“…Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, to God.” Romans 12:1
As a child, did you ever feel the pressure to accomplish something you really could not do, but felt you had to because your parents, or maybe a spouse or boss, asked you to? We put a lot of stress on ourselves to do something we don’t really have the ability to do. It is not like that with God. There is nothing He will ask you and me to do, where He hasn’t given us the power to get it done. So when we are asked to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, we do not have to figure out how to do so. The only way we can be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, is through Jesus. So we must ask Him to accomplish His work first in us, then through us. He will certainly do it.
In what areas of your life are you trying to live in your own strength, instead of allowing Christ to live in and through you?
“…You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18
Loyalty in any friendship sets the stage for a secure, healthy, and deep relationship. Steadfast love is one way to describe God’s love for His children, because He takes great pleasure in providing human beings with a love that is unwavering and loyal. Though He could hold back in His love for His children at any time, He does not. We should be overwhelmed when we understand how devoted He is to the love He has for us.
Allow God to teach you what this steadfast love looks like as you intentionally spend time with God daily. When you do, He will live through you in a way you could never have imagined.
"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way." Romans 14:13
One of the hardest things to deeply get a hold of is the notion that the way you live is not the standard for others. It is so easy to look at others and think that the way they are doing something is wrong, based solely on the way you do something.
Paul says this ought not to be so. There is a greater standard, and that is God's. God's standard is the lens we should look through, first at ourselves, and then at one another. So often, when we see something in someone that bothers us, it is simply a reflection of our own behavior that is in our own blind spot. Knowing this, Paul asks us to guard our hearts in ways that will allow God to not only do His work in us, but also to do His work in those around us, in His own time and in His own way.
What are some actionable ways, in spite of what you believe to be correct, that you can show love rather than pass judgment?
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk 2:14
The world is in a constant state of chaos and disorder. It seems, in fact, to be the norm. People have learned to expect the unexpected. Though Jesus followers find themselves in the midst of chaos and instability, we know that God is in control and that His mission will be accomplished. God uses what the enemy intends for evil for His good purposes (Genesis 50:20). One day, all will be made right, and the Lord will reign in glory. That promise gives believers assurance that, though difficult times loom heavy in the world, those times are, in fact, only temporary.
How does God's promise change your perspective on current events in the world?
"Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3
When God births a church, it's never just about one city. He has the nations on His heart. Psalm 67:7 says, "God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him." The same God who told Abram that he would make his name great and would then make Abram a blessing to other, has blessed you -- not as an end in yourself, but so that you and your family may be a blessing. Throughout history, God's activity in our lives here, locally, is always connected to the big picture of what He is doing globally. That is true of our church, your family, and your very life!
How has God has blessed you so that you may be a blessing to others?