These are just a few words to describe 2007 for our family. I can honestly say that it was one of the absolute worse years of my life.
It was full of attacks from the enemy and I allowed fear, doubt, discouragement and depression to take up residence in my life.
When it seemed like things could not get any worse...they did. I have never felt so defeated, hopeless and could not control one thing that was going on in our lives.
BUT...I will never forget December 13th, 2007...it was the day that the momentum of our lives changed and the sun began to shine again.
In my desperation, I was praying that morning...crying out to God in my pain and asking Him to speak to me through His Word. I began to thumb through my Bible...I stopped on numerous passages but nothing was speaking directly to me. I refused to give up and kept searching God's Word.
I turned to Isaiah 61 and in the NIV...the heading for this chapter was "THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR"....I stopped immediately and began to read. This was when I felt the Lord speaking deep into my spirit...peace, hope and excitement began to fill my spirit. Yes, there was an ounce of doubt that the Lord was really speaking this passage to my family for the upcoming year....2008. So, for me....when in doubt...seek confirmation from the two wisest people that I know...Pastor Rusty and Dorinda. (Love you guys!) I texted Pastor Rusty and asked him if I could pray this passage over my family for 2008...I don't trust my interpretation of the scripture very often. He immediately texted me back and said..."Yes and you should...I will agree and pray the same prayer for you guys!". I emailed the same question to Dorinda the same day.
Then...the excitement really set it!!! Out of the entire chapter of Isaiah 61...these are the verses that we have been standing on for nearly a year.
The Year of the LORD 's Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.... 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 "For I, the LORD , love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed."
There was hope and a promise for the coming year...God was in control and He would work all things out for His glory in His time.
BUT...it wasn't until the next day that I received this email from Dorinda that I began to REALLY shout...here is her original email:
awesome ! that is amazing...
last night before i went to bed i was praying for you. i did not hear an audible voice but i knew God was speaking to me to send you an email about the power of praying the word ..... and after talking to you the other day about 2008, Isaiah 61 was on my heart!
any way - here is what went through my head last night as i was praying for you....
Hebrews 4:12 says -
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thought and attitudes of the heart.
The KJV says quick and powerful
The part about the double edged is what I want to get at. On one side it fights the devil. The enemy cowers when we SPEAK the word of God. He knows he cannot begin to battle that power.... It was the spoken word of God that created the universe and that cast the enemy from the portals of heaven to where he is now. The spoken word of God is powerful when fighting the enemy. That is why it is so important to not only read and meditate on God's word but to speak it out loud. The enemy cannot read our minds. He shivers on what he hears out of our mouths.
The other edge of the sword is where the power of meditating and reading God's Word comes in. From one side we fight the enemy- from the other side we clean ourselves up. Rusty's blog on Tuesday I think dealt with that. But God's word penetrates to our soul and spirit and circumcises our heart.... as the Bible says - that just means it helps us to crucify our flesh.
So - when you read Isaiah 61 and you get to verse 7 - that says "instead of their shame my people - Roger and Jennifer W - will receive a double portion and instead of disgrace Roger and Jennifer will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity (robbery of people not paying their rent). In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them! Tell the devil out loud what God's word says. Shout it at him. Then meditate on it every day. This is God's promise to you! I am so glad God gave you this verse before I had a chance to share it with you, because now you know that God promised this Word to YOU.
Throughout the Bible we are told to meditate on God's Word (think about and repeat over and over again to ourselves) pray God's Word ( the only way we can be sure to pray according to the will of God) speak God's Word (like Jesus did when he was tempted to be discouraged - spoke it out loud to satan)
remember also verse 10 in the rough times: I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoice in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.....
Jennifer, God is raising you up to be a warrior. I know you are tired of fighting the emotional and spiritual battles, but I see the warrior spirit in you. God sees time so much different than we do. He is infinite and we see time through our finite beings. Time for God is just like this line below
He looks down and sees the beginning as well as the ending and all the points in between. He sees your good times and your rough times, but ultimately He sees your rejoicing in heaven for eternity. That is how He works all things for the good of those who love Him.
That is why placing our trust in Him is so vital. Trusting Him when we are tired and worn out. Trusting Him when we feel all is going down the tubes. Trusting Him when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Simple trust. He has promised you victory - so tomorrow, if it brings worse news than yesterday, you can trust in Him.
The other scripture I have been praying for you and Roger is Psalm 25. The whole chapter deals with asking Him to show His ways and teach His paths. It is my most favorite chapter in the whole Bible. I probably read it about 10 times each week.
love ya girl! you are a precious friend. i love you dearly and am so thankful you consider me to be your friend.
2008 has been a wonderful year full of promise, excitement, renewed hope, strength and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Please pray with us for my meeting at 11 AM tomorrow as I meet with two investors from California who are in town to purchase investment property. They will be looking at all 11 houses to take over. Please pray for favor with V and J and a workable deal that both parties will be happy with.
Tomorrow could be the answer to the prayers that we have been praying for since last year and the promise from December 13th, 2007 of Isaiah 61 coming to fruition.
Have a blessed day and rejoicing in Him!