To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3, AMP
In Isaiah 61:3 a great exchange occurs. God gives us His beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of morning, the garment of praise instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit. Friend, I don’t know what you have been through in your life, but I do know that Jesus gave His life for you on the Cross. He exchanged your sin, sickness, and every curse and nailed it to the Cross in exchange for His mercy, healing, grace and salvation. One day while reading Isaiah 61, I was led to write down all that God had exchanged in my life and I pray that it will bring encouragement to you today.
I know what it’s like:
To be abused, but I also know what it’s like to forgive my abuser and to be set free
To have thoughts of killing myself, but I also know what it’s like to carry the life of my daughter inside my womb.
To be full of fear to the point of rocking back and forth with my Bible in hand just to make it through the night, but I also know what its like to see God’s angels moving on my behalf.
To feel alone in this world, but I also know what it’s like to have the honor of Jesus being my EVERYTHING
To live in depression and despair, but I also know what it’s like to be pulled out of the pit for God’s glory.
To worry to the point of almost losing my mind, but I also know what it’s like to be renewed in my mind through God’s Word.
To barely get out of bed, but I also know what it’s like to experience God’s joy that comes in the morning.
To wonder if my dreams will ever come to pass, but I also know what it’s like to have faith that God never withholds anything good for me but He only sets me up to be blessed.
To be diagnosed with liver-failure and need a liver transplant, but I also know what its like to have Jesus miraculously heal me.
To only have oatmeal in my pantry to eat for dinner, but I also know what it’s like to see God provide all of my needs through the body of Christ.
To run for my life to an abuse shelter, but I also know what it’s like to have God make purpose out of my pain and know that my best days are ahead of me.
To be told that I am stupid and invaluable, but I also know what to read in the Bible that Jesus died on the Cross-for me and that I am the apple of His eye.
My question for you today is: What do you need to exchange?
It is my prayer that we will embrace the Great Exchange this Easter Season.
Listen, O’ daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The King (God) is enthralled by your beauty; Honor Him for He is your Lord.” Psalm 45:10-11, NIV
Why is it that we dwell on the negative things said about us more than the positive? Maybe this is not a struggle for you, but I think most of us tend to FORGET the uplifting words spoken over us and meditate on the destructive ones. BUT NOT ANYMORE! God clearly states above that we are to FORGET what people and even our own family may have said about us! God declares that He is enthralled with your beauty and that we honor Him by choosing to think and meditate on what He says about us.
We give “honor” to people by allowing their opinion of us to influence the way we feel about ourselves. The problem is that we often “honor” the wrong people. What would your life be like if you only thought about what God says about you? (Selah – pause and think about that).
Today God gives you something better than roses or candy – He gives you His love and attention. Let’s answer, “yes” to God’s invitation to “Be Mine” this Valentines Day. Choose to honor God by meditating on the fact that He is enthralled with your beauty and deeply in love with you!
“Lord, forgive me for honoring the wrong people in my life. I choose to honor You by meditating on what You say about me. I desire to give You my heart today. I will “be Yours” forever. I ask that you remove from my memory hurtful words spoken over me. I believe that You are enthralled with my beauty today. Thank you for being the best valentine any woman could ever have.” Amen.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11
We serve an awesome God and please know that whatever comes your way, when you call on the Name of Jesus, every knee must bow and every tongue must confess that He is Lord. The article below is a glimpse of some women who knew their authority in Christ. And may we also be the kind of woman that when our feet hit the floor each morning the devils shouts, “Oh no! She’s up!” Be encouraged today. Keep calm and walk with Jesus each day.
Florida women frighten off intruder by chanting ‘Jesus’
But what Lee didn’t know was that he was outgunned by the jewelry party attendees – at least spiritually speaking.
“When I realized what was going on, I stood up and said, ‘In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now,’” Hagler told WJXT-TV. And he said, ‘I’m going to shoot someone.’ And I said it again, real boldly,” Hagler continued. “Everybody started chanting, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,’ and he did a quick scan of the room, and ran out the door as fast as he could go.”
I believe he saw angels,” Hagler said in a separate interview with the Christian Post. “I think he saw who was on our side, and he just turned around. The look on his face was just, like, astonishment. He was totally captivated by whatever he saw. He just turned around and ran out the door.”
Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the GLORY of the Lord has risen upon you! (Isaiah 60:1)
The sun shall no more be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you, but the Lord shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your GLORY and your BEAUTY. (Isaiah 60:19)
To my utter delight, I awoke early from slumber last week and tip toed to the kitchen while my precious ones were still asleep. I giggled with joy as I put a Starbucks capsule into the Kerig machine and pushed “brew.” Then with my coffee in hand, I found my favorite spot and pulled the Word of God close. This was a rare treat from heaven and I knew that God had ordained this time for us.
Time with God – my glory, my beauty.
With every sip of caffine and bite of God’s word, I began to feel invigorated and ready to ponder the New Year. You see, with the state of our country and my own personal brokeness within 2012, I was somewhat apprehensive of the New Year. But then I found Isaiah 60 and just as the clouds are lifted due to a change of atmosphere, my concerns quickly floated away as God’s presence filled the room.
Embracing God – my glory, my beauty.
God began to show me that even with present darkness – there will be an unleashing within God’s people as we embrace Him as our glory and our beauty in 2013.
Instead of grief, there will be His Glory
Instead of despair, there will be His Joy
Instead of defeat, there will be His Victory
Instead of shame, there will be His Honor
Instead of ashes, there will be His Beauty
Instead of devastation, there will be His Restoration
Instead of retreat, there will be His Rising
God – your glory, your beauty.
Glory – “everything that makes God beautiful and great, it is a bright light from God.”
Beauty- “qualities that delight the eye, ear, mind or heart, loveliness, elegance, a particular grace.”
Hence, the closer we live to the Lord, our outward appearance will be transformed and become more glorious and beautiful.
2013 is the year to arise and shine and to be radiant in the Lord. It is not a matter of how we feel, it is a matter of allowing God to be our glory and our beauty. No longer will the sun or moon be our light, but the Lord will be unto us an everlasting light. May His glory and beauty shine through us as never before. And remember – do not allow this world to darken your spirit for this is the year to rise up and shine as never before.
2013 – God’s year of Glory and Beauty.
Happy New Year!
PS: For all my Atlanta peeps – I am doing a series in January & February at Cumberland Community Church. Let me know if you can attend. Blessings!
“What I am trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.” -Matthew 6:32, Message Translation
Have you ever received a gift so beautifully wrapped that you hated to open it? While it may have been tempting to sit the package on a shelf and just stare at it, I think most of us have too much curiosity to not open it and see what is inside! After all, someone took time out of his or her day just to buy you a gift and it would be rude to not open it – right? Yet, so many of us have unopened gifts from God each and everyday. When life gets busy we often fail to respond to God’s gift giving. We can become all consumed with going to work, running errands, paying our bills and taking care of the tyranny of the urgent that we never open the gifts God has placed before us.
According to the scripture above, we have to stop being preoccupied with getting in order to receive something. Do you mean that God wants me to relax and receive a gift from Him everyday? Yes! Let me ask you a question: What are you in need of today? Whatever you maybe facing, God has the right gift of wisdom, peace and faith to help you overcome every test and trial. So, I encourage you to unwrap and receive what God is longing to give you. Be expectant for a gift from heaven to fall upon you today!
Remember that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
It’s time to rest and receive gifts from Heaven! Watch out for unexpected gifts to fall into your lap. There are gifts that have been stored up, gifts that are just because He loves you, gifts so beautifully wrapped – but you are to open them – not just stare at their beauty. Happy unwrapping!
Lord, help me to stop and receive the gift you are longing to give me this day. You know exactly what I need. Forgive me for being so preoccupied with life that I fail to spend time with You. Thank you for the gift of salvation and all that it contains. I choose to receive Your joy, peace, protection, healing, favor, provision, forgiveness, wisdom and anything else You see that I am in need of today. Thank you Lord for lavishing me with more gifts than I know what to do with. You are the greatest gift I have ever received in my life and I praise you! Amen.
“Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11, NLT
Has your life ever seemed to be going smoothly, but then out of nowhere a circumstance arises and you are suddenly full of fear? Fear is something all of us battle at one time or another. I have learned over the years when fear emerges that somehow, somewhere, I began to place my hope in something or someone other than God.
Take our economy for instance. If we place our hope in the housing market right now, we are going to battle fear and anxiety. And what about the Presidential election in just a few weeks? If we place our hope in a nominee and he is not chosen, what then? If your choice for 2012 is not elected, you may be tempted to give into overwhelming fear. But if we place our hope in God -Who reigns over the housing market and Who reigns over America’s choice for President, we can remain in perfect peace!
So let me ask you, to what or whom is your hope placed in today? Is your hope placed in man, your bank account, beauty, performance or your children? If your hope is placed in anything of this world, you will be gravely disappointed. But if your hope is in Jesus Christ, then everything will be a-okay and you can rest in His perfect peace.
If you are battling fear and discouragement today, I encourage you to place your hope in God. Begin to rehearse all that He has done for you. Let thanksgiving take over your worried mind. No matter what you are going through, God is for you and fighting on your behalf. Psalm 44:8 tells us to give glory to God all day long and constantly praise His name. It’s time for us to once again receive God’s love and give Him glory all day long. God is faithful and He will never let us down.
Remember to cast your vote in a few weeks, but again, no matter who wins this election, you can remain in perfect peace. God knew who would be President in 2012 before you were in your mother’s womb. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. And whoever wins, we are called by God to uphold them in prayer. It does not matter what we think or what party we are affiliated with. God is in control and we are to rest in Him.
Lord, I give you all my fears this day. Forgive me for placing my hope in anything other than You. You are my God and You reign over every situation in my life. I declare faith to arise within my spirit. I rebuke every attack of the enemy and ask according to Psalm 37:14-15, that when the wicked draws their sword at me, they will in return be stabbed through the heart with their own swords and their bows will be broken in Jesus Name. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. And I make a decision today that no matter who is elected President, I will not fear and I will respect this man of authority through prayer. Amen.”
Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” Isaiah 61:9, NLT
Ask any of my closest friends and they will tell you that one of my mantras in life is, “Go where there is favor!” In my opinion, life is too short to spend time with those who do not celebrate you and the gifts God has placed in your life. Think about this for a moment. You are God’s unique creation in Christ and even during hard times, God’s love and favor rests upon us, as we trust in His Word.
When we choose to live for God and follow His plan for our life, we cannot help but experience supernatural favor. Our scripture above tells us that not only will we be seen as God’s favored but our descendants will also be recognized and honored among the nations. And did you know that we are promised to obtain favor even with our enemies? Proverbs 16:7 states, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.”
There was a situation several years ago where I clearly was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was no sign of favor anywhere. I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Nothing I did worked, which I came to realize was a clue that I had somewhere, somehow, gotten off track. I had become so accustomed to receiving God’s favor everywhere I went that when it wasn’t there, it was a bizarre experience for me and one that I do not want to repeat anytime soon. It did not take me long before I realized that I unknowingly had stepped out of God’s path for my life. I was swayed by man’s opinion rather than seeking God for where I needed to be for such a time as this. Hence, I made a change as quickly as possible and I found myself once again living where God’s favor reigns.
I believe there are times in each of our lives when God allows us to walk through difficult places to stretch us and show us what is really within our hearts (Deuteronomy 8:2). Yet when God leads us to a valley, He promises to provide us everything we need, including His rod and a staff to comfort us (Psalm 23). The question is, has God led us to this valley or did we unknowingly step out of the path of life and lead ourselves there? Selah (pause and think about this for a moment). If this is the case, then we can run to God and trust that He is bigger than every circumstance in our life. He loves us and will show us His path of life.
It is my prayer that we continually live in God’s favor and that when people see us coming, whether at the grocery store or in our workplace, they will declare, “Surely they are BLESSED of God.”
“Lord, show me Your path. I long to be where Your favor is for me and my family. Forgive me for the times when I trusted in anything other than You. You are my God and when I follow Your path I cannot help but walk in the favor of God. Make every crooked place straight in my life and may everyone around me see supernatural favor on my life. Amen.”
“Now thanks be to God who ALWAYS leads us in TRIUMPH in Christ, and through us manifests the fragrance of His knowledge in EVERY PLACE. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Are there days when you feel totally defeated? Do your circumstances sometimes pile on you to the point that you can barely breathe? Well, no matter what you are facing – God ALWAYS leads us in triumph in EVERY PLACE!
Let me encourage you today: Do not give up. Do not lose sight of who you are and to whom you belong. You are the righteousness of God. You are His beloved child. You are an over-comer in Christ Jesus.
No weapon formed against you can prosper. Every idle and dishonest word that is spoken against you, God will condemn! You are the apple of God’s eye. He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are not forgotten and never forsaken. You are above and not beneath. You are the head and not the tail. The blessings of the Lord will chase you and overtake you. What the enemy meant for evil, God will turn it around and use it for your good. Our God is willing and able. He is your healer. He is your Abba Father. He is your provider. He is your vindicator. He is mercy. He is grace. He is love. He is EVERYTHING you need!
What is that “place” you need victory in today? Christ is leading you to triumph in that very place. As you walk out your victory, God’s fragrance is manifesting around you. People are watching you and noticing something different about you. They see a smile on your face even through you are walking through the greatest trial of your life. They see a peace resting over you that no words can describe. And according to the scripture above – they will see you triumph in EVERY PLACE!
“Lord, You lead me in triumph in every place of my life. You will not leave me in the valley of the shadow of death. You send your rod and staff to comfort me and you will pull me out of the pit of destruction. Many will see my life and give praise to Your Name. You are Jesus. Your Name is above every name. This situation that I am walking through must bow its knee at your Word. I declare triumph. I declare Your fragrance be manifest in my life. Thank You for your love and mercy. I worship You Jesus. You are everything I need.” Amen.
“And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he (Elisha) answered, “Do not fear for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:16-17
Let’s just imagine that one morning you wake up only to see your greatest enemy and his army ready to take you down. What would you do? How would you respond? Most of us would do exactly as Elisha’s servant did above – respond in sheer panic and run to someone, anyone, who could help us. We would probably also scream out, “ What should we do?” Our eyes would be so overwhelmed with the fact that this enemy army is just outside our door and ready to strike that fear would more than likely paralyze us.
Ok, maybe your home is not literally surrounded by an enemy but I bet there is something the devil is surrounding you with fear – maybe its your health, your finances or your children’s future – and you maybe asking today “what should I do?”
Elisha’s response to “what should we do?” in 2 Kings 6:16-17 was in faith. Faith requires seeing into another dimension – the invisible. Fear paralyzes us, but faith propels us to see things from God’s perspective. Notice that Elisha did not ask God to simply show his servant another miracle; he asked for his servant to see another dimension. Elisha prayed. God revealed. The Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw horses and chariots of fire all around him. Seeing into the invisible is a key to victorious praying – discerning spiritual issues from God’s perspective rather than man’s. Instead of focusing on the the enemy’s intentions, it’s time that we focus on God’s angelic strike-force!I am praying for you right now, “Lord, open her eyes that she may see.” May God show you His perspective and may you see that there are more for you than against you. And remember that you fight FROM victory not FOR victory.
Prayer: “Lord, open my eyes to see You in every situation. I will no longer allow fear to paralyze me but allow faith in Who You are propel me forward. While fear causes me to pull back – faith pushes me forward into Your plans for my life. Your plans are always to prosper me and to do me good in the end. I may feel as if I am surrounded by the enemy today, but I declare that if You are for me, who can be against me. Open the eyes of my heart that I may see You. Send Your angels concerning me today. May You go before me today and make every crooked place straight. Amen.”
Tracy became a Christian at the age of 16 and her life was changed forever. She went from being a depressed, suicidal, rebellious teenager to a dynamic leader for Christ. Immediately after accepting Jesus as her Savior, Tracy fought the school board in order to begin a Bible study on school grounds at her high school in Illinois. The dramatic transformation in Tracy's life has inspired many, including her own mother, to give their lives to Christ.