One of my wife’s favorite TV programs is HGTV. She loves watching how a team of workers can take a run-down house and restore it to a beautiful home. I admire people that possess that skill because I can’t even drive a nail straight.
Restoration. That word suggests a positive change has taken place. Something has been taken from a place of disrepair and dishonor to a place of beauty and pride.
At creation, Man was created in the image of God. He was perfect in every way but by an act of disobedience (sin) that image was so “damaged” so “marred” that God had to remove him from the Garden of Eden. If you watch the news you will see just how far Man has “disfigured” that original image. Theologians call it man’s “depraved” nature or “fallen” man.
When a man ‘restores’ a house or an old car; he often has to remove and discard certain parts that cannot be salvaged. But when God restores a person, no matter how “fallen” they are; He does not discard any part of us. He does not refurbish. He does not remodel. He does not paint over imperfections. He makes us NEW! I cannot explain it but it is true.
- This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person…. 2 Cor.5:17
- “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again [made new] John 3:3
Jesus Himself said He came to find lost people and save them.” [Luke 19:10] Jesus was saying He came to restore all that Mankind lost when he was drive out of the Garden. He restored fellowship with God. Eternal life was restored! [He restores my soul…] Ps.23:3
Though God has made the restoration process available to all, it can only take place when people confess their sins to Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Savior.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1John 5:11
I remember hearing a story about an elderly couple that was out for a Sunday drive. Things were quiet when the wife suddenly broke the silence, “Sam, do you remember years ago when we were dating we would go out for a drive in the country?” Sam smiled and said, “Of course I do.” “And do you remember how we would sit close to each other? (This was before seatbelts were required.) Why don’t we sit close anymore?” Sam’s response was, “I didn’t move.”
The reality of that story is that every relationship requires maintenance. This may be the reason many couples divorce after 30, 40, or even 50 years of marriage. The kids grow up and go off to college; the husband and wife look at each other and realize they are married to a stranger. A relationship will not survive if you do not make the effort to keep it alive. Often neither husband or wife will admit they “moved” in the relationship; they just drifted apart.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ also needs to be maintained. But we are the ones who need to keep that relationship alive and we do that by staying close to Him. As with any relationship, you choose how close you want to be with someone. It is a choice only you can make. The wonderful thing about a relationship with Christ is He is always constant.
- He never changes. Hebrews 13:8.
- His love for you never changes. Psalm 136
- His commitment to you never changes. “…The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.” Hebrews 13:5
If your relationship with Jesus Christ has lost its fervor if it seems He is so distant; ask yourself, who moved? If you turn around you will find Him where you left Him!
Mark 8:22 “…and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. vs. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village…”
Amazingly the first touch from Jesus was not for the man’s physical healing but for his emotional and psychological healing. Jesus could have told the people to take the blind man out of the city. But instead the Bible tells us that Jesus held his hand and lead him out. Jesus did not drag him out; He led him out.
This man literally followed Jesus blindly. He could not see and he didn’t know where Jesus was taking him. As Christ-followers, where we literally follow Jesus blindly. You cannot tell where He is taking you. It may not feel right, He is taking you out of your comfort zone. All you need to know at such times is that Jesus is leading you and you follow.
Mark 8:24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” The blind man could not see the people clearly. Your life in Christ is a process. (“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”) You will not reach spiritual maturity overnight. Jesus understands you are a “work in progress.” You must be totally honest with Jesus and yourself. He loves you and wants you to tell it like it is.
Prayer: Lord, as You show me Your way, I make a commitment to walk with you no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Life is filled with ups and downs. A loved one passes away while another gives birth. The young college grad launches a new career; while another worker with 20+ years experience is laid off. Ebb and flow.
This weekend is one of those bitter/sweet moments of life. On the “bitter” side, our neighbors and good friends have sold their house and are moving to their retirement home in the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I are going to miss Jack and Celeste greatly. Sad to see them go but we are glad that they are starting a new chapter in their book of life.
On the “sweet” side; the couple who bought our neighbor’s house is my brother and his wife! This is definitely a God “thing! They are retiring from the ministry and are moving to South Carolina. It will be great to have them next door!
This is one of life’s surprises that we never could imagine.
Matthew 11:28-30 (RSV) “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
When we read this passage, we tend to relate it mostly to the physical and spiritual. However, Jesus is not only addressing physical and spiritual weariness [burdens]. Take note that the rest Jesus promises is rest for your soul. Soul-rest and emotional rest.
Often we find our physical bodies may be on the bed but our minds are racing through a worry maze. In order to experience full rest, we must recover our minds. Physical rest is not enough. We need relief from anxiety, tension, guilt, and fear. Many people turn to their television, some turn to their refrigerator seeking comfort. But Jesus is saying, “Come to me and I will give you rest for your soul.: True and lasting rest comes from Christ alone!
In my last blog, we looked at how vital it is to have passion. Jesus said He came to earth to give His followers an abundant life John 10:10 but He also warns us the devil has a plan to keep us from experiencing that life. The devil uses”passion killers” to steal our passion.
The Good News is God is taking you by the hand on a journey to Full Recovery. To recover your passion you must prevail over “”. The first is Purpose and passion go together. The clearer your purpose, the greater your passion because purpose creates passion. God created you for a specific purpose so do not just go though life waiting for things to happen. It is your responsibility to locate God’s purpose for your life. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning.
The second passion killer is . We were designed to need other people. “Two people are better than one… Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Without support, it is difficult to run very far as you will most likely burn out. God’s way is iron sharpening iron. And when iron sharpens iron, there will be sparks because of the friction and heat.
Most people do not want to deal with “sparks” so they isolate themselves – spiritual solitary confinement. None of us is as strong as all of us. You need to connect with people. You need community. The word “encourage” in Hebrews 10:25 literally means to put fire, courage, and zest into one another. An unsupported lifestyle burns passion easily.
Jesus is the only human who ever chose to be born, so why did he come? Volumes of books have been written in an attempt to answer that question but I wish to limit my thoughts to one idea.
Jesus came to restore man’s fallen, broken relationship with God. Man willfully chose to disobey God’s clear command Genesis 3 and in doing so, separated himself from God. Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to restore that relationship. From the first Adam we inherited death or our sin nature, and separation from God, but Christ came to reverse that and restore us to the state where we are no longer overcome by sin.
Jesus did not come to make us a better verison of ourselves. He did not come to make us nice people. He came to make us new. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Scriptures are filled with examples of a new life in Christ:
- Zacchaeus – a crooked tax collector = life changed Luke 19:5-9
- Saul, a persecutor of the church, becomes a promoter of the church Acts 9
- Jacob was a deceiver but God so changed him Genesis 35:10