Remember, everything that Paul writes from this point on is built on the foundation of chapters 1-11. We've got to have the understanding of those first chapters to live out what Paul will challenge us toward in those chapters we now read.

I have to admit that I am bent toward verses 1 and 2. I love these verses and view them as the simplest explanation of what it means to live the Christian life. And the best commentary I have found on these two verses is Eugene Peterson's paraphrase found in the Message. It says this:
1 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. 2 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.

Christianity isn't about showing up at church on Sundays (although that is important) and it isn't about memorizing verses from the Bible (although that is important)...(I could go on here). Christianity is about offering God our lives - every bit of our lives. Christianity is about living differently, in light of what God has done for us. How different do you think our world would be if Christians took these two verses more seriously? What would be different about your life if you lived these two verses?

Don't get me wrong, I love the rest of the chapter. You and I need to do what we were gifted and called to do. You and I need to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. We need to meet needs as we see them. I am challenged by all of these things.
So what hit you and challenged you today? Let us know what God will use from this to work in you today...this week...this month...



I have to admit that I flew through chapter 11 because chapter 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. All of this discussion about the Jews and the Gentiles and God's plan. Verse 33 says this:
Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
What a great reminder. There are times that I do not completely understand the circumstances and direction I sense God leading - but it is vitally important that I remember HE IS GOD AND I AM NOT. God's ways are so much higher than ours and His plan so much more perfect than ours. Do you remember the story of Job - after some pretty rotten things in his life, he finds himself questioning God. If you get the chance, go back and read Job 42, verses 1-6. God's ways are perfect, and as we were reminded last week, He is always working for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Tomorrow begins with this one word: THEREFOR. What Paul is about to say, what he is about to challenge us toward is completely built on the foundation of chapters 1-11. What we read the last two weeks and today builds our UNDERSTANDING so that we can now APPLY it to our lives. We've been packing our minds with WISDOM, and we will now be challenged to LIVE accordingly.

Are you enjoying Romans? Why or why not?