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A Transformed Life

Whatever a man depends upon, whatever rules his mind, whatever governs his affections, whatever is the chief objective of his delight, is his god.
Charles H Spurgeon

In the book Just Like Jesus, author Max Lucado paints a picture of our thoughts as seeds – seeds producing either flowers or weeds. He makes the point that the ‘seeds’ we let take root and nurture, determine the state of our hearts and the lives we experience and live. If you enter 2018 with a desire to live transformed, Lucado would commend you to choose to take every thought captive, to lean on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to check all that you think with the mind of Jesus.

“Everybody knows you harvest what you sow. You reap what you plant. Yet strangely, what we know when we develop land, we tend to forget when we cultivate our hearts.

Think for a moment of your heart as a greenhouse. The similarities come quickly. It, too, is a magnificent gift from your father. It, too, is perfectly suited for growing. And your heart, like a greenhouse has to be managed.

Consider for a moment your thoughts as seed. Some thoughts become flowers. Others become weeds. Sow seeds of hope and enjoy optimism. Sow seeds of doubt and expect insecurity. ‘People harvest only what they plant.’ [Galatians 6:7]”

“You’ve got to admit some of our hearts are trashed out. Let any riffraff knock on the door, and we throw it open. Anger shows up, and we let him in. Revenge needs a place to stay, so we have him pull up a chair. Pity wants to have a party, so we show him the kitchen. Lust rings the bell and we change the sheets. Don’t we know how to say no?

For most of us, thought management is, well, unthought of. We think about time management, personnel management, even scalp management. But what about thought management? Shouldn’t we be as concerned about managing our thoughts as we are managing anything else? Jesus was.”

“Jesus guarded his heart. If he did, shouldn’t we do the same? …Jesus wants your heart to be fertile and fruitful. He wants you to have a heart like his. That is God’s goal for you.

“To have a pure heart, we must submit all thoughts to the authority of Christ. If we are willing to do that, he will change us to be like him. Here’s how it works.

Let’s return to the image of a greenhouse. Your heart is a fertile greenhouse ready to produce good fruit. Your mind is the doorway to your heart—the strategic place where you determine which seeds are sown and which seeds are discarded. The Holy Spirit is ready to help you manage and filter the thoughts that try to enter. He can help you guard your heart. 

He stands with you on the threshold. A thought approaches, a questionable thought. Do you throw open the door and let it enter? Of course not! You ‘fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ’ [2 Corinthians 10:5 PHILLIPS]. You don’t leave the door unguarded.”

 

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Advent - Week four

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Advent - Week four

Salt & Light is featuring excerpts from various sources each week this December to share a taste of fresh perspectives on the familiar accounts about the coming of Jesus Christ.

In The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, John Piper meditates on 1 John 3:8, that the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

“The coming of the eternal Son of God into the world as the God-man, Jesus Christ, is a fact of history. Yet thousands of people say they believe this fact but then live just like everybody else. They have the same anxieties that good things will be lost and the same frustrations that crummy things can’t be changed.

Piper points out the Christ’s coming was more than an historical fact, that it was a message of hope:

“…sent by God to teenagers and single parents and crabby husbands and sullen wives and overweight women and impotent men and disabled neighbours and people with same sex attraction and preachers and lovers—and you.

And since the Son of God lived, died, rose, reigns, and is coming again, God’s message through him is more than a historical fact. It is a Christmas gift to you from the voice of the living God.

Thus says the Lord: the meaning of Christmas is that what is good and precious in your life need never be lost, and what is evil and undesirable in your life can be changed. The fear that the few good things that make you happy are slipping through your fingers, and the frustrations that the bad things you hate about yourself or your situation can’t be changed—these fears and these frustrations are what Christmas came to destroy.

It is God’s message of hope this Advent that what is good need never be lost and what is bad can be changed. The Devil works to take the good and bring the bad. And Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil.”

 

One Day at a Time

A Charge and a Blessing based on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

In Jesus Christ, God’s grace has been given to us;
therefore, let us live for God,
one day at a time.

In every way we have been enriched in Christ,
in spiritual gifts,
through the witness of those who showed us Christ,
and in speech and knowledge of every kind,
therefore, let us give thanks to God,
one day at a time.

God is faithful and will strengthen us to the end,
as we look for signs of Christ’s presence,
one day at a time.

Till all is ended, all begun,
we live in hope and worship God,
one day at a time.

In the name of the Three who are One,
the Author, the Word, and the Breath,
go in peace.

 

Brian Wren,  Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, Liturgies and Prayers for Public Worship  (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008)

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