"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
April 11, 2018
This week I am writing a continuation on last weeks subject of becoming a new creation; the old man being being crucified with Christ, dying to the old man and burying him, and the becoming brand a new person. That has remained on my heart, so I am going to write on that again this week. Perhaps God is trying to establish that firmly in my heart so that I will really understand the truth of what that means; and hopefully, in the process I can share something that will help and encourage someone else.
About 2-1/2 years ago, my sister had a house fire. The structure was undamaged, but the entire interior had to be completely gutted and rebuild. When they rebuilt, they didn't tear out all the old ruined flooring, lighting, cabinets, sheetrock, toilets, etc... and reuse them. Those things were stinky, ruined, damaged, marred, smoke-stained, and burnt. The contractor didn't try to just clean and cover up the damage. He didn't paint over the burnt, water and smoke damaged walls and try to only replace what boards were destroyed by the fire. He didn't spray in commercial air freshener in an attempt to cover up the stench of smoke. How irresponsible and foolish that would have been!
We read that example and think, "Well, of course not! Anyone knows that after a fire of that magnitude, everything inside the house would have to be gutted and thrown away and new lumber and flooring and electrical and lighting and cabinetry be used and installed." In fact, since the existing structure was used, the interior walls and ceiling and flooring had to be coated with a special spray that would completely block any lingering smoke smell, prior to the reconstruction began.
Upon completion, the house looked much the same from the outside; but when you walked inside, it looked like a brand new home and was absolutely beautiful. In fact, it looked as if it could have been a featured home on HGTV or in a magazine. The floor plan was changed somewhat, in order to add some features that my sister had dreamed of having; such as a master bathroom and separate guest half-bath for the downstairs and a utility room. The stairs were moved, in order to bring the house up to code and it opened up the downstairs more and it looks much more appealing. When you pull up, the house looks like it always did in the past, but when you walk through the door, you see that it's completely changed. Not merely remodeled, but brand new!
That's as it should be when a person repents and commits their life to Jesus. On the outside, their looks remain the same and everyone knows who they are; the outer structure is the same. But the inner man is not just a remodeled soul and spirit; but brand new!! We're not a work in progress, where Jesus slowly replaces what is broken or messy or old; Jesus doesn't remodel us or paint over the old stinky sinful person that we used to be, but He makes us completely new.
Many seem to have the attitude that when someone becomes a christian, the old man (or woman) goes on sabbatical or vacation, but could show back up at any given time; whether it is ourself or someone else. It's as if we fear that the old sinful person has the potential of coming back and taking up residence again at any given moment.
That's not a God thought, nor is it a God plan! Satan is the author of that lie and misconception that has plagued the human race for generations. And honestly, many times it is other christians, often older more "mature" christians, that seem to have that mentality. "They used to be a drug addict.... they struggled with sin for so many years.... you know, they were in prison, we need to watch them... they ran around and did who knows what and slept around with whoever would jump in bed with them... I heard that they used to abuse their wife and kids... they've been an alcoholic for years....; I HOPE they're able to stay in church and live for the Lord, but I don't know...." It's as if we really don't have a lot of confidence in Jesus making someone brand new! We are quick to remember past transgressions and keep them in the forefront of our mind.
I love David's prayer in Psalm 25:6-8 (The Passion Translation): "Forgive my failures as a young man, and overlook the sins of my immaturity. Give me grace, Lord! Always look at me through your eyes of love -- your forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion. When you think of me, see me as one you love and care for. How good you are to me! When people turn to you, they discover how easy you are to please -- so faithful and true! Joyfully you teach them the proper path, even when they go astray."
David sinned! David failed! He committed adultery with Bathsheba, and used his authority as king to order her husband, Uriah, to be murdered in battle when he found out that she was pregnant. Those are pretty horrible sins; and afterwards, David recognized that he had dishonored God and had sinned. Instead of running away and trying to hide, or thinking that what he did was too awful and allowing guilt to overwhelm him, or turning completely away from God, he fell on his face and repented.
David understood the grace, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and love of his Father. He understood that God is always faithful and true. David had experienced the goodness of God.
Many seem to feel that God is hard to please, a harsh taskmaster that is eagerly watching and waiting for us to sin so He can quickly mete out discipline. That's just not true! He is eager to forgive, looking at us through eyes of love -- forgiving eyes of mercy and compassion. His desire is for each of us to run to Him in repentance so that He can forgive and shower us with mercy and grace.
When we become a new creation in Christ, the old sinful person is put to death and is buried. We become born again, a brand new spirit is placed inside of us; yet it's not us that live, but Christ in us. Every time we fail or sin thereafter, we don't keep burying the old man and becoming a new person. But we allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse the new man and make him clean and whole again; washing us with His blood so that we are white as snow.
But we have to allow that old sin-filled person to remain in the grave. We can't keep going back and putting flowers on the tombstone to remember and celebrate the old life; which is what we do, too often. We get together with old friends or family or schoolmates and reminisce about the "good old days" and laugh about all the trouble that was caused and the sinful behavior and choices and activities. People often glorify the old sinful life as something to be proud of and commemorated. In fact, I've often heard comments such as, "Boy, we sure did have fun, didn't we?! It's a wonder we lived through that! We did some crazy things. Remember that party we went to and the drinking... driving fast... sex?" We make it sound as if that old life that we gave up was much more appealing than the new one we have in Christ. That shouldn't be so!
When I met Jon he was a godly man; but a few years prior to us meeting, he had allowed his relationship with Jesus to become severed. It's hard for me to reconcile the man I know to the person he was prior to me knowing him. Why? Because I never knew that man. The sinful Jon was already passed away and buried by the time our paths crossed. The man that I met and fell in love with was the "new" Jon... the godly Jon... the Jon who loved Jesus with all of his heart and was committed to living his life fully surrendered to his Heavenly Father. I know the Jon who is a son of the King... royalty... a prince!
That's how it should be when we become children of God. We leave behind the old life and stop going back to visit. We see ourselves as a son or daughter of the King... royalty... a beloved child who is treasured by their Father; and that should be how we view others, as well. That's who we are!
Loretta won't like this analogy. Another thing in nature a lot like being born again is like a growing snake. Their skin doesn't grow, so when their bodies grow too much, the skin starts to get itchy and uncomfortable. Eventually, they need to find a rock or something else to scratch against. They rub up against it, till they start scraping off their old skin. In time, they shed their entire old, itchy, tough skin. They come out in a fresh, shiny, new skin.
When we grow uncomfortable with our old, itchy, tough life, we can molt it for a fresh, new one.
1 pork tenderloin
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Use a sharp knife to poke 12 holes along the topside of the tenderloin, going about an inch deep. Push a sliver of garlic into each hole and place the tenderloins in the baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, mustard, honey, juice, rosemary, pepper, and olive oil. Pour the marinade over the tenderloin. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes basting every 7-10 minutes. This gives the tenderloin a delicious glaze over the top. Transfer the tenderloin to a large cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the tenderloin and transfer to a serving dish or plate. Drizzle the marinade from the pan over the sliced pork medallions and enjoy!
As I'm sure you all have heard, there has been a teachers strike happening in Oklahoma the past couple weeks. The teachers are striking not only for higher pay (they are currently 49th lowest paid in the US), but classroom supplies and books. They are doing it for Oklahoma children to get the education that they deserve. My sister, Janie, recently wrote something that is very important that I would like to share. We need to stop our poverty mentality and start thinking as children of the King! We are the head, not the tail! Here is what Janie wrote:
The Business of a Poverty Spirit
Poverty thinking manifests itself in a variety of ways. Many people mistakenly believe it is the mindset of those with limited economic funds. But, in actuality, it's tentacles invade the brain matter and hearts of rich and poor alike.
Poverty thinking says, 49th place is acceptable. At least we are not 50th. We would like to be better, but the immediate costs are too great. Poverty thinking looks at the now without consideration of the high price that must be paid in the future.
Poverty thinking says, we can't raise hotel tax an extra $5.00. We have to compete with St. Louis and Dallas for big events. In other words, we must cheapen ourselves to be attractive to others. Our value is less than theirs so our price must match our value.
Poverty thinking tells us that we can not tax the oil companies more. We can't play on the same field as other states with oil resources. We must play by the game rules of the giant even though it is our resources they are taking.
Poverty thinking says, the children of those who "have" go to private schools. Those who "have not" should be thankful for the leftovers dished out to them.
Change will come when the back of the Poverty Spirit is broken and put under our feet.
When my children were in school, I sent them off to the bus each day by saying, "You are the head and not the tail. You rise above, you will not fail!"
Oklahoma let's be the head!
Don't make what people did to you bigger than what Jesus did for you. - Christine Caine
We love you!
Loretta & Jon