October 20, 2019
Journey of Joy
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a Mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17
I am the Lord’s delight.
I am chosen.
I am clean.
I am redeemed.
I am a beautiful, victorious, daughter of the living, holy God who delights in me.
He delights in me… me! A woman who has broken His heart time and time again. Who chose to turn and walk away, knowing the truth of what the Bible says, and still running into the arms of sin instead of Jesus. A woman who is completely undeserving and unworthy. Yet, I am His delight.
Isaiah 43 verse 1 says “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says: Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.” The God who created all of the heavens and the Earth, also created me, and He knows me by name.
A few months ago, my world shattered. The life I knew was no longer and it was all my fault. It was my sin and it came to light. But what a beautiful thing that is turning out to be. You see, when we leave things in darkness, when we try and hide, when we try and pretend there is no problem and we don’t need help, that allows sin to have so much power over us… and God wants and has so much more for us.
Those were the words I carried in my head and my heart. I wrestled with being able to look at myself in the mirror. Emotions were uncontrollable. I could barely take care of myself or my son. I held on to the weight of guilt and shame and refused to wear forgiveness. Then the moment came when the unbearable heartache (from the consequence of my sin) turned into heartbreak when I realized I broke God’s heart. Who am I to look at what Jesus did for me on the cross and tell Him the weight of my sin is too heavy for Him to carry and forgive? I needed to lay down my sin, take the consequence, and put on forgiveness.
Then, and only then, is when freedom comes.
Almost immediately after my sin came to light, God sent warriors with shields that surrounded me. The Lord surrounded me and really He rescued me, again. For the weeks that followed my life was Jesus, food, water. We began building an artillery of truth (scripture) that combated the lies that constantly circled in my head. The lie would surface and I would run to Jesus feet. Some moments took longer than others, but when the complete surrender, my whole heart, was laid down, God could really get to work healing.
“Then Jesus said: Come to me all who are weary and carry heaven burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
Jesus promises the weary and heavy burdened rest. When you allow Jesus to take the weight of what you carry, God will cut out the junk and create space for His fruit to grow. Abide in the vine of Jesus Christ, God will prune and dig up and cut out and grow.
Jesus shows up and does the impossible work. Regardless of our condition. Broken and dirty, He gets close and cleans up our mess. Why? Because we are His delight. We are His masterpiece, creation, joy. So run to Him! As fast as you can, run to Him. Lay down the burden, see His beauty, see YOUR beauty, put it on. Quiet your heart and listen to His voice. Be obedient to what He says and see the change in your life.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 34:8
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.” Psalm 37:3
“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken.” Isaiah 54: 10.
Not only does He offer to take our burdens, give us life, sustain our life, grow/prune fruit to produce change; but He invites us to taste and see His goodness and faithfulness. There is joy in living life with Jesus. There is freedom because of His victory. He is faithful and trustworthy. He is all sufficient, all powerful, almighty God. The Lord sees you. He never tires of you. He never wonders what’s next.
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, their faced were not ashamed.” Psalm 34: 3-4
I have just started this journey with Jesus guiding my steps. Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Do I have all the answers? No. Is it scary? Yes. But MY God is bigger. He promises to never leave me or forsake me. He is good. His way is the best. There is none better. Daughter. Mother. Sister. Friend. Our Father God hears you. He sees you. He wants you. He delights in you. There is no room for guilt, shame, or lies. Leave the baggage at His feet and step into the joy and abundant life that awaits you in His presence.
By Morgan Apkarian
October 17, 2019
i wrote down a few things God is teaching me lately and i think some of it could be helpful for you guys so here they are:
– He gave us 24 hours in a day. If it feels like not everything “fits”, something doesn’t belong. Just like we are stewards of HIS money, we are also stewards of the time HE has given us. so ask God exactly how HE wants you spending your time each day
– God is CONSTANT. The things around us will always be changing (friends, family situations, people, money, etc) but God is our ANCHOR. His love and peace and joy will NEVER change, even through our biggest storms in life
– God is the only one who can truly satisfy us. last night i was thinking about how different youth group used to be before our youth pastor left and it was making me pretty upset. i turned to social media for temporary rest and comfort. i also turned to several people who encouraged me, gave me advice, and poured truth into me. this is obviously a great thing, but it wasn’t until i was able to pause and turn to God that i found TRUE and LASTING joy, comfort, peace, etc. if we look to worldly things or the people around us to satisfy our deepest needs, we will constantly be let down. God is the only one who can truly satisfy us- TURN TO HIM!
– I was also in the shower last night (where i have my deepest thoughts) and i was thinking about all the national “holidays” we have (national puppy day, national daughter day,, national hug day, etc) and then I thought: wouldn’t it be great to have a National Pause Day. no school, homework, work, chores, responsibilities. just rest. then i realized God calls us to this “pause day” every week! He tells us to take one day a week to rest in Him and be refreshed. and again, If a day of rest doesn’t “fit”, something else doesn’t belong. so ask God to show you what that is.
ok last one i promise
– You don’t have to have a smile on your face to have hope in your heart. in other words, a positive attitude or outlook on life (an attitude of faith) doesn’t mean you have to always be happy- it means you’re able to look past this hardship and trust that God sees the bigger picture and has a plan for you through it all. He knows best!! but it’s ok to be upset, angry, scared, etc. just trust that God has something beautiful for you on the other side of the storm and he is your anchor through the storm.
By Anna Rocconi