He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

10 December 2010

The oh-so-encouraging Romans 12

I have recently done a lot of slow, methodical reading through the New Testament. I am continually amazed by how new the words I've read hundreds of times before seem new nearly every time I read them.

A recent reading that stuck with me was Romans 12. The whole chapter is overflowing with beautiful encouragements and truths but verses 9-21 were particularly piercing this time around for me. There are hundreds of "don't"s in the Bible. Lots of "you shouldn't"s, "these things aren't beneficial", or "these things are downright bad". Romans 12:9-21, however, is a "to do" list.
Now I'm a fairly black and white person and when I'm told that something is bad, from a credible source, I usually avoid it. When I'm told something is good, I usually research it and, if I agree, I do it. I have also found that lately I've had to make a lot of decisions. Not only is December an incredibly busy month but my relationships with everyone seem to be shifting, changing, growing, or ending. My head is full of "gray" right now so I wonder if being a very clear "do these things" is why I appreciate this passage so much.
So here it is... with a few little thoughts of mine added in for fun

Romans 12:9-21{ESV}
Let love be genuine.
Abhor what is evil...
...hold fast to what is good.
Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor.{Make it a contest}
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit...
...serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope...
...be patient in tribulation...
...be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and...
... seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you...BLESS and DO NOT curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice...
... weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another. 
Do not be haughty...
...associate with the lowly. 
NEVER be wise in your own sight.
Repay no one evil for evil BUT give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all {act like someone is always watching you and looking for Christ in you and how you treat others.}
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.{I really appreciate the acknowledgment that you may not be able to live peaceably with others and it doesn't necessarily mean its your fault.}
...NEVER avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God. {He knows... He cares... He's got it under control.}
...if your enemy is hungry, feed him:
if [your enemy] is thirsty, give him something to drink.
DO NOT be overcome by evil...
...overcome evil with good.

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