:: Monday, July 31, 2006 ::
Romans 12 : 1, 2
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will." -NIV
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 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 know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is." -NLT
Paul knew the world. He was trapped inside its "pattern"; he knew this world in the most intimate way. He persecuted Christians, detested the Word of God, lived to destroy.
But God saved him.
He went from persecuting Christians to lifting them up in prayer, to supporting them in their ministries, to becoming a Christian. He saw both sides of the table, and was brought to his knees when he saw the light; when he saw all that God offered him. The very entity he fought all his life tore his world open, threw him for a loop, opened Paul's eyes by blinding him.
Paul knew the world.
He wrote to the Christians all over the world, encouraging them, giving them the boost they needed, and sometimes showing them their failures. But he always did it with a God-set heart. He writes to Christians still today. We are able to read his letters, read God's inspired word, and have an example to live by.
Paul urges us, pleads with us, to change our ways. To give to God what he has given us. This man, Paul, the persecuter, the destroyer, writes now in the most sincere way to those he hated before. All because God showed him a better life. God showed him His will.
He urges us to give our lives to God, he pleads with us to change our ways. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world," he writes because he knows what the world means. He lived deep inside the world and saw what it caused. Death. Destruction. He lived a life devoted to denouncing the same one he now denouces to be the King of his life.
"...but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Let God move in your life. Let God change everything about you. Your mind, your life, your heart, everything about everything you do, let god have control of. Only then will you be able to break away from the pattern of the world. Only then will you come to know the life God wants you to have: "...his good, pleasing and perfect will."
We all get stuck in ruts. I feel like I am in the biggest one of them all right now. I feel trapped here, honestly. But God shows me everyday what a blessing I have before me. I am alive!!! I may be a world away from the love of my life, but God continues to show me that I should praise him for the love I have to give Ann!!!
I should praise him for every breath I have, every step I take! God has a reason for me being here, God has a point in everything that happens. We must shake off our conceptions and focus of this world, and look to God. He has a will for us; he has plans for our future, plans for fortune and blessings.
Don't conform any longer to this world. Paul urges us, he pleads for us, to look heavenward. Look to God for all our needs. Give our lives to God as a holy sacrifice, let him take control, and everything will fall into place.
My friends, learn from Paul. He was the scum of the earth, until he looked heavenward and was blinded by God. Only then was he able to see what God's intention were for him. Paul saw a future ahead, a life of fortune and glory in God. God lead him down some difficult paths, into prison, across the world, away from his friends and confidants, even had some faithful friends turn against him, but PAUL NEVER LOST HOPE! He never stopped looking toward God. He never did his own thing, never strayed.
Learn from Paul. Look to God in all things you do and you will succeed in all things you do. God has a plan for us. We may think that sometimes God isn't with us, that we are alone, but that is why Jesus was on the cross. That is why he took God's wrath upon himself, so that in our greatest time of need, God is there for us.
If we look to God in all we do, we won't be able to see the dips in life, the curves ahead, or anything that may frighten us. I was afraid to come here. I was afraid to even go to Camp Shelby. But by the grace of God and his perfect will, I am safe in his arms. I have to keep looking towards him for comfort, for support. If we keep our focus on God, we won't be able to get discouraged.
And to keep our focus on God, to be able to look towards Him in all things, we must transform ourselves. We must not conform to the world, but instead conform to God.
This is what Paul was urging, pleading for his friends to do and continues to urge and plead for us.
My prayers are with you all.
God is good. All the time.
:: Ben 10:31 AM [+] ::