Part 2: Chapter 1 – Day 3: The Living Word

Welcome to Day 3 of Chapter 1 from Part 2 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a poem and various Scriptures.

Romans 11:32 (ESV) For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.

Haggai 2:7 (ESV) And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.

The Living Word



Strapped to the altar again

Shut up in disobedience

Denying this body's shaking

I'm tethered and taut.



Pouring confessions

In shame and fear

Of horrid pain

From seeping wounds.



Captive to the mask again

I cringe at who

I've become once more

The hypocrite, laid bare.



But in my weakness

Your power rises

Cutting pride's vicious ropes

You beautifully humble me.



Eyes of love

My face in light cascade

My weak and feeble frame

In warmth You bathe.



The tears now flow

Released in streams

My past I begin to see

Through mercy's eyes.



This time my heart

Your heartbeat knows

And Christ in me

The Eagle frees.



Your Voice

Upon this altar cries

"Sin and shame

Are not your name.



"For not you, but I

Have chosen 'n appointed you

To go and bear abundant fruit

That now in Me abides.



"Depart under a new authority

Seeing yourself as clean

Because of the Word

I have already spoken to you.



"From disobedience

I have delivered you

Now in Christ alone

Your free will offerings bring."



Shemyahnihe'ra

Your renown, Your Name

Now reflected silver pure

You're shining so bright in me.



No longer I

But Christ in me I see

Your burning coals

My lips in praise now open.



A JOY

My heart explodes

A waterfall of grace

Splashing on my face.



My broken walls

You have rebuilt

Salvation and deliverance

In Jesus' Name.



Hemmed in

Your nail-pierced hands

Your palm

Upon my head.



In returning and rest

A harvest of peace -

Christ - in my every shaking

Is awaking.



No, I will not die

But live to tell

What You: my LORD

Have done.



My life You've set apart

Drawing a line in the sand

Every accusation lifting

I hear You call me: daughter.



Resting on the mercy seat

Now, I can obey

My Savior's call

To truly sin no more.




Freed from all condemnation

I lift my lamp up high

Upon salvation's hill

Replanted in the Living Word.



Romans 9:29 (AMPC) It is as Isaiah predicted, If the Lord of hosts had not left us a seed [from which to propagate descendants], we [Israel] would have fared like Sodom and have been made like Gomorrah.

Isaiah 11 (Complete Jewish Bible) 1 But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai, a shoot will grow from his roots. 2 The Spirit of Adonai will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing Adonai — 3 he will be inspired by fearing Adonai. He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide by what his ears hear, 4 but he will judge the impoverished justly; he will decide fairly for the humble of the land. He will strike the land with a rod from his mouth and slay the wicked with a breath from his lips. 5 Justice will be the belt around his waist, faithfulness the sash around his hips.

Malachi 3:10 – 12 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Day 2: The Water of Life

Welcome to Day 2 of Part 2, Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a devotional on The Water of Life.

Have you ever been thirsty?
I am speaking about the kind of thirsting
In which you feel so thirsty there is a fainting in your soul.

I have been in that land of thirsting,
And I have watched the shimmering waves
Of heat baking the desert sands
As my parched soul
Looked up to Heaven
Waiting
For even one cloud to form.

Many years ago, my family traveled and shared a drama in which I portrayed The Woman at the Well. Week after week, in many different settings, my lips spoke the cry of a woman so thirsty that she begged for a drink when the well was right before her. You see, Jesus had offered to her a different kind of water: a filling up for her soul’s thirsting.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” John 4:13-14 

As the weeks and the months passed, every time I spoke those woman’s words, a deeper longing was planted in my own heart. I didn’t know it at the time, though. I thought I was being filled, as I gave out the words of Jesus, week after week.  

Ah, how does it happen? How does a cry in our heart become lodged so deep that only another longing can answer in return?

I thought I knew how deep the well in my own heart was. I thought I felt the fullness of my Lord’s Words when I shared His heart with those around me.  But I had only scratched the surface.  I offered my praise, and I offered my worship, and my Lord knew what was required to let me see my own unmet longing.

The desert of pain
And the heat of suffering
Burned away the
Half-met longings
To uncover
The well where
Full-hearted cries
Could finally be heard.

I have some very dear friends who continually pray for my healing. They wait in hope for the day that Jesus will restore movement to me, and a full remission in this place of pain. Where would I be without their sweet prayers of HOPE? And I do see improvement from the awful heat and swelling that began this journey of disease.

But there is a deeper healing 
In my soul
That I would never trade
Even for just a day
Without physical pain.


For how can I tell
Of the wondrous
Filling
For my soul's
Thirsty well?

How can I sing
Of my Savior's dear Presence
Carrying my heart
To His bosom of rest
When the pain
Overwhelms?

And how will I share
These dewdrops of love
Poured down on my heart
When the desert sky
Breaks
With the water
From Heaven?

Is your heart facing a desert sun today? Are you fainting as the heat of the day wastes your soul?  There is a filling that can happen for you too, my friend.  There is a place of stillness close to the heart of God where He calls you to come.

It is His very Word spoken at the end of our drama, week after week. I longed for those words to be mine, years ago, but it took the pain of suffering to bring them home to my heart:

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:17 NIV 

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Day 1 – Even Here, Even Now

EVEN HERE, EVEN NOW

The earth beneath you
Trembling.
All you've ever known
Shaken.
The ground beneath you
Quaking.
All you've ever known
Taken.

You're groping.
Choking.
Falling.
You reach,
But no hand to hold.

You hear those voices:
“Too little.
Too much.
Not enough.
Your punishment alone to carry.”

And so you fall,
Deeper still,
Till deep dark mirey cave
You feel beneath.
And though its darkness weighs as lead,
It numbs the pain so deep,
The shame too cruel.
"Safe here" you breathe at last.

"Object of dread,
I am.
Forgotten, broken vessel,
Is who I am."
Terror thickens air,
Lying tongues to pour.
Lead weighted more.

Strength does fail.
Body waste.
Tears no longer flow.
A loss so deep,
No words to find.
And still no single hand to hold.

Your breath you feel
Anxious grip.
All that leaves your trembling lips
"LORD, My God."
Silence piercing.
Weeping, tearing heart.

But then,
You hear it.
Tender, loving Voice.
Still, sweet sound
Arise.

"My beloved.
My pearl.
My precious daughter dear.
The work of My own beating heart,
Come now.
Take this, My outstretched hand.

"The ground may tremble,
Earth may shake
And all you've ever known,
Ripped from beneath your feet.
But I, your loving Father, do rest beneath,
Even here, even now.

"My hand upon you.
My breath within you.
My countless thoughts of you
So very precious still.
Even now, I hem you in
Before, behind
Even here, no lying tongue
Does from My own
True gentle mouth depart.

"Be still, and know
YOUR one true God I AM.
Never have I ever,
Never will I ever,
Leave you all forsaken lone.
For each and every tremble, shake
Does purposeth My crop
Too bountiful
For any human hand
To seed, thresh, harvest true.

"Hold fast, My girl,
To sword of truth,
To promises birthing here, even now,
To heaven's coming
Here on earth.
For, to each and every
Prisoner of Hope eternal strong
Who turns My way
Restoration double I do declare.

"Hold fast, my child,
Not to lying tongues
But tender loving truth.
Hemming in before, behind
Grace so precious, pure.
Roaring, rushing waters
Pour and cover still.
For I, Your God
I AM.
Even here, even now."

In Psalm 31: 18, King David cries: “Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.” (NIV). Those lying tongues often go into overdrive, when our world is shaken by deep loss, grave illness or seemingly hopeless situations. 

But what our enemy knows and wants us to forget is that the Great Overcomer resides in us still, even here, even now. For “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV). 

In fact, the losses and trials we are walking through have been permitted by God to strip away our reliance upon ourselves and upon all others, so that Christ’s resurrection power may be unveiled in us. Or as 2 Corinthians 4:11 (ESV) puts it:

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.

For, our Abba Father wants us to learn to receive from Him. He wants us to learn to rest upon the foundation of His love for us, so that our strivings might cease, as we learn to enter into His Sabbath rest. So that His labor of love may begin to flow out of us, fully and freely, as we drink deeply of His living water. 

In that place of resting upon Him, He longs for us, like the Israelites, to discover His provision for us, that has nothing to do with our our own labor or perfecting work, but rather everything to do with Christ’s work of redemption: Him buying us back from sin and death that He might lavish His love out upon us:

Joshua 24:13 (ESV) I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’

1 John 3:1 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

No lie can ever separate us from Christ’s eternal love for us. No matter what emotion we feel and what accusations the enemy plagues us with, these do not define who we are: God alone does and always will. And He says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, precious sought-after pearls: His own true and beloved sons and daughters. 

And because He has gifted us the pure and righteous heart of Jesus, we are worthy in His sight. All our sins, in thought, word or deed are covered in the cloak of grace. All He asks of us is: “Come now. Take this, My outstretched hand”. And He will guide us until we die (Psalm 48:14) and Christ is unveiled in us, fully and wholly.

Will you join me in prayer today?

Thank You, Lord, that You are the strength of my heart and promise to remain faithful to me to the very end, even when I turn away in fear, shame or despair. Thank You, Lord, that lying tongues can never define who I am. 

Lord, just as your humble servant David, I beseech you to silence all lying lips that are plaguing me now. Help me cast down and pour out all the lies I have come to believe that are shackling me and pressing me away from You. Help me to turn toward You to receive Your loving arms and all-covering grace. 

Lord, I claim your beautiful promises over my life today. As a prisoner of hope, whose stronghold is in You alone, I now receive double of all that has been torn from me, believing You have granted it to me and I will yet see it with my own eyes. 

As a daughter/son of the Most High King, I now receive Your strong hand upon my head, Your protective wings, as You hem me in from before and behind, and Your countless precious thoughts of me

Lord, I am yours alone. Lead Me on in Your way everlasting, into all the Truth there is that I may dwell in Your beautiful house all the days of my life, to gaze upon Your beauty and seek You in Your temple.

In the Name of Your precious Son, Jesus, Amen.

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Silver Redemption

Welcome to Chapter 1 of Part 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to the free will offering of silver. She gives examples from her own life of how God has compelled her to bring forward this free will offering – the Promise of redemption. And Bettie and Anna invite you to join them in prayer at the end.

We will be adding additional poem, prayers and devotionals to this page, on the theme of silver and redemption, as the LORD directs.

Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:5

In the temple, 100 silver hooks held up the curtain ushering the priest into the Holy of Holies and the presence of God. These hooks were made from the free will offering of silver brought forward by the Israelites and King David for the building of the Temple. 

Silver was also melted to make the basins and bowls for the ritual purification and cleansing of the priests. And it was used to make the silver bands with their hooks of silver for all the pillars that held up the court. Additionally, it was used to make two trumpets of silver, of hammered work that were used “for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out” (Numbers 10:2).

Silver is known as the currency of redemption and a metal refined and purified by fire:

“The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” 

(Psalm 12:6, ESV)

Take away the dross from the silver,and the smith has material for a vessel;

(Proverbs 25:4, ESV).

Instead of bronze I will bring gold,

    and instead of iron I will bring silver;

instead of wood, bronze,

    instead of stones, iron.

I will make your overseers peace

    and your taskmasters righteousness.

(Isaiah 60:17, ESV)

30 pieces of silver were paid to redeem a slave from captivity. 30 pieces of silver were paid by the religious leaders to Judas, so he would betray Jesus with a kiss. 30 pieces of silver were thrown by Judas back into the temple, before he hung himself. 30 pieces of silver were used to buy the Potter’s field to bury the bodies of foreigners. 

Thus, the free will offering of silver symbolized the very redemption Christ would bring through His death on the Cross. The Word “redemption” in Hebrew literally means a buying back. God bought back our hearts, freeing us from our enslavement to sin, through the very betrayal of man. 

For thus says the LORD: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” (Isaiah 52:3, ESV)

So, now, when Christ compels us to bring forward the free will offering of silver, we are literally bringing forward His Promise of redemption. We are bringing forward God’s Promise to buy us back, fully and wholly. We are declaring His faithfulness to move through His Living Water (the Spirit-infused Word of God) to:

  • purify us 
  • cleanse us 
  • lift up the Body of Christ (which includes those of us who are His) and bring it to complete healing and wholeness
  • strengthen us and establish us in Christ 
  • to gather us together and cause us to depart at His command, as the trumpet is blown.

In what situations have you found God encouraging you to bring forward His Promise of redemption? In what ways have you noticed God has been redeeming you and others you know?

God has been redeeming me personally through repeated breakings. Through these breakings God has helped me to differentiate between the voice of our enemy, with his cruel accusations of condemnation, and the moment by moment revelation of the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit’s promptings. 

In setting me apart unto His purposes, Christ is helping me to lift up the Name of Jesus above all else. He has been teaching me, through the pain and sorrow of each surrender, to lay before Him His Promise of redemption and in those moments He has been filling me with renewed trust and faith in His faithfulness to fulfill His Word to me. He has been opening my eyes to see all the redemption He has already brought through each surrender.

I now see, how under His leadership and in His strengthening, I am daily choosing to die to old thought patterns and arise unto the new. Through all the surrenders, I am beginning to see my past through new eyes: Christ’s eyes of redemption. 

Now, rather than trying so hard to do the “right” thing to prove myself worthy, which I did when I subjected myself to man’s authority (much like the disciple Peter did before Paul rebuked him for being a hypocrite), I am learning instead to allow Christ to prove me His. I am learning to still and listen for the moment-by-moment revelation of God’s Word by the Holy Spirit. I am learning to obey the Living Word of God – Jesus – who speaks inside of me. The Living Word that is now becoming a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. 

I can see how Christ has taken ownership of me, buying me back from the enemy who once had tethered me to sin, striving and idol worship (of self, church, religious leaders and friends). Through every surrender His labor of love has wrought in my heart, God has opened my eyes to the gift of free will He has given me, the free will to choose Him and the true desires of my heart.

And in this purifying work of the Living Word, Christ is redeeming the years that the locusts ate. God is even using my Prodigal past for good. He is using my honest boasting in my weakness to His glory and grace, to strengthen my relationships, bring peace and joy to my home and heart, and to root me and others ever deeper in His truth, love and mercy. He is perfecting His power in my weakness.

In our LORD Jesus, our Rock and Redeemer, nothing is ever wasted. Not one detail of our stories is ever too shameful or unimportant, but rather each detail becomes an essential part of God’s masterpiece, declaring His love and great mercy to the world. 

When God reminds us through His Word that the old has gone and that we are not to look back on our past, it means that when we give our life to Jesus, our slate has been made clean. Our failings turn from being a shameful burden to carry, to evidence of God’s great love and compassion for us and His power to save and redeem our lives for His glory.

Peter’s heartbreaking denials of Jesus now declare the power of the Cross to save and redeem us all. They remind us that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Saul ordering the execution of Stephen now awakens our hearts to the depths of God’s mercy that we too can draw upon in suffering and persecution. It also reminds us of the power of the Cross to open our own and others’ blinded eyes to see and to give us new names, declaring us new creations in Christ Jesus. Paul’s thorn in his side reminds us all, even today, that God’s power is perfected in our weakness and not in our own ability, health or strength.

Perhaps you too, recognize Jesus doing a similar work of redemption in your heart and life, as He has been in mine. For, Christ labors in each one of us to exchange our heart of stone for His heart of flesh. A heart of flesh not hardened by sin and pain, but compelling us to willingly join Christ in His suffering that we might draw upon His love and mercy to declare each heart set before us: eternally His. A heart of flesh declaring each one of us purchased by the blood of the Lamb and our inheritance of redemption – complete healing and wholeness in body, mind, heart and soul – as safely sealed by the Holy Spirit. 

And oh how I long, as I am sure you do also, to see this redemption unveiled in us all: fully and wholly, when Christ returns.

Dear Great and Glorious Lord, 

We come before you acknowledging that we are so in need of redemption.  You are Holy and we are not. You are pure and we are tainted. Lord will you daily cleanse us from our old way of thinking? Will you continue to take away our striving and show us that You alone have the power to redeem us from our sins? 

You, our God, have purchased salvation for us with the precious blood of your own Son.  May we let you redeem us from these sinful ways of living, and find Your gift of new life flooding into our hearts. 

And as we boast in our weakness, may our testimonies to Your glory and grace and the blood of the Lamb arise to silence the accusations of the enemy against our brethren. May Your redemption not just flood our own hearts, but others’ also, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God.

In the precious name of your Holy Son, Jesus, we pray. 

Amen.

Day 1: Even Here, Even Now

Day 2: The Water of Life

Day 3: The Living Word

Day 4: Garments of Praise

Day 5: Eternal Redemption

Day 6: The Thread of Redemption

Day 7: The Great I AM

Part 2: The Living Water of God

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come tome and drink. John 7:37 (ESV)

Welcome to Part 2 of Arise and Shine: The Living Water of God. Today, Bettie is opening part 2 with a devotional, including a poem and prayer. She shares a personal testimony on the gift of God’s living water that washes us in the truth and grace of our God.

May God bless you richly today, as you sit at His feet with us to listen and drink deeply of His living water in your weakness and need. May God pour out rivers of living water in our midst, out of each of our hearts, as He awakens fresh faith in us, through the power of His living and active Word.

“Oh, Lord, I will never be washed clean enough!” The words escaped from my lips as yet another sore erupted on my body, the result of some type of allergic reaction to a bug bite.  Chronic illness and the weakness that followed it had brought to me another physical reaction out of my control. And yet, I took up the blame I heard the enemy whispering in my ear:  “Surely this is your fault. You should have taken better care of yourself. You should have seen these things coming. Surely you could have done something!”

Why did I take upon myself this endless load of responsibility? Had I become self-sufficient to the point of neglecting my own dependency on God?

“From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness— only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil.” Isaiah 1:6

“The person to be cleansed must wash their clothes, shave off all their hair and bathe with water; then they will be ceremonially clean. After this they may come into the camp, but they must stay outside their tent for seven days. Leviticus 14:8

A year passed, and the strange reactions to the bug bites had become a distant memory.  When more medications were tried, and failed, the Doctor called me in to begin yet another injection. Humiliated, I was forced to show the Doctor the rash that had come back, a huge welt and ugly bruise around each bite.

When I heard his quickly uttered response: “There is no infection here. But you have a bleed under the surface, probably caused by a reaction to the latest medication,” something within me marked those words to ponder later.  

Why had I assumed, once again, that the rash was my fault? Why had I tried to “get by” when a medication was so obviously not reacting well with my own body? 

Those wounds on my flesh caused me to feel like an outcast, covered in shame. I wanted to clean those ugly sores; oh how I wanted to wash them away. I didn’t want them seen! But God had exposed those outer wounds to show me the deeper truth: there is a soul cleansing and a heart healing that I cannot provide for myself. 

I know it all too well, now, here in this Season. He has taken away my own methods of preserving my flesh, and brought me to a place where cleanness of heart is a gift to be granted.

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 53:5

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Hebrews 13:11-12

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14

The burning wounds 
They glare
My arms ache
From the scrubbing.

How can I be clean?
Where is my purity?
When did I lose my wholeness?

Seeing here the blemishes I
Bear
Crying out for wholeness
Has become a daily chant

But what if
My wounding is not meant to
Leave
While my weakness is revealing
A deeper sore?

My own pride I lay it
Down
My own strength I
Surrender

There is no good in me
Covered here with sores
From head to foot
I am sinful born

Jesus comes.

He takes the basin and the
Towel
He lifts my feet and plunges
Into water deep

Wash me here whiter
Than snow
You see me pure
You call me clean

Where once I walked in my
Own strength
Self-sufficient
All the way,
Beauty now has come to me
Washed by You alone.

Dear Lord Jesus,

We lay ourselves, wounded, sore, and bandaged, before You now. We cry out for Your mercy in this place, because we know that we cannot cleanse ourselves. Forgive us for trying to take up that responsibility. And forgive us for believing the lie that the shame of those woundings is ours to bear alone.

Oh precious Lord, thank You for taking up the basin and washing clean what had been incurable. Thank You for taking on Yourself what was our responsibility, and freeing us from that load! Oh the depth of Your mercy overwhelms us. May we receive Your Love and Grace today. 

In Your sweet name we pray,

Amen.

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

Join us for each chapter of The Living Water of God, as we add it here below, each week. Each chapter includes daily devotionals, prayers and/or poems.

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Silver Redemption

Part 2: Chapter 1 – Bronze Judgment

Chapter 2: Day 7 – Gates of Praise

Welcome to Day 7 of Chapter 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a poem filled with Scriptures and the Scriptures that inspired it.

Gates of Praise


I am your light and your salvation
I am your glory within
Call your walls: salvation
Your gates: praise.

I am your glory within
Swing wide you heavenly gates
Your gates: praise
Let the King of Glory come in.

Swing wide you heavenly gates
Return to your fortress, prisoners of hope
Let the King of Glory come in
Light shines in darkness.

Return to your fortress, prisoners of hope
I am a wall of fire around you
Light shines in darkness
I am the Lifter of your head.

I am a wall of fire around you
Call your walls: salvation
I am the lifter of your head
I am your light and your salvation.



Psalm 24: 9 (ESV)

Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.


1 Chronicles 16:28 (ESV)

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!


Psalm 22:3 (ESV)

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.


Isaiah 60:18 (ESV)

Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.


Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)

Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.


Isaiah 62:1 (ESV)

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,

and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,

until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

and her salvation as a burning torch.


John 1:14 (ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

6 It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful. 7 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.

Chapter 2: Day 6 – Eternity Glowing

Welcome to Day 6 of Chapter 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a poem.

ETERNITY GLOWING

On Rock
He teaches
Me to build
With human hands
I go to work
Believing
My self-righteous works
The Rock
Must build.

And so
He sends me forth
In waters deep
Storms now come
My human rock
To shipwreck
Break
On foreign shores.

I sift the debris
Eyes laid low
Yearning now
My rock of old
To clasp
But on foreign shores
This rock of old
Now lies
Shattered, broke
Undone, I cry.


But in my weeping
My Father bows my knees
Each missing grain to see
Now bathed in Light
My tears are washing
Hidden treasures
In shifting sands
Laid bare
Eternity
Now glowing.

My Abba Father's Promises
As gifts in weakness
Now laid bare
Hidden treasures
An abundance
Out of the seas
My God
Is drawing out.


Let waters
Rise
Let storms now
Come
Let sand here
Shift
My God's Promises
Shall then
In Spirit rise to
Glow.


Rejected by humans
But chosen by my God
And precious to Him
Each missing grain
Sparkles bright
Each jewel
In shifting sands
I see unveiled.


His living stone
My Father builds
Into a Holy Temple
In the Father, Son
And Holy Spirit - One
A holy priest
I now come
Offering
Spiritual sacrifices
Acceptable to God
Through my LORD and Savior
Jesus Christ
Alone.


Deuteronomy 33:18-19
Of Zebulun he said, "Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going forth, And, Issachar, in your tents. "They will call peoples to the mountain; There they will offer righteous sacrifices; For they will draw out the abundance of the seas, And the hidden treasures of the sand."

Isaiah 61:11 (AMP)
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will [most certainly] cause righteousness and justice and praise
To spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word].

Chapter 2: Day 5 – Christ’s Inward Searching & Knowing

Welcome to Day 5 of Chapter 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a prayer, a Scripture, a poem of praise and a link to a praise and a worship song.

Father, thank You for all the ways You are proving Your presence and resurrection power in and through us. Open our eyes more and more to recognize Your love at work in us.

Today, we choose to celebrate Your fencing in as Your way of setting us apart unto Your purposes. Thank You that the pain we feel in our hemming in is proof that You are at work in our hearts, making us more like You.

Help us to yield to Your labor of love. Thank You for Your training of us in righteousness that proves we are Your beloved children and that You are a good Father, who cares deeply about us.

Help us through each fencing in to bring forward Your Promise to clothe us in pure white linen. Make us overcomers in Your Name. Search and know us from the inside out. Uncover any offensive ways at work in us and lead us in Your everlasting way. Cast out all fear of punishment in us through the work of Your perfect love that we might come boldly before the throne of grace in our time of need.

Create in us a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within us and restore unto us the joy of our salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Search me, God, and know my heart;

    test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23 – 24 (NIV)
THANK YOU, LORD 

Thank You, LORD
For grace
That covers me
For innocence
You've paid
In scourge
And pain so cruel
I'll never know.

Thank You, LORD
For giving me
What's undeserved
Of cruel and harsh
This heart here turned
To selfish tides
And prideful waves
To anger's chains
And holding reigns.

Thank You, LORD
For love so great
It reaches deeper still
Than cruel and harsh
Than selfish pride and anger's reigns
To all accuser's claims
Would rather hide
From sight unseen
In shame to chain.

Thank You, LORD
For fencing tight
In holy linen white
For Spirit drawing in
And holding tight
The dust of desert's strife
From hardened heart to strip
And righteous wrap
In dazzling white
Of undeserved bright.

Thank You, LORD
That washing dazzling white
You speak each hidden sight
The pain, the fears and doubts
I know not bleed beneath
My heart to cast and pour
My cup not just outward cleanse
But inward search to know
In Spirit wash
From death to Life.

Thank You, LORD
For grace
That covers me
For innocence
You've paid
In scourge
And pain so cruel
I'll never know.

Sharing the Compassion of our God

Reading this, I so longed to share. If you have known the deep pain of infertility, may God so encourage your heart by this post from Velvet Ashes that He sees you and loves you so very much. Here, a quote and the link to read further:

“…but loss and longing have bred connection. I would have never thought that infertility could have brought blessings. As I reflect on the relationships that have grown from my barrenness, I am amazed by how the Lord has worked to bring goodness into my life and answer my prayers for community…”

https://velvetashes.com/the-scarlet-letter-that-led-to-community-infertility-as-an-expat/?mc_cid=8fc63370c1&mc_eid=a815ad9da7

Chapter 2: Day 4 – In Returning and Rest

Welcome to Day 4 of Chapter 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a devotional (a poem, story and prayer) centered on Scriptures that the LORD is continuing to take deeper into her own heart.

Since I was little, I have loved to help others. As the oldest daughter in a family of six children, I had ample opportunity to help out. I took great pride in my “mothering responsibilities”, as I took it upon myself to help my Mum out, particularly with looking after my youngest brother and sister, to give my busy Mum, who also carried many responsibilities outside of our home, a break and allow her to get other things done.

There is beauty in the gift of helping and serving others, but what God has opened my eyes to, is that serving can become an idol that begins to gong like a cymbal, where the lines of responsibility become blurry. A few weeks before my Mum died, she looked at me and said something like: “Anna, I was a bad example to you girls. I had no boundaries in place. Don’t follow my example.” Now, don’t get me wrong. My Mum was one of the most loving people I know, but now that God has broken the idol I made of her, I see what my Mum meant. There were indeed times, where she too became like a gonging cymbal and these were times that she took on responsibility that was not hers to shoulder.

When I began to see this idol present in my own life, God encouraged me, not to try to “fix” it myself, but to lay the responsibility for my transformation in His hands. But as I began to do so, He began to fence me in, more and more.

Again and again, He had me build up something, only to ask me to lay it back down soon after. Again and again, He had me invest in people, communities and ministries, only to then ask me to leave and surrender everyone and everything into His hands.

Through these first few breakings and surrenders, it felt like God was punishing me. It felt like He was taking away things and people from me because I wasn’t “good enough” to stay and to serve in these places. But ever so slowly, I am beginning to see this fencing in of God, as His precious gift of rest in pleasant places.

A photo I took on a recent bike ride in response to God’s call to me to come away with Him to rest. A bike ride that had me weeping, as I felt God overwhelm me in His love for me.

It has been His Way of growing me in grace and truth, of teaching me to walk within His safe boundaries. For, after each breaking, I slowly began to see that each surrender was drawing me into a deeper and deeper rest, and a shedding of responsibilities for others that were never mine to carry.

I am now seeing how the Word God spoke over me at the start of all this shedding and burning away, is now reaping so much fruit in my life:

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;

    you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16: 5 – 6 (NIV)

The funny thing though, is that God has been fulfilling this Word, by showing me that I am incapable of making Him alone my portion and my cup. Maybe, you too recognize your inability in this department. If so, maybe this next verse has also been a painful verse for you too, because like me, you recognize yourself as being the “unwilling” one God speaks of.

Maybe you too recognize your past failures to return and rest and to sit in quietness and trust. But what God has been showing me, is that He knows I cannot set good boundaries for myself and that I cannot rest and be still in and of myself, that I actually do not know how to make Him alone my portion and cup.

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

He showed me that this is yet another reason why He sent Jesus to die on the Cross for me, so that He could take up residence in me and teach me how to walk within His pleasant boundaries. And what I am noticing, is that when I ask Him to set those boundaries for me, in response to His leading, He is so very faithful to do so and oh the joy and peace and love that flows from a heart that rests in these pleasant places with Jesus.

Just yesterday, I yet again, found myself in a place, where God showed me I had become like a gonging cymbal, because I had chosen to take on responsibility that was not mine to carry. In this case, it was the opinions of others – the fear that I would be blamed for the choices of others, over whom I carried leadership responsibilities. This fear of man was rooted in me not recognizing God’s ultimate sovereignty. In me not recognizing His ultimate responsibility over the gifts He has entrusted me to carry out in His Name.

And this fear drove me to take on a responsibility for the behavior of others and to snap, rather than flow from a position of resting in God’s love. As the fear grew inside of me, so did the assumptions I began to make of others and their behavior and so did my snapping.

But then, God in His kindness, placed me before an elderly women who began to boast in her weakness, who spoke of having forgotten her mask and now having to bike back home to collect it. The gentleness of God shone so brightly from her face and as I shared of having had the same thing happen before also, I felt God slow my heart to the pace of His own.

It’s then I reached out to apologize to someone I had been snapping at moments earlier, someone who I had made incorrect assumptions about, in my haste, driven by fear. I also noticed how that snapping came, after I had felt a gentle nudge from God to take a break, but rather than do so, I had kept going.

And so, as that conviction and repentance flowed from the grace of God, I also recognized I needed God’s help with boundaries in another part of my life. So, I turned to Him and asked Him to be my boundary lines in that space also.

You see, recently I have stepped out in faith with something new and I was reminded that I need God to time the unfolding of this new responsibility, step by step, so that it doesn’t encroach on other responsibilities He has given me. So, I asked Him to time its unfolding, also so I can finish something else well that is in its final weeks.

As I did so, I found myself rejoicing over even the simple conversation this new ministry had brought yesterday. I recognized how refreshing it was to pour into a young woman, without laying any expectations on the outcome of our contact. As I shed the responsibility for this contact’s unfolding, my peace and joy increased, as I recognized how even if it comes to nothing, the conversation alone was such a gift to me.

God has truly been shedding the old and uncovering the true desires of His heart within me, desires that draw me into His heart of surrender, love, gentleness and kindness. He has been lifting the weight of so many responsibilities.

God so patiently grows our hearts to steward well the gifts He has entrusted us, by teaching us how to rest in His authority and guidance, moment by moment. By God’s grace I have definitely come a long way, and yet I also recognize room for so much more growth. I am so excited to see how He enlarges my heart even more in the coming months to run in the path of His commands and I pray you are too. For our LORD is so very faithful.

Father God, I thank You for the gift of Your Son. I thank You that You have shed abroad Your love in our hearts, through the gift of Your Holy Spirit, who is now guiding us into all the truth, for we know that the Holy Spirit does not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to us the things that are to come (John 16:13).

Thank You that You promise us that “so shall [Your] word be that goes out from [Your] mouth; it shall not return to [You] empty, but it shall accomplish that which [You] purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which [You] sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, ESV). Thank You for fencing and hemming us in, even when You knew we would not understand it at first and see it as Your punishment of us. Thank You for Your loving discipline and great patience with us. Father, help us, through each fencing in, through each closing door and breaking, to trust Your heart of love toward us.

Yield our hearts to Your discipline and cause us to bring forward the pure white linen of Your Son that You might clothe us in the garments reserved for those who overcome in Your Name. For, “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5, ESV) And so, this very moment we acknowledge that we cannot overcome the world in our own strength, that we cannot make You alone our portion and our cup, without Your teaching, leading and guidance. And so, we let go of our striving and ask You now to clothe us in Your purity. We ask You to fulfill the Promises of Your Word to us.

Today, we like King David, declare by faith that “Lord, you alone are [our] portion and [our] cup; you make [our] lot secure.The boundary lines have fallen for [us] in pleasant places; surely [we] have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16: 5-6, NIV). We declare by faith that we shall see the fulfillment of this Word in our lives. Be our boundary lines, oh LORD and reveal the pleasant places of Your choosing for us, where our hearts can rest in Your heart of love, gentleness and kindness.

Shut the doors that need shutting. Open the doors that need opening and teach us how to yield our will to Yours that we may live from a position of rest, flowing in Your love. LORD be the One who serves and loves through us, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and Word of life. Continue to break our idols of responsibility that shackle us to fear and sin. Cause our hearts to return and rest in You and to dwell in quietness and trust in You.

And as we read through this poem that You gifted me (Anna) so long ago, bring such joy and peace to our hearts in the knowledge that You are so very faithful to teach us how to seek after Your heart above all else and how to rest at Your feet. Help us to let go of any shame we feel because of our past failings and to walk into the newness of life You are holding out to us. Help us also to receive Your patience with us, to see ourselves as Your children who You are so proud of, who You are teaching step by step. Help us to see and celebrate all the ways we have already grown to rest in You. Thank You that we are so blessed in You. In Jesus’s precious Name, Amen.

SEEK MY HEART

Blessed are those
Who listen and heed
Come close,
And sit at My feet.

Blessed are those
Who know how to rest,
To abide and draw
Upon who I AM.

Blessed are those
Who heed not praise
Of men,
But seek My heart for them.
Listen My daughter well
To these words of love -

Be still, and know
Even now, even here,
I sit beside,
And hold your hand.

Do you hear angels sing,
Choirs to My glory?
Rush of waterfall
Pouring down upon you?

See all shackling silt
Coming loose
Purity revealed in
Sea blue deep