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Isaiah 61:3

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To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 

Do you know those days that you want to give up? Life has taken another twist and you are blindsided once again with circumstances that are out of your control.

Maybe there are days when your faith in the Lord surprises you, then other days you may crawl into bed, cover yourself in blankets, and try to sleep your stress away. Have you ever listened to music or watched a show for hours because you did not want to be left in silence. If I’m honest, I’ve been there and I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed.

You Are Not Alone

Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. Let me repeat that… you are not alone. Even when it feels like you are clothed in a cloak of loneliness, there is a garment of praise God wants to give you for a spirit of heaviness. It’s simple to write, isn’t it? Accept God’s garment of praise. But how?

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

How do we cast all of our cares upon God?

Try this:

  • Write your cares on a piece of paper.
  • For instance, if you are worried about finances, write on a piece of paper what your needs are.
  • Example: Lord, I need $2000 to pay rent/my kids need new clothes/ we need groceries.
  • Then take that piece of paper to prayer with you and lay it down on the altar and leave it there.
  • This is a tangible act of faith that has spiritual benefits. When I have done this I felt an emotional release when I laid my written cares down before the Lord.
  • Another thing to do is: On a separate piece of paper write down as many scriptures you can find about your situation: i.e.: faith, finances, fear, provision, heartache, healing, etc. and pray them out loud, declaring the word of the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, you see me right now and You care. Help me to live in a place of peace that is free from anxiety. And when things happen outside of my control, help me to turn to you first. I give (fill in the blank) to You right now and will leave it at Your feet.

 

 

 

“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified”

Isaiah 61:3, New King James Version).

I overheard a conversation between two ladies at church, both going through difficult times. One had battled her situation for several months, the other not as long. The “veteran” was advising her friend, “When things get really bad, I just begin to praise.” For her, putting on the garment of praise was the way to find peace in the midst of life’s storm. Her advice was on target and biblical.

The Midnight Praise Session

Acts 16:16-40 tells the familiar story of Paul and Silas in a Philippian prison. Their trouble began with the healing of a damsel possessed with the spirit of divination (what we would call a fortune-teller). The jailer was charged to keep the two men safe, so he moved them to the inner part of the prison and, as an added measure, put their legs in stocks. This was no “country club” prison; and no one cared about their comfort. Yet, at midnight Paul and Silas put on their garments of praise and began to pray and sing. Can you imagine the amazement of the other prisoners? Circumstances did not matter; they focused on praising God. If their fellow prisoners were confused before, the earthquake that followed really grabbed their attention.

Covering Ourselves in Praise

How do worship and praise help when trouble and despair try pull us down? If we change our clothing—covering ourselves in praise to God—the heaviness lifts. Praise drives out negativity and worry. Faith increases and God steps into our circumstances to perform the miraculous. Isaiah 25:4 describes the Lord as “a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (English Standard Version).

When trouble overwhelms us, the enemy loves to fill our mind with worry and doubt. He desires to steal our faith and silence our praise. Rather than give in to his tactics and accept defeat, it’s time change our clothes. Let’s put on that garment of praise and start dancing.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11). 

Prayer: Lord, I claim victory over anxiety, doubt, and discouragement. When trouble comes my way, I will praise You. When the enemy fills my mind with negative thoughts, I will praise you more. I will put off my sackcloth and put on gladness and praise. You are my strength and place of safety.

I love the sunshine!  I love spring, and I love summer seasons.  If it could be spring and summer year round, I would be content.  At least I think I would.

I complained as I sat looking at the rain come down so forcefully one day while at work.  It was so gloomy outside.  The day prior, another light shower had fallen, but that day I could see the sun and white clouds in the distance.

We NEED the rain.  Without it, everything would wither up and die.  It is the same way in the seasons of life.  We need those ‘storms’ that blow into our life.  It may seem like we’re going to be blown away by the force of the wind as the pelting rain stings our skin, but it is causing us to dig our roots deeper into Christ.  It is in those times we find our shelter under the shadow of His wings and learn to trust in Him more fully.   At other times, He sends a light shower that refreshes our soul as we see light and hope peeking out beyond the rain clouds.

We also need the autumn seasons when things are changing.  Old things are dying off, but then the cold begins to come as winter moves in.  It feels like everything is dead and barren.  The icy sting of the bitter cold cuts straight through to the bone as snow begins to cover the ground.   Everything becomes ice-covered, and, at times, we can’t feel anything, because the cold has caused us to become numb.  The longer winter seems to linger, the more we wonder if we’ll survive.  We feel forsaken, desolate, and alone at times.

We need that season of dying off to self, to old ways, things that shouldn’t be in our life.  It’s in that time that we realize we are hopeless without Christ.  It’s in that season that we realize how much we need HIM.  Don’t give up in that season – spring is coming!  Just when you think everything within you is dead, hope and life will begin to bud and spring forth as God creates a NEW thing in you.

God gave us each season for a reason.  Each season does have a purpose.  Just as changing seasons are necessary in life, so are they necessary to keep balance, health, and well-being in our spiritual life.   I’m not ready for fall, because I know winter will soon follow.   I’d prefer the warmth of sunshine and to see the flowers continue to bloom, but I know I also need the season for things to die off that shouldn’t be in my life.  It’s painful, sometimes brutal, but what follows makes it all worth it as we once again begin to see the things God is cultivating within us bloom and blossom as spring returns.

No matter what season you may be in right now, hold on and endure with patience.   A new season is coming!  God is working in you, and when He is finished you will trade beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that you may be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord!  (Isaiah 61:3)