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Black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar
 Caterpillar (click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


"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 spiritual 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" (Romans 12:1,2).
Earlier this summer we found the large caterpillar pictured above in our backyard. I was obviously able to get real close to take a photo (they can't move away very fast!) but I didn't really care to touch it or pick it up. In my standards of what is appealing it wouldn't rate very high.

Photo of Black swallowtail butterfly

The featured caterpillar will eventually 
change into the black swallowtail butterfly pictured here (click to enlarge).  What a difference!  We ate supper outside last evening and these beautiful butterflies were feasting  on our butterfly bush.

The butterfly weed (a different plant than the butterfly bush) in our backyard attracts various butterflies. The larvae feed on these plant leaves for about two weeks developing into caterpillars about 2 inches long.  Next they transform into a pupa (or chrysalis) and in about two weeks complete the transformation into a butterfly. Many of us will recall from science class that this process is called metamorphosis. I still remember learning that big word, perhaps even when I was in elementary school.

God is in the process of transforming us.  The daily text was one of first verses I memorized after I accepted Christ. One of the earliest Greek words I ever learned was based on this text. The word that is translated "transform" is metamorphousthe, which is the very word metamorphosis is derived from!

Concerning this transformation one of my Greek references expounds, "It does not take place by rituals but by the ministry of the Spirit. It is not for an elite few but for all Christians. It is not just a hope for the future but begins already with the coming of the Spirit as a deposit. It carries with it an imperative. Set in the new aeon, Christians must reshape their conduct in accordance with it. This takes place as their minds and wills are renewed by the Spirit." *

The Scriptures call us to some personal responsibility in the God-ordained process of transformation. In each step of the butterfly's development it merely follows the pattern the Creator designed for it. I am unaware of any resistance the butterfly has to being transformed.

But that is so often not the case with us!  We constantly battle sin, the flesh and the devil as we submit ourselves to the transforming work of the Spirit.  This transformation is not for a short season, but a lifelong commission. We are being transformed and it seems that this phase will not be complete until the next stage of our existence, when we go to heaven.

God no longer asks us to offer blood sacrifices, but instead He calls us to offer up our body to Him as a "living sacrifice." The reality of being a "living" sacrifice is the tendency to keep jumping off the altar of sacrifice.   This means we must continue to surrender our body, mind and spirit to Him, which is holy and pleasing to God and is our spiritual act of worship.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer:  "Jesus, as we earnestly follow after You our minds are being renewed daily.  Our ambitions, goals, and affections are being transformed into Your likeness.  The ways of the world loses it appeal as we transfix our thoughts upon the Author and Finisher of our faith.  It is in dying to the world that we become alive unto Christ and it is through Your mercy that we offer our lives today as living sacrifices.  Increase our spiritual appetite so that our body, mind and soul feeds upon Your Word and brings glory to Your name. May we taste and see that You are good, Lord Jesus.   Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  Feasting on the Butterfly Bush – Many of you have a butterfly bush and enjoy the variety of colors, sizes and species of butterflies that are drawn to the bush.  These insects thrive on this bush and are delightful to watch.  I consider the analogy of the insects feeding on the butterfly bush to the believers feasting on the Word of God.  As beautiful as it is to watch the drove of butterflies, how much more beautiful it is to picture God's people drawn together feasting upon the Word of God.  They come from every tribe and language, from the young to the old, from every conceivable background to feed upon the manna from heaven.

We look forward to Small Group leaders sitting around our dining room table tonight with their Bibles open.  It's the inspired Word of God that draws us together for the common purpose of being spiritually nurtured and sharing the Good News with those who haven't heard.  I also picture those of you who are regular readers of the Daily Encouragement.  Though you're not visible we, by faith, send out these messages and many of you faithfully read them and make spiritual application for your lives.  Of course your feedback is like a face on the other side of the screen.  When we hear from our readers all over the world it energizes and spurs us on in this ministry!

* Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

Black swallowtail butterfly information

In today's podcast Brooksyne is playing "Jesus, all for Jesus" as the background song.

Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.

All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.
All of my ambitions, hopes and plans
I surrender these into Your hands.

For it's only in Your will that I am free,
For it's only in Your will that I am free,
Jesus, all for Jesus,
All I am and have and ever hope to be.

"Jesus, All for Jesus" Robin Mark Copyright © 1990 Word Music / Adm. by Copycare CCLI License No. 2005306

Here is a vocal version of this song that fits so well with today's message.  

Another wonderful song that really goes well with today's message is titled "Power of Your Love".   Audio   

Note the video is part of the service. It will begin with the song and continues at that point through the end of the service.

These resources are on the website of the Willingdon Church in BC Canada

Technical note: Although I took the photo of both the caterpillar and the butterfly as I recall I had taken the butterfly photo first so obviously that caterpillar did not become that butterfly!

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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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