"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, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 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. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
In several instances in the Bible, ashes represent a time of grief, pain, repentance or distress. As we look in
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
In Isaiah 61, Israelites were taken captive and were oppressed, people were confused and grieved. They thought God left them. Then the prophet Isaiah reminds them the suffering is due their sin but he also said that God’s anger is temporary and it won’t last. Our God is merciful and forgiving.
Isaiah 61:3 clearly promises us beauty for ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, garment of praise instead of spirit of despair. So, let us all put our trust in God and seek Him with all our hearts.
Let’s hold onto God’s promises that He delivers us from all these ashes and gives beauty.
In the times of uncertainties, our human minds tend to be fearful and anxious. We don’t even know what tomorrow holds, but we know God has the total control of our tomorrows. Bible says not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).
When the changes are happening quickly, we tend to get worried more. In these times we need to put our trust in God and hold on to His word and find peace. Spend time in God’s presence and receive comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Our God comforts us in all trouble. Receive comfort from God then pass it to others with encouraging and uplifting words. Share and care in these trying times. Be compassionate and help others in need.
God comforts us so that we can comfort others.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
In the middle of chaos, it is hard to be joyful, patient and faithful. But the bible says to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. It may sound simple and easy when you are not going through tough times.
In reality, it is hard and impossible for any normal person. These character traits can be achieved only when we have one on one relationship with God. Only God can pour into you these impossible traits that the world cannot give.
When we continually seek God and spend time in His presence, He will bless us with His supernatural joy, patience and faithfulness. Each one of us can achieve these characteristics directly from Him.
Let’s all fervently seek Him and overcome these worldly hardships.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
As Christians, we should always pursue to have a clean heart and renew our spirits. We can do this by continuously seeking Him and being obedient to His word.
David repented when he sinned and didn’t obey God’s word. Even though he was a King, he knew that he needed to be humble before God and seek forgiveness and restoration. It’s not easy to ask for forgiveness if you are not humble in your ways.
Let go of the worldly pride and achievements and come to Jesus and confess, and receive His grace and mercy. Be renewed in your spirit and have a clean heart. Only God can give you a clean heart.
Let go of the worldly thoughts and temptations to be better than others. Come to Jesus and sanctify yourselves in His presence and be clean. When you receive your clean heart, rejoice and sing praises to Jesus.
Receive a clean heart from Jesus and live victoriously.
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
When Jesus died on the cross, it symbolized a new meaning. Instead of painful human death it represented symbol of grace, love and forgiveness.
In Mark 8:34, Jesus says to take up your cross, meaning to deny your own interests that are worldly and unpleasing to God and pursue and follow Jesus who represents love, grace and mercy.
Instead of seeking pleasure and riches of this world, seek the things that pleases Him. Love and serve others as Jesus did. Follow Him wholeheartedly and He will show you His ways.
Deny your own ways and Follow His ways.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The depth of God’s love is unfathomable. He wants everyone to experience deep, unshakeable confidence in His love and feel secure that no one can take that away from them.
Nothing can separate us from His love towards us. Death, life, angels, rulers, things present, things to come, powers, height, depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from God’s love.
His love is unconditional through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. When Christ died for us, He secured His people in life and in death. Even after we die, we can still experience His deep love for us. God’s love is eternal.
Always remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.
My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.
When things were going wrong, Job held on to God and he didn’t turn aside nor fall into these worldly distractions, because he knew God was always faithful and that He would never turn him down.
Sometimes the trails and distractions that we face may not be like those of Job, but we all encounter them at some point of life. During those times, we need to be steadfast and walk in faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Instead of reasoning and trying to figure out the solution, trust in God and He will work it out for good. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Job kept on keeping on, even during the hard times he endured and came forth as Gold. Job 23:10 says, When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Let us all press on with the enduring faith and come forth as Gold.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
In these last days, we need to be wise in listening and following His teachings, then we will be like a person who builds his house on solid rock. If we don’t follow and disobey God’s word, then we will be like a person who builds a house on sand which collapses when floods come down.
If we just listen and not follow it then we deceive ourselves. James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
When we follow Jesus, and obey His word, we won’t be shaken easily by our circumstances. It may be disappointing but we can overcome by His strength. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)
Be the follower of His word and the house of righteous will stand until the end.
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Each one of us are living our lives and spending the time that might not aligned with the Christian walk. If you look around, the present days are evil. And the enemy is working hard to get all your attention.
As Christians, we need to cease the time (carpe diem) and start preparing for the eternity. What is your life? James 4: 14 says, yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
The enemy is well prepared to take you down, so be watchful in prayer and meditation. 1 Peter 5:8 says, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Let’s start making best use of our time and prepare for His return.
But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
In the parable of sower from Luke 8:5-8
5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The seed refers to the word of God. The wayside soil represents the those who hear the word of God but don’t understand it and are unwilling to receive it. The enemy comes and takes it away. It is removed even before it has been deeply rooted.
The rocky soil represents hearers who receive the word and enjoy it temporarily. When temptation or persecution comes, they wither away. They drift when the comfort is gone.
The thorny soil represents those who receive the word and live by it. But are constantly craving for worldly riches and get distracted by greed and power. They give in to the flesh easily.
The good soil represents the believers who walk in His word and live by the Spirit (Romans 8:6). They don’t wither when trails come, they constantly draw strength from the word and bear much fruit (Matt 7:20).
Let’s get planted in good ground and bear much fruit for His kingdom.