Friday, April 9, 2021

Broken Mirror

Broken Mirror

Romans 12: We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.

 

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Preserving some of my junk in the move, I wrapped a mirror in newspaper to protect it. I placed the mirror in a box with books because it seemed like a perfect fit. Somewhere in transport, the mirror broke. Since it was still in the frame, I used it. I learned how to navigate the cracks for different purposes.

 

  • There have been many times when I pondered my purpose.
  • There have been many times when I wondered if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.
  • There have been many times when I questioned my purpose compared to another person’s purpose.

 

Paul tries to convince everyone to use their gifts and talents for the LORD. He eludes to the fact that some people are gifted one way and others are gifted another. Each person has a gift that they can do extremely well and it should be used for GOD.

 

  • GOD wants me to use the gifts and talents HE gave me to serve HIM.
  • GOD wants me to know I am not gifted in all ways, so I need other people.
  • GOD wants me to be in union with others so together, we can make one body, which is CHRIST.

 

When the first human sinned, every human fell to GOD’s discipline. Every human became a sinner. We used to be made in GOD’s perfect image but fell to pieces, individually reflecting GOD, one tiny fragment at a time. My reflection is only part of one huge mirror that attempts to show GOD.

 

My fragment is no more or less important that another. It takes GOD to pick up the broken mirror and put it together to make something that can reflect HIM. HE fuses the broken pieces together so the entirety can be used. I am grateful GOD takes my tiny faith and connects it to other broken people.

 

  • Do you think your gift is not valuable?
  • Do you feel less than other people?
  • Will you stop looking at other people and allow GOD to show you your gift and talent so you can use it to glorify HIM today?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review the Faith Side

 

Review the Faith Side

Romans 12:And because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you.

 

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After taking the leadership class, I started behaving as prescribed. I was promoted five times and felt pretty good about “my” abilities. I was proud of “my” accomplishments and offered to help others with some of “my” wisdom.

 

  • There have been times when I trusted “my” abilities.
  • There have been times when I believed in “my” accomplishments.
  • There have been times when I thought “I” did things with “my” power, skills and talents.

 

Paul warns everyone not to think more highly of themselves. This is contrary to the world saying “believe in yourself.” He immediately gives a solution. Look at the faith side of your being.

 

  • GOD wants me to know that my skills and talents come from HIM.
  • GOD wants me to understand that I was placed in every position by HIM and HIM alone.
  • GOD wants me to look introspectively so I can give HIM all praise versus thinking I did anything.

 

Looking back on my life, I can see things don’t add up. I mean, my pitiful background should not add up to where I was brought. There was nothing I said or did that got me to where I have been. I can say “Only GOD brought me here.”

 

Reviewing my faith, I see a deficit. Times of worry led to times of sin which led to times of worry. BUT GOD enabled me to take what little faith I had and share it with others. Like a piece of bread HE has broken, it miraculously grows into another piece of bread in someone else. I now understand that it is not me, but HE who lives in me that causes me to have abundant life.

 

  • Are you looking at “your” gifts and talents as “yours?”
  • Do you look down on someone else’s decisions based on “your” knowledge?
  • Will you stop thinking more highly of yourself and allow GOD to open your eyes to HIS faithfulness, so you can place your dependence on HIM today?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Complete Change of Mind

Complete Change of Mind

Romans 12: So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

 

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Let me review my life’s checklist. High pressured job chasing wealth? Check. Sleepless nights worrying instead of believing? Check. Hidden sin? Check. Overlooked homeless people? Check. Hiding my relationship with GOD to fit in? Check. Yep, I looked like the rest of the world. I wondered if they will give me a raise?

 

  • There have been many times when I hid my relationship with GOD to fit in.
  • There have been many times when I committed sin, but hid it to fit in.
  • There have been many times when I made sure I knew about the world, dressed like the world and worried like the world so I could fit in.

 

Paul appeals to everyone to become a “living sacrifice.” He goes on to say this requires dedication to GOD’s service, seeking to please HIM in every way. He also urges everyone to stop trying to be like the rest of the world and allow GOD to “transform by a complete change of mind.”

 

  • GOD wants me to have faith, so HE will put me in situations that require faith.
  • GOD wants me to have pure thoughts about HIS creations, so HE wants me to look at all humans as someone HE loves.
  • GOD wants me to have a higher standard, so HE gave HIS SON as the measure of perfection to compare my life to.

 

Becoming a living sacrifice is not easy. I mean, as a person born into sin, I crave what the world offers. When the world says it’s okay to have sex outside of marriage, I crave it. When the world says to medicate my problems away, I crave it.

 

When the world mislabels me, slanders me, and overlooks me based on seeing me, I react with the standard hate filled, argumentative,  validation seeking way. BUT GOD wants another way. GOD wants me to say to HIM, “Here I am, please open my eyes to how YOU want me to think.” I am grateful HE is willing to change my mind.

 

  • What standard do you have for yourself or others?
  • Are you trying to fit into the world and serve GOD at the same time?
  • Will you allow GOD to change your mind on your worries, doubts, fears, lusts, and relationships, so HE can guide you and fill your heart with HIS perfect will today?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Mine

 

Mine

Romans 11: 33 How great are God's riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain his decisions? Who can understand his ways? 34 As the scripture says,

 

“Who knows the mind of the Lord?
    Who is able to give him advice?
35 Who has ever given him anything,
    so that he had to pay it back?”

 

36 For all things were created by him, and all things exist through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen.

 

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Driving my old car, anyone and everyone was allowed in. The seats were full of junk I tossed in the back, so I would ask the unexpected passenger to move the stuff out the way. But then I bought my first “new” car. I had a car note that was exactly the same amount as my rent. I washed it weekly and vowed to keep it clean. I restricted who would ride in “my” car.

 

  • There have been many things I have had that I claimed to be “mine.”
  • There have been many possessions I have had that I worried about protecting.
  • There have been many items that I had that I thought were “mine.”

 

Paul and the other prophets ask great questions about GOD to show how powerful and incredible HE is. HIS riches, wisdom and knowledge is unsurpassed. HIS decisions and ways cannot be explained or understood. No one has given HIM anything especially money or advice.

 

  • GOD wants me to know that all things were created by HIM.
  • GOD wants me to know that all things exist through HIM.
  • GOD wants me to know that all things exist for HIM.

 

Knowing all things were made by HIM and exist through HIM and for HIM is scary. I mean, even though humans make things, they still exist because of GOD. When I use the things humans make I should be using it “for” GOD. While it sounds extreme, it seems true.

 

GOD wants me to use “my” computer to spread HIS word versus searching for porn or ways to become GOD and be in control. HE wants me to use “my” phone to spread the gospel versus sending text messages complaining about “that” person.

 

HE wants me to use “my” food to feed those who are hungry. Many ways I have neglected GOD by thinking I own anything. I am grateful GOD forgives me and accepts any portion of what I acknowledge as HIS.

 

  • What are you trying to protect?
  • Do you think you “own” anything?
  • Will you release your hold on “your” stuff and allow GOD to guide you to HIS peace today?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Permanent Love

 Permanent Love

Romans 11: 28 Because they reject the Good News, the Jews are God's enemies for the sake of you Gentiles. But because of God's choice, they are his friends because of their ancestors. 29 For God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses. 30 As for you Gentiles, you disobeyed God in the past; but now you have received God's mercy because the Jews were disobedient. 31 In the same way, because of the mercy that you have received, the Jews now disobey God, in order that they also may now receive God's mercy. 32 For God has made all people prisoners of disobedience, so that he might show mercy to them all.

 

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Watching a promising employee, I noted her actions. I could see potential where others could not. She asked me to mentor her so I gave her my advice regularly. But one day she said she desired to go to a “rival” department. “Can I still come to you for advice?” she asked. “You have new leaders now” I said to her, knowing in my heart I did not like the leaders in that department.

 

  • There were times when I provided blessings to a small number of people.
  • There were times when I withheld blessings because something “that” person did.
  • There were times when I changed my mind about my blessings when “that” person decided to do something different than “I” expected.

 

Paul attempts to explain how merciful GOD is. He talks about the Gentiles and the Jews disobedience. No one obeyed GOD. Since GOD’s word demands death for any sin, all humans were prisoners of disobedience from birth. Was there any hope? Yes! JESUS showed mercy to all.

 

  • GOD wants me to know I would never have chosen HIM unless HE chose me.
  • GOD wants me to thank HIM for HIS mercy because I do not deserve HIS glorious gift.
  • GOD wants me to see the mercy HE has shown me so I can see the mercy HE can and will show others.

 

Mercy is GOD’s choice. I mean, there is nothing I can do or say to earn GOD’s mercy. JESUS, being GOD, volunteered to die for me. HE loved me so much that HE took my punishment. HE saw all my sins and died for me anyway. HE never changed HIS mind about me even when I sin the most. I am grateful HIS love for me is permanent.

 

  • Are you looking at someone and thinking how messed up “that” person is?
  • Are you withholding your loving prayers for a group of people because they do not look or act like you?
  • Will you recognize GOD’s mercy for you so you can thank HIM and allow HIM to open your eyes to the mercy HE wants to show “that” group of people you have judged today?

Friday, April 2, 2021

Stubbornness is Not Permanent

 

Stubbornness is Not Permanent

Romans 11: 25 There is a secret truth, my friends, which I want you to know, for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent, but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God. 26 And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says,

 

“The Savior will come from Zion
    and remove all wickedness from the descendants of Jacob.
27 I will make this covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

 

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Speeding past the “slow” drivers felt great until I hit traffic. I was getting impatient. I saw an empty lane and wondered why no one used it to “get ahead” of the other cars. I darted into the empty lane only to see there was an accident ahead in that lane. Wanting to get back in “my” spot in the lane I left, the other drivers would not let me in. I recognized a few cars I had sped past.

 

  • There were times when I was too stubborn to change.
  • There were times when I needed to change but lacked surrender.
  • There were times when I thought I should be first but wound up last.

 

Paul explains GOD’s grace for the Israelites. The nation will someday believe that JESUS was and is the Messiah. But, instead of being first in line to receive GOD’s blessings, they will have to wait until the full number of Gentiles comes to GOD.

 

  • GOD wants me to know that the last will be first and the first will be last.
  • GOD wants me to understand that HE can outwait any stubbornness I may hold onto.
  • GOD wants me to surrender to HIM because HE has all the answers.

 

Stubbornness in one case refers to not following GOD the way HE wants me to. I mean, I can get mad at HIS timing, methods and lack of doing things “my” way or I can surrender my life to HIS timing, methods and doing things “HIS” way.

 

GOD wants me to say “JESUS is LORD”, “JESUS died for me” and “JESUS is alive” every day. I cannot be too stubborn to mention HIM daily. I surrender my life to HIM and HIS grace is sufficient.

 

  • Are you battling GOD with something?
  • Are you too stubborn to see you need to surrender, even when you thought you already had?
  • Will you allow GOD to open your eyes to the true Messiah, namely JESUS, who will guide you to HIS purpose today?

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Kindness Taken for Granted

 

Kindness Taken for Granted

Romans 11: 19 But you will say, “Yes, but the branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because they did not believe, while you remain in place because you do believe. But do not be proud of it; instead, be afraid. 21 God did not spare the Jews, who are like natural branches; do you think he will spare you? 22 Here we see how kind and how severe God is. He is severe toward those who have fallen, but kind to you—if you continue in his kindness. But if you do not, you too will be broken off. 23 And if the Jews abandon their unbelief, they will be put back in the place where they were; for God is able to do that. 24 You Gentiles are like the branch of a wild olive tree that is broken off and then, contrary to nature, is joined to a cultivated olive tree. The Jews are like this cultivated tree; and it will be much easier for God to join these broken-off branches to their own tree again.

 

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After being invited to stay for dinner, I felt like I had a second family. I was delighted that my friend’s parents took me in as they did. I started showing up more and more. Soon I became comfortable in their house. We laughed and played music loudly. Then I heard “Turn that music down and start cleaning up!” Uh-oh. Maybe I was getting too comfortable.

 

  • There were times when I took someone’s kindness for granted.
  • There were times when I got a little too comfortable with someone’s kindness.
  • There were times when I was not afraid of my actions when I should have been.

 

Paul carefully explains to the Gentiles that they should not brag about being added to GOD’s family. GOD showed tremendous kindness when HE adopted everyone who believes in JESUS into HIS family.

 

But while GOD is kind, HE is also severe to those who fall away from HIM. HE cannot wait for HIS chosen people to turn back to HIM, but HE is willing to break off the branch of those who refuse to believe in JESUS.

 

  • GOD wants me to believe in JESUS for the forgiveness of all my sins.
  • GOD wants me to be relieved that I can still sin and be saved by grace.
  • GOD wants me to reduce sinning day by day so I will not fall into HIS wrath of consequence for sinning.

 

JESUS paid it all. HIS death, burial and resurrection took care of any sin I could ever do. BUT GOD still has another side, namely wrath. HE sees when I try to do things without HIM and allows me to go my own way.

 

I fall into sin and GOD allows a small amount of wrath to come into my life. Fortunately HE doesn’t pour out HIS full wrath on me, just enough to get my attention. I am grateful for HIS correction.

 

  • Are you taking GOD’s kindness for granted?
  • Do you think HE does not see the sin you are hiding or will not do something about what you have done?
  • Will you thank GOD for saving you and ask HIM how HE wants you to follow HIM today?