Beauty for Ashes!

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them 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,” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

Isaiah 61 is probably one of the most comforting chapters in the Bible. The very first verse begins with good news preaching “good tidings to the poor,” speaks of   heal the broken-hearted,” and proclaims “liberty to the captives.”

We have all at one time or another been in need of good tidings, healing or freedom from bondage. This chapter provides hope of change or rather an exchange of what we have for what our God is willing to give us instead.

God’s love for us allows us the opportunity to give Him those things that are painful and receive from Him beauty, joy and relief from oppression. These things He gives to us not only for our good, but that He may be glorified in the process.

We all suffer wounds along our way. We have losses and people we mourn. There are things we’ve held dear that have been reduced to nothing. We’ve all felt overcome by fear, doubts, and even the duties of daily life. But we don’t have to stay bound by any of this!

The cherry tree pictured below has been wounded. The gouge in the trunk was not created by nature. So great a wound could have killed it. Some of the things we experience can kill us too.
But God! This damaged tree yet blooms! And we can too!  DSC_2960


We can rise up and above our losses, regrets and missteps! God enables us through the anointing and blessing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for us that we may be freed from the pain and suffering sin brings. When we choose Him, He exchanges what we have for what can be.

Choosing God allows us to be planted and restored as His people; strong, beautiful and useful. We have a purpose to serve!

If you are feeling wounded, don’t give up! Instead, give yourself over to God. He can take what is left for dead and give new life! He restores us! He can even equip us to restore others! God can take our pitiful selves and through us to do the miraculous!


God’s blessings aren’t always “in your face.” His blessings often start small and grow. Like a seed, God’s blessings can evolve into more than we can even imagine. What is at first naked to the eye can develop into something so large there is no doubt God has caused it to thrive and prosper.

Isaiah preached of what was to come.

The God Isaiah spoke of is available to us now. Accessible. Ever present. Healer. Redeemer.

The key to receiving the beauty of God is having faith in not only what He has done but in what He can do for us. Now.

“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalms 90:17 NKJV

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. The scripture you shared (Is 63:3) has spoken to me many times over the years and today, reading it now, here, has blessed me greatly, it’s timing being so perfect. This entire post is just what I needed today. Thank you Lilka, God bless you.


    1. Whoops sorry, I thought that you didn’t receive my first message! 🙂

      How are you?? I’ve been good thanks Lilka, went off the blogosphere as I challenged myself to not go on Internet for 30 days!

      Yesterday I was listening on the radio and it was an interview with a mum whose son has autism. He went on to become an artist and even has a TV show with his artworks!!! His name is Tim Fischer, also spoke about his mum and how she never gave up on him and it was so VERY inspirational and wonderful!!


      1. Hehe I didn’t realize you got this message. How are you? You know what, the other day I was listening on the radio and they interviewed a mum whose son has autism. He went on to become an artist and recently had his art on a movie!! His name is Tim Fischer, from Australia. Anyway, he spoke on the radio interview as well, it was SO touching and amazing to hear how he’s come so far!

        Just remembered about you and the post you had on your son being able to play by ear 🙂 how is he going?


      2. Oh my goodness, talk about encouragement!

        Your words are SO timely! I’ve been praying a lot for my dear boy and fighting to maintain the faith that God has a great plan in store for him in the past few days. It has been very challenging to say the least!

        Landon actually wants to be an artist and is pretty good. He will begin a graphic arts program at his high school next year.

        He is still playing the trombone and has taken up the trumpet I gave him for Christmas. Is music teacher at school LOVES him and His playing is improving quite nicely.

        Thanks so much for thinking of me and I will google Tim Fischer. We are always on the look out for encouraging testimonies!

        You brought me the right words at just the right time! Our God is AWESOME!


      3. Tis a pleasure Lilka, sorry for sending too many messages of the same thing previously – I did not realize you received the original message sent. I’m so glad to hear Landon wants to be an artist! Perhaps he might like Tim’s “laser beak man” 🙂


      4. No worries! I’m just happy to hear from you! A great end to a really good day! I applaud your 30 day fast from the net. I look forward to reading about that 😉


  2. Beautiful shots and wonderful encouragement to keep believing. I especially love the photo of the wounded trunk with the flowers sprouting. The enemy thinks that our wounds defeat us; through God they only strengthen our faith to grow more beautiful. Blessings and thanks.


    1. Yeah, that particular tree just called me on over to it. Out of several dozen cherry trees that particular tree caught my eye.

      Let’s just say God is using my “photo-therapy” to speak to me a lot these past few days. Without our wounds I don’t think we could fully appreciate His redeeming power.

      Thanks for stopping by and B Blessed! 🙂


  3. We look for the same kinds of things from the scriptures, Lilka! I love this passage and it needed to be shared! Good job…

    Steve 🙂


    1. Thanks Steve! I see so many people who need encouragement and need to see the help they need and want is READILY available to them if they would only trust and believe in God instead of their own meager efforts.

      If God is using me to get that point across to others, all the better. Most times, I’m preaching to myself 😉


      1. We feel like “prophets without honor” much of the time! Much of the world doesn’t want to hear the message we try to bring them.

        However, we need to encourage one another to keep on spreading the word of God through Christ Jesus…it’s our “job” to honor the One True King!

        We’ll hold each other up, and anybody else who needs it, Lilka!

        Take care,
        Steve 🙂 🙂


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