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April 6 2020  - Devotional

A Call to Consecration

Romans 12:1-2

June 7, 2009

In an old classic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens the opening paragraph observes that “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”(1) That seems to be the sentiment of today, only the battleground is the home, and truth is the issue. A. W. Tozer said, “The whole course of the life is upset by failure to put God where He belongs.”(2)

 

Paul the apostle says to us today (Romans 12:1) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Now notice, he says “I strongly urge you” and not “I command you.” That means that it is a matter of choice.  Someone has said: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”(3) There must be a conscious decision of the will that is to yield to the will of God.  This yielding is based upon the “mercies of God” that we have already received.  We talk much about God’s Grace, but we should spend more time talking about God’s Mercy.  Mercy means: “not getting what you deserve.”

In verse 2 Paul says: (Romans 12:2) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The word ‘conformed’ is taken from the Greek word “Schema” meaning “to be fashioned after.” That simply means that we are not to be fashioned after the ways of an un-regenerated society; we are to be different. We are to be transformed or go through a metamorphosis by renovating our minds with the Word of God. There is no substitute for righteous living. As it stands the entertainment industry controls our thought process. A. W. Tozer said: “There are millions who cannot live without amusement, life without some form of entertainment for them is simply intolerable; they look forward to the blessed relief afforded by professional entertainers and other forms of psychological narcotics as a dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroin.” (4) Let us not be so concerned with making a name for ourselves. Just do the right thing. We’ve got Survivor, Survivor 2, Temptation Island and the Weakest Link, all of which shows our need for greed. I am beginning to wonder if there is anything we won’t do for money.  

 

There are some who say the Bible is outdated and archaic and chauvinistic, but that’s not true. The Bible is absolute not obsolete. The Bible doesn’t change, its truths are everlasting. Our problem is our language has changed to lessen the reality of sin. Political correctness is the order of the day. This way of thinking has caused us to embrace a tailor made religion designed to meet our changing thoughts. A religion that does not hold men and women accountable for their actions only serves to promote sin. (Romans 8:6) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”.  

 

As believers we must prove the will of God. The word “prove” means both to find and to follow God’s will. The believer must focus his/her mind upon God and the things of God. We must...

  • Focus his/her mind upon living and moving and having his/her being in God.

  • Learn to concentrate upon God and the things of God. (Read the Word of God)

  • Mentally practice the presence of God.


Meditating upon the threefold description of God’s will stirs a person to crave after God’s will. God’s will is said to be...

  • Good: beneficial, rich, bountiful, suitable, and moral.

  • Acceptable: pleasing, satisfactory, welcomed.

  • Perfect: without error or mistake, flawless, complete, absolute, free from any need, short of nothing, completely fulfilled.


To be successful the believer must do exactly what Scripture says. Note the clarity and life-changing instructions found in these passages. What an enormous impact is made upon the lives of people when they actually follow the Word of God as noted in these instructions! Paul said, (Phil. 4:8). “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (1 Cor. 7:35) “Attend upon the Lord without distraction”


Think On These Things:

  • What influences have significantly shaped your life?

  • To what worldly life-styles or values do we typically conform?

  • What are the patterns of the world that tempt us to conform?

  • How can a Christian renew his or her mind?

  • How does understanding God’s love raise our self-esteem?

  • How does understanding God’s love reduce our selfishness and conceit?

  • How do people united in Christ act toward each other?

  • How can the gifts God bestows on Christians help others in the church or community?

  • What gifts from God do you see in others?

  • What gifts from God do you see in your life?

 

Apply It:

  • What is one step you can take this week toward eliminating habits that merely conform to the world’spattern?

  • How can you put a spiritual gift to work for others this week?

 

​[Questions taken from Adult Questions for LESSONMaker, (Austin, TX: Wordsearch, 1992), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under:"Living Sacrifices - Romans 12:1-8".]

 

  1. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

  2. Taken from A. W. Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God”; Chapter 8: Restoring the Creator-creature Relation.

  3. The phrase as it is written here appears in the section, "You Can't Win an Argument," in Dale Carnegie's popular book, Howto Win Friends and Influence People. The origin of the statement is uncertain.

  4. Taken from A. W. Tozer’s “Root of the Righteous,” Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1955, p. 32-33.

March 24, 2020 – Think on These Things:    

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” These are the words of Søren Kierkegaard, the great Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered by many to be the first existentialist philosopher. Now whether you agree with him or not, the challenge is to comprehend what it means to have lived life, to this point, where we can view life in a manner that it can be “understood backwards.”

The real challenge, however, comes in the living life forwards, because the clarifying point is not to simply “go backwards to understand,” or to desire what we believe was better backwards (or the good ole days).  It is to understand the purpose, the lessons of life God has graced us with and to incorporate them living forward. It may not change your position in life, but it will definitely change your possession of life!  The ultimate challenge, then, is to know who to go to, to get understanding. The Proverbist cautions us: Proverbs 14:12 (NET) 12  There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death. Ouch!

I recommend meditating, reflecting, and applying the advice of the apostle James: James 1:5 (NET) 5  But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. If you wonder why I suggest this, I will let Paul the apostle do the heavy lifting: Romans 11:36 (NET) 36  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen. – Soli Deo Gloria!  Rev. Dr. John Carroll Travis