A ‘Remodeled’ Life

1 September 16

Just as I did last year, I spent an entire week (August 1-6, 2016) in the “Denby” area of Detroit (on the east side), to help execute Life Remodeleds planned “remodeling” of the surrounding neighborhood. [ I did promotional brochures and flyers, directional signage, info banners, Skinner Park “Partners” sign, t-shirt graphics, social media channel headers, appreciation certificates, captured the project photographically, and filmed interviews of volunteers (for the “Super Service Challenge”): https://visualimpactsystems.com/visual-impact-systems-helps-life-remodeled-pro-bono-denby-project/ ].

 

Every year Life Remodeled selects a different Detroit neighborhood based on two criteria: significant need and radical hope. For 2016, the Denby neighborhood on Detroit’s northeast side was chosen to receive substantial investment from Life Remodeled and their partners. Although Denby was one of the most blighted neighborhoods in Detroit, its residents are VERY resilient!

This year is a bit different that year’s past. Traditionally, Life Remodeled does some substantial renovation ‘inside’ the actual High School. But, Denby High School had $50M put into it about 5 years ago—and it is gorgeous—and is in no need of any work to be done to it.

However, a unique ‘element’ in the Denby curriculum is that the seniors—to be able to graduate—must develop an idea of what they think would be something that would make Detroit better (“Capstone Project”). They are instructed to discover a real-world need, design a solution to meet that need, and defend it—similar to a master’s degree defense—in front of Detroit’s City Council.

Of the many Capstone Projects embraced by Denby graduates since 2013, one project rose to the top: the creation of a NEW PARK, adjacent to Denby High School. So, Life Remodeled took on the lead ‘role’ to procure the funding, labor, and materials necessary to build the entire $1.4M park by August 2016—and they did it!

Sandra Turner-Handy is a pillar of hope in the Denby community, and she has passionately and successfully rallied community support for this project since it was first designed by Denby students in 2013. Sandra lives, breathes and ‘bleeds’ Denby. While she proudly raised her own children in the community, she never allowed them to play in a local park because it lacked the amenities and was perceived to be unsafe. Skinner Park has addressed both issues and has transformed her perceptions!

 

Here’s a list of the major accomplishments:
– Constructed a New Park (Adjacent to Denby High School)
[ Performance Pavilion; Basketball courts; Volleyball court; Pickleball court; Putting green; Horseshoes; Vegetable garden; Play mound ].
– Helped “LifeBuilders” with their new community center
– 362 Vacant Houses Boarded Up
– 303 Blocks of Blight Removal
– 80 Student Houses Remodeled
– Art Mural on the outside wall of the Heilmann Recreation Center
– 125 Planter Boxes (with flowers) along “Safe Routes” to schools
– Pole signs demarcating safe routes
– Intersections painted with safe route markings on sidewalk

This was an unbelievable effort performed by almost 11,000 volunteers—in just 6 days—and has been valued at almost $6M!

[ FYI: The following link is to the over 4,500 photos that captured the project (organized in albums by day):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liferemodeled2016/albums ].

 

In the beginning phases of any construction program, it may be hard to imagine a beautiful outcome, especially when things are torn apart, ‘normal’ things are not working, and the whole place is a big ‘mess’. Try as they may not to, the construction people still create a lot of dust and ‘chaos’ while they are working. Yet, in order for you to enjoy something new in the end, you have to go through the process of ‘remodeling’.

I’m going to suggest that the same is true when you view God’s plan for your life—He ‘sees’ a glorious outcome as the result of you going through a spiritual ‘remodeling’.

We are all born needing a ‘remodeling’ job. The Bible says that we all are born sinful and full of ‘fleshly’ desires. As we grow, our sinful nature exerts its influence over our lives. It strives to encourage behaviors that are inappropriate and selfish. No matter how good we think we are, deep within the core of our being is sinful, and most of us are convicted that we can do the remodeling ourselves.

Well, in Jesus’ time the Pharisees were just that kind of people. They were a group of very zealous Jewish leaders who took their faith very seriously. They believed that the way they would please God and make it to Heaven was by meticulously following a long list of religious rules and regulations. The foundation of these rules was the “Mosaic Law”—the law that God gave through Moses to the Jewish people of the Old Testament. The most famous part of the Mosaic Law is the “Ten Commandments,” but these are actually only 10 of the 613 commandments the Pharisees instituted.

They prided themselves on following not just the letter of the Mosaic Law, but even the letter of the man-made rules designed to clarify the Law. Most notably, the Pharisees sought to abide by the external laws that distinguished the Jewish people from all of the other nations—the laws that made them outwardly distinct. These included laws about what to eat, what to wear, circumcision, how to pray out loud, and more. Jesus’ critique of the Pharisees was that they were legalistic—only concerned with the external appearance of keeping the Law rather than the inward spirit of the Law. Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also” [ Matthew 23:25-26 ].

So then, is there any HOPE for any of us to really please God? Thankfully, yes, and it doesn’t require us to follow a bunch of rules and regulations—it’s a free ‘gift’ that God offers to all of us!

 

Before any remodeling job can begin in a person’s life they must first relinquish this task into the hands of God. First, accepting Jesus as their personal Savior lays the ‘foundation’ for the remodeling process to begin. The Bible says, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” [ 1 Corinthians 3:11 ]. What the Bible is saying here is that if you’re trying to build your ‘home’ on anything other than Jesus, tear it down to the ground and rebuild it on the basis of a personal relationship with Him. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” [ Matthew 7:24 ].

 

Once you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior—and have been “born again”—your past, present, and future sins are forgiven! You are also then given the Holy Spirit to live ‘within’ you, so that the process of remodeling your heart and mind can start to take place. God will use His Word (the Bible), the Holy Spirit, and His intervention in your life to shape your character. But He requires your cooperation, too. You must live up to your commitment to Jesus, and totally ‘submit’ your life to Him.

The good news is, unlike a homeowner having to repair some things and do some remodeling to make a house attractive to prospective buyers, Jesus wants you to ‘come’ to Him with your ‘mess’. He will start doing all the repairs and ‘remodeling’ after He ‘moves in’ to your heart! He then begins to ‘remodel’ your character to resemble His.

 

The Bible says that God commands us to be transformed, or ‘remodeled’, by the “renewing of our minds.” We are instructed to offer ourselves to Him and ‘sacrifice’ our will as an act of obedience:

“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 ].

The important aspect of spiritual transformation is allowing the internal remodeling process to take place in our hearts and minds first, and then our external behavior will follow suit. However, there will be times when God strips away old thoughts and habits and replaces them with His truths and principles, and it will ‘hurt’. God calls this process ‘BROKENNESS’, but He promises to make you ‘whole’. However, only when we ‘surrender’ to Him can you be remodeled and transformed. [ Luke 9:23 ].

 

There is something about reaching a breaking point that causes us to seek God more sincerely. (“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” [ Psalm 34:18 ]). King David was once a broken man, and he prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” [ Psalm 51:10, 17 ].

There are some things in our lives that need to be broken: pride, self-will, stubbornness, and sinful habits, for example. When we feel our brokenness, God compensates: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit” [ Isaiah 57:15 ].

To us, broken things are considered worthless, but God doesn’t, and He can take what has been broken and remodel it into something better—something that He can use for His glory.

 

God longs for us to come to Him so He can ‘heal’ us. Often, we are unable to ‘hear’ Him because we’re so focused on other things—our lives, our families, our work, and our problems. Sometimes we must be broken before we realize our need for Him. C.S. Lewis said it well: “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God wants, very much, for us to ‘hear’ Him, so He can make us ‘whole’ [ Matthew 5:5 ].

The thing is, the solution can never come from our own efforts or striving, but only comes from God. Only when we recognize our need for Him are we able to take our eyes off ourselves. Only when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us can we begin to heal. Only when we admit our need and ask God into our life, can God begin to make us ‘whole’. Only when we confess that we are ‘broken’ can God make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else fall into place! [ Matthew 6:33 ]. Trust He will do what is best for you! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” [ Romans 8:28 ].

 

So, the most critical part of your remodeling is your ‘SUBMISSION’ to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. When this is done on a consistent basis, you will be ‘walking’ in step with the Holy Spirit, and you will find that the remodeling project is going in a positive direction. God will provide the instruction and ‘power’ to accomplish your ‘remodeling’ as you submit and obey.

If God the Father is the “General Contractor,” then the Holy Spirit is kind of like the “Building Inspector” of you remodeling process—using the Bible as the ‘building code’ that sets the parameters of proper behavior. Again, the internal remodeling is the most important, so the outward or external remodeling will reflect what is happening internally in a believer’s life.

 

Jesus was pretty ‘adamant’ about never aiming just to ‘redecorate’ our lives. He was pretty straightforward when He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father but through Me.” That doesn’t sound like just a ‘paint job’. That sounds like a complete remodel!

Jesus will remodel your whole life if you will let Him—and you haven’t really ‘lived’ until you let Him have His way in you. However, just like with the families on those “Extreme Makeover” TV shows, you have to get out of the way (the families were sent away for the build week) and let Him do what He wants. You can’t hold on to the parts of life that you like. The remodel won’t be comfortable. There will be pain and tears as you let go of the old, familiarity of your brokenness, but just like those families’ new houses, as your new character begins to be seen in your life, your tears of sorrow will turn to tears of joy at what Jesus has done with you!

 

Friend, let me say that whatever you are facing in this ‘season’ of your life, don’t give up on God. He can take even the most hopeless situation and pour ‘life’ into it. Trust Him…He knows just what to do to make all things new.

The apostle Paul put it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” [ 2 Corinthians 5:17 ]. WOW! Paul says that the old is dead and gone, because the new has come.

Jesus wants to remodel your whole life! It’s not just making you look better, making the bad good, it’s so much more—because this remodel makes your internal ‘dead person’ ALIVE!

“You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away” [ Colossians 2:13-15 ].

 

So that leaves the question, will you open yourself up to Jesus and let Him remodel you, or will you stick with redecorating, trying to put a fresh coat of ‘paint’ on something that is really worn out and not usable?

 

I would strongly encourage you to let God remodel you from the inside out. He is ‘licensed and approved’ to transform your heart, mind and soul. He will not only perform this task in an excellent manner, He will involve you in the process as well and you will be pleased with the outcome! More importantly, so will God!

 

[ Excerpts from: Craig Benner; Wes Weber; James MacDonald ]

(If you would like to investigate further what it really means to “believe”, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html ).

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RECONCILIATION PRAYER TO GOD:

If you would like to ‘give’ your life to Jesus, you can do it right now—right where you are. There’s no magical words to say, you just need to believe in your ‘heart’ that God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, is God in the flesh, rose from the dead, and is alive today—and when He died on the cross, He took your place as your substitute sacrifice for your sins. If you sincerely believe this, then admit you are a sinner, confess your sins, and that you will trust Jesus alone for your salvation, committing your life to His service.

You could say something like the following (in your own words if you would like):

Dear Lord Jesus,
I understand that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. I sincerely repent of my sins, and ask You for forgiveness and mercy. I believe that You died on the cross as my substitute, paying my sin debt in full so that I could receive Your forgiveness and have eternal life. I ask You to come into my life right now and become my personal Savior. From this day forward, I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to take control, and guide me be the kind of person you want me to be. Give me a ‘new beginning’, and help me to live for You. Amen.

 

RESOURCES:

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Life Remodeled in The Denby Neighborhood:

The following links are for more information about the project Life Remodeled did in the Denby High School neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan:

PROJECT DETAILS:
http://liferemodeled.com/2016-project/

SPECIAL STORIES:
http://liferemodeled.com/stories/

VIDEOS (Of Volunteers):
https://superservicechallenge.com/nonprofit/life-remodeled/

PHOTOS:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/liferemodeled2016/albums

IN THE MEDIA:

WXYZ-TV (Channel 7)
http://www.wxyz.com/news/region/detroit/major-blight-removal-project-kicks-off-today-in-detroit (Text by Associated Press)

http://www.wxyz.com/news/region/detroit/volunteers-join-life-remodeled-to-clean-up-blight-in-detroits-denby-neighborhood

WJBK-TV (FOX2)
http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/184068717-story

WDIV-TV (Channel 4)
http://www.clickondetroit.com/community/mayor-mike-duggan-to-appear-at-life-remodeled-in-denby

WJR-AM (Frank Beckmann Show)
http://www.wjr.com/2015/03/01/podcasts-from-the-frank-beckman-show/ (Multiple podcasts)

WDET-FM
http://wdet.org/posts/2016/08/01/83603-life-remodeled-builds-park-near-denby/

ARTICLES:

http://www.dbusiness.com/daily-news/Annual-2016/5Qs-Chris-Lambert-CEO-of-Life-Remodeled-on-Rebuilding-Detroit-One-Neighborhood-at-a-Time/

http://edwclevy.com/news/partnership-with-life-remodeled-and-detroit-community

http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/2016/06/26/denby-area-life-remodeled-cleanup-encourages-caring-volunteers/86341142/

http://snewsi.com/id/16234716356

http://www.wherevent.com/detail/Grosse-Pointey-Life-Remodeled-Denby-Grosse-Pointe

https://allevents.in/detroit/life-remodeled-denby-grosse-pointe/1029512293751037

http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/livonia/2016/07/10/livonia-volunteers-help-detroit/86862620/

http://www.hometownlife.com/story/news/local/northville/2016/07/12/michele-kelly-northville-life-remodeled-northville-stands-detroit/86992514/

https://et-ee.facebook.com/LRNSWD2016/

http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2016/07/18/news/doc578cdeb990deb972054133.txt

http://www.aiahv.org/event-2294103

http://patch.com/michigan/rochester/rochester-hills-stands-rolls-its-sleeves-detroit

 

Life Remodeled is a Detroit-based nonprofit that seeks to remodel lives along with neighborhoods, schools and homes. Our annual volunteer workforce of 10,000 comes from community organizations, churches, businesses and people who just care about Detroit. Every phase of our project is about people, those served and those who are serving. Relationships born of this approach create transformation and sustainable neighborhoods that are crucial to making Detroit’s revitalization permanent.

Our partners continue to work in these neighborhoods for years to come to enhance the schools, revitalize housing, increase employment opportunities, and cultivate long-term relationships, all of which enable the development of healthy and thriving communities.

Life Remodeled’s “Family Values”:

HOPE
We believe in seeing beyond the surface of ‘what is’, and looking instead towards ‘what could be’.

PEOPLE OVER PROJECTS
We believe our projects are exceptionally valuable, but people are priceless. The people we serve and those we serve alongside matter more than the processes and the products.

BOLD HUMILITY
We believe in taking the form of servants who value others over ourselves. We do so with confidence and determination.

ENDURING CHANGE
We believe in investing in work that has strong potential for sustainability, and we work strategically towards that end.

If you are also interested in more information, or supporting this great non-profit, contact me, or click the link below to be taken to Life Remodeled’s website:

http://liferemodeled.com/

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Remodel Your Life: 30 days with the Master Renovator
By: Alene Snodgrass

In Remodel Your Life you will begin restoring your life using God’s Word as your blueprint. You will walk away in 30 days refurbished and refreshed, knowing that your foundation is secure and the rooms of your soul are swept clean. BONUSES WITH EVERY PURCHASE: After purchasing the book the directions for receiving your audio bonuses are inside. Flip to the Bonus Page to find out how to access the audio morning devotional for your 30-day experience. When you buy Remodel Your Life you receive:

– (30) 2-minute audio morning devotionals to keep you encouraged
– A remodeling plan for your life that will improve your working relationships, marriage and spiritual life.
– 30 days of straight-forward but humorous lessons
– Access to the author for additional support Your life is so valuable!

Will you believe that and begin to make the most of each day? Remodel Your Life will have you on your way to the life you have always wanted in 30 days.

http://www.amazon.com/Remodel-Your-Life-Master-Renovator/dp/1497596351

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Extreme Prayer Makeover: Remodeling Lives Through Prayer
By: Joe Cameneti

Are you frustrated because your prayers seem to be producing only “hit and miss” results? Do you long for a more satisfying and effective prayer life? Such was the case for author and pastor, Joe Cameneti, until he cried out to God in frustration, seeking for a more satisfying and effective way to pray. In this book, Pastor Joe shares the powerful revelation that God gave him–perhaps the most unique and exciting information about praying effective, Bible-based prayers that you have ever heard. You can experience an extreme prayer makeover using this simple acronym: R – Rescue from Evil E – Expanded Love M – More Boldness O – Open Eyes D – Deeper Desire E – Extra Strength L – Lord’s Will As a praying Christian, you have been given a great place of authority on the earth. This book will help you understand how to pray and what to pray so, you can experience an extreme prayer makeover, as God remodels you – and those for whom you pray – from the inside out!

https://books.google.com/books?id=P7bRPQAACAAJ

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Breaking the Pattern: The 5 Principles You Need to Remodel Your Life
By: Charles Platkin

“A useful yet fun book that could provide the push you all need to achieve lasting change.” — Shape Magazine

Ever get the sense that you’re reliving the same events, arguments, and frustrations again and again? Does your relationship, job, or diet always begin full of hope, but, somehow, fail to work out in the end?

In BREAKING THE PATTERN, Dr. Charles Platkin synthesizes years of research in psychology, motivation, success, and achievement into “The 5 Principles You Need to Remodel Your Life,” helping readers to take action in those areas where they feel stuck or doomed to repeat negative past experiences. Through a series of self-reflective exercises, Platkin encourages readers to examine their successes and failures, identifying, analyzing, and finally breaking the very patterns that have kept them from realizing their dreams. By incorporating inspirational quotes and stories throughout the book, Platkin creates a positive, healing environment in which even the most self-doubting reader can gain the support and motivation necessary to begin to change his or her life for the better.

https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Pattern-Principles-Need-Remodel-ebook/dp/B01HP5W0ZU/

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“FRUITS OF THE BEATITUDES” WEB SITE
(The ATTITUDES of Jesus that produce the CHARACTER of Jesus)

CLICK ON THE LINK to view:
http://fruitsofthebeatitudes.org/

[ Mark Besh ]

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[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about how to GROW CLOSER to God in the here and now, visit the following link:
http://www.spiritedesign.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v211) for SEPTEMBER 2016

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

 

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REBUILDING YOUR LIFE
When you want to rebuild your life, where do you begin? I imagine that each one of us has reached a point at which we wanted to turn around, start over, and begin the journey back home. Perhaps you were kicked out of school or out of your home; perhaps you were fired from the best job you ever had; perhaps you found yourself waking up in a hospital after some disastrous drug experience; perhaps you were arrested for theft when the money ran out; or perhaps that pivotal event in your life was as simple, yet life-changing, as an unexpected pregnancy.

The Apostle Peter knew about starting over. He was a follower of Jesus, and he thought himself to be a very spiritual individual. But Peter is well known for his denying that he knew Jesus. Just when things got bad, he failed miserably out of cowardice. Yet, Jesus forgave Peter and welcomed him back. Peter went on to do great and heroic things for the Lord. And Peter wrote a letter to us, telling us how to rebuild our lives in the Lord. Notice what he says in 2 Peter:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins” [ 2 Peter 1:3-9 ].

What a great thing to remember! God gives us life and godliness. He gives us the power to escape the corruption in the world caused by our sinful desires. Think of being given the key to unlock the prison you have gotten yourself into.

We don’t accomplish dramatic changes by ourselves. Sometimes people talk about turning their own lives around. Others say, “You have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” But that’s like taking your car back to the same repair shop that just ruined your transmission. Before you can get in gear and get headed down the right road, you will need an overhaul. Getting things fixed right starts with God’s divine power, and it rests on God’s great promises.

What is a promise? A promise is a commitment God makes to us that comes from His mercy, love, and grace. It is not something God owes us, and it is not something we deserve or can earn. It is freely given by God and must be freely received. What promises does God give? He promises life forever to those who believe in the Savior Jesus [ John 3:16 ]. He promises the privilege of becoming sons and daughters of God to those who receive Jesus Christ [ John 1:12 ]. He promises to be with us and never leave us [ Hebrews 13:5 ]. In fact, He promises to give us everything we need for life and godliness [ 1 Peter 1:3 ].

When we recognize our sin and our helplessness, we are in the right place to turn to God through Jesus Christ and find the forgiveness of our sins. Through faith in Christ, we can be confident that God’s promises apply to us. That becomes the starting point for a life of faith, which begins to rebuild our lives. The Apostle Peter describes that life-rebuilding process. After talking about God’s great promises (verse 4), he goes on to talk of the kind of effort we should make in the Christian life. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (verses 5-7). Notice how this works in our lives. It is not that we are to add one thing after another, but that we are to add all these things together as part of our life of following Jesus. It begins with faith and ends with love. How great to have a life which is wrapped around with faith and love.

How can you take that first step when you feel so uncertain and weak? It’s an act of faith. Since we know of God’s great power and promises to us, we step out in faith. When most of us reach rock bottom, we wait until we feel strong enough to take a step. But real faith is expressed at the time that we feel weakest and still decide to step out. We must then put into practice goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. We know our faith is small, we know it is weak, and we know it is awkward. But our confidence is not in our power, but in God’s power. We find that each little step builds on the last and prepares us for the next. We find ourselves walking the kind of life that gives God the glory and makes us grow. Our lives are rebuilt by God when we start with His promises and take small steps in faith, knowing He has provided all the power and grace we need.

[ David J. O’Leary ]

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A MINOR REMODEL OR A MAJOR RENOVATION?
When Linda and I first moved into our home in Irvine, California, we found ourselves wishing that a few things about the house were different. So, we hired a contractor who moved a couple of short walls and built a couple of interior doors. Adding new paint and carpet, we easily enhanced the usefulness and value of our house with a modest remodel that took about a month to complete.

At about this time, friends of ours purchased a home in another part of Southern California. They also remodeled, but not modestly. In fact, their contractor tore down every part of the house, except for the foundation and one wall. Their project lasted well over a year. What they ended up with was, for all intents and purposes, a brand new home. No minor remodel here, but a major renovation. The result was truly marvelous.

Sometimes, we can think of the Christian as a minor remodel. When we put our faith in Christ, we add a few new beliefs and behaviors. But, for the most part, we think and live much as we did before receiving God’s grace through Christ.

This minor remodel approach to Christianity falls far short of the biblical vision. Today, we begin to reflect upon a passage in Ephesians that explores in depth what it means to think and live as a Christian. Ephesians 4:17-5:33 lays out a vision, not of a minor remodel, but of a major renovation. As followers of Jesus, we don’t simply believe and act a little differently than we did before we believed. Rather, we tear down most of our lifestyle house so that we, in partnership with God and his people, might build something altogether new. We put off the old self so that we might put on the new.

As we begin our prayerful study of this passage, I invite you to open your mind to what God wants us to learn. Some of it will be welcome, if not inspiring. Some of it, I expect, will be challenging, even disconcerting. I suppose if a house had feelings, it wouldn’t rejoice during the first parts of a major renovation. But the final result, both for the house and for us, will be truly marvelous.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
As you think about your Christian life, which metaphor seems more appropriate: minor remodel or major renovation? What parts of your life have been made new because of God’s grace at work in you? What parts of your life need renovation?

PRAYER:
Gracious God, as we begin this passage, may our minds and hearts be open to you. May our lives be available to you. We all have aspects of our lives that have already been transformed by your grace. But we all have part of the old “house” left, that which needs to be taken down so the new can be built. Give us courage, Lord, to receive your Word openly. Teach us. Challenge us. Admonish us. Encourage us. Transform us. Renovate us.

[ Higher Calling ]

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LIFE RESTORED
(Parody of “Last Resort” by Papa Roach)

Plug my life into Jesus—this gets my life restored
Such a cakewalk—no brainer
Don’t need to fuss if I call on our savior
This gets my life restored

Plugged my life into Jesus—I’ve seen my life restored
Such a cakewalk—no brainer
Don’t need to fuss since I called Him my savior
Do not even care if I die later
Cause I belong to Jesus Christ
If they took my life tonight—chances are I’d arrive
In a place that’s out of sight—and I’m confident I’m doin’ fine

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I never realized I was meant to live
To live a new life if I would let Him within
Told me—death is the payoff for living in sin
End the cycle when you’re born again
It all started when I first discovered
The Book on my shelf and read cover to cover
Searching—to find religion that held my attention
Finding—something called Christian redemption

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I’ll be all right—I’ll be just fine
You’re runnin’ out of time
I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine
I can’t go wrong living this way

Plug my life into Jesus
This gets my life restored
Selfish nature—don’t need it
Go give it up—you can conquer your demons
Would it be wrong for me to pry
If you give your life to Christ—Chances are dynamite
You will make it out alive—and I’m confident you’ll do it right

‘Cause I’m improving my life, renewing my mind
This all started with Romans 10:9
Doing what’s right, doin’ quite fine
This all started with Romans 10:9

I’ll be all right—I’ll be just fine—You’re runnin’ out of time
I can’t go wrong livin’ this way—Can’t go wrong living this way
I’ll be all—right

[ ApologetiX – Album: “Keep The Change” ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a1cD5Ej-QI

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):

“Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when evidence is eliminated. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking. Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking. Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when no one is sharing. Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.”
[ John Maxwell ].

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.”
[ Jim Rohn ]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.”
[ Psalm 127:1 ].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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