Archive for March, 2020

The Progress of His Power

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

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Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, KJV).

Transformed

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

It was late in the afternoon when my sister and I stumbled across a foreign object in our backyard. What it was or where it came from, we had no conception. No sooner after had we made our discovery, our mother summoned us into the house. The only thing for us to do was abduct the object from its haphazard resting place amid blades of grass and transport it into the house. Rushed to get ready for the evening meal, the article—somewhat shaped like futuristic vehicle—was tossed into the toybox.

Examination of the toy commenced bright and early the next day. My sister and I turned the item over in our tiny hands, wondering in our childhood amazement as to what it could be. Days and weeks passed without any intel as to the purpose of the toy from either of our grade-schooler minds, nor after consultation with both of our parents. We settled that it was a convoy vehicle of some kind and would readily be used as the transportation mode for our Polly Pockets.

One day, as I was unearthing the toy, a part wriggled free. The foreign object gave way to a hidden hinge within its plastic frame. Such exhilaration ensued as my sister and I carefully began to pull outward piece after piece, re-resting the parts on the exterior of the vehicle. We recognized the resemblance of arms, legs, and soon a head concealed inside a helmet. We had just encountered our first Transformer.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18, KJV).

The adulation I felt the day I was baptized echoed those of the excitement of discovering the hidden Transformer as a child. God had changed me—who I was, and who I would be. I was transformed from an old creature to a new creature in Him (II Corinthians 5:17). The thrill of knowing there was someone new hidden underneath all the layers of sin was astonishing and seemed utterly improbable. But, there I was, my sins washed away, a new name assigned, and signed adoption papers welcoming me into the family of God.

Transformed. That’s a powerful Word and a powerful action. Jesus Christ transformed us by the washing of His blood so we can reproduce His same image and shine forth His same glorious light. He changed us from a child of darkness into a child of the light. We’re changed from glory to glory—a determined everlasting change.

Our transformation, or metamorphosis, is to be vastly different from that of the toy I discovered so very long ago. That Transformer, was created to be changed backwards and forwards—inverting from a robot into a vehicle incessantly. We’re not toys, and therefore, our transformation is meant to be permanent. Once God changes us into a new creature, we’re supposed to stay that way and not switch back to our former self: former ways of living, thinking, acting, or being. Realistically, a “Transformer” toy isn’t aptly named. It doesn’t abide by the transformed definition provided by God Himself. If it did, once the robot transformed into a vehicle, it would have remained that way the rest of its days.

Morphing forwards and backwards can be fun for a short time. I found enjoyment in playing with that toy as a child. But, once we encountered Christ, any change back toward our former selves is nothing short of devastation and will bring about our utter destruction. God never meant for us to un-transform and then re-transform, no matter how fun the enemy, the world, or our flesh makes it appear to be.

If you’re struggling today with embracing the new, transformed “you” under the image of Christ, it’s time to get to an altar of prayer and ask God to help you keep your transformation. God will help you retain the right clothes, put on the right mindset, and become enthralled with the way the new, transformed you looks like in the mirror. It’s not time to un-transform today. Be transformed. Permanently.

Don’t Miss Those Moments

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

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And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children (Matthew 14:14–21, KJV).

Finding Dessert in the Stress

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

It wasn’t too long ago, I found myself in the long return line at IKEA. If you’ve been there, I’m sorry—but you know what I’m alluding to. If you haven’t, let’s just say you’re lucky you haven’t had the experience.

It’s a struggle to find any sanity amid the endless chatter of adults, cries of discomfited children, squeaky shopping cart wheels, and the infinite crinkle of polypropylene bags. On top of all of that noise, there’s another audio layer of intercom announcements, droning on in various languages.

Desperately trying to drown out the excessive stimuli, my ears honed in to one advertisement for IKEA’s famed desserts (have you had their cinnamon rolls?). Abruptly aware of the grumble in my stomach, I listened to their rendered catchphrase: stressed is desserts spelled backwards. Turn it around and enjoy your “stressed” with our desserts.

A smile crested my face as the realization set in: stressed is desserts spelled backwards. It was ironic that there was something positive to the negative, but only when you donned a different perspective.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, ESV).

It’s hard, isn’t it? To always see the positive in the negative? I know because I find it a real struggle. It’s easy to see the obvious challenges, zoom in, and magnify them before our eyes. But we miss out on the positive in the entire experience. In the landscape before our eyes, what are the good things happening? What are the blessings God’s chosen to unfold in the situation? What aren’t we taking time to see and/or appreciate?

Everything we have in life is a blessing, whether we see it or not. It’s all about perception. If we can’t see the blessing, we might have to move to get a better angle to be able to see the circumstance in a new light. I’m not saying it’s easy to find the blessing in the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job. However, it’s not every day I read words backwards. Why? Time, difficulty, and it’s unnatural. If IKEA’s marketing department hadn’t called this to my attention, I don’t know how long it would have been until I realized this truth: stressed is dessert spelled backwards. If we don’t take the time, accept the challenge, and move ourselves to a state of uncomfortableness, we won’t see the dessert in the stress.

As I looked at the chaos before me in IKEA’s return department, I adopted a reframed mind and willing attitude to see the positive in the situation. I was grateful to be able to make a hassle-free return because of their amazing return policy. I’d be able to replace the item with something else that worked better in my home. And, I was blessed to have the financial ability to make the purchase.

There it was—my dessert in my stressed state. And, it only took me a mere few seconds to find the positive in the negative; to turn a painful situation into a pleasurable one; to see the blessing in the bustle.

No sooner did I “turn around” and change my perception, God provided a more obvious dessert in my stressed state. I was presented with a hot, gooey cinnamon roll to enjoy. True rapture.

The next time you have a challenge before you, challenge yourself to see the dessert in the stress. Don a different mindset, see the good the Lord is doing, and praise Him for it. You’ll find your dessert before you know it.

Hope Helps

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

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Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1–5, KJV.)

King of the Rock

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Atop a disgusting place (for most of the world) was where I fought to be growing up. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the worst place. But, I highly sought to be the child who could be the sole reigning champion of the circular sewer drain in our front yard.

Yeah, I was one of those kids who could spend hours fighting playing with my siblings and neighborhood kids over who would be the king of the sewer drain. It was the coolest place to stand on in the yard. It didn’t have grass! And, it provided ample space for my highly stellar tap dance moves.

I also recall similar battles over the green electrical cover betwixt the yard, albeit the small, dome-shaped cover provided minimal square footage to get my pas de bourrée exactly right. Plus, we’d often get yelled at to dismount the electrical cover because it wasn’t safe. (No child has any conception or fear of electrocution.)

There was always an inner drive to have ultimate reign and rule over something…even if it was just a small 2-foot space in the yard that wasn’t really ours. Sure, I was a kid, but I was just giving into my natural desires and tendencies. This doesn’t stop as we grow from childhood. As adults, we still struggle with the desire of control. We forget there is only One who really has it:

Dominion and awesome might belong to God; he establishes peace in his heights (Job 25:2, NET).

Scripture tells us dominion belongs to God. Dominion means to reign or have infinitive, absolute control/ownership. And, He does this in His heights. In plain language, the Bible is telling us that God is the ultimate “King of the rock” and rules in His holy mountain (Psalm 99:9). He doesn’t share His dominion (or mountain) with anyone else, and no one can shove Him off either.

When we disagree with God’s plans or fail to trust Him, we engage in a “king of the rock” game with God. We try to assume ownership of a “rock” that isn’t ours, nor is ours to take. The throne upon that rock isn’t a one-size, fits all. It’s only for the Lord of Glory, alone.

With the office of King (of the rock), comes a great power: the ability to create peace. If we allow God to maintain His dominion as King of the rock, peace will come to us—into our lives, situations, circumstances, etc. But, if we try to fight for control of that rock, and become our own king, we don’t have the power to enact peace in our own lives.

Knowing all of this, my question is this: What’s the point of being king of the rock? If I think about my childhood self, what was the point of shoving kids away from a little round sewer drain cover? To tap out a few rhythms, which accomplished…? It was dumb. And, so is our plight to get on God’s rock. We can’t accomplish anything doing that. SO, GET OFF!

Lord, help us today to see You as the only reigning King of the rock. When you reign, you reign in splendor, power, and establish peace. It’s Your presence and manifestation of peace that we want in our lives today. We praise You as being the One, true King.

The Worth of His Ways

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

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For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13, KJV).

The Taste of Living Water

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

My preferred beverage of choice? Water. Room temperature. No ice. Just plain, old water.

I’ve never understood people who don’t like water. Their biggest complaint? It has no taste. I’m flabbergasted because in my lifetime, I’ve experienced a gambit of great-tasting waters. The best flavors even stem back to my childhood. The tastiest water came from a washcloth or backyard hose. An occasional slurp from the pool or nearby lake was equally amazing. Even as an adult I’ve found that water derived from a well, lake, river, rain, etc. all have a unique great taste. Filtered or unfiltered, bottled or unbottled, I’ll drink it all.

Aside from being a universal beverage, I’ve discovered that water compliments every meal and it always quenches my thirst. It’s the only drink you can smack your lips and render a guttural, “Ah,” at the end of every sip. In my book, water is the end-all-be all drink.

As a self-proclaimed water connoisseur, I thought I’d tried every flavor and kind of water and would never find anything better. Little did I know I was missing out on the greatest tasting water one could ever find this side of heaven.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38, KJV).

When I learned there was another water variety on the market, I set out figure out how I could sneak a taste. Would it taste as great as the water droplets consumed from a yard sprinkler or natural spring water trickling down the side of a mountain?

Sampling living water isn’t as simple as picking some up on the next grocery run. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can’t bottled up and sold on the shelves in stores. Why? Because it isn’t manufactured on the earth or found trickling down the side of any mountain. It’s a heavenly water, and only accessible when you seek the One from whom it generates: Jesus Christ.

Jesus met a woman in Samaria at a well seeking earthly water. He told her that if she, or anyone, sought Him, that they would find living water. This water would quench their spiritual thirst for an entire lifetime and be “a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

On a quest to taste this living water, and a journey of discovering Christ, I learned that Scripture challenges us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Therefore, you can only taste living water if you seek the Lord. And, once you do, you’ll find that it’s good…it’s really good.

So, I tried Him and discovered 2 things. One, I had no idea how dehydrated my spiritual man was. I drank, and drank, and drank. Truthfully, I’m still drinking. It’s not because God’s living water hasn’t quenched my spiritual thirst, I just want more of it! Two, I found living water to be the best tasting water I’ve ever had in my entire life—even more amazing than the water hose!

Just as I can’t describe the flavor of any water I’ve consumed in my natural life, I can’t describe the taste of living water. But, when you try it, you’ll know exactly what it tastes like and you’ll be coming back for more. If you’re not a natural water-drinker today, I challenge you to be a spiritual water-drinker. Get a taste of living water today and never find a better refreshment as long as you live.

God’s Rules for Relationships

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

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If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:15–21, KJV).