Encouragement for Today
“Burned Out and Burned Up” – Part 1
Wendy Pope, Director of Development, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Key Verse: Joel 1:19, "To you, oh LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field." (NIV)
I am drawing a blank as I sit to write this devotion. I feel exhausted. I feel burned up. I wonder can you identify with me? I am sure you can. Life is hard. Life is complicated. And frankly, life burns us out. We go and go. We over commit ourselves, many times all in the name of the Lord. Sometimes, we sit and enjoy the enticing draw of sin in our lives until the enemy has used us to destroy the once soft, grassy pasture of our walk with our Savior. The quiet brook where we would go to quench our thirst is dry and hard. The wildflowers of spontaneous acts of kindness are gone. The trees that gave us shelter and protection from the heat of the enemy's attacks have been destroyed in the fire. So what are we to do now? We stand in the middle of our burned up pasture and call out to a Holy God who loves us unconditionally. That is what we do.
I love the picture this Scripture paints. In the middle of our brokenness, our burned out state of mind, our scorched pasture, we call to our Heavenly Father for renewal and repentance. He reaches out to us with His strong righteous right hand then gently and tenderly lifts us in His arms.
We can't expect renewal, however, without repentance. I have discovered that what burned my beautiful pastures was direct disobedience and willful sin in my life. In order to have the grass to grow again, the brook to flow and the wildflowers to bloom, we must be willing to confess with our mouths the sins in our lives, and be willing to allow God to sow in our hearts once again a fertile field for His planting.
In Isaiah 61:3, the prophet tells us God will bring forth beauty from the ashes of our lives. Isaiah also tells us that God will exchange our mourning for gladness and give us a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. I love the rest of the verse:
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” (NIV)
Doesn't this verse describe what you want – what everyone wants? To have the pain of the trials that seem to overtake us bring forth beauty and be purposeful in our lives. For the mourning we feel over lost love, broken relationships, unfulfilled dreams and even death, to be exchanged for gladness. What if today you took God up on His Word and put on the garment of praise He has designed especially for you, His beloved, instead of wearing that worn garment of despair? Oh, what a display of splendor that will be. I wish I were there to see it!
My Prayer for Today:
Help me Father to take off this worn out garment of despair and joyful put on my garment of praise. I want to be a planting for you God, a display of your splendor. Help me to be willing to do what it takes for my heart to be a fertile soil for your planting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Type or write out Isaiah 61:3. Make multiple copies in various places that you regularly go. Make it part of your everyday routine to read it aloud.
What do I need to repent to God?
How have I willingly disobeyed God lately?
What do I want my pasture to look like?
Isaiah 41:13, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear I will help you." (NIV)
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I make a way in a desert and streams of wasteland." (NIV)
Zephaniah 3:17, "For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you in great gladness; He will love and not accuse you. Is that a joyous choir I hear? No it is the Lord Himself exulting over you in happy song." (TLB)
Intimate Moments with God, with Sharon Jaynes, contributor
Coming Out of the Dark, by Mary Southerland
Secrets of the Vine, by Bruce Wilkinson
Originally published Wednesday, 05 October 2005.