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September 2019

Die to Old Self


Die to Old Self

Nature has taught me…Part 2

When we were still living in Berrien Springs, Michigan I would take Zoi, our little puppy, outside to use the potty. 

I especially loved taking Zoi to use the restroom out in the snow, to see her childlikeness in playing with the snow and eating it and running around. It was the simple things of life that were little gems of innocence in our present day. 

In our many escapades to the outdoors I was introduced to the cicada. On the trees that governed our backyard were the remains of the Cicada hanging on to the tree but empty inside. Seeing this every day, grossed me out at first but then my curiosity led me to google what I was seeing. 

It turns out that the cicada emerges from the soil at night, climbs the nearest vertical surface (many times a tree), splits their exoskeleton and escapes under the cover of darkness. 

So essentially what I saw on the tree was the cicada skin or exoskeleton that had been left behind after it had grown from the nymph stage to an adult. Dragonflies, damselflies, stoneflies, and mayflies also leave behind these tangible shadows of their former selves. 

This immediately took my mind to the biblical image and metaphor of what happens when we meet/encounter Christ and when we choose to live for and follow Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

We leave our exoskeleton behind and become a new creature. Just like a butterfly leaving its cocoon. 

When we come face to face with Jesus, we are left with a decision, to follow or not. If we decide to follow God, we give Him our lives and He gives us His. Or in religious talk, we die to our old selves and live a new life in Christ.

Colossians 3:3-5 adds, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

Continuing, Galatians 2:20 teaches that, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God’s Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins.”

What that means is that we need to leave our old habits, speech and conduct, behind and live our new life under the influence of the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus. We now live a whole different life, patterned after Jesus. 

The reality is that there are many of us with our skeletons in the closet or our exoskeletons still on our backs. Rather than leaving it at the tree - or the cross ;) - we take it with us and we do not truly live a life like Christ because we are still tied to our old lives. 

We cannot carry our dead carcass with us. If we carry it with us we will stink and be unfruitful. We will also leave an opportunity to return to that which Christ has already freed us from (Heb 11:15). 

So leave the old behind. Put to rest that which is dead and enjoy the new life that God offers!

Sebastian Lopez has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2010. He is pastoring in Palm Coast, Florida.


Obsidian Memories


Obsidian Memories

Nature has taught me…Part 1

Summer vacation is officially over, although the extreme triple digit heat lingers. School has officially begun and teachers and students alike already miss summer break. When people think of summer, they think of trips to the beach, covered in beautiful white sand, swaying palm trees, and crystal, clear blue water. I’ve been lucky to live close to a beach. Not quite as picturesque as Sandals beach resort commercials, but nice nonetheless!

A memory I have is of a unique beach I visited when I traveled to Maui, Hawaii as a kid. I was quite young, but I remember my beach trip quite vividly. I recall being in a car driving for hours through winding roads, gorgeous vegetation at every turn. Rich greens, sharp dark stones accenting the road; tall hills littered with brightly colored flowers accented the trip. We finally arrived at the abandoned beach. What was so strange to me was the color of the sand. The entire beach was covered in midnight black sand. The color was the complete opposite of any other beach I have ever seen or been to! I couldn’t get enough of it! The contrast between the volcanic, black sands made the lush vegetation nearby seem ethereal. I remember hearing the roars of the strong waves cascading over the small black sands and the sensation of my toes digging into it. Even though I was extremely young, likely to forget even visiting such a place, I could still appreciate and recall the majesty and uniqueness of the seashore.

God has created such a fascinating world for us. Even thousands of years after its creation, we as humans, are still learning and discovering new and wondrous creations! The glorious nature that he has created for us is not only for adults to love and appreciate, but for all of mankind, no matter the age. Even though the school year has begun and summer trips are now in the past, I encourage you to go out and enjoy God’s beauty with your family. As the temperature begins to drop, take a stroll around your neighborhood, look up at the stars, spend time with your loved ones. Our eyes should gaze upon his creations. You’ll find that a simple 15 minute walk with a family member will bring you not only closer to each other, but closer to God as well. Create new memories and let us appreciate all that he has made for our enjoyment! “And God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good. “ Genesis 1:31

Alejandra Clark is a CTE Food Science Educator at Edinburg High School.