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Transformed Lives

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:1-8, NRSV)

We are all the body of Christ. I pray each week that we will be united as the body of Christ, that what joins us together would be enough to keep us together and the things that we have created that separate us would be pushed aside. Here in Romans 12, we read one of the three passages about the body of Christ and the many members that make it up. We all have our role to play and we need each other to make this work. We can not fight each other but must be united in the ministry that God has given us.

We all have a gift to us and we must use it for the betterment of society. Martin Luther said a Christian shoemaker doesn’t show his faith by putting crosses on his shoes, but by making the best shoes he can for everyone. We use our gifts for the glory of God and for the betterment of society. We are all in this together and we should work with each other.

Let your life be transformed by God and show His love to all the world.

 

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Freed for Eternal Life

20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23, NRSV)

When we are slaves to God and follow the life that God has planned for us, we are free from sin and death and the gift that we get is eternal life.

This is all because of Jesus and God and nothing we can boast in.

But the advantage of being a slave of God is eternal life.

We are gifted life and freed to live eternally with God!

 

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Jesus: A Promise for all People

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20, NRSV)

Good news of Great joy for all people!

All people get great news this day because born in the City of David is the Savior of the whole world!

And Mary listened and treasured all of these things in her heart. She pondered what was going to happen to this beautiful baby boy.

Who was to be the Savior of the world.

But what a gift that God has given to us. Share this gift with all the world!

 

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The Council at Jerusalem

The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “My brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first looked favorably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; from its ruins I will rebuild it, and I will set it up, so that all other peoples may seek the Lord— even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called. Thus says the Lord, who has been making these things known from long ago.’ Therefore I have reached the decision that we should not trouble those Gentiles who are turning to God, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood. For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every sabbath in the synagogues.” (Acts 15:12-21, NRSV)

Once we hear about the many wonders the Gentiles are doing then we know that God has given them the Spirit. And so they do not need to uphold all of the law of Moses, but we should write to them to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood.

Again we do not all have to be the same, and follow the same guidelines, but we have to follow the same Lord. Who calls us all from different places in different ways to be who we are a gift to the body of Christ!

 

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Feeding the Five Thousand

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6:1-15, NRSV)

Here in John, we see it is a young boy who is sharing his lunch, 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Enough for him to have a meal. He shares it with Jesus who gives thanks for the gift and then distributes the food to 5,000 people in all. Now does that 5,000 include just the men, or the men and the women and the children? Any way you look at it though, 5 little barley loaves and 2 fish are nothing when feeding that many!

But Jesus took the gift, without complaint that it wasn’t enough and lifted and thanked God for what was provided. Then He used the gift for what it was intended, to feed.

How many times do we complain about the gifts we have been given and don’t use them for what they were given for?

God works through us using the gifts He has given us to use for the world.

Recognize your gift as this boy did and use it for the betterment of the world around you!

 

 

 

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Faith

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Matthew 27:50-54, NRSV)

Truly this man was God’s Son! This Roman centurion came to faith in the moment he witnessed Jesus die.

You see faith is a gift given to us by God, and it effects our life to see things the way God sees them.

When did you get the gift of faith?

Do you live it out every day?

 

 

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Gifts

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:4-13, NRSV)

We are all amazing bodies that function together to let us type and move. We do so many things without thinking about them and forget how amazing the fact we are able to do anything is. And that is how the church is.

The church is the body of Christ and all of us are a part of it. We each have a gift to use in the body.

All of us can’t do the same thing, we all have something special to do.

It is a gift. Use your gift for God.

 

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