I am so thankful that He stays on task, working to finish what He’s begun in me! I'm glad it's not dependent on me to earn my redemption. I would certainly fail miserably.
I find myself looking for the easy and comfortable road of life. He leads me through the workroom of transformation. And when I exit the workroom, although it was a difficult journey, I see His hand. I feel His presence. I experience His love. I know that a transformed life will never be found on the easy and comfortable road.
"If God’s primary purpose was to deliver to you a comfortable life, He’s a massive failure. No, He’s committed to giving you something vastly better and eternally more significant.
The workroom of transformation has eternal benefits. It's here we see His faithfulness. It's here we learn to trust, to pray and to seek His will. It's in this workroom that we come face to face with our insufficient self and totally dependent on the all-sufficient God of the Universe.
I can't tell you how many times I have been in this workroom. Many, not enough, and I'm sure to be back. What have you learned in the workroom of transformation?
When I celebrate the grace given to me by God, and I'm grateful for it, I find it more natural to give that same grace to those around me. Gratitude flourishes when grace is celebrated.
Grace and gratitude should be so closely linked, but isn't it interesting how natural is to be ungrateful and how unnatural it is to be grateful. We've been given so much, but we forget how to be grateful for it. We get so wrapped up in the busyness of life, and that seems natural for us, but we have to be intentional about being grateful for the grace given to us by God. We also have to be intentional about passing that grace on to those we meet along our journey. Intentional about receiving it, and intentional about passing it on.
“It’s grace that called you, grace that keeps you, grace that will finally deliver you. It’s all grace, all the time, all the way.
Think of where you are today. Would you be there without the grace of God. Did you get there on your own? Or is your story sprinkled with His goodness and grace?
When we realize how powerless we are without His grace we become more grateful for it. We realize it's not about us, it's about Him. It's not what we have done, it's what His is doing. Realizing this puts us in our place. It puts a stop to pride. It brings praise to our lips and a desire to spread this grace and His love to the world around us.
Be intentional about sharing that grace this week. Look around. Seek the lost. Start a conversation. Plant a seed. Water the garden. Be grateful. Gratitude flourishes when grace is celebrated.
This passage in Isaiah screams of HOPE! It speaks of favor and comfort, and trading ashes for a beautiful headdress, mourning for gladness, and a faint spirit for a garment of praise. If gives a new name to God's people, oaks of righteousness, and calls them plantings of the Lord. All this for one reason; that He may be glorified.
"To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations." Isaiah 61:2-4
Isaiah 61 is a short chapter with only eleven verses, but they are powerful verses. Verses 1-3 speak to who Messiah is and what He will do for His people. He promises the future blessedness of the church. Verses 4-7 speak to what His people, the church, will do, and the church praises God for His mercies. And verse 8-11 speak to the everlasting covenant between God and His people.
I especially love verse eleven. "For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations."
Another passage in Isaiah with a similar theme is Isaiah 55:10-11. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Righteousness and praise will grow around the world. His Word will not return empty. His purpose will be accomplished. The church is part of this plan. We are part of this plan. God's people are plants He is tending in His garden to bring righteousness, praise and His Word to the world. We know that God has a real green thumb, and His garden will thrive!
How can you look at a passage so beautiful and think that the Old Testament is no longer relevant?
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