Tag Archives: Transformation

Christmas Joy

II Corinthians 7: 5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, 2018.  I have often used a list of Advent readings and explored this season through the eyes of those Scriptures other people chose.  This year I’ve made the choice to look for Christmas preparation with my own eyes as I continue exercising my mind in II Corinthians and see where my heart takes me.  Today it begins with Paul’s words “we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…”  That reality has made the Bible an enduring treasure that still comforts us in our response to the realities of life and provides transformation along with information.  Experience has shown me every part of the Bible supports the choice God made on our behalf long ago: the birth of Jesus.  Faith in God’s choice changes our choices.  

Advent reminds us transformation came in a “small” package to provide a lifetime of therapeutic doses of comfort [grace] that will fill the gaps left by wrong choices and ultimately overcome the accumulation of fatigue, stress, conflict or fear, so our “joy” will be “greater than ever.”  That’s my choice for this Advent season. 

I hope it will be yours too.  Read whatever Scripture you pick with your eyes, your mind, your heart AND your experience.  Let’s take God at his Word that Christ is his choice made on our behalf for our transformation and choose to find our Christmas joy in His choice

Obligation and Purpose

II Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Being an ambassador “…as though God were making his appeal through us” become more real to me this week.  I wanted to implore these people I really care about but instead my appeal was full of frustrated emotion and more loaded with the need to persuade than the desire that anyone might be reconciled to God.  It’s so easy to spout off when you get your mouth and emotion involved.  The fact is being an ambassador for Christ has obligations of grace.

I lost track of the reality that grace at it’s most basic level is God working to give me time to change.  My motivation was more of the problem than my words were, and I blew it. I disappointed myself, and my two best advocates, Christ and my husband.  It’s been a reminder to me of the obligation of, and my need for, grace AND it’s purpose.  

Forgiveness has bound me to these people and grace in a new way AND loosed me to transformation “so that in him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God”…together.

Romans 12:1 & 2 –

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

Creatively writing about the Word and how it impacts my daily life has become a form of prayer for me. “Creativity” and “God’s mercy” are all I’ve got when I write.  There are no theological credits after my name.  My words feel like a sacrifice of worship.  When I see them in black and white I begin to recognize the challenges of the renewal and transformation of my own mind.  Writing becomes a metaphor for that process: pray, read, write, edit, rewrite, think, pray again and finally post what I’ve written knowing full well the moment I hit “Publish” there will be better words and further editing to come.  

“We let our mind descend into our heart and there stand in the presence of God.” Henri Nouwen in Spiritual Direction