Monday March 08, 2021
What would you give to get back a most valuable possession that was ravaged by fire? Only moments ago you had it, and it was perfect, undamaged – then disaster struck. All you could see afterwards were the charred remains of what was once so precious to you. Fire is an element of nature that is fierce; it consumes everything in its path and leaves behind ashes that is not at all beautiful.
The prophet Isaiah lived, and served as a prophet of God during a time when Israel, God’s Chosen People seemingly could not keep their eyes on God. Being the descendants of God’s friend: Abraham, they were the beneficiaries of a covenant with God’ that involved being directed and instructed by God in keeping with His promise to Abraham. Abraham’s faith and obedience to God was not always emulated by Israel.
Isaiah had the task of delivering God’s instructions and message to Israel; whether messages of love, hope, correction or discipline. Falling into captivity, being defeated by enemies and experiencing famine were all part of Israel’s reality; the nation was in despair, and though they had gotten into trouble by their own disobedience and rebellion, the God of their forefather, Abraham did not give up on them. Through the prophet, Isaiah, the Most High God sent a message of hope to Israel at a time when they were in despair:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn, to console the mourners in Zion—to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.…Isaiah 61:1-3
In three profound verses, Isaiah’s message to Israel gave them bright hope and assurance that despite all the wrongs they did, their God still remembered them, and would forgive them of their errors. I can identify with Israel in this regard; I remember a point in my life when “ashes” was what was left after the fire I had set ablaze with my own hands. What I speak of is the ignorance I suffered from not knowing how to live in a way that was pleasing to God. My actions and decisions resulted in much self-inflicted pain, turmoil and confusion; I could have used much of the compassion that God showed to Israel’ to give: “beauty for ashes”.
There is nothing that you nor I can do that makes us unsalvageable in God’s sight; our Maker is known to be able to make something beautiful out of anything, regardless of how unattractive and useless it may seem. My testimony is that God has done a great work to create a work of art out of my ashes. There is no claim of perfection, or even being a finished product; but I must give glory where glory is due. By God’s grace, my life is not the same since God extended His compassion to me and I accepted it. I have asked Him to lead me towards the beauty that He has in mind to replace my ashes. My life is still a work in progress.
Today’s inspired topic: Beauty for Ashes is to encourage us all so we are assured that our God and King is in the business of extending total forgiveness; blotting out all our transgressions like a thick cloud (Isaiah 44:22), and restoring our broken lives to wholeness, so that we may be called the oaks of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3). The QUEEN LIFE involves being earmarked for full salvation through Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation for us when we receive God’s gift of forgiveness. The enemy may prowl around, and even deceive us too, getting us to do and say things that do not help us to flourish; yet, it is written:
I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness..St. John 10:9-10
Our KING awaits our arrival at the PALACE where He will meet us to collect the “ashes” of our lives so He can give us “beauty”. As we accept Jesus’s saving grace we receive the promise of having all that reflects beauty for what we may deem useless; burnt to ashes. This confirms the Word of God that tells us that:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.…Romans 8:38
QUEEN SISTER, you are Royal; the beauty that you will exude is not one with fashionably designer clothing, nor expensive jewelry and flawless make-up. Instead, it is the beauty of God Himself with which you will be adorned. When we surrender to the will of our King, and live by His commandments, we enjoy the blessing of a covenant relationship that keeps us secure in His arms and suited for His blessings.
May we hereby understand The Value of Faith, and master the art of Telling Time, so we can be Living on Schedule and make Every Moment Matter. For you know that God’s plans for you are good, and they resonate only beauty. Let us therefore trade all the “ashes” we have for the “beauty” that God promises – surely we will find His version of who we are to be best desired, because it comes with peace and adds no sorrow to it. (Proverbs 10:22)
GOD BLESS YOU…
- Do I accept God’s full forgiveness?
- What aspect of my life will I trade for God’s beauty?
- What actions can I take to preserve the beauty I receive for my ashes?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Oh what an awesome privilege I have to receive Your compassion; You have blotted out my transgressions like a thick cloud so that I do not have to bear the shame of my sins. Truly, You are a good God, full of love and mercy; there is nothing that can separate me from Your love; the charred remains of my life is an opportunity for You to turn my mourning into dancing as You give me Beauty for Ashes.
There is nothing too hard for You; I believe that you will restore me to righteousness as I trust completely in You and give myself to You each day to be molded into a closer image of Your Son. I thank You for the finished work You will do in me. The QUEEN LIFE is definitely for me; I want to be Your daughter; please continue to teach me how to live Your version of life.
In Jesus’s Name I pray – Amen