“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 NKJV
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 12 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Living Sacrifices to God
12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your [b]reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Serve God with Spiritual Gifts
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Behave Like a Christian
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given[d] to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have[e] regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Romans 12:1 urge
- Romans 12:1 rational
- Romans 12:12 persevering
- Romans 12:13 Lit. pursuing
- Romans 12:17 Or Provide good
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
For those still doing the Romans 1 challenge and those curious: It is a challenge to work with God to root out any unrighteousness and then part 2 is to practice good habit with intention. I have shared some of the dust that came to the surface in my life through this – doing a spring cleaning. No matter what stage or how long you have been serving God – if you challenge yourself and God to find an area to work on, you’ll find it. This has been powerful:
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen
HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for further explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)
God is definitely surfacing things in all our lives. The trials can be long and difficult. At some point I have many people reaching out and telling me other sins – be aware of the accuser. Be aware. Because we are doing a secret work with the Lord and all the accusation are meant for condemnation and not for purity, love and life. Be aware what is meant as bondage and what will set you free. It is not always clear. And sometimes so many things come at once you might find yourself asking God what is your perfect will for my life?!
As if maybe the trials and tribulations might end if you ca just appease God or if you can somehow figure out the special key to stopping the storm (when “peace be still” doesn’t work). Maybe you are wrong like everyone says, may go through your head and all their voices (sounding like Job’s friends) are saying you just need to get back under the perfect will of God for your life.
Stand. I should say not to grow weary – but I am sometimes weary. I am also sick again, with covid, so keep me in your prayers.
Now, let us look at chapter twelve – because in God’s sovereignty we land here today. This chapter is rich and dense so bring your favorite steak knife and be ready to eat until you are more than full. However, the overall thought of the chapter begins with a statement about doing the hard work we have been doing to uproot any unrighteousness within and suggests the question: “what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”? And thankfully spends the rest of the chapter making a list. If you can check off the items on the list, then you are in His will. If you can’t check them off, then you are not. Paul really simplifies it here. Now what about person specific items instead of general things we all should be doing to please God? Well, let me suggest that as long as you are reading, praying, seeking, and doing these things – God will give you the specifics. Or not, in which case I suggest you stay the course until he moves you.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
It is always good to remind yourself and take time to not that Paul is asking us to do something reasonable. These exercises, seeking righteousness, learning to witness and how to, repenting really well and staying humble, understanding our position is all reasonable. It is even reasonable to ask you to be pure. It is hard work to kill off the flesh and be pure. But it is a reasonable request and requirement.
We are so corrupted we sometimes do not even see it until we start digging in. And then God reveals and we can be freed. It is possible, here on earth to let go of all the sin and overcome our nature… but I think it is a daily choice because if we become complacent, we may be blind to our compromises. We cannot be made perfect until we are in heaven transformed.
So building on the foundation that all of the first 11 chapters have formed and the humble repentant hearts we should have at this point in the study Paul encourages us and present the thought for this chapter:
“2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We are to come out from this world, not be like them. I, being an artist, am pretty used to not being normal. But that doesn’t make it easier because as humans we want to fit in and have a feeling of fitting and belonging someplace. Well, that place is NOT with the world. Hopefully you have found a good home church that honors your gifts and gives you … wait, I am getting ahead of Paul. Paul is just starting off with Don’t Fit In with the World.
Then he says we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds – reading, studying, applying like we have been doing here in Romans and as we receive it – in all power – it will change our minds. It will renew us as we repent, refresh ourselves, and really spend time on this.
Spending time in His word will reveal His will – but in case we are a little slow, which I can be, and I am sure you can be sometimes too – Paul lays it all out with serve God with your gifts and behave like a Christian and that is the perfect will of the Father! (Sometimes we just make everything so complicated!)
“3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
Humility – again with the humility. I keep saying humility is the keys to the kingdom. Get in order and bow before the Lord God.
Our measure of faith – again it is our faith and thankfully we all have at least a tiny bit of faith like a tiny mustard seed amount. And truth be known the actually plant referred to doesn’t exist today so it is now translated to mustard seed. But the original plant was a tree like weed with the tiniest seed known to man. So we look at the modern mustard seed and it is a greater measure of faith than we need. This is not complicated and hard – we believe and were we fall short He can help our unbelief. There are some people who struggle to believe any of this. I tell you the Bible literally shows us they do not spend time in the word, because faith comes by the word of God. There are some with a small measure, but they can still move mountains. I know people who are believing for big things I can’t even picture and their faith is huge.
I was setting up a shop on Amazon for my business – be where the people buy is a good moto. And they have a free legal branding process to protect your intellectual property. I thought this is great, but what is the catch. They said, just to encourage handmade makers to sell on their site – they are trying to compete with other handmade selling sites. So I read the fine print. I cannot sell anything like or similar anywhere else – my property branded under them gives them certain limited rights to my products as well as limits my rights. Now, I may be the ONLY small maker sitting in her living room, focused on God and not the business, while struggling to make sales and ay bills and looking at this saying – but when I grow, that will put a cap on how big I can grow. What if God blesses this mess and I grow bigger than amazon. I cannot put myself under them. Moreover, this is God’s business and I cannot limit God. I do not think most people from a position of need, are guarding their position of abundance in God like that. I do not need HUGE faith to believe God can do it – I just need to know my God.
“4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Gifts – we all have a small measure of all these things. We all have a touch of prophecy and knowledge when the word of the Lord is revealed to us. And those with the gift must keep their faith build up. Everyone has the capacity to minister to someone needy or hurting, but to other t is a gift and they see needs other miss and help in ways others do not understand. Everyone can teach a little. Like you can read one of my discussions about Roman life and the Bible and learn something new and go tell a friend what you learned. While other have a gift for learning much more and making it understandable and relatable to other. Everyone has the ability to exhort (as we discussed before, it means to encourage and build up others). But some people are just really good at it and it is a gift. EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY TO GIVE and SHOULD DO SO LIBERALLY. Yes. So I made $0 this year. My tithe would be $0 if I gave 10%. Have I gone all the way to May without any money to the church? No. I tithed on my birthday money and I gave an offering from my savings. I hate presenting myself before the Lord with nothing to give Him. I fed people as well. I helped others as unto God as a gift to Him. I sent my product into offering plates. I donated products to charity fundraisers for Christian schools. I still give, and try to be generous. We all have a seed to sow; the Bible says God gives us seed. And if we sow it He gives us more. And this all includes sowing the word of God into people – AKA witnessing or soul winning. We must give to God by telling others about the kingdom. If you do not sow, you cannot reap. Go ahead and test God in this area – you cannot out give him. I am still living by faith (for a year and a half) and not one bill has gone unpaid and not one thing have I lacked. Give what you have and can. I have me – I give all of me! What about you. I want the gift of giving! I want to give it all back into the kingdom to grow the kingdom – I want to give so more souls are reached than the ones I can reach alone in this small town and with this small un-promoted blog. (And no I am not going to promote it to win souls, because we all know it is slim any unbeliever will read this. But the salvation message is at the top so if they stumble upon it, that might hear and learn and be saved.)
And we all can lead, at least lead someone to church or to Christ. But some have the gift and we all can show mercy cheerfully to some degree and usually not cheerfully. While other have the gift.
So because we all can in small measure do all these things – we should all strive to do all these things in that measure. But if it is a gift, you have great measure in that area and should strive to out give your gifting (because again, you can’t out give God).
So how many of those things can you check off and say you are naturally doing? How many do you need to work on? You can ask God to present you with opportunity and He will. But bring the whole check book to church then, because after you give, he may say: “that’s it?” giggles
Next Paul encourages us to behave like a Christian. Super easy, yet I have stumbled though this very morning. Sigh.
“9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
Do these need explanation? No fake love. Hate evil. Cling to good. Love each other first within the church then go love the sinners and bring them in. Don’t be jerks and do host dinners at your home. AND PRAY FOR EACH OTHER – don’t just say you will and not. How are you doing on this next list of things that God wants per His perfect will for your life?
“14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
Bless and speak life. Be in agreement – but do not come into agreement over something that is a heaven and hell doctrinally wrong thought. Sometimes (often times) it means acquiescing, which is a humble yielding to someone else’s way. For example, I am pretty opinionated and well educated and I met another Christian lady who was also opinionated and well educated – and she immediately began to argue with everything I said. I could easily point out a few chapter and verses to prove my point, I could pull out historical text books and show her other incites. I could do it harshly and embarrass her, or gently and try to educate her more, or I could humble myself and acquiesce. Arguing would not make her back down, she felt threatened. I cannot help her feelings so I shut up. I let her be wrong and the big voice in the room. You see, no one’s salvation was on the line and God is very capable of defending His own words. Agreement and unity was more important than me being right. Again and again – humility is the key (I try not to use me as an example for humility because I am human and we all struggle with it and using yourself can be almost prideful. But it was a good example of it – and know, like you, I do not always get it right!)
“17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
This list gets more and more straightforward and direct. How are you doing on checking off the boxes? You wat to know the Lord’s will for you – these are it. All of these are His will for you!
“20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
That last one is not always easy. Especially when you are already down, already worn out and tired, already sick, already in the refiner’s fire, already going through it for over a year and suddenly the enemy attacks using people you should be able to be vulnerable around. Self-survival counterattacks are the fleshly response. But we die to flesh. I asked them to back off and I went silent. Not my will, Father – but Thy will.
My friends, please pray for me.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!