Transformed

Today I want to start by confessing a guilty pleasure. I have loved the show “Project Runway” from the very first season. Those of you who know me in real life know that 1. I am not a fashion maven by any stretch of the word and 2. I can’t sew. My idea of high fashion is finding a great solid top to match a comfortable pair of jeans. I don’t even like prints! But I love watching ordinary people taking a piece of cloth and transforming it into something breathtaking in the span of an hour, minus commercials. When the big reveal on the runway happens, it is like magic to me.

I love a good story about transformation. To see someone change their life right before your eyes is a sight to behold. I have a young friend who spent years living on the streets when she was addicted to heroin. Now she is clean, runs her own fitness studio, and is a voice in the wilderness for recovery and hope. Her transformation story is profound and inspiring.

Today’s passage involves a moment of transformation, a big reveal, and a change that changed the world.

Luke 9 (The Message)

28-31 About eight days after saying this, he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made! They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.

Jesus’ appearance changed dramatically on the mountain. His companions also changed dramatically when Moses and Elijah joined him there. Luke describes it as a “glorious appearance.” When the disciples woke up from their nap, the glory was blinding and confusing:

32-33 Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking.

Ahhh, Peter. So much like us! Have you ever blurted out something without thinking? I love Peter’s humanity.

34-35 While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him.”

God appeared as a light-radiant cloud and everyone became deeply aware of him. This is something we should all be longing for … to encounter God in such a transformative way that we are deeply aware of his presence.

I think too often we are pretty unaware of God’s presence. Scripture assures us that God is with us, even unto the ends of the earth. But do we take the time to feel him? Do we take our eyes off of our worldly problems long enough to see him? Or are we asleep, like Peter, James, and John?

36 When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.

There is one major take-away here. God confirmed Jesus as his son and commands us to “Listen to him.”

Are you listening?

Do you see?

There is a big reveal waiting to happen in your life. Maybe it’s time to go to the mountain and pray.

Broken Tree by Skip Haynes

By Grace

I know a young woman who has made a remarkable journey from a normal, upper middle class upbringing to a normal, upper middle class college education to living on the streets for five years as a heroin addict. Today she is fully recovered. She owns her own business, enjoys a happy marriage, and is a strong and passionate voice for others dealing with drug use. Her pain, suffering, and struggles are now employed in helping others understand addiction and recovery. To me, she embodies the possibility of complete and total transformation that comes through the grace of God. We do recover!

I thought of her this morning as I read Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. Paul underwent a tremendous transformation of his own, going from being a murdering persecutor of Christ’s church to being one of its strongest advocates. Most of what we understand about theology comes from Paul’s letters, and his work in taking the gospel all over the known world speaks for itself. He is the reason we have the church today, and his words still have relevance thousands of years after he wrote them.

1 Corinthians 15 (Common English Bible)

15 Brothers and sisters, I want to call your attention to the good news that I preached to you, which you also received and in which you stand. You are being saved through it if you hold on to the message I preached to you, unless somehow you believed it for nothing. 

I passed on to you as most important what I also received: Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures. He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time. I’m the least important of the apostles. I don’t deserve to be called an apostle, because I harassed God’s church. 

10 I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing. In fact, I have worked harder than all the others—that is, it wasn’t me but the grace of God that is with me. 11 So then, whether you heard the message from me or them, this is what we preach and this is what you have believed.

“I am what I am because of God’s grace.” Can’t we all say that? Where would you be without it? I know I would be lost. Paul gives God credit for the hard work he put in, realizing that is grace alone that enables us to do good works.

Is God calling you to transform some aspect of your life? Are you engaging in something harmful that requires a stepping away and giving it over to him? Are your relationships in need of repair? Do you need God’s grace to move on with your life in a new direction?

Lucky for us, God’s grace is abundant, amazing, and free to all who seek it. If addicts can recover and murderers can be redeemed, your situation can be changed if you yield to his will and his mercy. You are not alone!

God’s grace is ENOUGH.

Enough by Michelle Robertson