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Posts Tagged ‘Transformation’

 

Meander Scar 1

“A meander scar, occasionally meander scarp,[1] is a geological feature formed by the remnants of a meandering water channel. They are characterized by “a crescentic cut in a bluff or valley wall, produced by…a meandering stream…Meander scars are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.[1] In certain habitats, if the scar has sufficient water, or as an oxbow lake fills with sediment, these areas may become marshes or wetlands.”

Wikipedia

I love words. Of course I do, I’m a writer. But when I ran across the words “meander scar” in my son’s Texas text book, being a sand-in-my-shoes Florida girl, I was bumfuzzled. I’d never heard those two words linked together before.

Now, for the past thirty years I’ve become a Texas gal, and I’ve seen boo-coddles of meander scars, ‘cause we have multitudes of flash floods out here. Raging walls of water that carve new pathways through whatever is in their way.

Tornadoes and spring storms feed these flash floods and scar the landscape with their zig-zag slashes. A number of years back one of these rogue storms transformed the normally quiet Guadalupe River into a water butcher, sculpting, and slashing new paths through the Texas Hill Country.

Along the Guadaloupe River

Now a scar by definition is a blemish, deformity, defect, or disfigurement. And left in their raw state, scars are often unsightly. But did you ever consider how many times our hearts, minds, and bodies suffer turbulence from flash floods of grief, relational pain, or consequences of diseases that leave meandering scars carved inside and outside our bodies?

 

The Word of God says: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren…whom He called He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30 NAS).

Meander Scar 4

 

Just like God transforms those ugly meander scars in the landscape, He promises to transform the scars inflicted in your mind, body, and heart, if you’ll let Him. And like Texas in the springtime heals and blossoms with the beauty of His handiwork, transforming those deep, ugly gashes in the land into multi-dimensional layers of spectacular photo opportunities, the Spirit of the Living God will heal, transform, and cover your scars with His mercy, His grace, and His love. He will turn you into a multi-dimensional vessel, assigned to pour love, mercy, and grace onto a lost dying neighborhood, town, nation—yes, even the world.

 

Spring 2016 BB 2

 

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NAS).

 

This Spring I’m off on another road-trip to locate and photograph those bluebonnet-covered meander scars. But for the past sixteen years God has been softening and transforming my own scars from the death of my daughter and my parents through my participation in the Grief Share ministry. How does He accomplish this restoration? By pointing those new to this journey through the valley of the shadow of death to Jesus, then watching them blossom as He heals and transforms them too.

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Are you allowing God to transform and heal your scars? He will, you know, but first you must acknowledge your need, come to Him, thank Him for who He is, ask His forgiveness for your sin of unbelief. Ask for His healing and His peace. Then rest in Him to perform the miracle of new birth in you.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NAS).

 

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Part Two of this post brings me to a truly enormous learning curve.

It’s not all about me.

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And that’s one of the major problems we all face in today’s culture. Bombarded with the deception if it feels good—do it, we are led to believe we deserve to be happy.

A group of hot-shot educations began teaching this philosophy over fifty years ago. And we’ve allowed at least two generations of young people to believe life is all about them. They are special. And our tax dollars have paid and will continue to pay that costly bill. Parents bought the lie that their kid’s self-worth is the most important value we can teach them. And the P.C. police have pushed so far that everyone on the team gets a trophy…everybody’s a winner.

But we’ve failed to teach our children the Truth of the Word of God…without which, in the end, nobody wins. And you can’t teach what you don’t know and believe.

God created the family first. He didn’t create government, entertainment, or even the church first. Family was and is first. A nation is no stronger than its families. Which leads me, after the fact, to consider the importance God places on the family. Satan dealt us a two-fisted-knock-out punch with no-fault divorce, and we cheered.  Now there is no difference between divorce rates inside or outside the church.

Am I qualified to speak on this issue? You bet I am. In the old days of all about me, I packed up two small children and hit the door of our house, running straight to the courthouse.  I chose divorce. I wasn’t happy. I made a wrong mate choice.  I couldn’t tolerate another minute. But forty plus years later, I’ve come to understand I’ll never know what God could have done in that marriage had I trusted and allowed God time to change both of us.

And the consequences of my choice bled a permanent stain into the lives of me, my ex-husband, our new spouses, our parents, our friends, my children, and goodness knows who else. Has God forgiven me? Oh my yes. God is full of mercy and grace and when we repent, He always forgives the sin. But those stinky consequences lurk alive and well in the lives of angry children and my new-found knowledge I didn’t trust God. I knew about Him, but I didn’t trust Him as Lord and Savior. Because, at that time, my life was all about me.

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All the “buts” don’t matter. And we always have a list of them, don’t we? “But I made a wrong choice in the first place.”  “But he or she doesn’t meet my needs.”  “But I don’t love him or her anymore.” God is either sovereign over all things or He is sovereign over nothing. And when He said, I hate divorce, there was a reason. And, after the fact, the consequences have taught me—just like what He told Judah in Jeremiah 2:19:

“Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you. Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God, and the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.”

Guess what, when I walked out that door, I forsook God’s authority over my life. Leaning to my own understanding, I pushed the fear of disobeying Him behind me, and I toted all my dirty laundry into a second marriage and Dick drug his rotten baggage along too. Divorce solved nothing.  We had to begin all over again–with our old problems and a stack of new ones too. We had to learn the lessons of faith and trust and Holy Spirit produced love God knew we must learn, else there would be a longer string of broken homes, broken lives, and broken people. Perhaps even people lost forever in the darkness and lies of it’s all about me.

Television, songs, movies, and of course, FaceBook scream words of unforgiveness, anger, and hatred, and we mimic what we hear, but God’s Word says, “If you don’t forgive others, I won’t forgive you.” (Translation by DiAne). In recent years I’m learning what that really means and sometimes the lessons are really hard.

Jesus Christ forgave me for every single evil, hateful thing I’ve ever done—past, present, and future on that night in January. My despicable thoughts, actions, and deeds were nailed as an indictment against Him when He hung on that cross, suffered, and died for me.  How then can I refuse to forgive every person who has been ugly, evil, or mean to me? And that’s the next lesson after life is not all about me. Refusing to forgive each other is not an option in the heart and life of a believer.

mimi-and-kids

I am still learning, but have made great strides, in the dysfunctional use of my tongue. I don’t have to voice an opinion about everything and sometimes I just need to be silent. And most times, silence is preferred. I came from a loud and boisterous family and old habits and personality disorders die hard. I must choose to put them to death. Crucify them with the help of my Lord Jesus. Sure cuts down on the marital feuds and helps trend peace in my family and with others.

My ramblings, I hope, will strike a needful cord of help to some of you along the way. And, if you’d like, I’d love to have the opportunity to share more of those hard life lessons. Ours wasn’t always a peace-filled, loving forty years. I was taken to church from the nursery on. I walked the aisle at twelve with a group of girlfriends. But when we came to faith and trust in Christ in January of 1989, all things changed. Forever. The Spirit of God moved in, threw out a raft-a-garbage, tore down self-constructed walls, installed light that radiates into the dark, secret corners, and began a life-long remodeling job in our hearts, our home, and our lives.

Dick and I made a pledge to plaster prayer—together—into our daily lives. A praying plaster that cements that strong “cord of three strands” talked about in Ecclesiastes 4:12—The Father, Dick, and me—together ‘til He comes or we go to be with Him.  ‘Cause it’s real hard to be screaming hate and throwing a tantrum when the three of you are involved in a life-changing, life-long conversation together.

Hope your old-house make-over is well underway too! And I pray you younger couples, at whatever age and stage you find yourselves today, have the extreme joy and faith and trust to reach forty, fifty, maybe even sixty years together with your spouse and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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“…and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet…then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him. I fell at His feet as dead…” (Revelation 1:10-17 NKJV).

I write about real time people and paint the same—no sci-fi—no paranormal. So when it comes to grasping today’s scripture on the canvas of my mind, I come up lacking in an ability to describe or completely comprehend the majesty and power of this Revelation Jesus.

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We’ve painted Jesus on the cross, growing too familiar and insensitive to that graphic scene of depravity, unable to imagine the horror our Lord endured for the likes of us. Oh we’re quite comfortable with the picture of Him calming the sea, healing the sick, bursting from the tomb, or sitting in a meadow, smiling at a group of happy children.
But the cross is empty. And the tomb is vacant. He’s not there! That part of His work is finished and we must adjust our hearts and minds to King Jesus—at the right hand of the Father—King of Kings and Lord of Lords, clothed in regal garments, having taken His place as the sovereign ruler of the Universe.

I fear we’ve denigrated and isolated the Lord to the artists’ images painted over the centuries.
When we see Him, likely as not, the image we’re going to behold will be much like what John saw in the 1st Chapter of Revelation. King Jesus—In all His power, majesty, and might! And I’m betting our reactions will be just like John’s.
We don’t like the mental image of Jesus at the Temple—angry, whip in hand, tossing tables, rebuking the merchants, and driving evil from His Father’s house. ‘Cause that pricks our minds and prompts us to ask, What in my life displeases You?
And goodness! He called the religious leaders snakes, vipers, hypocrites, white-washed tombs. Do any of us qualify for a rebuke like that today? It’s much easier to focus on a one dimensional loving Savior who requires nothing in return. But is that a relationship?

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Whether you believe God’s Word or not in no way changes the Word, or who Jesus is, or what is to come. But the light of His knowledge and power is meant to change us. Change our behavior. Purify our hearts. And transform us to perform our mission as His Body—the Church.

Colossians 1:15-18 tells us about Jesus—who He is and what’s He’s done and what He’s going to be and do for eternity.
• He is the image of the invisible God
• The firstborn of all creation
• By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth

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• He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together
• He is also the head of the body, the church
• He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
• He Himself will come to have first place in everything
Jesus Christ is God’s plan from the beginning.
In the 19th Chapter of Revelation John tells us of seeing the Lord Jesus again. This time he paints a word picture of our Conquering King and the heavenly armies with Him—you and me!
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV).

No, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not a single dimensioned—ooey, gooey personality of blubbering-dismissive-nonsensical-amnesia-laden thoughts and words flower-child. He is the exact representation of God the Father, who chose to take into His perfect body the sins of all creation and paid the death penalty for all who choose to believe His sacrifice was sufficient to present us blameless before God. He is the personification of love. Sacrificial love.

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Remember the word pictures of God the Father in the Old Testament. Better yet, go back and look up the references to The Angel of the Lord, or The Captain of the Hosts of the Lord’s Armies—our Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance. How did those folks act when they saw Him?
In the first chapter of Hebrews God has preserved these words:
“God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they…
…to the Son He says: Your throne, O God is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

Last week’s blog talked about our position as soldiers of The Kingdom. We love the recruitment and social life of His righteous kingdom, but when we get down to the arduous task of crucifying our old selves—boot camp—most of us would-be-soldiers duck out the back door, don’t we? Choosing to lounge in the crowded grandstands of life rather than building the spiritual muscles necessary to be a soldier of the cross.
Jesus tells us, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14 KJV). “Ask and you shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7KJV).
Why don’t we ask Him to change us? Could it be we haven’t surrendered to His lordship? Or perhaps we just don’t want to change.

John 8:58, and 24 tells us:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM.”

Exodus 3:14 says:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

And in John 10:30 Jesus affirms:
“I and My Father are one.”

So precious one, where does the power come from to live your life filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding? A life where you are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience?
This is the same power that resurrected Christ from the grave and made Him the firstborn of all creation. But God’s not going to hold you down and plug you into a holy socket for instant rehabilitation. No, it’s your choice. A life-long proving and testing ground of learning to abide in Jesus. Allowing the Spirit of God to fill you to capacity. Choosing every day to surrender your will for His will. Accepting the Holy Spirit’s teaching, changing, and transforming you into a power-filled soldier in the Lord’s Army.

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In light of all you’ve read in the scriptures in this blog today, if you choose to sit on the sidelines, refusing this transformation and the power Jesus offers, who else are you refusing? And what will you say to Him in that day?
More important—what will He say to you? Enter in, or depart from Me. I never knew you?

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I’m on record, here and now—I despise painting baseboards, doors, and frames—especially with oil base paint. Whoever invented the open concept home is a genius. Problem is, my home is not.

After fifteen years, the time arrived that I had to paint the woodwork in my home. The wooden moldings looked okay; but, if you gave careful attention, they displayed a variety of wall-paint-splatters that speckled and chronicled the history of the family’s color palette.

I thought I’d take it slow. One room at a time, stretched over the winter and spring. I could do that.

The newly painted woodwork in the grand-girls’ room looked fabulous when I finished the task. The doors looked fresh and the window sills looked new.

I painted the frame of the bedroom door around and into the hallway and patted myself on the back for a job well done.  I cleaned the brush and would have put the paint in storage; but, a quick glance from the entry hall into the bedroom horrified me.

The blisters, bumps and bruises on the unpainted trim and doors screamed, “Look at me. I’m grimy and grungy.” One small job of remodeling a bedroom exploded into a major project that needed to be done—before our Christmas party.

I groaned at the thought of painting all the woodwork in the house—before  the middle of December. But there would be no escape. The wood trim and moldings I had grown accustomed to, now that I had eyes to see were disgustingly filthy. Alongside the freshly painted ones they cried for new party attire also.

So I pulled the ladder into the entry hall, gathered the brushes and paint to begin the arduous task of scrubbing, sanding, and steps necessary to prep the doors, frames, and baseboards for a new coat of paint.

The Spirit used that moment to convict my heart,  “You’re just like those baseboards.”

“What?” I attempted to pushed the still, small voice aside.

“You hang out with friends who are just like you. They share your beliefs, like what you like, dress like you dress, and talk like you talk. Next to them you look pretty good too. But when placed next to the only true plumb line—Jesus righteousness and His glory, how do you look? On the inside where it matters for eternity? Your life is grimy and grungy with blisters of sin, bumps of anger, and bruises that need to be healed before they fester and contract the sin of unforgiveness—just like those old baseboards.”

I put the painting aside and bowed before God. Overwhelmed by my neglect of looking to the desperate need my heart and soul required. I confessed my sin of being more concerned with external appearances rather than guarding my heart. I thanked my Father for His persistence to maintain this temple with the redeeming blood of His Perfect Lamb. Thankful for His diligence to watch over me. Thankful for the patience He extended to teach me the principles and precepts I must learn to complete the journey through this foreign land. A land where sin’s particles stick and cling like dirt and grime on baseboards.

Are there areas of your life in great need of scrubbing, sanding, and refinishing? The Father stands ready to remodel and transform your heart and soul into the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And He will maintain that construction site ‘til Jesus comes.

“He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility” (Proverbs 15:31-33 NAS).

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