Fuel for Renewal

Take a look at yourself in the mirror.

No, a good look.

What you see right now is not exactly what you’ll see 30 days from now.

They say your skin sheds and regenerates every month. Off with the old, and papa’s got a brand new bag! If you’re keeping score at home, that’s about 3 billion skin cells that wave a white flag each and every day. Why does this happen? Glad you asked. Your skin, the largest organ of your body, is also the first line of defense against the body’s enemies: dehydration, infection, injuries, air quality, and temperature extremes. Gotta keep it pristine. Durable. Resilient.

Oh, and your skin constitutes about 20% of your full body’s weight, so, technically, you lose a fifth of your mass each and every month. Before you reward yourself with that extra scoop of rocky road, remember you also put it right back on.

Sorry.

Followers of Jesus also shed and regenerate every day. I like to read Watchman Nee and Oswald Chambers and Paul because they inform me that life in the Spirit is about subtraction. The crucified self. I also thumb through Guyon and Spurgeon and Paul because they bring out the renewing power of Christ in me. So I thought I might sate your palate with a menu that is rich in vitamins and minerals to get us ready for what awaits outside that door in the mean streets of life today.

The following items are more than tools for daily renewal. They are organic, when utilized in the grace of God, to filter, expel and rebuild. They are fuel. They enable us to shed unwanted pounds and take on muscle and bulk. These, then, become the first line of defense against laziness, flabbiness and gluttony, whilst taking up the offensive against the dark rule of the empire. Yeah, it’s that big!

So before we hit the floor or the door, it may behoove us to take our breakfast in bed.

  • Early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You…(Psa 63:1)
  • In the morning my prayer comes before You…(Psa 88:13)
  • Morning by morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation…(Psa 5:3)

Breakfast, it would seem, is the most important meal of the day for God-warriors too . Regardless of time or place, our day should be shaped by the good grace this diet brings. It’s guaranteed to get you, uh, bikini-ready, spiritually speaking. It’ll fine-tune those abs. Flatten ’em out. Promise.

Start your day, end your day, bookend your day, or fill your day (as the case may be) with these disciplines of grace:

  1. A TEACHABLE HEART – come before the Lord with an “amen” in your heart; tell Him “Lord, whatever it is You show me, I will do it.” Open every crack and crevice, corner and closet to His gaze. Come open, ready, repentant, worshipful. Lord, I want a heart that is reachable, a mind that is teachable and a faith that is unimpeachable!
  2. THE BIBLE – The Psalmist promises “the entrance of Your Word gives light” (Psa 119:130); it opens up blocked corridors and fills the house with the Presence and fragrance of Jesus who is the Christ, for the Scriptures testify to Him (Jn 5:39). While reading plans are helpful, don’t try to read to accomplish a goal, but for illumination. Stay on a verse or passage. Ask His Spirit to breathe on the scripture and give it life for you. Await His marching orders.
  3. A JOURNAL – What else are the scriptures but the journals of His servants who wrote as they heard the living, breathing Word? Your journal is the record of your journey with the Shepherd and a pictorial of the places He takes you and where He lays you down in pastures of grace. On my library shelves sits literally thousands of pages of journaling—my prayers, raw expressions of faith and tables of His mercies in my life—my own books of remembrance that shape my life and keep me in the love of God (Jude 21).
  4. A HYMNAL – Certainly the Psalms—the hymn book of the Bible—are a great place to sing back to God the attributes He possesses and the marvels of life in Him; an iPod or CD loaded with worship music is greatly beneficial but get yourself an old hymnal. How rich is the devotion of saints in a bygone era and how much we can learn from their own disciplines! The time with God should not be rushed but nourished and cultivated with overtures of love back to Him.
  5. AN EXIT STRATEGY – What good is it to stare at yourself in a mirror, have it reveal what must be seen, then move on without dealing with that cowlick or bit of lettuce in your teeth? Do we rise from our session with Jesus, pat His back and say, “Good talk, Lord”? Here is where we put an exclamation point behind our “amen” and seek His grace to live through us. Did He reveal someone of whom we must ask their forgiveness? The first thing we do must be to grab the cell phone and set up a coffee with them. What did we hear Him say? Faith is not only hearing but doing. What is our takeaway? Our benediction is to follow through with our Shepherd’s instructions. Did He remind us we are not condemned but loved? Then all through the day we must confess those things that reflect that.

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