Monday, March 15, 2010

Romans 12

Romans 12 (The Message)

Place Your Life Before God
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

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. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Friday, March 12, 2010

His Mercies Are New

Every day I try. Every day I fail. Every night I fall into bed, attempting to comfort myself with determination that tomorrow I will live as I should live and love as I should love. Then tomorrow comes. And I fail again. And I fall again. And my fuse is short and my faith is weak and I'm not who I want to be. And I'm not who He's called me to be. But still I desperately cling to what I know is truth. The only true comfort that I know - My God's mercies are new every morning.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3

I can carry one day of failure, but no more. And he doesn't even expect me to carry that. So He sent his Son. The only Son He had. And every day, my failures die with Him.

I keep waiting for that day when I will lay my head down on my pillow feeling like I finally managed to pull it off. Like I finally went an entire day without complaining or yelling at my kids or judging someone or making selfish decisions. But deep down I know that if that day ever came, the beauty of His grace would begin to fade. So I've decided that instead I will lay my head down acknowledging that I have failed yet again, but I will rest anyway knowing that Jesus holds my victory in the palm of His hand. I think it's safer with Him anyway.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Some of the awesome college students we work with are putting on a 5K to raise funds for the adopting families at our church. You can sign up at I'm hoping to run it....we'll see. For some reason I'm waiting until the last minute to sign up. Probably because I've never run 3+ miles in my life. But I'm working on it! I know you can walk it, but I need to run it. I just do. Anyway, if you're in Tuscaloosa, sign up!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Disturb us Lord

“Disturb us Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves.

When our dreams have come true

Because we have dreamed too little.

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to the shore…

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land,

We shall find the stars.”

- Sir Francis Drake

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Recent Reads

I've been on a reading kick lately. Here are a couple of my recent favorites!