Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GOING HOME (from vacation) (09/03/15)
TITLE: Renewed Minds
By Edmond Ng
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- 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. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Our vacation was coming to an end and we were feeling a little dampened in spirit at the thought of going back to work and living our stressful lives all over again. Nevertheless, my wife and I did our last minute shopping for gifts to bring home to our family members, colleagues and friends before we began packing our luggage.
The journey home was a long haul and we were not particularly excited about it. We knew, however, a retreat of two weeks in a year was as good as we could get to spend time together—free from stress, the routines and the mundane, the troubles in life and the unforeseeable. What lies ahead in the days and months to come is not something for us to worry about.
Like many of us, Jacob probably had a similar feeling of reluctance to return home, but not because of work. It was because of Esau, his brother, who had sworn to kill him for stealing his birthright. Nevertheless, Jacob obeyed the Lord and brought his family home with him, along with plenty of gifts for Esau. We know the rest of the story, how Esau eventually forgave Jacob. (Gen 27:41; 32:13-15; 33:4; 35:27)
Are we worried, stressed out or afraid of what lies ahead? Have our time away from home drawn us closer to God or further away? Are we refreshed or feeling more tired than before our getaway? Are our minds renewed to stand up to greater challenges? Are our hearts all about ourselves while away or do we spare some thought for the people we know and loved to want to give good gifts to them?
Jacob returned home a changed man after he wrestled and had a close encounter with God. No doubt, a short vacation is not going to change a whole lot how we see things, but surely we must have seen some things we do not get to see this side of earth. Scenery and cultural practices, for example, are areas we can let God open our eyes to see things beyond the mundane and to learn from Him His perspective.
With the renewing of our minds, we can be made new in our attitude how we think about things, know and experience what it means to trust God absolutely. For as long as our lives are in the hands of God and our purpose is to do His will, we need not worry about tomorrow. He who satisfies our desires with good things is able to renew our youth like the eagle that we might be able to work at whatever we do with all our heart for the Lord. (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Matthew 6:33-34; Psalm 103:5; Colossians 3:23)
Dear Lord, thank You for granting us a time of retreat to renew our attitude of how we think about things and to draw closer to You. Remind us while we are away from home not to only think of ourselves but to think of others too, especially the people we know and loved. Help us put our complete trust in You, knowing that as long as our lives are in Your hands and our purpose is to do Your will, we need not worry about tomorrow. Renew our youth like the eagle to work with all our heart at whatever we do for You. Open our eyes to see beyond the mundane to learn from You and understand Your perspective so we might not be dampened in spirit but be renewed with joy to rest in You.
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