In a conversation last night with a friend at a party I was reminded again of the need we all have in our lives to be still, to rest, and to be restored and renewed. It is so easy to get caught up in the rush and busyness of our lives and miss the best, the significant things of life and the deep transforming work the Father wants to do within us and through us. The need for restoration that Sherry and I saw in our own lives and those we ministered to is what birthed Restore Ministry. It is, I believe, the heart of the Father for His beloved.
In my last blog on May 5 I wrote about the wonder of the Masterpiece God has created in us. During the next few weeks we will dig a little deeper into this theme of becoming the Masterpiece the Lord had in mind when He created us for His glory. We are going to focus on personal spiritual restoration. We will also explore transformation because we are restored as we are transformed into the image of Christ. As we allow Him to confirm, strengthen and establish us as His beloved we are restored. We are made complete as designed us to be.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:10-11
"He Restores My Soul" writes the Psalmist David.
Restoration is the act of making changes in our lives so that we can be in harmony with the Word of God.
Restoration is always for the sake of His name.
Restoration is also growing in the spiritual life that we have received.
In Colossians 3:4, Paul speaks of "Christ, our life.” And Jesus says, "I have come to give them life, and so that they may have it in abundance" (John 10:10).
There is a spiritual term that describes this process. It is Incarnational spirituality - which means the living, reigning, and ascended Jesus living through us and transforming us into different people. It is a process that creates an entirely new person who sees with new eyes, feels with a new heart, hears with renewed ears, and lives with a new passion.
Imagine what a difference it would make if we would capture that vision for our lives as we surrender to the work of Jesus and allow Him to restore and renew us into the masterpieces that He created us to be!
When we capture that vision, we learn to view our eyes as God’s servants. Our ears learn to be constantly listening and in tune with God’s instruction. Our hands and feet become instruments of the mighty Creator. Our hearts beat with God’s passion and our minds begin the journey of thinking God’s thoughts. Our voices speak His words of truth.
Oh that our lives and our bodies would be a living center of purposeful passion that points toward the risen and reigning Christ! I believe it is possible with the power of Christ who works within us.
The Word paints a beautiful portrait of what you and I can become.
Gary Thomas in his wonderful book the Faithful Fight puts it this way - our Creator wants to splash His glory on us.
2 Peter 1:3,4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
We were created in God’s image. Our life of faith is not simply defined by what we believe or what we do or do not do, but rather by who we are.
God wants us to recapture His image and surrender to His work in our lives.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor
He wants to call us “oaks of righteousness - a display of His splendor.”
If we are to truly come to this place of experiencing transformation in Christ, we need to consider some of the things that may be keeping us from displaying His splendor. In my own personal faith journey in different seasons, the Lord has shown me that I struggled with each of the hindrances listed below. It’s good to revisit the truths we have learned in our journey. Sometimes we forget and slip back into old patterns! Perhaps one of them will resonate with where you are in the process as well.
In my conversation with my friend last night we talked about how hard it is to make those choices that make a difference in the way we spend our days, even when we know the promises He gives us in the Word. We get stuck in life as usual, the routine of our days, when the Lord has something so much more in store for us. A life that reflects a crown of beauty instead of ashes, gladness and praise instead of mourning and despair....a life that is the display of His splendor!
When I was visiting my daughter in Atlanta we went to a tour of homes and gardens one afternoon. The homes were lovely, but the beauty of the gardens captured my imagination. One garden in particular was a continual visual feast and display of beautiful flowers and trees. You had to choose to give the garden time and not rush on to the next place if you wanted to take in all that was there waiting for you. Many on the tour just observed the garden from the house and missed the depths of beauty within to be explored. Others entered in and explored and experienced the sights and smells.
As you walked down each path, one gorgeous garden room led you to another. But you had to choose to turn the next corner and walk up the next path to enjoy each amazing display of wonder, color and splendor. Sometimes our lives are like that - we position ourselves at a distance in our faith walk and miss the opportunity for restoration and transformation, or we stay fixed where we are, stuck on one path when the Lord would have us open the door of the garden gate and walk through it to experience the new wonders the Master Gardner has for us...like a secret garden waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
Perhaps we need to ask ourselves some questions.
Does the path I’m walking lead to a place I want to go?
Or, more importantly, does it lead where God wants me to go?
Will we simply justify and blame all the way to nowhere or consider changing direction?
Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
Let’s purpose to stop and ponder where we are going, give thought to our ways. That is wisdom.
In our Monday Musings blogs over the next few weeks we are going to be seeking and discovering what it means to be restored and transformed into the portrait that God wants to paint with our lives. Remember it is the Word that paints the portrait of who we are in Christ. It is a masterpiece and it is beautiful.
It will have His Eyes that see,
Ears that hear His Voice and Mouths that speak His Word.
By His grace we will grow in our understanding of what it means to have His Heart
and His Mind, and Hands and Feet that can be used by God.
He had a vision in mind when He created you and me anew in Christ Jesus.
The path to restoration involves transformation and transformation will call for surrender.
Surrender to work of the Master’s hands.
Surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Surrender of all that we are to all that Jesus is.
Surrender to become a display of His splendor - a splash of His glory!
The Master Artist has a beautiful portrait in His mind...you! The completion of His work of art will last throughout your lifetime until at last, because you have chosen restoration, transformation and surrender, the image will be a reflection of His Son.
Surrendered to the work of His hands,
Quotes and Scriptures for your Reflection and “musing.”
Artist of My Soul
Oh, Lord of Light, of form and hue,
Who has created all things new
Create in me from shapeless clay
An instrument on which you play.
God of the dance that planets tread,
Who walks beside and soars ahead,
Oh, let me move to worship thee.
Come, Holy Spirit, dance with me.
God of the Living Word,
Poet of time,
Teach me your words
In your cadence and rhyme.
Oh, Lord of beauty, Lord of art,
Who gives a song for every heart,
Carve out my life, reshape and mold,
and be the Artist of my soul.
Lyrics by Rick Vale
The hands that work on us are God’s hands. And just as Jesus worked beside his Father in the creation of the world, so he lends his hands in the crafting of our character. Those hands are sometimes near, touching the contours of our soul. Other times they are far, searching for a different tool. All the time, though, they are purposeful.
Their purpose is to make us beautiful.
The beauty of Christ is what we are destined for.
It is also more than we ever bargained for.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12 (NIV)
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God
has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Resource: Faithful Fight, Gary Thomas
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