Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Romans 12: Words to live (and love) by

"Love must be SINCERE. Hate what is evil; CLING TO what is good. Be DEVOTED to one another in brotherly love. HONOR one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the LORD.

"BE JOYFUL in hope, PATIENT in affliction, FAITHFUL in prayer. SHARE with God's people who are in need. PRACTICE HOSPITALITY.

"BLESS those who curse you; bless, and DO NOT CURSE. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. LIVE IN HARMONY with one another. DO NOT BE PROUD, but be willing to associate with people of low position. DO NOT BE CONCEITED.

"Do not repay ANYONE evil for evil. Be careful to DO WHAT IS RIGHT in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, LIVE AT PEACE WITH EVERYONE.

"DO NOT TAKE REVENGE, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge, I will repay.' says the LORD.

"On the contrary: 'If you enemy is hungry, FEED him; if he is thirsty, GIVE HIM SOMETHING TO DRINK. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'" -Romans 12:9-21 (NIV)


Monday, August 1, 2011

The (true) meaning of (absolute) sacrifice

At our house church service in Krakow yesterday, Dr. Dennis Johnson lead a devotional discussion about the meaning of sacrifice, as evidenced by God’s response to Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 and Paul’s exhortation to the church at Rome church in Romans 12.

"...Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.'"-Genesis 4:2b-7 (NIV)

Dennis’s thoughts: “Everything God wants from us –everything he asks of us- is in our best interests, not (just) his.”

My thoughts: “God is holy. If he’s not holy, he’s not God. If he is holy, he can’t abide compromise with sin or selfishness. That’s why it’s sometimes hard to think about God and his nature. He’s not an angry, punishing taskmaster; he’s just holy.”

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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...Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."-Romans 12:1-2, 9-13

Dennis’s thoughts: “God knows that we won’t be satisfied with giving anything less than our best, because we are made in his image.”

My thoughts: “Love first; act second; speak last.”