Day 6: Sovereign

Egmond aan Zee 17 July, 2020, a beach my Mum also walked upon with my Dad, before going to be with Jesus. This sunset was God’s balm of peace to my broken and weary heart, filling me with fresh hope and rejoicing, as the song
Your Glory is So Beautiful by All Sons and Daughters began playing in my ears.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 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. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV

I bless us to deep down know that our true life is hidden with Christ in God. I bless us to see how we have lost and are losing our life for Jesus to find it. I bless us to see how we have lost and are losing the world’s affections, are being emptied of all our fleshly desires and are rising up in the affections and pure delight of our God alone.

I bless us to see how we have followed and are following in the footsteps of our Savior by making ourselves nothing in taking the very nature of a servant. I bless us to see how His humility has grown and is growing in us, and how He has and still is compelling us to humble ourselves, even unto death, for the joy set before us: salvation and deliverance in Jesus’ Name not just for us, but many many more. I bless all our places of deep loss, pain and anguish to overflow with the hope of glory and the joy of our LORD Jesus Christ.

I bless us to daily experience afresh the truth that Christ Jesus dwells inside of us in all His fullness. I bless us to deep down know that we have been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. I bless us to acknowledge God in all our ways, to recognize, embrace and intimately know and discern His presence in our thoughts, our feelings and our actions, and in His sovereign directing of our paths. I bless us to know that though we may make our plans, it is ultimately God who determines our steps.

I bless us to embody the truth that the life we now live in these earthly bodies, we live by faith, not in ourselves, but in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. I bless us to rest in the beautiful and freeing truth that Christ Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.

Gather, You tell me
Gather, my broken dreams?
Gather, my heart broke in two?
Gather, all I've poured and emptied out?
Gather, here my broken self?

What do I gather?
When all I have is broken
Shattered?
Mara, she said to call her
Mara is the word I'd choose
A bitter hand dealt.

Gather, You tell me
Gather, Your tears here for me wept?
Gather, Your heart here broke for me?
Gather, all You've poured and emptied?
Gather, Word made flesh?

It's then I see You
There beside me strong
Hand in mine
Walking to the Cross

Your Body broken
Shame and mocking
On You laid
Pierced and bled in pain
In the tomb You lay.

Till Your heavens
Darkness rent
Curtain raised,
Now in two
I hear You rip.

Christ, You raise
My broken life
In the breaking
Of Your Body
From the tomb
New life unwrap.

Your songs releasing
Now my human soul
Awakening
Your Living Word
Declaring me
Whole.

Embraced in love
Steeled in truth
Sent in Grace's
Own true Breath
Into Your world
That's yearning
For You:

I AM mercy's hands
And mercy's feet.

Broken,
You make beautiful
Dark,
You shine my night to Light
Tears,
You cup and pour to Joy aflame
Fear,
You still in Perfect Peace
My feet,
On righteous path
You tread
Sure and steadfast
Held.

Gather, You tell me.
YES I shall gather
These tears You wept
This heart You broke
All You've poured
And emptied out of me
Your jar of clay
I shall now receive:

The Word
Made flesh.

Garden of My Lord
Enclosed and sealed
For a time such as this
Your spring has broken
Your fountains I hear
Crashing, pouring.

For, Your love and mercy
You've gathered
Now to rush and pour
Into Your waiting world
Through jars of clay

Sovereign

For Your own delight
In all.

For, wondrous
Are Your works
My soul knows it
Very well.

Praise You, Jesus!

Today, I would also love to bless you with a prophetic Word God spoke to my own heart recently that I pray speaks to and encourages you, His Holy Temple, too:

Slow to lean in and listen. Don’t be afraid of the silence: seek it and delight in it. I haven’t come to condemn you or to rush you through it, but to savor your presence with Me and to share My secrets with you: to make you laugh and cry and sing with joy. I have come to give you life and life abundant. I am not like man that I should lie to you.

Feel the earth beneath your feet, the leaves crunching, the wind brushing your face, the new day’s light gently resting upon your face and awakening you to my touch. Hear your pure white dress swooshing, your heart beating in unison with Mine.

Feel safe with Me, as you walk into each page of My choosing for you: knowing each moment, even the hard ones I gift you, are good and true and breathing life and love into you, as I lift off each heavy weight of this world to make that hard moment one of delight and rejoicing.

See and feel the golden chord of hope resting upon each page of your story and heart, as with each page I turn, I reveal more of My heart and story to you. I have got you covered by my mercy, sweet child of mine.

This is a new season of unfolding now with ease. Feel my hand rest upon your head and my smile of pride rest upon you, the work of my hands. I am well pleased with you, my daughter. I am drawing you away with me again because I like being with you. I like hearing your voice. I love it when you feel safe enough with me to share the tiniest of shifts in your heart with me.

I love it that you are editing posts with joy in the growth I have brought. I love it you are no longer ashamed of what you didn’t see or worried you might have pushed people in the wrong direction. I love it that you are rejoicing in My discipline of and My grace for you and others.

I love it that you are learning not to rush through into what you see needs doing. I love it that you are beginning to embrace my quiet promptings to wait and slow and let Me move you into deeds of love flowing from my heart in you and for you, as I transform your “I must do” into “I get to” and “Oh how I love to”.

I love it that you are releasing yourself and others into My sovereign care and completion, believing that I have already righted all wrongs and healed all hearts, including your own. I love it that You are inviting me into your struggles and letting me untangle the mess and reveal My blessed heart beating inside of you, over and over again. I love it that you are Velveteen-rabbit-real with me, just as I am with you too.

Remember that vision with your Mama in the forest, how she turned around to smile at you but then turned back to run after Me? Remember how I showed you how happy she was with me, now walking with me on the beach, her happy place, hand in hand with Me? I am taking you there too, precious one. Do you see how you too are glancing back to invite others in, but then turning toward me to go after me with your whole heart? I delight in Your delight in Me.

Part 3: Chapter 3 – Day 2: Blossoms of Peace in His Time

Welcome to Day 2 of Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering in a testimony to the blossoming staff of Christ’s holiness that leads and comforts us through the valley of the shadow of death, shedding the old for the new.

Interestingly, sifting seed involves blowing it up into the air to remove the head (also called chaff) and to have it immediately drop to the ground. And this isn’t a one-time process. As I began to look more closely at this process and the prophecy Jesus spoke over Peter of allowing Satan to sift – or winnow – him like wheat, I began to see the hidden blessing Jesus wanted me to uncover in my own experiences of being sifted like wheat.

Just like with Simon Peter, my God saw that my greatest weakness is the fear of man. It is my desire for the affirmation of those in authority over me. Repeatedly, I chose to place myself or keep myself under the authority of those I knew did not have my or others’ best interests at heart – just as Peter did in sitting with the religious leaders he knew were denying the finished work of the Cross upon Christ’s restoration of him. 

Crazily, just like Peter did, I did my utmost best to be seen, loved and approved of by those in positions of authority over me. In doing so, I hid the light of Jesus in me to become acceptable to them. For, I saw how afraid of the light of Jesus in me they were. I saw how threatened they felt by the pure truth and grace of Jesus shining in me. 

I now understand, as Jesus always did, that I desired to fill the gaping hole in my heart that my parents’ rejection of His Word upon my lips as a little girl had left. He knew exactly what I was seeking and why. And He knew that that gaping hole – He had purposely dug out and exposed – could only ever be filled by a deeper love, not just for my parents, but for all. For, through those who set me apart, He was opening the eyes of my heart to recognize Him and love Him in every human heart. To show me eternity is hidden in each one of our hearts and that we just need His heart to till, grow, stretch and increase our desire to love each other, as He loves us.

So, the Holy Spirit purposely lifted me up into visible positions before those in authority over me, to then humble me in their presence. He walked me through situations He knew would compel me to speak up in their midst and to shine the light of truth and grace He had given me to shine brightly. 

He purposely walked me through triggers of trauma, as these men and women, just like my parents had, rejected the truth pouring forth from my heart and lips. As I battled the fleshly desires to fight (defend myself) and to flee (deny the truth), He compelled me to repeatedly confess my weakness and sin before them. 

He removed more and more of the chaff of self hiding His beauty in me. He pressed my knees to the ground, leading me to die to myself and to sow unto the Spirit, revealing the treasure hiding inside of me. As John 12:24 (KJV) puts it:

Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Now, I know that the seed in us is JESUS. It is He, who bowed low on the ground for us in Gethsemane, to drink the cup to take upon Him our sin and affliction, and to die on that Cross to save us. The chaff is our old self. But as Christ humbles us, yielding us to the Father’s will through HIS sacrifice, He cracks open our hardened hearts to lift off the old us (the chaff) to reveal Himself in us (the seed). He leads us to take up our Cross and follow Him.

It was my Jesus who repeatedly turned me toward Himself for help through all the triggers. And as I then drew boldly before the throne of grace in my time of dire need, in His precious prompting and emboldening, I received my Heavenly Papa’s outpouring of reassurance, love and affection for me like I never had before. My Papa began to uncover and fill that deep hole inside of me with more and more of Himself. 

And in that filling, my knees also bowed in prayer for those who were rejecting Jesus in me. The oil of mercy my God had shown me in my own weakness and sin became the mercy I could now bestow upon them in prayer from afar. As Jesus opened my clenched hands to release them into His safe and loving care, He showed me that bathed in His love and approval, I no longer need their love and approval.

And then, He set me where He desired for me to be to flourish and bloom: surrounded by those who have been affirming His purity in me and are so hungry and thirsty for His Word that is now pouring forth from my heart and lips more and more, as He continues to grow me in His confidence and teach me how to return and rest in His loving arms.

Hidden in the darkness of my heart of sin and rebellion always lay that dormant seed of Jesus waiting to be revealed. Praise God, darkness is as light to our mighty God. For there is no darkness in Him, only light. And so now, faithful to His Word, He is revealing that beautiful light of His Presence in me. For, now I know like never before that I AM my Papa’s treasure and He is mine. 

For, I am the apple of His eye and He is mine. Yes, I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.

Now, like Peter, I know that everything changed at the foot of the Cross for me:

Come let’s celebrate Jesus and behold Him face to face!

As you read this testimony and listened to the song above, what truth has Jesus been bringing home to your own heart? What precious conviction do you feel Him taking deeper in you? When you look full in His wonderful face what do you hear Him speaking over you?

Before we soak in today’s Scripture together, will you join me in acknowledging and thanking God for the beauty of His Son hidden in us?

Papa, thank You for giving us Your Son, for hiding eternity in our human hearts that You might reveal more and more of who You are to us, through each otherForgive us for all the times we have hidden or rejected who You are in us and others.

As we gather to rest in Your Word here, will You open our eyes to see You, our ears to hear You and our hearts to know You in a new and fresh Way? Oh how we thank You and praise You for who You are in us. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 1 – 18 (ESV)