Saturday, May 19, 2012

We bless you in the name of the Lord

7:15 p.m. Today's project was to join in the celebration of new directions in the lives of beloved friends and family members. My nephew David's fiancee Kendra was honored today at a family bridal shower at 11:30, and later in the afternoon, after dropping off my daughter Heather (above) in Riverside, I gassed up the Jeep and drove to the east end of Moreno Valley for a fellowship gathering. Ben and Joanna Snow are moving with their three children and their dear friend Sarah, to begin serving in ministry at Calvary Chapel of Foley, Alabama. Steve was cared for by an LVN from the Brightstar agency. My dad even dropped by to visit and bring him a McDonald's lunch!

God brings major transitions into our lives as soon as we accept Christ as our Saviour. Ephesians   4:21-23 describes our new life this way:

If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Basically, as a new person, a born again believer, you no longer are to think or act as you used to! How gracious of God to give us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, call our attention to our bad motives and quench our desires for what is bad for us, so that as we grow as believers, the "besetting sins" of our lives as unbelievers gradually--or suddenly, like my foul mouth 32 years ago--drop away, and our new character is revealed! God can use us as He sees fit, and we become obedient to the calling He has for each of us!

The next biggest transition for the believer, if single, is to allow God to bring them the wife or husband He has planned for them since before they were born. Wedding day is the biggest step into trusting God that  a person can plan for! The day of our salvation is our truly greatest day, but I don't think I've met anyone who woke up saying, "Today, I am going to become born again and completely changed by the indwelling Holy Spirit, ready to come or go in service to God as He wills, anywhere, any time!"

For the married person who becomes a Christian, their transformation from a 50%-er to one who does 100% to make his or her marriage work, is a witness to their unsaved spouse. When both spouses accept the Lord, their home and family life becomes holy unto the Lord, fit for His good use!

While obedient believers are called by God to edify their local church with the gifts God has granted them, Some believers are called to make another kind of major transition: to pack up and move to an entirely different scene of ministry, like Abram in Genesis 12:1:

Now the LORD had said to Abram:
"Get out of your country,
From your father
And from your father's house,
to a land that I will show you."

Ben and Joanna have been called to move to the other end of our country to serve in Alabama with their dear friends Pastor Joe and his wife Lorraine. Two newlywed couples went along to help start the now-thriving church, and another young family moved from Indiana to join the Foley church last year. The arrangements and sacrifices each family made to serve Jesus was enormous, but where would you rather be, believer, than in the center of God's will?

Our gathering was loud, crowded and busy, with many young families present, but bittersweet, too. It's very hard to say an even temporary goodbye to friends we're not likely to see for along time, even if God is calling ! Our comfort is in what we know about God from Deuteronomy 32:4:

He is the Rock; his work is
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without
Righteous and upright is He.

Because we know our God, we can bless our loved ones in the name of Jesus!

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