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Conservative Views

Let God Transform You

Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

Let God Transform You

READ Romans 12:1-2

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. [Romans 12:2].  If we are to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), we have a crucial role to play. We must choose to say “No” to the ways of the fallen world.

But that’s not the whole story. You will be able to discern and do God’s will only when you “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” The original Greek calls us to “be transformed,” not by our own efforts, but by the power of God.

The verb meaning “be transformed” utilizes a Greek mood that conveys an ongoing process.  Transformation doesn’t happen automatically,  once-and-for-all,  when we first put our faith in Christ.   Rather, it is a life-long process of opening ourselves to God’s renewing power.

Notice that God transforms you by “changing the way you think.” This renewed mind comes as you allow Scripture to teach you God’s truth.   It comes as you reflect upon the Bible,  using it as the basis for your daily prayers.   A new mind comes when you gather with other believers to study the Word,  to hear it proclaimed,  and to experience it in the sacraments.  Though we cannot transform ourselves,  we can participate in that which opens our minds to the Spirit.   As this happens,  we will be able to know God’s will so that we might desire it and do it.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How has God transformed you by changing the way you think?   What activities of your life help you to be available to God’s ongoing renewal?

PRAYER:   O Lord, I can see evidence of your transformation in my life,  and for this I give you thanks and praise.   But I am so aware of how much more transformation is needed.   I confess how much I still think as the world thinks,  valuing that which really doesn’t matter and devaluing that which does matter.   Forgive me,  Lord, for my worldly ways of thinking.

By your Word and the power of your Spirit,  I ask that you will continue to transform me.   Give me a new mind,  Lord, the mind of Christ!   May I think your thoughts after you.   May my heart beat in sync with yours.Help me, gracious God,  to know your will, to desire what you desire,  and to do it with gusto.   May I offer my whole self to you each day as a living sacrifice! I pray in the name of Jesus, who makes this possible.   Amen.

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March 26, 2009 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , , | 1 Comment

God Is on Your Side

Daily Reflection and Prayer

by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

God Is on Your Side

READ Romans 8:31-32

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?   If God is for us, who can ever be against us? [Romans 8:31]

It’s hard to imagine better news than this:   God is for us! This means God is on your side.   God is there to help you when you need it. God is cheering you on. God is in your corner. God has your back. Now that’s great news, don’t you think?

The rhetoric of Romans 8:31 doesn’t mean that we literally have no enemies.   At times, people will oppose us. More profoundly, in this life, we are in a spiritual battle with sin and the powers of darkness.   So, yes, there are forces that are against us.   But, when we consider the fact that God is on our side, the power of our enemies shrinks in comparison.   We have no need to fear because the very Creator of the universe is backing us up.  Thanks be to God!

Of course, the fact that God is for us does not mean that he blesses everything we choose to do.   God is not some blind force that we yield for our purposes.   Rather, the Almighty seeks our very best.   When we get off the right path,  the God who is for us doesn’t send us on our merry way.   Rather, he leads us back to the right way.

When I try to understand God being for me, I think of how I feel about and am committed to my own children. I want the best for them.   I cheer them on.   When they go astray, I yearn to get them back on the straight and narrow.  When they suffer, my heart breaks.  I would give anything for my children to flourish in this life.

So it is with God,  my Heavenly Father,  only so much more.   God is for me—and you—in the most exquisite way.  This great news gives us confidence to live boldly for him each day.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you think of God as being on your side?  Or do you think of God as being against you?  How might the truth that God is for you transform your life?

PRAYER: O Lord, I’ve read Romans 8:31 a hundred times.  Maybe five hundred.  Yet whenever I stop and think about what it says, I am blown away.  Not only are you “for” humanity in general, but y ou are also “for” me.  You are on my side.  My side!  What a wonder!  It’s amazing enough that you even think about me, that I matter to you.  But the fact that you are for me in a profound way is truly astounding.

When I face opposition, may I have confidence in the fact that you are on my side.  May I turn to you for wisdom, for direction, for encouragement, for safety.  Help me, Lord, not to be afraid, but to trust in you each and every day.

Gracious God, even as you are for me, I pray that I might be for you.  May I live my life for your purposes and glory. May I seek to honor you in all that I do, at work and at play, at home and at church, in my private life and public life. In the name of Jesus, who proves that you are for me, Amen.

Hat tip to Mark Roberts and the High Calling

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Where Are You

All over the world, people are asking how to strengthen their relationship with God.  Many have wandered from His path and become entangled in the weeds.  We never plan to leave God’s path and become entangled; rather, it seems we simply take a wrong turn and then drift through small steps of compromise.  How does this happen?  And once we’ve drifted, how do we return and guard against drifting once again?

Man first wandered from God’s path in the Garden of Eden.  The devil deceived Eve and caused her to disobey God’s command; Eve ate fruit from the forbidden tree and gave some to her willing husband.  As soon as they ate the fruit, they became aware they were naked and covered themselves with leaves.

Genesis 3:8-9
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'”

The very first sin caused the delusion that it was possible to hide from God.  This delusion continues today!  We sit among the weeds and think God doesn’t notice – that He doesn’t see us in the midst of our sin.  But the all-knowing Creator of the Universe knew exactly where Adam was hiding.  God wasn’t searching through the bushes trying to find His lost creation.  No, God was speaking directly to Adam: “Adam, why are you in this condition?  Do you even know where you are and how far you have drifted?”

Adam’s willful disobedience caused him to tremble as he answered: “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10).  Adam was lost.  Somehow, even in their garden paradise, Adam and Eve had wandered in their relationship with God.  The devil had found them alone – not walking with their Father – and began his great deception.  Now, sin had caused shame, fear, and separation.

ALL sin has its beginning in our wandering from the presence of God.  No one “falls” into sin by a momentary slip; rather, sin is the result of a long slow drift away from intimate fellowship with God.  Drifting from His presence causes us to become more susceptible to sin, which continues the cycle of even further separation.  Soon, we have become entangled and completely lose sight of His path.

The way back always begins with a humble and repentant heart.  We must confess we have strayed, admit our straying as sin, and ask for the strength and guidance to return.  God will immediately shine His light, strengthen our steps, and ask us to simply focus on loving Him with all our heart.

Let’s return to the presence of God and be determined to never leave.  Let’s continually examine our life and make sure we’re walking right by His side whenever God asks, “Where are you?”

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , , | 1 Comment

Mustard Seed Faith

I have been getting this newsletter for a few years now.  I have found lately that the lastest writer has been sending some very profound devotionals, and I start my day looking at them.  This one seems to really help me right now, so I thought I would share it on the blog.  It is part of my mood right now.  I have gone into shut down mode when it comes to all the insanity I see going on in the world around me.  I need to surround myself with things that give me hope, so I will be writing and posting softer things for awhile.  I’m sure the fighting spirit will return, but for now it’s all about what gives me hope, and that relates to my feelings about God.

Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

Mustard Seed Faith

READ Matthew 17:14-20

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” [Matthew 17:20]

Christians understandably honor people of great faith. I remember when I was a boy being wowed by missionaries who had gone into desolate and sometimes dangerous places to tell others about Jesus. What amazing faith they had!

The downside of our applauding people of great faith is that it can make the rest  seem like second-class Christians. If we struggle with doubts, or if we’re sometimes reticent to step out in obedience to Christ, we can feel as if we don’t measure up . . . and never will.

For those of us who struggle with faith, there is plentiful encouragement in this passage from Matthew. On the one hand, we see that even the disciples who were closest to Jesus sometimes fell short in the faith category. Yet Jesus still chose them to be his closest followers. On the other hand, Jesus said that faith as small as a tiny mustard seed was enough to accomplish miracles. Though we might never have the kind of faith that impresses boys in church, our faith still counts for a lot with God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:  Do you sometimes struggle with your faith? Why? Do you have at least a mustard seed’s amount of faith?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I can so readily relate to the disciples in this story. Though they had been authorized to perform wonders, when faced with a sturdy challenge, their faith faltered. How much like me!

Yet I am encouraged that you chose these men to be disciples in spite of their limitations. If you wanted them, then you might just want me too. How wonderful!

Moreover, though I’m no paragon of faith, I do have at least a mustard seed’s amount of faith. I do trust you, even if I waver. I have put my life in your hands. And, however inconsistently, I continue to trust you with each day. Thank you for helping me to have faith in you.   Amen.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, God / Jesus Christ | , | Leave a comment