It wouldn’t stop burning. Like a sunburn after hours on the beach, the heat on my hands stayed for hours. As a blessing to my family, yesterday I made Aunt Carol’s jalapeno peppers for New Year’s. With the sharp knife and chopping block, I had transformed eighteen peppers into little boats of tasty fun. What I hadn’t counted on was that ten minutes of exposure to the pepper’s oil to my dry January skin produced a burning that lasted for hours.
As I looked at my red, cracked hands I thought of a different oil that I had been exposing myself to over the past few months. The Bible refers to this as “the oil of gladness” or the “oil of joy”. I made a change in my daily time with Jesus and now the Holy Spirit was leaving His powerful residue on my dry, cracked heart.
In the heat of the summer months, my heart felt like a stone. When I would go to church, I wouldn’t enter in to worship. I assumed it was the church. Surely, something had changed. We needed new music; something fresh. But then, I changed. I remembered that my position with the Lord has nothing to do with another person and everything to do with me.
I re-discovered that oil of gladness and oil of joy by personally coming into the Lord’s presence. With the help of a prayer journal called Intimacy with God, I began my time with the Lord each day by exposing myself to Him in praise. In her journal, Tara Furman suggests several ways to come before Him: repeating His attributes, calling out His names, and singing hymns or worship songs. My favorite is reading out loud the Psalms. Just yesterday the repairman heard Psalm 103 as he worked on my wood floor.
Opening my day with praises to my King has transformed my heart. I no longer wait to enter into His presence when I go to church; my heart is already there. I have found that my outlook through the day is different. Like the oil from the peppers, the burning effect of His presence is felt on my heart many hours after the exposure.
I want to be sure that the things I share are both touching and practical, so whenever possible, I will be sure to share with you not just the things happening in my walk with the Lord, but the “how to” as well! Here is how you can get Tara’s journal for yourself.