Do you long for that word somewhere in your life? Does it quicken your spirit or stir something within you? Is restoration something you need—maybe have needed for a long time?
I’ve heard by various men and women of God, single words given to them in the spirit, summarizing the theme of our year 2023. These words work well together. One precise word might also carry special significance for you or bring affirmation. Words I’ve witnessed so far, on separate occasions, out of the mouths of the righteous: Arise. Build. Grace. Favor. Glory. Completion (which included the explanation that this means both an ending and a beginning).
I also received a theme-word from the Lord for this year. Three times I heard it, so consider it amplified, lol. Restored. This word came to me in the past tense, showing it is something already sealed; a done deal. At least, something on which to expect closure; a promise fulfilled. This specific word also came with a Bible verse.
“As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (Ezekiel 34:12)
Circumstances don’t have to be perfect to be restored. In fact, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “perfect circumstances”, not on earth as we know it right now. We can come close to what we perceive is perfect, but only the fulfillment of Yeshua’s promised return will bring perfection—because only he is perfect. And I don’t think it’s unlikely we walk through a shaking or two this year, to come to our restoration. Because God is always moving and seekers are yearning, and with yearning comes growth, and with growth… well, some pains of stretching.
Though we walk in darkness (for our days are indeed dark), yet our light shines. Inwardly restored, outwardly we are steadfast and exhibiting peace. The Lord told me that despite dark days and growing persecution, his flock will experience the greatest joy and harvest, favor, renewal, and restoration during giant storms. It will be like a supernatural manifestation that will confound observers… True peace, magnified (come what may). Not just our speaking of peace, but living it. To see a harvest of promises unfolding in the dark; hidden treasures revealed in a coming-out-of-the-woodwork type of disclosure; double and triple repayment for our prior troubles. Gifts over losses. Healing. Hard-to-plow ground made soft and pliable for us to freely cultivate the strange work he once prompted, or whispered, now set before us with greater clarity. In fact, I believe this even means for some people, a literal building or restoration of some-thing, a prophetic plan come to pass. For some also, a geographical move this year, to a place where the Lord has something (maybe someone) specifically waiting for you (scattered sheep brought together).
Restored means Jehovah Raah, The Lord our Shepherd, goes ahead of us to prepare the way, and we the sheep know his voice. It’s our complete trust in him, to follow our kindest and best friend and rescuer, our guide and overseer.
It’s important that we don’t look back. Don’t hang onto the past. As humans, we tend to give way too much energy to the transpirations and negative decisions (failed harvests) of the past; victims dwelling on shoddy events of the former days. Enough is enough. Although failed harvests (a necessary evil?) have primed us to grasp and appreciate harvests of the present and future, for “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), accept it for what it is, at whatever age you are, and don’t look back. Let go, shift, forgive (even yourself) if you need to, move forward, setting your face like flint and with mounting integrity, a warrior seeking deeper intimacy in the Refiner’s Fire.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got for 2023. The word is good. God is good. It’s going to be good.
Maybe the Lord spoke to you in this manner, having given you a themed word, or a string of words, too. I’d be interested to hear about it.
Loneliness, the Cure
There’s something about the holiday season that amplifies feelings of loneliness. Even if you aren’t a lonely person, you can miss those who you wish you could visit, yet logistically can’t. There are some who don’t have anybody at all. You might be yearning for a companion. Genesis 2:18 tells us it’s not good for man to be alone. Yet, meeting a person doesn’t fix things. Unless we’re already happy, and know who we are in Christ, another person could be double the trouble. We aren’t meant to be or to have human crutches, but be filled with purpose, glorifying God equally together, being fruitful, strengthening each other so that nobody needs crutches. Which leads me to the thought that maybe you have someone, but in that covenant, you’ve suffered. You can be right beside somebody, or in a crowded room, and yet feel like the loneliest person on earth. Observers might even believe you have the perfect situation, but you’re far from it. Or maybe you have a partner who is the epitome of a true helpmate from the Lord, and a blessing. But the truth is that even your closest can let you down at times. And then maybe you've lost someone, and loneliness is amplified by grief. All kinds of scenarios and relationships I could paint here. Whatever your picture, if (when) you find yourself alone, when everybody else from that crowded event is gone (Elvis has left the building), the only one still there is the Lord. The only one who was forever there, and will always be. He’s Number One.
*When you’re longing and reminiscing, the Lord is there.
*If you’re yearning and dreaming, the Lord cares, so tell him how you feel. Tell him your story. He already knows your heart’s desires but wants to listen anyway, and he’ll listen most attentively.
*When others make you feel singled out and crappy by unkind or ugly remarks, the Lord won’t judge, only accept. While we’re at it, he doesn’t mind the added lines on your face, blemishes, or pudginess in your middle; he won’t see the way you’re wired as wrong or weird—because he created you! In fact, he made you in his image, and he loves unconditionally. Glance in a mirror. If you see somebody unlovable or hosting imperfections, consider saying to the reflection, “Well, Jesus loves me unconditionally. Thank you, Lord, for loving me like you do.”
*If frail and imperfect human nature has caused you to feel lonely and invisible… Really, the only one who is perfect is Jesus. And Perfection considers You the Apple of His Eye. Shouldn’t it matter most what HE thinks of you?
*When you're in sorrow, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and will not forsake you.
Only the Lord knows the inner workings of our hearts, our essences; he knows us inside out, yet loves us wholly, completely, perfectly. If you don’t have him, find him. He’s right there beside you and has been there all along. He’ll always make you feel like the most precious cargo, always. He will build up, never tear down. The truth is, he intended to be our closest friend. He’s the most beautiful truth. He eases loneliness and hurt like no other. Whatever your situation (there are so many), seek him, seek your Creator. He’ll not only comfort; he’ll delight in you. He’s eager for your company.
I find the song posted below brilliantly relatable. It can apply to all kinds of relationships and situations. It’s relative. So for me right now, it’s a love song to the Lord. The only one who was with me from the beginning is with me always, no matter what! My constant companion. To him who sees all, knows all, takes it all, and ever loves. I think this just might be my new personal theme song.
Purity: What It Is
The dictionaries will tell us that purity, a noun, means “not dirty” or “free from contamination”; unadulterated, uncompromised; faultless, moral, and chaste.
With people, who then is pure? Absolutely nobody.
We are veined with darkness, born into sin with selfish natures. Disobedient as sheep gone astray, each turning to his own iniquity. Even the Apostle Paul said he was unspiritual, carnal, and sold to sin (Romans 7:14).
Often, I hear how a person admits to having done too much wrong for the Lord to want them. Bad history or choices, afflictions, keeping us from serving the One True God of purity and goodness. Maybe regrets of a tainted past keep regurgitating like wounds, sharp thorns that won’t go away. Living in a fallen world means there is a division between soul and spirit. Yet it’s the Word of God—which is Spirit and alive—that is our source for clean-living (Hebrews 4:12). We can’t do it on our own. And the living Word doesn’t just sit there… it moves, breathes, transforms; therefore, requires our active pursuit and absorption.
It’s an old and effective ploy of the enemy to keep us stagnant. Prohibit us from moving forward into freedom by flinging at us hisses of guilting, shaming, and regret. Nagging that we are weak in the body or corrupt at the heart, and it’s pointless to fight the next dirty urge.
I would suggest viewing purity as an action verb and not a noun. Purify: “To cleanse, or rid of impurities. To free from guilt or sin.” We grow in purity.
Go to the source, the Word of God. That’s our aim. For “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6). “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9). How about, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22).
That’s something to savor, isn’t it? Obedience. Obedience to the truth, to the only unblemished one, Jesus, who fills us with himself, making us pure, for the Lord surely wants us, his precious ones, close to him. This includes those who already made a commitment to faith in him. We don’t accept forgiveness for our sins then just sit there. Life is hard and we all still falter, so it takes a daily renewal of mind. I would suggest the verb form of obedience here. Obey: “an act or instance of obeying.” Just as we deliberately fall into an immorality (it’s a choice, always a choice), we can be deliberate about reading/viewing the Word. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).
In this age of instant gratification, and where immodest boastfulness and temptation come at us in bombarding fashion, the struggle is strong for anyone who wants to live a clean life. But the same troubles have existed in every generation. It’s tough, the pressure, especially if one has succumbed to a form of enticement often, that it’s become a persistent pattern or addiction. But it’s not impossible to overcome, not when we have the miracle-worker manifesting in our lives.
The Word is also our shield, our protector. Through the Word, we find sanctity. It is our cleanser and healer. Here is a helpful link I found providing an array of scriptures on Being Pure.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). I want to be that person. I want to see God.
His Word, beginning with His Word…
Have you noticed how many people, especially aging people, like to talk about their aches, pains and physical problems? Sometimes there’s even a little pride like comparing heroic war wounds or something: “You think that’s bad? Well, get a load of this,” kind of exchange, as a person proceeds to pull up a pant leg and roll down a sock for the big reveal. As I age, the more I hear such things, have taken part of such things, and yet depart from these discussions less cheerfully. If you haven’t known an individual, or clusters of acquaintances complaining about health issues, you’ll most likely see plenty of posts and pictures on social media. There’s also the constant campaign of ads and commercials on medications. I think it’s safe to say there’s brokenness in our society over health, but the overwhelming need to chew over conditions without end can be equally draining.
I’m not referring to the serious diseases and terminal illnesses, afflictions and real medical emergencies that require our understanding and compassion, and that can also expand our testimonies. I mean the day-to-day discussions that seem to vie for center stage when they don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. Maybe it’s not you doing the talking, but you’d lived with a hypochondriac, or worked with a malingerer, for years; that can be its own sort of burden. The negative concentration after a great length of time can be a real drag, when everything about a person, or that comes out of their mouth, is about their ailments, mild, moderate, or imaginary. It's like a verbal mountain of affliction, and you’re caught on its strange and precarious ledge between feeling numb and hypersensitive. Whether it’s you or someone else, aside from trying to fix sincere problems or addressing them with prayer, dwelling on them can be a thought ravager and praise stealer.
God is a healer and restorer. He also desires our focus and attention. I’m not in denial that with aging comes decaying; this curse came with the Fall, our own undoing, that we all must endure. But it’s come to the forefront of how much I don’t want to focus on the process of pains but on praise. A small example would be if someone asked me how my day was going, and I answered, “Well, I got this pain in my hip, and when I move my wrist this way it pops, and I didn’t sleep very well last night…” and then junk is on the table. I don’t want to behave that way. Even if I’m hurting, I want to suck it up, work through it if I can, and not spread the psychological residue, the “crown” of physical discomfort. Instead, have an answer ready on my lips, “My day is good because God is good all the time. Praise the Lord. How are YOU?” Or “I’m still kickin’, thank the Lord–and thanks for asking! How’s YOUR day going?” I don’t want to whittle an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day by dwelling on problems, especially my problems. And if I need prayer, then why not just ask for it, then move on with thankfulness? Some days, I have a spring in my step. Some days, eh, not so much. I am learning the fine line between when to ask for (or offer) prayer and keep quiet being careful not to complain.
So when I’ve caught myself lately near joining the valetudinarian collective (such as beginning my last blog by explaining my recent bouts, and longing for my slipped youth), I hear the Lord say, “Stop. In your weakness, I am made strong,” with emphasis on WHO is made strong. The next time I’m feeling blue about getting older and dealing with aged issues (could be again tomorrow!)—the magic word, “Stop,” is followed by “Praise you, Lord. Prepare me for the best years of my life!” And also, to take special care to reporting glorious healings and answered prayers!
If you are upwards of age 50, I hope you embrace words of praise over pain. It’s okay to ask for prayer; we’re supposed to support each other and give good ear to listen with compassion and kindness. Give and receive. But at certain points, we might do well to fine-tune our focus, redirecting our thoughts from our bodies to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals. This is one I’ve heard a thousand times, but it never gets old: let go and let God. From the heart, out of the mouth, may we strive to put the Lord first in all things and linger there.
And this concludes my two- day/blog posts on age and body. I’m moving on.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”–Psalm 42:11
Future for the Aged
I’d had good luck in health without so much as a cold in a very long time. I guess you can say viral villains caught up to me in September when I got the flu followed by Covid. Knocked me off my feet. At one point I straggled to a mirror for a look-see, and muttered, “Aw, snap, this ain’t pretty.” At 52, I’m showing my age, and it’s not only when I’m sick. I got to thinking about these things while I was down. Although I stay active, I’ve learned I’m not as spry as I used to be. I used to be physically strong (for a five-feet-three-inch female, anyway), now I’m not as strong. I used to be limber, now I’m not. I’m the same person, just older, grayer, softer, rounder; and I’m tested with an old back injury.
Not for the faint of heart, yet it happens to all of us, aging. Gloom threatened to set in during my September stint; or you could call it fatigue, frustration, gut-punch, whatever. My thoughts drifted toward how my youth was disappearing; the best years have gone. But I got an instant rebuke from the Lord, who said, “No, the best years are yet to come, they are just ahead of you! Have you forgotten what I’ve promised you?” I had in that moment. “Your latter days will be better than your prior days, for I have a job for you to do—the biggest yet—and I will not only give you what you need and more, renewing your strength, increasing your joys, but I will excessively restore what the enemy has stolen in past years and seasons. I have so many gifts in store for you!” He also made a point of saying, “Let me remind you that this word is not just for you.” I had a hunch, because he often reminds me, so I’m sharing.
Psalm 103:5 came to mind, “Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
I pondered on the themes and attributes of the eagle. Eagles are resilient, fearless, have keen eyesight, long lifespans, are strong and majestic, faithful, nurturing; represented in scripture to symbolize the righteous, rejuvenation, divine promises, vision, leadership, and more.
Here’s another more renown verse (Isaiah 40:29-31): “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
While we’re at it, I read a few others dealing with the aged and aging. I’m sure there are exhaustive Bible studies on elders, purpose, and hot ministry. Because even if our bodies rebel here and there, or on some days everywhere, if you’re called, HE covers. Age is just a number, and God’s vision is eternal.
Ruth 4:15: “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.”
Job 42:12: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
Deuteronomy 34:7: “Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
Hosea 2:15: “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Joel 2:28: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams…”
The future isn’t just for the young and swift, not in God’s eyes. The future is for the aged, as well. Many are called. I believe we are approaching another, and maybe the last, Great Harvest, and the righteous of the Lord doing his work include on-their-toes happy elders: Yes, Sir! Yes, Ma’am!
Tomorrow, I plan on posting another age- and health-related blog. I hope you come back to check it out. In the meantime, fly like an eagle.
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...