Take a look around and see what is taking place. Are you willing to take a stand for what you believe in? Are you willing to stand up against evil? Are you willing to step out and do something that brings people together in unity through love rather than try to divide them with hate? Will you stand up against what is wrong? Will you stand up for what is right? Will you speak out against racism?
I remember back in middle school when we did an exchange trip where we went to a city for a week and then later in the year they came to ours. I got the opportunity to be with a family who had moved from South Africa and learned a lot about apartheid and it made me so angry. I was ready to go out and protest what was going on and the racism that was taking place. I learned how they escaped. I learned about Nelson Mandela and how he was imprisoned. I have always felt we should be one people and it frustrated me when I saw people from different cultures would be treated differently in such a bitter and hateful manner. We are all created by God! We are all His children! So we need to come together in unity against the lies of the devil who is trying to divide us and break us apart! We need to stand up against any such attack against our brothers and sisters so that it can’t and won’t run lose. Over history there have been so many battles and wars that have taken place and unless we learn from the past, we are going to be doomed to repeat it! So let’s come together and fight off the hateful and embrace one another in love! Let’s be willing to step up and step out for what is right! Let’s pray that God will help bring unity! That the light of our love will shine so bright that the darkness of their hate will have to flee!
Racism is not ok!
Today’s devotional comes to us on the topic of sacrifices that please God, so are you ready?
Consider the sacrifices that have taken place to get you where you are today.
What are you willing to sacrifice to make the world around you a better place?
- What is coming out of your mouth?
- How are you living your life?
- Are you being generous?
- Are you loving?
Let’s sacrifice by speaking up and speaking out in sacrifice for those who are not able to speak for themselves! Let’s sacrifice by living lives sacrificially – giving every part of it daily up to God for His plans and His purposes so that His love will be made known in the world around you! Let’s sacrifice by being generous! The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! He has been generous in giving us the air we breath, the relationships we have, the resources we need, so let’s be generous and share His love with the world around us that they too may come to realize the blessings of God and start a relationship with Him! Let’s sacrifice by loving everyone God brings into our lives! Let’s show them the unconditional love God is pouring out on us so that they will feel the love of God and realize there is hope and there is a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way!
Let’s take hold of what Romans 12 has for us to grasp and turn what the devil planned for evil around and use it to the glory of God!
A Living Sacrifice to God
12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 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 learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
–from Romans 12 (NLT)
Did you catch the conclusion of Romans 12? Did you see what we are supposed to do? Let’s take a hold of that today and allow Jesus to work in and through us into the world around us that Jesus will be made known and God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in His name!
First let’s start with:
- Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
- Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (Romans 12:9)
- When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
- Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:21)
Four Sacrifices That Please God
Devotional, Psalms 89:30-37, Romans 11:33-36, Romans 12, 1 Chronicles 6
- Thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus … Psalm 89:30-37
- Make sacrifices that please God … Romans 11:33-12:21
In this passage, we see four sacrifices that you can make in response to Jesus’ sacrifice for you:
1. Sacrifice of your lips
The writer of Hebrews says, ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name… for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:15–16).
Much of the first eleven chapters of Romans are about the sacrifice of Jesus for us. Paul, having set out all that God has done for us, responds with a sacrifice of praise (Romans 11:33–36).
2. Sacrifice of your life
Paul writes, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy [because of all that Jesus has done for us through the sacrifice of himself on the cross], to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship’ (12:1, AMP).
God wants you to offer all of yourself and all of your lives – your time, ambitions, possessions, ears, mouths and sexuality – as well as your mind, emotions and attitudes. Paul’s description of a living sacrifice also reminds us that you have to go on offering your life as a sacrifice to God, offering the whole of your life for the whole of your life.
As Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, ‘Take your every day, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering’ (v.1, MSG).
In Old Testament times, ‘living sacrifice’ would be a contradiction in terms. The whole point of the sacrifice was that it was killed. Jago Wynne writes, ‘Our act of worship is no longer to bring a sacrifice, but to be one ourselves. We remain living. It is all of us that is being offered. Worship is about what I say with my tongue. It’s about what I watch… what I think… where I go with my feet.’
3. The sacrifice of your ‘loot’
Generous giving is another New Testament sacrifice. Paul encourages the sacrifice of generosity in contributing to the needs of others (v.8). We are to ‘share with God’s people who are in need’ (v.13). This is another sacrifice the writer of Hebrews says pleases God: ‘to share with others’ (Hebrews 13:16).
We are even to give generously to our enemies: ‘Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness’ (Romans 12:20, MSG).
4. Sacrifice of your love
In this passage Paul gives many examples of the sacrifice of loving service (vv.9–21).
The writer of Hebrews says, ‘do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:16).
‘Doing good’ means giving up things that are not good. ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Romans 12:2, J.B. Phillips). Although God only asks us to give up the bad stuff in our lives, it can feel costly to do so because that stuff is superficially attractive. Repentance is a very positive word, but at the time it may seem sacrificial.
Sacrificial love involves allowing God to transform us by a complete change. Our love must be sincere (v.9). The Greek word for ‘sincere’ means ‘without hypocrisy’ or literally ‘without play acting’ or ‘without a mask’.
Often relationships in the world are quite superficial. We all put up fronts or masks to protect ourselves. When we see governments doing this, we call it ‘spin’. When we do it ourselves, we call it ‘image’; we are projecting something. In effect we’re saying, ‘I don’t really like what I am inside, so I will pretend I am somebody different.’ I certainly did this in a major way before I was a Christian (and it carries on to some extent afterwards – though it shouldn’t).
If other people are doing the same then there are two ‘fronts’ or ‘masks’ meeting. The sad result is that the two real people never meet. This is the opposite of ‘sincere love’. Sincere love means taking off your mask and daring to reveal who you are. When you know that God loves you as you are, you are set free to take off your mask. This means that there is a completely new depth and authenticity in your relationships.
Paul urges Christians to live in harmony with one another and to be generous (v.13), hospitable (v.13), forgiving (v.14), empathetic (v.15) and to live at peace with everyone (v.18). It is a glorious picture of the Christian family into which God calls us, beckoning us into an atmosphere of love, joy, patience, faithfulness, generosity, hospitality, blessing, rejoicing, harmony, humility and peace; where good is not overcome by evil, but evil is overcome by good (vv.9–21).
–from Day 210: Bible In One Year 2017
- Understand the sacrifices in the Old Testament … 1 Chronicles 6:1-81