But Wednesday is also the farthest point of time from our sacred Sunday stillness. Does the sermon still ring in our ears? Or has the message been lost, drowned out by secular sidetracks?
I don't know about you, but by Wednesday I need a faith-filled refresher. I need a deep dose of God's word.
And so, a new weekly installment in this part of Bloggyland appears. Wednesday in His Word. Stop by each week to digest Scripture slowly, savoring a passage and its portent for our daily lives. I'll share a gem from my recent Bible reading. Or I'll explore a verse of your choosing (just note it in the comments section on any given Wednesday). Together we will unwrap God's message and unwind in his grace.
So if you have a week that wants to beat your down, or you want to lift up on wings like eagles, stay here a minute. Let's read, reflect, and pray together. Let's rest together in God's word. Let's simply be, together, tended by our Lord.
Time to Transform
|free printable from framedinfaith.blogspot.com|
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy,Paul encourages each and every one of us to take a good, long look at God's mercy. By his love and grace, we are accepted, loved, and forgiven. Just as we are. Not because of who we are. But because of whose we are. God's children. His kiddos. Adopted little ragamuffins, and he loves the fuzz off of us. Like the story of the boy and his Velveteen Rabbit, God's love makes us real. God's love makes eternity real for us.
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God —So, we are loved — deep and true and lasting — by our Heavenly Father. What next? When we are loved, we can't help but reflect that love back. And the best way to respond to God's love is to dedicate our lives on this earth to pleasing him.
This is where my mind starts to wander and worry. Does that mean God can put me anywhere he wants? A rural town? An Asian village? Antarctica? Does that mean I'll have to give up my loved ones? My comforts? My life that I've carefully established? Will I have to drop my figurative fishing nets and follow Jesus, leaving everything behind?
The more I learn about God, the less I believe those worries to hold any worth. Let's go back to step one. God loves us. God wants the very best for us. He's not going to ask us to ditch our life-giving relationships, our meaningful work, or true joys and abiding passions. He's going to use those things that are nearest and dearest to our hearts as a way for us to minister to others.
this is your true and proper worship.Worship is more than a Sunday activity. Yes, this communal, physical, and spiritual gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ is key. But it is just the beginning. True worship is filling our souls up in the sanctuary, then carrying that holiness in our bodies and out into the world. Proper worship is finding ways — quiet and small or big and bold — to glorify God by the way we live. It is where we use our passions and pursuits to point to our living Lord.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,When I think about living out my faith in ways that point others to God, I feel a bit bashful. It feels right and comfortable in the church. But talking to my neighbors? Shopping at the grocery store? Collaborating at a committee meeting? That's when the patterns of this world push me to put my faith back in the Sunday box, to keep quiet about Christ.
But if we are true to our faith, we can puncture the cultural patterns — like rushing or shushing dissenting voices, like complaining or keeping up with the Joneses — by consistently exhibiting love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Oh, yeah, that sounds easy. NOT! Oops. There goes that conforming voice of this world. Hey, Conformity, we've got news for you. We don't have to conjure up these qualities on our own. When we worship God, we receive the fruit of the Spirit. When we walk alongside God, he fills us up and raises us up to more heavenly patterns.
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
This is where my hope grows huge. Walking alongside God, getting filled up with the Spirit, setting my mind on those heavenly habits — these are not things I have to accomplish on my own. God will plant new and better thoughts in my mind. God will change my heart. God will transform my ways. And all for the better. All I need to do is surrender. Surrender my need to blend in so I can shine forth. Surrender my need to conform so I can proclaim God's grace. Surrender my doubts and old habits so I can live, freely and truly, by Christ's example. It's a daily practice, and one I won't perfect, but I can lean into God and trust in the process.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.By committing to this practice of opening our minds, hearts, and lives for God's transformation, we learn what God wants for us. We see his plan for how we can be his presence in the world. We understand how we can please him by loving and serving others. Our will aligns with God's will. Our paths merge into God's higher road, and we walk alongside our Lord, experiencing the fullness of Christ.
You are the epitome of love and mercy. Thank you for naming and claiming me as your child, understood, accepted, and forgiven. Help me to live my life in true worship to you, following in Christ's example of loving and serving others, of glorifying you. And when this world pressures me to conform, help me to remember your better way. Fill me with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Transform my habits and my attitude. Show me, clearly and undeniably, your good and pleasing and perfect path. Then give me the faith and the courage to follow it.