eyes. He looked with His spiritual, eternal eyes of life.

Jesus carried our sin and the sin of those hurting us, to the Cross. He annulled every single charge against us and those hurting us, so that now, where the law tells us to accuse and condemn each other, He can help us to instead seek His face, that His love and grace may flow out of us. So that He can extend the mercy He showed us at the Cross to others through us.

But we cannot do this if we look at each other using our human vision. We need Christ’s eternal, enduring, moment – by – moment vision to know how to respond, when others sin against us or our loved ones. As His Word puts it, it is in recognizing Christ, through our personal relationship with Him that we are given everything we need, piece by piece, for life and godliness to flow out of us and bless others that others may know the glory and the valor of Christ.

And what Jesus has to say about one person in their sin, is not always what He has to say in regard to another – even where two people appear to be caught in the same exact sin. Just look at how Jesus treated Zacchaeus and how He treated the money lenders in the Temple.

In the case of sinful Zacchaeus, who was longing for love and acceptance, He invited Himself over for dinner. In the case of the sinful money lenders, who were using God’s house to steal from the poor, He angrily overturned their tables and chased them out of the Temple. Jesus saw into each of their hearts and knew what was needed most in the moment.

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Isaiah 11:4 (ESV)

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THE STRUGGLE

But can I tell you a secret? I often forget that God wants to help me, when my own heart or body is hurting. Instead of coming to Jesus in my weakness and need, I try to “fix” the situation in my own fleshly “wisdom” – even sometimes believing I am following God’s will. I start trying to do the “right thing”, rather than inviting Jesus to show me the right Way, by revealing His Word to me, through the Holy Spirit. Then, I wonder why I am feeling so tired, so angry, so full of grief or so grumpy.

But praise God, He is so very patient and merciful to us through our life-long process of learning to abide in Him. And He longs for us to understand that it is His responsibility to train us and others in righteousness and not our own.

This is where His sword of life comes in. As Jesus puts it in His Word:

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10: 34 – 39 (ESV)

He in fact uses this sword to separate us from each other, so that He can put us back together in Himself. Having been human Himself, He knows the temptation we face to idolize each other and yet, unlike us, He didn’t do so. He remained rooted in the Father’s love for Him, which enabled Him to do hard things in great love. But knowing our flesh, He also knows the best antidote: death and resurrection:

For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2 Corinthians 4:11 (ESV)

And that’s where that pruning comes in. He cuts off the branches (people) that aren’t bearing any abiding fruit in our lives and He prunes back the branches (people) in our lives that are bearing abiding fruit in our lives, so that we may become even more fruitful, as God releases their responsibility more and more to grow our dependence on Him, rather than on people.

As He removes people from our lives that are not bearing any fruit, it is also His Way of opening our eyes to see what we could not see, when they were still present in our lives. By separating us, He also heals the division in our own hearts, a division often rooted in the sins of idol worship and/or pride.

But through this cutting off, He also makes room for new relationships. For, that sword of life does not just take away people, but it also cuts through the accusations of the enemy. And in so doing it awakens us to the Spirit’s leading to follow our Savior “outside the camp” to places and people we would have otherwise never have gone.

Through His Sword of Life, Christ awakens us to the power of salvation flowing in and out of us, as we learn to live more and more by faith and not physical sight. It’s then we begin to recognize Jesus all around us, offering Him food and drink, visiting Him in prison, as we begin to break bread with those we would have previously been too distracted to even notice or too prideful to sit amongst.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.

For, as Jesus reminds us (Matthew 25:40, ESV): “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ And His brothers are all around us – it just takes the spiritual eyes of Jesus to see that, as He opens our eyes to the personal, generational and family Promises contained in His Word. He knows who are His own and yet, sometimes we can be too blinded by looking at what we can physically see to recognize the heart of Jesus waiting to be awakened in those set before us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV)

Other times, people may actually be continuing to bear fruit in our lives – the fruit of love, perserverance, self-control and kindness for example – as we continue to abide in His Word through the pain of their rebellion. In that case, the LORD may prune back the relationship, ensuring that we are given the space to grow in our relationship with Him first and foremost, so that we may also grow in God’s love and understanding for them, as He loves us.

Or He may prune back healthy relationships that are bearing much fruit in our lives, to grow our dependence upon Him above man. An example I can think of is Corrie ten Boom’s time in an isolation cell, when she was arrested by the Nazi occupiers of the Netherlands. I remember reading somewhere that Tante Corrie spoke of that time as a time God awakened her heart to an intimate relationship with Him.

What she had learnt from her parents’ and others’ example and the Word they sowed into her heart came alive in her, as she repeatedly cried out to God and He met her in such kindness and compassion, in a really personal and intimate way. Little did she know how she would later need that strong bond through the horrors of the concentration camp, and after losing her whole immediate family by 1946.

In the loss of her whole family, the sword of life (the Word of God) became ever more precious to her because she knew her God to be faithful to His every Promise to her. She had tried and tested His Word through the fires of affliction and He had shone forth as gold in and through her and others. She knew without a doubt that her earthly loss was her heavenly gain and the knowledge of the cloud of witnesses cheering her on no doubt spurred her on greatly.

Then, often shortly before taking us to heaven, He may prune back our relationships through illness for example, so that what He has sown through us on earth may be broken open unto new life in His Spirit, in multiplied ways. I watched that unfold in my mother’s final days and after her departure for heaven.

And I read about it in The Five Silent Years of Corrie ten Boom, by Pamela Rosewell Moore. As Corrie was room-bound by her multiple strokes, and her speech was taken from her, her spiritual discernment became sharper than ever, noticeable through her intercession. Additionally, the videos taken of her shortly before her illness went out into the world, touching and awakening so many souls to the Good News – and they still do today.

But not only that, as her earthly tent perished God gave her the glimpse of His glory she had prayed for. He gave her the privilege of joining Him in His suffering, as she experienced damage to her brain that locked her up in her perishing body, just like the intellectually disabled she had ministered to as a young woman, so many years earlier. But He also gave her the joy of being set free to soar in the Spirit, as she was overcome by the peace of her LORD that overflowed into the lives of those around her, caring for her.

JESUS IS ALWAYS SPEAKING, EVEN IN THE SILENCE

But what if we have called out to God and He seems real silent? When my wounds hurt real bad as a little girl, I remember thinking: “God mustn’t love me, like He does others. He hasn’t answered my deepest cries, nor seen my many tears.”

Maybe you know that feeling of abandonment – of feeling all alone in your pain- also. As a little girl, I thought God was ignoring me, in my crying out because the situation that hurt my heart the most didn’t go away. Fear – the enemy – told me God had abandoned me and yet love – God – was always there. When I thought I was waiting for God to act – He was in fact waiting on me to take His hand, so that He could show me what He saw with His spiritual seeing.

If I had done so, I could have received His pruning. I could have recognized that He was wanting to exchange my faith and trust in man and self, for a newborn faith and trust in Him alone. But beautifully, even as I let go of my faith and trust in Him, He didn’t let go of me. He continued to labor in and through me, until in His timing, when He had set me where He wanted me, He opened my eyes to see by faith and not by sight.

I thought God stayed silent to my many pleas. But now I know, He never ever stopped loving me or speaking to or singing over me: even the twenty plus years I turned my back on Him, as I hardened my heart in sin.

When all I could see was nothing changing in my circumstances in response to my many tear-filled prayers, He was working still. In my heart and in my loved ones’ hearts, until He then began to unveil His beautiful and much bigger answer to us all, more than twenty years later. An answer filled with a full measure of love, compassion and mercy that only God could give each and every one of us – and others through us. He perfected His power in our weakness and is continuing to do so – using what the enemy meant for evil, for good.

JESUS INVITES US TO COME, JUST AS WE ARE

Will you join me this week in taking time to cry out to God, to tell Him all about your pain, and all that scares or worries you through the pruning of His sword of life? And will you join me in also taking the time to listen for His answer and His precious, cleansing convictions?

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Can I pray for us all today?

Father, when we are hurting from all the pruning, will You please remind us that You are for us and not against us? Will You remind us that You – love Himself – are here to hold us and that it is by Your stripes that we are healed.

Help us to come to You with our pain. Help us to release the pain and receive Your comfort. Thank You that when we call on You, You always answer us. For, You are the God who is with us and never ever forsakes us, or our loved ones. Slice through the accusations of the enemy that we might slow down to hear Your call and to recognize Your invitation to take Your hand that You might show us what You see.

Help us to recognize and draw near to You in each other. We long to join You in Your death and resurrection to shine our light brightly into this dark and aching world. Cleanse our eyes, oh LORD and open our ears.

Thank You that You are the Lord who comforts Zion and all who belong to her, through Christ Jesus. Thank You that You are He, who comforts all our waste places and our wilderness like Eden, our desert like the garden of the Lord; thank You that joy and gladness will yet be found in each one of us, thanksgiving and the sound of singing (Isaiah 51:3, Galatians 3:29).

Oh Father, thank You that You are not ashamed of us in our weakness or in our sin. When we become weary, will You help us to come to You afresh, just as we are? Will you help us to receive Your love, through the pruning of Your mighty Sword of Life, Your living and abiding Word.

We also invite You to uncover any hidden wounds in us and to comfort us in our pain. We invite You to convict us of our sins and to wash them away. We invite You to help us love and forgive others freely and without expecting anything in return. Show us the goodness You are growing in us through every pruning. Help us to continually humble ourselves under Your mighty hand.

When we forget You are with us and for us and begin to live in our own strength, will You bring hymns and Scriptures to our mind and heart that convict us of the truth? Empower us, as you did Tante Corrie, and my Mum, to release all that is perishing into Your mighty hands, that we might gain You – all that is unfading and eternal – in return.

Thank You precious Jesus for who You are: always true, always good and always faithful to us. In Your Name we pray this now, Amen.

Chapter 1: Goatskin – No Outward Attraction

Chapter 2: Purple Thread – Royal Compassion

Part 4: Chapter 3 – Day 7: Home

Welcome to Day 7 of Part 4’s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the final free will offering of blue thread.

It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”

Romans 1:16‭-‬17 MSG
OUR HOME 

Home, my home
It's in my feet standing here
Within your gates, Jerusalem
Rejoicing in my Savior's call.

Peace, secure we pray
You lead us
Hands to hold
Knees to bow.

Home, our home
It's in our feet standing here
Within your gates, Jerusalem
Rejoicing in our Savior's call.

Our Lord
Our King
Our All
Tribes together pressed as One.

Home, our home
You went before
Our place you saved in blood,
For joy set before You here.

Jakin: You establish us
Boaz: in Your strength we rest
Pillars, Yours, uphold us
On foundation true.

Holy and pleasing
Righteous and pure
We've come to praise
Our Lord and King, our Home.


Revelations 21:2 (ESV)
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Galatians 2:19-21 (ESV)
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[a] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Footnotes:
Galatians 2:21 Or justification

John 17:20-23 (NIV)
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Romans 12: 1 - 5 (NIV)

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others

1 Corinthians 12: 22 (ESV)

On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,

Part 4: Chapter 3 – Day 6: Thank You

Welcome to Day 6 of Part 4’s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the sixth free will offering of blue thread.

Thank You

Thank you for the gifts
Not of gold or earthly worth
But heaven's own
Of joy and hope and life.

Thank you for the blessings
Not of ease or earthly seen
But Glory's own
Of Present Power strong in me.

Thank you for the Son
Not for darkness gone
But darkness is as Light to Him
Our inmost being knit to Truth.

Thank you for the showers
Not of droughts now gone
But Living waters flow
Their fruit in deserts bring.

Thank you for the tears
Not for grief all gone
But joy You breathe in shards of pain
Release, embrace in Truth.

Thank You for all
You purposed true
My life in worship led
Each bend and turn to more of You
My highway and forever home.

No power of dark
No demon, angel,
Power below, above
Your Love in me can rent.

Thank you for my Christ in me
Your Spirit seal
Of Life in You
Eternal true

My all.