Tag Archives: transformation

Isaiah 8-11; Radically Changed

Isaiah talks about Jesus. Some of these verses are very familiar prophesies about the coming of the Messiah. So beautiful!

I pulled out Matthew Henry and read his take on these passages. Then I reread the chapters in Isaiah to see if I could see what Henry saw. I absolutely love what the prophet shares about what Christ brings to us, what Christianity is all about. God changes human nature when that nature is laid at the foot of the cross.

In chapter 11, Isaiah uses word pictures to describe the person who encounters Jesus. He speaks of wolves and lambs, leopards and goats, calves and lions… all living in harmony. The most vicious of animals no longer vicious. Cobras without venom, harmless vipers when the world is full of the knowledge of the Lord.

Or, when your world is full of the knowledge of the Lord.

Henry says this:

“This is fulfilled in the wonderful effect of the gospel upon the minds of those that sincerely embrace it; it changes the nature, and makes those that trampled on the meek of the earth, not only meek like them, but affectionate towards them.” (Commentary in one Volume; Zondervan Publishing House, 1961; p 845)

Has God radically changed you? Or is there still a bit of that wolf, that leopard, or that viper in you? Embrace the Gospel. Let Jesus transform you into that person who loves like Jesus loves, who has compassion and kindness toward others.

Would it change your family dynamics if you did that? How about your workplace, your neighborhood, your church? Would it effect your prayer life? Your Bible study? Would it effect how you view yourself?

The radical change that comes from a right relationship with the Messiah is always, ALWAYS change that is good!

I Samuel 15-16; The Problem With Interior Decorating

Saul was King of Israel. Remember the handsome, tall young man who looked exactly how everyone thought a king should look? The Bible says no one was his equal. (9:2)

Even though this same hunk hid from Samuel because he was afraid. He still looked the part.

But when Saul had an encounter with God,  God changed Saul’s heart. No longer cowardly, Saul prophesied when the Spirit of God came upon him in power. (10:10) Saul became a fearless warrior, a formidable leader of the Jews.

Several times in Scripture we see where the Spirit of God came upon him, and Saul obeyed. But we also see evidence that the change in Saul didn’t go very deep. It didn’t overcome the temptation to feel self-sufficient, and we see Saul’s gradual decline from being God’s anointed king, to being a man who God will reject.

In chapter 15 we read where Saul is given the opportunity to repent of sin. Samuel confronts Saul with the evidence of his sin, but Saul only gives Samuel the lame excuse, “they made me do it.” Then Saul makes matters worse when he says, “I kind of disobeyed, but my intentions were good. I was going to give the best of the spoils to God.”

Neither excuse could balance the guilt of his sin. So Saul, knowing he’d blown it before God, says, “I have sinned. But please, Samuel, honor me in front of the people.”

Oh Saul. That was bad enough. But did you have to go on and say, “so that I may worship the Lord YOUR God”? Wasn’t He your God, too?

I’m going to try not to judge Saul’s heart except through the evidence we see in Scripture. Saul’s heart had been changed, even to the point where the Bible says he was changed into a different person. (10:6) God was with him in a very visible way. But by the end of chapter 13, God had rejected him, the kingdom taken away from Saul because of disobedience.

I like watching renovation shows on TV. Sometimes the changes in the remodeled homes is amazing. Run-down houses get a makeover that transforms them into modern, beautiful homes.

But as I watch these shows I realize that there is a difference between cosmetic and structural changes. You can put paint on rotting wood. It will make it look nicer. But it won’t fix the problem, and the rotting will continue beneath the paint.

Fixing the problem often means tearing down walls and rebuilding from the ground up.

If I can use this analogy in Saul’s life, it would appear that Saul allowed God to do a cosmetic change in his life. The change was real. It just didn’t go very deep. In the end, God turned His back on His anointed one. The Spirit of God left him. (16:14)

I pray that you have had an encounter with God that has changed your life. But I would ask you to consider how that change has effected you. Have you allowed God to get in there and tear down walls, to eliminate the rot, to fix the problem of sin in your life?

Or have you only submitted just enough to God so that you look better to other people?

I pray that all of us will turn ourselves over to God 100%. Because how we look on the outside is meaningless unless we have been changed from the inside. I don’t want God just to be my Interior Designer. I want a total rehab, overhauled, made brand new through the blood of His precious Son, Jesus Christ.

April 14 – God Uses Sinners

I Samuel 21-24

David was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” But David sinned. And some of his sins were doozies. Here in these chapters of I Samuel we see David lie to a priest of the Lord. Ahimelech the priest gave David food and Goliath’s sword because David told him the king had sent him. In fact, King Saul had not sent David.

David got what he had come for. But it cost Ahimelech his life, and the lives of his family. David would have to live with the fact that his lie brought about those deaths.

Yet this liar is described as a man after God’s own heart.

My pastor talked to us last night at prayer meeting about Zaccheus (Luke 19). Zaccheus was a hated tax collector, getting rich by extorting money from the people. His neighbors described him as a sinner. But Zaccheus was radically changed when he met Jesus.

Think of the cruel and murderous Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus. And think about how he was used by God after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.

What I notice about these three men is that they didn’t let their past sins stop them from serving God. Read David’s psalms and hear him repent of his sins, and put his trust in the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of how God used David to bless the nation of Israel, and yes, even examples of what a man after God’s own heart looks like. See how, when God called Zaccheus and Saul by name, their encounter with the Savior effected the rest of their lives.

God didn’t say, “Clean up your act, then come back to me.” Instead God says, “Come as you are.”

Hear God call you by name, then respond to Him with a repentant heart. No sin is too great for Him to forgive. No life too shattered for Him to transform. And no sinner is too far gone to be used by God, once that sinner has met the Savior.

I prayed for you today.

Being A Christian

Faith may be believing in things you can’t see, but there is nothing unseen about living a Christian life. Paul, in Romans 12, tells us to be transformed by using our minds. He says God gives his people gifts. We need to recognize ours and use them.

The list of things Paul says to do require intention, thought, action. Being a Christian is not praying a prayer, then saying, “Whew! I dodged that bullet! No hell for me,” then continuing life as usual. In fact, if that is your experience I question your salvation according to Scripture.

Being a Christian does begin with faith, and with repentance, with accepting Jesus’ work on the cross on your behalf. But Scripture tells us a natural outcome of your salvation is a changed life, something people can see.

Being a Christian involves radiating Jesus. It’s the person who studies God’s Word to show himself a child of God, one who loves, is kind, diligent, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient, prayerful, giving, humble. The list goes on.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean walking around with a sappy smile on your face and saying, “God bless you.” It’s getting your hands dirty, using your mind by studying God’s Word. It’s about reasonable service to the One who saved you.

I hope you take time to read Romans 12 today and allow Paul to challenge you in your walk with the Lord. Let’s not conform to the world, but be transformed into the people God delights in using to reveal himself to those around us.

And may He find us faithful.

November 3

Mark 14:22-31; Matthew 26:26-35; Luke 22:15-20, 31-38; John 13:31-35, 14:1-15:17

Reading about Jesus’ last hours on earth with his disciples is so precious. How he loved them! I can hear the tenderness in his voice even as he told Peter he would deny Jesus three times before morning. I can imagine him looking into the eyes of each of them as he told them he had to go, but that he was going to prepare a place for them to come to him.

Jesus kept repeating the phrase: I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Then he promised the Counselor would come, the Holy Spirit would live in them and cause them to do even greater things than they had seen Jesus do. What could be greater than healing lepers, calming stormy seas, feeding thousands, or raising the dead?

Jesus tells one more parable. The Vine and the Branches paint a picture about soul-winning. He tells us the bearing of fruit is that which is so much greater than any of his miracles. And he says if we ask, he will answer and hearts will change, lives will be saved.

Have you witnessed the transformation knowing Jesus makes in a life? There is something about forgiveness, about realizing how much you are loved, about recognizing the God of the Universe lives in you that changes how we look at life, other people, and sin. Now that is a miracle above all miracles.

When you are a healthy branch attached to the Vine you can’t help but bear fruit. May it be so in me.

My Dear Vine, I thank you for attaching me to you. I thank you for the day I recognized my sinfulness and accepted you as my Savior. I pray that I will allow you to nourish me, to dwell within me, and to produce fruit for your kingdom. Others need you, Lord. I would like the privilege of leading them to where they will find life and love and forgiveness.