Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 136
Passage of the Day: Psalm 126: 5-6 [NLT] …
5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Contextual Study for today’s passage: Psalms, Chapter 126 [NLT] … Go to this link …
Reference Passage #1: Romans 12 – Use this link : [When our feelings take us down, we must – in faith – choose to use our gifts to plant seeds which lift us up.] …[NLT] …
My Journal for Today: Dear fellow Christian; if you’ve ever read along in this blogspot with me and you happen to be here today, PLEASE PAY ATTENTION!! What I’m about to write and you’re about to read, having been given to me from God’s Spirit this morning, could change … maybe even save … your life. Yes, I know … that’s a big claim, especially since I haven’t written anything yet; … now let me put into digital thoughts what I believe God has given me to share this morning.
When we’re feeling way down-and-out, … maybe even severely depressed, … perhaps wracked in grief or anger about some emotional, or maybe even physical, pain, what is our “natural” tendency? Well, … our very human reaction to feelings of anguish, anger, or angst is to strike out and even try to strike down the source – or at least what we perceive to be the source – of our down-trodden feelings. When we’re feeling way low, we have a tendency to try to do something to relieve the pain or to quell the anger; don’t we? Sometimes to relieve the pain, especially the emotional pain, we take some substance, maybe a pain-killer. Often when we’re feeling the pain of loss, we strike out by trying to turning away or walking away from what we FEEL is the source of our anger or loss. Perhaps that might mean turning away from some relationship or if our anger is directed at God, turning away from Him or His word or His church.
But what God is telling me this morning as His prescription for pain, anguish, or sorrow, is way counter-intuitive. In today’s highlight passage from Psalms 126: 5-6 God’s Spirit, through the writing of some Psalmist who was likely writing about God’s people returning to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon, exhorts believers to sow seeds of JOY in the midst of tears.
Yes, I know; … one wants to cry out, “WHAT?!!” … And this morning, being in some degree of pain myself, my reaction as I meditated on this passage was to ask, “Okay, God, I need a little more of the “how to” if You’re asking me to choose to sow joy seeds of joy when I’m feeling very un-joy-full right now. But the more I was able to separate my mind from my feelings in today’s time in prayer with God and trying to apply God’s truth [i.e., His word], God’s Spirit began to show me what He meant by this prescription for dealing with painful feelings.
What God is saying, and I’m writing here, is that He wants us to overcome the fickleness of feelings by sowing seeds of action IN FAITH; and this response to our feelings, which so tend to drive us inward into selfishness, takes a real act of faith and will to move us outward, rather than inward, when we’re feeling so down and out. And the more I was able to get out of myself and into God’s truth, remembering the exhortations of Paul from Romans 12, linked above, I could see what God wants us to do – in faith – when our feelings seem to have us captive to selfishness and depression.
So, if we’re FEELING down right how, how can we sow seeds of joy – in FAITH – to overcome our own sense of hopelessness? Well, as you can read in Romans 12, if you know your Spirit-imparted gift or gifts, God wants us to reach outward and use that gift or those gifts for His glory. For instance, when you’re feeling somewhat down, if you were to CHOOSE to exercise your spiritual gift of encouragement and encourage someone who needed to hear that encouragement, what do you think would be the reaction of the person being encouraged; … and equally, how would you FEEL when you saw how encouraged the person was when you had you CHOSEN to encourage them? Duh! … It’s not rocket-science, is it?
Think about it. If you have a gift of service and you serve someone, what will be the reaction of the one served? They will FEEL lifted up; and will it lift you up to see their gratefulness in being served? Of course, it will! If you have the gift of mercy; and you reach out to help someone who needs God’s mercy, what will be their predictable response; and won’t you feel lifted up when you see that the person, whom you chose to reach out and help, receive God’s love through you.
I have the Spiritual gift of teaching; and here I am writing – as a teacher – about something which could take you – or me – from the depths of despair to the heights of spiritual joy; and what do you think my FEELINGS are right now as I imagine what could happen in your life if you implemented or applied these truths in your life. You guessed it! It lifts me up just to imagine how the application of these teachings could change your life. So, just choosing to use my Spirit-imparted gifts here this morning in writing these words has lifted me up. … Are we getting it?!!
So, think about it, my friend. How can you sow some seeds of joy today – in faith – to receive the God-enabling grace which will follow your choice to sow God’s love and His joy even when you’re feelings are in the dumpers. Why don’t you just give it a go? If you’re a bit low and your gift is service, go serve someone! If you’re gift is giving, give something to God’s kingdom. If your gift is leadership, lead someone, … onward on to God’s path of righteousness.
But don’t let your feelings – and Satan’s use of those feelings – wrap you up with a paralysis of analysis and cause you to go inward in selfishness rather than outward in Christlikeness. Because when we CHOOSE to reach outward – IN FAITH - to share God’s love or His grace with others no matter what we’re feeling inwardly, God will pour Himself into those choices; … and what is sown in tears of anguish will become tears of joy.
My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to sow in faith what is needed from me to see Your love and grace flourish where those seeds are sown for Your glory. … Amen