What Happens When Fears Become Reality?

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The following is “somewhat” as it was spoken from a Ladies Retreat at the Sandfork Church of God on March 26th, 2022

BEAUTY FOR ASHES LADIES RETREAT

At Sandfork Church of God

The Oil of Joy for Mourning

One of the very first calls I went on as an official reporter, for my very own news site was a house fire in Arnoldsburg. Two warnings went out from my husband the fire chief of Grantsville, “Be careful driving to scene, it was winter and there was a possibility of ice on the roads, and don’t park too close scene, you’ll get stuck. I heeded his warning on the roads, but as for parking… I’m not a fan of walking, especially in the dark and cold. It was 4 a.m. and 30 degrees. So against his advice, I parked on scene, there was plenty of room. Up until two more fire trucks from the west fork and and ambulance rolled in on scene. Fire hoses and electric lines were across the road, and just as David had warned, I was stuck.

It took me about an 30 minutes to cover the story and then I could have left, but I was stuck. And in the valley of Arnoldsburg, the smoke from the house, and the ash and the soot  was hanging low because of the heavy air. It was very hard for me to breathe and as a heart patient I probably shouldn’t have been breathing so much of it in. But I was stuck. That was a good lesson to learn, but a difficult one to learn and hard to confess to David, but I did. Luckily I knew the fire fighters and when they finished their work, I asked them to help me back my car off the scene, and they did.

When I began to prepare for this conference, that story was the first that came to my mind. Because that feeling of heaviness in the air, in my lungs and on my heart because of all the circumstances surrounding that night is still with me.

There was more than one kind of mourning going on that night on that fire scene. The house was a rental, and the tenants were drug users. Serious drug users. Stoned out of their heads drug users. So much so that they didn’t even know a child was with them and had climbed out the window when the fire started. They lost their dog in the fire and all their belongings. I’m sure they were fearful of the future, the circumstances…law enforcement showing up.  A neighbor was terrified for her own home, with good cause. It was only a few feet away and the siding had already melted off. She had been afraid of the circumstances around this house for some time. And now her fears had become reality.

So what happens in the life of a Christian when their fears become a reality? We mourn for losses that are not only death, but also life. Divorces cause mourning. For more people than just the husband and wife. The loss of a job, or money can cause mourning. It’s the end of an era. Happy or sad, it’s still an ending. Friendships, relationships, children growing up and moving away and cause sadness and mourning. And of all of that God is aware. And has experienced it Himself. Have you every thought about God’s children “moving” away from Him. How that must make Him feel. Even though God knows the ending, do you suppose He mourns?

My question for you is what are you mourning? And what fear has you concerned that it might become reality. There’s no shortage of things to fear. No shortage of thing to mourn.

My text today is the first part of Isaiah 61:3. But I don’t want to take it out of context so I’ll read the two verses leading into it. Because they apply to our conversation today, and it really will be a conversation if you allow it. A conversation between you and God.

That’s my prayer today is that it opens up a dialogue of conversation between you and Lord, which is why I am here today. I need more communication with God.

Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV

[1] The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; [2] To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; [3] To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

It was common in scripture for those who sorrowed or mourned to wear sackcloth instead of nice apparel and to put ash on themselves in sadness.Sackcloth and ashes were an outward sign of mourning, repentance, or abasement. It was a type of cloth made of black goat’s hair that was thick, rough, and coarse material. It was uncomfortable to wear, and later it was used as a sack. It was also used as an outward sign of mourning and submission. The ashes were an outward sign that signaled to everyone absolute grief, desolation, and ruin.

Somebody was having a no good very bad day.

Ashes served as a reminder of where we came from beginning in Genesis when God formed Adam from the dust (Genesis 2:7), God tells Adam,  Genesis 3:19 KJV

[19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

 (Genesis 3:19). We understand deeply our humanity was formed from the dust, and to dust we will return when we shed our earthly bodies. Scripture says in Genesis 18:27

Genesis 18:27 KJV

[27] And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

Did you hear about he little girl who sat in church and heard the preacher quote this verse, but like many people she only tunes in to a few words in the scripture, but dust. She tugged her mom’s sleeve and asked, “God formed us from butt dust?”

But Isaiah said that the Lord was upon him, anointing him to preach good tidings, bandage the broken-hearted, free the captives and loose the prisoner, and to give the oil of joy to those mourning. That is a considerable difference than the ash and sackcloth. I fully believe there is a time to mourn. For your countenance to be sad and for you to grieve over your loss. When Jesus was at the tomb of Lazarus, He wept. Even though He knew what the end result was going to be, seeing the grief of His friends and understanding their human knowledge of death Jesus wept. It’s okay to grieve. It’s therapeutic to grieve and allow the human body to deal with the loss. But there comes a time when we have to move on. I doubt anyone who put on the itchy, rough sack cloth wanted to wear it any longer than necessary.

I know people – – – and likely you do too, who have not moved out of the grief stage and they’ve been there for too long. We’re not meant to bear heaviness for too long.

I know someone  who experienced physical abuse as a child,  And every time I would be in their presence they would bring it up. They’ll  immediately turn from a sweet personality to an angry bitter one. I would never make light of the sorrow of abuse, but when God has moved you out of that time, we need to move on.

That is not of the Spirit of God that keeps a person in a state of mourning. What the Spirit of God does for the child of God is replace the ash and sackcloth. For us this would be the oil of joy. Even when our fears become reality with new sorrows and heartache.

Let’s talk about God’s Intentions

God appoints us, and anoints us to do what we’ve been called to do. I could not stand before you today and do what I do without God’s anointing upon me. Prior to having that I stood in front of a crowd and went into hysterical laughter, uncontrolled.

In the 1928 Webster’s dictionary there are seven variances for the word “appointed.” The 4th of those i believe is our definition today, Appointed would mean – To purpose or resolve; to fix with intention. It gives reference to Acts 20 when the Apostle Paul had “appointed” himself to go afoot, not by ship.

Acts 20:13 KJV

[13] And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.

He intended on going by foot. And just as Paul had appointed himself to go a certain way,  We too have to make some intentional plans for the direction we’re going to go in the tough times of life. The Lord has appointed a time for us to mourn. Things have happened in our lives that are not good. But he has not appointed us to mourn as the world mourns. Not as those who have no hope, but we are to mourn with the oil of joy, knowing that there is a better day coming!

That is God’s intention for His children

I recently got into Doterra Oils and I don’t think think that everything in my life is a sign from God, but I have been fascinated by the uses of the oils and how oils fit into our lives spiritually. by his Spirit he “puts” comfort into the hearts of them, who through their unbelief refuse to be comforted; they choose to stay in mourning. Not what God intended.

Let’s Talk about God’s Indwelling

God not only has intentions for His children He is indwelling in His children!

Another word would be Abide.

1 John 2:27 KJV

[27] But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

Abiding is a two way street. He abides in you. Abide is to rest or to dwell, dwell within you, to be firm and immovable. That is how God in dwells in you. He’s not going any where. And it is Him that is going to bring you through those tough times in life, give you wisdom and truth for the day. He takes your sorrows and replaces them with joy, beauty for ashes, by comforting your through the Holy Spirit.

That indwelling of the Holy Spirit is an amazing thing. God in you. I don’t think we fully comprehend that notion most of the time. The Creator of all the universe, is dwelling in His children. Abiding in His children. There’s another form of that word called “Abodement.” The fascinating thing about that version is it means “A secret anticipation of something future.” When I discovered that version, I was almost giddy.  Thinking about what God has in store for us!

How many of you believe we are living in a time when Jesus could split the skies wide open and call His children home. We have that wisdom and that knowledge because God has made that mystery know to us.

Colossians 1:26-27 KJV tells us

[26] Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

There it is again, that hope that God provides us by Christ being in us. We are the generation that is privileged to know mysteries that God reveals through His word. That gives us hope. So that when we have a loss here on earth, the Holy Spirit reminds us that there is something way out yonder, or maybe not so far out yonder that is going to make every grief and sorrow we have on this earth worthy of our going through it. And that is a reason to have joy, because we have been anointed by the Spirit of God that gives us wisdom that the world does not have. We are privileged! Glory to God

God has intentions for our lives, there is a purpose in every single thing we go through, He will be glorified

God is Indwelling in our lives, He has taken up residence so that as you go through it, so does He. There nothing you experience that He has not already experienced and is going help you go through it.

The third point I want to talk about is

Let’s talk about God’s instructions

the oil of joy for mourning; oil used to be poured on the heads of persons at entertainments and festivals, and at times of rejoicing; and so its not thought of as something for someone who mourns.

I looked up in DoTerra Oil what would be considered  The oil of joy.

Also known as “wintersweet” or “joy of the mountains,” Marjoram was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness. It’s Warm, herbaceous, woody and known for it’s calming property.

Lavender is one of my favorites when I’m dealing with stress or anxiety, I’ll put a drop in my palms and then just breath it in. It’s amazing how that scent can cause the anxiousness in me to flee.

But more so the effort I take to be calm and focus on something sweet and positive and it takes my mind to a place that I can hear God. I don’t know if it’s this way for you, but for me anxiety is loud. It consumes my mind and my heart and causes me to grieve and I have to be intentional to get it out of my life. For you it might be something entirely different that gets you into a place where God can speak to you and give you direction in your life.

In Psalm 23:5 KJV a verse often read at funerals and in times of grief, it says:

[5] Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

That oil is called “an oil of celebration such as when David was anointed King by Samuel.”, In Psalm 45:7 KJV

[7] Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Scripture is meant to point us to Christ regardless if it’s Old Testament or New Testament. Every single word is meant for the edification of the body of Christ to help us make it through these troubled times and encourage us. Not to grieve or condemn. Christ said  in John 3:17 KJV

[17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

For me, grief is a form of condemnation. If I stay in a grievous state for too long I begin to condemn everything in my life. I keep getting lower and lower, and feel less and less worthy until Satan has me in a state of depression where it feels like I’m drowning. I don’t stand up here as saint Shari in the sanctuary. I stand up here a sinner saved by grace with lots and lots of flaws. There are days that I grieve.

I remind you that Grief is okay. For a while. It’s okay for many things in life. For a while.

But if you have lost someone to eternity – Don’t lose sight that we are all temporary, and reunion day is coming, that thought will excite your soul.

If you have lost a friendship, marriage, relationship of any kind, Focus on the friend Who will never leave you nor forsake you, until God either fixes what’s broken or moves you on.

If your grief is of unknown origin, I face that sometimes, I’m just frustrated with life, write those three points down: It is not my Lord’s Intention, I have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Guide me Lord with Your Instruction. And with the wisdom of God you can come out of it.

Remember that you are anointed with the oil of gladness, an oil that does not come from Doterra, or any other earthly thing; but comes directly through the Spirit of God. If you do not know if you have the Spirit of God in your life, let’s get that settled before we leave today. I am grateful for an opportunity to speak and hope that my words have encouraged your soul. But my greatest hope is that you have seen the joy that dwells in me that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. February 18, 1996 I had my first experience with the Holy Spirit. He began speaking to me and I knew I needed to do something. That difference has brought me such great joy, that I have to tell others of it. that’s why I came today to share the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. – Thank you for allowing it.

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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