Rise and Shine
Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
The word “arise” in Today’s Treasure is the same one the prophetess Deborah used when she declared, Village life ceased, ceased in Israel, until I Deborah arose, arose a Mother in Israel.
In the Hebrew “arise” can mean “build, carry out, confirm, endure, establish, fulfill, raise up, restore, support.” This sounds like life-giving encouragement to me. Rather than refusing to get involved in the chaos that permeated her village, Deborah took action that resulted in the restoration of peace.
Deborah rose up, and in so doing she raised up, established, restored, and supported the people in her village. Deborah was a life-giver. Do you recognize the fingerprints of encouragement in her actions? God calls each of us to go and do likewise, to be life-givers who look around our villages, identify the needs and rise up, not in our own strength but in His, with purposeful actions in His name, trusting Him to accomplish His purposes.
Deborah calls herself a “mother in Israel.” Each of us can be “mothers,” whether we have children or not. A mother is the bond of the family. Deborah mothered an entire nation. Her heart for her people united them in a way that gave them hope. Is God calling you to mother those in your circle of influence, your village?
Deborah’s obedience required dying to self, and out of that death came life. Israel experienced 40 years of peace. Remember, village life had ceased, or was dying, until Deborah arose. In rising, she also had to die to self. In dying, she was a life-giver. Is God calling you to die to self today?
Do you want to be a life-giver in a dying situation? Giving life often requires death. Dying to self can happen in a thousand little ways. Do you need to change your well-laid plans in order to spend the day with a despairing friend, an elderly parent, a moody teen? Does your husband need you to pour life into him rather than a friend? Where does your village need you to intentionally step in with the goal of helping turn hearts toward Jesus? Before you answer, pray and ask the Lord to enable you to be intentional in these decisions. Ask Him to give you specific Scriptures you can share with your friend if it is appropriate.
Sometimes the Lord will direct you to do something that has no obvious spiritual overtones to the recipient. A grandmother burdened for a granddaughter treated her to lunch and a manicure. She had no agenda except to remind her beloved granddaughter of her love for her, with hopes that when her granddaughter needed a receptive listener, she would turn to her grandmother. The grandmother often texts her granddaughter fun facts, pictures from previous fun days and sometimes asks how she can pray for her. Her ultimate goal is to set a table where her granddaughter will always feel welcome, even when she knows her grandmother does not like her decisions. This grandmother is in it for the long haul, knowing her job is not to fix her granddaughter, trusting that task to the Lord. Are you in it for the long haul?
Lord, we love You. We can’t get our heads around Your love for us but we know Your love invites us to run to You when life turns upside down. In Your presence we unload our fears, our needs, our longing for a better world. Show us where we need to die to self so that new life can begin. We need You to be specific in directing our efforts to set a table that invites hurting people to come and experience the bounty of Your love.