February 22, 2023

Beauty for Ashes - Bro. T. Stephen

My beloved in Christ, I greet and bless you all in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The auspicious word of God for today is taken from the book of Isaiah 61:3, “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; and that He may be glorified.”

Today is a special day. It is called Ash Wednesday. The fasting day begins from today. This day will be the first day of 40 days fasting. In the above verse we read about the list of things that Jesus came to do in this world. And one among them is to console those who mourn in Zion, and to give beauty for ashes. He comforts those who are in trouble, or those facing problems in their life. When a man suffers due to sorrow, or is in pain and agony because of some distressing incident, his heart gets disturbed. His mind gets disturbed. He loses his peace of mind. So this day can be considered as a day when God wants to set right his life of sorrow. You will know that many will not be taking non vegetarian food during these days of fasting. Some of them will give up all the bad habits they are practising during these days, as a mark of respect to the Lord who died for them on the cross. Many will take good resolutions during these days. Especially these days are considered as holy days. So they will be careful to behave very holy and righteous these forty days. God says, God will console all those who mourn over the death of the Lord or because they mourn over the loss of their own loved ones or may be due to some distressing situation in their lives.

My dearly beloved if you have experienced any calamity in your life that has led you to mourn and weep and suffer anguish and pain, then the Lord is going to console and comfort you. He wants to give you beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

There are some who would have been hurt by their own sinful life and would be in grief and sorrow. Therefore they would be filled with grief and pain in committing sin before God again and again. For such people the Lord is going to forgive their sins and deliver them from their sinful activities so that they may not sin against God in future, but be established in Him. Jesus came to deliver mankind from their sinful nature and thus console them and comfort them in their life. God has come into your house to set right all those who are fickle minded and unsteady in their life. God is making them all a new creation. He is not only going to console those who mourn in Zion but He wants to give them beauty for ashes. He also wants to supply those people with the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; and that God’s name may be glorified, through their lives.

God wants to give them beauty for ashes. Now do you know who will sit among the ashes? Only those who are severely broken in heart and also who suffer various problems will sit among ashes. They will apply ashes upon themselves and sit on the rugged sack. Ash indicates the nature of being destroyed or spoilt. They cannot be of any good use. That day we see about Job who was slowly decaying in his physical body and financially and he was under tremendous pressure because he had lost all his ten children and all his cattle and wealth were washed away and so he became a poor and despised man on the face of this earth. He was disregarded because of his poor state of life. He sat on the ash heap and applied some ash on his body to show that he was dejected and broken hearted. Any burnt stuff is known as the ash. It may be paper or wood, dry leaves or even human body, whatever is burnt becomes ash in the end. Job was sitting in such a situation so weary and worn out on ash heap. So we see Job sitting on the ashes saying all is finished in his life. There is nothing more tragic to happen any further. When all seems to have been over and there is no more hope, then Jesus comes into your homes to light up or give hope in your life. Because Jesus is not only Omega but He is also the Alpha or the beginning.

My dearly beloved, today what are the things that seem to be like Omega. All have come to an end for you. And therefore you are broken hearted and very grief stricken. Seeing your troubled state of life God wants to be Alpha in your life and give you a new beginning, and bless you with all good things. God wants to make you as a new creation and also start a new era in your life by consoling and strengthening you over all your grief stricken life and refresh your soul and mind. That is why He came into this world. And on this Ash Wednesday as you meditate during these days, on the sufferings of Jesus on the cross God will do a miracle for you. All those who cry out to God asking Him to stabilize you and console you , God will immediately descend upon you, and perform a miracle for you and establish you. You who are sitting among the ash heap and saying all is over in my life, God is going to renew your life and restart you with newness in life.
Prayer: Lord we thank you. Lord I bless all the children who are reading this message in the name of Jesus. We thank You, Lord for consoling us and comforting us. We see Daniel, who was taken as a refugee, made a commitment in his life that he would not eat of the kings delicacies, and thus defile his body. Since he made this decision in his life, God exalted him to sit with kings and princes. Similarly may your children make new resolution to remain holy and pure in their life. May they give up all their sinful life and live a life pleasing unto God. Create in them a new heart and new life that would be acceptable in God’s sight. Let their life be established in the manner that God is pleased with and may they live a glorious life for God. Remove all sorrow and grief from them, because of their debts, or disease or financial crisis, and gladden their heart. We thank You Lord for bringing about a change in their life. Lord You have said, that you will give them beauty for ashes. So consider all those who are sitting among the ashes and transform their lives to that of godliness, holiness, and pleasing in the sight of God.
In Jesus Name We pray.

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