Tag Archives: transformation

Hope Is….

Hope Is the Belief That Anything Is Possible!

Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a minute. You’re in your room late at night when an angel appears out of nowhere and tells you you’re going to get pregnant (without having sex) and that your son will reign like a king.

To say this is hard to believe would be an understatement. But after receiving this mind-blowing news, Mary does not question God’s fulfillment of His promises. Her only question is a practical one: “How will this be…since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). Instead of getting caught up in questions like “Why me?” or “Are you sure?”, Mary’s response is, “OK. How’s this going to work?”

In this moment, Mary shows us what it means to live in hope. Living in hope is realizing that nothing is impossible with God. The same God who made a way for a virgin to give birth wants to do the impossible in our lives today. The wayward child who leaves you sleepless night after night is within God’s reach. The cancer that threatens a loved one’s life is not beyond God’s ability to heal.

Living in hope, Mary believed God and pursued the sign He gave her. For us, living in hope looks exactly the same—believing that nothing is impossible with God and doing what God has put on our hearts to do. We may not know how all the details will work out, but God always does what He says He’ll do.

Pray:

Jesus, give me the faith to believe that nothing is impossible and the courage to face what’s before me today. Even though I may not understand how this will all come together, I put my hope in You.

Reflect:

Is there a longing God placed on your heart that seems impossible to fulfill? How can you take a step today to put action to your faith?

(From Bible App Reading Plan “Hope Is”)

From a Caterpillar to a Butterfly

What did the caterpillar feel as the cocoon slowly engulfed its body? Metamorphosis is a scary proposition. Trust in God has to be firmly established in order to surrender to such a process.  And that’s why it doesn’t happen overnight.  Salvation is instant but sanctification takes a lifetime. Therefore, it’s important to be patient with oneself.  Even the cocoon took time to transform the caterpillar.  When your transformation seems problematic or unusually delayed, trust the God of the process.  God has designed the process to fit your true self.  For God loves the caterpillar just as much as God loves the butterfly.  God loves the you you are now just as much as the you you are becoming.  So love yourself and love the journey.

What the Resurrection Means to Me

Image“I wish I could do it all over again;” “I wish I could take it back.”  These phrases depict some of the times in my life when I have hurt, insulted, or denigrated someone.   When I have said or did someone wrong, my heart’s cry is to turn the tables around, push the rewind button, start over.  Often, I can’t. Redemption escapes me. There is no way to make what I did wrong, right. “I’m sorry” does not clear my conscience and alleviate the remorse I feel.

Yet, I have found hope in the resurrection.  The resurrection provides forgiveness, reassurance, and transformation.  The story of the Passion of Christ offers all who have found themselves in situations which are unredeemable, hope and healing.  Through the resurrection story, I realize the great lengths God went through to provide forgiveness in places where forgiveness by people could not penetrate.  In the depth of my soul, the forgiveness found in Jesus travels so that I can once again operate in peace and soundness of mind and spirit.  

This gives me reassurance that all hope is not lost when sins against humanity cannot be repaired.  God reassures me through forgiveness that God is with me and that God still loves me.  I can begin again; even when I deny Christ, desert Christ’s teachings, or distance myself from the Christian faith, I can return to the cross and find forgiveness and reassurance.

Finally, the resurrection provides transformation; I am changed from the inside out.  As John Wesley aptly spoke, “My heart is strangely warmed.”  An encounter with Jesus and his Passion Story opens my heart to God and provides insight I could not have attained otherwise.  I can be changed; I do not have to remain the same.  God is a God of another chance; God’s mercy is limitless and his grace is aboundingly efficacious.

Doors to a new life are opened for me through the resurrection; the resurrection means forgiveness, assurance, and transformation to me.

 

God Demands a Response to Jesus

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (John 1:35-37 KJV)

In the Movie, Deliver Us From Eva, LL Cool J is hired by three men to woe a woman away from her sister.  Her brother-in-laws have described her as a devil from hell.  Before meeting her, LL agrees to woe Eva, played by Gabrielle Union and take her away from her sisters so the brother-in-laws can have more influence over their wives.  However, when he actually meets Eva, LL is awestruck. He cannot deceive her because he finds her altogether lovely and now wants to spend his entire life with her.  So immediately, the plan is foiled because LL Cool J has made a decision to love Eva.  It was a radical, costly decision, not logical, critical, or methodical.  His heart and head joined together to attain the woman of  his dreams.  That was an irrational move.

This passage illustrates clearly how irrational following Jesus can be.  Here we have two disciples of John the Baptist upon being made known who  Jesus is immediately walk away from John to follow Jesus.  They move without forethought, without going on a retreat, without having to pray about it, they move without consulting anyone else, they simply walk away from their past life and begin to follow Jesus.  There is something to be said for people who have a sense of when to move forward and do so with clarity of purpose.  These two disciples wanted to know Jesus in a more personal way and so they left John’s ministry to go with Jesus.  They didn’t even know where Jesus lived or what Jesus was about.  They had not even heard one message from Jesus to justify their actions.  When John the Baptist identified Jesus as the one promised in the scriptures, the Messiah, something in their heart resonated with that proclamation and they responded in radical fashion.

The fact of the matter is some of us are just  too cautious about changing when clearly the time for change has come.  We procrastinate just because procrastination is what we do.  But when you meet Jesus, Jesus calls for action, immediate, swift, decisive action.  Either you love him or you don’t but you can’t just sit around and think about it.  This morning Jesus is looking for radical disciples, those who will throw caution to the wind and follow him with their whole hearts.

Critical thinking has its place, reasoned thought has its place, but when the gospel is preached, when you meet The Lord Jesus Christ, your mind and heart births faith to believe or reproach to reject Jesus.    Paul put it this way in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16, 17 KJV).

God’s salvific action is revealed “from faith to faith” from person to person.  What Jesus needs is somebody like John, somebody like Andrew who will witness as to who Jesus is.  Andrew  first concern was his brother  and  goes looking for  Simon and exclaims, “We have found the Messiah” and then brings Simon to Jesus. By the preponderance of the scholarship regarding this statement John also finds his brother James and brings him to Jesus.  Thus, John brings his brother James, Andrew brings his brother Simon and the first four disciples begin to follow Jesus.

God demands a response from each one of us when Jesus is proclaimed as the Messiah.  It is a response based on faith not logic, not critical thinking, not being persuaded by scientific inquiry, but being instantly converted by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God demands an instant, unequivocal, irrevocable response, either I will follow Jesus or I will not follow Jesus.  All who try to procrastinate, put off, or reason, end up not following Jesus.  But when you follow Jesus, you become a new person.  I want to ask you, what will your response be to the gospel of Jesus Christ?