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.
Upcoming Women’s Conference – Cumming, GA
SHINE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE – EASTGATE CHURCH – 2013 from Eastgate Church on Vimeo.
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.
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!
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!
“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.”