Conformed, Transformed and Knowing

As Christians, we are supposed to be different from the rest of the world, not conforming to their beliefs or standards. Sometimes it is hard for me to tell who is a Christian because some proclaim to be believers in Christ, yet they live exactly the same way as those who don’t know the Lord as Savior. It can be confusing, but not to God. He knows who is truly is and who is trying not to conform.

The next part of this verse is to be transformed. I can’t help it. Each time I read this verse I think of the toys that my sons had when they were younger. The “Transformers” changed shape from a regular vehicle into a mighty super hero vehicle. I don’t think of myself being transformed into a super hero vehicle, but I would like to stand up for my faith in the face of some really strong adversarial positions these days. In a world where the norm is not God’s norm at all, dare to be different and stand up for what is right, regardless of ridicule. What is acceptable to mankind is not always right before God. A case in point is the homosexuality controversy. Current culture wants us all it accept the perversion as normal but God says it’s sin. I’m going along with God.

I think that the most important part of the verse is overlooked. After the not conforming and being transformed, there is a “then” statement. After you have chosen NOT to conform but to be transformed instead, THEN you will be able to discern the perfect will of God. It’s hard to know God’s will if you are living in the world and accepting its standards instead of God’s. So many people say that they want to know God’s will for their lives. Well, start by NOT being conformed and by being transformed. Then, you can stand before God and ask for Him to show you His perfect will for you. The whole thing is a process, but many of us try to put the cart before the horse. We want to know God’s will but we don’t want to change ourselves as He requires. First things first! God is a God of order, even concerning what He wants us to do before He reveals His will to us.

Have a blessed and glorious day! Be blessed to be a blessing.

God Doesn’t Lie

You have a signed contract and yet somehow the contractor managed to put something in small print that you missed and the contract isn’t even worth the paper that it was printed on. You kept your end of the bargain but the other person didn’t. You bought a rather expensive new television and paid extra for the warranty. Then when it stops working, you blissfully go to the store to exchange it for the new one that was promised. But the small print says that you have to pay a certain amount of money that you never realized was an additional fee. And perhaps the worst offense: you are married for over two decades when your husband who made a covenant with you to love you forever tells you that he has “fallen out of love with you” and is leaving you for his best friend. Heartbroken and in total despair, you try to take your own life. (This latter event actually occurred to my best friend.) Promises made, promises broken. But there is One whose promises you can always, always count on.

Mankind will generally disappoint you at some time in your life, but don’t let the fallible and sinful world turn you away from the unfathomable love of a perfect God who always keeps His promises. Always!

Have a blessed and wonderful day as you ponder all of God’s promises, especially the fact that He is always there for you.

God Is Faithful

God’s promises always amaze me, but none more so than those I read in my devotional this morning.

My hope is in God, so I am blessed. He is the Maker of heaven and earth and all that in is them. And, best of all, the promise is that He remains faithful forever. Not just for today when things may be difficult. God is there for the good times, the bad times, all the times.

And in case I am wondering how I will get safely from point A to point B, God graciously reassures me that He takes me by the hand and tells me not to be afraid. Just as I hold the children under my care and cuddle them and tell them that it will be alright. God does the same for me. It’s up to me to listen. God is there and promises His help.

God’s Word is always lighting up my path and He always seems to know when I need a brighter light shone or when I need to see something new that I haven’t noticed before. I pray for each of you to find the help and hope that you need in the Lord God, the Maker of Heaven and earth, and the Creator of YOU!

May God bless you with a new revelation from His Word today!

Living for Christ

I have heard this short phrase most of my Christian life (over five decades), but it has only become more real to me recently as I have pondered what it really means to live for Christ. Does it mean that I cease to exist and that all that matters to me is no longer important? God is slowly revealing to me that He wants all of me dedicated to Him but He does not want me to be a Christ-figure. He wants me to be walking around, doing what I do and be Christlike in my attitude, words and choices. Christ died for me, so the least that I can do is live for Him.

In other words, I should not be making choices to gain something for me, but to expand the Kingdom of God. My own happiness matters to God so I need to let go of trying to make myself happy and start trying to do and say what would please the Lord and lead others to Him so that they can find true fulfillment in a relationship with Him. It’s frustrating being around people who don’t serve or worship God. Imagine how difficult it must be for God, our Creator, to constantly deal with people who refuse to acknowledge Him in spite of all of His blessings to them! I don’t lose anything by serving and living for Christ, but I lose everything if I just choose to live for myself.

I don’t know if I want length added to my years or not unless it is for God’s benefit. I just want to do what pleases Him and to stay here on earth for as long as he wants me to. Sometimes, I get weary…bone-weary, spiritually exhausted. Then God tells me to get up and keep going because He isn’t finished with me yet. If I am living for Christ, I need to be willing to keep on keeping on until God tells me that my race is done.

This is a prayer I say often and not just as a thing to say to appease God. I say it because I truly want to please the Lord. He is all to me, my reason for being, so I want my life to reflect His. My prayer for you is that you will grasp hold of the concept of living for Christ and know that it means turning over your words and your heart to Him completely. He is worthy and capable of giving you the words to speak and a changed heart to show others.

May your day be filled with the wisdom that comes only from the Father, the joy and comfort from the Holy Spirit and the compassion and love of the Son.

Just Right

I have been working on being content in my life, with the things I have, the people who are around me, with life in general. Today’s Scripture in my devotional brought to mind the old fairy tale about “The Three Bears.” I’m sure that you remember it. Goldilocks kept trying out things and finally found what was just right. I think it’s an analogy for my life sometimes. I kept trying one thing after another, seeking happiness in things, and then I found the real secret. What God has already given me is “just right.” I may not have a big home, but it’s big enough. I may not have a fancy car, but it’s good enough. And I certainly don’t have a gorgeous body, but it’s good enough. I want to be pleasing to God, not to man and the constant quest of mankind for more things, more toys, more to show off to the world. I want to be content and know that what I have is enough and it’s just right for me.

May your day be blessed with contentment, knowing that your possessions and everything about you is “just right” because it is your inheritance from the God who loves you!

Not by Works

I am and always have been a person who seeks the approval of others. I want people to like me, to appreciate what I have done and to notice that I am helping. I don’t think that I am alone in this desire, but I do know that this need to work towards acceptance isn’t necessary with my relationship with God.

I have read these verses, memorized them, taken notes from numerous sermons about them. But they are now settling into my heart. I spent years trying to please my mother, but there was nothing I could do to make her happy with me. I just was never good enough. I had straight A’s on my report card, but my mom brought up the fact that I had gotten a C on a test recently. I was just not good enough. I knew from a young age that my mother cried when she had me, stated repeatedly that she never wanted me and even refused to name me. (My dad names me, ironically, for my mother.) In spite of a less than welcoming childhood and all kinds of physical problems, I grew and matured and at the age of twenty-one, I became a Christian. I didn’t have to do anything special for God to love me. I just had to be me…a sinner saved by grace. There was and is absolutely nothing I can do to make myself more acceptable to God. He loves me just the way I am. That has been a freeing truth in my life. I still like to please people, but if I don’t, I’m not totally devastated. I just keep trying to please God instead by serving others. Not because He requires it, but because He doesn’t require anything of me except for me to believe and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I have been changed from the inside out and it’s freeing to know that I can’t earn grace!

May you, too, find the freedom that comes only from accepting God’s free gift of salvation. And may your day be blessed with finding others to tell about His love, mercy and grace!

Just As I Am-The Vagle Brothers

A Hard Heart

I don’t know if I am the only one, but I admit that I am having difficulty talking to people about the Lord these days. It’s not because I’m not talking, but it seems to be that they are turning a deaf ear to whatever I am saying. I feel like the problem lies not in my speech or in their hearing but in their hearts. People just want to sin, believing either that there is no such thing as judgment or believing that they still have time to change should they want to or believing that they are just fine as they are. Of course, there is scripture about this condition of the heart.

God knew when He sent Moses and Aaron to talk to Pharaoh that he would not listen. Yet, God offered the truth to him anyway, and a chance to change along with it. But Pharaoh continued to harden his heart even to the end and his ultimate destruction. I am convinced that there are people today who won’t listen to anyone God sends to them because they have hard hearts. They are determined to go to eternity without God and I am afraid that God will allow them to perish in their sins because they refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. I cannot change other people’s free choices, but I can and will continue to testify about God’s power, greatness and gift of salvation. It is up to the individuals whether they choose to listen and change or not. I can only do what God has told me to do and then leave the decisions up to the person, praying that God will soften their hearts to really hear and accept the truth.

May you never give up telling the truth and may God bless you with fruitfulness, listening ears and a soft heart in each one you speak with. Have a blessed day!

What We Leave Behind

Many today are concerned about leaving an inheritance for their children and grandchildren. My husband and I have never had a lot, but we have had enough. Unfortunately, our children will not be rich when we die, but we hope to leave them riches that cannot be counted. The inheritance we hope to leave is that we pray that the lives that they continue to lead after we leave this earth will be one that is filled with the Word of God, His Spirit, His truth, His peace and His mercy and grace. We are counting on the promise that when we train children in the way that they should go, as they age, the knowledge of God will come back to them. Of course, they still have a free will, but I am believing that the inheritance that I leave behind will be one of eternal value.

May you wisely spend your time, money and effort where it really counts, on winning the souls of your loved one to the Lord. Earthly wealth soon disappears but the knowledge of God is forever. Have a blessed day!

How to Know the Truth

I have discovered through experience that this world is filled with liars. Many lie to save face. Others lie to make themselves appear better than they are. And some lie deliberately to deceive others for personal gain. So, how are we to discern who is telling the truth? God has the answer to our dilemma.

When Jesus ascended to the Father in Heaven, He left behind the promise of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 (I encourage you to read this first encounter of a multitude of people with the Holy Spirit of God), the Holy Spirit is poured out, revealed, if you will, to a great crowd of people. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and He is the One who leads us into truth. He helps us discern the truth of God’s Word and when others are lying about God and what His Word says, interpreting for their own benefit or gain. He is God, just as the Father is God and the Son is God, and He cannot and will not lie. Thus, He is totally dependable as a truth teller and is available to all who seek the truth. Many want to have their “ears tickled” and don’t want to know the truth, but for those of us who desire to know what God is saying to us today, the Holy Spirit is our conduit of communication that speaks clearly the words from the Father and opens our hearts and minds to understand.

May your hearts and minds be watchful for the truth that the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you. And may you, in turn, share that truth with others who are ready and waiting to hear it. Have a blessed day, my friends!