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The Redeemer's Promise of Joy
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11
Author’s Note: Readers will note that the previous “Even Me, Even You” section has been removed and replaced by this new “Overcomer’s Life” section. As I continue to walk out my own overcomer’s journey, God is faithful to bring instruction and encouragement. For some time, I’ve felt the need to share messages of encouragement, strength, and wisdom particular to overcomers. Now seems to be the time. A few old posts have been moved to this section as a part of the change. I trust the overcomers among us and those just beginning their journey will appreciate the increased focus on God’s work in and through our trials and His victories.
A redeemer will come to Zion, and to those of Jacob who repent from willful sin - the word of HASHEM. And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, said HASHEM, My spirit which is upon you and My words that I have placed in your mouth will not be withdrawn from your mouth nor from the mouth of your offspring nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring, said HASHEM, from this moment and forever.
Arise! Shine! for your light has arrived, and the glory of HASHEM shines upon you. For, behold, darkness may cover the earth and a thick cloud may cover the kingdoms, but upon you HASHEM will shine, and His glory will be seen upon you.
Instead of your being forsaken and despised, without wayfarers, I will make you into an eternal pride, a joy for generation after generation. Isaiah 59:20-60:2,15 (Stone Edition, Artscroll English Tanach)
As Isaiah once spoke to a nation in captivity that longed for its freedom and renewal, he speaks also to the overcomer of our day. God's pronouncement to Isaiah was clear: "A redeemer will come to Zion," and the words that he gives Isiah for the peoples of that day and our own will not be broken. They are as true for you today as they were for the Israelites then.
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Sin Separates, God Restores
If you are reading this it is likely that you have experienced the hardship of separation from those you love, from family, possibly from hope itself, and certainly from God. When our sin is great, those who care most about us sometimes reach a point where they cannot continue to bear the pain as they observe our trial. They will try for a while but eventually, when the sin is too much to bear any more, they will turn away. Even God turns away (59:2, 12-14).
This does not mean the turn away from us is eternal. In both cases, earthly and Heavenly, they wait for us to recognize our unrighteous actions and face them honestly with confession and repentance. When that happens, God will be the first to turn back to face us once again, the first to embrace us, and the first to restore relationship.
God's Mercy Will Shine
Forgiveness sets us free, restoration shines a new light in our life. For a few, this change will come suddenly. For most, it will be a gradual process as God reintroduces Himself and begins to change our earthly nature. Regardless which path you find yourself on, it will feel like newness, like being reborn with no tally marks on the wrong side of the ledger. There will be a new freshness and tenderness, signs that a new day has arrived in your spirit and life.
These are to be embraced enthusiastically and shared with those who care about you. Your reboot may take them by surprise and there may even be skepticism, but the new Light that shines from within will purge the darkness that once covered you. You will know it and feel it, that thing called experiential knowledge will become real and its light impossible to hide.
Establishing the Overcomer's Joy
Fear, guilt, and shame are an unholy trinity. Tools of captivity, they often try to convict, or re-convict, the sinner set free. It is their mission to return us to captivity and they are very good at it. Do not buy their snake oil.
As genuine as our freedom may be, it doesn't take long for these dark forces to make their assault. It may be a doubting remark or an accusation from one who has been injured by our sin, or it might be observing their pain as they deal with what our sin wrought in their own life. In moments like these, it is easy to fall into fear, guilt, and shame. It seems the logical thing to do, but it isn't. By surrendering to their taunts, we take their nature back into ourselves and the joy God has filled us with evaporates. That is satan's plan, not God's.
This is why accepting, honoring, and living in the protection and joy God provides is so important. It preserves His victory in us and, over time, gives others the opportunity to see and accept the truth of our renewal. They may never come to that point, but that is their choice. The overcomer's choice is to remain in God's shadow or abandon it and so declare God's mercy and grace void of power. They are not, but He will not violate our will. As set free ones, we must shepherd what He has bestowed upon us with great attention and care. Why? Because our freedom and joy is our strength and a beacon light to the world around us.
Our Redeemer promises eternal security, a continual flow of His mercy and grace into our lives, and the new peace and joy that come with them. He delivers on His promises. Let your joy shine. Let it fill your heart and face. Let it fill your world.