Saturday, June 6, 2009

Devotion - Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

Good Saturday morning. Don't you just love the weekend? I don't think there is less work to do on a Saturday but it is certainly nice to have a different routine from the week day. And what a beautiful morning it is. I'm sitting on the small deck at the back of my home and it seems like the world is just now waking up, slowly and to the morning anthem of the bird choir. I really appreciate mornings like this.

So where is your heart this morning? Strange question? No, I don't think so. At least not strange after going through the week I just experienced. I have received a refreshing from the Lord. It came in the midst of a very busy season, with circumstances that desired to overwhelm me. It really felt like my future was ugly and threatening, a place where I did not want to journey. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a fresh wind blew through me and everything looked different. I had hope. Things no longer looked impossible. I saw joy in what I was walking through. I actually began to see God's hand at work in every person and circumstance. This was no temporary emotion that was here one moment and gone the next. My heart was changed. Why?

Understand that none of the circumstances have changed. My finances are the same. The challenges for the future are still there. What I was facing when I went to bed last night is still the same thing I am facing this morning. Yet, everything looks so different. What changed in my heart that put me in a different state of mind and emotion? I have to say it is the fault (more the blessing) of Romans 12. This passage always seems to have this affect on me, bringing me back to what is important. The change in me began with Paul's doxology at the end of Romans 11:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

To me this is a worship that brings us back to the place of trusting God with everything about ourselves. It caused me to remember that God is so much more than I am, that I cannot put my limitations on him. Just because I can't see and I don't know does not mean he has the same limitations. I have a choice; either I trust him or I don't. I remember reading this to the students at school and it seemed the Spirit was whispering the question, "Are you going to let the Father be the Father?" Doesn't a three year old trust his dad without question? That played on me for a few days.

At the same time that this was working on me I started in on Romans 12. I don't want to repeat the entire week of devotions here but I want you to understand the impact of those first two verses on me:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spirituala]">[ act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.

These verses impact me in so many different ways, touching on every aspect of my being; it is hard for me to explain in a few simple sentences. But instead of just reading them I took them in as I take in food, allowing my spirit to absorb it. The renewing of my mind has always been the thing that has worked through me like yeast, causing my spirit to rise up and listen to the testimony of the Spirit of God. His Spirit reminding me of his love, the pleasure he takes in me, his mercy and compassion, his grace toward me.

The renewing of the mind is so important because the mind represents the filter of our heart. The mind is what decides enters the heart. It represents our perspective. We are told to allow our perspective to be changed, born afresh so that we are able to have the mind of Christ, the perspective of Christ. You know that how you respond to things depends on how you perceive those things. Different people respond in different ways because of their perception or perspective. The Word tells us that we are able to have the mind of Christ, the perspective of Christ. We are able to respond to life in the same manner as Jesus did when our minds have been renewed. This is how we are able to know the will of the Father because we have his perspective.

Jesus told us that, "...where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Whatever we consider is important is where our heart is, what our lives revolve around, the thing that gives us purpose and that will shape our actions. This treasure depends on the perception of our mind. This is suppose to be changed when we accept Jesus but so often we allow emotions to be changed but we retain the same old mind; we do not allow our perspective, our reality to be altered. This is why we end up with carnal thinking and the reason we end up in such a mess even though we accepted Jesus.

With a renewed mind our perspective is that the Father's will is what matters to us and that he is in control. That is where the rest of Romans 12 comes in but I will let you discover that for yourself. It is suffice to say that we begin to understand what is important and what isn't; what is temporary and what is fixed in place. What I find renewed is my passion for the Body of Christ and my need to fulfill my purpose in it. I guess my renewal of purpose is what allows much of the peace of Christ to rest upon me; I know who I am and I know my place, just as I know who God is and I realize his place, his authority, his glory.

Some of you find yourself being tossed around by your emotions; one day you feel like you are on top of the world and the next you feel buried under it. The short answer is to ask the Spirit to renew your mind. Understand what the Spirit is telling us through these words we find in Hebrews 12:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What do you think he means by eyes? Our mind of course. Our mind is the eyes for our heart. Depending how we see things is how our heart will respond to those things. So when we see everything through Jesus our heart will respond, our emotions and thoughts will respond accordingly. If we are looking through our self then our heart, meaning our emotions and thoughts, will respond selfishly. If we are looking through the world then we will respond as if there is no God, no anchor and no purpose to our life. It is only with a renewed mind that we are able to possess hope, peace and joy.

So this is what happened to me this week; the Father brought me mind back to where it was always meant to be. He took my "eyes" off of my life, my circumstances and away from the perspective of the world, and he helped me get them fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith. I trust Dad and his plans for my life. My passions are renewed. I am seeing his hand in everything and everyone. And I want the whole world to praise him for all that he has done, is doing and will do. I prayed for a fresh wind and a fresh fire ... and I received it. To God be the glory forever.

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