Transforming in a Time of Conforming

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

The pressure! Do you feel it? It’s like a vise. Coming at us from every side. Pressing. Squeezing.

There’s only one way out! The “world” wants us as believers to conform to it’s standard. Melt us into it’s world-view. Blend in and be like everyone else.

Thankfully, Jesus teaches us to be transformed, not to conform. How do we do that?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:2 ESV

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. So how do you renew your mind? Through the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus (the Living Word) and Scripture (the written Word).

First, we must be saved, born again. Being a believer in Jesus is so much more than to “believe” He exists. It’s confessing you’re a sinner, asking Him to forgive your sin and trusting that He will save you. Then you wholeheartedly follow Him. That means not following your own wants and desires, but obediently doing His will.

In today’s society, there are self-help books everywhere! In secular reading and in the Christian realm. To be better, just do this or that. God didn’t save us to be better, He saved us to be a new creation! Hallelujah! And the greatest news about that is that we don’t do that on our own - He does it! Whew! My only responsibility in the process is to surrender to Him and be obedient. He does all the transforming! The results of our transformation are up to Him. Isn’t that great news!?

That leads us to the second step. Surrender. To surrender is to submit to another’s authority. Jesus teaches that we are to die to ourselves and take up our cross - that’s surrender. Putting our own wants and desires aside and obediently following Him. Jesus lived a suffering life on this earth. So when you follow Him, you should expect some suffering.

Think of it this way, if you were to find a precious metal or stone in the earth you would have to heat that metal until all the dross was burned away or chip off all the parts attached to the stone that were not pure. If we think about that in relation to our lives, it is a painful process; often accomplished by suffering.

Part of surrender is obedience. When we submit to authority, we obey the rules, guidelines and laws set before us. The time for kicking and screaming is over. We surrendered so now we are to obey willingly.

God, not your self-effort, is the source of transformation. www.bsfinternational.org

The above quote really spoke to me in my Bible study this week. We have been studying Solomon and his proverbs. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. It is Jesus Christ who changes, transforms us. Not self-help books, not sheer will and determination, but Jesus.

If you’ve known me throughout my lifetime, you can easily see the transformation that Jesus has done in my life. Every day He is changing me even more. Sometimes the process is slow and difficult, but as I surrender and am obedient, He proves true in His transformation power!

Will you be transformed today through Jesus? He is always ready to forgive when you confess and ask. He will happily make you a new creation. Just trust Him!

Be Your Own Kind of Remarkable

photo by anatol lem

photo by anatol lem

Remarkable – worthy of attention; striking

We all know remarkable people.  We call them remarkable based on an attribute of their character, such as kindness toward others or their love for the Lord. 

But so many people want to fit into what the world defines as worthy of attention.  Maybe that’s to look a certain way, or be a certain way or have certain things.  But what Christian wants to be like the world?  After all, Jesus taught us that we are not of this world, even though we are in it.

 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.                 John 17:14-16 ESV

  What does that mean?  Well, to be in the world is to be in the place of the world but to be of the world is to be defined by it. For example, I used to work in a hospital. Therefore, I would be in the hospital.  But I was never of the hospital; the hospital was not who I was.  

It took me a long time to realize that God truly did create each of us as unique and remarkable human beings in His image. Certainly, we can all agree that we know that, but do we really live like we know that? I dare say most of us do not.

I was saved at twelve years of age and I certainly had a different worldview than I do now.  Even though I surrendered myself to Jesus, I was pulled toward the things of the world.  I wanted to be popular and successful, to name a few.  And in my younger days, I certainly thought I knew a lot about Jesus and the Bible.

Now that I have matured as a believer and follower of Christ, I find my desires and worldview have changed.  I’ve learned that I only need to please ONE.  I’ve learned that obedience to my Saviour and Lord is the definition of success, not what others think of me.

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14 ESV

 The psalmist wrote the scripture above.  I want to encourage you by reminding you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Now’s the time your soul knows that very well.

Today, focus on who you are in Jesus Christ.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God’s works are wonderful and you, my friend, are one of His works.  He doesn’t expect you to be sinless, Jesus took care of that on the cross.  He expects us to sin less as we walk with Him.

This Christmas and ever day, feel your freedom in Jesus!  Let yourself be your own kind of remarkable!

Share in the comments someone you know that is remarkable and why!

-Wendy

Fruit of the Spirit Episode 1

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"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

Galatians 5: 22-23


I've been thinking about a series that I could write that would be easy to follow, even if it isn't always easy to live out.  But good news, God is the Master Creator who is molding us into His image.  So...by Him, His fruit is being developed in us.

Whew!  If it were all up to me, I would be in trouble! Anyway, I digress.  Before we start looking at each attribute of the fruit, let's take a look at these two verses as a whole.

First, the word fruit used in this passage is SINGULAR. Bear with me here.  I know that fruit technically does not have a plural unless you are talking about different kinds of fruit.  With that being said, the passage says "fruit" but then lists several different words.

I'm no scholar, but my thoughts on the matter are that as we mature in the Spirit, we produce His fruit.  To become like Christ, we grow in an intimate relationship with Him and begin to take on His characteristics.  The "fruit" of the Spirit is exemplified in the outward characteristics of:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Image all those things wrapped up in ONE package and you get the "fruit of the Spirit". Isn't that just the perfect combination?  It sure is! As believers, the Spirit lives in us. (That's a whole other topic of discussion!) 

With the Spirit living in us, it's only natural that as we mature in the faith, His fruit becomes more and more evident in our lives.  I can certainly attest to some significant changes in my life - as can the people close to me!

If you know me, you know that I can be a little rough around the edges, well, maybe more than that at times.  But as a young person, and even as a young believer, I could be pretty painful around the edges.  But God (my favorite phrase in scripture) is changing me! Every day, every week and every year I see changes that the Lord is making in my life.

Some changes are subtle.  Such that you may not notice them, but I do.  It is quite exciting to see God working in your own life!  Oftentimes, we can easily see something in someone else's life, but find it hard to see something in our own life.

Take a glimpse back to the time of your salvation.  Think of all the things you have learned in your faith journey.  Are you the same?  I bet not!

This week think about your life and how God is changing you.  Leave a comment below if you'd like.  I'd love to hear from you!

 

Debut Book - The Experiment - Is Out

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Well, it's out!  My first ever "book".  I responded to a challenge last November to write a book in a month.  And the book was born by the end of December.  Then months of edits, beta readers, and help!  It's finally out!  

I've always wanted to write, but I thought I would write non-fiction.  And...I still may one day.  I would love to write Bible studies, but who am I to do that?  At any rate, I was challenged to write a novel.  It's short and sweet; what one might call a "cozy mystery".  

My characters are all FICTION and there are absolutely NO representations of people I know except the Storm family. (They might represent my family, with some imagination.) 

As you probably know, I started a blog a few years ago with a focus on living life on purpose.  So my goal in writing everything is to offer hope by sharing the gospel. What I feel my purpose is as a believer.  In this book, I hope you can see how God pursues us.  Something most believers can attest to.

The cover gives me away.  There will be more to come for Harper.  Plans are now for at least three books in this series.  Who know's maybe the second one will be out close to Christmas.

Let all that you do be done in love.
— 1 Corinthians 16:14