Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Do not fret therefore in view of tomorrow for tomorrow will have its own anxieties.”
“I heard a voice at evening softly say,
Bear not thy yesterday into tomorrow,
Nor load this week with last week’s load of sorrow.
Lift all thy burdens as they come, nor try
To weight the present with the by and by
One step and then another, take thy ways
Live by the day.
Though autumn leaves are withering round thy way,
Walk in the sunshine, it is all for thee.
Push straight ahead, as long as thou canst see.
Dead not the winter whither thou mayst go,
But when it comes, be thankful for the snow.
Onward and upward, look and smile and pray
Live by the day.”
J. H. May
Today’s Study Text:
“Do not be conformed to this world, this age, fashioned after and adapted to its eternal, superficial customs, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind, by its new ideals and its new attitude, so that you may prove for yourselves, what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect in His sight for you.”
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 7
“A Transformative Word”
“If this passing over is to be perfect…the sharp point of our desire must be directed toward God and transformed in Him. Such a motion…no one receives except (the one) who desires it, and no one desires it unless the fire of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent to earth, inflames us to the very marrow.”
How would I define the word “transformation”?
In what ways have I seen God’s transformative power change my life?
“I don’t need someone to repair my past, I need someone to transform me – to transform is to recreate.”
To transform= “To alter markedly the form or appearance. To change the nature.”
“Nature forms us, sin deforms, school informs us, but Christ transforms us.”
Many years ago, my friend Wendy’s father was a very respected make-up artist in Hollywood. She used to describe his work on movies where an actor would take a part and through the magic of make-up, they would be completely transformed until they were totally unrecognized. As she told me about some of her dad’s accomplishments, I just couldn’t help myself and I asked her if actors ever wanted her dad to do their make-up for some fancy event. My friend Wendy started laughing and she said, “Dorothy, if you only knew what a lot of the “movie stars” really looked like you would be shocked. Many of them don’t look any different than you or me. They just have great people to fix them all up.”
This was quite an “insider” insight to me for through our lives, often prompted by media pictures and advertisements, we become so dissatisfied with what we witness staring us back in the mirror each day.
While we can slap on make-up to cover some of our external flaws – it is my internal imperfections, which I’ve found, discourage me the most. I don’t know about you but when I match up my life against God’s Word, I feel overwhelmed for I ask, “How can I ever reflect a life of holiness? How can I attempt to be more like Jesus each day?”
Recently, I decided to read an old volume penned by J.R. MacDuff on Jesus’ disciple, Peter. Here was someone who had the benefit of walking with Jesus for over three years. He saw Jesus, He talked with Jesus. And yet in a moment of utter disappointment and weakness, Peter denied he even knew who Jesus was. I have to tell you that it is this one experience in Peter’s life that on more than one occasion has lead me to wonder if I would have done any better had I been in Peter’s place. Thankfully, the book of Acts, in Chapters 1- 4, contains a record of what happens in our lives when we, as weak humans, allow God’s Spirit to fill us and His Word to guide us. In some of the most soul-stirring words found in Scripture we read, “Now when they (the priests) saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools (common men with no educational advantage) they marveled and they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, Amplified Bible). How I love those words for they offer an unparalleled glimpse into what happens in your life and mine when we choose to get into God’s Word and give His Word the highest priority in our lives. Author Richard Sibbes sums up the change which transpired not only in the lives of Peter and John, but can come about in your life and mine as well when he states, “when we see the humility and obedience of Christ, when we look on Christ as God’s chosen servant and as our surety and head, it transforms us to the like humility and obedience.” The fact is that if I yearn to have a life like Jesus, I need to walk with Him daily. This means that as I study His Word and commune with Him in prayer, I will be transformed, remade into His likeness! Praise God!
There’s a reason I chose to name this website “Transformation Garden.” It was my personal desire to have a life that reflected the love of my heavenly Father. But if I want to love like my Father, I need to have help – lots of it, for on my own, I can’t transform myself. But as John Owen hopefully points out, “every approach unto God by ardent love and delight is transfiguring.” This is why the Apostle Paul told his young Christian friends in Rome – “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out…God brings the best out of you” (Romans 12:2, The Message Bible).
Do you know why I love studying the Bible? It’s because as I look at my Father, I am transformed, I become like the “Person” I look at and love! Yes, I become more like Jesus.
“A saint is a human creature devoured and transformed by love; a love that has dissolved and burnt out those instinctive passions, acquisitive and combative, proud and greedy which commonly rule (our lives).”
“God spoke the Word that healed (transformed) you, that pulled you back from the brink of death. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves.”
The Message Bible
“Lord, You seized me, and I could not resist You.
I ran for a long time, but You followed me,
I took bypaths, but You knew them.
You overtook me.
The die is cast, Lord; I can no longer forget You.
In a moment You seized me,
In a moment You conquered me.
My doubts were swept away,
My fears dispelled.
For I recognized You without seeing You.
I felt You without touching You,
I understood You without hearing You.
Marked by the fire of Your love, I can no longer forget You.
Now I know that You are there, close to me,
And I work in peace beneath Your gaze of love.
I no longer know what it is to make an effort to pray.
I just lift my eyes to You and I meet Yours,
And we understand one another. All is light, all is peace.
At times, O Lord, You steal over me irresistibly,
as the ocean slowly covers the shore…
…captivated, I hold my breath; the world fades away,
You suspend time.
I wish that these minutes were hours…
Lord, You are too great, You eclipse everything.
What I had cherished now seems trifling,
and my desires melt like I was in the sun under
the fire of Your love…
Lord, You have seized me, Lord, and I am sure of You.
You are there, and I am overjoyed.
Sunlight floods over all, and my life shines like a jewel.
How easy everything is, how luminous!
All is pure and singing.
Thank You, Lord, thank You!
Why me, why did You choose me?
Joy, joy, tears of joy.”
“Love begins as love for one or for a few. But once we have caught it, once it has taken possession of us, and has set up its own values in the heart of the self, there are no limits to those it can touch, to the relationships which it can transform.”
John Austin Baker
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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