Interpersonal Success and So Much More!

It’s interesting that this text comes on the day after a group of men from Buffalo Valley had almost an hour long discussion on abortion.  Our Saturday morning men’s breakfast group met today and, after consuming some very delicious baked goods from Gable House bakery, had a very healthy and interesting discussion on abortion.  There were various opinions in the group and we discussed not only the issue but the value that we cherish in having a group of people who can talk about things about which we disagree, and yet not call anyone names or even have harsh or […]

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Necessary Actions

Romans 12:12-13 contain five verbs that are very important to the life of the follower of Jesus, not just for the follower but for all those who watch the follower.  Here is the verse:  “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”   I would like to ask you to take these phrases and put them against your life.  Are you “rejoicing in hope”?  Hope is a precious gift that is given to the Christian through the resurrection of Christ and the promises of God.  We have hope in […]

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Stepping On Toes

Ok, I’ll acknowledge right up front that this post is likely to step on toes; but I think in a way that toes should be stepped on when people, and perhaps you, are standing in the wrong line. As Paul continues to discuss living the Christian life, he writes this in verse 11:  “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”.   Followers of Jesus should exhibit a diligence and fervor in serving the Lord. However, what I’ve noticed as a pastor is often a decreasing diligence and fervor in serving the Lord, while there is often an accompanying increase in […]

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Giving Preference in Honor

Paul continues to list behaviors and attitudes that reflect the Christian life.  Here is an important one to take to heart in verse 12:  “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another”.  There are two thoughts here for me, one that I never considered before.  First, we are to be “kindly affectionate” with “brotherly love”.  Note the familial connection, the intimacy that is suggested here.  We are exhorted to let kindness and love rule the day in our relationships with others.  Second, note the use of the word “honor” in the second […]

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What Do You “Cling” To?

Romans 12 contains many statements on how a Christian should live.  Having given us the theological basis for faith in Christ, Paul begins to give practical exhortation on how that basis should be lived out in the life of a believer. I’d like to talk about some of these practical exhortations; beginning with verse 9:  “Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good”.  God’s love does not present itself one way and then act another way.  That is what “hypocrisy” means.  The word was used to describe an actor in a play; someone who is […]

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Serving With Humility

God not only transforms our minds but He also gives us spiritual gifts with which to serve Him and one another. A key word is that “God” gives the spiritual gifts.  We don’t earn the gifts nor are certain gifts matched with different levels of obedience. We are given the gifts to use for His glory and our good.  Here is what Paul writes in chapter 12, verses 3-8:  “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 […]

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Transformation

Romans 12:1-2 is one of my favorite pair of sentences in the Bible.  The truth that is contained here is amazing.  Yesterday we discussed that we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; which is our reasonable service.  Today’s verse follows that quite nicely:  “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”.   I prefer to focus on the second phrase over the first.  I think that if we allow God to transform […]

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Reasonable Service

I never really gave much thought to the connection between Romans chapter 11 and chapter 12.  I’ve always seen chapter 12 as turning a new page and talking about something different.  That’s true but I want to take a minute to think about the connection between the end of chapter 11 and this beginning verse of chapter 12:  “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”.  The end of chapter 11 focuses on how the wisdom, knowledge and judgment of God […]

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When In Doubt, Praise God!

I doubt if, when Paul wrote what we know as Romans chapter 11, he had any idea of how what he wrote would be interpreted two thousand years later.  I wonder if he had a sense of the “weight” of what he wrote?  I wonder if he wrote through verse 32 and then re-read it before he wrote the last section of this chapter.  I find Paul’s words very comforting as I struggle with understanding, interpreting and applying this section of Romans.  Here is what Paul writes:  “33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of […]

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