Romans 12:2

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT

In other words, be different. Only the world would see being different from it as a bad thing. Don’t be like the world, be transformed. Don’t just act brand new, be brand new.

Isn’t it amazing how powerful our thoughts can be? Think about it (no pun intended). God transforms you into a new person by changing the way you think. Your thoughts make you the person that you are, but when God changes those thoughts, He changes you.

When your thought process is different, you’re different, thus your desires are different. These desires become God-centered, desiring to do His will. And what is His will? That which is good and pleasing and perfect.

If you want to be different start with the basics. Think different.

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Romans 12

Romans 12 is one of the chapters in the Bible that I have highlighted in its entirety.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. – Romans 12:1 NLT

In essence, Paul is begging his brothers and sisters to turn their lives over to God. “Because of all he has done for you…” Don’t just come to God for no reason, give yourselves over to God because of all that God has done in your life.

Make no mistake, you are doing God no favor by giving yourself over to Him. No, He has done everything, so Paul is saying really the least we can do is surrender to Him.

Let our bodies, or rather let our lives be living and holy sacrifices. Don’t offer God a dead body, but offer Him a living one. Offer Him a body that has life in it so that it can do His will.

Truly the way to worship is offering God a sacrifice that is worthwhile. You can always serve God, but the importance is offering yourself up to serve God in a way He finds pleasing.

Sacrifice isn’t convenient. Sacrifice isn’t priceless. Sacrifice isn’t ideal. However, sacrifice is necessary. Sacrifice is sacred. And sacrifice is worship.

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Chapters in the Bible

In an interest to do something a little different, I thought I’d write about some chapters in the Bible. Yes, I have done that in the past, but I have some chapters in the Bible that are highlighted in their entirety or almost entirely.

My goal is to take some of these chapters verse by verse and write about them. Some may have been researched more than others. Some will be written from just a basic understanding of the scripture.

I’m not a Bible scholar or a seminary student. I love God and His Word, and I like writing about it. Sometimes what I believe God wants me to share is simple and sometimes it seems a little more detailed. Either way, it requires me to spend alone time with Him which I believe is the big purpose and hopefully it will motivate you to do the same.

To start off, I’m writing about Romans 12. Romans 12 is one of the chapters in the Bible that I have highlighted in its entirety.

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Grieving Friendships

I’ve genuinely grieved a friendship that I now know is over. It’s been tough. It’s been sad. And so much of me wants to just move on and get over it, yet I’ve been unable to.

I finished a book by A.W. Tozer recently and in one sentence from it I understand why I’m having a tough time. “Only love can grieve.”

I realize grieving is OK. Grieving a death, grieving a marriage, a job, and a friendship is OK because grief is a part of life. We will grieve the loss of people and things we loved simply because we loved them.

As much as I want to rush this grieving process I know I can’t. As much as I want to be rock solid and move on, it’s hard. In reality, if the alternative is to not care at all, I don’t want that either.

So I’ll continue to grieve. I’ll continue to have moments of heartbreak from this and maybe continue to shed tears. At least in the end I’ll know I’m grieving this former friendship because I loved and still love this person. And that is going to have to be enough to get me through.

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God is Both

The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.”
Exodus 34:6‭-‬7 NLT

I think compassion deals with the heart while justice deals with the head.

I think compassion prompts a heart change and justice prompts head knowledge of consequences. Without compassion I don’t think people emote with wrongs. I don’t people can genuinely care about wrongs if there is no compassion. It’s way different to know something is wrong and see how the heart that is broken by that wrong.

Yet, without justice I don’t think people’s actions change if there aren’t consequences. The consequence of jail keeps some people from crime.

Thankfully, God is the perfect balance of both.

God is compassionate towards us and willing to love us towards change. But He’s also the perfect balance of justice, and He’s willing to discipline us towards change.

Without the two, we just have both extremes of a spectrum. With them both we have a perfect balance that is more likely to motivate a person to change. Some people stay away from crime because it would break a family member’s heart. Some stay away from it because the consequence is prison. If God were only compassionate then those who may require justice as motivation to change may never do so. If God were only about justice then those who respond more to compassion may forever lack motivation to change. Only God can equally be both and provide each of us what we need in order to change for His glory and His honor.

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True Treasure

In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Colossians 2:3 NLT

In Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. There’s not just a wise gem or two, its not just some treasure, but all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him.

Hidden in Him doesn’t mean that you can never find these things. It means that you have to search for them, and in order to search for them you have to look to Christ. Why? Because anything worth having is worth working for.

Treasure is valuable and it takes work to find it. Christ is our greatest most valuable treasure and worth searching and getting to know. In getting to know Christ, we begin to have a desire for a relationship with Him. It’s through this relationship that we begin to obtain the treasure of wisdom and knowledge because they are found in Him.

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Wonderful Blessings

One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”

Numbers 10:29 NLT

Hallelujah. The Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel. Another translation says the Lord has promised good things. I understand that this was for Israel, in a certain situation, in a certain time period in history, but wow.

God does not change. His faithfulness endures forever. So if God loved Israel enough to promise them wonderful things, might He have promised us wonderful things? Read the Bible and understand what Israel was like. It’s not like Israel was faithful to God like he was to them, and before we get on our high horse, let’s remember we’re not that faithful either.

However, in knowing that, we can raise a hallelujah! Because God does not change, and He was faithful to Israel even when they weren’t to Him, we can trust He will be faithful even to us.

Thank You God, because You don’t change. I believe that if You could promise wonderful things to Israel that they could stand on, You can do the same for me. And I believe that it all started from the beginning. You had a perfect plan in place because You knew we could not live it out apart from You. So from the beginning You planned a wonderful thing in Jesus Christ and everyday I get to be a recipient of it. Thank You Father God.

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Purpose over Plans

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Proverbs 19:21 NLT

This verse isn’t telling us not to plan. Rather it’s reminding us that God’s purpose is more important than our plans. Instead of asking God to bless our plans, we should ask God to help us align our plans with His purposes for our lives.

God’s purposes and plans for our lives are to prosper, to give hope, and a future. That was his plan for Israel while in captivity (Jeremiah 29:11). Trust His plans today, and entrust yours to Him.

There’s a saying, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” I’d take it a step further. Not planning isn’t failure, I’d venture to say those who fail to plan according to God’s purpose are the ones who plan to fail.

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Be Humble

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.Ephesians 4:2 NLT

Making allowances isn’t making excuses for people. It’s understanding that we’re human and make mistakes. It’s not a sign of weakness to forgive a person’s mistake. In fact, it’s a sign of strength and humility.

Instead of holding a grudge or tearing someone down, you choose to show them love by forgiving them and being patient.

Remember that you too fall short at times and hope that someone will be patient and forgiving towards you. So, keep that in mind and be humble.

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Lessons from a Middle Schooler

People surprise me. No, I’m not saying that in a negative way, although that’s true too. Every now and then there are moments when we surprise each other.

I assisted a student with a personal problem today. I was really inspired by how well she handled things. I would have possibly cried, other students would have likely broken down, but not her. She took life in stride, with no tears, and grateful attitude.

Now, I wouldn’t have thought less of her if she opted for tears, but it was her outlook that inspired me me. There was irritation, but no “woe is me” attitude. She thanked me for my help, but I was the one who learned a lesson.

Circumstances are poopie sometimes. Life isn’t always fair. However, we always can choose. We can make a choice about every circumstance we face. We can choose joy and peace regardless of circumstances, especially the ones we can’t change. We don’t have to like it, but we can trust God and find joy and peace in the fact that He will use our circumstances for His glory.

It’s not easy but it is true.

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