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Hello, 2020. It’s nice to see you. 

I’ve gone back and forth so many times over the past week and a half on what to write about on this day, January 6th, 2020. There’s something so hopeful about the start of the new year – I love it. My sister, Gracie, touched on this in her blog a few weeks ago, but maybe this could be the year! The year that you did something crazy, the year you started going to the gym, making healthier choices. The year you get out of debt, buy a house, meet the man you hope to marry. Maybe this is the year you forgive, you let go, you get help. This could be the year, and heck, let it be the year. I hope it is. But oh friends, this could be the start. 

Let it be the start. 

The start of something new and great, groundbreaking, legendary. 

Taking this past year, this past decade, everyday you’ve lived up to this point, and moving forward into the things that God has purposed and prepared for you. Last week I found myself sitting at the kitchen table in a full house with the smell of coffee in one room and the sound of sweet baby coo’s in the other, flipping open my Bible hungry for more. Not for more of the same, hungry for more of something different… something fresh. I opened my Bible right up to Isaiah 61. I normally don’t just flip my Bible open aimlessly, but love when I do and it speaks directly to the seat I’m sitting in. (**side note, if you’re an aimless Bible opener, there’s nothing aimless about reading the Word of God). I don’t know about the seat you’re sitting in or were before the New Year sprung in you a new hope, but for me, 2019 was ouf. A tough year. Don’t get me wrong, 2019 was a GOOD year but I feel as good as it was, it was equally as hard. I’ve read Isaiah 61 a hundred times but oh, this time the words jumped off the page and sunk into my heart. A year of the Lord’s favor. I have ‘my purpose’ written out to the side. Yes yes yes. I couldn’t move past it. 

Your life for His glory, a display of His splendor. Everything that’s made you who you are, every experience that has shaped you, everything that’s broken your heart, your story, HIS story… a display of His splendor.

A year of the Lord’s favor, emphasized in my heart as the spirit of the sovereign Lord is on YOU, because He has anointed YOU to proclaim good news to the poor.

The good news that our God is a good God. That He is faithful to who He is, all things true, and oh so kind. The good news that God uses everything the enemy intended for evil for good and is for you and not against you. To the poor in spirit, poor in strength, poor in ____________. He has sent me (YOU) to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives (captives of fear, alcohol, drugs, food, comparison, judgement, you name it) 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 share your story, God’s story of grace in your life, His redeeming love. His restoration back to better than before, your story of God being near, loving you whole, bringing your heart back to His… 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 joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Dust and mourning and self inflicted _____________ (you name it, friends) for beauty. Beautiful restoration. For more of Himself.

They (YOU) will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. A life built by streams of water so that others may come and drink from the well of Jesus inside of you. So that others would come to know Jesus through the way you live and speak and love Him and love others. The overflow. They (YOU) will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Rebuild. Restore. Renew. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the Lord, and you will be named ministers of God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be YOURS. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people 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.” I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seed to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. For as surely as what you plant will sprout. Your faithfulness. HIS faithfulness.

You’ll find this again in Luke 4:18-19 when Jesus read from a scroll the words of the prophet Isaiah. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And then in v. 21 Jesus says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

In your hearing. For every person with ears to hear, the year of the Lord’s favor. Oh that our ears would be bent towards heaven to hear what the Father says, to do and say only what you hear Him tell you to do and say. What if we listened to Him and were surrendered to be led by Him – to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind. To set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. That the voice of the Father would be the only voice you reason with this year, as it’s only His favor we are after. 

God is with us. Emmanuel. 

God is for us. He sent His son to prove it. 

God (Holy Spirit) in us.

Favor. Favor. Favor. 

This could be the year of favor that sets you up for every year to come to be the year of the Lord’s favor. As you intentionally set your hearts on His, have ears to hear, lean into His purpose for you (Isaiah 61), and set your eyes on Him to see that this is the year.

Let this be the start.

The year of the Lord’s Favor. 

fa·vor

/ˈfāvər/

Noun 

1. approval, support, or liking for someone or something.

Approval, goodwill, kindness, benevolence, friendliness. 

2. an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.
Act of kindness, good deed, benefit

3. feel or show approval or preference for.

Advocate,  back, champion, campaign for, stand up for, argue for, press for, promote, endorse, favorite, chosen, special. 

May the favor of the Lord be upon you this year as you partner your heart with His, in the seeking of His kingdom first and bringing about  a little bit of heaven on earth. 

Isaiah 61.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]

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 joy

    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.

Strangers 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 your shame

    you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace

    you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,

    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;

    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.

In my faithfulness I will reward my people

    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.”

I delight greatly in the Lord;

    my soul rejoices in my God.

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation

    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,

    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up

    and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness

    and praise spring up before all nations. 

Sarah Tucker is the owner of Imago Dei in Franklin and Nashville, TN, where the heart behind the shop is to point people back to Jesus and serve as a reminder to everyone who visits that they are made in the image of God. She loves drinking coffee, long country drives, and spending time with her friends and family! Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahatucker

**We at Live Original absolutely LOVE Imago Dei. Everything from the clothes to the heart behind the store is dear to our hearts. Check out their website HERE!

Sarah Tucker

Author Sarah Tucker

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