Beauty for Ashes


To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.   Isaiah 61:3
Creative Artwork by EmmyLucyCo used with permission

Many years ago a friend gave me a piece of paper with the above Bible verse on it. Somehow reading that verse opened my eyes to what God wanted to accomplish in my life. Out of the ashes of life, He began to slowly rebuild something of unexpected beauty. As a result, I have come to realize He is for me and not against me and that His love knows no bounds for those who trust Him.

That love was put on full display for all mankind in His Son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, God has made a way to offer hope, peace and a rescue from a malady that plagues us all. His message of love to you and me is simple yet incredibly profound in scope. It is through trusting Jesus Christ that God can take the ashes of life to accomplish something of uncommon beauty and even unexpected.

The Ash Pile

Much of the ashes in our lives are caused by the malady I mentioned. As human we were born with a sin nature and obviously we have all exercised that nature to some degree or another during our lives. It is the issue we constantly stumble over and it not only causes us to be separated from intimate fellowship with God but hinders our human relationships too. Have you ever asked yourself why you do things you know are wrong and hurtful when you really don’t want to do them? The answer is that sin nature within us. Here are a few Scriptures that offer insight on sin from God’s point of view:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10   

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God....Romans 3:23. 

Untold books, videos and social media platforms are dedicated to telling us how to make ourselves better, happier and more content. However, they offer only skin-deep, surface level solutions to an issue that is heart deep. God wants to give you a new heart with the power to overcome sin in your life. Rather than changing us from the outside in, He changes us on the inside first which then changes on the outside. He only asks that you trust Him and His promises in Jesus Christ. This is where God’s grace and mercy steps in to provide a solution for mankind born out of love.

The Rescue Plan

Mankind needed that solution to rescue him from the grip of sin and reconcile us to God. And it was God who took it upon Himself to provide that way of deliverance and reconciliation. The central figure to accomplish the plan and subsequent liberation was Jesus Christ. It was His suffering and death on the cross that became the required payment for sin for all mankind including yours. It should have been you and me on that cross. Here are just a few Scripture verses on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ for us.

God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV).  

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:1

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:2

For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.      Colossians 1:19-20

Jesus Christ accomplished for us what no ordinary man could because He had no sin Himself as the Holy Son of God. But He became sin for us taking our sins upon Himself to the cross. This was all part of God’s supernatural grand rescue plan to send His only begotten Son into the world so we would have eternal life as a gift from Him.

What Must I Do?

So what does God ask from us? Like any gift you should receive it but this one you must receive by faith. God is asking you to believe in His Son, trust in His finished work on the cross and call upon Him as your Savior and Lord. It will then be your faith in Christ that will put you in right relationship with God; in other words, declared righteous!

But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

God asks us to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and was raised from the dead as the only way to heaven and reconciliation with the Father. In a bold statement by Jesus Christ, He lays down the gauntlet of His supremacy as the Son of God and the exclusive way to eternal life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”   Romans 10: 9-11

For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”   Romans 10:13

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is are you willing to let Jesus come into your life and take your ashes and make something beautiful, something for God’s glory and your eternal life? God the Father said He will give you a new heart, one of flesh rather than stone and put a new Spirit within you. He is offering it to all who will ask and believe by faith that Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer. He will then present you holy, blameless and above reproach in His sight as it says in Colossians below.

For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard,..... Colossians 1:19-23

I would hope you have trusted Jesus Christ by faith. For He is the great redeemer, restorer and who gives us the oil of joy. Blessings and Maranatha!

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