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Bible Ballistics: BBs #552     Real Pilgrims???

 

No, I didn’t time warp to Thanksgiving, and it’s kind of sad that we have relegated that meaningful word to a once-a-year reference.  I think it has great spiritual import, and I’d like to share a few thoughts about it with you today.

I was privileged to hear a young woman speak recently at a ladies’ gathering, and her testimony was gripping, and the point of the whole thing was that God brings light into the darkness—no matter what the circumstances may be.  We can truly trust our God to exchange our ashes for beauty.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me;

because the LORD hath anointed me

to preach good tidings

unto the meek;

 he hath sent me

to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison

to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim

the acceptable year

of the LORD,

and the day of vengeance

of our God;

to comfort all that mourn;

3 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 61:1-3

I love that phrase, “to give unto them beauty for ashes”! It is so picturesque, for I think most of us have faced a pile of ashes lying in front of us (often of our own making), yet God was speaking to our hearts to remind us to bring it to Jesus!

Come unto me,

all ye that labour

and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you,

and learn of me;

for I am meek and lowly in heart:

and ye shall find rest

unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy,

and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

As this precious young woman shared her story, she was so open and transparent about her struggle, and the sufficiency of The Lord God Almighty to bring her through, and help her see that ashes aren’t necessarily the end—or the ruination of our “picture”–for as she spoke she was drawing a picture that beautifully depicted the message that she shared!  And while she shared different scriptures than I’m sharing with you—the message was the same—our God is able!  Our God loves us!  Our God will provide!  Maybe not in the way we expect, or on our timetable, but HE will provide for His own!

What does this have to do with “Pilgrims”?  Well, let me tell you!  We are continually called in scripture to be aware of the pitfalls of this world—for it is alluring, and as scripture says, there is pleasure “in sin, for a season”, but there is a price tag for our choices.  As believers in Jesus, we are called to walk as “pilgrims” in this world, knowing our home and our reward is not “here”!  I pray that these verses will help us check our focus, and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, no matter how big our pile of ashes may seem!

These all died in faith,

not having received the promises,

but having seen them afar off,

and were persuaded of them,

and embraced them,

and confessed

that they were strangers

and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things

declare plainly

that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful

of that country from whence they came out,

they might have had opportunity

to have returned.

16 But now they desire

a better country,

that is, an heavenly:

wherefore God is not ashamed

to be called their God:

for he hath prepared for them a city.”   Hebrews 11:13-16

As an old song says, “this world is not my home” (By Albert E. Brumley), even as Peter calls us to pay attention!

Dearly beloved,

I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,

abstain from fleshly lusts,

which war against the soul;” 1 Peter 2:11

Amen and Amen—Press on Pilgrim!