|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You are loved”
Our Bible verse for today: “The Spirit of God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal 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 provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify him.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God brings beauty out of the ashes of our lives.”
In addition to being a pastor and a writer, many years ago God gave me a jail and prison ministry. I work with young men who have been caught-up in the world of drugs and crime but who are now ready to turn their lives around. Some of them have successfully done so, but sadly others have had only short periods of success and then ended up back on drugs and back in jail or prison.
But I don’t give up on them. Even if they’ve fallen again, if they ask me to visit them, write letters to them, send them daily devotionals, take their phone calls, and visit with them, I will. I do that because nobody is beyond the reach of the Holy Spirit and everyone has the potential of being truly transformed. They might have two or three false starts, they may stumble and fall backwards, they may end up back in jail or prison and have to start all over again on the road to recovery, but the potential for true transformation always exists. If the individual comes to the point of truly and fully surrendering to Jesus and to the work of the Holy Spirit in his life, God will bring beauty out of the ashes of that life. That’s what Isaiah was writing about. He was describing the powerful difference Jesus can make in a life that is fully surrendered to Him. Beauty from the ashes.
In yesterday’s devotional I mentioned that this Sunday we at Oak Hill Baptist Church will celebrate our annual Homecoming Day. It’s the day at the beginning of the church year when we celebrate our church family and all the wonderful things God has done in us and through us in the past year; and we anticipate with eagerness what He is going to do in the year to come.
When the church family is together like that, I always marvel anew at what God can do in and through the lives of those who are truly His and who are fully committed to Him. All of us gathered there are cracked vessels, flawed individuals, people who carry with us the scars from past sins and lives that were lived far outside of God’s will. And yet, there we are, gathered with a wonderful church family, praising God for His great love, and enjoying lives that are far better than the things we were involved in in the past. God truly does bring beauty out of the ashes, and the evidence of that is all around us!
Regardless of where you are in life right now, I encourage you to never give up hope and never stop trusting God for great things. Fully surrender your life to Him and in His great love for you, He will bring beauty out of the ashes.
|Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.|