Trading Ashes for Joy and more…

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Trading Ashes for Joy and more…

“Trading Ashes for Joy” by Elisabeth Sansom.

I have come across images of individuals with words inscribed all over their clothing. Labels of their inner battles and shoulders drooped from the weight of each emotional weight. I stare into the image with two thoughts. First, I am grateful that we don’t walk around with our inner feelings or struggles shining through our clothing. Second, I am thankful for the precious blood of Jesus that washes away all that grime.

God’s Word says, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).

The ashes of stinging words or hurtful actions that echo in my mind can be laid down at the feet of Jesus and traded for “the oil of joy.” The drooped down shoulders can be raised as I praise him. The Word of God tells me that He will give me “beauty for ashes.” The rubble and ashes of the past do not have to be displayed on my outer garments.

This is such a powerful reminder that we can trade in those things that literally weigh us down for the beauty found in His presence.

Following the tabernacle plan during my prayer time becomes a daily reminder to shed off any unnecessary weight. After giving praise and thanks, there are no flowery words or perfectly poetic repentive prayers. It is literally the very ashes of my inconsistencies, my short comings, and my failures poured out at His feet.

Every seed of imagination, insecurity, assumption, or past wound that is not of God I cast down (II Corinthians 10:5). My prayer of repentance is where I get my emotions in control and rely on my knowledge of who He is. How precious and valuable is the counsel of God, “O the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33).

Do you feel like the ashes of past circumstances have overwhelmed you? Are you ready to be free of the weight of those ashes? It will not be easy, and it will not be pretty. It will be worth it! He will be our help. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Kneel before the Savior and allow Him to give you beauty for ashes.

Note: Elisabeth Sansom is pastor’s wife of a thriving church in the heart of Phoenix Arizona, serves as ladies secretary for Arizona Ladies ministry and has two beautiful and talented children who love the Lord.

(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesprayerinternational@aol.com)


“Beauty for Ashes” by Tere Del la Rosa.

In the Old Testament, under the laws of sacrifice, the Lord spoke to Moses and told him to command Aaron and his sons to take the ashes of the burnt sacrifices outside of the camp to a clean place after the fire had consumed the offering. Taking the ashes out of the consumed burnt offering would allow the fire on the altar to burn continually and not go out.

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:13).

More than we care to admit, even though we are praying, fasting, and striving to live worthily, we do not feel we can advance spiritually until we reach a dimension in which we feel the indubitable presence of God taking control of our whole being. Could it be, perhaps, that we are still carrying the ashes of dead works in our hands? It’s those things that the fire of God has already consumed when we had presented ourselves before Him as a living sacrifice but did not remove the ashes.

It is the Lord’s intention and desire to set us completely free, but it will require that we first recognize our condition. And once we see and understand what has not been removed and is now preventing the fire of God from igniting in our lives, we must in turn, surrender it completely to Him.

In those moments, when I felt I was in the middle of a great spiritual drought, God spoke to my life with this verse:

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:18).

I received that word, applied it to my life, and have preached it in places where the Lord has sent me. When those moments of heaviness and drought come, let us approach Him with confidence, taking everything that tortures us internally like the ashes in our hands. Let us take them in surrender to the Lord, confessing and admitting all that tortures, accuses, burdens and oppresses us. I do not know how He does it, but I have felt how He removes them from my hands and replaces them with refined gold, that glorious presence that renews the joy of His salvation in me.

Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” Casting our burdens upon Him and being sustained by His glorious presence, lifted up by His right hand and feeling the unmistakable joy of His salvation, we can pray with the certainty that He hears our every request.

“He will command that the afflicted of Zion be given glory instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of gladness instead of a spirit of heaviness; and they shall be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, for His glory” (Isaiah 61:3).

Note: Tere De la Rosa is the wife of Reverend Luis De la Rosa, pastor of the Spanish Ministry at Life Covenant Sanctuary, Bradenton, Florida. Mother of four and Nana of four (with another granddaughter on the way), she is a licensed minister and serves as the Spanish Ladies Coordinator for the Florida District. She has spoken nationally and internationally at ladies conferences, as well as written and published several books. She previously served as the national ladies liaison for Spanish Evangelism Ministries, UPCI.

(Info from: UPCI Ladies Ministries – ladiesprayerinternational@aol.com)


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