My daughter’s “Love Language” is Quality Time. Hands down. “Gifts” is a close second but nothing beats some good ole’ time with mom and NO ONE (read: her little brothers) else.

Last week, a miracle occurred.  It was her Fall Break and the boys were still in preschool – we had two and a half hours together.  Kid you not.

She talked about it for two weeks before it happened.  That’s how big of a deal this is to her, people.

“What do you want to do, Sis?” I asked on the eve of the Big Day.  “Go to breakfast?  To the bookstore? You name it!”

She didn’t skip a beat.

“Go shopping!” she answers.

I wasn’t expecting this.  My little girl who has always just allowed me to choose her clothes?  SHE wants to go pick out her OWN CLOTHES?

And so we did.  A ball was had and she selected three new outfits that literally cause her to glow when she wears them.

They’re new clothes and don’t you just love new clothes?  Putting on an outfit you know is really “you” or really flatters your frame can be the difference between a good day and a bad one. If a bad one rolls along while you’re wearing one of your favorite ensembles, you can take on the world because, darn it, you feel good about yourself.

Our verses this week are about putting on new clothes because new clothes are very powerful.  

During our first week of this study, we focused on FREEDOM by breaking-free from the chains that bind us.  Our theme during Week Two was REBUILDING and last week we embraced the gold that can be found in  PAIN AND SUFFERING.  Our last week will take a look at JOY and RENEWAL.

Beautiful words, eh?  “Joy” and “Renewal”?  Just saying them aloud stirs up excitement in me.

We will discuss more in-depth on Thursday, but let’s spend some time on the final two verses of Isaiah 61 today. Take note that our time together is not finished – we will continue with Lectio next week with a new chapter of the Bible.

Today we continue on with our Lectio Davina style of scripture study and we add verses 10 and 11 to the prior eight verses of Isaiah 61 we have already studied.  Please pick a translation (and yes, if you want to do both translations, go ahead!) and work through the steps of Lectio. Begin by praying that God will search your heart and open your mind to new teachings you are ready to learn. To review, the steps of Lectio Davina are:

First Reading: (Lectio) – Read the passage.  What word or phrase stands out to me?

Second Reading: (Meditatio) – Read again.  What in the text touches my life or relates to it in some way?

Third Reading: (Oratio) – Read again.  What is God inviting me to do or be?  How is He asking me to respond?

Fourth Reading: (Contemplatio)  Read again and rest in God’s loving presence.

New Living Translation:

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations.

5 Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards.

6 You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will be fed with the treasures of the nations and will boast in their riches.

7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.

8 “For I, the LORD, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. 

11 The Sovereign LORD will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, filled with young plants springing up everywhere.

The Voice:

The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me. The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to repair broken hearts, and to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison, “Be free from your imprisonment!”

2 He has sent me to announce the year of jubilee, the season of the Eternal’s favor: for our enemies it will be a day of God’s wrath; For those who mourn it will be a time of comfort.

3 As for those who grieve over Zion, God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness. People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees standing for what is right. They stand to the glory of the Eternal who planted them.

4 And they will rebuild this place from its ancient ruins; they will restore the ages-old, once-splendid structures; They will renew Israel’s ruined cities from the ashes and debris that laid untouched for many generations.

5 And people will come from all over to serve you:  Outsiders will tend your flocks, plough your fields, and prune your vines.

6 You will be known as the ones specially chosen by the Eternal as priests; people will speak of you as ministers of our God. And the wealth of nations will come to you for your delight and enrichment.

7 Many called you disgraced and defiled and said that shame should be your share of things. Yet your suffered doubly and lived in disgrace; So double will be your share, and with joy everlasting.

Eternal One: 8 For I, the Eternal, love justice. I hate stealing and all manner of wrongdoing.  In faithfulness to those who do justice, I promise they will be rewarded for their work; and I will establish an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Furthermore, I will promise them My support for their children, so that all nations and everyone around will see that they are the children blessed by the Eternal God.

10 I am filled with joy and my soul vibrates with exuberant hope, because of the Eternal my God; For He has dressed me with the garment of salvation, wrapped me with the robe of righteousness.  It’s as though I’m dressed for my wedding day, in the very best: a bridegroom’s garland and a bride’s jewels.

11 The whole earth sprouts newness and life in the springtime, and green shoots break through the well-seeded garden soil. That’s what it is like with the Eternal’s victory – the Lord will cause justice and praise to sprout up before all the nations, for all peoples to see.

The goal of Lectio is to be still and listen. I know how difficult this can be at the beginning, so remember to have grace with yourself.  However, I can tell you that I was amazed at what I was able to “hear” when I began to study scriptures this way. Praying your experience will be the same this week, friends!  And as always, please share your thoughts – we want to hear from EVERYONE and not just those officially in the study (though we love hearing from you, too!)


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