What Good Are The Painful Ashes? – Isaiah 61:1-3

February 28, 2024

Series: Healing

Topic: Healing

So let’s go to your Bibles right now in Isaiah 61, and we’ll start in verse one.

Isaiah 61 says because because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor, He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted to proclaim liberty to the captives.

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn 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 the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.


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And the title to my message tonight is. What good are the ashes?

What Good Are The Painful Ashes? – Isaiah 61:1-3

-Minister Marcia Meadows

What good are the ashes? You know, do you have ashes in your life? I’m sure you do. If you’ve lived in this world anytime you know you’ve you’ve had some ashes. You’ve had some things burned up in your life. You’ve had some things that you’ve had to go through. And I begin to think about that.

I thought, Lord, what? What good are they? I used to have a little jar of ashes. I still do, I guess somewhere in between the move. I don’t know where it’s in a in a storage unit and center.

Feel or where it’s somewhere in my house now, but it’s somewhere I just and I was going to bring it and I told him. I told that little Zach. I said please go outside. There’s a little there was a little fire pit there. I said there might be ashes in that if you could get me some.

He went out there and he said there’s nothing but leaves and stuff. Mom, I said. All right. Oh, well, we’ll we’ll do without it tonight. So I want you to picture it. Whatever your ashes are. You know you have your little jar of ashes and whatever that is, you know, means for you.

Ashes are ruins or remains, something that has been destroyed by burning. Have you ever felt that way like this? There was things in your life that had been destroyed, you know. And. And my story here. I want to tell a little bit of it because it goes along with this.

Message. But when? When Jeff my husband passed away.

And back, it’s been almost it’ll be it’s been six months now. It’ll be seven months.

March the 18th, and when he passed away that even you know, that evening I was going to go out with my my friends and we were going to go eat some place. And and I had started my car and everything and I didn’t. I was cooking supper for him so that I could go out.

And I told the Zach I said go out and see if you can find your daddy anywhere.

And so he went out and he came back in and he couldn’t find him. And I thought, where is he at? And I called his phone and I called his phone and I couldn’t get him.



And so I went outside and I began to look for him. I thought, well, this is not like him, you know, he always calls me or lets me know what he’s doing.


So I went out.


And I begin to go over there close to his truck.


And I looked under the truck.


And he was underneath the truck.


With the with the part of the truck right on the back of his his neck, you know, and I was by then I was paranoid. I was just, you know, I just felt just craziness come over me almost. I didn’t know what to do. I just all I knew to do was I got to get him out from under this truck.


I got to get him half into his truck. And so I began to call neighbors instead of calling 911, I called neighbors. And so that’s just the way I was thinking. And so I called neighbors and and I they come and they were trying to get him out. And then little Zach came out and he seen him and.


He said. Mom, don’t you think you should call 911?


You know, he he’s. He was my thought there. He helped me to think, you know. And. And so I called 911 and and they came and.


And they pulled him out of there and.


And you know, they told me they said there there’s nothing we can do.


And at that moment, at that moment was the darkest time in my entire life. It was so I couldn’t explain it. The fear that overtook me. Everything was was so.


You know, I I even you know, a bunch of people started coming in to the house at that time. And the ones that I was going to go out to eat with and then they started just calling people and people started flooding my house and and and I and I was telling the people that were standing there. I said what?


Am I going?


To do now.


What am I going to do now?


Oh, because I couldn’t. I I couldn’t even imagine. I’m gonna have to tell my boys about this. I got one that just went to college on Wednesday. And then Friday this happened. And and then I got another one in Kentucky that’s dealing with his mother and father-in-law.


You know, because they’ve been in a bad accident.


That all these things going on and I’m thinking how am I going to tell them, you know, and the and the people kept coming around me, the ones that supposed to talk to you. And they kept saying you do, can we call somebody, can we call somebody? And I just couldn’t, you know, they kept doing that over and over and I had to tell my story.


Over and over because it happened at the house over and over and over again, and it was just so etched in my memory. You know all this.


And and when I said, what am I gonna do now? You know, I that night, you know, it was a hard night that night that I had to go back into the house and I had to try to sleep. It was a very hard night. It was I could feel.


The fire from the ashes.


Being burned up, I could feel it. It was so strong.


But you know what? Things might be burned up, but ashes can work. Good things in your life and you may not realize it when it first happens. When it’s first in that that jar and it and it looks just so black and dingy and and and just a bunch of ash.


And some of them’s white, by the way. I’m going to talk about that. What good are the ashes? So I begin to look up. What good are ashes? And I, you know, from a just a common thing I said.


Their ashes can be used to improve soil quality.


Think about that. The soil quality, those things that’s got you planted, those things that’s got you rooted, that soil that has you rooted. It can bring about good soil quality.


For those things.


And also which it surprised me a whole lot that you could use it to make soap. I thought how in the world, but that’s what it said. So I’m just telling you what it said. You can use it to make soap, you know. And. And I thought about it, a cleanser.


You know, sometimes our ashes, you know, no matter what they are, mine was happened to be at this time was grief. But I’ve been into through things in the past. It’s been different things that’s happened in my life. It’s been hurt and and different pains and different things that I had trouble forgiving and all these different things.


That I had in my little bottle of ashes, you know. But I got to thinking about how this you could use this to to cleanse and to make soap.


I got to thinking about all these things with this latest this latest thing that I went through with my husband. All those things that hurt me in the past, all those pains that hurt me in the past, those people that hurt me.


The past is nothing compared to the Ashes I was holding at that time.


So sometimes those ashes that you’re holding can cause you to let go of the other things. It can do a cleansing in your heart because it really doesn’t matter anymore. You know what matters to me right now? And I was praying today. I was praying and I was asking the Lord, I said to anoint me tonight.


Because there’s gonna be some hurting people here or on the Internet, there might be some hurting people here today and they need you to touch them. And those hurting in dark places in their life.


You know, and I wanted to be able to. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here for you. I’m here to help you. And I’m praying that I do that tonight. And another thing I thought about when I was looking up. What good? Her ashes. There was a bunch of things they were good for.


But one of them, they absorb smells.


Did you ever think about people that are so lost in sin? You know sister Precious preached last week and she talked about sin and how lost she was and sin and how dark it was for her and how, you know, the stench of sin was there. But I want to tell you something. You go through some.


Ashes. You take your ashes and that he can. He can absorb. That’s that smell and get that stench from you because you’ve been through some things.


And it can, and it could cause you to go to the one that you need the most, which is Jesus. So what are your ashes tonight?


Think about that.


Are they hurts?


Are they pains? Is it grief? Are you grieving a loved one that’s died?


Is it unforgiveness that you can’t seem to let go of no matter how hard you try? And I’m not going to tell you that’s an easy thing because it’s not because I’ve been there, but I want to tell you something. You’ll be so much better off if you just let it go. Let it go. It’ll set you free.


You know, and and I wrote on here. I truly believe that there is a beauty that we cannot possess until we have been through some ashes in life.


Certain types of beauty only come through pain and loss.


Certain things in your life can only come through the pain that you’ve been through. Certain things. When people see you and and they see what God has done in your life, they don’t see that person that you know you came out of. They see the person that you are now and that that shows them that that God can use.


You know that those things in your life.


For for the good.




In the dark is where you learn what faith really is.


When you can’t see it, but you still believe it, you know.


After he died, I had to think about a lot of things, you know, had to think about it. We were pastoring the church. I had to think about. I had to figure out the situation with that. What to do there. You know, there was a lot of different things on me at the time and.


But I also had to think about my bills.


You know, I was down to just my income and I couldn’t work right at the moment. I didn’t start back to work until January of this year because I was just so messed up. I needed some healing time.


But I watched God.


Do things that I never thought was even possible.


Because I just trusted him, I said God, I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. I don’t know how I’m gonna pay these bills, but I’m asking you, Lord, to pay these bills. I’m asking you, Lord, to pay them off, and I begin to believe God for paying off my bills. And and I begin to receive.


Checks from churches in Florida and Tennessee and just different places here and just all over people were sending me checks and money and my church, new life ministries. They help sustain me.


Two until I got here and I I appreciate that so much, but they they helped pay my bills. But God did get over and above, you know, because he began to direct me, he said. He said, I want you to go to Kentucky.


Because you’ll be closer to your son and and you’ll be closer to your family here. And. And I’m thinking, oh, Lord, how am I going to go to Kentucky?


You know, there’s a lot involved here, you know, and so I’m in. So I called, I called Vicki, you know.


And I said, I want you to be praying about this, she said. I was just.


Praying for you.


She said. And then I feel I feel like confirming in my spirit that you’re supposed to be here too.


That’s what she was praying and that’s what she believed. And so God confirmed. What? What I was thinking in my heart. And so I said, Lord, I don’t know how this is going to work out. And I and Pastor Tommy called me and I begin to tell him he said we’re going. We’ll make it happen.


You know, and so I I just prayed and I said, Lord, work it out. So I put my house in the Realtors hands.


And when I did that, it sold in three days, three days, she come. And she wanted my house. And and I’m I’m telling you, this is a miracle because my house is was built in the late 1800s. It’s a pretty house, but it had a lot of deficiencies there.


You know, and so she she wanted to be safe and she wanted to have an inspector come in.


And she wanted to check the house out. So I said, oh, OK, you know, cause there her the loan she was getting didn’t require it. But I singing, oh, Lord, I’m trusting you trusting you.


And so he filled out an 82 page inspection, the realtor said. We have never had an 82 page inspection on a house.


And she still wanted it. She still wanted my house, and so. And she wanted to move in it sooner than I could even leave. I’m thinking I don’t even know where I’m going, you know? And all my friends was coming up to me and saying, well, where are you moving to? I said I have no idea.


I don’t know. You know, I sold my house. You know, that’s the first step. But where I’m going, I don’t know. And and I know that there was a lot of them thinking, you know, you should have thought this out.


Because you know you need to know where you’re going before you get there. And and I was starting to think of myself toward the last two weeks, I would say, good Lord. Now I have to be out of there by this date. And I’m trusting you to work this out.


I’m trusting you to work it.


Out. And so I waited. I thought, oh, Lord, starting to get nervous, you know, because you do. And I remember Cindy Cooper. She said, well, you can. I got a big house. You can stay with me. Something don’t work out. I thought well, praise God. I got something to fall back on. I won’t just be.


Car in my car or something, you know? And of course, I know my my son wouldn’t put me in his car, but he’s got a little apartment. So you know, that was not. That was not on the books at the time. And so. But Sister Cindy said I could come there. So that made me feel some better.


But God moved about the last.




I still didn’t know where I was going for which house for a little bit, because that was still up in the air and I thought, oh, Lord, just anywhere with the roof and you know, but I begin to pray for certain things. I did pray about certain things that I like. I said, Lord, I like hardwood floors. I like certain things like that. There’s things I like.


So whatever you do is OK.


And I’ll go, you know, and so went to the house. It’s got hardwood floors and God answered my prayer. And God moved, you know, through this time, you know, I’m just. I’m trying to tell you how God can turn it around. He can turn things around. Yes. I miss my husband desperately.


I love him. You know, I and I I think about him all the time. You know, he was just. We were so close, you know. But but God has brought something through this. And I remember when the the day that it happened again I was I was praying and and the people were outside and I said I said pray.


I said please pray for my kids. I said. Please pray because we had been through some rough things and.


History. How how? How many? Know that ministry is not a picnic all the time. It’s not, you know? And we had been through some rough things. And I said, Lord, please don’t let him talk. Charge God foolishly. Please, God, don’t let that happen. And I begin to see just the opposite. I’m big. Turn around.


I’m into my kids life, my little son back there. I’m again to see God move on him here and God is stirring him up and I’m so thankful for that. My middle son that’s in color.


God began to sterry him up to you know, I gotta. I gotta make things, make sure my relationship’s right. You know, with God and I and I thank God for that. Because he moved the opposite of what most people would have thought he would, you know? And I I just think and thank God for what he did.


You know the the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.


But if you’re hanging on to the hand of Jesus, he can work things out for you. The devil would try to destroy my kids. He’s tried many times to destroy my kids. He tried to kill my middle son. He was riding his bicycle and the car ran into him. He tried to kill him, you know.


He’s tried to destroy them through different ways. My kids.


But he can’t have them.


You know he can’t have my kids. And so, you know, I believe that there is beauty that only can only come through pain and people have told me after this happened, they said you’re the strongest woman I know.


And I said you have no idea. I’m the weakest. I’m just leaning on his strength because there is no strength in me. But there is strength in him and I’m just borrowing. He has because I don’t have it. But he does. And I thank God for that.


So let’s look back at the scripture again.


Isaiah 61 one through 4.


And the the subtitle of this message was the Great exchange.


Because God wants to make a great exchange in your life, he wants to give you something beautiful for something that’s not beautiful. He wants to give you peace for where there’s torrent turmoil. He wants to give you healing. Where? Where, where there’s pain and.


And and different things he wants to do that for you. So it says in Isaiah 61, I’m going to go on down here and read.


He has knowned me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted. He wants to do the opposite of what the devil has tried to do to you. He wants to take you and make you make something great out of you.


He wants to proclaim liberty to the captives. Something have you bound?


When something has you bound, you can’t get loose. He wants to loose you from what has you bound.


And opening a prison to those who are bound to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort all those who mourn.


Aren’t you thankful for his comfort tonight? I am. I’m thankful that in the night time.


When I’m at home and I just have my little little man over there that that I can go to the Lord when I’m troubled when I’m hurting and he will comfort me, you know, sometimes he sends me, sends little Zach over there to make me laugh or or do something. He’ll send something crazy.


Because he’s a little comedian, people don’t realize it, but he is, you know? And he’ll he’ll send me stuff and make me laugh, you know? And that’s God uses those things to comfort us.


And to give them beauty for ashes in the Hebrew word for beauty here means a headdress, turban or a tiara.


He wants to replace those ashes that’s on your head.


You know when you’re mourning and and there’s, you know, people see the very appearance of.




Is different when you’re mourning a lot of times, but God wants to replace that that, that, that those ashes he wants to replace those ashes and he wants to give you beauty. He wants to give you a little tiara.


Here you know to put on your head and to know that you’re special because he loves you. You know, I seen these little hearts everybody was putting around and and. And I thought, man, that that’s sweet, you know, but God, God is just like that.


He wants to make you feel special, you know, because you are.




So he wants to replace the ashes on your head for a beautiful headdress. And I want you to picture that right now. The parents of the world, you know, they think they look, we they look at us.


And see what we’ve done.


But the Lord, he don’t want them to see. Oh, we can tell about it because I’ve read in that little book. I don’t know. They passed around here and I I bought one. I don’t know what it’s called warriors or something, but it had different people story. That’s that’s comes in this class sometimes. And I read their stories.


And I was, I was awestruck.


I thought, my goodness, they’ve been through that.


But I couldn’t tell because the Lord had closed them. So beautiful that I could never even tell that they had been through all that stuff. You know, God wants to to do that with the God wants to do that for you.


And he wants to clothe you with himself, and he wants to clothe you with something beautiful and go over here to Psalms 30.


I can find it.


Psalms 30. I’m gonna go to verse five, and then I’m gonna drop down to his anger is. But for a moment, his favor is for life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.


And then in verse 11 it says you have.


Burned for me my morning in the dancing. I’m waiting for my dancing folks. I’m waiting for my dancing. I believe it’s coming. I believe it’s coming. That dancing’s coming. You have put off my sackcloth and clothes. You have put off my sack.


Off and clothe me with gladness to the end that my glory may sing praise to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever. You know I’m thankful.


For what God has done in my life, and there’s no way.


That that I would ever that I at this point in my life, I don’t feel like that I could ever turn back on him. He’s been so good to me. He’s been so. Even though I went through some rough things, he’s always turned it around and helped me. Even the job that I work for right now and I don’t know.


How you know there’s some things that that stress me out because I want to do more ministry. That’s my heart. It’s where my heart.


That and so they worked me quite a bit and I asked today I said, I said, Lord, I said, I said I I I just need to be off work for at least an hour so you know and and so and I don’t ever do this at a job but I I emailed the the lady and I said you know.


Can I get off at 4:00 instead of five?


And she said, yeah.


And so I’m so thankful for, you know, God answers prayer, you know, and that was a little thing. But I wanted to spend time with the Lord before I came here because.




You know when you have all things when you’re working all the time and you’re trying to get a message ready and you got everything jumbled up in your head, sometimes it’s hard to get it out.


If you don’t have some time and prayer, you know so she let me off. And I also wrote some other things she said. Well, you need to.


You need to talk to the other boss about those things, but I want you to be praying because I’m asking for less hours, but still have insurance, so I want you to be praying that God will do that for me so that I can have more time that I can spend, you know, ministering to people, that’s because that’s where my heart is.


I want to help people and and that you know, that’s my desire. But can somebody come to the music?


You know, I got to thinking about too, that a lot of people have been through so many things. They’ve been through abusive things in their life. You know, there’s things that I could tell you that happened in my young life.


That that was that was not good, that the devil was trying to destroy me at a very young age. He was trying to get my my self-image destroyed before I would ever be able to get up. I can’t believe I’m doing what I’m doing now, you know, or even singing or even doing anything for the Lord.


Because of how I was so beat down when I was young, you know, God knows where you’re at.




He knows where your wounds are. He knows where you’re in ******* to something he knows you know and and the people say. Well, you know, after you get saved, yes, you can still be in bodies to things. Things can help you. Bound to where you can’t go forward. You know, for a little while. You know, after this death.


I just didn’t want to go anywhere. I stayed in the House and I couldn’t hardly make myself budget out the door.


But I would make myself. I said, God, I got to get out of the store. And so I’d come here to church and then and then I have, you know, some anxiety issues with driving on the Interstate. And they had all them barrels just lined up everywhere. And I thought, Oh my goodness, now I got to dodge barrels.


I’m just trying to get to church, you know, and and at night it was even worse trying to get home, you know. But but God, God will have you step out sometimes.


You know, before he’ll, you know, allow things to change. Sometimes you got to step out. Sometimes you have to wade through it a little bit to get past it.


You know the hurts in your life and the different things like that. Sometimes you got to wade out into it. You know, there are things that happened when I was really, really young that I haven’t told anybody about, but just very few people.




And I remember those things were so hidden in me, I didn’t even think about them till I was probably in my 30s or 40s. But then it began to come up again, and that thing began to bind me up. You know, those things in your life?


You may have them hidden from me, but you don’t have them hidden from God.


God knows how to touch you. He knows how to heal those things. That’s deep down in your heart. He knows how to heal those hurts and those wounds that maybe you never even caused. You weren’t the reason they’re there. They just happened. But I want to tell you something. God can break you.


Prayed at night.


If you want to be free tonight, if you’ve got some things anybody on the Internet, you know, we’ll pray. Let it. I’ll pray for you tonight if you want to pray about anything. If it’s torment that you’re going through anything that you may be going through that God wants to break you out of the.


He wants to let you breakthrough and be able to come through that.


Because he don’t want you to stay there, just like and you know, I had told a lot of people, but I’ve told several people, actually. But my husband, the week before he died, and he did this to me a lot. But he he was up in the pool pen and he was talking about.


His funeral.


And then he began to tell me.


Tell people out there. You know, I want this to sing. I don’t. I don’t want no dead dry service. I want some good singing and and all that kind of stuff at my funeral.


You know, and I, yeah, I want mercy to miss me.


I want her to cry.


But I don’t want her to cry forever, you know. And I think about those stakes, you know.


He wouldn’t want me to stay here forever. He would want me to move forward and move on with life and go on with life and enjoy my life. That’s why God is and that’s what he would want from me.


You know, God wants you to move forward in your life, so if there’s anything in anybody’s life that’s holding you hostage.


And you need to get rid of that. You can come on to the altar. Go ahead and sing.


It’s all stance.

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