December 18, 2009
Not the Same
"When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate." Ezekiel 46:9 (NIV)
As soon as my eyes opened I knew it was going to be one of "those" days. You know the type. The saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" was created for days like this. I was sad, disappointed, frustrated and empty. I couldn't put my finger on why I felt this ball of emotions; I just knew I had to get out before everyone woke up and my feelings steered our day in the wrong direction.
I put on my tennis shoes, grabbed my keys and started out the front door. Though unsure of where I was going to run, I was certain of the length: far! Far enough for me to come back a different person. What I needed was to get alone with Jesus and have Him fill me and exchange my negative emotions with His peace, truth and life.
As I started my run, old thoughts poured into my head. You are not beautiful. You are not special. Your life doesn't count. After years of reading the Truth, studying the Truth and even teaching the Truth, it was hard to believe I still struggled with these dark thoughts. I guess I shouldn't have expected the enemy to lie down and give up. He knows my weaknesses and all my buttons to push.
As lies poured in, I retrieved scriptures stored in my mind and heart. He sees me as beautiful. He says He is wild about me. He is more than enough for me. He is all I need.
Mulling over these precious chunks of God's Word, tears began to pour. This is what I needed. I didn't need more words of affirmation from my husband. I didn't need another pat on the back from a friend. I needed a new outpouring of love from my Love. I needed to be reminded of who He says I am, to give up the old lies and replace them with His Truths.
When we come into His presence, He fills us. The Lord changes us so that we are not the same as we were when we came to Him. Ezekiel 46:9 represents this exchange of old for new. The people of Israel were told when they came into the temple area to worship, they were to enter through one gate and exit through the opposite gate. So the same should be true with us; we are "not to go back as we came, but more holy, and heavenly, and spiritual" (Matthew Henry). As we enter into our special times with God, we need to come out the "opposite gate," different than the way we went in.
After an hour of running, crying and praying to God, I returned home a different woman. Now, I was ready. Ready to be the wife and mom I needed to be. Ready to be God's vessel to pour out. Being in the Lord's presence restored me. I had been filled and changed.
Dear Lord, I need You today. Living this life sometimes drains me and leaves me empty. As I come through Your gates and into Your presence, change me. Pour Your life and heart into me so that as I leave through the "opposite gate," I am not the same woman as when I came in. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper
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Do you need help coming into the Lord's presence? Play worship music and let God's truth pour into your heart. As it does, respond to Him. Speak words of praise for who He is and what He means to you.
Here I am Again, Lord, a free devotion, will encourage you as well.
Be real with Jesus even when your feelings are negative. Honesty with Him and ourselves allows room for Him to take us out of our "pit" and move us closer to Himself.
Find a place where you can "run" when you need to be with Jesus. Maybe it is your bedroom, porch or going for a walk. Go there regularly to meet with Him.
What brings up old, negative thoughts? Harsh words with your husband? Rejection at work? Communication patterns in broken relationships? Begin to recognize these triggers so you can make a point to run to Jesus for truth each time they resurface.
Titus 3:5-7, "…He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (NIV)
Ephesians 4:21-22a, 23, "Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes." (NLT)
© 2009 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 18 December 2009.