August 19, 2010
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Isaiah 61:1b-3 – 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 and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — 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. (NIV)

At this time of the year, the fireweed plant, here in the far north, is nothing short of a glory of splendour upon the hills and fields. Its clear magenta colour floods the landscape with rippling beauty.

Fireweed is classified as a restorative plant. It is most dense in burned-out or previously-burned areas, sprouting up through the ashes where fires have devastated the landscape. Once the forest has renewed itself, the fireweed lies dormant in the soil until a new blaze clears the land. As the light hits the again-ravaged soil, the dormant fireweed seeds rise anew to greet the sun and begin their restorative work once more.

As I gazed upon the miles and miles of this lovely plant growing so abundantly upon the mountains and the sides of the road as we traveled to the city last week, today's verses from Isaiah popped into my mind, and I found myself smiling and silently praising God for His restorative powers in our lives as His children.

When we first come to Him through Christ our Lord, we are people who need restoration from the ravages of a sinful nature, and He is faithful to do just that: restore us.

As we continue to grow in Christ and experience the fires of life, His Spirit and the seed of His Word is always there within us, ready and waiting to spring up anew and turn our ashes into beauty once again.

And as life as we know it upon the landscape of this earth slowly begins to burn out for each of us, once again through the power of His Spirit and the seeds of His Word, we need not despair or be afraid. For on that glorious day when we meet our Lord face to face, I have no doubt that we will forevermore be filled with an unspeakable, eternal gladness, and be clothed in a garment of praise, never more to experience the spirit of despair.

Prayer: Most wonderful heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious splendour of Your beauty and love which comes to us daily through the power of Your Holy Spirit and Your words to us known as Scripture. We love You and are eternally grateful for the restorative power of Jesus Christ within us and for the promises and hope of heaven yet to come. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

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Lynne Phipps <>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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