“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Rom 12:19. We live in a journey surrounded by God’s redemption and the Spirit’s revenge on the work of the enemy. Our walk through the valley of the shadow of death is brightened and redeemed by the truth that our Father is with us. Even as we struggle and suffer in this world inhabited by the enemy of our souls, Christ is made manifest again and again to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). We live in a war of redemption. We watch as the year of the Lord’s favor unfolds and we are placed within the work of the Spirit’s anointing to replace poverty with good news, broken-heartedness with healing, captivity with liberty, bondage with freedom, and mourning with comfort (Isaiah 61:1-2). This is the Lord’s warfare on the enemy’s attacks on our lives, to redeem every circumstance, every trial and every wound and to turn them into windows through which we view His grace and love.
The Lord teaches us to oppose the enemy with the fruits of righteousness and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Where there has been conflict and turmoil, our Father wages peace on our circumstances. Where we have been grieved, He comforts and consoles us. When we sit in the ashes of defeat, despair and remorse, He gives us beauty. He pours the oil of joy on those who mourn; He wraps us in the garment of praise and lifts us up out of our heaviness. He establishes us firm and strong so we won’t be tossed and bent by the storm. Where we have felt failure, hate and despondency, He covers us and fills us with His love. Where there has been fear and disquiet, He gives us the peace of Jesus. Where there is fatigue and frustration, He gives us patience. Where we have faced cruelty, He extends kindness. When we see only evil, He reveals His goodness. When we have been let down and betrayed, He is faithful. When we have been handled roughly, He restores us gently. When we feel like things are in chaos, He is in control. As we begin to see God working to redeem our lives, our character and our struggles, we take on His character and the fruit of the Spirit grows within us. In the ashes of what has been torn down, the Lord is planting His nature. What the devil has stolen is replaced above and beyond all that was lost. What the devil has killed has been given an undefeatable resurrection life and what the devil has destroyed is being built on a firmer foundation by the Holy Spirit. This is the Lord’s vengeance on the enemy’s attempts on our lives.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). In the midst of trials and refining, our faith is tested and made precious in the sight of God. We are believers, and we believe in the power, deliverance and salvation available in Christ. Hope remains in us as we look to our glorious future and the promises we have been given, delighting in what our Father will do in the lives of His children. Love overpowers all. It binds us to Christ as we receive His life and His love and we give it back to Him in an unending, eternal love relationship that propels us deeper and deeper into His arms. These three abide; they remain; they stick. As we cling to them we cling to Christ and His sure and everlasting work within us. We watch Him work His redemption and healing through our circumstances, destroying the work of the enemy and bringing us home to Him. I look forward to 2012 with inexpressible hope in the powerful redemption of God in my character, in my circumstances, in my city and in the sinners who He is drawing into His kingdom. Isaiah 61:4 follows the proclamation of the Lord’s favor, the day of salvation and the advent of the gospel: “And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.” The Lord is performing a redemptive work within our city. The harvest is ready, may we labor faithfully in the new year.
View the whole January 2012 newsletter here.
View previous newsletters here.