The Lord has anointed me to….bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.  Isaiah 61:1,3

     When forest fires gutted the mountain behind her house, Sheryl Patterson saw, weeks later, that there were magenta flowers growing on the hillside.  She found out that the plant was known as a Fireweed, which is one of the first plants to grow and bloom after a fire.  The plant seemed to thrive on the challenge of growing in adversity.

     I did some research on this plant. It says, “This plant loves disturbed places and will grow anywhere—in rocky soil or along highways; in a garden, shaded areas are best.” It grows best in disturbed places. Huh. Not me. Although, it is probably true that I have grown in my life the most when I have been disturbed by the things that are happening in my life, I don’t thrive on it. I don’t even like it very much. But if you see a picture of this plant, it is quite pretty and doesn’t look like a weed at all. It serves a good purpose, which is to make places that have been disturbed by fire look good again in a short amount of time. 

     In the disturbed, discouraging and difficult places God can take the ashes of what is left and turn it to great beauty. Not just in my circumstances but in my heart, in my life. Tony Evans in his book, “Dry Bones Dancing,” writes: “Your personal circumstances may in aspects seem lifeless and hopeless. Your dreams or plans or relationships may seem to have died. But in the midst of that numbness and powerlessness and helplessness, Jesus wants you to know the truth: “I am the Resurrection.” Not “I was” or “I will be the resurrection. But this: “I am the resurrection…right now, in your present situation.”

     Jesus can unwrap you from whatever has been holding you hostage. If you’re tired of being bound and gagged by everything else controlling you, God has good news: Jesus Christ came to set you free. He can take those ashes of sin, loss, bitterness and regret and turn them into great beauty. Bring to Him all the things that hold you back and let Him transform them with His resurrection power. He can make you a Fireweed!

*What do you believe God wants most for you to do with the ashes of your life and with the gift of His life?     

Almighty God, I need Your resurrection power to move in my life and release me from bondage and from all the fears and feelings that hold me hostage. Infuse me with a fresh wind of Your Holy Spirit and raise me up to new life. I want to reflect Your beauty to those around me. In Your name, Amen.

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