Devotional Song: Go to this link … Please take the time to see a video of Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly singing Beauty For Ashes reminding us what God can do when we’re willing to surrender to His love and mercy and let him uproot the bitterness in our lives and turn it into His love and our darkness into His light.
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Highlight Passage: Genesis 16: 5 [NKJV} … God’s promise through Isaiah …
5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.”
Highlight Context - NKJV: Genesis 16: 1-6; 12: 8-13 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK …
Reference Passage #1: Matthew 5: 16… [NKJV] … God shows us what can happen when let His love shine through our lives rather than let our roots of bitterness dispel his love in our lives …
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Reference Passage #2: Ephesians 4: 17-32… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK … What we could be … IF … we could lay aside all bitterness and take up and wear God’s forgiveness
Reference Passage #3: Colossians 3: 1-11… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK … Cutting out the root of carnality from our lives and putting on the new man
Reference Passage #4: Hebrews 12: 12-17… [NKJV] GO TO THIS LINK … Especially noting the exhortation of verses 14-15 which proclaims we “pursue peace” and avoid letting “any root of bitterness” from growing deep into the soil of our lives …
My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Marion Stroud, took his readers to a lesson from history and the results of bitterness when it’s roots are allowed to grow deep without being uprooted and replanted with God’s balm of love, mercy, and forgiveness. It’s the story of when Sarai’s and Hagar’s mutual bitterness could not be replaced with God’s love and where it has led us - even today with what we see still festering in the Middle East.
And oh how how true Sarai’s proclamation became prophetic reality when she said, in today’s highlight verse ”The Lord judge between you and me.” And we now see the results of that root of bitterness … with Arabs hating and killing Jews and Muslims slaughtering Christians and other Muslims. Oh, how interesting - yet fruitless I’m afraid - to speculate “WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN” … IF … Sarai and Hagar could have parted and sought God’s balm of love to replace their mutual and carnal root of bitterness … which grew between their progeny throughout history.
WHAT IF … in the fulfillment of the New Covenant, however, we could have seen the results of the proclamations of truth as exposed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6: 16, or the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the church in the Eph. 5 and Col. 3 passages copied above, or from the Author of Hebrews when God wrote, through him, for us to avoid a root of bitterness in our lives (see Heb. 12 linked above)?
WHAT IF … we could - and we can! - dig up any root of bitterness we might hold in our hearts and replace it with the Lord’s roots of love, mercy, and forgiveness, which have certainly been amply doled out on the cross and from the power of love from Christ’s resurrection?
WHAT IF … you or I were able to forgive any/all who have wronged us and have led our very carnal feelings of anger to become roots of bitterness, as pictured in the attached photo?
Would our lives be any different … IF … we tore out any such roots of bitterness and allowed God’s balm of Gilead to soothe our soul … where we could replace those roots of bitterness and darkness with God’s love and peace, allowing us to shine His light into the world rather than letting the darkness consume us?
Well, I believe my WHAT IF speculations could be replaced by the loving truth which Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly sing about in today’s song, linked above. We could experience God’s beauty for the ashes of our humanity … IF … we could cut out any roots of bitterness in our lives and live in the light of God’s love.
So … WHAT IF?
My Prayer for Today … Lord, thank You for allowing me to set aside any past anger and bitterness and giving me Your love. Amen
Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.