Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 61:3’

Words of wisdom: A New Anointing

May 19, 2018

The Verse of the Day for May 19, 2013 provides a portrait of godly wisdom found in James 3:17-18 in the New International Version

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

This passage brings to mind a previous series of blog posts: “Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

In reflecting upon wisdom and looking over some of the poetry that I had written with references to wisdom, I came across a journal entry written over ten years ago where I discussed the term “apothecary” which is part of the name used for my blog. Here is an excerpt:

“[I am] reading Exodus 25: a discussion of the recipe given to Moses to prepare the holy anointing oil for the tabernacle, to be “compounded after the art of the apothecary.” I am moved to tears as I read the passage and think of the years I spent as a pharmacist; indeed, I was endeavoring to follow recipes “to compound after the art of the apothecary.” Only within the last three or four years have I come to realize the connection between the natural and the spiritual within the context of my “compounding after the art of the apothecary,” both in terms of my bi-vocational endeavors. The phrase, of course, is also the title of a poem “After the Art of the Apothecary.”

The poetic entry for today is “A New Anointing” with a reference to the anointing oil that I mention in the journal excerpt.

A New Anointing

But my horn you have exalted
like a wild ox; I have been
anointed with fresh oil.

Psalm 92:10

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 61:3

We are still overwhelmed, utterly astounded
When we recall all that the Lord has done and stand
In this place of grace where sin had once abounded.
Yielded and still, we submit to all that He has planned.
Here we receive a new anointing compounded
Still after the art of the apothecary.
Fragrant blessings caress all that we do and say,
As we touch the realm of the extraordinary.
We must walk in wisdom and not be confounded
By devilish devices that distract and dismay.
We look to God who shall bless and refresh our soul,
As He pours this precious ointment upon our head
That we might be sanctified, preserved and made whole
And trade sorrow for the oil of gladness instead.
Trusting in God’s will is never disappointing,
As we receive from on high this new anointing.

David Baroni gives us a spirited rendition of “A New Anointing,” a perfect musical selection for today’s blog entry, more “Good Medicine” placed on the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

Mourning into dancing; beauty for ashes

December 10, 2017

Psalm 30--11

From Logos Bible software comes the Verse of the Day for December 10, 2017 to remind us of the transforming power of God:

Psalm 30:11 (NKJV)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind Isaiah 61:3 which contains a similar reference indicating that God exchanges the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” About five years ago, I recall reflecting upon God’s amazing ability to transform the most horrific circumstances into a glorious display of His wisdom, power and might, I thought of the expression “beauty for ashes.” Isaiah 61:3 offers a series of such transformations or exchanges that only God can give. That particular verse was used as the epigraph or introduction to a poem with that title:

Beauty for Ashes

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

 

Beauty for ashes–we are transformed to testify

Of lives so radically changed that we might glorify

The God of Heaven who touches the earth with His love

That overflows with bountiful blessings from above.

We are blessed and highly favored–no one can deny.

 

That we should be chosen by God some may wonder why,

But none can fathom God’s grace, no matter how they try.

Ascend into God’s presence on the wings of a dove:

Beauty for ashes.

 

Many times it may seem as if life has passed us by,

But God is faithful; on Him we can always rely.

Nothing in this life surpasses God’s unchanging love;

It is far beyond all that we could ask or think of.

Remember that God is not a man that He should lie:

Beauty for ashes.

I also recall having completed another poem containing a reference to Isaiah 61:3.  Shortly after writing the poem, I was asked to officiate at a funeral service and do the eulogy for someone who had not been affiliated with a local church. It was an unusual service for me in that for the first time the individual being eulogized had been cremated. On a table in front of the mortuary was an urn that contained the ashes of the deceased.  As it turned out, this was perfect occasion for sharing the previously composed poem with the line “Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise.” The poem also contains a theme related to God with whom all things are possible and with whom nothing is impossible.

 No Matter How You Phrase It

And Jesus looking upon them saith,

With men it is impossible, but not with God:

for with God all things are possible  

Mark 10:27

 

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Luke 1:37

 

There is none like God who never fails to come through:

Whether you say “With God all things are possible”

Or say “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

No matter how you phrase it, the Word is still true.

As those who observe the times, we wisely surmise

That the Prince of Peace ascended to end all strife,

Leading captive even death to release new life.

Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise,

We boldly declare the Word of God and assert

The Providence of an all-wise Father who makes

Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert.

With the Word of Life, even death itself awakes.

We seek to walk in wisdom and number our days,

Humbly discerning that His ways are not our ways.

In addition to reading the poem as part of the eulogy, I also commented about the beauty of gemstones that are formed from volcanic ash. Did you know that ashes in volcanoes under extreme heat and pressure provide the perfect conditions to form certain precious stones, such as diamonds?  As the volcanoes erupt, they push the gemstones to the surface where they can be seen after the site has cooled.  So, indeed, God both figuratively and literally “gives beauty for ashes.”

Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly offer a tender rendition of the song “Beauty for Ashes.”

Suffering: Beauty for ashes

June 3, 2017

Isaiah 61--3.jpg

In his thoughtful and most inspiring blog, “His Curriculum of the Spiritual Life,” RH “Rusty” Foerger offers Poems, Prayers, & Proverbs that speak to what it means to be a “living curriculum” of the Christian Life.  In a recent entry focusing on “The Place of Suffering to the Soul,” where he examined comments from noted author John Ortberg, one of his statements arrested my attention:

Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known.”

In reflecting on this quote, a previous blog post came to mind where I commented upon God’s amazing ability to transform the most horrific circumstances into glorious displays of His wisdom, power, and might. I thought of the expression “beauty for ashes” found in Isaiah 61:3 which offers a series of such transformations or exchanges that only God can give. That particular verse was used as the epigraph or introduction to a poem with that title:

Beauty for Ashes

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty for ashes–we are transformed to testify

Of a life radically changed that we might glorify

The God of Heaven who touches the earth with His love

That overflows with bountiful blessings from above.

We are blessed and highly favored–no one can deny.

 

That we should be chosen by God some may wonder why,

But none can fathom God’s grace, no matter how they try.

We ascend into God’s presence on wings of a dove:

Beauty for ashes.

 

Many times it may seem as if life has passed us by,

But God is faithful; on Him we can always rely.

Nothing in this life surpasses God’s unchanging love;

It is far beyond all that you could ask or think of.

Remember that God is not a man that He should lie:

Beauty for ashes.

The heart of the poem relates God’s amazing ability to transform ashes, symbols of suffering, sorrow, and despair into objects of exquisite beauty and splendor. Another poem examines God’s life-transforming power and offers a related reference with the line: “Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise.” The poem also contains a theme connected to God with whom all things are possible and with whom nothing is impossible.

No Matter How You Phrase It

And Jesus looking upon them said,  

With men it is impossible, but not with God:

for with God all things are possible

Mark 10:27

For with God nothing shall be impossible    

Luke 1:37                                                                                       

There is none like God who never fails to come through:

Whether you say “With God all things are possible”

Or say “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

No matter how you phrase it, the Word is still true.

As those who observe the times, we wisely surmise

That the Prince of Peace ascended to end all strife,

Leading captive even death to release new life.

Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise,

We boldly declare the Word of God and assert

The Providence of an all-wise Father who makes

Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert.

With the Word of Life, even death itself awakes.

We seek to walk in wisdom and number our days,

Humbly discerning that His ways are not our ways.

In thinking more deeply about the subject, we recognize that beautiful, precious gemstones are derived from natural deposits or mines located across the Earth, with Africa being a particular location of abundant deposits.  In addition, did you know that ashes in volcanoes under extreme heat and pressure provide the perfect conditions to form certain precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires?  As the volcanoes erupt, they push the gemstones to the surface where they can be seen after the site has cooled.  So, indeed, God both figuratively and literally “gives beauty for ashes.” With the Psalmist, we declare:

Psalm 145:7

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite

Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly offer a tender rendition of the song “Beauty for Ashes.”

On 9-11-13: Remembering beauty for ashes

September 11, 2013
The lower perimeter columns of the north and west faces of Two World Trade Center (south tower) after the collapse of the building.

The lower perimeter columns of the north and west faces of the World Trade Center (south tower) after the collapse of the building following the attack on 9-11.

Today, September 11, 2013, marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC. In addition, the nation pauses to remember the one-year anniversary of the September 11, 2012 attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where four Americans were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. On such solemn occasions, we look for rays of hope, like radiant beams of light that penetrated plumes of dust and debris on that fateful day, September 11, 2001 . This morning I thought of the passage from Isaiah 61:3 which makes known the transforming power of God:

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.

The God of universe, the all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God, can utterly transform what appears the most devastating disaster into a glorious triumph that defies all attempts to figure out how such a grand outcome is even conceivable. I thought of a blog post on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe inspired by this comforting passage from Isaiah. I thought it would be appropriate to re-post this two-part entry on this another 9-11 commemoration:

https://drlej.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/beauty-for-ashes-and-the-power-of-god-parts-1-and-2/

https://drlej.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/beauty-for-ashes-and-the-power-of-god-part-2/

A view of the World Trade Center 9-11-11 Tribute in light from Jersey City, NJ. The red, white & blue building on the left is the new World Trade Center building (formerly known as The Freedom Tower).

A view of the World Trade Center 9-11-11 Tribute in light from Jersey City, NJ. The red, white & blue building on the left is the new World Trade Center building (formerly known as The Freedom Tower).

“Words of Wisdom”—a daily dose of “words to the wise”–Day 13

May 27, 2013
This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

This blog entry is another in a series featuring a daily dose of “words to the wise,” poetically expressed from the Book of Proverbs.

As I began the day reflecting upon wisdom and looking over some of the poetry that I had written with references to wisdom, I came across a journal entry written over ten years ago where I discussed the term “apothecary” which is part of the name used for my blog. Here is an excerpt:

“[I am] reading Exodus 25: a discussion of the recipe given to Moses to prepare the holy anointing oil for the tabernacle, to be “compounded after the art of the apothecary.” I am moved to tears as I read the passage and think of the years I spent as a pharmacist; indeed, I was endeavoring to follow recipes “to compound after the art of the apothecary.” Only within the last three or four years have I come to realize the connection between the natural and the spiritual within the context of my “compounding after the art of the apothecary,” both in terms of my bi-vocational endeavors.  The phrase, of course, is also the title of a villanelle composed for the collection Stone upon Stone: Psalms of Remembrance.”

The poetic entry for today is “A New Anointing” with a reference to the anointing oil that I mention in the journal excerpt.

This verse provides the introduction to "A New Anointing."

This verse provides the introduction to “A New Anointing.”

A New Anointing

But my horn you have exalted

like a wild ox; I have been

anointed with fresh oil.

Psalm 92:10

                                               

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 61:3

 

I am still overwhelmed, utterly astounded

When I recall all that the Lord has done and stand

In this place of grace where sin had once abounded.

Yielded and still, I submit to all that He has planned.

Here I receive a new anointing compounded

Still after the art of the apothecary.

Fragrant  blessings caress all that  I do and say,

As I touch the realm of the extraordinary.

I must walk in wisdom and not be confounded

By devilish devices that distract and dismay.

I look to God who shall bless and refresh my soul,

As He pours this precious ointment upon my head

That I might be sanctified, preserved and made whole

And trade sorrow for the oil of gladness instead.

Trusting in God’s will is never disappointing,

As I receive from on high this new anointing.

 

David Baroni gives us a spirited rendition of “A New Anointing,” a perfect musical selection for today’s blog entry, more “Good Medicine” placed on the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

 

Beauty for Ashes and the Power of God: Part 1

October 20, 2012

Part I—Beauty for Ashes

Recently as I reflected upon God’s amazing ability to transform the most horrific circumstances into a glorious display of His wisdom, power and might, I thought of the expression “beauty for ashes.” Isaiah 61:3 offers a series of such transformations or exchanges that only God can give. I used that particular verse as the epigraph or introduction to a poem with that title:

Beauty for Ashes

To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty for ashes–you are transformed to testify

Of a life radically changed that you might glorify

The God of Heaven who touches the earth with His love

That overflows with bountiful blessings from above.

You are blessed and highly favored–no one can deny.

That you should be chosen by God some may wonder why,

But none can fathom God’s grace, no matter how they try.

Ascend into God’s presence on the wings of a dove:

Beauty for ashes.

Many times it may seem as if life has passed you by,

But God is faithful; on Him you can always rely.

Nothing in this life surpasses God’s unchanging love;

It is far beyond all that you could ask or think of.

Remember that God is not a man that He should lie:

Beauty for ashes.

 

About a year later, I completed another poem containing a reference to Isaiah 61:3.  Shortly after writing the poem, I was asked to officiate at a funeral service and do the eulogy for someone who had not been affiliated with a local church. It was an unusual service for me in that for the first time the individual being eulogized had been cremated. On a table in front of the mortuary was an urn that contained the ashes of the deceased.  As it turned out, this was perfect occasion for sharing the poem which has a line “Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise.” The poem also contains a theme related to God with whom all things are possible and with whom nothing is impossible.

No Matter How You Phrase It

And Jesus looking upon them saith,    

With men it is impossible, but not with God:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              for with God all things are possible. 

Mark 10:27

                                                                                         

For with God nothing shall be impossible.          

Luke 1:37

                                                                               

There is none like God who never fails to come through:

Whether you say “With God all things are possible”

Or say “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

No matter how you phrase it, the Word is still true.

As one who observes the times, I wisely surmise

That the Prince of Peace ascended to end all strife,

Leading captive even death to release new life.

Just as from ashes beauty and splendor arise,

I boldly declare the Word of God and assert

The Providence of an all-wise Father who makes

 Barrenness to bloom with rivers in the desert.

With the Word of Life, even death itself awakes.

I seek to walk in wisdom and number my days,

Humbly discerning that your ways are not my ways.

In addition to reading the poem as part of the eulogy, I also commented about the beauty of gemstones that are formed from volcanic ash. Did you know that ashes in volcanoes under extreme heat and pressure provide the perfect conditions to form certain precious stones, such as diamonds?  As the volcanoes erupt, they push the gemstones to the surface where they can be seen after the site has cooled.  So, indeed, God both figuratively and literally “gives beauty for ashes.”

Crystal Lewis and Ron Kenoly offer a tender rendition of the song “Beauty for Ashes.”