The Battle for Joy
I’m not sure if I am writing this to encourage myself, or if there is someone else out there in social media land who will be encouraged through reading this? Either way, I am being led to post The Battle for Joy. The Joy of the Lord is a frequency. Are we tuning in?
I have been radical and sold out for Jesus since I was fourteen years old, leading worship at the keyboard as His worshiper since age eleven. My husband and I have been purposeful and intentional about raising our six children for the Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven for the past twenty-five years. We’ve persevered through much over the past thirty-five years together, so much so, that I released a book about our journey in June 2015, entitled, Was I Not Listening OR Did They Not Tell Me? – The Journey of a Psalmist (REVISED EDITION 2019 with 31 Day Devotional available on this website under SHOP PRODUCTS, at TheArtsExpressed.org under SHOP, and on Amazon or Kindle). I truly thought we had made it to the other side of breakthrough, on the backside of a ten year wilderness at the time of my June book release. Little did I know that there would come a tsunami wave in our lives over the course of the summer that would confront every confession of faith I made throughout my book.
How does one move forward when everything about one’s present is literally being held captive to that present reality and its continuous reminders of the past? We are currently barricaded in a place where Jesus alone must supernaturally manifest on our behalf, and until He does, we must wait in faith, confronting every lie, every accusation, every fear, every doubt, every lack, every impossibility, etc. with Christlike faith for the manifestation of the exact opposite our Heavenly Father already truly is on our behalf, simply because of His Son in us and in spite of what we do not yet see in the natural.
I have groaned through swimming pools of intercessory tears, with only temporary relief since 2013, when the bottom literally fell out from everything we knew and held dear. Jesus was led into the wilderness and had to overcome Satan for 40 days and nights at the onset of His ministry. Jesus walked the path of the most horrific suffering known to man on behalf of ALL mankind at the onset of His eternal ministry. Why do we assume our own journeys should not have to follow in His footsteps, including His path of suffering (1 Peter; Philippians 1:29)? Our family was led into the wilderness ten years ago, and we continue to learn to overcome Satan, not in our own strength, but in Christ alone who dwells richly within us. We have been believing for an end to this nightmare for far too long, yet we wait. We had a prophetic word at the onset: James 1:3-4 (AMP), “knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]endurance. And let [b]endurance have its perfect [c]result, so that you may be [d]perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I have reminded Father about His promise to not give us more than we could handle multiple times since that word. We are long past what we ever thought we could endure. Charismatics have put it back on us through prophecy/prayer as having not repented about something or generational curses that continue to leave the door wide open in the spirit realm for the enemy’s assaults against us. If repenting, worship, deliverance prayers, intercession for others, prayer and worship gatherings on behalf of others, etc. were the solution to our breakthrough, our wilderness should have most certainly ended, not to mention the blood of Jesus being more than enough to cover it all. I have learned that we humans truly only ever see in part, irregardless, and that all gifts of discernment and prophecy are to be used to encourage, edify and comfort, as opposed to being used to kick those who are already down, wounding further those who are already wounded. In this NOW season all critical spirits, all accusations and negativity, all doom and gloom, and all judgments against people and nations have to be broken off the body of Christ if we want to be used in the work of His Kingdom as we move forward in His appointed times.
Our own current shakedown has messed with my childlike faith that has ALWAYS believed my Father does what we cannot. I find myself decreeing in this hour, “Even if He never comes through, I will exalt His holy name all my days, for He is eternally worthy of ALL my worship, irregardless.” There must be something incredibly supernaturally amazing on the other side of this darkness, as I see absolutely no reason in the natural for our journey to be so intense. We’re not a ‘big name’ Kingdom ministry. We haven’t seen very many healed in going where Holy Spirit has sent us…yet (even though we have received healing several times over the course of years in our own lives). We have equipped a few for the battle of the clashing of the two kingdoms, but not an army…yet. We’re not evangelists leading multitudes to the King of kings…yet. I am a psalmist/worshiper/teacher with prophetic gifting, thus far having impacted only a few for the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. There are relatively minimal visible reasons for the enemy’s intensity in trying to take us out…yet. I have twelve iPad pages of awesome prophetic words that have not yet manifested in their fullness. I know my husband has an apostolic calling on his life he has yet to see manifest as well.
I also know we’re not alone at this juncture. We’re in the thick of what is manifesting throughout the nations, so I know we are right on time. I am continuously reminded of Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment in Iran, the horrific persecution occurring across the Middle East, and the increasing division and violence manifesting in our own nation in this hour. I am also being reminded of King David in 1 Samuel 30. His anointing to become king of Israel had taken place thirteen years prior, he was on the run from King Saul for most of those years, and at this juncture, everything he had remaining had just been attacked and taken captive; it appeared that all hope was lost. We can relate. David could have chosen to simply give up due to the immense loss and hope-deferred, but instead, he chose to encourage himself in the Lord and be obedient to His leading. It was his response that empowered David to recover all and then-some, and shortly after, he was enthroned as king.
David’s story is what keeps coming to mind as encouragement to me personally in this hour, as does Joseph’s, Daniel’s, Esther and Mordecai’s, Job’s, and the whole host of other Biblical heroes who saw our Heavenly Father be who only He could be in their hour of greatest need. We must encourage ourselves in the One who desires to manifest Himself as Faithful, Deliverer, Provider, Healer, Restorer, and so much more. Jesus Christ is our only Solution…our only Answer to everything in this life. We must choose Him alone as our Joy. I am personally in the midst of the most intense battle of my 56 years of life: choosing Joy when all hope ‘appears’ as stolen, deferred, lost, or gone. He alone is my Hope. Nothing can separate me from Him (Romans 8:35-39). I believe many of us are in the heat of this very battle. We get to choose our Victor – His Joy as our Strength, or succumb to the darkness in defeat. It sounds way easier on paper than the battle that rages in my heart and mind in this NOW time. Today, I choose to let go, allowing Him access to manifest as my Joy, as I literally walk through Psalm 23 (AMP). It’s no longer a verse I memorized as a confirmation student. It’s my reality.
A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd,
I [a]shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside [b]quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the [c]paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the [d]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no [e]evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You [f]have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
[g]Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will [h]dwell in the house of the Lord [i]forever.
In the midst of this wilderness, I am praying and interceding for others differently. I am also praying and interceding differently for our nation as a result of this journey. I have learned to literally see Ephesians 6:12 (AMP) through the lens of my Heavenly Father: “For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.” I am choosing to focus on resting in the One who has already won the Victory, instead of focusing on the one who is attempting to defeat us (Daniel 8:21-28). Even though I am very aware of the enemy’s schemes to lie, steal, kill and destroy, I am choosing to meditate on His Word alone in this hour, decreeing what He alone reveals.
Holy Spirit led me in 2007 to begin crying out for my Father to teach me how to really pray my Father’s heart and will to manifest on the Earth as it is in Heaven, in all things and in all circumstances. In answer to that prayer, I have learned to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in prayer: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In both Jesus and Job-like manner, I have learned to pray blessings on those who sin against us and to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:28). It’s been a rough ride, but I can honestly see the ‘why’ of the wilderness. Ten years ago, we risked everything to have ALL of our Heavenly Father in this life on Earth – ALL of His best plans and purposes for our family. My prayers are not the same prayers I entered this wilderness praying. I am not the same person I entered this wilderness being. I have encountered Christ in me, my Hope of Glory. He is my only Worth in this life. He alone defines me. He is my Joy, my Strength, my Hope, and my Destiny; not my will, but His. He is the Delight and the Desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4). He is the Reward I diligently seek (Hebrews 11:6). Period. For that, I am truly thankful, as my heart’s desire and most heartfelt prayers are to be His vessel of glory, carrying out only my Heavenly Father’s heart and will on this Earth all the days of my life.
Until He manifests a breakthrough on our behalf, I will continue to encourage myself in Him, stirring again my childlike faith. I look forward to sharing praise reports.
Matthew 18:3-4 (AMP), “And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jude 20-25 (AMP), “But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [[a]make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit; Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal. And refute [so as to] convict some who dispute with you, and on some have mercy who waver and doubt. [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality. Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).”