November 4, 2020
Dear Praying Friends,
Rachel and I greatly appreciate your willingness to receive this reminder to pray for our prodigals and for revival among us. Leonard Ravenhill wrote a number of books on the subject of revival. One statement he made is this, “The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it.” How searching is that?!
Recently our local church covered the book of Romans. It was delightful. The theme of the gospel permeates the book and calls upon us to adjust our thinking so our lives will reflect the glory and wonder of its glorious message. It necessitates a total revamping! For the next few devotionals, I would like to look at how this can happen in our lives. Most of our time will be spent in chapter twelve.
The opening plea is based on the greatness of God’s unsearchable character. “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” (Rom. 12:1). Some versions have the word “therefore” in the text, the NLT above opens with the words, “And so.” That requires us to look back at what has gone before. Let me explain.
In the early chapters of Romans, Paul lays the foundation for the gospel: namely, the ruin of humanity and sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work. He builds a little higher by speaking to the believers’ position in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to live for God’s glory. That’s chapter eight. It is glorious. Then, he presents the program of God — past, present, and future. In chapter eleven, he can’t take it any longer. His heart is bursting with worship and he exclaims, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33).
God is so amazing! How absolutely incredible that He is able, through His infinite wisdom and knowledge, to work through the mess and sinfulness of humanity, and make something beautiful for His own glory! When you take a look at God’s plan from beyond thirty-thousand feet (God’s viewpoint), you can see the perfection of it. Think about it: the call of Abraham, the promised Messiah, the desperation of Israel, the prophecies fulfilled in Christ, the gospel spreading worldwide, Jesus’ return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It’s totally flawless! And all the while He is working with imperfect, broken people. That would include you and me! Yes, our God is truly astounding!
For a moment, focus your thinking from the larger program of God to what He is doing in your life. Just think of it — He protected you when you didn’t even know Him. He called you from your destructive sin and miserable destiny. He gave you purpose and fulfillment in His family. He preserved you from your own undoing until this very day. He saved you for His own pleasure, with plans to allow you to join in His glorious work. He is changing you from the person you were to a better reflection of Himself. He enables you to gain victory over the enemy and the powers of darkness. He lifts you when you fall and are unable to rise on your own strength. He directs you when you lose your way and He helps you see Him again. He fills you with His love over and over in the dark valleys of life. He gives you thoughts of Himself and opens your heart to receive more and more of His love and grace.
And what is our response? “Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship” (Rom. 12:1 TPT). May God help it to be so in our lives today!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel