Thursday, March 12, 2009


A little while ago, my dad sent me some files that he had found on his computer that were mine from when I lived at home. I just looked at them today and came across this devotional I gave when I was at TMI (Teen Missions International) on a spring break work team in 2002. It really challenged me as I read it, thinking...I put this challenge out to Others all those years ago, and yet it is convicting Me right now! I thought I'd share some of it here:


How many of you Really like change?

How many like change in your spiritual life?

You're looking at someone, who for most of my life has considered change to be my worst enemy (Maybe because it involves maturity...) =0) I didn't like getting out of my comfort zone at all...

But God has shown me over the past several years, and specifically in the last year - that He REQUIRES AND DESIRES CHANGE in our lives.

When you think about it... the Bible is Full of people who were changed. I can't think of many people that were mentioned in here that didn't undergo some change between the first and last mention of their names.

Our everyday lives require change - Maybe taking a different way to work or school because of an accident or construction... Maybe some of you this week have had to change your morning routine from Lucky Charms and pop tarts to... TMI breakfasts. =0)

I had to change when Paul asked (informed me) about this devotional. I had planned to be sitting down there with you guys, listening to someone else up here. But, change happens.

I've heard it said that "The only thing in life that is constant - is change" and I think that's true..

So, what's my point - What's the big deal with Change?


I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about salvation.. and she was sooo close - but she said "If I do this, will I have to change how I live?"
The cost of change was too high. But God can't save someone and not change them.

The first change is your eternal destination - from Hell to Heaven. I don't see how anyone could be opposed to a change like that...
But God doesn't just want to change your destination - He wants to change your life.

He wants you to be open to change in our Goals, Jobs, Where you live, What you believe, How you act, What you think....Who you Are.

Maz Lucado said "God loves you just the way you are....But He refuses to leave you there. He wants you to have a heart like His. He wants you to be JUST LIKE JESUS.

I think too many of us - Christians and non-Christians say "God loves me just the way I am.." and leave it at that. But He has soo much more for us.

* At this point, I did a little illustration... I had a miniature frisbee that could be folded up and put into a little bag.

I said, "How many of you know what this is?" (It wasn't obvious at all)

This is how I see us when we're unwilling for God to change us. We stay rolled up in our little comfort zones, maybe clutching our Bibles - doing essentially NOTHING.

But - God's plans are so much bigger than ours - and if we would let him stretch us and change us (I flipped open the frisbee) - THEN we can become useful to Him. (The frisbee flew out into the audience)

Romans 12:2 "And be not Conformed to this world: but be ye Transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and perfect, will of God."

To CONFORM is to become LIKE the world, but to be TRANSFORMED is to be changed, or transfigured. We can't prove and live the good and acceptable and perfect will of God without first being transformed.

I've undergone changes in every area of my life recently, but possibly one of the biggest "changing experiences" was going on a team last summer to Dominica.

Okay, think with me here:

* Canadian girl, had only flown once in my life
* Never been out of North America
* Never experienced Florida in the summer (quite an experience)
* Never slept in a tent for more than three nights in a row
* Never had more than ten mosquito bites on my body at one time
* Never washed clothes by hand
* Never had less than six showers in a week...
I could go on - but I think you get the point - it was CHANGE!!

And a lot of it was hard for me - people in this room could testify to that.. BUT it was change that I needed and that I'm grateful for now.

God did things in my life that wouldn't have been possible any other way. And - in a couple of months, I'm coming back to do it all over again because there's lots of changing still to be done!

In the Bible there are countless stories of people, who when they did as God asked - it required radical change in their life. But as a result of their willingness to change - Hundreds and Thousands of people's lives were impacted!

Here's a couple examples:

* The whole city of Ninevah might have perished in their wickedness if Jonah hadn't changed his agenda and gone to preach to them.

* All of humanity would have been wiped out - and we wouldn't be here today if Noah hadn't changed his plans and built the ark...and He didn't even know what a flood WAS!

* If Moses hadn't got out of his comfort zone - the whole nation of Israel might have stayed enslaved to the Egyptians - or died in the wilderness before reaching the promised land.

* And finally... there would be NO escape from Hell and the penalty for our sins... if Jesus Christ had decided to go on living... or just "quit" and gone back to heaven. But He didn't - He changed His will to that of His Father and went to the cross.

So, for those of you here who haven't even made that first change in direction from Hell to Heaven - I encourage you to do that today - NOW before you leave this room.

Even if there wasn't the whole world at stake - if there was just YOU - He still would have died.. don't put it off. If you would like to talk to someone... any of the BMW students, the staff here, myself, and others would be happy to show you from the Bible how you can be saved.

For those of you who have made that first change - WHAT NOW?

Are you going to leave it at that?

Just pause for a moment.. and think...

About the impact it could have on you,

your family,

your state or province,

your Country,

or the World...

if YOU decide not to change.


Anonymous said...

Wow Joia! Powerful. I'm sure there were kids whose lives were *changed* by the summers you spent at Teen Missions. Not to mention how much yours changed!!! (Now lots of Florida summers, Philip, Keenan, Moriah etc...)
Thanks for sharing those thoughts.
Love you,

Flakymn said...

Are we willing? I like to think I am but where I am is comfortable. Great post Joia!

The Woodford's said...

Just saw this Joia - Wow, thanks so much for sharing it. Definitely relevant for this girl, let me tell you!
Love ya lots!

Mom E said...

Very appropriate for where we are in our lives right now....great message. Isn't it cool how God uses us the best when we least expect it?
Love, Mom

Jessica said...

Change is HARD! But, so necessary. You are a really talented author, Joia! You should considering getting this published somewhere (besides your blog!) :)