devos from the hill

Beauty for Ashes – Isaiah 61:1-3

1 Comment

God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.


Today’s Devotional is from team member, Beverly Bates.
Beverly is Assistant to the VP of Administration and she cares for the team in countless ways.

A big part of my family heritage is: attending church! I grew up in a rural Ohio farm community and not only attended the same, small, country church that my great great grandparents went to, but I was very involved in the church.

The summer after my third-grade year was an exciting time for me! I was finally old enough to attend Church Camp, which meant a whole week away from farm chores, picking green beans, hoeing the garden, mowing cemeteries, and picking cherries from Aunt Rowena and Uncle Fred’s cherry trees.

At Camp St. Mary’s I looked forward to the week of vacation activities: swimming in a pool every day, making craft projects, canoeing in the canals, and singing around the campfire.

Camp was a fun place, and it is where I accepted Jesus in my heart. I did not share my good news with anyone back home, which means I was not encouraged in my faith or discipled by anyone.

Around the age of 13, I thought I knew everything and became a Smart Aleck!

I started making stupid choices and hanging with the wrong crowd. Eventually, being young and dumb, and giving in to peer pressure, at the age of 17 I made a poor choice that would affect my future in ways I did not think of at the time:  I made the choice of turning my back on God.

It would be another six years of going down the wrong path before I realized I needed to rededicate my life to the Lord, which I did!

The Lord is helping me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and to live daily in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.

From what I have observed during my 16 years at Mars Hill, my co-workers, and our board members relentlessly pursue the Lord, and it is my desire to do the same. Because of Christ living His life in me and through me, I don’t have to live in bondage to sin any longer but have been set free to obey Him. I thank the Lord that He has placed good leadership at Mars Hill to help me grow in my faith journey.

Some Bible verses that have encouraged me to keep focused on my new life in Christ are:

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Titus 2:11-14 – For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

A favorite song of mine is Beauty for Ashes
by Crystal Lewis
Chorus:
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair
(Repeat)

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

Chorus

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

Chorus

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

Listen to the song here:

 

In closing, this is a prayer that I keep with me and pray often when I am standing in line or waiting for an appointment. I share it now with you:

Thank You for the blessing of full forgiveness and that I can stand before You, free from all guilt and condemnation.  Thank You that through the power of the Cross and the indwelling Holy Spirit, I don’t have to live in bondage to sin any longer, but have been set free to obey You.  I praise You for your promise that one day You will deliver your children from even the presence of sin and will take us to heaven to live with You forever. Amen.

 

One thought on “Beauty for Ashes – Isaiah 61:1-3

  1. Beverly, thanks so much for your very open and thoughtful devotional this morning. It was a blessing to me, and I appreciate very much your sharing your story with us. Mars Hill is most fortunate to have you as a vital part of our day-to-day operations; thank you for all that you do. Many blessings, Joe Ince

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