Proverbs of Ashes in a World Burning Down

In my Scripture reading early yesterday morning, I chased a rabbit trail that landed me in a cul de sac with Job 13. I got so preoccupied I was late for work then, once I got there, still couldn’t keep my thoughts from circling around that curb. In the corner shadow of more substantial themes, the Book of Job gives impressive credence to the adage, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” God bless them, they started out well but time took its toll and the temptation to offer explanation for human suffering became intolerable. When in doubt, after all, what better coping skill could there be than dogmatism? To the reader’s measurable relief, chapter 13 marks the spot where Job indelicately invites his friends to shut up. Unroll the scroll to verse 5.

“Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!” Then a little further down to verse 13, “Let me have silence, and I will speak, and let come on me what may.”

The show stealer in the chapter is the temerarious declaration the pummeled mortal makes in reference to his God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (13:15 AV) The HCSB says it like a boxer spitting blood from a busted lip through broken teeth: “Even if He kills me, I will hope in Him.”

But one of the things I love best about Spirit-breathed Scripture is that the Spirit reserves the right to animate a passage that has never attracted our attention before. For me yesterday morning, it was the first half of the 12th verse. Job, to his friends:

“Your maxims are proverbs of ashes.”

For all we know the man made the statement sitting in a heap of ashes like he’d positioned himself in Job 2:8. Of course, it’s easy to miss the ashes in that early scene because we’re too disturbed by him scraping his loathsome sores with a piece of broken pottery. When these words come out of Job’s mouth in 13:12, one commentator suggested he may have gathered some ashes in his palm and blown them into the wind in case his observers were inclined to miss the point. Ashes symbolized loss, grief, mourning and death to the ancients and at times were the wares of sorrowful repentance. The idea probably germinated with God’s words to Adam after the fall in the Garden when death was born.

“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Mourners commonly practiced demonstrating their profound grief by wrapping their waists in skin-rawing sackcloth and covering their heads in ashes. At least it showed. Don’t you sometimes wish our shattered hearts would at least dignify our suffering enough to show up? Tamar, Mordecai and Daniel displayed their anguish with ashes but here’s the irony: so did Job’s three friends. Yep. At the very first glimpse of him.

And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. (Job 2:12-13)

 But then Job opened his mouth and released his lament and they opened theirs.

And their maxims were proverbs of ashes.

I never noticed the wording before because maxims had yet to be promoted to our primary means of communication. Shoot, a good maxim today could bring you a whopping ten thousand likes. We’ve developed such an appetite for maxims, we’re bored to oblivion by actual messages from our pastors. We demand twenty minutes of strung-together maxims or we’re staying home and surfing podcasts. Give us tweetables. Quotes we can stick on a picture and post.

And I’m neck deep in the middle of it splashing around in my floaties while people are down at the bottom of the lake drowning. This is not a rant for more meaningful maxims. It’s just a reminder to me today that my aphorisms don’t mean a flying flip in a frying world. Nobody’s likely to thank me in heaven for that life-changing tweet. I love Twitter. Good grief, I love all the things. And, man, do I ever appreciate a good aphorism. It’s fun. Quippy. Can even make people think.

For five seconds.

Mind you, five seconds is better than none. But let’s take it for what it is then get to the real business of ministering to the mournful. They are crowded around us, blinded by the darkness, flailing, feeling around in thin air for somebody’s warm-blooded hand. And sometimes the mournful is you. Me. Sometimes the mournful zips itself up in our ruddy skin and makes it hard to get out of bed. And, Good Lord, no wonder we’re depressed. We’ve turned social media into a spiritual discipline. We’ve made a diet of cheese puffs, bloating our souls with air and calling ourselves healthy.

Ashes.

The thing is, I can’t get the Oakland warehouse fire off my mind. That’s where this whole thing started. I don’t want to get it off my mind right away anyway. That community and those terror-stricken families will need prayer for a long time. I know that because my family has lived in the ashes of murderous flames for decades. I know that because the evening before the news broke out about the fire in Oakland, my husband brought up the fire in his childhood garage over supper with our daughters.

We know the story by heart. I knew it by our third date. Keith and his big brother were knee-high, plump-faced preschoolers playing in the garage when a slender river of gasoline rolled underneath the water heater and ignited. Both boys were burned. Both boys rushed to the hospital. Both admitted. Both treated for several days. Both desperately prayed for. Both were impossible to imagine living without. One went home with his mommy. The other went home with Jesus.

A couple of years ago, Keith and I were sitting with his parents at a picnic table on the porch of a burger joint we often frequented. The men were sitting on one side of the table and we women were facing them from the other. When Keith got up to fetch our order from the carry-out window, my father-in-law leaned across the table and, in a tone dripping with tenderness, said to me, “Baby, today is the anniversary of Duke’s death.”

My eyes immediately shot to my mother-in-law. She did not say a word. She couldn’t. Even all those years later. She reached in her pocket for a tissue and blotted her wet eyes. I can hardly write these words without doing the same. I hugged her, squeezed her hand, picked at my food like she did then sobbed all the way home. Every loss etches an absence. But tragedy threatens to carve an abyss.

Especially a fire. Its destructive force doesn’t just dent, cut or bruise. Fire has the capacity to consume. It has the capacity to take something teeming with life and vitality – a church, for instance, or a home or, God help us, a life – and reduce it to ashes. Something weighty into dust in the gust. I think maybe that’s what makes such vivid imagery of ash: its cold reduction of something to almost nothing.

Forgive me for being so graphic. I don’t do this often. But, the thing is, we are the Body of Christ commissioned to flesh Him out through the ministries of His Spirit to this graphic global darkness. We flip on our screens or open our feeds daily to news of tragedies somewhere on this aching orb. Unless we’ve let our hearts grow cold to shield us from the harsh elements, we shake our heads and shed some tears and at times drop faces to palms and sob. We summon Jesus to hold the hurting and to comfort them in a way that is otherworldly. In a way that is deeply personal because, if we possess a whiff of wisdom, we know that no two hearts process loss the same way. In the wording of Proverbs 14:10, each heart knows its own bitterness.

No two losses are exactly the same. And not all tragedies are equal. There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for the pain-ravaged.

Our maxims are not only a waste of breath. Of electronic space. They are offensive to the suffering. Sometimes even things we know to be true are better left unsaid for a long, long time. In the presence of those suffering, we say less and do more. We still our tongues and loose our hands. We mute our volume and vacuum their dens. We save our words then spill them like a dam breaking before God. Because He’s the only one whose feet don’t fail in a tidal wave of suffering. He’s the only one who really knows the whys and hows and wheres and whens. And He won’t tell us now. But He’ll tell us then.

Yesterday morning it was the word “ashes” that took me on that rabbit trail. I kept thinking about what I’d read in a news article about the first responders carefully, “reverently” removing the ashes from the Oakland warehouse. “Reverently.” That was the description the writer used and I appreciated it even if it made me want to wail. So I looked up every time ashes are found in the Scriptures. I found this among them.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

…to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes.

(Isaiah 61:1,3)

This section had long-since been dear to me but that’s the beauty of research. That’s the beauty of looking to scholars God has equipped with spiritual gifts of knowledge. You learn something brand new. I’ll let Dr. J.N. Oswalt tell it to you the way he told it to me in New International Commentary on the Book of Isaiah: (emphasis his)

“In 60:17 the prophet promised the best (gold) for the better (bronze), but here the Servant/Messiah promises the best for the worst…The picture of the mourner, with ashes on the head, wrapped in sackcloth, with a spirit crushed by despair, is replaced by the picture of a party goer with a beautiful headdress, smelling of costly oil, and wearing a garment of praise.[1] 

 There is a wordplay in the Hebrew that makes it especially spectacular. The peʾēr, “beautiful headdress,” replaces ʾēper, “dust.”[2]

If anybody at all is still reading, I’m almost done. Just take this part of Isaiah 61 in one more time.

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.[3]

Instead of, instead of, instead of.

I want to be there on the scene for at least a few thousand rounds of “instead of.” Sometimes we see those things happen right here in this earthly realm but other times it’s too late. Their tragedies took their lives. I want to see Jesus replace the ashes on the heads of the grief stricken in this lifetime with the headdresses of deliriously happy party-goers. Yes, party-goers. Don’t even try to talk me out of that. I want some parties when I get to heaven. I want to see some people shake a leg who’d suffered paralysis here. People dine in style who’d starved to death in squalor here. I want to see Jesus unwind the awful sackcloth from those who’d mourned on this earth and spin them around in garments of praise.

That’s what I want. I want to see my mother-in-law in a party hat laughing her head off. And I want to meet my brother-in-law. And sit cozy by a fire and never get burned.

Because this life is the hint of hell for a whole lot of people. But there is a God in heaven weaving eternity from an endless string of insteads. No proverbs of ashes from His lips. Just straight up promises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (p. 567). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

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110 Responses to “Proverbs of Ashes in a World Burning Down”

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  1. 51
    Jami Johnson says:

    Wow! Such a confirmation through your words from Jesus. I have had such deep sadness come and go weekly for the past three months. My Mother died when I was 21. I can’t shake how badly I need her at the age of 32. I long to hear her say how beautiful and important I am. That I’m so loved. And even more meet my husband and three handsome boys. Your sweet words and heart for Gods word. Allows me to see things in a different light. I am so thankful for you Ms.Beth and your sweet staff. What a precious gift. Especially to this heart. I pray you and the ladies at LPM are filled with so much love and joy today. Grace. -Jami Johnson

  2. 52
    Kathleen Cantwell says:

    As always, sweet friend your words minister greatly. Ashes… my 78 yr old mom fell while cooking dinner 2 weeks ago and broke her femur. We were in another city visiting our kids. She lay on the floor for 16 hrs alone until guys from our landscape business heard her calling for help, and were able to call us and call for help. The full story is laced with miracle after miracle, mostly that in her 16 hrs through the night on the floor, she was never alone. Jesus shored her up with peace so there was no trauma. Second, she turned the stove off right before her knee buckled and she fell. I have to stop my mind from thinking about what could have happened. God was so merciful, and I am so grateful. I cannot imagine what others have had to live, including Keith and family. Your words are a treasure, dear one keep writing!

  3. 53
    Tanya Smith says:

    Thanks Beth. 🙂 This is a verse I’ll not ever forget because I was once angry at God and one of the first verses I was made aware of as a verse I hadn’t remembered being aware of growing up in the church was this. “Though He slay me yet will I trust Him.” I was young then. Just a rejected kid and THAT was traumatic. I mean really. Caused a lot of anger which caused a lot of sin. And then I came to Jesus. I knew they SAID He loved me. I just didn’t KNOW He loved me, but what I did know is that the anger and the sin weren’t doing any good. Well long story, that verse was introduced to me. And God doused me in love for a couple years then showed me what that verse meant. Really what it meant. I died walking for 3 years. And I trusted Jesus. I didn’t have a choice. (Where else would I go, for HE had the words of eternal life…). And now it’s done. Like Job. The suffering ended. The life was restored. But you never forget a lesson like that. God is good to show us I think. But I’m waiting for the party too. Thanks, lady, for your good work.

  4. 54
    Paula says:

    Thank you. I enjoyed. I’m studying with my group in the book of Numbers. This morning I began reading chapter 19 in my new Jewish Study Bible by Oxford Press (gift from my son.) If you have one, I encourage you to check out the footnotes at the beginning of chapter 19 on the ashes of the red cow. I can’t wait to share this and what you shared in your blog with my group on Wednesday morning. Thanks for being faithful to share the timely message with which God equipped you.

  5. 55
    Carol says:

    Beth:

    I am silent. You are a beautiful writer. You truly have an anointing to write. Thank you for sharing. Someday I would love to meet you. I feel like I know you through all your books. I hope it is before we get to heaven.

  6. 56
    Hannah Belle says:

    Thank you, Ms. Beth.

  7. 57
    Cecilia Williamson says:

    There have been too many fires in my life as of late and I have been sitting around in the ashes wear them as my headdress, oh I look forward to the day in this realm that I can attend a party and hoop it up because my God has given me beauty instead of ashes.
    Thanks for speaking your heart. It still reaches right to the soul of some of us.

  8. 58
    Yvonne Gearing says:

    ❤️

  9. 59
    Judy says:

    Thank you for these words.

  10. 60
    Frannie says:

    Beth. Hello. Im the lady who slipped you a note from a stagehand many years ago. You spoke on how grievious your sin was and how you related to Saul/Paul as being the greatest of sinners. In my note I shared my past as a stripper/biker/drug user/prostitute. I felt I was the greatest of sinners. You challenged us to receive in our hearts the greatest love and forgiveness of all. I did. I have.
    Yesterday while meditating and reading a book Isaiah 61 was written. Emphasis on “bind up the brokenhearted” jumped out at me. The Spirit bore witness with me. Awakened. Realization came to me!
    All these years as a servant (30)
    For some reason many brokenhearted, rejected, depressed, mournful people have been placed in my path.
    Lately Ive been wondering why so many? I had always knew that Isaiah 61 was a “Rema” word to me from God.I always thought it was to be a preacher! A special speaker. But yesterday and now today as I read your blogpost Ive received the revelation as to why! Its not to be a preacher or a special speaker (which I have had opp to do) but mainly and importantly its……to bring INSTEAD OF, INSTEAD OF, INSTEAD OF! Thank you. “Thank you Lord for allowing this revelation. Beauty “instead of” ashes as you did in my own life”!
    Amen.

  11. 61
    Laura says:

    YAY!!! SSMT put me in the Bible memorization habit even in ‘off years’. So excited to do it again with other like minded women. Can Not Wait!!

  12. 62
    Linda says:

    Yes, I did read through the whole thing ;). We had a fire when our children were very young, and no one was hurt. But we did discover the kindness of the human race when God, through them, provided better things for our family than we had ever had before. His faithfulness is amazing! Now, 60 years later, I still thank God for His constant nearness and provision.
    Thanks again for the article!

  13. 63
    Becca says:

    The “instead ofs” really gripped me.

    They hurled me back to the LPL for Minister’s wives in Nashville (goodness… 7 years ago maybe?) to that repetitious striving against “trade your bondage, keep your chains.”

    Recently I have discovered that I have a whole plethora of food reactivities: gluten, dairy, corn, vanilla… the list goes on (but those are by far the most inconvenient). In a practical lifestyle sense, I am in the throes of “instead ofs”– attempting to find tolerable substitutes in order to be able to eat without essentially poisoning myself with every bite and swallow. It turns out eating is pretty essential to the whole living thing. It’s a lot of work. My options are limited. I’m having to learn to cook which was never my forte, (Hallelujah for living in the era of Google). I don’t exactly need another foothold for the enemy to whisper that I’m either too much or not enough and convince me that I am an inconvenience to the world. Most people will say “It’s not worth it if I couldn’t eat *insert anything here*”. But when you’ve been sick practically every day of your life and you see a hope that might help you really live after decades of struggle and non-answers and shaming and lots and lots of medical bills, you latch onto that hope like a bear cub on the back of its mama.
    The thing is, the ingredients aren’t always obvious. Corn especially. Sure there are the more blatant “corn syrup” and “corn starch”, but then there are mysterious items not labeled as corn such as hydroxylpropyl methylcellulose, or the seemingly should-be-good-for-you “enriched with vitamins and minerals”. (Usually comes from corn). Attempting to throw off the nutritional chains can sometimes feel like an uphill battle of settling on picking my poison. The alternatives are shady and enticing, but often not beneficial and just as detrimental.

    All that to say, I’m spending a lot of time with “instead-ofs” that don’t look much different than the original. Often on purpose I’m trying to figure out, “How close can I get to making this almost just like the thing that was a problem without it still being a problem?”

    In contrast, the instead-offs that you mentioned–the ones we should all long for– are the instead ofs that are completely different. Maybe some of them will never be seen this side of heaven, and those that can are a whole lot of effort and inconvenience. But maybe it’s worth the hard in order to not continually and habitually poison ourselves in exchange doe the hope of truy living.

  14. 64
    Margie says:

    Good GOLLY wally my my my…Beth, THANK YOU for sharpening me today. This was very convicting, eye opening and “I” opening. God used you to get my attention on some things. Thank you, sister. Over the years, the Lord has shown me where my ARMS can do my “talking” when there is grief and I am so GRATEFUL. There is something about a deep, silent, long embrace full of sympathy and compassion that SAYS all that needs to be said in those moments. I am also thankful that tears speak such a language from the one hugging to the one being held. I am thankful for Immanuel-God WITH us in all chapters of our lives and I am MOST thankful for His GIFTS of conviction, correction, counsel and comfort to me when I need them. Thank you again for going down this “rabbit trail” and taking us with you. Who knew we would take our shoes off as we walked. My my.

  15. 65
    Kim says:

    I needed this today. As strange as it may sound, it refreshed my soul. It re-lit a fire where I thought only ashes remained and had gone cold. Perhaps I’ve been sitting in a pile of ashes for too long and just thought that I would remain there in certain areas of my life.

    So I’m going to take my “instead of” list back to the feet of God. I have some exchanging to do.

    God bless you and Merry Christmas!

  16. 66
    Casey Springer says:

    I just climbed out form the pile of grad school finals and returning to catch up on posts and came across this. I’m working on an MFA in writing, and when you write…well, lets just say some ugly things come out that you thought were resolved and neatly filed under forgiven.
    Except, when that door creeps open and all the ugly falls out like a stack of bad hats. I have to be reminded that He gives me *this* instead of ashes. My family raising nearly destroyed me and I’m finding the older I get the more issues I uncover that I didn’t realize had been a thing. I’m grateful for this word. Hoping to bust open Saint. Silvanus this weekend! It’s been patiently perched on my end table.

  17. 67
    Angie Hall says:

    This was a breath of fresh air for me and just what I needed. I feel like everyone I love is broken right now and my job is to hold them together…but the weight of it all is crushing me into a million pieces and I don’t know how long I can hold them, or me together. I have raised three daughters alone for 16 years so finances are always a big stress, but especially this time of year. My mom was killed in an accident walking across the street in front of my house (which was next door to my parents house) two days after Christmas years ago so it is hard to be very festive. My youngest daughter is 18 and struggling so badly with anxiety (which she gets honestly from me!), worrying, self-image issues (the girl is 18, 5’10”, weighs 120 and the pictures of beauty but thinks she is the ugliest human on earth and will hardly leave the house and won’t even go to school anymore. My middle daughter is a 22 year old college student who has discovered college boys, bars and the likes a bit too much making mom have many sleepless nights, good cries and many prayers. And to top it off, I have become the sole Guardian for my dad who has heart failure, Dementia and an assortment of other health issues. I had to put him in a nursing home and am trying to take care of his affairs for him while working a job that isn’t enough to cover the bills. I am the only child except for an older brother with special needs of his own. But in the midst of all of these awful, seemingly meaningless storms, God has been by my side the entire way. He hasn’t been by my side, He has held me up when I couldn’t stand on my own, He has dusted me off and pushed me onward. Where would I be without my Savior? I can’t even fathom!

    Thank you Beth for such beautiful words and for reassuring me that there is hope and that God truly does makes beauty from the ashes. As I sit here on my lunch break, I feel 100% better after reading your post. I have always admired you and your fierce love of our Lord, thank you for all you do!

  18. 68
    Erin Collins says:

    Thank you for your word and wisdom!

  19. 69
    kathy says:

    thank you, Beth. I’m with you, I’m looking for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and yet more yes more goodness when that goodness did not happen on this earth. Beauty for ashes, thank you for the reminder. So tough in real life on earth Blessings to you and yours

  20. 70
    Anne says:

    Thanks for your inspirational message Beth. The inner struggle is real and I always turn to John 14:27 http://www.biblejar.com/bible-verse/john-1427/ God bless and keep up the good work.

  21. 71
    Heidi says:

    Thank you, Beth and staff at LPM. One of my dearest friends and her family are walking through a time of incredible pain and grief. Her son-in-law was the pilot whose plane crashed during a training exercise in the sea near Japan two weeks ago. It was all over the news. He was a Marine jet fighter pilot and ejected 120 miles from shore. Miraculously, the monumental search recovered his body, but he had not survived. His wife, my friend’s daughter, has a three year old son and a baby girl due in January. He was laid to rest yesterday in his hometown of Corpus Christi, TX in a God honoring military ceremony. Oh how I am praying God brings beauty from ashes for my friends! They all love Jesus, so they have comfort and peace that he is with his Savior, but oh my, it hurts!. The days ahead will be hard. Thank you for your reminder to say little, pray big, and “vacuum their den!” Would the staff of LPM please add these precious ones to your prayer list? I am all in for those parties in heaven! Merry Christmas to you all. Your ministry is a continual blessing and I am thankful for you!

    • 71.1
      Media says:

      Heidi, thank you for sharing. We are so sorry for your friend’s great loss. We are certainly praying for your friend, her daughter, and all those affected by this loss. We also have a whole team of prayer warriors who would love to pray for them. If you would like, you can add your request to our prayer wall: http://www.lproof.org/prayer-wall.

  22. 72
    Brittany says:

    Thank you, Beth. Just. Thank you.

  23. 73
    Erin Vesta Blume says:

    As a woman who has lost a son, and am just now starting to minister to others 3 years later, this post was very timely. Some of them know the Lord, some do not. Praying through the “what to say…” in each situation. Thanks for your ministry and friendship, Beth! Erin

  24. 74
    Elaine says:

    Beth (or the wonderful staff of LPM) wondering if you could steer me toward any resources/teaching on what the protection of God looks like Scripturally this side of the cross? One year ago, my son and future daughter-in-law were killed in a car accident caused by poor weather and a stretch of road that has claimed other lives before and since theirs. Within this past year, a family within our home school community lost their husband and father when a renter of one of their properties shot him and burned his remains to try and cover up the murder. Three weeks ago, a family from church lost their college age son when his roommate stabbed him to death over something completely meaningless. So you can see I am surrounded by ashes. All four of these beloved people walked with Jesus personally; their families too. For so many years, the Psalms have been promises I lived by, but now they seem hollow and untrustworthy. For example Psalms 91 and 23. Jesus is God’s yes and amen to all his promises and I want to correctly understand. I also don’t want to just accept platitudes. I thank you for your blog post. I have spent much time pondering it. Thank you for the opportunity to ask my question. el

  25. 75

    I am so glad to know that you too chase rabbit trails in scripture. I honestly thought it was a flaw in me. You are such an anointed person. Thank you for bringing truth to an otherwise dark and lost world! God bless you.

  26. 76
    Lynda Rickey says:

    Beth, Thank you so much for this reminder that Jesus will take all the ashes of this life and turn them into joyful praise in the next. Needed that more than you can know.

  27. 77

    I commit! Suzie Hartwright from Dallas Texas. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.” Proverbs 16:17 (KJV 1611)

  28. 78
    Tammy says:

    Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, Norte has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
    Isaiah 64:4 NIV

  29. 79
    Marge says:

    I commit! Marge from Mooresville, NC: “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
    1 Peter 3:1‭-‬2 NIV
    http://bible.com/111/1pe.3.1-2.NIV

  30. 80
    nancy green says:

    January 4, 2017
    1 Arise,shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen up you. 2 See, dark is over the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you 3 Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

    Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV

  31. 81
    Wendi says:

    Thank you for laying it all out there! I will keep that party image in my head.

  32. 82
    Barbara Clark says:

    Jeremiah 29:11
    “for I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

    I woke up this morning thinking about our future. God already knows it!

  33. 83
    Kay Murillo says:

    Kay from San Diego, CA

    Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

    Psalm 103:1-2, KJV

  34. 84
    Shelly and Sienna says:

    Shelly and Sienna-Colorado Springs, CO

    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

    Romans 12:10 ESV

  35. 85
    Susan O'Banion says:

    Susan “Sue” O’Banion from Midland, TX says: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others.

  36. 86
    Susan O'Banion says:

    Susan “Sue” O’Banion from Midland, TX says: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.
    –II Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

  37. 87
    Marie Young says:

    “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

  38. 88

    Wow. I am speechless. There is so much truth in this, and makes me want to get in to God’s word and know those promises more than ever. Thank you, Beth Moore. You are such a gift to God’s church.

  39. 89
    Theresa Huck says:

    Theresa Cheyenne, WY

    And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

    1 John 5:15, ESV

  40. 90
    Kelly Haas says:

    Kelly Haas from Fond Du Lac, Wi: (3rd verse!)
    “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my rock God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 NIV

  41. 91
    Carla says:

    Carla from Brighton, IL – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give your rest. Matt. 11:28 NIV

  42. 92
    Julie says:

    Reminded me of an beautiful old favorite song…Just listened to it again after reading your wonderful piece.

    CRYSTAL LEWIS
    Beauty For Ashes Lyrics

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair

    When sorrow seems to surround you
    When suffering hangs heavy o’er your head
    Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
    God knows your need, just believe what He said

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair

    When what you’ve done keeps you from moving on
    When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
    Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing
    God knows your need just believe what He said

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair

    I once was lost but God has found me
    Though I was bound I’ve been set free
    I’ve been made righteous in His sight
    A display of His splendor all can see

    I once was lost but God has found me
    Though I was bound I’ve been set free
    I’ve been made righteous in His sight
    A display of His splendor all can see

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair

    He gives beauty for ashes
    Strength for fear
    Gladness for mourning
    Peace for despair
    SONGWRITERS
    Crystal Lewis

  43. 93
    Rachel says:

    O that gorgeous “instead.” Man, He’s so good at what He does. He just thinks of the best stuff.
    Love it Miss Beth, love it.

  44. 94
    Carolyn Dodge, Forest Oh says:

    O LORD, I give my life to you. Psalm 25:1
    NLT

  45. 95
    Sallye says:

    Beth,

    The first thing I pray for when someone is surviving the death of a loved one, is that their grief not be allowed to consume them, and God surround them with friends who will place their shoulders up against the grieving one, and help bear the burden for a moment or two.

  46. 96

    I am so sorry about Keith’s brother. What a terrible loss for Keith as well as his parents. I cannot imagine such horror, such grief. So much loss.

  47. 97
    Stephanie Graham says:

    I feel I need to stop searching for my calling & just tell people about Jesus. I feel an urgency to save the lost. Maybe it’s my age! I’m scared I won’t reach the very people God has placed before me because I’m too self focused. Do you feel any urgency to get the message across to people that the time is now!? My spirit is restless. The strength behind your messages is even stronger now than even a few years ago. You make me want to dance with Jesus. Thank you so very much for your devotion to see others free from their strongholds in life.

  48. 98
    Kay says:

    Kay Murillo, San Diego, CA

    Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
    Psalm 103:4, KJV

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