It’s like the transformation between seasons, a home remodeling project, or the complete 180 your life has taken. Change is all around and within us, bringing about God’s redemption and restoration.
Day to day, that progress may not be evident. You don’t physically see your kids growing or watch the paint dry. And, at least for me, I find it difficult to recognize spiritual maturation in my heart when I live with myself every day.
But I am washed anew with comfort and gratitude when I receive Scripture’s truth.
As indeed He says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
    and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’
And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
– Romans 9:25-26
God flips everything upside down and composes the most beautiful opposites! In Him everything has new meaning.
Isaiah 61 is one of many chapters about marvelous reversals. My spirit fixes on every word:
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 LORD, that 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.
And that’s not all!
God’s Provision: “Instead of our shame there shall be a double portion,” it goes on, “Instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in the land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.”  
I find my own testimony between those lines, while also pondering Bible stories and fellow believers’ witness—testaments to God’s power, compassion, and love working in perfect harmony to achieve His good, acceptable, and perfect predetermined will (Romans 12:2).
Word of the Week: Garden. Eden marks the beginning of humanity; eternal paradise awaits as our promised destiny. What a luxuriant image of flourishing life—the kind that overtakes us when we give ourselves to Christ!
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God,
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.
– Isaiah 61:10-11



Authored by Abby Bennett on November 23, 2022.