10/6/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Burned Out and Burned Up” – Part 2

Wendy Pope, Director of Development, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Joel 2:12, "Even now return, declares the LORD, return to me with all my heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." (NIV)

 

 

Devotion: 

Yesterday we made the decision to come to the Lord for renewal.  Our desire is to be a fertile field for the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).  We are ready to drink from the river of Living Water and surround ourselves with the fragrance of wildflowers.  In our restored green pasture we can rest in the shade of the tall strong oak trees and enjoy the fellowship of our Savior.  Yesterday also reminded us that in order to have this incredible renewal we must have a time of repentance, turning away from those things in our lives that burned our pasture in the first place.  The Lord has graciously written a prescription that will produce the pasture that we have always dreamed about.

 

Isaiah repeats a declaration made by the Lord Himself beginning in verse 12 of chapter two.  God tells those who are living in burned up pastures and have lost their way to return to Him with all of their hearts.  When God tells us to do something, He tells us exactly how to do it.  The rest of the verse describes the condition in which we are to return to God.

 

Fasting, weeping and mourning are how we are to return to Him.  Bible history tells us when one was deeply remorseful for sin he would make the remorse known to all by loud weeping and the tearing of garments.  But God instructs us to rend our hearts, not our garments (verse 13).  He wants the renewal and returning of our heart to be personal, not a public display.  Rend means to tear, or rip apart.  Sounds painful, doesn’t it?

 

Well, let me tell you it is.  God has commanded me to rend my heart of things on countless occasions.  The process wasn't easy.  Many times what I needed to rend or tear out were things that were not of Him; sometimes they were things of Him that I put before Him.  Rending your heart requires complete, total and many times radical obedience.  But what you get in the end is what you have always dreamed of: a closer, personal walk with Jesus Christ … constant access to the fountain of Living Water … naturally spreading the fragrance of His love to those around you … protection in the storms of life and protection from attacks of the enemy … and lastly, you will be a display of His splendor.

 

My Prayer for Today:

The rubber meets the road today, Lord.  I have no excuse.  I can't say I don’t understand what You require of me.  I can't say I don't know how to have the life I have always dreamed of.  I can say this: I need You and the power of Your Holy Spirit to help me rend from my heart the parts that make my dream less than a reality.  I love You Lord and trust You to stick with me through this process.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

Draw a color picture of a what your ideal pasture will look like.  Display this picture in a place you frequently go. Be sure and include the date. Record verses 12 and 13 on the bottom of the picture.

 

Reflection Points: 

What things in my life are not of God?

 

What things in my life that are Godly, but that I have put in front of God?

 

What is keeping me from having the life I dreamed of? (fear, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness)

 

Power Verses:            

Isaiah 45:3, "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." (NIV)

 

Jeremiah 24:7, "I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD.  They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their hearts." (NIV)

 

Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm

 

P31 Woman Magazine

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/woman.htm

 

Do You Know Him?

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/knowHim.htm