“Only God can turn a mess into a message.”

The Verse of Day for June 14, 2014 is taken from Philippians 3:20 which in the King James Version ends with a colon, indicating that fullness of the subject is not complete without reading verse 21.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

This particular passage was the inspiration for this poem:

The Ultimate “Extreme Makeover”

For our citizenship is in heaven,

from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior,

The Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform

our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body,

according to the working by which

He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Philippians 3:20-21



We await with outstretched necks for that glorious day

When we shall see the sunrise in the eastern sky,

When we are gathered in the twinkling of an eye.

To behold our new bodies will take our breath away,

So transformed and fashioned in splendid array.

Those who love His appearing He will not deny,

As all creation yearns and utters their deepest cry.

No longer concealed but now proudly on display,

Every fleshly flaw the love of God shall cover.

We look upon his face and see ourselves reflected

In the rapturous gaze of our expectant lover.

The work of our ministry has been perfected.

In the fullness of His presence we discover

Sublime joy in the ultimate “Extreme Makeover.”


The concept of the “Ultimate Extreme Makeover” brought to mind a previous blog entry related to spiritual transformation entitled “Only God can turn a mess into a message” which is re-posted here:

Despite the most horrific mess we may find ourselves in, it is comforting to know that "only God can turn a mess into a message."

Despite the most horrific mess we may find ourselves in, it is comforting to know that “only God can turn a mess into a message.”

On Thanksgiving Day, as I was assisting my daughter to prepare a magnificent meal, a feast fit for a king, her television was on to an episode of “Clean House,” a show that I that I had not seen before.  “Clean House,” a home makeover and interior design television show on the Style Network, features host Niecy Nash and her cleanup-and-renovation crew who visit the homes of families to help them clean up their clutter. This particular episode focused on a number of contestants whose homes were selected as finalists in the search for the “Messiest Home in the Country.” As I watched the transformation of a home that was cluttered beyond belief, so that every room on every floor contributed to what was described as “an epic mess,” I noted a spiritual parallel. As is so often the case, my reflections on earthly matters result in a poetic expression, first in the natural then in the spirit.  In addition, earlier in the week I attended a funeral of a dear sister in Christ, whose departure from this life came suddenly without warning.  At the Homegoing service, my wife Brenda, read one of the most comforting passages from John 14:1-3 which added to the inspiration for the following poem that I completed on the day after Thanksgiving.

The poem opens with lyrics from “Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” a gospel song from the 1950s, popularized by Albertina Walker and the Caravans. Not too long ago, Albertina Walker passed at age 81 which makes the verse even more significant as the opening to the poem:

 Not Made by Man’s Hands

Lord, keep my day by day,
in a pure and perfect way.
I want to live, I want to live on
in a building not made by hand.

   Traditional gospel song 

I recall the poignant words of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Words of the Bridegroom to reassure his Beloved:

“I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am

There you may be also, and if I go and prepare

A place for you, I will come again and receive you

Unto myself that where I am, you may be also.”

Though my dwelling place is furnished just to my tastes,

Will I need an office where I can compose my thoughts?

Is there a kitchen for me to prepare meals that bless?

Or will you make your servants sit down and enjoy

Sumptuous feasts prepared to satisfy the appetites

Of those who hunger and thirst for more than food or drink?

I know I will enjoy my custom-crafted mansion,

Exquisite design from God’s mind, not made by man’s hands.

Later on the day after Thanksgiving, I visited my sister who had a ceramic plaque with a saying that immediately caught my attention: “Only God can turn a mess into a message.” The statement seemed to reinforce the lesson learned by the television show “Clean House.” Once more I recognize that God is always speaking; certainly, God is never not speaking.  God, who is the ultimate in embodiment of creativity, knows just how to transform “a total mess” into a magnificent message. I recall the last sermon I heard preached by the late Dr. Sam Farina, who offered a most inspiring teaching that inspired this poem which begins with a most revealing first line:

Living in a Strange Land

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place

which he should after receive for an inheritance,

obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise,

as in a strange country,

dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob,

the heirs with him of the same promise:

Hebrews 11:8-9 


“The moment you start to walk by faith,         

you will come into a strange land.”

Dr. Sam Farina 


When your life seems to be one big mess.

You start in peace but end in distress:

All you ever wanted was just to bless.

Help me say, “Can I get a witness?”

Things may not turn out the way you planned

Because you’re living in a strange land.

Despite that you still must sing your song.

Keep walking in faith; it won’t be long.

Trust in the Lord, and you will grow strong.

Things may not turn out the way you planned.

Despite that you still must pray your prayers.

On Christ you must cast all of your cares.

God will separate wheat from the tares

Because you’re living in a strange land.

Despite that you still must shout your shout.

Walk in faith and don’t worry about doubt.

Ask Job who knows what it’s all about.

Things may not turn out the way you planned.

Look over your life; learn from the past:

Trials are for a moment and won’t last.

Grab hold of the Word and just hold fast

Because you’re living in a strange land.

There’s a great cloud of folk cheering you on.

Run with patience; you have the baton:

Finish your course, you’ve already won.

God sees and knows you’re a faithful son.

Things may not turn out the way you planned

Because you’re living in a strange land.

In looking back over my life, I sometimes recall lines from “Little by Little, Bit by Bit,” another poem that expresses a similar truth:

You started your journey with the Lord and just wanted to bless,

But seems like your life took a turn and is now one big mess.

Though things may not turn out the way you think they should,

Someday you’ll look back and see that all things worked together for your good.

Just remember that no matter what happens that the Lord is good.

A song that captures the essence of the transforming power of God to take what appears to be a disaster and fashion it into a vision of stunning loveliness is “Something Beautiful” written and performed by Bill and Gloria Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band.

The last phrase of “Little by Little, Bit by Bit” reiterates that “the Lord is good” which also brings to mind, the last statement from the complete quotation by Robert Moorman:

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory. God is so good…all the time!”

In the midst of our messes, it is good to recall the goodness of God and His faithfulness to redeem, restore and to give life to every worst case scenario that we ever encounter.

"Only God can turn a mess into a message."

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3 Responses to ““Only God can turn a mess into a message.””

  1. neil Says:

    Thats true only christ can turn our lives around he turned my life around.

  2. mrsmariposa2014 Says:

    Beautiful and true. Praise God for turning my mess to message!

    • Dr. J Says:

      Thanks so much for the encouraging words. This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the ultimate expression of turning a total mess into a glorious message. God bless.

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