Tag Archives: transformation

Are you a new creation?


It seems a common plight that many ask Jesus to save them but don’t surrender their lives totally to his authority. It’s like asking to be under the protection of the army but not wanting to submit to its requirements. Or signing up to join your country’s army but actually fighting for the enemy. We want to be saved from hell and yet keep living as we did before. Asking Jesus into our lives means asking him to be our Savior AND our Lord. We tend to resist his lordship because we think we can handle our own life pretty well.


The Navigator’s Topical Memory System, starts with a category called “Christ the Center.” If we want Jesus to protect and provide for us, he can’t merely reside on the fringes of our life. To experience the fullness of his power, we need him to be in the center of our life, over all our activities, ambitions and desires. The first verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, is central to the Christian life:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.”


It’s a basic verse for new believers that continues to challenge mature believers. “A new creation” bears the image of the total transformation we see in a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. If you look at a caterpillar next to a butterfly, you’d have to admit they look and act completely differently. So should our lives as Christians look and act different from our life before Christ.


Or think of it in the context of marriage. Before marriage, there was “you” and “me,” two separate beings. But once you’ve committed to a lifetime marriage there is a new creation called “us.” And at the top of our priority list is preserving and nurturing “us” according to God’s plan. “We” is different than “you and me.”


Let’s look at the second verse, Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”


Can you imagine yourself on the cross next to Jesus, enduring the same pain as you were crucified with him? And yet this seems to required of the “new creation.” It’s not just matter of becoming a better Christian by our own effort. It’s dying to self in order for Christ to live in us. Returning to the illustration of the caterpillar, the creature that crawls into the cocoon is totally transformed as one part becomes an antennae, another wings, All the parts of the old creation are crucified or utterly put to death in order for the new creation to take life and fly to new heights.


I thought of this illustration as I  suffered through a harsh chemotherapy treatment that “crucified” my old immune system, the core element of my life, in order to receive a stem cell transplant that would change my DNA from B+ blood to O+ and allow me the chance for new life. The old was gone the new had come. My donor’s blood, the essence of his being, had come to reside in my body for as long as I live. And so Jesus comes to live in our body for as long as we live, in the form of his Holy Spirit.


He lives in the body and heart of every Christian. It’s his authority and over us that transforms us into a new creation. Try as we like we simply cannot achieve it in our own wisdom and power. The question is whether we submit to his authority or not. Living without the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit is very much like a child trying to join a fierce battle without the guiding influence of the commanding officer.


Are you a new creation depending daily on the power of the Spirit in all aspects of your life? Or are you desperately throwing punches at the air, trying to go it alone?  Simply ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you and help you to listen to his voice. Find the peace and victory of being a new creation in Christ.







What one word you would choose to describe your encounter with Jesus?


One word that so often seems to jump off the pages of the New Testament is ASTONISHED! People who encountered Jesus were consistently astonished and amazed. They were astonished by:


His teaching
His authority
His integrity to speak and live the truth
His compassion
His miracles
His forgiveness
His obedience to His Heavenly Father
His wisdom
His sacrifice
His ability to know what was on the hearts of men
His grace
His power over death


Pilate was amazed by the character of Jesus when He remained silent in the face of accusations. The disciples saw Him walk on water, calm a violent storm, and feed five thousand people with a handful of small fish and loaves of bread. With their own eyes, crowds of people who encountered Jesus witnessed blind men seeing, lame men walking, mute men speaking, the deaf hearing, and those possessed by evil spirits freed from their bondage. They were so astonished they immediately praised God.


The people were also astonished by the lives of uneducated and ORDINARY men who were completely transformed by their own encounter with Jesus. By the power of the Spirit of Jesus, these men spoke with EXTRAORDINARY courage, authority, and wisdom. They too healed the sick and raised the dead. They lived lives compelled by compassion and desire to make sure everyone had opportunity to respond to the good news that changes lives for all eternity! Even Saul who actively and vehemently persecuted Christians found his life spun around in a complete 180. His new name, Paul, reflected his humble character, putting Christ and others first. But don’t confuse humility with timidity. A genuine encounter with Jesus changes things!


What words come to mind when you think about your encounter with the risen Jesus?


Jesus said some will hear His good news but will immediately forget them because the soil of their heart is like a hard worn rocky path, leaving no room for God to grow in their life.


He said some will respond eagerly to the encounter With His truth and grace but their excitement will soon fade like the seed that sprouts up but soon withers in the heat of the day.


Jesus said many will let His good news get strangled by their constant craving for things, the lust of what they see, and the endless boasting of achievements that don’t last.




Jesus promises that those who experience a genuine encounter with Him will find their lives completely transformed, from a tiny seed to a large tree that stands firm in the storms. It sends its roots deep into the soil, and is able to withstand storms and droughts, a living testimony to enduring faith in the transformational power of God.


Nearly everyone who encountered Jesus was astonished. Are you? If so, let it show in the way you face your problems and opportunities today!



One dollar – Day Two


One dollar – Day two:
Look at your one dollar. Did you know that more than a BILLION people in the world today live on one dollar a day… or less?
That’s every person in the USA…times THREE!


You may be thinking, yeah, but the cost of living is so much less where they live. Right you are. But do you know why the cost of living is so much less? It is because they cannot afford the luxuries of things like clean water, new shoes, school supplies, safe food, cooking tools, medicine, or other basic living needs. Certainly one dollar cannot buy insurance for your health, life, house, or possessions. It doesn’t go in the vending machine!


I’m not telling you this to put you on a guilt trip. I’m not even asking you to give up a dime. But will you continue with me on this journey into another world not very far away? It only requires some of your time and the willingness to see things through different eyes. Maybe you will ask God to see the people around you through His eyes today: the person in the line with you, your coworker, person who just sent you a message. Maybe you will look through your address book or church directory and note the names of people you haven’t seen for a while. What does life look like for the person who makes half what you make? Or less? It’s not just about money. Ask, how would God want me to see the people I label ‘liberals’ or ‘conservatives?’ Ask yourself, “What would have to change in my life if I actually could see people through God’s eyes? Would it change how I live today…for the better?!”


Think about this as you look at your dollar before you go to bed tonight. You do have a bed and a pillow, and comforter, right? Living on one dollar a day, you are probably sleeping on a mat on a dirt floor with the fleas and lice that constantly bite at your skin. I’m not telling you this to gross you out or manipulate your emotions in any way. I’m on this journey with you. It’s not an easy one, even in the comfort of my home, but I need to press on. I hope you will continue with me.



Be transformed



Stained Glass Monarchs - Thayerapy Gardens

‘Stained Glass Cathedrals’ – Thayerapy Gardens

Monarchs are the quintessential butterfly, easily recognized and greatly appreciated. I find it hard to imagine any stained glass cathedral more beautifully designed. I’m certainly delighted I came across these three in my gardens one day as evening was approaching!


But these gorgeous creations were not always so abundantly graced with beauty. As you know, they started out as common caterpillars. As they approach adulthood, their hormones change and they form a cocoon, hooked to the underside of a leaf. They turn around and lower themselves into the cocoon and prepare for a metamorphic process that will totally transform their life!


Inside the chrysalis, enzymes are released creating a chemical soup that totally consumes and digests the caterpillar’s body. If you were to interrupt this process too early you might conclude that the life of the caterpillar had ended. There would be nothing left to resemble its original form. But inside the body of the caterpillar sets of embryonic cells called ‘imaginal disks’ grow to form completely new parts  never seen before: wings, legs, antennae, and organs of the newly created butterfly. Nothing like this happens in vertebrate creation. But here in the life and seeming death of a simple caterpillar, a beautiful new creation is made.


Believe it or not, we are intended to go through this same process. We are designed to mature, turn around from our selfish ways, connect to God, and become transformed spiritually.  This process requires us to die to self and allow ourselves to be surrounded by His  creative and life-transforming grace. In our case of course, the outer shell of our body looks the same. But the spiritual rebirth manifests itself in a totally new creation. At least this is how it is intended. Calling ourselves Christian doesn’t make us followers of Christ any more than a caterpillar saying, “I can fly!”  But submitting ourselves to God’s transformational power creates a totally new life, one with power to soar on new wings and to reflect His glory. At last, you are no longer a crawling thing, but a new creation with a God-given purpose for an adventurous and fulfilling life!


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. 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. Romans 12:1-2


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17



A changed life – Caroline


image“I just went through life feeling like something was missing,” says Caroline, recently baptized at Niddrie Community Church. “My biggest fear was death. And my only release was cannabis.”


But that has changed.


“I have realized that I need to repent and put my trust in Jesus. I knew he was the only one who could change my life.”


“I’m learning to deal with my anger. And death isn’t as scary as I thought it was. I can’t thank the Lord enough for saving me. And now I’ve found that thing that was missing: Jesus.”


GLOW is involved with ministries across the globe that are focused on being a light to help others discover God’s best for them: Hope and grace, and power for victorious living. Caroline’s life was influenced by workers with 20Schemes. 20Schemes is a ministry to the poorest of poor in Scotland who live in housing projects (schemes). Following the model showed us by Jesus, they make disciples who make disciples. Caroline has expressed interest in becoming a 20Schemes intern, working at the church office and plans to start a new access course at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary.


Would you pray for Caroline and countless other women in Scotland’s housing schemes who not only need to hear the gospel of Christ but be discipled and encouraged to live purposeful and joyful lives.  This is one way you can partner with GLOW to bring hope and fulfillment to people across the world.



Restoration: From Grief to Glory

Another highlight of our recent memory maker trip was going to church with my sister at the Heart For The World church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was obviously a community that lived its mission: Believe – Belong – Become, where everyone was accepted and embraced regardless of appearance or background. I was impressed with the gentle spirit with which pastor Dale Walker approached people and delivered a great message called “From Grief To Glory,” based on the Book of Ruth.

Pastor Dale lovingly reminded us that God is the restorer and redeemer of our broken lives. You know how you feel when you are broken, without hope or strength, lost, perhaps confused. Great disappointments are moments when we sometimes question our value and purpose in life.  Hopelessness is the biggest destroyer of lives and the second leading cause of teenage death. But God wants to restore us and repurpose us for His glory. And it is in the crucible of suffering and brokenness that we find ourselves ready for such transformation.

Our inheritance is found when the time comes to let go of our grief and transform it to its new and higher purpose. If the grief is our own doing, repentance is God’s gift, a second chance to make right on an old hurt so that healing and restoration can come.  And just as Ruth was a steadfast friend to Naomi, and key to her restoration, so we also need to live life with friends and carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:1-2)

Think about one friend who has stuck with you through the fire of grief. Name one friend who you need to stick with. What area of your life do you want God to restore? He has a restoration party ready for you (Zechariah 9:12, Luke 15:10). Come all the way home and enjoy the celebration.

I will comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:2-3

The Lord is my shepherd…He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2




Pursue love


What would you think about someone who always talks love but doesn’t show it by their actions? It rings a bit hollow and doesn’t seem like the real thing does it?

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

We are called to act on love, to demonstrate it in what we do and who we are. But have you ever experienced the action of love without feeling love? For example, someone always says “I love you, I miss you,” but no attempt is made to share life together and act out on that professed love. We all know that all talk and no show is empty expression. It like lip syncing life.

Fellow blogger Jon Bloom writes: Because just like you can talk loving without really loving, you can act loving without really loving. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “If I give away all I have and deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). We can look like we’re fulfilling 1 John 3:18 and still not love.

John Piper writes in his book Desiring God: “Love is the overflow of joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others” (119). If we believe what the bible and most people profess, God is love, then to love others is an extension of loving and enjoying the presence of God. Jesus also commands, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35  Real Christians are known for their love. It is what defines them: they love one another. You might be thinking, “I know a lot of Christians and their trademark isn’t love.” You may be right. None of us are perfect at this. But being works in progress, shouldn’t the pursuit of love be our most ambition this year and beyond?

Love one another.

Who do you know that needs an expression of genuine love and concern? Maybe today would be a good day to share an encouraging word, send a caring note, or meet a practical need. But beyond a simple “do a good deed” or “act of random kindness”, as helpful as those may be, let’s let our love flow from an inner desire to love God. And that is an inner journey of personal transformation that no mere action alone can accomplish.

Pursue love this year and find the love you share is also the love you receive.