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Mike, thank you for providing the link for the article "What is this Thing Called Love" - what a wonderfully truthful article & so apropos for me at this time in my walk. I have been ministering the love of God to people in such a way that they probably don't see it like that & had to deal with an issue last night (before reading the article) that grieved me to do & did with fear & trembling. As always, God confirms with His love & wisdom the next day as He usually does because I am always doubting myself. I have forwarded the article to many that I do love & some that don't love me & may be an enemy now - but I will not shrink back as the Word of God says in loving others with His love, whether it hurts them or me. Dying to ourselves daily & laying down our lives for others is usually not an easy job nor relished by many - but the fruit of our labor & reward in eternity is worth it all.

Jan

Romans 12:1-21

Paul has concluded the lecture part of Christianity 101. Up to now, we have been exposed to the background information of Condemnation, Justification, Sanctification, History, and Prophecy.

Now it is time for the lab - the practical application. Here the rubber hits the road.
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Living Sacrifices

We know how to become a Christian - you mean there is more? Yes, Salvation is more than fire insurance.

We are to offer our bodies as "living sacrifices"...

The Greek verb tenses indicate you offer (completed action) the ongoing sacrifice of your body. It is to be year by year, month by month, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

Some say martyrdom is easier than the idea of continually trying to live as a Christian 24/7. Perhaps but that is not what Paul is saying - he is asking you to yield to God, to offer "all of you" (no holding back), submit to His Will, you do not run the "show" anymore.

...holy and pleasing to God...

Wait a minute, what about our worldly "flesh" that is not going to please God.

Yielding to God is pleasing to Him. The altar in the OT is sometimes called the "Lord's table". When we offer ourselves (yielding) on the Lord's table, perhaps Ex 29:27 applies?

"Then the altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will be holy." NIV
-or-
"The holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life. As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities - David Guzik

...this is your rational/logical act of worship.

The sacrifice of dead animals in OT was one thing, but the greater mercies employed by God in your salvation - demand a much higher form of sacrifice - "All of You" - "A Living Sacrifice".

[NOTE: Not one mention of church, building, or ritual here - worship is 24/7 by offering yourself to God.]

Sounds good in theory, but this 24/7 thing is going to be tough to do. I don't think I can.

That is the point: YOU CAN'T.

Rom 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.." NIV

"Not conform" and "transformed" are in Greek tenses - ongoing commands to you done by an outside force. God will do it. Yield yourself to God, and let him do the work needed in you. Through the Power of the Holy Spirit and his grace. So that you will be the Living proof by your changed life to God's good, pleasing and perfect Will.
======================================================
Things to remember while God is Working in you:

Be humble. In regard to Spiritual Gifts - Do not become prideful, reflect on how and why you received them. They are to be used for the "body of Christ", not as a stump for you to proclaim yourself "special". We are to use our gifts to glorify God - not be a "showboat".

The next list is pretty straightforward, and moves in outward circles from individual to Christian brothers to the world - thoughts on a few:

1)"Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." - It may be easy to do one or the other - the Christian is to do both.

2)"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." - not the idea of being a "Holy Roller". The idea is to be internally (spiritual)boiling over in your desire to "serve" the Lord.

Rev 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Don't be lukewarm. It is better to be "cold" and sit on the sidelines, than to be lukewarm and playacting like being a Christian.

3)"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." - We are to share our resources with other Christians (saints)in "need". Hospitality to the "world" - love and being generous.

4)"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position" - While this is good advice on the world, I believe this is in section adressing Christian interaction.

In the last two years, I have seen on occasion a shunning of people in a church that did not look or conform to the standards of the members. We are not a "club" - we are a "body".
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5)Do not repay anyone evil for evil. - AHA! I found my contradiction. OT says "eye for an eye" etc. Uh no,

"Those verses are talking about public law that deals with the nation of Israel. A nation is to have a system of justice that retaliates against evil." - John MacArthur

Verse 17 is saying YOU do not repay evil for evil. Remember back to Cain, how God put a mark on him. I do not think that was so much acceding to Cain's request for mercy - but God not allowing any indivuidual to exact revenge on Cain. There were no nations at that time to have a government in force to prosecute Cain.

6)"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." - If it be possible indicates that it may not always be possible.” (Murray)

7)"...In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Interesting thought here by Keil and Delitzsch is that we are not to do good to make the person feel bad (shame him). We are to do good because we ought to do good, and the burning coals represent self-accusing repentance.

The Romans passage really hit home for me today. I am a manager of a christian radio station & music Director of our church, yet I still struggle with God's will for me. I don't have a peace with where I'm at in my life & what I'm doing. I've always struggled with God's perfect will for me as far as a vocation. The Romans passage today seemed to have the answer. I just didn't see it before. The proverbs passage hit home today as well. I really enjoy making this web site part of my devotions. I look forward to the insights that are shared.

I like your post. Honestly both Romans12:1-3 and Proverbs20:10 are seem significant to me. I have been accused of being two faced in years past, and I wish I had seen my body as a living sacrifice. I can only pray that I will be able to do so now. Thanks:)

II Chronicles 24-25:28
I’m not sure if I’ve covered this in my writing before but I’ve been focused, obsessed whatever the word used, with Proverbs 25:28 for at least three to four years. I meditate on it, I ask God for a clearer understanding of what it means, and it reads like this in the Amplified translation,

He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.
(Pro 25:28 AMP)

The notes in the Amplified cross-reference this verse with the sixteenth chapter and the thirty-second verse,

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city.
(Pro 16:32 AMP)

Self-control as opposed to external control seems to be key in walking with God. I do not believe we have it within ourselves to maintain control of ourselves outside of Jesus Christ. External controls do work in most instances; however, once those controls are removed, well…who we really are comes out. Joash operated under pressure of external control, Jehoiada the priest. His son, Amaziah, operated under the external pressure of fear; as long as he was under the threat of an invading army, he looked to the Lord. When God defeated that army, Amaziah became like most of us, he took the glory for himself. Pride led him to believe that he now was “All that and a bag of chips.” Wouldn’t it be a shame and silly for the donkey, that Jesus rode on when he entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowds, to think that the palms, the cheers the shouts of Hosanna, were for him? Yet we take credit every day for the things God has worked out for us. We think we are, “All that and a bag of chips with a Sneakers Bar thrown in.”

Internal controls will keep us, I believe, from operating with duel personalities, one way with folks and the other way when we think no one is looking. Who we really are is who we are when we are by ourselves. That is really, really scary and unsettling to admit.

It is amazing how these readings fit together, a theme from the Old Testament dovetails right into the New


Romans 12:1-21
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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 acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(Rom 12:1-2 KJVR)


I just love the poetry of the King James in these two verses. The key, I believe to gaining self-control can be found in these wonderful two verses. We need to have our minds renewed, we need to change the way we think. We need to come out of thinking as the world thinks and begin to think as God thinks. This renewing of the mind really hit me the end of last year.

I have a two-bedroom apartment, which has three-sided exposure, north, east and south. In November 2004 I found out that the external and the inside walls between the kitchen and bathroom as well as one of the bedrooms were loaded with mold. And because the bricks had not been pointed for probably ten years, the inside external walls had mold also. I had a complete gut renovation in my apartment with my furniture inside and covered up (dust, no matter how well you cover everything will get in that is what dusts does). With no walls, no bathroom, no radiators and no kitchen sink I bunked at my neighbors and God showed me what it means to renew one’s mind, as well as the insidiousness of sin as represented by mold (leprosy in a house) in the Book of Leviticus (14:34-55).

On deep inspection, my apartment walls were of two minds they looked fine on the outside but on the inside, things were rotten and moldy. They could not spray it out or clean it with a mixture of bleach, the walls had to come down. The Greek word translated, “Renew” in the King James Version came to life for me and God continually brought Romans 12:1-2 to my mind for the three weeks I slept on my neighbor’s couch.

G342
ἀνακαίνωσις
anakainōsis
an-ak-ah'ee-no-sis
From G341; renovation: - renewing.

We have been so ingrained in the thinking of the ways of the world instead of the ways of God, we need gut renovations of the mind. There are walls that need to come down. This Site provides the opportunity for everyone who comes through these portals to begin that renovation so that the duality of thinking we have become so use to stops. I also saw in that process of renovation how uncomfortable I felt while the walls I had become so accustomed to came down and finally were no longer there. There were no radiators, no toilet, no bathtub and sink. I had to use someone else’s facilities (Could this have been an example of how Christian Brothers and Sisters “bear” up one and another when someone goes through this process of renovation?).


Psalm 22:19-31
27
The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
People from every nation will bow down before him.
28
For the LORD is king!
He rules all the nations.

When things don’t seem to be going well, when people look like they are getting away with murder, figuratively and literally, these two verses let us know that God will rule and all of us who are rebellious will bow before the Lord and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.

Proverbs 20:8-10

At first glance, the eighth verse appears to be kind of off,

8 When a king judges, he carefully weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.

If I think back in history and even looking at the kings in the Bible----well, they didn’t judge fairly let alone distinguish right from wrong, good from evil. But then I looked again. One who is a “true” king and the one who is the True King will judge fairly and righteously. Having a crown on one’s head has as much to do with making one a king as a mouse falling into the cookie jar making it a cookie.

And to top it all off, verse nine and ten overarch everything in today’s readings that deal with hypocrisy, duality of one’s thinking and just straddling the fence when it comes to our Christian walk,

9 Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin"?

10 The LORD despises double standards of every kind.

I truly believe this; the above cannot be done until we walk in full submission to God. We can try on our own strength but we will fail. Unless we submit to God, presenting our bodies by placing ourselves on the Alter of God and allowing Him to set us on fire burning off everything that is not of Him, and leave those fire extinguishers home.

John, R, and Vance, I looks so forward everyday to reading how you all look at our scriptures for the day. So insightful, and so educational. Thank you. I can tell it's hard work. Thank you.

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