Today’s readings.. (2 Samuel 20), (@ Samuel 21), (Jeremiah 24), (Romans 12)
     Today we have a really special chapter – Romans 12.  Its’ 21 verses all provoke deep thought for meditation. Let’s start with verse 1, ‘I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” The more we sense God’s mercies, both to others, but especially to ourselves, there must be a reaction in us.  We have seen how David reacted to God’s mercy in not dealing with him as he knew he deserved after sins in relation to Bathsheba. Look how often he uses the word “mercy” in the Psalms, The familiar Psalms 51 starts, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy …”   One could retranslate this using the word “grace.”  David made his life, more than ever, “a living sacrifice” as he appreciated the greatness of God’s mercy and grace.
    The verse in Romans ends in an uncommon way – telling us that this attitude of “living sacrifice …is your spiritual worship.”  Is not all worship spiritual?  The answer is a resounding ‘No!’  Jeremiah’s message to the people was very blunt about that. In contrast, true worship must be intensely so. Take note of the word “therefore” in our key verse. Whenever “therefore” occurs always look at what has gone before, there is a key sequence of thought. Note the closing verses of Ch. 11.  “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! … For who has known the mind of the Lord … for from him and through him and to him are all things … I appeal to you therefore …”  
    Paul’s heart-felt appeal is for them to contemplate the “knowledge” and “mind” of God and as a result “present your bodies as a living sacrifice”.  This “sacrifice” means we must  “ … not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind” [v.2] And the result of this transformation?  “… that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  
    Paul was clear as to what “the will of God” was for him.  His footprints are too big for us to follow, yet they provide the inspiration, an example, for like him, we have all received mercy, and will continue to do so.
    Finally, note his words in 2 Cor. 4 v.1,2.  “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways.  We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word …”  Yes, let us not tamper with God’s word, our consistent daily reading fills our minds with a balanced picture so we do not bend it to what we want to believe, as some do, such to believe they go to heaven when they die.  Did you notice how this quotation started with “therefore”?  Make time to look at the previous verse.