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What lies just beneath that layer, or maybe that one?

I'll run the course you lay out for me if you'll just show me how. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. (Psalm 119:32, 40) Many people restore old furniture because of the fine workmanship that went into it in the first place. They take great time to remove old layers of built up finishes and various coverings of paint. Why? The restoration will yield a beautifully crafted and solidly made item. Renewal or revival is really a process of bringing something back to life again - it has been withered under the weight of time, pressures of experience, or dismay of disappointment. With revival comes a "re-infusion" of freshness and the possibilities of something new coming forth. I have been guilty of neglecting my houseplants for a period of time, only to realize it once I see the leaves limply hanging in protest to my neglect! In the only way they know how to communicate with me, they are drawing attention to show me their need for water! God expects us to be as transparent with him - calling out to him with our need for revival - the need to be restored again to the beauty of the finest workmanship mankind will ever behold!

We have added layer and layer of things that cover up that beauty - because sin makes us want to cover-up the mars and dings that have developed in our character. Revival involves us sharing our plans and failures with God - allowing him access to the things we think we have "lined up" as the next steps with our life and the things that have been the missed-steps of our lives. Through his Word, he exposes direction to us - we are free to accept or reject it, but he will always bring exposure when we ask for restoration. Through his Word, he also exposes where we have accepted / adopted bad direction in our lives and what it is that we can do to correct that course. When I have learned things through the years in my various educational pursuits, I have appreciated that there are certain principles that apply when a certain outcome is desired. For example, you must heat a substance to a certain point and have just the right mixture of "fuel" in order to have combustion. There is a certain sense of safety in knowing what "principles" apply in a situation. Knowledge of those "principles" help me to avoid disastrous missteps and that reduces the need to have another layer of 'cover-up' in my life!

The principles we learn in our educational opportunities assist us with life's daily challenges. Each principle carries at least one condition that must be met in order for the outcome to be positive, or disaster to be averted. The principles outlined in the Word of God are not any different. Each principle carries a condition - meeting that condition produces the outcome (either good or bad). The Word of God can bring revival - it comes when we understand the force of the principles outlined.
There are times when revival (renewal) involves a process of dealing with grief - because some event or circumstance left us with pain. Each of life's decisions creates a moment of transition - we pass from one state to the next. For example, we pass from grade school to junior high. This transition may produce a sense of grief - old friends may not be going to the same school next term, teachers we have known for several years are no longer going to be around next year, etc. The sense of "transitional loss" can be experienced in our emotions, thoughts, and even in our bodies physically.

Yet, each of these transitional moments are an opportunity for growth - the opportunity to develop new strengths, to embrace new ways of thinking, etc. This is no different in the spiritual sense. The opportunities of "transition" in our spiritual life are riddled with grief, and often many forms of 'cover up', as well. We look back at what we had once experienced, sometimes grieving that we are moving on, and then come head-on with what it is that we are being transitioned into, and then we realize just how many 'layers' have been added into our lives along the way in an attempt to cover up some missteps. In those moments of time, we can either panic, begin looking back, try to hold onto the past, or plunge ahead and allow the layers to be peeled back. The plant can suck up the water and be renewed, or it can choose to say it is beyond revival, wither and die. We can do the same at our points of transition - "suck up" the refreshment of that which is being offered to us, or wallow in the dryness of our past experiences. What we choose to do with the moments of transition determines our future growth! Just sayin!

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