Monday, October 08, 2018

Nancy Hughes: From trash to treasure

“…to bestow on them a crown of
beauty instead of ashes…”
Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

There is a trash dump – a landfill – in Cateura, Paraguay, that is unique. I know you may be thinking “Trash is trash, no matter where it is” and that is true to a point. But two things make this landfill unique.

First, a slum is built on the landfill. People live there and sift through the trash day after day, in hopes of finding something they can sell. And secondly, the people at this landfill believe that something beautiful – in other words, a treasure - can be made from someone else’s trash. And they are right.

That’s where the Recycled Orchestra comes in. The instruments that members of the Recycled Orchestra play are made entirely from trash from the landfill in Cateura, Paraguay.

You see, my friends, there are people who carefully dig through what we would consider trash - an old oil can or bent fork or piece of wood - and they recycle these items to build musical instruments, like a cello or violin. Who would have thought that pieces of trash could be transformed into beautifully sounding musical instruments!

I can’t help but relate this true story to my life when I was outside of Christ. Holding a grudge was the norm, getting even was assumed. Looking out for me above everyone else was expected. I wasn’t happy but I felt that nothing could pull me out of the life of trash that I was in. That is, until I met Jesus.

His promises were simple: if I would give Him permission, He would clean out the ashes – the burned up trash – of my life and He would replace it with unbelievable beauty in my heart.

All the dirt (sin) would be removed and I would be as white as snow. (Psalm 51:7) His request was this: that I confess the ugliness – the trash – of my life, ask His forgiveness, and begin a new life in Him.

I admit that there are days when I allow the ugly to sneak back in and I have to take a deep breath, confess it to the Lord, and start over. But oh the joy in knowing that He will take the recycled trash of my life and mold it into a treasure for eternity.

Lord, today I give you permission to come into my life and to clean out all the ashes from the trash I have carried far too long. Mold me into the woman that you want me to be. I long to be whiter than snow in my heart and I know that can only happen when I turn my life completely over to you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


What are some the trash items that you have carried in your heart?

Have any of them made your life more abundant with peace and joy?


Ask a strong Christian friend to be your accountability partner.

Encourage her to be willing to prayerfully show you those times when trash in your life needs to be turned over to the Lord to be recycled into His beauty for you.

Power Verses

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV) “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV) “He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

Psalm 51:7 (NIV) “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

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