by: DALE NESSMITH
“God shall hear, and afflict them, even He that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, there- fore they fear not God.”>Psalm 55:19
Life may be full of surprises, but life overflows with changes. Actually, life is so full of changes that it creates a surplus which cannot be contained and so it spills over and creates new spaces of expanded existence. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, shop, communicate and worship. Our government is changing from Republican to Democrat. Even though changes are often difficult to accept, in most cases, they are needful, whether we agree with them or not. Ever since the first sin was committed by Adam and Eve, our world has been changing. So, there really is no “new normal.” The changes we are facing in 2021 are really the “old normal.” According to God, we ought to be thankful for changes.
Changes have a divine catalytic effect on Christians by inciting fear and reverence for Almighty God. When changes come along and upset our “applecarts of pleasure,” we realize that we really cannot depend on anyone, anything or anytime but God. Whereas, if we don’t experience changes, prosperity will pooch out our pockets but harden our hearts so that we forget God. God doesn’t like it when we forget Him either. That’s why He sends changes. Sometimes He uses His Holy Word and often He will cause His Holy Spirit to change us, even to the point of repentance. Re-pentance is really the change we all need! It is really more needful and will prove more beneficial than the need of changing the worst diaper on a baby. Repentance would not be necessary if we were perfect and never got off track. But since that is not our case, repentance is the right change because it’s a righteous change sent to change us from God directly. Repentance is not only a change of mind, it is also a change of direction. You may say it changes us and then it “changes” us to testify of His mercy.
God knows we are a work in progress, so He stamps repeated repentance all over our souls. It’s not that we have to get saved again, it’s because we need more practice to glorify Him and enjoy the perfected position He has given us in Christ. Even though Jesus changed our destiny by taking our place on the cross, shedding His precious blood for us, and then rising from the grave, sealing our redemption for all eternity, we desperately need daily changing to shape and mold us to be just like the One who did all that. That’s Jesus Christ our Lord! God is the potter and we are the clay and the changes He sends prove that every day.
“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6
Just think what a blessedness it indeed is to be in the hands of God knowing that He is shaping and molding and changing us for His glory and our good. The psalmist said in Psalm thirty-one, verse fifteen that “My times are in His hands.” So that means that the changes which come our way come from the perfect and powerful hands of our God and Heavenly Father. We are in good hands, though not only for security, but also for change.
God sometimes uses pandemics and government authority to bring changes. I believe that COVID-19 is from God. It may have originated in China but God created China too. There are many places in God’s Word which say that God sent a plague or a pandemic to either judge an unholy nation or to chasten a nation He had called to be holy.
“If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and more sicknesses, and of long continuance.” Deuteronomy 28:58,59
And, if you think about it, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being President and Vice-President of the United States of America is about as far-fetched as any candidate confirmation in a high office could be. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were about as low at one point in their respective primaries as anyone could be, yet they now hold the highest offices in our land. Now I didn’t vote for either one, but the fact that they are where they are, in spite of my opinions and also in spite of their abilities as portrayed from right wing news sources, verifies that God has His hand on them and our changing nation. Actually, it makes me more confident that the changes we face will be for our good even though we may not agree with it nor want it. God knows what He is doing though. I often don’t know what God is doing and sometimes I don’t know what I am doing nor why I did it.
God never changes! That’s because God is Holy. He is Light and there is no darkness in Him at all. He doesn’t have to wonder if He did the right thing or not. He is always right and He is good all the time. The best thing for all of us to do to arrange for change is to submit to our God, to fear His holy name and to “mold” with the punches of providence He sends our way. Sometimes we pay more attention to the changes than we do God. Remember the Apostle Peter got into deep trouble when he feared the changes he was facing more than he feared the Lord who walked on the changes.
“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” Matthew 14:30
If we are honest, most of us are probably entering this new year with too much fear. I have been told that there are 365 “fear not” com- mands in the Bible (I have never actually confirmed that.). I do know that God doesn’t want His people to be afraid of changes that He sends, and, if we are afraid, we are still to trust in Him. David said “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” A reverential fear and awe of God should overcome any fear of life circumstances that we face. The waves in Peter’s case and the changes in our case will prove to be the very path to walk closer to Jesus in 2021.
Everything always changes. Everything except God, that is. It is comforting to know too that our Heavenly Father does not change. He will not change His mind about loving us or forgiving us. He has prepared a place for us in Heaven, and that reservation will be surely filled. There will be no vacancies in Heaven! What’s amazingly wonderful is that Heaven is a perfect and holy place and we by nature are an imperfect, unholy people. So, it goes without saying that many changes are in store for those heading to Gloryland.
“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not con- sumed.” Malachi 3:6
Since God does not change, it would be futile for us to try to change Him. The wisest move we can make while we’re in our earth suits is to make arrangements for change. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” There is a positive twist to change! Let’s take every turn with confidence knowing that the bend in the road is not the end of the road, but only part of the road that takes us closer to Jesus. Let’s make the most of this life, this “home on the range.” To do that we shouldn’t complain, We should arrange for change.
“Change my heart oh God. Make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God. May I be like you.”
God’s grace is sufficient for any change we deal with.
Jesus Christ paid our sin debt with the highest exchange known to man. He took our place on the cross and shed His precious blood for us! God saved us by grace and we get to keep the change. On the cross, Jesus changed our destiny and so no matter what we face, His changing grace will prove all we need to make it.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
What’s so amazing about grace is that God changes us by sending changes. Since the Bible says that we are pilgrims and strangers on earth, change is a part of our redeemed lifestyle. The Israelites found God’s grace sufficient in the wilderness in the form of manna. God sent wafers every morning except the Sabbath day to provide sustenance day by day. Many times the grace God provides proves that the change we dread is how our souls are fed.
“Many times the grace God provides proves that the change we dread is how our souls are fed.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ was described by the prophet Isaiah as a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. And in His divine likeness, we go through changes as “people of broken heart” acquainted with grief. Sorrow is how God deepens the subsoil of our hearts to turn up the riches of His salvation to enable us to serve Him and others better. It is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly. We go slower when we’re hurting and we reflect more reverently on our motives and manners. Most of the fields in our area today are bare and appear desolate. Change is on the way though! Harrows and herbicides will rip, tear, and kill in preparation for abundant yields of cotton and peanuts.
The Lord always mixes hope with the sorrow He sends to change us. It is like sorrow without despair. Sorrow with despair can be a selfish sorrow. It’s like when we wish our children would never grow up or our
loved ones would never die. Now both of those cases bring sorrow, but hope helps us know that change is for their betterment and our good. We all wish we could always be healthy and stay young, but Adam and Eve’s actions in a garden a long time ago made sure that would not happen. We need the changes like the atmosphere needs the weather to bring April showers so there will be May flowers and October grain.
“Sorrow is how God deepens the subsoil of our hearts to turn up the riches of His salvation to enable us to serve Him and others better.”
God’s glory is manifest by changes. Think about the change you hated to face but now praise the Lord for. God changes our hearts to change our minds so that we can testify of His miracles of mercy in our lives. He changes our careers, our health, our wealth, our families and our government and He changes sinners like us into saints of His righteousness. Peter was changed from a fisherman to a follower of Jesus. Paul was changed from a religious zealot to a gospel preacher. God changes the way we walk, the way we talk, and the way we pray. Thank God that we are not what we used to be even though we are not what we want to be or what we’re going to be.
Change is how God does business with us - it’s called sanctification — the process whereby born again believers are changed into the likeness of our perfect Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s dispensations change too. Thankfully, we don’t have to bring animal sacrifices to church now. We do however, bring a living sacrifice; one that is changed from darkness to light and from spiritual death to eternal life. Jesus changed the water into wine and He can change the wine into water too. Those addictive sins we struggle with when given to the soul saving, life changing Jesus Christ, lose their power over us. Yes, Jesus Christ is not only a life saver, He is also a life changer. He can change lust into true love and hurt into happiness. He does it all for His glory and our changes magnify His glory the most!
“God changes our hearts to change our minds so that we can testify of His miracles of mercy in our lives.”
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:18
Change is coming whether we are ready or not. Let’s not “kick against the pricks” like the Apostle Paul did on the road to Damascus before the Lord changed him. Let’s do what he did after he was changed when he said, “Lord, what would thou have me to do?” One thing the Lord would have us all do is arrange for change.