A Legacy of Love

by frazzledmama on August 21, 2015

grambday8

Early this morning I was driving in the car and I heard a voice the reminded me of my grandmother.  It was in a song, and the voice was saying, “Grandma will love you all your life.”  At which point I instantly dissolved into a puddle of tears.  Gram has been gone for nearly 3 years and it’s always amazing to me that simple things like a smell, a saying, a voice bring her back so vividly in my mind that my heart aches again missing her.

gram sleeping kids

My grandmother was an amazing woman.  And like the song I heard this morning, she did love me all my life.  I don’t ever remember a time that I couldn’t go to her.  Sure she’d slap me straight when I needed it, but I always knew she loved me.  She’d also just “pop by” when I was drowning in babies.  She had a knack of getting them to sleep…then she’d fold laundry.  I told you, she was a saint.  I miss her terribly, she was one of my best friends.  But I know she has left a lasting legacy in our family.  A legacy of family, a legacy of helping…a legacy of love.  I can only hope to leave such a legacy for my family.

Love you Gram!

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Will You Be Transformed?

by frazzledmama on June 16, 2015

Today I’d like to share with you some thoughts on Romans 12:1-2.  I spent part of Friday evening meditating on this passage, and then as the Lord would have it, our message at church was on this very passage.  I’m saying all this to tell you up front some of these thoughts are mine, and some were gleaned from the message Sunday. 

Let’s start by reading the passage:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

Oops…there’s a therefore in verse one, let’s see why real quick….

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
35 “Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

Because of His riches of wisdom and knowledge, because of His judgments, because all things are of Him and through Him…..present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God.

I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve had varying images of what it means to present my body as a living sacrifice.  Many times the images in my mind included some kind of abstinence.  Abstinence from sex before marriage, refraining from overindulging in alcohol, not eating that last cookie…..All good things mind you, but I learned on Sunday that these images are not exactly what the passage is talking about.

Pastor explained Sunday that the wording used here carried deeper meaning for the Jewish people.  You see, as they would come to the temple to sacrifice, they didn’t just walk right up to the alter with their sacrificial animal.  They were required to turn the animal over to the temple workers where the animal would be placed in a pen to be inspected.  This is the image that Paul is conveying here…..Our Heavenly Father is asking us to put ourselves in that pen.  He asking us to allow our hearts to be inspected by Him.  The act of offering our bodies as living sacrifices is the act of willing saying, “Okay God, here it is, here is my life, inspect it. Show me the blemishes in my life.”  Which can be a thousand times harder than not eating that last cookie…..

Why does He ask us for this?  Because He want to transform our minds.  As I studied further into verse two I wanted to know how to transform my mind so that I would not be conformed to this world.  Guess what I discovered….the word used for transform there is only used 4 times in the Bible. Twice to describe Jesus’ transformation on the Mountain with Peter James and John, once in Romans, and once in 2 Corinthians to describe our transformation into the image of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Transformation of my mind is not something I can do!  It is a miraculous and divine intervention!  Pastor gave us a great word picture for this concept.  HGTV.  You know, complete makeover type shows where a crew comes in and guts your house and then puts all new shiny stuff inside.  That is what the Lord wants to do in transforming our mind.  He wants to remove all the old thought patterns from our mind and replace them with His thought patterns.  Can you imagine someone getting an entirely new house and clinging to their old worn out sofa….because it’s comfortable!  But we do that all the time don’t we?  God says “Hey, this thought pattern, I know it’s comfy and familiar, but it’s not from Me, let’s change it.”  And what is our typical response, “But I don’t wanna!  I like my cushy thought pattern! That new thought pattern would make me uncomfortable!”  Which in reality is more ridiculous than hanging onto an old sofa!

As Christians, the Lord has the RIGHT to seek inspection on our hearts and lives, and He has the RIGHT to transform our minds.  He desires to transform our minds so that our focus in life is pleasing Him, not pleasing self.

I know that it is not easy, but will you join me by inviting the Lord to inspect your life?  Will you open your heart and mind to hear from Him the changes He desires for you?  Will you invite Him to transform your mind?

romans 12 1-2
* Feel free to download/print todays Bible verses. :)

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Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

So when we left James in chapter 3 we were learning about wisdom, and how the type of wisdom we possess directly effects our actions.  So, it’s no surprise that now James is addressing disputes within the body of Christ.  James asks a very poignant question, “Why are you fighting?” Have you ever said that before?  If you’re a mom to more than one child, you probably have. Isn’t it interesting that James gives us the answer to this age old question?  We don’t have to ask it any more, we know the answer, “from the desires for pleasures that war in your members.”  Clear enough, right?  Ha!  I did a little digging on this one and really what it boils down to  is the pride and the desires of the flesh.  Isn’t it true that when we boil an issue down to the root cause we generally  find that it started because of pride or a selfish desire?  How many relationships have been torn apart because one person is unwilling to admit they made a mistake?  How many petty fights echo the ageless words, “But that’s mine!” or “I am not wrong!”

Our selfishness and pride not only affects our earthy relationships, it also affects our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  James explains to us that our relationship in prayer with the Lord is impacted by our selfishness and pride.  He says that in order to have our prayers answered by the Lord that we need to ask the Father, with the right motivation.  Sometimes, when we ask the Lord for something and our desires aren’t granted, it is because we have asked out of a selfish motive. With an intension to use whatever we do receive to indulge our flesh even more.   In essence, we are asking God to help us cozy up to the world and all it’s pleasures…sometime we even ask Him to indulge our pride!  May it not be!  When we indulge our flesh through pride and the love of worldly things our priorities and desires will start to change.  We cannot be friends with the world without severing our allegiance to God.  It just doesn’t work.   Jesus told us that point blank in Matthew 5:26,

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Then, James brings us back to the natural state of man which causes these issues and  points us to God’s saving grace . Our natural flesh is opposed to God and His holy standards.  Praise Him, His grace is greater and stronger than our natural tendencies!  He is jealous for you dear one!  He desires nothing more than your salvation and to see you bear fruits of good works through His power and for His name’s sake.  The bottom line is this, God resists the proud, but give grace to the humble. Pride pushes us away from God and will only lead us to war, strife, and self gratification.  But by His grace, we can humble ourselves and honor Him with our lives.

How do we do that?  James gives us a very nice summation.  By submitting to God, by standing against the devil and causing him to flee from you.  By pursuing an intimate relationship with God, by spending time with Him in prayer and praise, by reading His word and studying it.  When you do these things, the Lord will draw close to you, and sure you up to continue to stand against the devil.  Verse 8 gives an invitation to those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, to come to Him for cleansing. James uses the symbolic example of the hands, but he is speaking of a spiritual cleansing of the heart. Be repentant, be truly broken over your sin…humble yourself..ask forgiveness…and He will  save you from your sins, forgive you, and lift you up.

Where is your focus dear one?  I know mine is quickly drawn away and daily tempted by the  things of this world.  Things, that in and of themselves aren’t the issue, but they become a problem when my heart and mind is focused on the “things” instead of on the Lord and his will for my life.

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