I’d like a do-over on that Change/Transparency thing!

If there were two words that captured the essence of our political, economical and spiritual climate in 2008 they would be the words ‘change and transparency.’  It was plastered across every banner, found behind every political candidate, and laced throughout the words of almost every prophetic voice.  It became the mantra of 2008 and now in 2016 it has become a reality to all of us that something has changed, though we are not exactly clear on just what that was.  Everyone it seems agrees on one thing, that we can no longer continue on the path we are presently on.  As a nation and a people, we have lost our way and nobody it seems knows the way back home.  Therefore as a nation and as individuals we find ourselves standing at a crossroads.   We stand before two roads and the choice we have before us could very well  ‘make all the difference,’  for us as a nation and for each one of us for years and years to come.

All of this has reminded me of an old story that is told concerning the statue that adorns the top of New York’s Madison Square Garden.  This beautiful statue is of a girl named Diana who posed for the statue and in doing so became very famous.  But in her time of fame she began to live a partying lifestyle and it wasn’t long till she became known for her loose morals.

Many years later, in a Salvation Army kitchen, stumbled an old battered woman begging for some bread and soup.  When the Salvation Army officer asked for her name, she told him, he stopped, slowly peering intently into her face and with a look of surprise said, “Why, you are Diana!”  But a crooked smile twisted across the woman’s face as she replied, “I was Diana.”

Every person can say concerning himself, for better or for worse, “I was that person.  I am not now that person.”  Sometimes when we meet people that we haven’t seen for years they look upon us as if we were still the same person we were so many years previously.  But alas, none of us stay the same we are always being changed in one form or another either for better or worse.

Each one of us is being changed, either up or down.  For it is not a question of whether we are or if we are not being changed, we are continually in a state of being changed either for the good or for the bad.  The things that happen to us and conversely through us mold us into the person we have become.  We decide what that mold shall be and conversely what we shall be like for years to come.   Even if it looks like we do not decide to choose anything, but allow the circumstances of life free reign over us, we find that in not deciding we decide not to decide.

If we purposefully shut the door to change upwards we are in reality opening the door to change downward for no one stays the same.

Many years ago while sitting around a table a man pulled a picture out of his inside pocket and laid it on the table before him and said with a heavy sigh, “To think I was once this man.”  It was quite the picture of a handsome youth of twenty-one years of age.  To say he was handsome and in great physical shape would be an understatement.  He was an entrant in a world competition for the most perfect specimen of manhood.  When he was not chosen, it hurt his pride and wounded his ego to such a state that it started a chain reaction of downward spirals that left him a physical and mental wreck at forty.

Had he reacted rightly to that blow, he would still have been handsome in body but his character would have outshined everything else about him.  But having made the decision to let a wrong reaction enter in he became subject to the forces of decay and the end result was a lifetime of bodily and spiritual decline.  We are changed into the image of our choices.

Nothing the Same, but your Name and that to may change!

There is a basic instinct that all of humanity possesses, that there be more to life than what he we are now presently experiencing.  There is an inherent and basic urge to go beyond ourselves as we now are.  It seems that all of humanity has found itself standing at the same crossroads and therefore we universally crave a way out of our present situation.  However we are not all the same, we have Christ as our center and therefore cannot look as others look.  Here are some basic thoughts that will help us not to get caught up in the wisdom of the world as a way to find our way home.

  1. It is true that we all have a universal craving to know we are heading in the right direction. But it is inherently found in our desire to be reunited with God our Father. We are homesick and want to find our way back home and all the attempts at satisfying the outward will not help us in finding the inward peace we all desire.  (Philippians 4:12, Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 26:3)
  1. That change is closer than we realize! It has been said that there are two ways to reach the house next door. One is to travel all the way around the globe; the other is to walk a few feet to the door.  One is based on our self-concentrated effort at being worthy of God while the other is simply a short step; to turn around and say ‘Yes’.  Not a lip service ‘Yes,’  but heart service, to simply say it and mean it.  (Proverbs 14:12, Matthew 5:37,  1 Peter 3:15)
  1. We all are under the conviction that life is not what it ought to be. I find that God is apparently very convinced of that, hence the extraordinary step of becoming man, that man may become like God. (Proverbs 25:2, Revelations 15:4,  1 Peter 1:20)
  1. We can either be born from above or born from below; we can either be controlled from above or controlled from below. We can be motivated by hunger or motivated by love. The choice is always ours.  We decide to be changed from above or from below.  Life can either be dominated by animalistic instincts of preservation or life can be dominated by Godly instincts that have eternal value.  (Romans 8:6-9, Titus 2:12, 1 Peter 4:7, Hebrews 12:17)
  1. A lot of people are horizontally converted, but not vertically converted; their labels have changed but not their lives. “Let go of your old life, be willing to surrender to my life and I will change you into my image.”  If we “let go and let God,” we are changed into a new image, infused with a new life and therefore a new way of looking at things.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As we look forward to 2017 lets remember that God is giving us an incredible opportunity for ‘change’.   Right now lets grab a hold of that opportunity and be determined that the person we shall be molded into will bear the image of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The following scripture comes to both Lois and my spirits as one we would like to leave you with.

Proverbs 3: 5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

 

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