Romans   (Today's New International Version unless otherwise noted)

Romans 12

Living Sacrifices

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spirituala act of worship.

Lord Jesus, if my body is to be a sacrifice to You, indeed Your temple, I need to take a lot better care of it!  But more important, I need to keep it holy, free from sin.  Jesus, you know I can drink too much some times.  You know I have in the past defiled my body with pornography.  But You have made me holy, no help me stay far away from these sins.  Help me to stay pure and clean so my body can be a good sacrifice to You.         

 2Do not conform any longer 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.

Wow!  If I separate myself from the patter of this world, You will transform me and renew my mind and I will be able to know God's will.  That is so awesome!  Holy Spirit, help me to not conform to this world's pattern.  Help me to be different and be OK with being different.  I know You have started this work in me.  Please bring it to completion.   

Jesus, also bring me courage.  For to know Your will, and not do it is worse than to never now Your will.  Jesus, I feel I have let You down here.  I have not radically committed to You.  I have not totally abandoned the "patter of this world".  Forgive me and change me Lord.  Forgive me and change me!    

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Jesus, I have in the past thought I was pretty important sometimes.  You have shown me again and again that I am just a branch, You are the vine.  But I know I can become proud again so quickly.  Please Lord, help me to see myself as I am, as You see me.  Help me see the love You have for me, and that all things are possible when I am with You, but let me also see how utterly lost and useless I am without You.     

 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Lord, I never thought of myself as belonging to my Christian brothers and sisters.  That is eye-opening.  For if I belong to them, as well as You, I am not my own and cannot live and act thinking of myself at all.  I am Your servant, and I am their servant.  Lord, my sins and failings hurt my brothers and sisters.  Help me to live a life that is given to You and them.  Change me Lord.  Help me be a much better servant. 

 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to hisb faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Holy Spirit, what is my gift?  If I were to answer, based on my experience, I would say it is leadership and/or teaching, but I am so often wrong.  How can I know?  And if I know, what am I to do with it?  It is a scary thing.  I know teachers are held to a very high standard of conduct by You, and I have failed so often.  Am I finally past my failing?  Lord, guide me please.  Make my gift obvious to me and give me the courage to use it, and not bury it like the useless servant.           


9Love must be sincere.

I think over time Lord, You have made my love sincere.  You have changed me and I thank You.  Keep changing me.  I know I have a long way to go.  And help me remember where I've come from and how fake and hypocritical I have been so I am kind and loving to others who are like I was.  Only You can change them, but if You want to use me, Your will be done.         

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Jesus, give me a hatred of what is evil.  This is a problem for me.  The temptation of my old sins still exist.  I know they are wrong and i know they will ruin me, but I do not hate them.  Please Lord, help me to hate pornography, and hypocrisy, and pride.  Help me hate them with a passion.  Please Lord, change me.       

 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Lord, make me humble and loving so I can keep this command.  Please Lord, I know I easily turn proud and over-bearing.  I want to be tender and kind and honor You.  And help me to earn the respect of my children by showing respect to everyone around me.    &

 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Jesus, increase my zeal to bring people to You.  Make me burn with the desire to serve You and to introduce You to others.  My home is becoming a great gathering place for people.  Bless it and use it for Your love and for the salvation of many.  It is Yours anyway!         

 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Wow, what awesome advice!  I guess if it is coming from You it is more like a command.  So simple and straight-forward.   Holy Spirit, I can only fulfill this command through Your power and inspiration.  It is so simple, yet so immense.  Please give me joy, patience and faith.         

 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Lord, have I failed You here?  I suspect I have.  You have blessed me so much, and now I am adding to my home.  I know I couldn't have given the money to charity today, but perhaps another day I could have.  But no more, I've spent it on me.  Was it wrong Lord?  Does it matter?  Jesus, I am so confused about so many things this morning.  Yet it is another day and I will go on.  Help me to show hospitality and charity to those I am with today Lord.  Let me treat them as if they were You. 

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

You know I am not persecuted much Lord, at least not in the classic meaning of the word.  And when those close to me are upset with me and lash out in anger, help me to bless them and be a blessing to them.  Persecution is part of following You, so help me to grow from it and through it.  Help me to be a blessing Lord, and not be the persecutor.  

 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another.

Lord, help me to know when to mirror other's moods, and when to lead them out of their moods.  Also, help me to rejoice without being foolish and sinful.  That is my tendency, and it is wrong. Too often I have just 1 too many drinks or make a comment that a disciple of You should not make.  Help me live in harmony, but still be a good example of You.       

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.c Do not be conceited.

Yes Lord, help me walk among the lepers.  I once would have been too proud to be with the sinners.  No, make me someone who brings You to the sinners by being kind and merciful and loving.  For who could ever be worse than me Lord?  Yes Lord, use me if You choose to.         

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

How do You get so much good advice in such a small area Lord?  You are so amazing!  Do not repay ANYONE evil for evil.  I am not to be happy when someone gets what they deserve.  Lord, help me to repay evil with good and kindness, and bring Your love to others by it.         

 Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

At first Lord, I thought You were advocating doing what others think is right.  Then I thought You meant that right was a majority rule decision, which I know You alone determine what is right and wrong.  Finally I realized, that You want me to do what You say is right, when everyone is watching.  Of course You want me to do what is right all the time, but You want me to be especially careful what others see.

I have brought You shame a lot of times, even just this weekend, by what I have done in the eyes of others.  I am sorry Lord.  Holy Spirit, please help me be more conscious of this in the future. Change me.        

 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Lord Jesus, I know You do not want me to be the source of turmoil for others.  I know You do not want me to always bend and give way if it is a moral issue, but you do want me to be at peace with others.  For me Lord, it is hardest to be at peace with my own family.  Of course, we are always together and always expect the most from each other because we love each other, so that makes sense.

Jesus, help me be a peacemaker in my own home with my own family.

 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d says the Lord. 20On the contrary:

“If your 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.”e

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

When we take revenge, we lose.  Repay evil with good, and we win.  It is the way of Your Holy Spirit, but it is not the way of the world.  Lord, I can be evil.  I can be vengeful.  But Holy Spirit, You can continue to change me.  You can make me new and different.  You have done it and You ca
n finish Your good work.  Help me to see evil and a chance to do Your work.  Change my nature, so repaying evil with good is natural.    

a 1 Or reasonable
b 6 Or in agreement with the
c 16 Or willing to do menial work
d 19 Deut. 32:35
e 20 Prov. 25:21,22