Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Romans 12:1-2’

Lifestyle Issues

March 11th, 2015

“We urge you to live in a way that pleases God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT.

Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone.

My thoughts and comments today are about “lifestyle issues.”

EDL pix walking with God

If you try to please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and make yourself miserable in the process. Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone. Neither is practical or achievable. Life is simpler when you finally decide who you are going to please. And the worst possible alternative is to live to please no one but yourself. The Bible warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead be modest in your thinking.” Romans 12:3 TEV.

Many things pressure you to conform to others’ demands and expectations. Resist the temptation of doing so. The Apostle Paul offers a practical self-inventory, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Obviously, Paul recognized a previous time when he was “still trying to please men,” and the inconsistency that resulted.

The proper conclusion is this: when you can serve both God and man, do so. When you cannot, serve and please God above all others. “Our aim is to please Him always . . for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT. Never forget the One to whom you owe first allegiance.

The surrounding culture may press you to conform your attitudes, values, and conduct in less than exemplary ways; live as unto the Lord. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Current circumstances might seem to impose an urgency of attention they may not warrant; live above your present circumstance. An unhealthy family history may have enslaved you in habitual behaviors, struggling to please people who simply refuse to be pleased; live free of unjust expectations. Some have had the unfortunate experience of working for a boss you could not please, a relative from whom you never gained their approval, or a parent or spouse who never affirms you. That is sad, but not uncommon. Such experiences present lifestyle issues.

Ultimately, the only hope of pleasing others is to confidently know that you have first pleased God. Here is the Bible’s definitive guideline: “Finally, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.” Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1 NLT. After struggling unsuccessfully to please others, maybe your question would be, “How then can I please God?” Pleasing people is complicated; pleasing God is not. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. See Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

The task is not yours alone; God gives you all that is required; you supply obedience. “May God equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:21 NIV. Paul’s answer was this, “. . we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . .” Colossians 1:9-10 NIV. Paul then elaborates on what pleases God, “. . bearing fruit, growing in knowledge, strengthened with power, having endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks, brought into the Kingdom, and having redemption and the forgiveness of sins.” Read Colossians 1:11-14 NIV.

I love the simplicity with which the Bible described ancient Enoch, a man that walked with God, “Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Read Hebrews 11:5-6 (See Genesis 5:21-24).

Today, my prayer for you is that at life’s end, His testimony and yours will be that you pleased God.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Immeasurable Potential

October 28th, 2014

“God willed to make known this mystery . . Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.

In Christ alone, immeasurable potential is possible.

My thoughts and comments today are about “immeasurable potential.”

Referring to potential, it has been said, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows the number of apples in a seed.” Potential is immeasurable, except to God. You too have an amazing, God-given potential, that only your Creator fully knows. Potential is not primarily about self-realization; potential is found in fulfilling the design and will of God for your life. Innately, you know that you desire to be more than you’ve been.

Paul marveled at the mystery and truth that, “God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-28. The origin is clear; the possibility is real; the outcome is certain. It is a tragic mistake to accept less than is promised and possible. Sometimes, the status quo may seem good enough. Be advised; settling for what comes naturally, will compromise a potential that is only available spiritually.

God’s determination and desire for you have not changed. ”In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12. Before a complex theological concept of “predestination” bewilders you, consider Paul’s words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Read Romans 8:28-30 NIV. As you soon discover, all that happens is not good, but at all times God is working for the good of those whose love trusts and rests in His righteous character rather than their present circumstance.

“For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son . .” Romans 8:29 NIV. That is your destiny in Christ. The process by which God accomplishes that is two-fold: transformation and conformation. In its simplest form, the Biblical concept of “predestination,” describes, “a decision God made long ago.” Exactly how and where the sovereignty of God and the free will of man intersect, I do not know; I just know that in the purpose, providence, and power of God, your history becomes a workshop where God continues to achieve your destiny. Concern yourself with the purpose; let God care for the process.

Paul further explains God’s purpose and the process by which that is achieved. “He chose them long ago; when the time came He called them; He made them righteous in His sight, and then lifted them to the splendour of life as His own sons.” Romans 8:30 JBPhillips. After spiritual transformation – which Paul describes as, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) – spiritual conformation is the Holy Spirit’s assignment in your life, and He is very good at what He does. See 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV. Spiritual transformation happens in a moment; spiritual conformation into Christ-likeness continues life-long. Alone you can accomplish neither; both require your cooperation.

The result will be glorious. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV. In Christ alone, immeasurable potential is possible. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:2o NIV.

But you must shoulder a responsibility in this process of spiritual conformation, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy . . do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Until transformation occurred, you were being conformed to the world which surrounds you; since transformation occurred, you are being conformed to God who is within you.

Today, my prayer for you is to know and progressively develop the God-given potential within.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Altars of Consecration

October 21st, 2014

“Abraham built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7 NKJV.

The promises you seek are only found in the consecration God expects.

My thoughts and comments today are about “altars of consecration.”

The story of Abraham’s journey is told in “milestones of obedience and altars of consecration.” Those characteristics will describe any intentional pursuit of God. Obedience is the sincere expression of faith. By faith Abraham obeyed . . . [and] went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NLT. Obedience is essential and non-negotiable. (Review EDL, Part 1: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=8077). Today, I suggest the very important, second aspect of Abraham’s faith journey, “Altars of Consecration.”

Altars are significant to God and prominent in each person’s spiritual journey. Godly consecration is essential and non-negotiable to all spiritual progress. Be advised; consecration is not a casual affair; it is costly. Old Testament altars were messy, bloody places where only the first and finest of offerings were acceptable. Those sacrifices merely foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Out of painful recognition of his sin, David discovered God’s heart, “The sacrifices God [desires] are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17. The best definition of a broken and contrite heart that I have heard is: “A heart in which the evil has been crushed.” Today, an altar of consecration is where you humbly bow to the singular sovereignty of God, a sacred place of worship expressed in costly sacrifice and sincere consecration of your allegiance, affections and will.

Consecration became Abraham’s lifestyle, and it must be yours as well. Every place Abraham pitched his tent, he built an altar, dug a well, and worshipped the Lord there. Again and again, it is said of him, “Abraham built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7 NKJV. See Genesis 12:8/13:18/22:9. On every altar, Abraham offered a sacrifice and made a further consecration of himself to God and His promises to multiply and bless his seed. Romans 4:17-21 NIV. No other occasion evidences the extent of Abraham’s obedience and consecration more than his altar on Mount Moriah. Read Genesis 22:1-17.

“By faith Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents . . for he was looking forward to a city with foundations whose builder was God.” See Hebrews 11:8-10 NIV. Consecration is best expressed through obedience despite present realities, while holding fast to a relentless faith in a promised future. The promises and permanence you seek are only found in the obedience and consecration God expects. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us . . Our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV/Romans 8:18.

There are times when an altar of consecration needs to be repaired, as occurred with Israel. “And Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down . . with twelve stones, he built an altar in the name of the Lord . . then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice.” Read 1 Kings 18:30-39. If any, what repair needs to occur to the altars where you have made consecrations to God? “I urge you by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God . . that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2. You and your life are “the living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”

Today, my prayer is that you renew your consecration and devote yourself to be altogether His.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Relationships

May 9th, 2014

“A person is a fool to . . not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:21 NLT.

A right relationship is the entry point for a rich relationship, both life-long and eternal.

My thoughts and comments today are about “relationships.”

Life is about relationships. The best of life is empty without them. You may seem to have everything, but if you lack mutual and meaningful relationships what you have will never be what you desire. The best of good things can never substitute for a heartfelt closeness with family and friends. That’s where true richness of life can be found, but with one very important addition. A righteous relationship with God is the most important relationship you will ever have.

It is easy to be occupied with what you think God wants from you, and offer Him many good and worthwhile things. All the while, you could fail to give God the one thing He most wants – yourself. God is not dependent on you and me for anything that He cannot readily and abundantly provide for Himself, except for one thing that only you can give Him, your love and your life. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Read Romans 12:1-2 NKJV. Your life is a gift from God; what you do with your life is your gift to God.

What God most wants from you, and wants most for you, is a rich relationship with Him, for you to experience spiritual intimacy that is fulfilling and life affirming. Jesus exposed the foolishness of lacking that relationship, “A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Read Luke 12:16-21 NLT. Be wise, not foolish. Jesus does not teach against wealth. He warns against the foolishness of thinking that anything could ever be enough without a rich, personal relationship with God. This warning is not just about wealth; Jesus warns of accepting anything or anyone as a substitute for the singular relationship you cannot be without.

“Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment . . they should be rich in good works . . by doing this they will be storing up treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NLT. Only a genuine relationship with God “gives us all we need for our enjoyment . . as a good foundation for the future.”

Life is about relationships. Spiritual life is not about religion; your spiritual life is about righteous relationships – a real, personal relationship with God and right relatedness with others that begins now and continues throughout eternity. Jesus’ sacrifice was to reconcile you to God. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.” Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV. Offering you a right relationship is the entry point for a rich relationship with God, both life-long and eternal.

What would such a relationship with God would look like for you? As importantly, what do you think would be required of you to have such a relationship with God? I would suggest that a rich relationship with God would be mutual, authentic, practical, loving, continually transforming, and always growing.

My prayer for you today is to know God in a way that transforms all you are and do.

90709

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , ,

Living Confidently

July 24th, 2013

“The effect of righteousness will be . . confidence forever.”  Isaiah 32:17 NIV

Righteousness is the only sure foundation for living confidently.

My thoughts and comments today are about “living confidently.”

Don’t you admire those people who exude confidence, never appearing to wrestle with self-doubt or uncertainty?  You can live confidently. Not everyone does. Some people seem to have ample confidence while others are sorely lacking. Have you wondered about the secret of living confidently? We know what confidence looks like; we don’t always know its source. You can counterfeit an air of confidence; many people do, hoping no one sees behind their false bravado.

Don’t confuse arrogance with confidence, your own or others’. Today’s culture would suggest, “Success breeds confidence.” Some might propose, “Affluence affords confidence.” Another may advise, “Experience creates confidence.” In some measure and for some people, those might increase one’s confidence, while for others they simply produce a troubling fear of failure. Masquerading as over-confidence, arrogance can often be just a coping mechanism for fear. What is your fear, failing in the opinion of others or failing in the eyes of God? Your answer reveals where you derive confidence.

You might think confidence results from past successes, or natural talent, or developed abilities, or the supporting estimation of others. Those can be contributing factors. If you have proven abilities, you develop an expectation of further success but no guarantee of it. If you succeed in a particular endeavor, you might feel more confident in similar efforts. But enduring confidence is based on more than your own skills, accomplishments, or previous experience.

Confidence rests on convictions – convictions about God and about yourself being safe in God’s love and will. Read Romans 12:1-2 NIV/Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV. Confidence is only as strong as the foundation upon which it rests. The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, wrote, “The effect of righteousness will be . . confidence forever.” Isaiah 32:17 NIV. Righteousness is the only sure foundation for living confidently, both presently and forever. “For we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.” Hebrews 13:18 NKJV. When you know all is well between you and God, your confidence strengthens and solidifies.

Strengthen Godly conviction and you discover confidence. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV. When you are persuaded with firm conviction that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, you will be confident that you can become who He says you are and do what He calls you to do. Solomon wisely wrote, “For the Lord will be your confidence.” Proverbs 3:26 NIV.

I think David models this inner confidence that steadies one’s heart, whatever the situation of the moment, “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. One thing I have desired of the Lord; that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:3-5 NKJV. Knowing God and His Word is where you find confidence.

My prayer for you this day is that you remain steadfast in His love.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,