Changed – A Devotion

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

 

Our family is in a season of change. The oldest three children are all now adults. Two sons have moved out of our home to pursue life on their own. The great danger surrounding our son’s health has been adverted. Our oldest daughter will soon be married. We are left with just two kids in the house who prefer to be out and about as much as possible. I feel the Holy Spirit whispering “change is coming”. My hands and heart make a feeble attempt to embrace the days ahead but it is precarious to hold on the unknown. I am no longer satisfied with just getting by. The weakness that I have found in human strength compels me to be led, driven and empowered by the Holy Spirit more than ever. His Promise is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength. Now that I have experienced such an effort by my Lord, I want more of the sufficiency of His Grace. The change is coming from the inside of me and I must be sure to welcome it around me as well. The Lord is the Spirit. I know sometimes it is difficult to understand the Trinity of God and the three images as one. My freedom depends on my ability to live by the Spirit of God. I want my life to reflect the Glory of the Living God who is inside of my heart, mind and soul. I want His Goodness and Grace to permeate my life in such a way that others will want to know Him and be changed, too.

 

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

It has become clear that life is unpredictable. Just when everything seems to be under control, chaos strikes in an instant. The only thing that is constant in my life is Jesus Christ. He lives in me. Therefore, I can live according to His Constancy. This is not an outward change but inward resolve. The storms of life will come. Change is imminent. The more that we attach ourselves to Christ and attempt to align our life with His Way – the more that this is true. If Christ does not change, then it must be our role in this relationship. Pride tells us don’t do it. Human nature refuses to submit. Calling on Jesus Christ as Savior includes making Him our Lord to complete the process of divine intervention in our life. Jesus is not just here to clear up yesterday, or even help us through today, but His Presence wants to change and improve our forever. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) I cannot make it to God but through Him. I must change and make Him constant in my life.

 

Malachi 3:6 (NLT)

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”

 

Lord, forgive me for all the times I half-heartedly study your Word. Thank you for Your Grace that presses me until I get the point. “I am the Lord (God) and I do not change.” I have read this passage a thousand times. It points to a rigid, unmoving personality until you read the rest of the scripture attached. “That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.” God’s Love for me never changes. It doesn’t matter what I have done. God created me with the express purpose that I would be His Child. He has made sure that I could be just that. He is a loving father filled with compassion and mercy even though I have rebelled so many times. No, God does not change. But this is not a harsh statement but rather a commitment of love. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) When we are changed by the consistency of God’s Love for us which happens by faith that produces confidence in such a thing, our life will change because our hearts are aligned with God rather than being wary of Him. I am God. He does not change. Thank you Lord for loving me with such consistency that I know everything will work together for my good. (Romans 8:28) It is all about God’s Love for us. It is constant. It belongs to us.

 

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NLT)

“The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!”

 

It’s funny to me that when I know change is coming that I strive to change things around me. It is preparation for something that I have no power to control yet I try to make it as comfortable as possible. God has promised to change my heart. He will teach me to love Him with all my heart and soul so that I can live. As I learn to embrace change, it does not become any easier but more of a resolve. When the sailors faced a storm of greater strength than their vessel or skill, they stopped trying to control it. “The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.” (Acts 27:13-15) In the tumultuous storm that has overshadowed the last three years of our life seems to have given way, I am amazed at the God who I serve. He will allow the storm to encircle my life but never overwhelm His Child. I am not a storm-battered vessel barely gimping into shore. I had not become shipwrecked on an island with no hope. But rather as I have surrendered my heart and soul to a power far greater than my own, I have been led to a safe harbor and refuge called His Love. “What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!” (Psalm 107:30)  

 

Matthew 21:28-32 (NLT)

“But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

 

Surrendering our life to Jesus Christ is only the beginning of the transformation process. We call Him Savior because He has saved us from our sin. We call Him Lord because we desire to live in His Kingdom forever. The two roles are partners and neither one can be forsaken. We cannot call Him Savior and forget that He is Lord. We cannot serve Him as Lord without accepting that He is our Savior first. To accept the Full Character of Christ allows His Spirit to come reside in us. I read recently a quote. “Obedience is not our obligation to obey God but rather our choice to love God!” A man told both of his sons to go work in his vineyard. The first one said, “No I won’t go” but later changed his mind and went anyway. The second son, to appease his father, lied and said, “I will go.” But never went as promised. Which one obeyed? The one who changed his mind. We must change our mind to align our thoughts with God. Why? He wants to do more than we could even think to ask for in our life. (Ephesians 3:20) This means most of the time we are not going to see or know what God is doing until the work is finished. We must change our mind to have faith in God first and wait in confident hope. This is what it means to be renewed by being transformed. (Romans 12:2) This life is not for everyone only those who want what God desires for their life enough to invest it wholeheartedly in the things of God and His Kingdom.

 

Jonah 4:1-3 (NLT)

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

 

Jonah was mad at God’s Mercy for the people of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go there from the beginning. When he tried to go to Tarshish, he was swallowed by a whale. He repented and the whale vomited him on a beach. He did what the Lord instructed him to do and there was a revival in Nineveh so God spared the people there. Now the prophet was mad about God’s Mercy. Before pointing a finger at God’s man or even daring to condemn him for his lack of love for the brethren, take a good hard look at your own life for a moment. There are many times when God institutes change in our life in response to our deep desire to know Him more, have His Will and walk His Way that we end up mad just like Jonah. A change in our plans is bound to upset us because it puts in an unknown place. The only way that we will ever embrace the changes that the Lord is making in our life is to have faith and confident hope in Him alone. Change is an inevitable part of our life as we submit all that we are to God’s Plan and Purpose but we still get mad sometimes when it affects us in an uncomfortable way. Change is uncomfortable especially as God brings about more than we could “think” to ask for! Jonah said, “I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” How many times have we been in the midst of God’s Mercy but because we were mad failed to see its great benefit to us? Change will do that to us. We must learn to fully trust and rely on God’s Plan enough to embrace the change that is all around us!

 

Romans 2:29 (NLT)

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

 

I am not a Jew. I am a Child of the Living God. My heart is being changed by His Spirit. Such a life begins on the inside of my heart working its way out. Obedience to God’s Word is not enough unless my heart is circumcised in covenant with the Lord. Circumcision is an Old Testament practice that has moved to an inward process in the New Testament. Baptism takes the place of this rite. But does not exempt our heart from the process. If a man were circumcised in the Old Testament without an inward change it meant nothing. Now we have been given the Holy Spirit to circumcise and change our heart cutting away the flesh to give way to God’s Spirit in us. This inward transformation will result in an outward change if it is truly undertaken. You cannot hide the Light of God’s Love once it takes you over. It is impossible not to talk about what the Lord is doing and seek to do His Will. Circumcision was an act of purification and sanctification before the Lord. God wants to change your heart today. Will you allow Him to do so at the risk of becoming someone else?

 

James 1:16-18 (NLT)

So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.  Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

 

To face and embrace the change that God is producing in our life requires love and obedience on our part. Surrendering our life to the Lord is a process. It is to cut the soul tie to our sinful nature and develop a love story with Jesus Christ. We must work at it continually and be conscious of it always as not to hinder the productivity of God in our life. Knowing that whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from the Father by faith and having confident hope that He who promised is faithful and will deliver makes all the difference in the world. On the elliptical machine, I work to keep my feet moving at a constant pace. I want to build endurance. But from time to time, I will change up my work out and try to change the direction of my feet moving in the pedals. Before I can do so, I must stop the momentum that I have built up and then slowly begin moving in the new direction. My legs ache from the endeavor of stopping and restarting. Sometimes my life in Christ feels the same way. I am going along pretty good. Things are rhythmically moving in step to my own drum. The Lord says, “Hey lets change directions. Go this way.” The process of change is difficult at this point of stopping, changing and restarting.” But the Lord is telling me today to do it because it is worth it. I want to be changed. I do not want to be mad when God throws a curve ball in my life. Holy Spirit rise up in me today so that my faith will become confident in the fact that God is good. He never changes and intends to love me. Keep my heart from failing or becoming fickle in its way! When I change direction on the gym equipment, I must first tell my mind that we are going to do it. I must become determined to make it happen. I must invest all my energy in changing the momentum of my feet. It is the same when it is the momentum of my life. The only difference is that when I am weak – He becomes my strength! If God’s Love does not change and if Christ does not change them change must be a good thing!  

 

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

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