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"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." Acts 16:31


Saturday, November 30, 2013


Isaiah 61:1-3

By Pastor Mark Taylor

Today is the First Sunday of Advent.  Celebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.  We celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming, but also for His presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of His Second Coming.

Christ can deliver a holiday to your home that never fades away. One that doesn’t get boxed up and stored away for another year. But rather, one that applies the healing to your life directly in the places where you hurt. One that sets you free.

In Isaiah 61:1-3, which was written sometime before 681 B.C., the prophet foresees this Messiah and speaks for Him…The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon someone?
And someone has been anointed to do some things?  And that SOMEONE is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

In Luke 4: 16-21 Jesus reads from Isaiah 61! The words of the Messiah. 
He tells them, What you’ve been waiting for is here! The Scripture has come true before your very eyes!”.  This is what He came to do the first time and what He will complete at His Second Coming.

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD 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 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 gladness
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.

The emphasis of this message from the Lord is “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”  The Jews knew that during times of mourning ashes were smeared on the head. Jesus replaces those ashes with a crown. A crown of beauty applies to the head. The cure given directly to the place of need. To bring the new life of gladness instead of mourning – the infusion of a heart of praise to replace despair and depression. Many of you here have received that crown of beauty replacing your ashes, and you know how desperately you needed it.

The Lord promised ‘beauty for ashes.’  What are ashes? They are nothing more than the remains of something that once was. Many of you are now looking back at ‘what used to be,’ and you are wishing it could be that way again. You’ve lost something or someone that  ‘used to be’ and are wishing you could have that person or thing once again.   You are grieving your past; grieving past relationships; grieving past memories; grieving past moments of blessing and are dreaming of ‘what used to be!” 
Your past relationships have failed – they are nothing more than ashes it seems – but God has promised beauty! He has promised to replace your ashes for beauty!  Look at these ashes {sift through the ash heap}. Notice these ashes are nothing more than a remnant of something that once was. It’s dark and gray. It’s lifeless. It’s dirty; filthy. But, today, God will bring that thing back to life once again! He will revive what used to be to become what He expects it to be!

The Bible says that he will give us beauty for ashes. In Bible times it was the custom for the people of that day, in great times of mourning and difficulty, to lay in ashes. Just think about that. You’ve got a problem in your life and you just sit down in a pile of ashes. There is nothing beautiful about ashes.

But the scripture says he is going to take your difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give you beauty. He is going to pick you up out of the ash pile of life and make something beautiful out of you.

Isaiah said he will give you beauty for ashes. God knew you would be burnt by life’s experiences. But he also knew he could replace that burnt out mess wi

Whatever God’s hands touch becomes beautiful. All you need is a touch from the master’s hand.  He has made every thing beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Our Lord does not want you to worry about your future or how you are going to make it through your difficult days.  Listen to God’s Words to you today:

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame stay upon you.  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior.  Isaiah 43:1-7

Let us begin this Christmas season by thinking about what the Lord Jesus has already done for us and what He is going to do for us in the future.  Allow Him to begin the process of turning your ashes into a crown of beauty on your head.  Others will be able to see this crown and you will glorify your Father who is in Heaven.

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