GET TOGETHER -Beauty For Ashes Isa 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
This Christmas season has been a Christmas season of J.J. and I thanking and praising the Lord for all that He has done in our lives. Christmas can be a lonely and hard time sometimes. It can be that way because we live in a fallen world. It could be our first year without that person that we loved such as a parent, spouse, or child. On the other hand, it can be tough because to heal our broken hearts we went in a direction that didn’t lead to healing but led to more disappointment and heart break. Some of us may have gone to drug use, or drunkenness to attempt to medicate the pain and it only made it worse. Many of us have experienced what we thought of as being our dreams turned to ashes. And as the song What Now My Love by Elvis Presley gives us a picture of the broken hearted in that song the words say “now that my dreams have turned to ashes and my hopes into bits of clay.” This week we celebrate the birth of the One who came to earth to do what He said that He would do in Lu 4:18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” He is reading from the Book of Isaiah what Isaiah had prophesied about Him over seven hundred years earlier. You may be reading this and feel like your dreams have turned to ashes and your hopes into bits of clay. He will do what Isaiah prophesied. He will heal our broken hearts. He will set us free from captivity. He will give sus beauty for ashes.
In Isaiah 61 we are told what God will do for Israel, but for us as New Covenant people we can believe and expect God do it for us. He will give beauty for ashes! He will give joy for morning. We are told in Isa 61:4 ¶ 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. That God is a God of restoration. He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.
This past Sunday as our granddaughter Eden was singing Away in A Manger at church I thought back to a time before I met Jesus Christ. Christmas was a time of trying to drug and drink the loneliness and hopelessness away that I would ever have a family.
I would never had thought that I would have had children and grandchildren. But God is in the business of restoring the age-old waste places. He has blessed J.J. and I with five beautiful grandchildren. Our children are married to wonderful spouses. And God has blessed us with so many friends and Brothers and Sisters in Christ like all of you. If you had told me during those days of drug use and partying that God would one day bless us in the way that He has I would have most likely laughed in your face. But God!
So today if you have seen God bring you through, or out of some bad stuff give Him the praise and give Him the Glory. If you are going through a tough time in your life turn to God. Humble your self before God. Here is what His word says that He will do if you do it :Jas 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 1Pe 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (NKJV)
And if you are like I was living a life of sin because you felt like there was no way for you to be reconciled to God. Know that He loves you. Know that He wants to give you beauty for ashes. We are told in Jas 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV) If you do that Christmas ,or no other day will ever be the same again. He gives beauty for ashes. Give Him your ashes and let Him make something beautiful out of it.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus, we celebrate today not only You coming to the earth, but we celebrate that You are risen from the dead. You sit at the right hand of the Father. We celebrate that You give beauty for ashes. Today for all that are reading this, and they feel like their dreams have turned to ashes and their hopes into bits of clay work in a way that gives beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and they exchange the spirt of heaviness for a garment of praise.
In Jesus Name
J.J. and I want to say Merry Christmas to all of you. We thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement throughout the year.
PS For those in Northwest Alabama our Broadcast Redeeming the Time comes on at 9:30 A.M. AND 9:30 P.M. on Sunday morning and Sunday night. That is on Spectrum Channel 10. In Jasper, I believe it is on TV 16.