Tag Archives: Spiritual Transformation

Wonder Working Power

There is an old hymn* that proclaims an old and vital truth: ” There is pow’r, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb, there is wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.”

The Lamb was Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Yesterday we remembered the day He let Himself be crucified, the day He shed His blood and gave His life.

The power, the wonder working power of His shed blood has purchased and accomplished great things in my life and in the lives of all His followers. These great things have been won for me and them: forgiveness and redemption (see Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 1:7); justification (Romans 5:9); peace (Colossians 1:20);  cleansing (Hebrews 9:14); healing (Isaiah 53:5); confidence to draw near to God (Hebrews 10:19-22); and freedom from sin (Revelation 1:5).

The evening before His crucifixion, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples.  ” “…after the supper, He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” ” (Luke 22:20)

When ANYONE believes in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His blood is applied to their life and powerful transformation follows.  This transformation is clearly witnessed to in the story and movie: I Can Only Imagine.  It documents how an abusive, mean man was changed into a loving father who stopped hurting his son and started blessing him.

Faith begets this miracle time and time again.  That is why Paul tells us that if any man is in Jesus Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Church Communion is when we remember the night Jesus gave the cup of the new covenant to His disciples.  Whenever we bring the cup to our lips and drink, we say to the Lord Jesus, “I believe. I agree. I receive. I’m in. I’m yours.”

There is always room at the table for more.  You are loved, and you are welcome.  Come believe.  Come drink of the cup.

* There Is Power In The Blood by Lewis E. Jones

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Serious Business

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I wore some old high heels and pretended to be Mommy.  I liked my dolls.  I liked playing dress up.   I loved my mother, and I wanted to be like her when I grew up.

Dressing up and acting like one’s parent or hero isn’t children’s play.  It is serious business.   It is the business of every serious Christ Follower.

Paul said, “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Ephesians 5:1 and 2)  Earlier in chapter four of the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us to put off our old self and put on the new self which was created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  He gives us a long list of behaviors to put off and get rid of: falsehood, stealing, anger, rage, bitterness, brawling, slander, and every form of malice. He tells us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving.

In the third chapter of Colossians, Paul instructs believers to put to death the “earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.”  Later in that same chapter beginning with verse 12, he says, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you  may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

As a Christ Follower, I am called to dress like Jesus and to act like him.  I am called to wear his virtues and to copy his behavior.  This would be mission impossible, but thank God, his Spirit came to live in me and conform me to the image of Christ.

Holy Spirit, I surrender to your work in me.  Help me to do my part, while you do your part.  I  want the world to look at me and say, “That’s God’s girl.  She looks so much like him and has his mannerisms. You’d know her right away, even if you didn’t know her name.”

 

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Resetting My Default Image

My husband and I have developed the habit of reading out loud together.  We recently completed The Work Of His Hands, The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Being Conformed To The Image Of Christ by Ken Gire. 

In his prologue Mr. Gire said,”The Work Of His Hands focuses more on the everyday circumstances that chip away at the sometimes stubborn stone of the self to conform us to the image of Christ.”  As part of his research for the book,  he studied photographs of Michelangelo’s sculpture, The Pieta.  He explained that his personal reflections on the photographs “not only helped shape this project but also my thinking of what it means to be conformed to the image of Christ, both individually, as a person, and collectively, as the Body of Christ.”

Mr. Gire’s profound, small book has dramatically impacted my vision of what it looks like to be conformed to Christ.  As a Christ follower who grew up in the Protestant tradition,  I have spent a lifetime gazing upon empty crosses, rather than on crucifixes, which perhaps has been a shame.

To say I was shocked by the idea of looking like my Lord’s broken, wounded, bleeding dead body across his mother’s lap is no mere exaggeration.  I was recoiled by the idea, even when the thought was a metaphor, rather than a contemplation of being martyred for my faith in the one who died for me.

I find my feelings surprising, since a string of scriptures, calling me to die, pop up in my mind quite readily – the first being, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2;20)  I want to cooperate with Almighty God, The Father, in His plan to make me like His Son.  I am thrilled by the prospect of one day being good like Jesus, of sharing His Glory in Glory.  That image excites me.  The image of the Glorified Jesus is my default image when I am reminded that the goal of my salvation is to be conformed to His image.   Now The Pieta intrudes with another image that replaces the former.  I am being called to reset my mind with a new, disturbing default image.

Ken Gire’s book is now setting on the shelf of a bookcase, but his penetrating study of The Pieta remains with me, as I ponder each day what it means to die with Christ in my daily life, what it means to look like Him today.

I am reminded of Paul’s words in the third chapter of Philippians, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”  It is my prayer.

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