Friday, September 20, 2013

The Spirit of the Lord God Is Upon YOU.

Today is the final day in our 37th week, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures* today are:  Isaiah 60-63; 2 Corinthians 1.

Today, we come upon one of my favorite passages in the prophets.  In chapter 61, Isaiah says:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lordthat he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
    they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
    the devastations of many generations.

This is the passage of scripture that Jesus was reading, when He got Himself in trouble in his hometown of Nazareth.  I've blogged about this passage of scripture in Luke 4 several times.  I invite you to click here to read my post entitled "Anointed," where I discuss how Christians are just as anointed as Jesus was, to do these things.  After you've read that post, click here to read another post entitled "Angels Without Wings," where I talk about a couple of homeless men who shared this scripture with me.  Instead of being redundant as I write, I'll simply ask you to check out these two articles.

Basically, Isaiah is saying that the Spirit of God allows you to reverse things, and turn negative into positive.  Poverty becomes Gospel.  Broken hearts are mended.  Captives are freed--on the outside and on the inside.  Mourners are comforted.  The faint of heart are encouraged to praise God.  Ancient ruins are rebuilt.  All because believers allow the Spirit to flow through them.

This reminds me of the reversals we find in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury,pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 


St. Francis and the Birds
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit someone in a nursing home, and to be an instrument of that kind of peace to them.  Where there was anxiety, I was able to bring calm.  Fear hovered in the room, but I was able to banish it with love (1 Jn 4:18).  How could I do this?  Not because I am peace--but because I allowed myself to be an instrument of Peace.  

When Isaiah, Jesus, and Francis talked about reversing negativity, they weren't just saying that the Spirit of the Lord was upon them.  They were saying it's upon you as well.  Whether you find yourself in a nursing home, a church, a shopping mall, a classroom, a factory, or your own home, I hope that you'll be an instrument of God's peace.  I hope you'll remember that the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, so that you can bring light to the darkness.

*Scriptures from the ESV.

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