Thursday, September 25, 2008

What God Has Done

I officially do not know how many books I have going at the moment. I think there is one in every room. My community group (what my church calls small groups) just started reading John Ortberg' The life You've Always Wanted. I've only read the first chapter and need to read the second before Friday.

The first chapter is titled "We Shall Morph Indeed." It's basically about God's transforming power in our lives. Did you get that? It's about God's power -- not my puny attempts. Having just read Lisa Whittle's chapter on authenticity, the two melded in my mind.

Lisa wrote that we want to be fully known but that we put up a charade to hide our true selves. Yes, we are insecure. But God knows us fully. Really. Part way through, Ortberg writes, "The possibility of transformation is the essence of hope." Since I'm all about hope this year, it caught my heart. He outlines different words that are used in scripture in talking about tranformation. There meanings include:

  • the real formation of the essential nature of a person
  • In Galatians, Paul says, "until Christ is formed in you"
  • To be conformed to the image of the Son
  • It denotes change -- ugly caterpillar to a butterfly
Essential to the changed nature is wanting to do the things that God would have us do rather than just doing them because.

He really caught my attention with Mabel. She was blind and had hearing loss. She lived in a nursing home. Half her face was being eaten by cancer. She had been getting progressively sicker for 25 years. At one point Ortberg asks her how she can lie in her bed and sing hymns. Her answer was "I think about how good he's been to me. He's been awfully good to me in my life, you know . . . ."

If I were Mabel I would be sunken and shriveled emotionally. I do not know if I could sing hymns. Sometimes my depression steals my ability to think of all that God has done for me. If a woman in Mabel's condition can be thankful, can I learn that thankfulness as well? When I am at my worst, can I still see God? That is the question to ponder.

I've also recently read Just Courage. Ortber's book reminded me of that when he said that we no longer do something out of habit or a have to mindset. We do it because it is on God's heart. Interesting how the two books overlap! What is God trying to tell me?

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2 comments:

Paula (SweetPea) said...

No way. We call our small groups community groups also. And we are doing the Bible study The Life You've Always Wanted. Well, our c-group is not doing it but our Sunday School group is. I don't think they are providing the book but rather the instructor is teaching from it.

Joyful said...

WOW Amy...this is so good...AGAIN!

"The possibility of transformation is the essence of hope." Love that! We've got to believe it is possible...and with God ALL things are possible.

Mabel's story reminded me of a story I heard once about a lady who's husband was dying of cancer. The Dr's had basically told her husband to go home and pack his bags - there was no cure and the end was near. That night as they went to bed her husband questioned her. You see, she was a very joyful gal - always 'up' and praising. He asked, "Where is your joy now?"

She quietly began to sing, "In moments like these, I sing out a song, I sing out a love song to Jesus. In moments like these I lift of my hands, I lift up my hands to the Lord. Singing I love You Lord, Singing I love You Lord, Singing I love You Lord, I love You."

She went on to say to her husband that if she couldn't still rejoice in the Lord (not in her circumstances, but in the Lord), then her relationship with Him was only based on what God did for her. Regardless of what they were going through, she made a conscious choice to still rejoice in God.

That story has always amazed me. I've never forgotten it. We can't rejoice in some situations, but we can always rejoice in the Lord and who He is.

Trust you've had a good day. I was praying for you today.
Love,
Joy