January 7–What Kind of Tree Would You Be?

What kind of a tree would you be if you were a tree? I know on some days I feel and act like that scrawny, little tree from Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Yet God’s love is able to powerfully change all of our weakness, hurt and ugliness into beauty and strength. God heals our hearts and minds and forgives our sins. God transforms us from brokenness and despair into oaks of righteousness–deeply rooted in His Word and nurtured by His Spirit. In Christ our character can be transformed from one like a frail and scrawny, almost unidentifiable, tree to a character that is like a strong and stable oak providing a place of shade, shelter and nourishment for others. God desires to grow each of us into oaks of righteousness and to use us to make known  His love and majesty to those around us! How amazing is that?!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach 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, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…to comfort all who mourn…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness 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. Isaiah 61:1-3

Personal Reflections from Sylane                                                                             I love this passage of Scripture so much. The Sovereignty of our God–His sheer, raw power, the-nothing-can-stand-in-His-way-kind-of power–is so perfectly evident here. God has a task to accomplish–and it is about turning our world upside down by His intimate and powerful intervention in our lives.

These last couple of days I have been ministering with groups of young men, and their therapists, at a Rehabilitation Center (prison) for adolescent sexual perpetrators. Yep, me–once a victim of such ugly sexual abuse, but now more than a conqueror through the love of Jesus–I get to tell my story not just to the victims of sexual sins, but also to those who have horrendously victimized others.

You see, that’s how BIG our God is! He sets both the captive-the victim AND the prisoner-the victimizer FREE. We all need Jesus. Every one of us–no more, no less than anyone else. We all need Jesus.

And right in the midst of these nearly forgotten–or maybe, very unwanted–young men, God announced His Good News: “I love you. I heal you. I free you. I forgive you. I have good things–the best things–for your life. I comfort you. I turn your grief and pain into beauty and joy. I turn your weakness into strength. I will show others My love and power through you.”

And Jesus can do all of this for, and through, each one of us–no matter what we may have suffered or what suffering we may have caused. We all need Jesus.

In love, peace and purposeful passion,                                                               Sylane

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