Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

A Fresh Start

January 27th, 2017

Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny

 “His compassions are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a fresh start.”

Life can feel unmanageable, your past cluttered with unfinished business and the path ahead filled with responsibilities. But life is not lived in yesterday or tomorrow; life can only be lived today. Your life is more than the facts of your history or your unrealized destiny. Positively or negatively, both of those are greatly affected by anything, or maybe everything, you do today. You can reinforce your history or rewrite its predictions. You can sell your future cheaply or invest yourself in achieving its potential.

This day is a fresh opportunity to write a new chapter in the ongoing story of your life. Sure, you have made mistakes. There are things you would have done better if you had been wiser. The remedy for regrets is simple. Enjoy a fresh start. Do better; learn from your mistakes rather than repeating them.

King David’s story is a record of repentance and redemption. In repentance, he embraced a greater future. Learn from his example and rejoice with him: “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:23-24 NIV.

Recognize God as Lord of this day and rejoicing becomes the appropriate response. In grace, your history becomes His story. Today can bring a fresh start. Stop rehearsing your mistakes, regretting your failures, or reliving your record. Your God has a record of redeeming tragic histories. And your God is equally adept at crafting unimagined destinies. Both of those the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the context of today.

The Apostle Paul had history that God covered in grace and mercy. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy.” Read 1 Tim 1:12-17 NKJV. On that road to Damascus, Paul met God face to face and his history was redeemed and his destiny assured. Read Acts 9:1-6 NKJV. People do not turn their life around without divine intervention. Only ignorance or arrogance – or both – would make a person attempt such a life change without God.

Paul found there was only one answer for spiritual transformation and subsequent conformation to Christ-likeness. “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

Notice that Paul mentioned, “one thing,” and then proceeded to talk about, “forgetting, looking forward, and straining to reach.” The one thing Paul believed crucial was expressed in three equally essential actions: laying aside everything inhibiting about yesterday, living with anticipation today, and giving Godly effort to fulfill God’s calling every day that follows. Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny.

Today, I pray for you to trust both your history and destiny into Jesus’ capable hands.

Christian Communications 2017

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Celebrate Diversity

March 4th, 2015

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Romans 12:6 NIV.

In  diversity, not conformity, is found unity.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “celebrate diversity.”

Your fingerprints are unique from every other person born before and after you. And science has discovered that every individual has a DNA, which is distinct from every other person before and after you. God loves diversity. When God created the universe, “He determined the number of the stars and called them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power.” Psalm 147:4-5 NIV. Read Isaiah 40:26 NIV. At creation, God’s love of diversity is displayed in the innumerable species of plants, animals, birds, and marine life. “Then God looked over all He had made and He saw that it was excellent in every way.” Genesis 1:31 NLT.

Could the disciples Jesus chose be any more diverse? They were fishermen, tax collectors, or political zealots. In the work of the Kingdom of God, “So in Christ . . we have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Read Romans 12:3-8 NIV. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. To John, the aging disciple imprisoned on Patmos, was shown the end of time, “Before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9 NIV.

In diversity, not conformity, is found true unity. Diversity is not to distinguish you from others and certainly not to separate you from them; God-given diversity is how you best complement others and contribute meaningfully to their well-being. You serve best out of the uniqueness God designed for you. “Accept one another then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you.” Romans 15:6 TEV. Acceptance offers a powerful release for the full potential Christ has placed in each of us. The acceptance Jesus offers you, He intends for you to offer to others.

Why then are people inclined toward conformity and less accommodating of diversity? I think that tendency may be a vestige of our fallen natures. Something about our native insecurity makes us want to be like everyone else, or want others to conform to us. A copy of anything is never as good as the original from which it was copied. You are an original, uniquely planned and purposed by God. Don’t blend in with the surrounding culture. Don’t adapt to those around you.  Be yourself. Celebrate diversity; conformity is futile. “For we dare not compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. Don’t compare yourself with others, which causes either pride or disappointment. Nor should you be different for the sake of being different.

The Apostle Paul described, “your spiritual act of worship,” with this Godly counsel, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2-3 NIV. The process of transformation into all that God designed you to be and gifted you to do removes the impulse to conform to the world’s patterns and ways. Be your best self to serve God and bless others.

Here’s the good news of a promised day to come, “Now are we the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2.

Today, my prayer for you is that you discover who God created you to be.

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Immeasurable Potential

October 28th, 2014

“God willed to make known this mystery . . Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.

In Christ alone, immeasurable potential is possible.

My thoughts and comments today are about “immeasurable potential.”

Referring to potential, it has been said, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows the number of apples in a seed.” Potential is immeasurable, except to God. You too have an amazing, God-given potential, that only your Creator fully knows. Potential is not primarily about self-realization; potential is found in fulfilling the design and will of God for your life. Innately, you know that you desire to be more than you’ve been.

Paul marveled at the mystery and truth that, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-28. The origin is clear; the possibility is real; the outcome is certain. It is a tragic mistake to accept less than is promised and possible. Sometimes, the status quo may seem good enough. Be advised; settling for what comes naturally, will compromise a potential that is only available spiritually.

God’s determination and desire for you have not changed. ”In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12. Before a complex theological concept of “predestination” bewilders you, consider Paul’s words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Read Romans 8:28-30 NIV. As you soon discover, all that happens is not good, but at all times God is working for the good of those whose love trusts and rests in His righteous character rather than their present circumstance.

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son . .” Romans 8:29 NIV. That is your destiny in Christ. The process by which God accomplishes that is two-fold: transformation and conformation. In its simplest form, the Biblical concept of “predestination,” describes, “a decision God made long ago.” Exactly how and where the sovereignty of God and the free will of man intersect, I do not know; I just know that in the purpose, providence, and power of God, your history becomes a workshop where God continues to achieve your destiny. Concern yourself with the purpose; let God care for the process.

Paul further explains God’s purpose and the process by which that is achieved. “He chose them long ago; when the time came He called them; He made them righteous in His sight, and then lifted them to the splendour of life as His own sons.” Romans 8:30 JBPhillips. After spiritual transformation – which Paul describes as, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) – spiritual conformation is the Holy Spirit’s assignment in your life, and He is very good at what He does. See 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV. Spiritual transformation happens in a moment; spiritual conformation into Christ-likeness continues life-long. Alone you can accomplish neither; both require your cooperation.

The result will be glorious. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV. In Christ alone, immeasurable potential is possible. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:2o NIV.

But you must shoulder a responsibility in this process of spiritual conformation, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy . . do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Until transformation occurred, you were being conformed to the world which surrounds you; since transformation occurred, you are being conformed to God who is within you.

Today, my prayer for you is to know and progressively develop the God-given potential within.

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The Process of Progress

September 16th, 2014

“Old things have passed away; all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV.

Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the process of progress.”

Life is a process of perpetual change. It is a delusion that things can remain as they were or are. They never do, nor should they. Paul envisioned the boundless intention of God for your spiritual development while warning of the tragedy of stunted development, “Until we all come . . to a [maturing] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we be should no longer be children . . but may grow up in all things into Christ.” Ephesians 4:13-15. Anything less is inadequate and unworthy of the grace God has shown to your life. Progress is not at all sudden; it is deliberate and incremental.

SIGN 2 (3)

Growing is natural; remaining the same is not. Without necessary change there would be no process for progress. If your life remained static, you would be less than you could and should be. I often reflect on the unconstrained potential that redemption restores to any and everyone who comes to Christ in faith. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12 KJV. What expansive potential is held in those words, “given the power to become.” What you become in Christ has so much to do with your choices and desire. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

John later wrote, “We are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when Jesus comes, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.” 1 John 3:2 NLT. Now the power of the Spirit is at work in you until the day the transformation into Christ-likeness is complete.

There are elements of your Christian life that are accomplished, finished works of grace. Yet there are also dimensions of Christian life that continue in the process of your becoming less of what you were and more than you had ever been. When you have done all that you are to do, God has not yet completed all that He will do. Read Philippians 3:12-14 NIV. You and I remain a glorious work in progress. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

Paul wrote, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Wonderful, new things await you in Christ, being released as you willingly relinquish your old ways. Meditate on Ephesians 4:21-32.

Redemption occurs in a moment of transformation; Christ-likeness is a lifelong process of conformation. Read Romans 8:28-29 NIV. Writing about his Christian liberties, Paul said, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV. Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

Today, my prayer for you is to never accept the good as a substitute for God’s best.

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Patterns of Thought

April 12th, 2011

“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2 NLT

“Fill your heart and mind with thoughts that are uplifting, edifying, and inspiring.”

My thoughts today are about “patterns of thought.”

Habits are hard to break, especially bad ones. Usually, if a person had the necessary discipline it takes to break an old habit, they probably would not have formed an unprofitable habit to begin with. Habits, both good and bad, can evidence themselves in various areas of a person’s life. Today, I am directing my comments to the problem of habitual thinking. Sometimes deeply rooted patterns of thinking can be most difficult to challenge and change.

If something is said, do you translate it negatively? If someone overlooks you, do you imagine it intentional? If someone does something, do you assume the worst motive? If others succeed, are you jealous? When others receive attention, do you wish it were you? Be wary of those patterns of thought. See 1 Corinthians 12:26 NKJV.

The Bible explains the problem, as well as offering the solution, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” Romans 12:2 NLT. It is interesting that your thought patterns form the path to your behavior. The way to a new life is to change the way you think.

Behavior that subtly conforms to the surrounding culture’s reckless, self-indulgent lifestyle results from accepting their underlying values and ways of thinking. Entertainment, advertising, and others’ example and influence first shape the way you think, then eventually change the way you live your life.

You can break your habits, if you will arrest your thoughts. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV. Your thoughts form your beliefs; beliefs direct your choices; choices govern your actions; actions become your lifestyle. Thus habits are developed, whether to your benefit or harm. Take out the trash; bring in the truth!

God’s will for your life can be confusing if you allow your thoughts to be without clarity and conviction. Trying to empty your mind of wrong thoughts is a waste of time, neither productive nor effective; your best resource in order to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” is filling your heart and mind with thoughts that are uplifting, edifying, and inspiring.

Daily Bible reading, meditation on Scripture, and time spent devotionally in prayer are the practical ways you break old ways of thinking and establish new patterns of thought. God’s truth in your heart changes the way you think and will transform the person you are into the person you want to become. “Whatever things are true – noble – just – pure – lovely – of good report – virtuous – praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:7-8 NKJV. Choose what you dwell on mentally and emotionally. You hold the key. Paul’s premise was simple: “Let God transform you into a new person by (your) changing the way you think.”

My prayer for you today is that your pattern of thoughts is wholesome and holy.

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