Lindenville Devotional Free to Renovate

Free to Renovate

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:23,24

Think of humility in terms of renovating a house—a lot has to be stripped away to make it better. The process is ugly at a point, as everything is dirty, broken down, and chaotic. To stop at that point is a shame; it prevents the new from coming in.

Pride (self-defense) turns a blind eye and says, “Mess? What mess?” And nothing gets done. Strangely, the more wrong we are, the more unwilling we are to be set right. Humility makes us free—free to accept God’s help, and the changes that must happen to make the best things real in us.

“Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.” —Blaise Pascal

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Pain, and the SpiritPain, and the Spirit

To get through in this life, a person either needs the Holy Spirit, or something to seriously distract and/or numb the emotions. Life is just too painful and stressful without either hope, or oblivion.

When, exactly, did painful emotions become the enemy?

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.'” Genesis 3:8-13

Obviously, there are things we just can’t bear to face, much less deal with. This is why we need the help of God’s Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t remove our pain, He displaces our fear and dread with His own holy virtues—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These virtues aren’t natural in us—not when we need them, that’s for sure—and they can’t be bottled or playacted. They work, and they work in spite of pain, and comfort us powerfully, indescribably, as He promises—and delivers—His own presence in our circumstances. All this, with no harmful side effects, or damaging consequences.

“As men are not able to fight against death, misery, ignorance, they have taken it into their heads, in order to be happy, not to think of them at all.” Blaise Pascal

*Galatians 5:22,23

©Cami Tapley.

Eternity Begins NowEternity Begins Now

An Except from Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery…

“HOW STRANGE THE GRAVEYARD looks by moonlight!” said Ruby suddenly. “How ghostly!” she shuddered. “Anne, it won’t be long now before I’ll be lying over there. You and Diana and all the rest will be going about, full of life—and I’ll be there—in the old graveyard—dead!”

The surprise of it bewildered Anne. For a few moments she could not speak.

“You know it’s so, don’t you?” said Ruby insistently.

“Yes, I know,” answered Anne in a low tone. “Dear Ruby, I know.”

“Everybody knows it,” said Ruby bitterly. “I know it—I’ve known it all summer, though I wouldn’t give in. And, oh, Anne”—she reached out and caught Anne’s hand pleadingly, impulsively—”I don’t want to die. I’m AFRAID to die.”

She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life—the things that pass…

“Why should you be afraid, Ruby?” asked Anne quietly.

“Because—because—oh, I’m not afraid but that I’ll go to heaven, Anne. I’m a church member. But—it’ll be all so different. I think—and think—and I get so frightened—and—and—homesick. Heaven must be very beautiful, of course, the Bible says so—but, Anne, IT WON’T BE WHAT I’VE BEEN USED TO.”

It was sad, tragic—and true! Heaven could not be what Ruby had been used to. There had been nothing in her gay, frivolous life, her shallow ideals and aspirations, to fit her for that great change, or make the life to come seem to her anything but alien and unreal and undesirable.

The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.

“I think, Ruby,” she began hesitatingly—for it was difficult for Anne to speak to any one of the deepest thoughts of her heart…and it was hardest of all to speak of them to such as Ruby Gillis—”I think, perhaps, we have very mistaken ideas about heaven—what it is and what it holds for us. I don’t think it can be so very different from life here as most people seem to think. I believe we’ll just go on living, a good deal as we live here—and be OURSELVES just the same—only it will be easier to be good and to follow the highest. All the hindrances and perplexities will be taken away, and we shall see clearly. Don’t be afraid, Ruby.”

“I can’t help it,” said Ruby pitifully. “Even if what you say about heaven is true—and you can’t be sure—it may be only that imagination of yours—it won’t be JUST the same. It CAN’T be. I want to go on living HERE. I’m so young, Anne. I haven’t had my life. I’ve fought so hard to live—and it isn’t any use—I have to die—and leave EVERYTHING I care for.”

Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her.

Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She WAS leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life—the things that pass—forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other—from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there—Anne believed—she would learn—but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved.

Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different—something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.

Frodo’s Journey, and OursFrodo’s Journey, and Ours

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand. There is no going back. There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep.That have taken hold.” —Frodo, LOTR

We can’t avoid pain and disappointment, but it’s something else to enter into the blackest part of it, continue the journey in the midst of it, and come through. It requires death to “self,” as in, the instinctual part of us that forfeits what’s best for whatever’s good enough, or at least, familiar.

When something so alive in us—something we felt had to be—isn’t realized, we have to let go our idea of it, or, lose our soul, bit by bit. Letting go is a sweet sadness. There’s freedom in it. Freedom that’s unimaginable while we hold on tightly.

“I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life”—if we’ll seek Jesus through our deepest disappointments and past them, we’ll find—at last—the reality of His risen life more than reason enough to continue on.

“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” —C.S. Lewis

John 14:6