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Posts Tagged ‘change’

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19

I have a turnstile on my bathroom dressing area where I keep my colognes, lotions and hair products. Easier to reach. As I spun it to locate my rose scented ones, I noticed the rose water, which is pink, now looked salmon-colored. How unique!

Then I noticed the reason. A bottle with amber liquid behind it shined through the rose water, appearing to change it’s color. As soon as I picked up the rose water, it returned to a soft carnation hue.

God whispered in my ear. This is you.

On my own, I am who I am. You get what you expect you would from a Christian widow my age, race and income level. I am not going to change from a rose to a bird of paradise or an exotic orchid. It’s not my nature.

But when Christ shines through me, I become unique. Oh, I am the same–yet different. I am transformed from the inside out. So are you.

Accepting Christ into our lives doesn’t change who we are. It doesn’t instantly make us skinnier or taller or have fuller wavy hair. We suddenly can’t sing like an angel when before we couldn’t carry a tune. I wish…

But how we appear to the world can change. Our attitudes of serving others before ourselves, or being kind, or forgiving in nature–all the things the world is not used to observing in human behavior is now reflected in our lives because Jesus shines through our hearts.

There is one major difference, however. I could remove the rose water from the amber cologne sitting next to it so it went back to its original color. We may think we can remove ourselves from Christ, but the truth is this: He never quite goes away.

Once we respond to His knocking on our heart’s door and let Him in, a part of Him always remains. We may shut Him out, but He is never far away.  We may assume we are not acting Christian enough and are not worthy to reflect His light but there is still something shining through. And it is beautiful, eye-catching and unique.

Others are not viewing us through rose-colored glasses. We are still “us.” However, they can clearly see Christ’s influence in our lives.

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Say this sentence: What do you want to change?

How did your mind read it? It could have placed the emphasis on the word you, meaning an action on your part is needed.  It’s up to you. Your choice, your decision.

Or your brain could have latched on to the first word what. Now the emphasis shifts. It assumes change is happening, but asks about the object of that change. That means choice.

Then again, the mind could have zeroed in on the word want, perhaps distinguishing it from “need.” There is a difference, though often times we don’t get that.  It also implies a more passive approach to the question. The power to change it not in your control. It becomes a matter of asking for help.

And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Why do we often assume we need to be in control? It as if the right of passage into adulthood is paved with “It’s up to me” stones. However, too many time we stub our toes on them. Still, we plod along, nursing the throb. “I can’t assume anyone else will do it, so I must.”

Jesus challenges us to revisit the emphasis of the sentence. To return to a holy dependency on our Father for instruction, guidance, comfort, and yes, for discipline.  Just as we once did as children.

We were never designed to go it alone. Humans were created to be in communion–with each other and with our Creator. Somewhere along the line, we forget that fact. Always have…from Genesis, Chapter 3 to today.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t take responsibility. Far from it. We are all inevitably responsible for our actions, thoughts, and choices. But I, myself, have been learning the humility of dependence upon others, which includes leaning more on God.

Truth is, if I am honest, my word emphasis to the question, “What do you want to change?” has changed over the past year as I struggled with health issues soon after receiving a call into missionary work (funny how those two things happened almost simultaneously). Due to both,  I am mostly dependent on the donations of others for my income.  And I am more dependent on other’s prayers.

In 2016, I would have definitely put the emphasis on me. I, the widow, must go it alone. Make it on my own. It’s up to me.

Today, my response is: “Lord, I want You to change me…daily, making me dependent upon You so I am totally aligned with Your will. I can’t do this by myself.”

More than ever, I need to grab Daddy’s hand to lead me. Does that make me a weaker person? Yes, and no. To acknowledge my weakness makes me stronger. (I Corinthians 4:10) To lean on His understanding and might, instead of my own, bolsters me to go onward in this journey.

Kind of ironic this missionary organization I have been called to be a part of is called Power to Change, right? Well, perhaps not.

How about you? Read the sentence again. What do you want to change? Then talk it over with your Lord.

 


The internet is a vast mission field. At Campus Crusades of Canada’s  Power to Change, I edit and write for two websites that draw people closer to God:   Issues I Face  and The Life.   Our free articles and devotionals glean a readership of 500,000 plus a month. Some are believers, others don’t know what to believe. All are seeking. We help them know Jesus, one mouse click at a time.
But as with any missionary organization, we are funded solely through the donations of ministry partners. And at this moment, an anonymous beneficiary will match any and all donations up to one hundred thousand dollars. 
Find out more about my work as a writer and editor at  http://www.juliebcosgrove.com/missionary_support.html 

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I have heard serene and beautiful places described as a “little piece of heaven”.  It may be a pristine beach with tumbling waves glistening in the moonlight. A vast mountain vista or a bubbling creek under the canopy of shade trees. But it is ONLY a piece. It cannot replace the inner peace that comes from Heaven.

Why? Because where we live and move and have our being is time-bound.  Our world is ever changing– minute to minute, second to second. Weather can affect that serenity. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and blizzards ravage the earth. Human progress can affect it as well. Bulldozers can topple mountains and oil tankers spill black gunk into the water, coating everything. And even if the serene views remain intact, our human emotions can discolor it. When we are angry or depressed we often block out birdsong and sunshine filtering through the leaves. No wonder cartoonists depict a dark cloud over the head of their characters. If there is one thing that is definitely not constant, it’s our mood.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

This peace that passes all understanding, as Paul describes it, is not affected by change. It is constant, eternal, and unmoving. It doesn’t come and go, or ebb and flow.  It is there like a solid foundation that is unshakeable even in times of turmoil. You can cling to it and know it’s not going to crumble.  This peace only comes from anchoring our hearts, minds and souls into the living waters of our faith in God. It transcends whatever is happening in our ever-changing world, because His peace is not of this world. It is Heaven-sent.   In John 16:33, Jesus said, “…in me you can have peace.”

Two words that sound the same but are so different.

The first one, pIEce – where the IE stands for I Enjoy – is fleeting. It can be gone in a moment.

The other is pEAce  – where the EA stands for Eternal Access. For the believer, it is always there, no matter what.

Which will you choose to bask in?

 

I belong to a donor-supported internet ministry. We have over 500,000 readers a day click on our websites at The Life Project. If you’d like to support me, please click here:
https://thelifeproject.com/give/?designation=111070 and choose US Editorial. Thanks.

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Okay- I admit it. My cats are driving me NUTS! But God taught me a vital lesson through them.

12359888_1173304076020731_5338883072486770344_nOne is a gorger. He starved as a stray and the Vet thinks his “no longer hungry” switch permanently turned off.  He will eat and eat until he pops…or hack it up.

The other is a grazer. The runt, he always has been passive and easily bullied out of his portion.  He would prefer I guard his bowl for two hours each meal so he can slurp two or three bites, walk away and return later. In the meantime, gorger hovers close by, licking his chops. If I turn my head, he starts to chomp the grazer’s portion down.

The Vet says to pick up the grazer’s bowl after twenty minutes. The cat is just not getting the message, so he meows and meows for me to give him back his food. It breaks my heart.  The gorger cowers when I raise my voice and tell him no, but is not deterred. We are talking about cats after all… Tough love is,well, tough.

I have prayed for over a year for God to change them. I’d love to put food down and they eat when it is presented so we can all go about our day. I would love to be able to go out of town without burdening a close friend or relative with this cat bowl guard duty. Today, God interrupted my prayer. He told me, “Pray for your attitude to change, and leave the rest to me.”

How often do our prayers concentrate on changing someone else?

Perhaps a spouse who seems distant or a child who is headed down the wrong path. A coworker that grates on our nerves or a friend who has wounded us with their selfishness.  We tearfully wear out our knees in pleas. Our tummies knot. We pray again, and again. It is always on the forefront of our minds and we mull over it like a cow chewing on cud. It is the last thought that whirls in our brains before we sleep. God, aren’t you listening? Do something. The anxiousness builds.

Here is truth: It is our attitude we are in charge of changing, not anyone else’s. Be not anxious about your life…Matthew 6:25.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

We cannot will anyone to change. Yes, we can pray for them and leave our concerns at the foot of the cross, and we should.  But perhaps our Lord is calling us to change our attitude about the situation and to give it to Him in exchange for His peace. I read that stress is not trusting God to be in control. I have been stressing over my furry beasts and I am sure they are picking up on my angst.  My kitties are my joy- when did I forget that? When did they become my pain instead? When was the last time I thanked God for them?

Tonight, I will change my prayer.  Is there one you should change as well?

 

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Bless Me, then Let Me Be

by Julie B Cosgrove

 

How often does God want to bless us 

Or maybe He wants to test us,

But we tell Him, thanks, but no.

Let’s just leave things status quo.

Don’t take me somewhere new,

I’d rather stay right here, thank you.

Don’t stretch me or bend or challenge me

Just please leave me alone, let me be.

I like it here in my little box.

All safe and cuddly with all the locks

I have placed on it to keep You out.

I’d rather complaint and whine and pout.

I don’t want to grow, I want to stay idle,

Nor spend or time on my knees reading the Bible.

I’m a mess, I know that, but hey, that’s me.

So give your grace and mercy for free.

Change the other people in my life,

The ones that hurt me and bring me strife.

Keep me warm and secure and healthy.

Oh, and yes, I’d like to be wealthy.

But don’t change a hair on my head,

mold my heart, or have me be led

down a path of service or sacrifice.

Nor have your Spirit give me advice.

Just give me what I want, Lord – that’s all.

Oh, and please be there when I fall.

And when I die, open the gates Above.

Until then, grant me unconditional love.

There’s plenty of time to be my Savior.

I have all of eternity to win your favor.

But for now, let me just believe you exist.

Be there for me, but don’t insist

I do anything different with my life.

Don’t trim me with your holy knife,

Or alter my lifestyle or way of thinking.

Just love me Lord and keep me from sinking.

“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot….I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:16,19)

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