A Garland Instead of Ashes

TNIV Scripture for Friday, August 8, 2008 [Isaiah 61:1-2]

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...

According to Luke's account of Jesus's life, not long after Jesus was tested in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus went to Galilee and began teaching in the synagogues (Luke 4:16-21). One Sabbath, Jesus was in Nazareth, His home town. He stood up and read Isaiah 61:1 and part of verse two (the verses above). Then, He closed the book and said, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." However, the story of Jesus did not end with this first coming and Isaiah's prophecy continued with the following words, "and the day of vengeance of our God..." According to Isaiah, there is another day coming and another coming of Jesus. This time He is coming for judgment and not salvation. We have this message for all who will listen; come to Jesus now and accept His salvation and escape His approaching wrath and judgment. But, the message doesn't end there. If you continue to read Isaiah 61:3-4, you can see what you have to offer to those who accept Christ in these last days. 

3To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
4Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.

May you be someone who is mindful of the message God has given you to share with the fallen people of this world in these last days. May you, by God's grace, see lives rebuilt as you share the gospel of Jesus.
Beth Warlick, 8/8/2008 1
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