“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentation 3: 22-23)
We are experiencing difficult days for our nation and for our families. But, thankfully, God is bigger than all of our challenges. God loves us and protects us. In times of trouble, He comforts us. In times of sorrow, He dries our tears. When we are troubled, weak, or sorrowful, God is as near as our next breath.
If you are concerned for the well-being of your family, you are not alone. We live in a world where temptation and danger seem to lurk around every corner. We - parents, grandparents, and children alike - have a good reason to be watchful. However, despite the evils of our time, God remains steadfast. Even in these difficult days, no problem is too big for God.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121: 1-2)
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2)
This verse is a familiar challenge for us to let Christ change our lives as we renew our minds.
Conform and transform are pivotal words that contrast to concepts Paul teaches in this verse, and there’s quite a difference between the two. Conforming to something, like to worldly values, influence, or trends, is something that more or less happens to us without much effort. The word conform comes from the Latin conformare, meaning “to fashion of the same form.” It basically means to “go with the flow.” The prefix of transform is “trans”. It also has its roots in Latin, but it means “across, beyond, or through.” We cannot transform ourselves, it is beyond us. Only the power of God word can transform us.
Paul’s life provides an example of moving from being conformed to being transformed. As Saul, he conformed to the pharisaical tradition of his people. He (Saul) says of himself: “I persecuted God’s church to an extreme degree and tried to destroy it. I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors” (Gal. 1:13-14).
This was the old Saul. Everything changed for Paul, however, after encountering God on the road to Damascus see (Acts 22:6-21). That was the beginning of a radical transformation that would reshape his identity and his mission. God wants to transform us too.
Let us not be conformed to the things of this world. We all come from different backgrounds and upbringings, but we can allow God’s word to transform our life to his will.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isa. 40:8)
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
The past week has been a devastating one for the Gulf Coast region. So many have lost possessions, homes or even loved ones. The magnitude of devastation is yet to be seen as it will take weeks for waters to recede in some areas and the full extent of the wrath of Harvey to be known. But in the midst of chaos, God’s people have trusted in Him.
During the storm, brother was checking on brother, making sure everyone was accounted for and assessing who had come through relatively unscathed and who had suffered damages. Once the sun came out, you came out in droves to assist those who had been affected. Food was provided, crews for mucking out houses showed up, total strangers would come by and bring food from local restaurants for workers.
While this area has experienced the worst devastation seen in most of our lives, we also saw the love of Christ come shining through as, without committee heads or “formal” organization, the congregation girded their loins, rose up, sought and took care of needs.
This is “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father” as James 1:27 states. We have much work to continue to do as this region slowly recovers from what is being called “the worst disaster in Texas history”. We have much opportunity to continue to shine the light so brightly beamed this past week. We commend you for your love driven response as you continue to do what God’s people do best.
My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. (Ps.23 5-6)
God has given us free will, including the ability to influence the direction and the tone of our thoughts. Now here’s how God wants us to direct those thoughts: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The quality of our altitude will help determine the quality of our life, so we must guard our thoughts accordingly. So the next time we find ourselves dwelling upon the negative aspects of our life, let us refocus our attention on things positive. And, the next time we’re temped to waste valuable time gossiping or complaining, resist those temptations with all our might.
Let us always pray for an attitude that is Christ like. Whatever our circumstance, whether good or bad, triumphal or tragic, let our response reflect a God honoring attitude of optimism, faith, and love for the Master.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)
Because we are human and of free will, we make choices, lots of them. When we make choices that are pleasing to our heavenly father, we are blessed. When we make choices that causes us to walk in the footsteps of God’s Son, we enjoy the abundance that Christ has promised to those who follow him. But, when we makes choices that are displeasing to God, we sow seeds that have the potential to bring forth a bitter harvest.
As we encounter the challenges of everyday living, we will make hundreds of choices. Choose wisely. Let’s make our thoughts and actions pleasing to God. And remember, every choice that is displeasing to Him is the wrong choice, no exceptions.
Conclusion: Let us focus our thoughts on His will for our life and strive to make decisions that are pleasing to the father in Heaven.