Stripping to Rebuild

strip1 verb 1. remove all coverings from.
strippedstairs

In the fall of last year my husband and I decided we were going to update our staircase. Our home is over 100 years old and we had only made minor touch ups and repairs over the course of the 15 years we lived in our home.

To get prepped for the project, we had to prepare the house for “construction”. Tarps and drop cloths were affixed to the walls to reduce dust from getting all over the house. Materials had to be purchased and we had to come up with a plan for getting up and down the stairs while the project was going on. The process went something like this: stripper applied to each stair, scraping up the stripper, stain and varnish (a mess), each stair examined to hammer down exposed nails, sanding each stair several times, vacuuming each stair, did a say vacuuming stairs, a couple coats of stain and varnish, several coats of paint, and touch ups to cover mistakes.

One day I was sitting on the couch staring at this mess of a staircase, dust, paint cans, stuff was just everywhere. It wasn’t a pretty sight. As I was sitting there, wanting things to be back to normal, the Lord gently spoke to me “I’m stripping you to rebuild you.” During this time God was drawing me closer to Himself. God was showing me some things about myself that needed to change, areas He wanted to heal. He showed me how, overtime, I built walls to protect myself from people because I didn’t trust Him to heal me WHEN I would get hurt by others (yes, you will get hurt by people). He showed me that while I knew I was supposed to walk in complete love, not partial, I wasn’t because I was struggling with unforgiveness. These are layers. I was being stripped because God has purpose for my life, but the layers I’d added over the years was making it difficult for me to walk in my purpose. God was removing the layers and transforming me by the renewing of my mind through the word of God, Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Layer by layer God was healing the rejection, hurt, disappointment, fear, and other things. God reminded me that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV). I had to repent and ask God to help me live a life more pleasing to Him.

After the stairs were complete, guests came to our home and one person compared the update to a HGTV renovated project! God wants to come in and renovate our lives and transform us from the inside out and it is a process! Just like we don’t get the layers overnight, the stripping process takes time too. As God strips those parts that hinders us and begin to remove the layers, He rebuilds and makes us new. He will strip the layers and give us the strength and power to put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

God is ready to tackle the project we just got to say yes to the process!

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If I Be Lifted

Bible reference: Mark 5:1-42

In Mark 5:1 – 42, we read about Jesus encounter with a man possessed by evil spirits. The man lived among the tombs, a place for the dead, and he could no longer be subdued. At one time he was shackled by chains, but the chains could no longer restrain him. He would cry out night and day cutting himself with stones. He is living among the dead, isolated, and self-destructive. He needs help. The man sees Jesus from a distance and he leaves the tombs to meet Him. When the man encounters Jesus he falls to his knees. The spirits didn’t want to leave the man, yet the man was drawn to Jesus.  After Jesus cast out the demonic spirits the bible says the man was sitting and was in his right mind. After his deliverance the man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him to go and tell his own people what the Lord had done for him.

Jesus draws people. John 12:32 (NIV) says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” People will leave a dead place and self-destructing habits when they encounter Jesus. Although Jesus is no longer physically walking the Earth, the people that have accepted Him as their Savior are Christ’s representatives. Galatians 2:20 (NIV) says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. When people see us, they should see Christ’s reflection in us.

The question I have been asking myself is: “What do people see when they encounter me?” My prayer is that they will see Jesus.