I awoke at 4:15 this morning with a familiar prodding in my spirit. I felt as if the Lord was whispering into my soul and wanting me to arise for a quiet meeting alone with Him. The bed was warm, and I could think of half a dozen reasons why I needed to stay in bed (I came up with some good ones too!). But that quiet calling was irresistible, so down the stairs I went...down to my favorite place. I love the early mornings when it's dark outside and the world hasn't yet awaken. It's just me and my Lord and a brand new day stretching out before me (with no mistakes in it yet!).
Yesterday He had led me to Isaiah 58, a place He has led me many many times over the past year. In that chapter is such a key to serving my family and serving orphans. I believe He really wants this to sink in because He brings me to it often. The chapter is about true and false worship. I was struck by the part about fasting. When I fast, I find it to be one of the most difficult and yet rewarding things in my spiritual life. I can actually get pretty proud of myself for fasting. But in this chapter we read what true fasting is. It is not about going through the motions. The kind of fasting God wants is for me to free those who are wrongly imprisoned (I can be a voice for orphans, especially ones who are wrongly destined for mental institutions), to stop oppressing my workers (my family!), to feed the hungry, to welcome poor wanderers into my home, to give clothes to those who need them, to not hide from relatives who need my help. This fasting is much more than eating only lettuce for 3 weeks! This fasting cuts to my heart's motives and definitely cuts into my life of convenience. No room for pride here...in fact, it makes one wrestle a bit in their skin, so to speak.
But look further in that chapter and you'll see some sweet rewards for that type of fasting: my light will shine out from the darkness...the Lord will guide me continually...He will water my life when I'm dry and will keep me healthy too. And then my spirit caught something new and radiant in those verses...something that spoke very specifically to our family... The last part of verse 13 says that we will be known as the people who rebuild the walls and cities. Do you see it? No, this verse was not specifically speaking about rebuilding the walls of orphan ministry, but when God breathes something into my spirit, I grab onto it. Sometimes His words can speak straight to a circumstance or a person, and this spoke to me because it is how He is molding me right now. We cannot rebuild the walls of orphan ministry alone. It must be HIM doing it through us. And my part is to humbly serve and to have a true fast before my Father.
Anyway, that was yesterday's leading. This morning found me on my knees yet again...an irresistible need to be on my knees. I knew He awoke me early for something specific, and I was eager to hear Him.
I made a journey through Proverbs, reading several verses. Over and over again, the same message sunk into my spirit... Let my words be sweet...let my words be helpful...let my words be full of life, not death.... Ahhhh, my tongue! Yes, it needles a bridle. As I shared yesterday, when my little ones descend the stairs for a new day, things can often get very busy (as any family with several children can tell you!). And many times I slip off the altar (this living sacrifice tends to do that!!) and soon find my tongue flapping! I think I'd be better off with my lips sewn together, but because that's not a good option, I need to submit my lips and tongue into God's service. See...He's very patient with me and my messes. And He's faithful. I told you that I asked Him to guide me, and here He was at 4-ish this morning with a private lesson in keeping my tongue dripping like honey.
Word of God, speak. And even when the day gets busy, please let Your Words be heard in my spirit. And let MY words be pleasing to You.