Only divinity can turn ashes back to fire.
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Continuing to talk about the great exchange that took place where the gifts of God were given through the cross and what took place there here at Christmas and around on Christmas time. There’s a lot of exchanging of gifts. But as we said yesterday and over the past few days, there’s no greater exchange than the exchange that took place when Jesus became sin on our behalf so we could become the righteousness of God. And throughout the Scriptures, we find this exchange spoken of in so many different ways.
A number of verses in Isaiah, for example, looking at Isaiah 61:3, the Scriptures tell us that he gave me beauty for Ashes.
And I’m sure many of you who have come to faith and have come to know Jesus, who have stepped from the old life to the new will completely relate to this. I know for me, man. There was a time when my life was burning to the ground. The relationship that I considered to be the great love of my life had crumbled. I now know that it wasn’t the great love of my life.
Larna is the great love of my life. And we’ve been married now for well over 20 years, 20, almost 25 years. And she is the absolute dream Babe, as far as I’m concerned and just gets more and more beautiful as the years go on. But back in the day when I was a young man, the relationship that I was involved in, not surprisingly, went absolutely pear shaped. But it broke my heart at the time.
My dream of being an artist was just slapped in the face by the art school that I’d set my desire on. And again, it’s not surprising. I really was really pursuing this Avenue for all the wrong reasons. My spirituality was shipwrecked. In my confusion.
I figured there must be more. There must be a way out. There must be some kind of Avenue to meaning. And in all of that confusion, I thought I was going to find this meaning through a smorgasbord spirituality and a cocktail of different hallucinogens that I was experimenting with. I was really on a quest.
I was on a search. But looking in all the wrong places and into that mess stepped the Majesty of Jesus onto the ash heap that my life seemed to be walked and stepped. This unexpected guest. Jesus visited me in my home. Jesus visited me in all of that darkness and confusion.
The Holy Ghost burst in, and in that moment, everything changed. I picture myself now just emaciated, spiritually shivering there before him, and he stripped away those ugly scars and took away and removed from me all of the filthy rags that were covering me and beauty clothes to my humbled soul with righteousness beauty clothes, the humble he gave me beauty for my Ashes. My sin had really left my life in Ashes, and there was little health to burn. There wasn’t a lot left for the flames to lick up.
But I can tell you this.
When the Holy Ghost moves in, he can turn Ashes back to fire. My heart was awakened to the reality of a new creation. With old things gone and new things come. The past was pinned to that Savage tree on Calvary, my life and all of my mistakes and all of my confusion was nailed there together with Christ. And this clean, open road of forgiveness stretched out before me.
And on that night, at 19 years old, I chose to step onto that road. And I’ve been walking that highway now for wow 30 years. It was on that night, though, when he gave me beauty for my Ashes, that my grateful adventure began. Well, thanks for listening. Hopefully, it’s been an encouragement to you today.
If you want to connect any further, you can do so through my website at davidleemartin.com. Have a great day.