July 15 – Joyous Blessing Instead of Mourning

Years later when Jesus was in Nazareth teaching in a synagogue, He read a portion of the scroll from the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”  I picture Jesus pausing and lowering the scroll to look out at those He had been reading to with eyes of deep compassion.  He then said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 

Isaiah’s prophecy goes on to say, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”  May God’s glory shine in our lives. Yahweh the faithful One, loves justice.  He will reward His servants, His ministers with garments of salvation and robes of righteousness.  “Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”  God’s Story has amazing continuity.  His theme to bless excites and encourages and energizes all at once!  Fill me Lord, so I can go forward as a blessing.  Amen.

P.S. What a joy it was to prayerfully read this entry in my own copy of The Blessing Book onboard a plane heading for Singapore, four years after leaving Asia. I pray that the excitement of being in a certain place leads us to a heightened sense of hope to yet again go forward as a blessing. God, bless Your children to bless no matter where in the world you have us. Amen.

Isaiah 61:3, 9 NLT