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Presentation on Renewal
@Community Bible Study of the North Shore
... I am grateful for God’s work in helping me speak today.
It seems to be a fact that life has pain, and sometimes the pain is from things that were not fair, or things we did not ask for or understand. Sometimes we can feel responsible for some of the pain in our lives, thinking there must have been something we could have or should have done to prevent it. We can get stuck wishing things were different. I have spent some time in self-pity, resentment, defensiveness, and self-righteous judgment. I am grateful for God’s patience and persistence with me as He is bringing me through it.
Using the image in Ephesians, we are to put off the old self,… be renewed,… and put on the new self. The middle part about being renewed is ongoing. We are cleansed and we continue being cleansed and renewed.
One of the gifts God has given me is painting pictures (I haven’t found it listed in the Bible, but I trust He can still use it). I like to paint on a certain theme. One theme I have been exploring is how time affects things.
As time goes on there are bumps and scuffs and dirt. I painted some things around me that are wearing out, becoming old, and heading for the trash.
I feel and see the effects of getting old myself. I think I can see the effects of time on some of you.
Here is a peony that I picked and then painted it on two different days.
We can see how time can work on things. So, how does this fit with being renewed?
Well some things, like our everyday clothes, get dirty and smelly with the passing of time. This is not strange to us or difficult to accept. When they get dirty, we wash them. And to wash the same garment over again, is expected. So it seems to be the same with our hearts. As time passes we get bumped, scuffed up, and dirty. Our attitudes and behaviors show it. We might even have the same problem over and over again, and we can go to God and be renewed again and again. He doesn’t tell us how many times we can come to Him for renewal.
When I avoid going back to God because of my shame, fear, or stubbornness, I think I am making room for the devil. Resentment, bitterness, and self-pity can move in and start taking up more and more space in my heart.
So I will bring my spiritual laundry to God no matter how much I might have or how often I might need it to be done. He will cleanse and renew me.
Another thing I would like to share. While painting about the effects of time, I painted dandy lions.
Then the next day I painted this.
And then after quite a bit of time, I painted this.
It may just look like little flowers getting old, but there is also transformation and renewal. The many seeds have potential of making many more flowers. Renewal can happen slowly. Other times it can come quickly. I thank God for never giving up on me. He will never give up on you.
Ephesians 4: 22-24
You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Let’s pray. Thank you, God, for giving Jesus, so that we can to come to you and be renewed. Thank you that we can be renewed again and again, and that you won’t give up on us. Amen.
Opening, Community Bible Study, Nov 7, 2012, Linda Hurd