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songofbeauty

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May 2014

Trees of Righteousness

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Joseph had a hundred reasons to weep.

His half-brothers hated him – so much that they conspired to kill him and instead sold him as a slave. In a foreign country far from his father, he was falsely accused and locked in prison.

But Joseph stayed faithful to God, and God helped him to prosper wherever he was. As the saying goes, he bloomed where he was planted.

Finally, things were looking up for Joseph. King Pharaoh set him free and promoted him to second-in-command over Egypt. He gave Joseph a wife, and God blessed the young couple with two sons.

Even in his prosperity, though, Joseph was faced with his past in a huge way one day, when his traitorous brothers arrived in Egypt.

Their reappearance in his life set the stage for more weeping. He had to have wrestled with a tidal wave of the emotions that he thought he had buried (as when he named his first son Manasseh, saying, “For God has made me forget my toil and all my father’s house.”).

But God gave Joseph grace and a remarkable perspective. He was able to see God’s hand through all his trials.

He kissed all his brothers and wept over them (Genesis 45:15). Later, he told his brothers, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen. 50:20)

You may have picked up some dents or scars in life, some from others and completely unwanted. But God doesn’t want you to focus on those or to be held back by them.

He wants to bring healing and to bring you into a beautiful place for His glory. He even wants, through your past hurts, to use you to bring healing to someone else.

When you start to feel weighed down by the past, realize that your past doesn’t have full sway over your life today. You have a new purpose: to bear fruit and to glorify God.

Jesus will accomplish this in you by His transforming work, described in Isaiah 61:1-3. To those who mourn in Zion, He gives

“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.”

Our Messiah, Jesus, fulfilled this passage. He also conquered death and the grave. He lives. There is nothing beyond His power or His reach. Your past, your present, your future – they are all in His hands. Trust in Him.

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City Bustle

Bumper to bumper, elbow to elbow
Toe to heel and heel to toe
Traffic honking, stop-and-go

Pausing at the crosswalk-blinking
Clans of black suits somber, thinking
Glance at watches, patience shrinking

Light changes
Bustle-bustle, hurry-hurry
All of them are prone to worry

Bumper to bumper and elbow to elbow,
Toe to heel and heel to toe,
Traffic honking – go

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