"You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely instilled striving for . . . progression." Choosing to be a 7-day Christian is choosing change, as our heart and mind focus on Jesus Christ's teachings, which transform us.
My friend Rich Tenney, of the Utah Valley Astronomical Association," taught me that as God created the earth and its inhabitants in six of His days, the same pattern may be used to re-create us. With God's help we can be formed, divided, lightened, beautified, and filled with life, to increase our worthiness to be His children in His image. "He is a God of new beginnings."
True change is a spiritual quest. It begins internally with God's vision for each of us, developing outwardly as God works in us and through us. We recognize that we are not capable of making these changes by ourselves. We depend on God. With the apostle Paul, we understand, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me" (Philippians 4:13).
The Lord formed the earth from pre-existing matter that was not organized as a purposeful structure (see Genesis 1:2). Our lives have shape and structure. Purposeful shaping develops as members of a family or others who are interactive and interdependent adapt to meet each other's needs and interests—arranging to get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there.
When COVID became pandemic, many of us felt that our lives had become matter unorganized. Much of work, education, and human contact were accomplished remotely through interactive media. Time was not available for many "necessities" that had to become non-necessities in order to clear time for aspects of family care and local services that demanded different workers and different scheduling. Health care workers, emergency responders, and others performing essential services were stretched almost beyond endurance.
After matter had been organized into the necessary shape, God said, 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear and it was so" (Genesis 1:7-9). As 7-day Christians, we trust that God will help us make necessary divisions in our lives, to find our solid ground. Gary E. Stevenson, a worldwide Christian leader, reflected on COVID challenges: "Many of you have dealt with heartbreaking disappointment, sorrow, and discouragement. So how do we heal, endure, and move forward when things seem so broken?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, another worldwide Christian leader, taught us what matters most: "Many families have lost incomes and are threatened with hunger, uncertainty and apprehension. . . . We are humbled by the quiet sacrifice and noble efforts of those who have risked their own safety to assist, heal, and support people in need. Our hearts are full of gratitude for your goodness and compassion."
Compassion and gratitude are likely beginnings for meaningful Christian re-creation. Similarly, Russell M. Nelson counseled that our "shared trial" should bring us closer to "brothers and sisters across the street and around the world," that none of God's precious children should ever feel alone.
In loving and serving others, we come to reflect on our love for and commitments to God, who loves all of us. As we dedicate our lives to serving Him, we renew our intentions, our feelings, and our spiritual strength. All are blessed as we engage in something that is larger and more important that ourselves.
Stepping away from the noisy commotion of the world, we can hear the Lord as His spirit whispers to us with His blessings of guidance, comfort, and peace. To hear His still small voice, we too must be still (Psalm 46:10). "Quiet time is sacred time."
As we pray for our ears to be open to listen for God's voice, we must pray for our eyes to be open to see His light. God created "lights in the firmament of heaven to give [physical] light upon the earth: and it was so." Christ blesses us with spiritual light if we are willing to receive it.
Dieter F. Uchtdof taught that "even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light—He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness." This Christian leader cautioned that to receive Christ's spiritual light, we need to desire it and apply effort. "Spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ. Spiritual light cannot be discerned by carnal eyes. Jesus Christ Himself taught, 'I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.' (1 Corinthians 2:14)." As this light must be "spiritually discerned," we must draw close to God, and He will draw spiritually close to us.
As we emerge from our times of darkness and discouragement, we must share our joy in His light with others. As we extend our hearts and our hands, we allow Christ's light to flow into our lives.
Beautified and Filled
God created this earth to provide for the needs of His children and to bring them joy. "And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind" (Genesis 1:12). God blessed us with an infinite variety of beautiful and useful plants and provided for them to continue to thrive with our care.
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read that God "hath made every thing beautiful in his time." This biblical word division is significant. Every individual thing is beautiful, not an overgeneralization of existing possibilities.
Through the ages, beliefs concerning human beauty have varied dramatically among geographical areas, races and ethnicities, time periods, cultures, socio-economic conditions, generations, circumstances, and individual whims and values—to mention just a few. Many are unhealthy, as well as expensive, exclusive, and constantly changing to generate wealth for those who don't need more.
We need to remember God's definition of beauty: "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, nether do they spin. And yet . . . Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Regardless of how he might have been arrayed, Solomon did not end up happy, righteous, or respected.
As God has beautified the earth, He beautifies us as we are re-created according to His standards and His will.
In addition to His blessings of plant life, the Lord has filled the earth with animals to serve and sustain us. Animals have been needed to produce food crops, provide transportation, support sheltering, enable building, allow socialization, and facilitate civic organizations and functions—this is just the beginning. To illustrate His willingness to help those who love and serve Him, Christ used the image of a yoke, which joins animals to work together when a burden is too heavy for one of them alone.
In Psalm 8:6-9, David expressed his gratitude:
6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:3-5 expresses the culmination of this earth's creation in powerful poetic language:
3.When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
We may not always be aware of the glory and honor He bestows on us. But we understand His love as He helps us re-create ourselves according to his 7-part pattern of forming, dividing, lightening, beautifying, and filling, to reach the ultimate privilege of being created in His image. Since 2020 we have faced a pandemic, with all its heartbreak, but as 7-day Christians we know we are His, and He will bring us through stronger, more spiritual, more loving, and more resilient.
May we continually re-create in His love.
7/21/2022 10:06:52 PM