Pauline Turner - Palmerston Library, Darwin, Australia Special Meeting - September 2, 2007

Hymn 215  

I just got a picture of a flag and of the different status that a flag could be in. A flag could be torn, ripped, or battered by the storms of life. Sometimes, you see a flag lying limp, lifeless and it’s just hanging there. Sometimes, you see a flag at half mast showing that there has been a loss or a death. There’s also a flag that’s flown, but if it’s upside down, it’s a signal of distress.

I was thinking of these different flags and wondering how we came here feeling this morning. Did we come feeling like a flag that’s tattered or torn with the storms of life that have come our way, that there has been turmoil with winds blowing and we’re feeling ragged? Maybe we have come feeling weary, limp, and lifeless. Maybe we have come with a heavy burden, heavy-hearted, a feeling of loss, sadness, and maybe distress. But the whole beautiful picture is that God is a God of exchange. And God is wanting to speak to your heart and mine and reassure that he loves us. He wants to show to us if we give him our heart and our life, that he gives us something in return. He gives us in exchange.

We read in Zechariah 3:3 where Joshua was the high priest and Satan was trying to resist him. “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, 'Take away the filthy garments from him.' And unto him, He said, 'Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.' And I said, 'Let them set a fair mitre upon his head.' So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” That’s what God is wanting to do for us today, to give us a new garment; to take our spoiled garment that’s spotted and give us a clean, white garment – something that’s unspoiled.

We sang in that hymn, “Give me a heart that’s kind, a heart that’s new.” David felt like that in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He had a heavy heart because of the sin that he had done and his plea was, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation and uphold me with Thy free spirit.” Isn’t that a wonderful thing that God can do for us? He can give us a new heart; and God who is a restorer is a repairer. He can restore us again of the joy that we had; fresh love and fresh zeal.

In one of our hymns we sing, “Love is the kingdom’s banner, lift it against the sky.” Isn’t that what God wants to do for us? That we might have a deeper love, a deeper purpose, that our banner could be flying high and others can see that we have a king on the throne.

We read of other lives, too, with the storms of life – Isaiah 61:1-3, “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 broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. 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.” Isn’t it wonderful that He is a God of exchange? He wants to take our spirit of heaviness, spirit of mourning, and give us comfort, the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. It’s our hope. I long that in these times that we have today it can be part of our testimony; that we can feel God speaking, knowing of a change of raiment, change of garments that we could have fresh zeal and fresh love just to live for Him.