Before and after? You would think my husband and I enjoy renovating and transforming old spaces into new more practical versions. However, what is truly amazing is God’s transformation at work in human lives!
We have several before and after pictures of kitchen, bath, and landscape renovations. The work of transformation is usually a messy process. Our vision of the end result drives us forward! There is always a cost associated with reconstruction. Sometimes it is higher than initial estimates; at other times we have been right on target.
My First Home
My father built our family farmhouse from design to finish. It stood the test of time surviving the fury of even a prairie tornado! Four generations lived within its walls creating memories.
Now it has been moved to a nearby lake and rests securely as beachfront property. Though it looks much the same, the surrounding landscape is radically different from its original location. I smile when I think of what an avid fisherman my father was. He would be pleased to see his workmanship in this scenic spot.
Today new generations are enjoying my father’s labours.
God is the Master of transformation! We see His workmanship igniting destiny and bringing purpose into seemingly ordinary people.
As we consider God’s choices for forerunners in the church, we justly scratch our heads in wonder. At the same time, we can take hope from these unlikely candidates! Most of them got off to a rather poor start!
- Paul bored someone to death by his sermon! Fortunately, he was also able to resurrect the poor lad!
- Peter who often had at least one sandal stuck in his mouth became the apostle to the Jews. You can be sure these scholars examined his every word!
- Mary, a former prostitute, led the first woman’s ministry to the tomb and became the first to declare Jesus’ resurrection.
- The Sons of Thunder, who were known to fight for “top dog” position, settled into stride promoting others to places of honour and authority!
All of them were diamonds in the rough before God began His work! He had vision to see their potential!
We can find strength and encouragement from even these few examples! Knowing God used murderers, prostitutes, and shepherds, I know He can use anyone! If God deliberately chose the weak and fearful, it is not unreasonable to believe that He can and will use you and me! Because God chose to use the unlikely, ill-equipped, social rejects, and family outcasts, He is perfectly capable of using us!
God’s transformation is so complete in the lives He touches, there is little similarity between the before and after!
“Remember … that few of you
were wise in the world’s eyes
or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish
in order to shame those who think they are wise.
And he chose things that are powerless
to shame those who are powerful.”
I Corinthians 1:26-28
I’m in the list! Right here is where I do my happy dance! I fit!
Foolish? Weak? Yes! I qualify!
Lowly? Despised? Check! Check!
Things that are not? Yes, that’s me!
Here is where I am filled with awe! When I face the reality of my humanity, I fall helpless and breathless in the wonder of His love, mercy, and grace!
God choosing me is too wonderful to understand!
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We all possess the need to be known fully and loved unconditionally! God alone does both, and more! He alone satisfies and fills the deepest craving for absolute acceptance and unconditional love!
My question is why! When there is no good thing in and of myself, why would You choose me?
“to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who has become for us wisdom from God—
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
I Corinthians 1:28-30
Our weakness and insufficiency amplifies His greatness and goodness!
The first step, my husband and I do in renovation, is take apart what presently exists, removing walls, wiring and plumbing. We go right to the structural elements! Later, we start again replacing faulty materials with new.
God does much the same in us! It is a lifelong process that one day will be perfectly perfect! Some day we will be completely complete! But not here!
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There is only one adequate response, worship!
God has chosen each one of us! Contemplate that for a moment! Every one of us, hand-picked, specifically selected, divinely appointed, highly favoured, and elected for Him, through Him and by Him!
The Mighty God,
Creator of all things,
Redeemer, Saviour, Friend,
The Anchor of our souls and Hope eternal,
King above all other kings, The Lord of lords,
The One upon the throne,
our Shepherd, Light and Salvation,
who holds all things secure in the palm of His hand,
whose strength flashes like lightning,
and whose voice resounds like thunder,
too big for any box we might want to put Him in,
from everlasting to everlasting limitless,
self-existed, omnipresent, all-powerful,
knowing all things and seeing all things,
Love unconditional and undeniable,
wild and holy,
dwelling in irreproachable light,
nothing can stand against Him, no power can limit Him,
His mercies are new every morning
faithful to all He has promised….
The One and only God has chosen, called, and ordained you and me unto Himself! He is committed to seeing each of us rise to the fullness of our potential.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body
be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
I Thessalonians 5:23-24
His transformation process continues in each of us! Rejoice in His faithfulness!
More on Transformation: Meeting God in the Ordinary – From Common to Holy