Day 11: A Garden of Grace

A tree around the corner from our family’s favorite ice cream café, where our girls love to gather with friends to play. There are always new gifts awaiting us there.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins;

they will restore the former devastations;

they will renew the ruined cities,

the devastations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:4 HCSB

Today, I bless our souls to rest in God alone, to remember that our hope comes from Him alone. I bless our hearts to know that He alone is our rock and our salvation, our stronghold; and that we will not be shaken. I bless us to remember and take to heart that our salvation and glory depend on God, who is our strong rock. I bless us to know our refuge is in Him. I bless us to trust in Him at all times, as a people; to pour out our hearts before Him, to seek and know Him as our refuge and peace in every stormy gale.

I bless us to keep silent, even as we face attack, to wait upon our God, knowing that as we do so, the LORD will fight for us. I bless us to surrender our right to be vindicated, to trust in the LORD’s vindication, in His appointed Way and timing. I bless us with the knowledge that everything that is now hidden, will one day be revealed by God.

I bless us to wait silently for the salvation of our God, knowing that His grace is sufficient for us. I bless us to know that the messenger of Satan that is sent to torment us in the flesh is God’s Way of keeping us from becoming conceited. I bless us to rejoice in our afflictions, knowing they are producing for us an eternal weight of glory.

I bless us to remember and deep down know that God’s power is perfected in weakness. I bless us to boast in our weakness, so that God’s power might rest upon us and be revealed to all in our midst, that they might know it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us.

I choose
You, my Joy
And my Delight.
It’s at Your feet, I rest
A garden closed 
A spring yet locked 
A fountain sealed.
Living streams 
Within me flow
Gurgling strong 
I wait.
I know You here 
Even as the shame
And pain each beckon, call
I hear Your Voice here still.
Your cloud upon me rests
I know My Father’s Voice 
And hear
You call.
It’s as the ark
Before me moves 
Rise up, oh Lord 
I hear them cry!
May Your enemies
Be scattered!
May Your foes 
Flee before You!
Awake, North Wind!
And come, O South Wind!
Blow upon my garden here
Let its spices flow.
I have waited
For only You
My heart has yearned
Your call to hear.
Crashing as the waves
I hear the rushing wind
Breathe in storms
My soul You stirr awake.
It’s there the waters
And the rivers rise
And yet 
You’re with me here.
They shall not sweep me up
I shall not be moved
For the word of my testimony  
And the blood of the Lamb upon me lies.
None can deliver 
Snatch from Your hand
For when You act
Who can reverse Your mighty plan?
Oh yes the waves have come
As spring and fountain break within
But only healing rain
Comes gushing strong.
For You are He who gives
Rain for seed You sow
Rich and plenteous
Shall here the harvest be.
For it’s here my cries release
And my Father hears
And answers me
My tears in rivers sow.
For here upon this Holy ground
Upon the tear-stained earth 
My Redeemer 
His foundation lays.
Each Word He speaks
In truth fulfills:
“Let it be rebuilt 
Its foundations laid.
“For I am He
Who blots out every sin
Come let us review your past 
Let us argue together.
“Holy Spirit sealed
Woven in your mother’s womb
You’re called and chosen
Appointed, Mine.
“In sheaves of joy
You shall here return
Your eyes upon Me fixed 
And hands in worship raised.
“Behold your deserts
My Eden have become
Your wastelands
 The Garden of Your LORD.”

Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,

and foreigners will be your plowmen and vinedressers.

But you will be called the Lord’s priests;

they will speak of you as ministers of our God;

you will eat the wealth of the nations,

and you will boast in their riches.

Because your shame was double,

and they cried out, “Disgrace is their portion,”

therefore, they will possess double in their land,

and eternal joy will be theirs […]

For as the earth produces its growth,

and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,

so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise

to spring up before all the nations

Isaiah 61:5-7, 11 HCSB

Chapter 2- Day 1: Turn Toward

Welcome to Day 1 of Chapter 2 of Arise & Shine.

More than anything
It cuts and maims
And holds me bound

In pouring out
This one little heart
Giving my all
In love and grace and trust

To then be met
By slicing silence
Is too much for
This yearning heart to bear

Do you, like me, know this slicing pain? Is there a relationship, a community, a work situation, maybe job applications where you have been (repeatedly) met by closed doors or silence? Do you feel a fence being put up to keep you out?

What if this is God inviting us to come inside of His fence? What if this is His hemming in to draw us deeper into His heart for us? A heart that never, ever shuts us out, but only ever invites us to come in to break bread with Him.

Father God, we come before You today, bringing all the situations before You, where we have been met by closed doors and silence. We confess that these silences have hurt our hearts, deeply.

Forgive us, where we have hid this hurt from You and tried to keep going in our own strength and understanding. Oh LORD thank You that You even understand that.

Jesus, thank You that You, like no other, know trauma and pain. Thank You for carrying our trauma and pain on that Cross, to lift its heavy weight off of our shoulders. Oh how we need You to do so.

Father, You know that we struggle to be still. We struggle to trust, because our trust has been broken by man so deeply, even though we know You are not like man.

We know that in our minds, but not in our hearts and our bodies. Father, we invite You to unite our minds, our bodies and our hearts in You and Your wholeness.

Help us to release our tight grip on anything that is harming us. Open our palms to receive Your Word, not of rejection but of welcome here. We are so hungry for Your fresh warm bread. Make us like that little weaned child who trusts You. Teach us to quiet and calm ourself before You.

Uncover and help us to bring forward the free will offering and longings of Your heart here. Clothe us in Your pure white linen of holiness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

LORD, take this emptied heart
And pour in Your fullness
Return me to my first Love
To You.

When accusing tongues
Speak shame and press me far away
Where I begin to question
Who I am

Help me to know
Not just in my head
But fully & wholly, who I am
In you.

Hold me, each and every broken piece
Safe, in Your whole hands
And place me where You
Would have me be

Be my strength, when I have none
My courage, where lies speak loud
My thoughts, my words and deeds.

That I may

Turn toward
And not away
From Your heart
Beating here.