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Tuesday, January 15, 2019
"Not Worldly Conformation But Spiritual Transformation"

Message summary: The believer's lifelong goal should not be worldly conformation but spiritual transformation. Compromise leads to conformity and conformity leads to defeat.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"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 12:2).

BMI calculatorI walked into a company last week and Karen, one of the employees, greeted me with an interesting observation informing me, "You look taller"! I smiled and thanked her although I reckon I had actually reached my lifetime peak height of over 6'2½" at around 18 years of age and now struggle to reach 6'2". (I read that as you age you tend to lose height.)

However it did get me thinking of another dimension in which I have increased since I was a skinny 18 year old; my weight. I mused that rather than take off weight, what if I could just put on height? I calculate that if I could just put on about 6 inches I would have a much healthier BMI (body mass index)! (Note: If you're interested click on the "Compute BMI" image to the left and it will open to a real BMI calculator.)

Now with all the commercials for "weight loss" programs and products it would sure be interesting if there was competition with similar "height gain" products!

Well, in life there are things we can change and there are things we can't change and we do well to remember that and to know the difference. Today let us focus on a lifelong, ongoing change for each follower of Christ expressed in our daily text, spiritual transformation. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Yesterday we shared a message about the detailed pattern that the Lord gave Moses concerning the Tabernacle and the good report regarding the Israelite's obedience as recorded in the Book of Exodus. This fundamental teaching reminds us that God is pleased and honored when we follow the pattern for living as set forth in the Holy Scriptures for His people.

But in opposition to this pattern for living as set forth by God is "the pattern of this world". By our fallen human nature we conform to this pattern.

Other versions translate this phrase thusly: JB Phillips: "Stop being poured into the mold by the external and fleeting fashions of this age, but undergo a deep inner change by the qualitative renewing of your mind." The NLT states, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." A listing of this verse in many English translations is here.

Paul Fritz observes, "There is always a danger of giving in to the temptations of the world to just feel like being 'normal' in our modern society. Today it is easier to try to fit in, blend in and give in to the popular trends in the world rather than to live by Biblical principles. We are faced with a choice today. We can either decide to give in to the patterns of self-indulgence, carnality and selfishness or we choose to prosper by obeying God’s Word."

We have a responsibility in not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world and in renewing our minds. 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 get to heaven.

JC PhilpotJ.C. Philpot, a Bible teacher who lived in the 1800's writes, "In proportion as we are conformed to the spirit of this world, our understanding becomes dull in the things of God, our affections cold and torpid, and our consciences less tender and sensitive."

The struggle is ever before us as the tempter never fully leaves us alone no matter how much transformation takes place or how long we've walked with God. Bad habits visible to others may be broken but dealing with inner attitudes can even be more difficult; those attitudes we don't want others to witness. Yet the transforming of the Spirit must take place within and without, for "everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

We must daily come before the throne of God, confess our sins, acknowledge our weaknesses, and ask His help in the transformation. We can align our desires with His by drawing near to Him daily as James 4:8 tells us, "If we draw near to Him He will draw near to us."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we invite the work of Your Holy Spirit to descend upon our heart, to wean it from ungodly attitudes, destructive habits, and worldly passions. In love and compassion You stooped to our weakness, mighty as You are, in the person of Jesus Christ who lived a life of holiness, and willingly laid down His life that we might be forgiven, that our hearts and minds might break conformity from this world and be transformed into the pattern of holy living. As we surrender our heart, soul, and mind to You we see the cross of Jesus, and as we cling to His cross we deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow in His footsteps wholeheartedly. We thank You for the wooing of Your Holy Spirit that assists and encourages us as we withdraw our allegiance from the affections of this world. It's through the power of Christ that we are able to make this mighty, eternal transformation. Amen.

Stephen's Note:  Today's text is one of the very first Scriptures I put to memory in my early days of walking with Christ. In fact I recall when I was in High School an older mentor named Dave sat down with me in a restaurant in Independence Missouri. He taught from this verse using a paper napkin with the outline of a head. Dave described how in our sinful nature we had been conformed to the pattern of this world with a variety of clutter that fills our minds with the pattern of this world. He stressed how we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and he shared various means through which our mind is renewed.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)"  Video  Matt Redman (A different version than used yesterday; this one is  recorded in a live worship setting and has a much fuller sound as people join in.)

Brooksyne's note: Our choir sang this again for Monday evening worship and it was a great blessing as it was on Sunday morning in both services. After we warmed up on this song Monday night a "fellow" soprano, Joyce, leaned over and whispered in my ear, "the line that really gets me excited when we sing this song is:  'One day all this struggle will cease and we will see Your glory revealed on that day!'" Joyce's husband died a few years ago and left her as a young widow, and no doubt, she has faced the struggle of being alone ever since.

One day You’ll make everything new, Jesus
One day You will bind every wound
The former things shall all pass away
No more tears

One day You’ll make sense of it all, Jesus
One day every question resolved
Every anxious thought left behind
No more fear

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory

One day we will see face to face, Jesus
Is there a greater vision of grace
And in a moment, we shall be changed
On that day

And one day we’ll be free, free indeed, Jesus
One day all this struggle will cease
And we will see Your glory revealed
On that day

Dottie as kitten 2001

Finally today: We didn't expect it but were warmed by the many kind expressions emailed by our readers yesterday about our 17½ year old Dottie dying in the early morning hour Saturday in Ester's arms. As could be expected Ester is digging through all our printed photos of Dottie back when we actually printed out photos and she came across several including this one. Dottie is only a few weeks old and Ester has her wrapped in her Precious Moments baby blanket. Ester is 12 in this photo in 2001.

As many of you know Ester deals with atrial flutter causing her heart to soar over 220 BPM. It first happened when she was 11 after my dad died. She has often dealt with A/F after there was a loss in her life for which she was grieving. In more recent years it occurs when she is being active or otherwise. She commented to me today, "Mom, I can't believe I didn't have atrial flutter since Dottie actually died in my arms." I hadn't given it much thought but after she reminded me I considered it a blessing that she could deal with deep emotion and sadness and not go into atrial flutter. Thank you for your kind words and even the prayers spoken for the grief Ester is experiencing over the loss of her cat. Several of you mentioned you have had the same kind of loss with longtime pets which gives you empathy for our loss. Thanks for taking the time to write!

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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