Today’s Reading: Romans 12-16

I find it interesting and encouraging when this chapter challenges us to offer our bodies as a LIVING sacrifice (in contrast to the dead sacrifices of the Old Testament). It talks first of all about not being conformed (bent out of shape in my words!) by the pattern of this world. Then comes a healthy understanding of who I am (not proud, or negatively self occupied) and then a list of spiritual gifts (or at least some of the main ones!) – that’s how God wants me to actually function as a LIVING sacrifice for Him! Can you spot your gift and if so what will be your challenge in functioning in that gift! If I don’t know my gift, is it any wonder that I malfunction! (or if I copy someone else = malfunction!)

Do you ponder over the list of practical things to practice in life and relationships in the rest of this chapter?

The next chapter deals with our attitude and responsibilities to government and why God asks us to do this! Interestingly – so who do I owe love to! And the astonishing statement that “love is the fulfillment of the law!” And ends with a list of things that people who know that “the night is nearly over and the day is almost here (isn’t that exciting or have I forgotten this!), should beware of – from outrageous orgies to something that creeps so subtly into my life – jealousy! Solution? I am to clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ (how do you do that?) and not to think about HOW TO gratify the desires of my sinful nature! Once a little boy in church leaned over to his father and whispered, “Is that Jesus over there?” – He figured that if Jesus was with them, then that person looked like the most likely candidate! Would I be mistaken for Jesus! The person must have been clothed with Jesus!

The next chapter deals with me having the notion that I have the right to do whatever I want to (even in the best scenario of being right)! But in the process I harm my brother or sister in Christ because they are not aware of the freedom in Christ – I cringe that Scripture calls it “I destroy my brother (sister) for whom Christ died”! – that is how He sees it, despite what I call it!

Don’t you love Paul’s prayer for his brothers and sisters in the next chapter! – God is described as a God of endurance and encouragement – and what does He want for me? – Hopefully someone is praying for me – “May the God of HOPE fill you will all JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him, so that you may OVERFLOW with HOPE by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.”! And Paul is convinced that the brothers and sisters are competent to instruct one another! Why?

And so Paul with his plans and yearning to reach those who have not heard yet, disappears in this book – riding off into the dusty future, so to speak – he can not but share the GOOD NEWS! Did you ever consider that the person next to you in life, may have heard the words of the GOOD NEWS, but hasn’t a clue what the good news has to do with them? Why not help them find out? Be filled with the passion to carry the good news. Don’t copy from others, but let the Lord use your spiritual gifts and natural talents to do naturally what He has so gifted you to do!

I have done some work at looking at the people in this honour list of Paul – what a varied list of people, but what gives me pause is wondering –“Would I make the list?” And so I look back to see if I have any of the characteristics that makes these people “special”! Hopefully I’m not a TROUBLEmaker, but wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil!

And after such a glorious book of the truth of who we are and what God has done for us, we too join in with Paul, “to the ONLY wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

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