The Trees are gone
A sign of the times… in old age the changes just keep on coming. Lord those two Weeping Birch trees were such a beautiful feature of the property you gave us and now they are gone never to be seen again. The trees gave us shade from the heat and, some privacy… which we valued in the past more than we do now. They were beautiful to look at but not so much in recent times. Sort of like us. Soon we will be those trees, gone never to be seen again on this earth.
Unlike the trees however we will be resurrected to a new heavens and a new earth where change and loss will be remembered no more. However, while we are still here there is life to live. The Holy Spirit is not finished his work in our lives yet. As he works to make us more like Jesus and prepare us for our homecoming he invites us to cooperate with his promptings.
St Paul says “be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. In other words change the way that you think. Transformation, or positive change, has a lot to do with the thoughts that we allow into our minds. As a general rule if we do not conform our thinking to the thoughts of God (as in the Bible) then transformation is slow and may even cease.
As an example of how important our thinking is, consider temptation. Temptation comes in many ways but almost always ends up as unwanted thoughts in our minds which, if allowed to stay will lead us to act.
The battle continues
The battle against the devil, the flesh, and the world is constant. Last night I had to fight again. I called upon the Holy Spirit and asked Mary to pray for me again. As I allowed the Holy Spirit to direct my thoughts away from the temptation (to recall moments of grace in the past) temptation left and sleep came. It really is that simple.
Proverbs 23:7 for as a person thinks (in the heart) so shall they act … the battle ground seems to be the mind. The thoughts we allow to remain deep in our heart define our actions. The Holy Spirit brings us a sound mind (right thinking), and self-control, and courage to fight (2 Timothy1:7). The thoughts of God will always point out and dislodge the erroneous thoughts of the world, the devil, and the flesh.
This was Brother Lawrence’s secret. He was a 16th century monk who mastered the art of thinking about God all the time. The person whose mind is fixed upon God all the time will soon be walking with God. The one who thinks about the things of God will not follow the ways of the devil. At the end of his life Brother Lawrence said I see that God is so close to me now that I almost don’t need faith.
St. Paul says we have the mind of Christ (Ephesians 2:16)… meaning that the Holy Spirit will give us the very thoughts of God on a matter and show us the way that we should walk (the way out of temptation for example). Ephesians chapter 2 is an excellent guide for walking with the Holy Spirit.
The Best is yet to come
We may have to deal with a lot of unwanted change as time moves on. And we will have to continue to fight against the enemies of our soul (the devil, the world, and the flesh), but no matter how bad (or good) things get the best is yet to come for those who love and try to follow Jesus.
Jesus is the reason for the season. We have all heard this in reference to Christmas. The truth is he is the reason for hope in every season in our lives. He came as a man, showed us the very heart and love of the Father, suffered in our place the penalty for sin, and reveled himself to be God … all to give assurance of a better future to all who choose to become his disciples.
It is the name of Jesus that brings hope to the lost and salvation to all who call on that name. Let us keep the name of Jesus always on our minds and lips. So that, by his name, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will fight the good fight and attract others to come and receive the best … that is yet to come.