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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beauty for Ashes.

This is a repost from another blog I write for. This subject was very much on my heart this morning, so I thought it would be fitting to share it on here today.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:1-3a

As Christians, we have been given a specific 'to do' list in Isaiah 61. We are told to proclaim the good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release prisoners from darkness, proclaim God's favor, comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve.

When I first read these verses, honestly, I was overwhelmed. How can I do this? I don't know what this looks like. Is this even possible?

And then, I remembered, Jesus did all of this for me. He gave me the ultimate good news, the Gospel. He bound up heartaches buried so deep no else even knew they were there. He set me free from sin, death, my flesh, the grave, and Hell. He released me from the darkness of this world. He has poured out so much favor on me, it doesn't even make sense. He has comforted me in times when life fell apart. He was always there. He gave me grace and mercy when I didn't deserve it, and could never have earned it.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The only way to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task is to remember what Jesus did for us, and realize we have everything we need to pour it back out unto others. He has given us the perfect example, and the power to complete this 'to do' list.

So, what does this look like practically? I don't believe we have all been called to move to a third world country and start an orphanage, to walk the streets of Detroit and feed the homeless, or even to be a shoulder to cry on for every broken heart. God has placed you and me in this exact time and place for a purpose. There are broken people in every corner of this world, in offices, schools, homes, streets, hospitals, funeral homes, and even in churches. We are commanded to love them as Jesus loves them, care for them, and share the good news.

How can we do this?

-Preach the good news to the poor. How can you share Jesus with someone who doesn't know Him? Where may it be uncomfortable to share the Good News? Who are the poor, oppressed, and afflicted in your life, and in the world?

-Bind up the brokenhearted. How can you use your past heartaches and pain to help heal another? Will this help you realize your brokenness has value?

-Proclaim freedom for the captives. How can you be a voice for those who are enslaved, captive, and carried away? What can you do to raise awareness for the captives in our world?

-Release prisoners from darkness. How can you bring light to addicts of all sorts: body image, alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, pornography, gambling, etc.? How can you help someone break free from the darkness of depression, anxiety, bitterness, cynicism, insecurity, worry, self hate, and the lies from Satan?

-Proclaim God's favor. How does your life show that you have God's favor? Do you recognize it yourself? Do you share what He has done for you with others?

-Comfort all who mourn. How can you be available to listen when someone's life falls apart? In what ways can you be a comfort to someone?

-Provide for those who grieve. What can you do to be a help to someone who is grieving? How can you make their life easier in a time of pain? How can you cultivate joy, beauty, and praise in their lives?

What does this look like today for you?

Have a great day. Love, Michelle

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