Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Joy of the Lord

"[[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.]] The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!" Psalm 21:1

My family has been dealing with a situation for which we have been asking God for wisdom and guidance.  This week, we have been meeting with "experts" at a center, seeking to understand the scope of what we are dealing with and options for addressing it.

Our first day at this center, a stranger approached me and started a conversation.  In part she said, "This place is so anointed.  The Lord has definitely led you to the right place."  I said thank you and we parted ways.  I then prayed in my heart to the Lord, "Lord, if that was supposed to be some kind of confirmation for me that we are to follow the advice of these people, then I am sorry but you are going to have to make it more clear than that.  That just didn't do it for me."

The next day, another stranger came up to me and started speaking.  In part, she said, "This place is just wonderful.  I can't speak more highly of it.  With the Lord's help, you will find all that you need here."  Again, I responded, "Thank you."  However, yet again, something was missing.  While comforting, reassuring, and encouraging, the words these women spoke just did not resonate with my spirit.  They were nice platitudes, but did not have the power that words from the Lord usually have.

You see, everybody has a "word from the Lord" these days, but they are not all from the Lord.  We must seek to be in tune with God at all times in order to know what is of Him and what is not.  A word is not from God just because it makes us feel good or tells us nice things we want to hear.  The enemy himself can even transform himself into an angel of light in order to lead you astray (II Corinthians 11:14).  A real word from the Lord will slam into our souls, confront our perceptions, and bring about a major change and assurance within us.

I began to question the Lord more urgently.  "Lord, Friday is the day we get the feedback from these experts and their recommendations, yet I feel no closer to knowing what we should do."

"The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him."  Exodus 15:2

While at that center Thursday morning, I was reflecting on God's word and His goodness.  All of a sudden the Holy Spirit welled up within me and literally filled me with such amazing joy.   It was such an unspeakable joy that I seriously thought I might start shouting praises to Him at the top of my voice right then and there.

I jokingly said to the Lord, "Lord, is this what it is like for you to return the joy of my salvation?  I had better get a hold of myself or I am going to start shouting & dancing around this place right now and they will surely put me out!"  But I honestly could not contain it; joy over the Lord was just bubbling up from my spirit.  I began to pray out loud, thanking the Lord and praising Him, for I could not hold it in.  I felt empowered to face and conquer anything; it was truly a supernatural experience.

"Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart." Psalm 32:11

By the end of that day, my joy had been forgotten and I was dejected; in pain, physically sick, and full of questions.  "Why, Lord, was I in this situation?  What was the purpose of all of this?  It just doesn't make any sense." It had really been a trying day and I had been pushed to my physical limits.  I still had no word which I felt was from the Lord.  I was still as confused as ever abut what to do.

That night, my pastor sent me a link to the video below with a one word instruction, "Listen."  And listen I did.

As I listened to Pastor Wilkerson speak about the importance of having joy while going through a trial - and not just when God brings you out of it - I knew it was a word from the Lord for me.  It illustrated exactly what God had already shown me earlier that day.  How could my pastor have known the message I needed to hear?  How could he have known exactly when to send it?  It could only be the Lord.

You see, that morning, I had been so filled with joy that I couldn't even think about my own circumstances.  In the midst of a center filled with sickness, disease, and death, I felt like leaping for joy.  I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude for all the Lord had done for me, but most importantly, for Him being who He is.

So this is the kicker: what had happened by the end of the day?  What had changed to cause my joy to fade?  Was not the Lord still the same Comforter, Deliverer, and Almighty God I had praised in the morning?  Absolutely He was.  It was I who had changed, not Him.  I realized that I had let my circumstances and what I was going through erode away my joy, and I became determined not to let that happen again.  I will not again let the Devil steal my joy!

Yet, Satan doesn't give up easily.  That night he sent me a nightmare where someone was chasing me and trying to kill me.  He was trying once more to have a spirit of fear gain a stronghold in my heart.  But when I awoke the Lord said, "Whose report will you believe?"

On Friday, we went back to that center changed.  Instead of being overwrought with our own situation, we were renewed in faith.  We actively  prayed with and for others regarding whatever issues they had.  My husband spoke with such vigor about the Lord, that it prompted others to ask, "Are you a preacher?"  Neither were we fearful of the coming report from the "experts".

Yet as I said before, the Devil doesn't give up that easily.  As we waited to hear the report, they brought in female chaplains from their "Pastoral Care" unit.  Each of these women tried to use the Scriptures to get us to do what the experts felt we should do.  They assured us that God allows us to make the choices in our lives.  That God had placed these experts in our lives for a reason and we could just pray for God to have His hand in whatever they recommended.  I don't have to pray to know God's will, they said, for God is with me and will be with whatever decision I make.  These were all religious lies.

Let me tell you something: there is a major difference between religion and true relationship.  Religion seeks its own way and deceives itself into believing that God will bless it.  It attempts to use God like an accessory to bless what they already want to do in their defiled hearts, appending God to their desire to fulfill their own will.  That is not faith.  Those in true relationship with the Lord seek and desire to know His will, and obey that.  True faith is trusting God and believing Him, even when you do not understand.  There is a choice we face as Christians, but it is not a choice to do as we please with God's blessing.  It is a choice to either obey Him or not.

Once we set this straight with the chaplains, the experts began with their report.  As I listened to the report, it was abundantly clear how the hand of the Lord was with me...and had been throughout this entire trial.  The situation we faced had not spread one bit, but had been unnaturally contained these past 7 years.  The experts had no explanation for it.  I was reminded of how even the oceans have to obey the Lord, going not where they please, but maintaining the boundaries established by the word of God (Job 38:11).  I remembered how God gave Satan license to test Job, but placed limitations on what he was allowed to do.  Satan not only needed permission from God, but he could not surpass the restraints God put upon him.  Even in our trials, we are never at the mercy of the Devil, but God remains in control.  Is there anything too hard for our God?  There is absolutely not!

"Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy." I Chronicles 29:9

While there is much meat from Min. Wilkerson in this short sermon below, there were two things in particular that stood out to me personally.
  1. God has led you to this crisis.

    This statement really gave me pause for consideration.  I had to acknowledge that I had doubted at times.  I had wondered whether the Lord had forsaken me, or whether I had somehow angered Him.  The Devil had whispered in my ear many a times that God would not deliver me, that He had let me down and would not rescue me in my despair.  That I could not depend upon or trust Him.  Did I try to fight these thoughts?  Yes!  But they had served their purpose, sowing seeds of doubt in my soul.  If it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains, then how much seed is needed to undermine our faith?  I had not fully embraced that this situation was not a judgment against me, but one that God had ordained for His purposes to be fulfilled within and through me.  Not all trials are the result of sin (John 9:1-3).  Further, a deliverance that is seemingly delayed is not a deliverance denied.

  2. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him

    At the end of the day, all that matters is that I please the Lord.  I spoke to the experts and said, "My life is the Lord's and He can do with it whatsoever He chooses.  I am not afraid of death.  The only thing I fear is disobeying my Lord.  I know that as long as I do His will, all will be worked out for my good.

    My husband stated, "This present life is not all that there is.  We need to be concerned with where we will go after this.  This is not about playing games.  I used to be a knucklehead before I got saved, but I know that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father or one will be damned.  These are sober times and we need to be for real with the Lord."

    We preached to the experts for quite some time.  Some of them stared at us with eyes of hatred while others listened.  Yet, we spoke all that God put on our hearts and told them of His power, mercy, and grace.
I write all of this, not to focus on my own story, but to encourage you.  No matter your situation or hardship, you can still have joy...God desires you to have joy and provides the way for you to have it!  Joy is not trying to work something up or even to pretend that we are okay in the face of trouble.  It is being filled with the Spirit of God.  As we keep our eyes focused n Him, even in the midst of our troubles, we will be filled with His joy.  There is a purpose for your existence; and believe it or not, there is even a purpose in your trial.  Don't let Satan use your circumstances to steal your joy, but praise the Lord even now for He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!

In addition to the message below from Min. Wilkerson, here is a link to a message from his son:  Jesus Can Still Do This.


9 comments:

  1. Blessings to you, Mia. When the storms rage, praise Him. I listened to Mr. Wilkerson's message. How difficult it is to sing our praises before He has brought us through the surrounding waters. I am reminded of the "Faith" chapter in Hebrews. "By faith . . ." By Faith, you are an overcomer in His Glorious Name!

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    1. Amen! Thank you Joy.

      Ha, I just realized the pun (your name and the subject of the post. :-) Hope you are doing well!

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  2. Amen!! Thank you so much Mia for your faithful obedience! Your blog is "daily bread" and I'm so grateful that my brother introduced me to it! Praise God for His Truth that sets us free...His great and precious promises that are an anchor to us! And yes, I agree with Joy above...."you are an overcomber by the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony and because you don't love your life to the death". Be strong and take the authority Christ has given you over those harrassing spirits! Bless you in Jesus!! And Happy Resurrection Day!!

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    1. Be strong and take the authority Christ has given you over those harrassing spirits!

      Amen!! A big part of retaining our joy is not just being a punching bag for those spirits, but using the authority God has given us. Thank you so much for that reminder.

      I also greatly appreciate your encouragement. May God bless and keep you!

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    2. Thank you Mia....and you too!!

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  3. Dear Mia, Vince and Family,

    God bless you and your precious family in Jesus name, your ministry has been edifying to myself and my husband for many years now, and we pray for your household often from the UK. "the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men" - experts are often blinded by the God of this world. I pray you receive peace in your spirit from knowing you are in His will.

    Ren and Glaf

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    1. "the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men"

      AMEN!! It is so wearying contending with these spirits because you are exactly right. It is the inspiration of the god of this world. This past Monday, one of the experts claimed that she was a "strong woman of faith" and was adamant that God had not led us down this road. She stated, "Every time someone asked for God's help in the Bible they got an answer immediately...God is love, and never allows anything that causes us harm...God never tests us...God would never do this...God requires us to take action, not seek His will...This isn't God...Time is running out...Our window of opportunity is closing...I see 1-2 people a month come in here talking about depending on God to lead them rather than follow our recommendations and they all die..." My husband and I of course confronted her claims with the word of God, showing that what she said was not true. There is such mind-controlling witchcraft emanating from that Jezebel spirit that I can understand Elijah's reaction to it in running. Yet, we must be aware of what we are contending with and by the power of the Holy Spirit stand up to it and claim authority over it.

      There was one assistant in the room however who knew that what we were saying was true. We could tell by her eyes as she truly listened; she knew the Lord. With a "Well, I see you have made up your mind.", they all got up and departed from the room. However, that one assistant came over, grabbed our hands and said, "I will be praying for you" and then she smiled and left. Perhaps she was the only one we were to reach, but I have been praying for them all since then; that God's word won't return void but will lead the others to true faith in Him.

      Even though the expert claimed to be a Christian of "great faith", she had more trust in the wisdom of men than she did in the power of Almighty God. When we left, I kept hearing Jesus ask, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Many people claim strong faith, but it is faith in an imaginary god that they have made up in their own minds. They DO have strong faith in that idol, and they get furious if you confront them with he truths of God's word. As you say, their minds are blinded, even while claiming to be a believer.

      Thank you for your prayers! I am so thankful to Jesus for the provision of His Body as a source of encouragement and edification. God Bless!

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  4. Amen! Looking unto Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith who was made perfect through His suffering. Rejoicing, praising and praying with you!

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