New Creatures Welcomed Here

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Photo taken at the Georgia Aquarium; 7/24/14
Photo taken at the Georgia Aquarium; 7/24/14
I was so mesmerized by the colorful, interesting features of the Red Lionfish, that I never realized how potent and dangerous a creature it was!

In fact, when I researched this species online(www.nationalgeographic.com), this was the initial description I found:
Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”

How did I ever come up with a spiritual application with this symbol? I’m glad you ask! A recent conversation with a mutual acquaintance sent my memory racing back to nearly thirty years ago. It was a time when I embraced the “world” and did not perceive the dangers that existed all around me. My activities and thought processes were linked up with what was popular and fun. The convictions and standards I once stood firm upon, gradually eroded, being replaced by the philosophies and fashions of the current day. I don’t blame this change on anyone else, although peer pressure and selfishness were a big part of it.

There was a conformation going on, a subtle transfer which caused me to not only change physically, but emotionally and spiritually. Over time, I had assumed the characteristics of my environment, developing a strategy to defend myself from any outside threats. I was much like the Red Lionfish–my behavior towards God and anything of a religious nature, had literally become a “don’t touch” attitude. I thought I was safe in the camouflaged confines of man’s world.

The transformation that needed to take place, is summed up well in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It wasn’t until many years later, that the layers of denial and detachment began to be peeled back. God hadn’t given up on me, and somehow, His grace was revealed. I recognized my need for Him in my life and that my self-sufficiency was not enough. I cried out to Him for salvation, willing to relinquish the bondage of sin. God did a miraculous intervention, giving me new life in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As I was conversing with that mutual acquaintance, I was reminded of this promise of newness. My past mistakes, wrong responses and materialistic motives don’t have to identify me anymore; rather, it is the new-found joy and hope of eternal life in heaven!

I no longer desire to blend in and rely upon self for survival—like the Red Lionfish does. I’d much rather trust God’s Will and swim against the current anyway!

Drinking in the sunshine

Our transition to the South has been uneventful, rather smooth. I like to think it’s because we were able to move in the middle of the summer. The sun is shining, and it seems to make a huge difference on the countenance of those it touches! Everyone seems to be in a better mood because of it. You’ve heard of Southern hospitality? Perhaps the tremendous amount of warmth that exudes from local residents is due to the high temperatures? 🙂

The most popular question I am presented with is “How do you like the weather there?”. No complaint here. The biggest effect it has had on me, is that I desire to quench my thirst much more frequently than ever before! A big, tall, ice-cube abounding mug….or jug….is definitely a requirement for any outing nowadays. However, there is always the risk of my running out of the beverage or bottle that once was full. Funny how I can tolerate the heat a bit better whenever I have my water with me!glass of water

I like Bible promises that reassure me of God’s loving sustenance, and it goes way beyond just being hot and dry! Spiritually, we can drink from a well that never runs dry. Jesus’ words in John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” are full of satisfaction and deliverance. I just love how Jesus uses illustrations that are relevant and full of thought-provoking ideas. We can’t imagine what the “everlasting life” event will be like (until we get there), but we can relate to the deep contentment that comes over us, knowing our physical need (for thirst) is taken care of. Jesus states it so matter-of-factly: our spiritual need can only be satisfied fully in Him.

The image of a well “springing up” reminds me that there is a bountiful amount. God is not stingy with His perfect supply of living water. It’s crystal clear, always on hand and full of promise and pleasure. Now, that gives me something to smile about!