Part 2: Chapter 2 – Day 3: A New Heart

Welcome to Chapter 2‘s Day 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward a free will offering forged in the fires of affliction, as Jesus arose to defend His dwelling place with His judgment in mercy.

My Prodigal wandering began, when I began to believe that my God could indeed not have chosen someone like me: someone too young, too sinful, too needy and too broken. I agreed with the enemy’s twisting of Scripture and began to read God’s precious Word, no longer as an invitation to know my Jesus and His mercy more and more, but as evidence that I was doomed for hell.

So one day, when I had committed a sin I abhorred and was deeply ashamed of, I was certain that this was it. That now all I could do was bide my time till God did away with me completely.

Outwardly not much changed. I still attended church. I still played the good girl. But inside my spirit was crushed and my heart aching to be known by God.

Years later, on the day we buried my Mum, I learnt that she had noticed the change in me all those years earlier. My Mum was heartbroken by how her once exuberant and confident girl had retreated into herself. All those years ago when I felt so abandoned in my sin, my Mum began praying with her best friend for God to give me my confidence back.

Now all these years later, her prayers are being answered. For, my Savior is stripping away my confidence in myself and man that stole, killed and destroyed so much in my life. He is now rebuilding my confidence in Him alone.

What I didn’t know, as I sung this beautiful song as a teenager, with tears streaming:

and with such a deep longing for Jesus to rescue me, is that He was in fact already kneeling down to take me into His arms and carry me home, so close to His heart. He had heard my cry.

And now, I can hear and feel that new heart of His beating inside of me.

All these years later, as I sat singing that same song again, now with tears streaming in deep thankfulness to my God, I noticed something about the lyrics I hadn’t before:

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands … Nothing compares to the Promise I have in you.

I realized that I am the work of my God’s hands and that the very Promise of salvation was beating inside of me even then, all those years ago. For, though my sins of reading pornographic literature and masturbation were grave, my God’s mercy was so much more. While Satan convinced me that my God had now turned away from me for good, I now know my God’s heart was not hardened toward me, as mine was toward Him. No! His heart broke in compassion for His hurting child.

Jesus saw deep into my heart. Just as He did for King David in his sin, He caught my every tear in His bottle – even though those very tears were caused by my sin – and He turned what the enemy meant for evil into good. For, through my Prodigal journey, Jesus answered the deepest longings of my heart that I never realized He had heard me whisper as a little eleven year old.

And what were those longings? Those longings of His heart in me were to truly know His grace, the very meaning of my name Anna, the name my mother was led to give me from the womb:

The final birthday card my Mum penned with her shaking hands, less than two months before she went to be with Jesus, overcoming the evil of brain cancer with the blood of Jesus and her word of testimony.

Yes! In our prodigal wandering our God bottles our every tear. I now know that long before I began to run, He began praying for me. Just as He did for Peter, He interceded for me before His Father that my faith would not fail, and so that when I returned to Him after denying His Name, I could strengthen my brethren with my testimony to His glory and grace.

Just look at the life of Saul turned Paul and you will be reminded of what our God’s mercy is capable of. Oh may that mercy flow richly through us to anoint others to be saved, just as it did through Stephen as he was stoned to death at the direction of the very one whom he poured out God’s mercy upon.

May the persecution and affliction we walk through at the hands of our enemy only testify to the judgment our Savior bore for us that we might now declare not a judgment of condemnation against ourselves or others but a judgment of mercy.

For, God’s judgment toward us is not one of wrath because His wrath has already been satisfied at the Cross:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:13-15 (ESV)

Our God’s judgment toward us is one of mercy because He is a God who keeps His covenant to a thousand generations for those who love Him. Because when we are faithless, He remains faithful because He cannot disown Himself in us. Because our God always finishes what He has begun. And because our God has set eternity in the heart of man to make all things beautiful in His time.

Many years later, I again walked through vicious attacks from the enemy, just as I had as a little girl. But this time, as I stepped out in faith and obedience to my Savior’s call and my own heart failed me, I cried out to Jesus for His heart. And He answered me:

A New Heart

Who you are
Is not all that
You couldn't ever be
It never was
And never ever once
Will be.

Who you are is written
On the palm of My own
True hand
The hand that shaped
And formed you.

Fearfully and wonderfully
Have I made your frame
To hold the very Heart
That bled and died and rose again
To beat within your very own.

I ask not that you hold so tight
I ask not that you strive
I ask not that you try so very hard
To be what beats within you even now.

All I ask is that you
Come
Sit at My feet
Pour all out
That hides behind
That wall of shame.

Cast it out, that it may die
Death to all that holds you
Captive, even now
Not to who you are
But to who those lying tongues
Would have you be.

Rise and shine instead
In all My Light of Grace
That beckons from behind
That wall
No more.

Into My loving arms that wait
To each beat of flowing truth
That girds you now in who
You truly are in Me
Forgiven, held and pure
That’s who You are in Me
And evermore will be.

As I laid each accusation of condemnation before Him, He declared His judgment against me as annulled at the Cross. He asked me to hear and heed the new heart beating inside of me. And that heart declared me:

Forgiven, held and pure
That’s who You are in Me
And evermore will be.

And so, I clasped His hand to depart the old I once believed to be true to enter the new with Him. Now, my faith is no longer in myself or others. It’s in Christ and Christ alone. I now come boldly before the throne of grace in my time of need. I confess my sins freely before God and man. I now lift up my soul to Jesus because I trust Him to save me, moment by moment.

Now, I know that it is precisely my broken heart and crushed spirit that compells my precious Jesus to draw near to me to save me. And so, I cry out to Him, who hears my every cry and bottles my every tear:

Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
    or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
For thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
    and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
    and I will save your children. Isaiah 49:24-25 (ESV)

He heard my mother’s pleas. He saved her child and He’s still doing so daily, as this child of His heart is now learning to lean all her weight upon Him. Praise Him for HIS gracious Words to us. For, they are indeed like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.

Worthy is HE alone of all honor, glory and praise:

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. 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 our bodies to Him, inviting Him to reveal His redemption in us and through us, that He has already purchased by His blood. We are daily inviting Him to help us see, know and experience with our bodies the reality that Jesus has already bought us back, fully and wholly.

Praise God, 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 into threads of grace woven into God’s great masterpiece: living evidence of Christ’s great love and compassion for us and His saving and redemption of our lives – and others’ – for His glory.

Peter’s heartbreaking denials of Jesus now declare the power of the Cross: salvation and redemption in Jesus’ Name. 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 and extend to those hurting us or even persecuting us. It also reminds us of the power of the Cross to open our own and others’ blinded eyes to see and to give us a new name and identity in Christ Jesus.

Do you also see how the shedding of the old is what brings about new birth? When I longed to taste the peace my Mum did when she lay dying, I went home to the Netherlands after burying her in New Zealand, looking for books about grace. It was the testimonies of others that broke my heart open. I just sat there crying and crying and crying at how deeply God loved me and suddenly realizing absolutely nothing could ever separate me from that love because Jesus died to give me Himself eternally.

I saw my Jesus standing right there with me – stretching out His hand of grace and compassion to me – and that He always had been. I wasn’t irredeemable and evil and lost forever, as I once thought. For my life – and yours too – was purchased by the blood of the pure and spotless lamb: not so we could bow down in shame and condemnation but rise, clothed in the holiness of our Savior.

Our Jesus, who died to shed abroad His love into our hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit that He might awaken His new heart of flesh in us. For don’t we know it: eternity is hidden in the heart of man not to remain sleeping, but to WAKE UP in and to its Maker’s breath.

It fits so beautifully with what God spoke to me as I asked Him for a fresh word yesterday. He gave me the word: organic. And beautifully He then gave me a visual depiction of it in the afternoon, as I sat in our garden and He showed me a plant that needed to shed the old to make room for and give more light to the life sprouting in it. And then He showed me how organic soil is the good soil, the living and active soil that gives life to trees and plants and flowers. And what is the vital ingredient of organic soil? Waste material like dead leaves and excrement.

So, the old that is shed from us not only makes room for and gives light to the new, helping it to grow strong, it transforms the soil around us into the birthing ground of new flourishing trees, plants and flowers. For, when we boast in our weakness, confess our sins freely and delight in God’s grace and compassion and love for us, we speak life into the souls around us, who are so longing to experience what we are and suddenly realize they can! They realize that just like us they have to do nothing to earn God’s outstretched arms, but that God delights in them and so longs for them to come. That He’s been waiting for and watching for and longing for them to come home to Him.

And now just look at the synonyms and antonyms of organic according to the Merriam Webster:

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for organic

basic, central, fundamental, key, all-important, critical, essential, imperative, indispensable, integral, must-have, necessary, necessitous, needed, needful, required, requisite, vital, consequential, crucial, important, major, material, meaningful, momentous, significant, substantial, weighty, insistent, persistent, pressing, urgent, prerequisite, compulsory, mandatory, nonelective, obligatory

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for organic

dispensable, inessential, needless, nonessential, unessential, unnecessary, unneeded, inconsequential, insignificant, unimportant, excess, external, extra, extraneous, superfluous, surplus, undesired, unwanted

Good soil is organic. Good soil is the fruit of Jesus. Good soil is born and sustained in the repentance Christ prompts through the Holy Spirit at work in us. The Holy Spirit breathing good soil of Jesus tells us our lives are:

basic, central, fundamental, key, all-important, critical, essential, imperative, indispensable, integral, must-have, necessary, necessitous, needed, needful, required, requisite, vital, consequential, crucial, important, major, material, meaningful, momentous, significant, substantial, weighty, insistent, persistent, pressing, urgent, prerequisite, compulsory, mandatory, nonelective, obligatory

Soil without the life-giving gift of Jesus – His Holy Spirit touch – will keep us in bondage to the enemy’s accusations that we are:

dispensable, inessential, needless, nonessential, unessential, unnecessary, unneeded, inconsequential, insignificant, unimportant, excess, external, extra, extraneous, superfluous, surplus, undesired, unwanted

But praise God He has opened up the prison doors for us through His blood and He’s declaring our redemption from sin and death and breathing it into us through the living testimony of His Body in our Bibles and all around us. All we do is open our arms to receive that free and unmerited gift: “yes, Jesus I give you myself, my body and heart and mind and soul, fully and wholly. I surrender my life into your loving hands and good gardening. Come breathe Your life into me today and every day afresh. Come have Your Way in me.”

In what ways has Jesus helped you to see and experience the truth of your buying back? Would you like to join Bettie and I today in bringing forward your body as a free will offering of silver? Come, let’s invite Him to show us afresh, in a palpable and intimate way, that we are indeed fully redeemed from a life of sin and born again into His holiness and purity.

Dear Great and Glorious Lord, 

We come before You longing to see and experience by faith the redemption You have purchased for us at the Cross unfolding in us. Thank You for making us holy as You are holy. Thank You that we are clean because we have heard Your Word. Thank You that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus and that the old has gone and the new is here.

Lord will you daily cleanse us from our old way of thinking and seeing? Will you continue to lift away our fleshly striving to rest us in Your redemption, as You empower us by Your Spirit to abide in Your living Word to us

You, our God, have purchased salvation for us with the precious blood of your own Son.  Thank You for Your gift of new life flooding into our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Awaken Your delight in us and our delight in You. Continually remind us to bring our bodies forward to you as free will offerings of silver, that moment by moment You might reveal the beauty and honor and power of Your new life and holiness within us.

We invite you to show us daily that You have indeed redeemed us from our old sinful way of living. We invite You to change our minds: to lead us to repentance, moment by moment returning and resting us in Your Word to us.

And as You compel us to 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 an intimate knowing of 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