Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 5: Loosing the Promises of God

Welcome to Day 5 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in Scriptures and a testimonial poem of praise to the power of Christ’s intercession at work in her. Yes! His incense arises in power in our weakness, compelling us to loose His Promises in faith, and to see them bear fruit in our lives and others’.

Loosing the Promises of God


I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 (ESV)


When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. Revelation 1:17-19 (ESV)


Grief waits upon
No one
It swells
And breaks
My placid perfect
Life awake.

Now spit
And foam
The Promises
Long hid
Come rushing
Crashing
Back to Life.

The longing
From my heart
His Promises
To know
Long hid away
In drawers
Fastened
Shut.

But as the waves
Swell
And break
The drawers
Loose
His Promises
To life.

My body, mind
And soul
In Spirit breath
Awake.

From deep within
The Living Word
Each Promise
Brings
In Holy Spirit breath
To sing.

For in the Word's
Waking
My heart
Draws near
Christ's heart
To hear.

This childlike heart
In steadfast love is
Rootèd secure:

That I might
Taste and see
The width
And breadth
And depth
Of Christ.

Living water rushes
Strong, crashing
My heart to search
And know
In waves of mercy
The blood of Christ
Still flows.

Each day anew
My burdened heart
Christ draws near
In Spirit song
To wake
And sing with Him
Each Word
To life.

Before, behind
Beneath, above
My Savior sings
And calls to me:
"Draw near
And I'll draw near
To you."

But now I know
It is not me
But Christ
Who fulfills
The law in me.

He draws me
That I may
Draw near
To Him.


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. Galatians 2:20 (ESV)


And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:52 (ESV)

Thanks to Юлія Дубина @yulia_dubyna for making the profile photo for this post available freely on Unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/6C_XfszlnWw

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 3: My King, My LORD In Me

Welcome to Day 3 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense through a Promise from God’s Word, a poem and a photo of flowers her daughter came home with for her on a particularly difficult day. It was truly a gift of God’s kindness, without her realizing it.

My King, My LORD In Me


1 Kings 9:3
I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy- this place you have built, where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it. For it is dear to my heart.



I cannot see
With eyes of flesh
Am blinded
To all so true, so pure.

But then, Your Spirit falls
Like oil my worship to You released
Fragrant incense to You I raise
My heart, it breaks and pours.

My hands, they lift
My lips, they cry
My heart to You returns
Freed in You, I'm now soaring high.

I cannot see
With eyes of flesh
Am blinded
To all so true, so pure.

But in worship led
My eyes, You open
Riches here reveal
Wealth immeasurable: all in You.

And so my heart, it pours
My hands in kindness reach
My lips in love, You speak
Surrendered, free: My King, My Lord in me.

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 2: The Jealous Flames of Love

Welcome to Day 2 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense through a devotional testimony, including a poem and prayer.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

At my baptism, after a long Prodigal journey home, I promised God I would follow Him anywhere, whatever the cost. Little did I realize where He would lead me, mere weeks later. 

Strapped to the altar again
In this obedience
I dread
I'm tethered and taut.

Pouring confession
Of sin and fears
Of horrid pain
In seeping wounds.

Burying myself deep
In shame I cringe
At who I believe I am
A mess, laid bare.

As I began to step out in faith, the enemy hurled accusations at me. As I reached out, confessing my weakness and sins openly before Christian leaders, the enemy worked through them to affirm my old identity. 

What I didn’t yet see was that God was allowing every attack, every rejection and every back turning toward me, for my good. For, every stripping was permitted to humble me in my pride. Tenderly and patiently, Jesus has been laboring in me to uproot my faith in myself and in man, to replant my longings and affections in the good and soft soil of His heart. 

But in my pouring out
You lift my eyes to truth
My striving dies
Your Face to see.

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 heart unburdened,
Bare.

Oh no
Not broken mess
But Christ in me
The Eagle freed.

Your Voice
Upon this altar cries
"Sin and shame
Are not your name.

"For not you
But I have chosen
And appointed you
To go and bear much fruit.

"Now go: depart under
A new authority
Be cleansed to see
The pure as pure."

Even as I have repeatedly stumbled in my pride, returning to bow before my idols and muddying my vision (Proverbs 25:26), God has not left my side. Christ has continually moved in to avenge His elect, lovingly training me in righteousness. He has been like He commanded Hosea to be unto Gomer. He has refused to let me go.

He has separated me from my idols, hemmed me in on all sides and showered me in kindness to lead me to repentance. He has been taking the truth of my redemption, my “buying back”, from my head to my heart (Hebrews 10:16). Piece by piece.

Where sacrifice 
Of pain
On altar strapped
To die, I see.

You lift my gaze
To see
Your face
In mine.

In the fear of losing my precious Savior, I followed Him where I, at first, didn’t want to go. For, what He has asked me to do has so often directly contradicted what I think is “right” and “good”. 

But it’s then, in dying to my own thinking and plans to obey His will that I have discovered that He has in fact been taking me where my heart has truly longed to go: deeper and deeper into His searching and knowing. I now know the jealous flames of His love, and the stripping of His Word, have been sent, not to destroy me, but to circumcise my heart and open my eyes to His never-forsaking Presence with me.

All along, He has been leading me into receiving His reputation (Shem) in my humbling, His Name of power and majesty (Yah) in my weakness and His light (nihe’ra) of truth, love and grace in the darkness of my sin and hiding. 

Shem yah nihe'ra 
Your renown, Your Name
Your gold glowing
You're shining bright in me.

No longer I
But Christ in me I see
Your burning coals
My heart and lips have freed.

A JOY
My heart explodes
A waterfall of grace
Splashing on my face

Lifting the weight of my sin, pain and sorrow, through all the stripping and burning, He has been inviting me to celebrate His life and breath at work in me. To believe Him when He says that it is no longer I but He – Christ- who lives in me. To believe Him when He sees that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and that I may come boldly before the throne of grace in my time of need.

My broken walls
You have rebuilt
Salvation and deliverance
Are in You.

Hemmed in
Your nail-pierced hands
Your palm
Upon my head.

No, I shall not lie
In a bed of shame
But rise to follow You
Into the light.

It is not me, but CHRIST who is yielding up my fleshly desires for His life giving breath. Just like Paul, I can now say (2 Corinthians 1: 9-10 ESV): “Indeed, [I] felt that [I] had received the sentence of death. But that was to make [me] rely not on [myself] but on God who raises the dead. He delivered [me] from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver [me]. On him [I] have set [my] hope that he will deliver [me] again.” 

Those first few sheddings of the old came through horrific trauma triggers. But precisely the gravity of each attack showed me the deep desire of my God to wake me up from my slumber and to set me free. As I cried out to Him, He upheld me and revealed His desire for me to live and move and have my being in Him alone.

At every turn, as I have stumbled and fallen, as I have turned back toward the old, believing in the enemy’s accusations of condemnation against me, above God’s holy Word to me, Christ has defended me. 

He has lifted me up out of the muck and mire of pride, bitterness and self, to set me upon the Rock of His precious Word to me. He has flamed alive His Word in my heart, cauterizing the wounds of each stripping and then pouring out a balm of comfort by His Holy Spirit to restore my body, heart and soul to my First Love – to bring unity in the Sword’s dividing.

For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50 (ESV)

Recently, He even gave me such a beautiful picture of this process on my finger. I had cut my fingernail too close to the skin and it had become infected and in that infection extra “wild flesh” began to grow because my body began to see the new nail growing as an intruder, triggering an overactive immune system. 

The doctor prescribed a nitrate pen to burn away the “wild flesh” in daily applications, scraping away the loosening “wild flesh” after a week, and then cauterizing the open wound in a fresh burning to avoid new infections. Then, she prescribed a cortisone cream designed to reduce inflammation and the skin’s natural cell division to gently remove the final layers of skin that didn’t belong there.

Now, I see the Great Physician’s loving care in His repeated burning, stripping, burning and balming of my heart in His Word to me. That I am still alive today, when all I wanted was to die through the painful stripping and burning, is a testament to His tender mercies poured out on me and the intercession of His Son rising in and for me. Now, I know the flame of His love isn’t sent to burn and consume us, but to flame alive His Word in our heart and to consume the dross of our idolatry and pride.

As a child, I counted up the cost of following Christ and turned my back on Him, believing He had turned His back on me. Now, hidden in the righteousness of Christ, I have counted up the cost anew, and declare Him worthy of all praise. For I can now say, along with Paul, that all else is rubbish, compared to the surpassing wealth of knowing Christ in His death and resurrection. For His Presence is heaven to me.

No! I will not die
But live to tell
What You: the LORD
Have done.

My lips
You've set apart
From a new heart
Blessings to bestow.

My lamp is shining brightly
On salvation's hill
For I live by faith not in myself
But in the Son of God.

In the One who loved me
And gave Himself for me
Who called me out of darkness
Into His glorious light.

Praise now so often pours forth from my lips and tears stream down my face, as I recognize and acknowledge how God has been showering me in a mercy I do not deserve. 

Oh how my heart now longs for Him to burn ever more brightly in me. I long for Jesus to burn away all dross in me, to make me holy as He is holy. 

And I know He is honoring this yearning that He has sown deep within me. He just keeps exposing and uncovering more and more sin. Burning away more and more dross, so that His sweet incense may be released ever more in and through me.

Do you recognize that longing for holiness in your own heart also, and how it has waned at times also? Do you recognize the struggle to embrace the stripping and flame, as God’s love for you? Will you join me in a prayer of thanksgiving and repentance? Come, let’s praise our Father for His Promise to fulfill the longings He has planted in us. For, He is the strength of our hearts, when our own hearts fail us.

Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You for the jealous flames of Your love burning away the dross in us, to draw us ever closer to You. Thank You for the cleansing waters of Your love washing over us, for carrying away our sin and our shame. 

Thank You for sending precious Jesus to be our salvation, our Rock and Redeemer and the Lifter of our head. Thank You that You have promised never to leave or forsake us. Forgive us for all the times we have agreed with the enemy’s accusation that You have abandoned us. We come out of agreement with that now. 

Forgive us also for every time we have clung to the accusations of the enemy against us, rather than coming boldly before the throne of grace in our time of need. We come before You now, just as we are, without one plea, asking You to cleanse us of all unrighteousness by the blood of the pure and spotless Lamb: Your Son, Jesus. 

Thank You for searching and knowing our hearts, for continually leading us to a godly sorrow in repentance – in the changing of our minds – without regret. Thank You for exposing every accusation, every sin, every idol in the stripping for Your fire to consume it. Thank You for restoring unto us the joy of our salvation and for choosing not to take away Your Holy Spirit from us.

Thank You for the stripping back You have ordained, not to harm us, but to heal us: to exchange our heart of stone for Your tender heart of flesh. Thank You for Your sweet mercy, Your longsuffering and compassion toward us. Thank You for the blessing of Your sweet Presence in the flames.

Thank You that though our flesh is so very weak, YOUR Spirit in us is so very strong. Thank You for, again and again, leading us to deny our flesh and sow into the Spirit. Thank You for giving us a hunger and thirst for Your Word that nothing else will ever be able to satisfy our hunger and thirst, but You. Thank You for filling us with Your Son: with an all-consuming fire to love, honor and obey You at all costs.

Thank You for leading us to pour out our hearts to You, to give You our pain and our deepest longings, to bring our whole heart to You. Thank You for teaching us to lay all down before You, for opening our eyes and ears to Your pure Word rising in us. Thank You that strong in You, we shall resist the devil, causing him to flee from us

Father, thank You, that hidden in the righteousness of Christ, we can count it all joy, when we meet trials of various kinds, for we know that the testing of our faith is producing steadfastness in us. Thank You that steadfastness shall have its full effect in us, that in You we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Thank You for the gift of Your Presence in every humbling, for leading us to release everything and everyone into Your hands to receive You.

Thank You that we are born again into a living hope, with an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. Thank You for teaching us to rejoice in this truth, though now for a little while, we have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of our faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Thank You for causing us to humble ourselves before You, that others are now beginning to see, no longer us, but the light of Jesus and His face shining upon them. Thank You that You have drawn us – Your royal priesthood – out of darkness into Your glorious light. In Jesus’ mighty Name, Amen.

Part 3: Chapter 1 – Day 1: Delight in Christ

Welcome to Day 1 of Part 3‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of incense in a poem inspired by God’s Word to her in the crushing.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 (ESV)

Delight

How can I rest
How can I open my palms
Let go
And rest?

How can I receive
The Word
That says You delight
In me?

When Your Word in me
Has closed doors on me
In confessing
My weakness and sin.

How can I receive
Delight in that
When Your Word calls me
Depart, bereft?

Am I not mistaken?
Does not each loss
Each door closing
Only affirm I'm lost?

"Oh my child,"
I hear You speak
"In your pain, be still
Know My Son is calling.

"Let the Sword of Life
Now circumcise your heart
That ears and eyes
May open unto Me.

"For, I have come
Not to call the righteous
But to pour My oil
Of mercy upon sinners.

"Receive My living water
Feel My waterfall of grace
Now splashing on your face
Receive My goodness and mercy

"In My Son's crushing
Of your pride and self
Receive My oil
Richly flowing.

"Yes, there's life
In the womb
Feel the Son of God
Now crowning in you.

"Be not afraid, My child
This labor pain you're feeling
Is but a shedding of the old
To birth the new.

"For, Christ wore
A crown of thorns
To place a crown
Of life upon your head.

"In the garden of Gethsemane
My Son drunk the cup
Upon the Cross
Your debt to pay in full.

"Now be Christ's friend
Let the counsel
Of the Holy Spirit
Set you apart.

"Let each loss
Become sweet gain
For, into every crushing
My oil of comfort pours.

"Let now
My Holy Spirit pour
Upon the soil
Of all Christ's crushing.

"For, is it not your honor
To bow before Him here
To taste of His sacrifice
For you?

"Has He not proven
In His crushing for your sins
His Bride is worth
Far more than rubies?

"Yes, the enemy may rage
In darkness all around you
But hidden in Christ
See your lamp glow bright.

"Sow now
Into the good soil
Of Christ's own Body
Broken open for you.

"Let His seed of truth
Long hidden in your heart
Now reap perfect peace
In the dying.

"Bring no longer a
Burnt-out sacrifice of self
But a free will offering
In mercy richly flowing.

"Watch and wait
My holy flame shall fall
Upon the oil
Of Christ's anointing.

"A fragrant incense
In My fire shall rise
Repentance and
Refreshing reaping.

"Now, delight
In Me, My child
For I delight
In you."

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:55-60 (ESV)

‘You will also be [considered] a crown of glory and splendor in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God.’ It will no longer be said of you [Judah], “Azubah (Abandoned),”Nor will it any longer be said of your land, “Shemamah (Desolate)”; But you will be called, “Hephzibah (My Delight is in Her),”And your land, “i.e. Beulah, pronounced Be-oo-lah.Married”; For the Lord delights in you, And to Him your land will be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. Isaiah 62: 3 – 4 (AMP)

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 6: Holy Fear

Welcome to Part 2 Chapter 3‘s Day 6 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie is sharing a poem and testimony as a free will offering of gold, declaring the goodness and mercy of God flowing richly in the place of His burning.

Into days of multiplied fear, and multiplied trials, I heard God whispering to my fearful heart to pause and learn more about a proper fear: 

The Fear of God ~~~ The Holiness of God

“He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:9-10 NIV

When my healthcare team prescribed a set of new and intense treatments, I asked many of my friends for special prayer. My body seemed prone to severe side effects whenever I started a new medication regime. But what no one could have foreseen was that not only would I have severe side effects once again, but I would also display severe allergic reactions, and be forced to make an emergency room visit because of those reactions. Even in that place, God was so gracious to preserve and protect me.

But with over 30 medication “failures” under my belt, the questions continued to haunt me, “What is the purpose? Why has God kept asking me to keep going forward? When does too much become TOO MUCH?” 

Instead of giving me an answer, my Lord directed me to remember an old entry and poetry that He had gifted to me several years before. While I may not know the answers, I can see the Lord here in this ground with me. A ground named HOLY, and a ground named FEARSOME, because the Lord of All has given me His presence:

Grounded

grounded
here in this sand
quick sand
it feels

days run
together
when duties
long stilled
echo the halls

changing plans
i follow the
sun
mete out my
moments

seeking a
firmness
wanting a
strength i
lose my clenching

find what was
missing
seek what is
losing
life laid down

LORD of the moment he holds me beneath where ground shifts
i watch him plant seeds in my feet standing ground sand shifting
and life is here blooming watered from well springing up


HOLY GROUND

“’Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’”
Exodus 3:5

and my heart started pounding
when i heard a whisper
calling my ground
holy

What if the very place where the trial looks hardest,
where the ground seems most burnt
is actually the place most holy
in the eyes of the ONE who is changing
my heart?

This poetry came after my husband and I had driven to our favorite prairie park, only to see it desecrated by a recent spring-time “controlled burn.” It certainly was not a pretty sight there. But those controlled, or prescribed burns are so necessary to steward and manage the lands for conservation.  

According to the Wisconsin DNR’s site, “State wildlife officials conduct prescribed burns on public lands throughout Wisconsin in the spring to improve wildlife habitat, control invasive plant species, restore and maintain native plant communities and reduce wildfire potential.”

Did you know that many native grasses and wildflowers develop deep roots that can withstand the high heat of the fires, while the invasive plants are shallow rooted, and give way to the heat?

So, where does that leave my heart when the fires rage inside? Is there a similar growth that might happen after the raging of the fires subside? 

When we revisited our favorite park just a few months later, it was hard to imagine the way that fire birthed life into the worn-out prairie lands. A lush growth of fresh green covered every area that had been burnt over just weeks before.

These burnt-out shifting sand places of our lives become HIS fertile land when we let Him have the final say. 


For those of us who fear the flames, can I offer a prayer?

Dear Lord of the Harvest,

What an Amazing LORD you are! Will you open our eyes to see YOU in the shifting sands and burnt-over ground of our days?

Will you help us to loosen our hold and lift up our fears, to find YOU at work in the fertile soil, the sandy loam of hearts set free? And will you pour the gold of Your Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we would be transformed into YOUR HOLY GROUND.

We bow here, on this very ground, and worship You, our holy and awesome King.

In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 5: Not by Might, Not by Power

Welcome to Day 5 of Part 2‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of gold in the form of poetry and a testimony to God’s perfecting power.

Draw Near


Grief waits upon
No one
It swells
And breaks
My placid perfect
Life awake.

Now spit
And foam
The Promises
Long hid
Come rushing
Crashing
Back to Life.

The longing
From my heart
His Promises
To know
Long hid away
In drawers
Fastened
Shut.

But as the waves
Swell
And break
The drawers
Loose
His Promises
To life.

My body, mind
And soul
In Spirit breath
Awake.

From deep within
The Living Word
Each Promise
Brings
In Holy Spirit breath
To sing.

For in grief's
Wake
My heart
Draws near
Christ's heart
To hear.

This childlike heart
In steadfast love is
Rootèd secure:

That I might
Taste and see
The width
And breadth
And depth
Of Christ.

At the end of 2014, the loss of my Mum weighed so heavily on my heart. Those last few weeks with her were precious beyond measure, as God revealed Himself to me in my and my mother’s weakness, bringing me home to Him through the touch of His Holy Spirit. But helping to bathe, feed and care for her in her last days left its toll on me.

I couldn’t shake the exhaustion felling my body daily, and when a friend sent me an email about God calling her to surrender to His rest, it affirmed what had been on my own heart to do: to hand in my resignation to my employer. In the coming weeks and months, that surrender made room for me to feel, what I had suppressed.

As grief rose up within me, so did the memories of the cancer’s ravaging effects on the body of my mother. Overpowering waves rose up and crashed over me: fear and unbelief shouted loudly at me. But as the enemy waged war for my soul, the Spirit of God arose to defend me. He did so through the Word of God.

I had been reading through the whole New Testament, with a small group from my little Anglican church, leading up to the Lent of 2015. As I read the pure pages of God’s Word, with no interruptions from commentaries or others’ interpretations, the Spirit of God spoke to me personally. He invited me to bring Him my grief and the Promises I couldn’t see Him fulfilling in my own life.

As I did so, He answered my deepest cries. Lifting every accusation against me by the power of His Word, He led my heart to repentance. He showed me that He had never abandoned me, or my Mum. He gave me beautiful visions that affirmed the truth of eternal wholeness and healing, and of His Promise to hold each one of us in His hands, that He might complete what He started in us, to set us before the Father, healed and whole.

Recently, as He brought all of this to remembrance again, I noticed that He was taking me through a similar process all over again. There are many things He has had me lay down in surrender recently, for similar reasons. As I have done so, the true desires of my heart have surfaced, as have deep waves of grief, as God has convicted me in my sin.

I have been waiting on God for something for seven years. But God has been waiting on me to draw ever nearer to Him in this, that He might reveal Himself to me there fully and wholly. Don’t get me wrong, I have taken steps in faith toward this Promise and have seen God honor these steps with beautiful glimpses of His coming fulfillment. But God rightly convicted my heart again recently, as He showed me that I have gradually become satisfied with the status quo.

In my horrid unbelief, I have settled for less, just as I have done in the past. I have placed before God lesser desires to fill the hole in my heart. And God has given me what I asked Him for, only to each time show me that it is not what my heart truly desires. In inviting me to lay each lesser desire back down again, He has been calling to me to bring Him my deepest and truest desires.

As He uncovered this all, He reminded me of those final weeks with my Mum and what moved His heart in compassion. It was not our strength, but our weakness: our realization that we could do absolutely nothing to save each other: me – my Mum from dying physically, my Mum – me and others from dying spiritually and being cut off from God forever.

As our lips were silenced, mine in overwhelming grief that no words could ever describe and my Mum’s, as the cancer took away her ability to communicate, the Holy Spirit spoke in power. For, God poured out His salving balm of peace and His heart healing power in our midst. He brought me, His Prodigal daughter, home and He lifted so many burdens from my Mum, bringing her home to heaven, healed and whole.

I now see how Jesus has been waiting for me to cry out to Him in my weakness, just as my Mum did, that He might bring me into alignment with His Word to me. He has not been ashamed of me in my unbelief, but just as the man whose daughter was dead did in the Bible, He wants me to cry out in Spirit and truth – “LORD I believe, but help my unbelief.”

All along, God has been inviting me to come, just as I am, without one plea, to the foot of the Cross. He has been inviting me to be made holy as He is holy – not in my striving, but by allowing His Holy Spirit to pour out upon me in compassion to do in and through me what I could never ever do in and of myself.

Now, thanks to His persevering mercy, I am bowing my knees afresh before Him in my need, crying out for His mercy to flow. It is this deep, deep gutteral cry for His holiness – the desire that breaks our heart the most, as we recognize our absolute inability to fulfill it – that breaks His heart the most when we fail to lay it before Him, asking Him to fulfill it.

For, Jesus is longing for us to become like little children before Him. He longs for us to believe that when we ask Him for bread, He will not give us stones, but He will give us Himself- our bread of life – the free gift of faith to meet us in our unbelief.

If you recognize yourself in my struggles with unbelief, will you join me in kneeling before our Maker today, that in our weakness, His power might be perfected?

Father, thank You for Your Word that promises us the pure of heart shall see You. Thank You that Your Word to us reminds us that the pure of heart are those whose hearts have been washed in the blood of Your Son, Jesus, to uncover His holiness.

Father, forgive us, where we have clung to the enemy’s accusations above Your holy Word. Forgive us for not bringing you the deepest desires of our heart to be holy as you are holy. Forgive us for not acknowledging our unbelief before you. Forgive us for not believing that You are a good Father who will not give us stones when we cry out for bread.

Thank You that Your Word and our experience of your goodness and mercy in our lives, remind us that it is not by might, not by power, but by Your Spirit that Your Word to us comes to pass.

Father, we do not want our lamps to go out. We long to be prepared for the arrival of the Bridegroom – our LORD and Savior, Jesus. But we acknowledge now that we have allowed our oil to dissipate because we have failed to come to You in our weakness, we have failed to ask You to pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. Forgive us. Today, we seek Your face afresh and beseech You to fill our lamps with the fresh oil of Your Holy Spirit and we ask You to keep turning us toward You that You may continue to fill us, again and again.

Thank You that we shall see the deepest desires of our hearts manifest before us in the unveiling of Jesus in our midst. Thank You that in our weakness, as our knees bow before You to acknowledge our imperfection and our deep desire for Your holy perfection, we shall see Your power pour out upon us.

Thank You that not one Word of Yours shall return void. Thank You that our hearts shall yet rise again, no longer chained to unbelief, but set free in Christ Jesus to arise with fresh faith to see Him- our Promise – come to life before our very eyes.

Thank You for Your tender mercies toward us. Father, today we stretch out our emptied hands and hearts, thanking You for Your pruning hands and inviting You to fill our hands and hearts anew with the fresh, warm manna of Your Word. We believe, Father, but help our unbelief!

In Jesus’ Name, we cry: Amen.

Living water rushes
Strong, crashing
My heart to search
And know
In waves of mercy
The blood of Christ
Still flows.

Before, behind
Beneath, above
My Savior sings
And calls to me:
"Draw near
And I'll draw near
To you."

Each day anew
My burdened heart
Christ draws near
In Word and Spirit
He beckons to me
Come.

It's now I know
In all my waiting
All along it's been
My God
Who's been waiting
On me.

To humble myself
To lay down
Every distraction
To bring Him
Not just a part
But my whole heart
To trust Him
When He says:

I will fight for you
You have only
To be silent
To be still
And know that
I alone am God!
I will be exalted
Among the nations
I will be exalted
In the earth.

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Day 1: Holy Spirit Power

Welcome to Chapter 3‘s Day 1 of Part 2 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a testimony of God’s perfecting power in her weakness and a prayer inviting God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us.

When the LORD began to call me to share the Words and visions I saw with a family I had been praying for, I struggled. What if these were just figments of my imagination? What if they gave them false hope or upset them?

I could hear the enemy breathing down my neck: “God would never call someone like you to intercede for others in prayer. He would never give someone like you these kind of Words and visions.” When I looked at myself, I saw my newness in faith as a recently returned Prodigal, my mental illness diagnosis (CPTSD) and my sinful past and found myself beginning to agree with the enemy.

Then, a leader I deeply respected affirmed the very accusations I was already hearing, when I asked for advice. And so a tug of war ensued. Until finally, I cried out in frustration. I told God enough was enough. Either I was going to zip my lips, or God had better show me that it was indeed He, who had called me to speak His Word into this family’s situation.

Moments later, three separate affirmations arrived. But the most amazing affirmation of all was what unfolded with a stranger, mere minutes after my prayer. I was standing at a train station minding my own business, when a man approached me. He asked to borrow my phone to call his brother to let him know he’d be late. I was frightened by his dishevelled exterior, but didn’t want to be rude, so I offered to call his brother for him and tell him.

After doing so, the man thanked me profusely and suddenly began to share parts of his life story. He started by sharing his full (Hebrew) name and his Christian upbringing. And went on to share of the incredible suffering his parents walked through and their inability to love him as he needed to be loved. He then shared about his struggle to believe and to be freed from his addictions.

I listened intently, praying for God to fill me with the wisdom I lacked. I longed to help this man see how much God still loved him and yearned to comfort and bring healing. It’s then, as we sat together on the train, that the Holy Spirit prompted me to openly share about the trauma I had walked through as a little girl and how God was leading me to a place of healing and forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit also provided a question to ask the man. It is this question that visibly moved the man. He kept repeating it and working through its implications. Suddenly, I saw compassion enter the man’s eyes as he spoke of his parents, rather than the hurt and bitterness that had been there moments earlier. The Lord was so clearly working in his heart.

I sat there beside him on the train, amazed. If it was not for the Lord’s promptings I would never have gone near this man. He stunk of alcohol and his dishevelled appearance both frightened and revolted me. But God was not put off by my fears or judgement. He pressed until I responded in grace and love as He wanted me to.

After this experience I knew. I knew that even in my newly returned Prodigal state, as I struggled through trauma triggers, God was calling me to intercede and speak encouragement into others’ lives. It’s then I knew the Scriptures and visions of Bible stories I was receiving in prayer were gifts from God, not given to hoard, but share.

As I shared what God had given me, it affirmed what this family had already been receiving from the LORD. It brought them such comfort and encouragement through a time of great loss and grief. In the months that followed, as I continued to share with them, God grew me in discernment and wisdom, burning away and shaking off the dross that was not of Him, as He continues to do today, even as I share with you here.

Oh there have still been moments since that day at the train station, that I have turned to hide and dim my light, believing the enemy’s accusations. But my God has been so faithful to return me to Himself and to remind me that His power is perfected in weakness. He has lifted me back out of the mire to set my feet upon the Rock and to shine the light He’s given me, brightly, in the places He has set me apart to make His glory known.

Thank You, Jesus, that You call the foolish of this world to shame the wise. Thank You that You call the weak of this world to confound the strong. Thank You that You call us, Your broken open vessels, to shine Your love brightly into the lives of those around us.

Father God, fill us with Your courage today to shine the light of Your love, where You call us to. Help us to turn away from the lies we hear that condemn us or those You are calling us to love. Help us instead to see Your reflection as we look into the mirror and as we look into the faces of those You have set before us.

Melt away our insecurities and fears in the truth of Your holy love for both us and for those you call us to bless. A love You expressed by pouring out the judgement each one of us deserved upon Your very own Son, so that we could be freed from our sin and shame, to run with joy into Your abundant life. Thank You, Father, for Your incredible sacrificial love, a love like no other.

Forgive us for the moments we have rested in the safe of our insecurities and fears. Help us not to be ashamed of our weakness or fearful in our inadequacies, but to lean into the perfecting power of Your living Word in our weakness instead. Fill us with the faith to believe You at Your Word. To believe that You will perfect Your power in us, precisely in and through our weakness.

As our knees shake and our hearts tremble, thank You that You are the God who presses us forward to do Your holy will. Awaken us in the light of Your loving countenance today. Clothe us in Your holy love, wisdom, strength and grace.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us in power that we may live and move and have our being in You and Your perfect love. Shine the light of Your love in and through us today that we may be a blessing, where You have planted us and where You are sending us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Part 2: Chapter 3 – Gold Perfection

Welcome to Chapter 3 of Part 2. This week we are resting in the free will offering of gold: the perfection of Christ, the Living Word of God. Today, Anna is sharing an introductory post, as she reflects on how God compels us to bring forward this free will offering in Christ, through the shaking and refining fires He sends our way.

At the end of this introduction, you are invited to join Anna and Bettie in prayer. Each day, we will then also add a new free will offering of gold – poems, prayers and testimonies of praise and thanksgiving to our God. May each offering encourage you also to bring forward your own free will offering of pure gold in Christ Jesus.

Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:5

Interestingly, gold, like silver, was given by the Israelites as part of the wave offering:

The total amount of the gold from the wave offering used for all the work on the sanctuary was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. Exodus 38:24 NIV

“A salient point regarding the wave offering: it is lifted up and presented to the Eternal, but then waved back toward the priests and given to them for their use in doing the Eternal’s work.” (Source:  https://talmidimyeshua.org/wavedfirstfruits.htm). Likewise, even the Levites themselves were given to the LORD as a wave offering, being consecrated to Him, before being put to work in the Temple as priests. 

Today, we too, are set apart, or consecrated, unto God as royal priests that we might declare His greatness. 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

If we look at the Hebrew Word for “wave”, we discover it means:

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

offering, shaking, wave offering

From nuwph; a brandishing (in threat); by implication, tumult; specifically, the official undulation of sacrificial offerings — offering, shaking, wave (offering).

see HEBREW nuwph

Source: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/8573.htm

Does it remind you of this Word, like me:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

And this Word:

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:26-29 (ESV)

Have you also noticed that it is through the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our weakness, as we shake and tremble, that God sets us apart to serve Him, as He shakes off all that has no part in Him? Praise God perfect and flawless Jesus -the Word fulfilled at the Cross – chose to perfect His power in human weakness, that He might now, through His Spirit, perfect His power in each one of us.

Have you noticed God’s shaking in your own life recently? Have you found yourself, like me, trembling at His call to you, wondering how someone like you could fulfill such a call? Then, you (and I) are in good company. 

For, have a look at Paul’s words to us from 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (MSG):

“I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.”

What a beautifully humbling and freeing experience for Paul in his weakness, and what a precious reminder to all of us today that our God perfects His power in weakness. As we yield our weakness to Him, Christ’s pure Word arises in us in power. 

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. Psalm 12:6 

Interestingly, the gold the Israelites once brought forward for Solomon’s Temple was used to overlay the clasps, fillets and capitals. These items strengthened the weakest parts of the Temple’s frame and joined the many curtains into one whole curtain. 

Do you see how Christ now literally strengthens and makes us – His Body – whole, perfect and complete in Himself, through the work of the Living and breathing Word in us. He literally overlays and joins us to Himself, the Head, and thereby to each other also, through each shaking and refining fire.

For, now, through Jesus, our spirit is united to the Spirit of our God, so that at the sound of His Word our hearts hearken to obey Him:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV)

It’s then, as we put out our nets afresh at the Voice of Jesus, just like Peter did, after a long tiring night of battling in his own flesh, that we discover that our Jesus – the Word made flesh – always knows best. For the Word’s timing, instruction and love for us is perfect and flawless.

It’s right there, as we watch Christ’s power being perfected in our weakness that we also come to know our Jesus and His love for us and His Body, more and more intimately.

No! We “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but [we] have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:15-17 (ESV)

No, in our muck and mire of self, praise God we have the power of the Spirit of God breathing in life and power into us:

Do you see how our Abba Father is answering the prayer His Son, Jesus, prayed, right before He gave His life at the Cross for us? Through His Spirit, He is now laboring to make us One, not in and through our own perfection or strength, but in His perfecting power in our weakness and imperfection. He is sanctifying us and unifying us in the gold of His Word (John 12: 17 – 23, ESV):

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

As we prepare to share our free will offerings of gold with you in the coming week, we invite you also to join us in laying the Promises of our God before the feet of Jesus in our weakness. May He write His flawless Word upon our hearts and perfect His power in our every weakness. May He bind us – His Body – together in love as we come to know Him more and more intimately, through every shaking and purifying fire sent our way. 

Will you join Bettie and I in prayer?

Dear Holy Father,      

Only you are pure and perfect! You are altogether lovely, with no blemish found in You! Oh that our hearts would worship you in the splendor of Your Holiness! And yet, You would come to us, weak and lowly, and offer to make us Holy, even as You are Holy.  

We await the day when we will be fully perfected with You in Your city of pure gold.  We offer our hearts to you now, in the Name and Beauty of Your Son Jesus.

May our hearts be open to receive your gift of perfection through your own Blameless, Dear Son. Stir our hearts, through Your shaking and refining fires, that we might invite You to make Your perfect home in us, now. Thank You for Your shaking and Your refining fires that are removing the dross in us, to reveal and lift up the pure gold of Your Living Word, Jesus, in and through us.

We await the day when we will be fully perfected with You in Your city of pure gold.  We offer our hearts to you now, in the Name and Beauty of Your Son Jesus.

 Amen

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. Revelation 21:8 

The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. Revelation 21:21

Day 1: Holy Spirit Power

Day 2: Heaven’s Glory

Day 3: The Joy and Peace in the Gold

Day 4: The Hands That Were Pierced

Day 5: Not By Might, Not By Power

Day 6: Holy Fear

Day 7: Sea of Holy Fire

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