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Tuesday, April 25, 2006
"Transformation!""Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Pastor Bob shared a story that illustrates the life-transforming power of Christ. He told our congregation about an older man named Joe* whom he discipled in a previous pastorate. In his youth, Joe, who was in the military got drunk one night and went to a tattoo parlor. In his drunken state of mind he had an "unclothed" lady tattooed on his lower forearm. This was noticeable to all and very difficult to cover up.
Years later he was converted and requested baptism. Photos were taken of the baptismal service and posted on the bulletin board. The unfortunate tattoo was very prominent in Joe's photo as he was being baptized. He was very embarrassed and asked the pastor to take down his photo. The intense regret he felt about tattooing his arm made Joe decide to have the "artwork" removed. Imagine his disappointment when he found it would cost thousands of dollars which he didn't have. So he came up with another option: he revisited a tattoo parlor, but this time he instructed the artist to draw a dress on the bare lady for about $100.00!
In the daily text the Apostle Paul describes the wonderful transformation that Christ brings, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). When a person turns to Christ a wonderful transformation takes place. In one sense it's instantaneous. In another sense it's a life-long process.
Romans 12:2 instructs, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read of the process of "being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory."
Paul himself experienced this transformation in his life on the road to Damascus and went on to be the greatest missionary in the history of the church. Slave trader John Newton experienced it and went on to write "Amazing Grace". Nixon's hatchet man, Chuck Colson, experienced this change and went on to found "Prison Fellowship" and has a had a fruitful ministry for Christ.
And the list of changed lives goes on and on and is being added to every day. Are you on this list? Today consider your life. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, believing in Him to forgive your sins and make you a child of God?
Christ continues to change lives today and He is either changing yours or waiting for you to call on His Name so you can be changed. Please do so today!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's Prayer: Jesus, how grateful I am that You turned the darkness of my soul into the sunshine of Your glory. You transformed my heart and renewed my mind when I received You as my personal Savior. You took away sin's sorrows and filled me with everlasting joy. Sin no longer is my master, but You are my Lord and Master. It is Your voice I hear and it is Your paths I follow!
* Although the story above is true the name used is fictional. I could have been more descriptive regarding the nature of the tattoo but I think you get the picture. Before I send these messages to the email list I run them through a content filter that flags words that would likely get the message blocked and the descriptive word would have been a real issue with the filter! The bare arm above actually doesn't have anything to do with the message but I joked with Brooksyne that it's too bad I didn't have a photo to illustrate the message. Then I recalled a photo I accidentally took this last weekend when I lowered the camera as I took a photo of a friend and showed Brooksyne. She quipped, "Better a bare arm than a bare lady."
* A song that comes to mind as I prepare this message is "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart" Here are the lyrics.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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