The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
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.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in the inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double
portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.
For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known
among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.
Although the book of Isaiah was written by the prophet Isaiah, Jesus applied these verses to himself in Luke 4: 18-21 when he said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Yet, not every believer has laid hold of this type of blessing. All the promises and blessings of God must be laid hold of forcefully and tenaciously. I believe with all my heart that not only is it possible to see this kind of blessing in our lives, it is our call, our privilege and our responsibility as ones who have been redeemed!
So, what exactly is a Year of the Lord's Favor? If we take a closer look at this chapter we see a joyful progression from:
Freedom for captives,
to a garment of praise,
to rebuilding ruined places,
to a double portion of inheritance,
the blessing will be passed to your offspring
and finally to everlasting joy!!!
I've written a lot on this blog about "Freedom for the Captives". I believe that our true freedom comes by delving into the deepest, darkest corners of our lives to unearth everything that has wormed it's way into our heart and mind like a cancerous tumor and keeps us living in crazy-cycles of defeat. Some of these cancerous tumors are:
1. Involvement in cult or occult practices: palm reading, horoscopes, hypnosis, Masons/Freemasons, Yoga, New Age, TM, Zen Buddhism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness and MANY others.
2. Idols of the heart: food, money, computers/gaming, celebrities, TV, fitness, work, image, children, hobbies, parents, busyness, pleasure, control, popularity, etc.
3. Spirit of Fear - a deception of the enemy saying "God can't be trusted."
4. Failure to Forgive (How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me) - releasing the root of bitterness
5. Rebellion or failure to submit (see The Liberating Truth About Submission)
6. Pride - a deception of the enemy saying "I can do it better than God."
7. Word Curses spoken by you or to you (see You Hold The Key)
This is certainly not a complete list and, as you can tell, the process of purging and pruning all of these various tumors from one's life, home and family tree might require some help from other sources.
The book Bondage Breaker is a really great place to start and will help immensely! But, if you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area I recommend the Ministry Of Reconciliation - a free ministry that will work with you on a one-on-one basis to help you identify and weed out your areas of strongholds.
Once these areas are weeded out of our lives, our relationship with God is unhindered and our prayer life becomes so much more vibrant! Hope is restored as we begin to see freedom from our cycles of defeat. Our natural response is praise - "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair".
The next step of progression is the rebuilding of relationships and dreams that have long been ruined - "places long devastated." Any time a marriage is restored this is certainly for the "display of His splendor."
We're given new dreams and a new song in our heart. One of the biggest dreams is to see others find this healing as well and so "we are named ministers of our God". There is nothing more rewarding than helping someone else step into the abundant life that is rightfully ours in Christ Jesus.
The last part of this blessing is that we inherit a double portion, "because, I the Lord, love justice and I hate robbery and iniquity." In other words, God, in His justice, will give us a double portion of all the things the enemy stole away such as love, joy, peace, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not to mention that this blessing overflows to your children and your family, "and all who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed." Wow! How great is that!
This is the testimony of what the Lord has done in my life and in my family. We, by no means, are a completed work. On the contrary, we have a long way to go still, but the blessing is already there. We know it because we have seen God use the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead to resurrect our marriage and bring blessing to our family!
May 2012 be The Year Of The Lord's Favor for you as you seek Him with all your heart, and all your soul and all your strength!
Grace and Peace be yours in abundance~