March 5, 2012
Devotions written by Shelley Brandon, Grief and Encouragement Coach
The Year of the LORD’s Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Every night in Guatemala, after we ate and cleaned up, we had a time of praise & worship and devotions. In the mornings before we left we were each to spend time alone with God. It was during the personal time with God that my eyes were brought to Isaiah 61. I was floored by the first verses and continued to feel my jaw sagging to my feet as I continued to read the entire chapter. This was my personal devotion during the whole trip and it will be my focus this week as well.
The first verse brought to mind Moses when he was talking to God through the combustible bush, I could almost hear Him whispering to me, “I have heard the cries of my people in Guatemala and I’ve come down to help them….. now you go and do my work.” I felt so inadequate and small compared to the enormity of the needs there. I’m sure Moses felt like he was ready to conquer the world and shouted out, “CHARGE!” Or not. I heard Ken Davis say once that the part of Moses should have been played by Martin Short. If that’s the case then I’ve got to be the I Love Lucy version, “Whaaaaaaaaaa!”
At the same time I was also very hopeful and felt the stirrings of something I’d not felt in a long time. Life. In the hours spent in the sun, at the base of an active volcano called “Fuego” or fire, I felt life in my achy, sweaty, dirty veins. I’m sadly overweight and prone to migraines, but each day I knew that I had a purpose.
And I was not alone. For the first time in more than two years I was surrounded by new friends every moment of every day. Community. We were not created for isolation. In the villages I found a new meaning to community. These beautiful people had more community than I’ve ever known. It wasn’t just a matter of meeting with your neighbors for coffee; it was so much more than that. They were dependent on each other for the very necessities of life. I’ve never personally experienced that level of poverty and I’ve never been blessed with level of joy.
To Be Continued…….