Matthew 11:4-6 (NLT)
Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen – the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of me’”
My mouse died today. Old faithful gave up the ghost. At first, I thought she just needed a battery. A new burst of energy would make her little green light come back on and the cursor jump across the computer screen again. But after several vain attempts to resurrect her, she lays upside down on my desk. I cannot bear to discard her meaninglessly in the trash can. She has been a good mouse. We have been through a lot together. She has ridden faithfully in my computer bag back and forth across the state carrying for our son; accompanied me on business trips; and sat on my desk waiting for me each day. It feels so wrong to go pick up another one, but that is what I have to do. I hate change. I don’t upgrade my cellphone until it dies. Last month, I finally bought another car after eleven years in the “Beast”. It brought me to tears cleaning her up to trade her in. She was dying. It was time but I didn’t want to change. I tend to hang on to things until there is not an ounce of use or life in them. There is comfort in the known even when it is worn-out, broken or out-of-date.
John the Baptist had the privilege of announcing the coming of the Messiah. He had many followers and a thriving ministry which he gladly pointed to Christ upon His Arrival. He was a great Man of God. But when he found himself locked in a prison, knowing death might be any day, he became a bit uncertain and sent his disciples to speak with the Lord. He needed confirmation in the change that his life was not in vain. The Lord told them to tell him – “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is reaching the poor…” I am not sure if that is what John was really after. Perhaps he was hoping that Jesus might be so kind as to send some money or help to get him out of jail. Let’s be real – John was just as human as we are. And then Jesus told him, “God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.” Hmm…that’s kind of an odd statement. Following Christ in the throngs of a crowd who celebrates Him is one thing, but to become uncomfortable in our commitment to Christ is quite another. Following Jesus will produce change in our life – and change is not comfortable but absolutely necessary to be with Him forever.
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.
Salvation opened our heart and life to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our helper who works in us to change our life to see and reflect the Glory of God. Yay! The Holy Spirit is a game changer who with our help produces victory in our life. Yay! The same game changer produces change in our life. Not so yay. We want God’s Grace, His Blessing, His Glory in our life but few are interested in going through all the changes necessary to produce it in our life. Sin stops the process of blessing in our life. Even the smallest seemingly insignificant sin is a huge barrier for God’s Work in our life. What seems like acceptable sin is the hindrance that keeps us for the goodness that God has in store for us.
The Spirit of God in us is a gentleman and we have the freedom to choose the life we live every single day. To be changed into the Glorious Image of Christ as promised, it is a total sacrifice and surrender of all of me for all of Him. Sounds good in theory until you climb upon the altar ready to give your all to Him. The enemy rushes to your side to try to convince you this is not a good idea. You only live once, right? Life is passing you by. Don’t do it – it’s a trap. He will do everything in his evil power to keep you from giving all of your life to Christ because he knows the moment you do that you will become unstoppable in the Body of Christ through His Power and Strength every stronghold in your life is coming crashing down. The Love of God will flood you with so much life you will leave the darkness behind for good even if it causes heartache in pain. Faith and hope will be your comfort.
Hebrews 11:17-19 (NLT)
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
Faith in God took Abraham up the mountain to sacrifice his son, Isaac, that day. Just faith. You know that he didn’t want to. You know his heart was breaking all the way. But there was a greater force working in the Man of God other than fear – it was his faith in God. He knew God’s Word. God told him that Isaac was the son who all his descendants would come through. It was Abraham’s faith in God’s Word – it’s truth combined with God’s Faithfulness that allowed him to take his son, a knife and a bundle of wood up that hill. He knew that God brings dead things back to life. Do you? In the midst of your struggle, do you have a Word from the Lord? Have you found your solution in God’s Word and now you are just trying to hang on and see it through? The struggle is real. Change is certain. The only hope we have is in the Word of God and the faith wrapped around it.
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.
Confident hope is to be “perfectly sure” that God will never change His Mind about you. It is total trust that produces reliance on God to meet our need. It is also a commitment to change. I cannot have God’s Will my way. Sometimes that really irks me… until I get my heart right again. I think about Jonah and how made he got about Nineveh. He wanted to die rather than obey the Lord when God decided not to destroy the city. (Jonah 4:1-3) We do the same thing. How so? When we decide that what God offers is not worth pursuing and waiting for we choose to accept death rather than new life in our freedom. The Lord will not force things on us. We must accept His Gift even when it is not how we expected. The paper it is wrapped in does not define the gift but the value of its contents. Too often we forget that the Lord turns wastelands into waterfalls and not the other way around. (Psalm 107) He lets us do our thing and when we see the error in our way comes to us when we call – over and over again. But when we finally decide to hold tight to our faith and confident hope even when things don’t look so good around us – it is a commitment to the process of change in our life. Maybe if we learned to let go sooner there wouldn’t be so much death around us.
Romans 8:10-11 (NLT)
And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
I know that there have been several times in my life when I have decided to make a change only to think why didn’t I do that sooner? Christ is in us. He is constantly producing life in us. But in our need for comfort complacency is born that we operate on a just enough mentality. Rather than strive and press in – we decide to coast. Come on – it’s easier that way. When relationships sour, jobs end, options run out or stuff just falls apart – in our discomfort we seek comfort from the Lord. If we focused on the life that is coming from the inside, it would make to the outside and God’s Promises would manifest in our life. It won’t happen until we let go of every sin that is holding us back not just the seven deadly ones. There is no such thing.
Every single sin sits as its own individual barrier in our life. We have to do a little “pest” control. What if your house was filled with cockroaches crawling over everything? How gross would that be? So you call an exterminator who comes and gets rid of most of the bugs. In a few days when the smog clears, a few more of the filthy critters are lingering. What do you do? Live and let live. Just ignore them and move on with your day? OF COURSE NOT! You get the biggest shoe you can find, hunt it down and kill it with every ounce of power you can muster. Now I wonder, what if we viewed sin like we do cockroaches. It wouldn’t matter if everyone is doing it – I don’t want BUGS in my house. When sin creeps us out – God’s Spirit will swiftly and completely fill those voids in our life.
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.
I am quite certain that tomorrow I will be shouting the praises of my new mouse and how wonderfully it works and how thankful I am to have it. Whatever is good in my life is from God. Whatever is perfect is because it comes directly from Him. He never changes but is constantly trying to change our life for the better beginning with us. He chose to give birth to us by giving us His True Word. Jesus is God’s Word wrapped in flesh given to us as a love letter for life. When Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of God – He gave us His Spirit as a promise that He is coming back for us. In the meantime, every single word that He has given us is true and sealed by His Blood. He is trying to deliver more and more each day. We are the ones who stop this change from occurring. The Lord wants us to have a better life. He wants us to live stress free and care free existences until He comes. He also understands in the midst of change that there is discomfort and sent us a Comforter. Isn’t God good? He really is. God does it all because we are His Prized Possession. The best response is a constant commitment to change and be changed in the Light of His Love. Are there things in your life that you are holding on to because change scares you? Would you rather cling to the devil then take a chance on an angel? Stop allowing the enemy to keep you from what God has for you! If something is dying, it is a clear sign that God is sending something better so as Elsa says, “Let it go!” Thank you Lord for your commitment to giving me a new life. Lord, help me to embrace change no matter what it is or how it comes today knowing that you bless those who do not turn away!
Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.