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Spirit of the Flame - 70 days following the Olympic Torch
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DAY 65

Yesterday I pondered about the lessons youth can teach us older ones. This time I ponder over a football game I was involved today. Under 35's v over 35's. Yes I was in the second group! With youthful athleticism on their side, us older ones still managed to beat them 3:2! But given the way I feel, I bet I know who is more likely to have been nursing aching muscles; the older ones!

The saving grace of the game was that we could swap players, a bit like ice hockey. Ten minutes on, and then it's time to hand over your bib to someone fresher than you. Change was a good thing.

This evening, when my kids got home from a party and time visiting friends, they saw the last part of Crocodile Dundee II. Mick Dundee, the hero, gradually "kidnaps" each of the seven men trying to hunt Mick down. Set in the outback of Australia, there are funny moments as each person gets taken from the group. Most were in amusing mischievous ways, which made my kids laugh.

At the end, Mick swaps clothes with the villain. They walk out in the open making it look like the villain had caught Mick. Wally, a terrible shot, shoots at "the villain". He goes to the ground. This flushes out the last villain, who shoots "Mick", who falls over the cliff. The heroine shoots the emerging villain, and then grieves over her lost loved one.

A friendly Aboriginal appears, and explains the swap, and says something like, "Just as well you are a bad shot, Wally." They had counted on Wally being a bad shot so Mick would not be seriously hurt, and present the intended illusion, flushing out and disposing of the two villains. While this is not the kind of TV our family promotes, the illustration is useful; the change (of clothes) was a good thing.

Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

There are times when CHANGE IS A GOOD THING. Like changing tired players in football. Like changing places/clothes to save your life. Like allowing God to change the way you think.

This is not a brainwashing, it is a choice, one that you can revoke at any time. It works with the idea that some things in this world are not good for us. Selfishness, greed, and a lack of loving concern for others breads hatred, prejudice, and intolerance.

I like the way The Message translation puts this verse, "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (v.1-2).

Sometimes change is good. Especially when we have a God who is unchanging. Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

So if change is sometimes a good thing, and if God can help us change spiritually, what do you and I need to ask God to change in our lives?

-Pr Nathan Stickland
www.adventistyouth.org.uk

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