Wednesday, July 1, 2020

women in the Word Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, Friends. As I'm writing this on Tuesday afternoon, I'm listening to worship music on Spotify, and this song that is currently playing is appropriate for this blog post. The song is called Jesus, Thank You and it's by Sovereign Grace Music. I'll tie it together in just a few minutes.

This morning in my quiet time, I was writing out Scripture and wrote out Romans 12:1-2, but I also read verse three in the same chapter. I'll share them with you now, but if you have your Bible handy, grab it and turn there in your own Bible.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the rewewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:1-2

I'm going to jump in and start pulling these apart and I'll explain what I felt like the Lord taught me.

Therefore, brothers and sisters~ I have to stop there, because anytime you see that word "therefore" it is there for a reason and it is a reminder to stop and look at the verses that came before that word. For instance, look back to Romans 11:33-36. In my Bible the heading there is "a hymn of praise" and some other verses follow. Those verses in chapter 11 are talking about the attributes of God, or God's character. When I give God praise in the beginning portion of my prayer time each day, I praise Him for His attributes. Some attributes I praise Him for are His wisdom, His knowledge, His faithfulness, His goodness, His mercy and grace, His lovingkindness and His sovereignty.

Also, about those verses in Romans 11:33-36, in my Bible, the print is dark. Anytime you see that, know that the Scripture that is darkened is a passage from the Old Testament. Verses 34 and 35 are darkened, and those are taken from Job 41:11, Isaiah 40:13, and Jeremiah 23:18.

Back to the text for today:

Paul the writer goes on to say this: in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.

Just in that verse, I notice the attribute of God that Paul mentions in His mercy. God is merciful, and Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that His mercies are new every morning, His faithfulness is great. In light of those verses above in Romans 11 that say, "O the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!", that could be why Paul says something about the mercies of God. When I read this morning, I stopped to praise God for those things: that He is merciful, that His mercy is new every morning, and that His faithfulness is great. I love to do that as I read and write out or study God's Word and I think it's good to do because it slows me down as I read the text. I am a very fast reader, so you can imagine how quickly I can skim a passage without it soaking in.

I love the NLT version of this verse:

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.

I love the strong language of the NLT version~Paul pleaded with them to honor God in their bodies because of all God had done for them. David Brown's commentary says that the body is considered the organ of inner life. People in the day that Paul wrote this letter were sinning in their bodies, and all the evil in their sinful hearts came into action through the body. We are told in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful. 

The words let them be a living and holy sacrifice refer to Jesus being sacrificed for our sin, and how with His death He took away all our sin. Holy and pleasing to God refer to the sacrifices that the Levitical priest would make; the sacrifices they offered to God had to be pure, clean, without blemish; think of a flock of sheep and sacrificing the best one~that is what Jesus did for us. Our bodies are for the Lord and 1 Corinthians 6:13 tells us that our bodies are for the Lord and 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit that is in those of us who are believers in and followers of Jesus. When we offer our bodies to the Lord, that is what Paul tells us true worship is. That word worship is translated to mean service to God (Blue Letter Bible), as in reference to service in the temple~so again, thinking of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. 

That's a lot to wrap your mind around, I know. The reason all of this stood out to me yesterday is because I'm trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, meaning I am eating cleaner food, less carbs and almost zero gluten. I'd love to lose weight, sure, but mainly I started this because I was always in pain somewhere in my body, and I think gluten is what triggered some of the pain. I'm no expert, this is just what I think happened. When I stopped eating gluten, I stopped hurting.

One verse I've been praying is 1 Corinthians 6:19, about how my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within me and I want to honor the Lord by what I do with it; I want to be careful in what I watch, read and listen to and I want to honor Him with what I put into my body as well. That's how I'm tying this all together for you. The rest of that passage is good, too. In verse 2 Paul tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind and that happens when we read God's Word. Matthew Henry's commentary refers to the transfiguration of Jesus after He resurrected from the dead and walked on the earth again for a short while; and like Jesus became a new person when He transfigured, we are to become new when we read God's Word.

When we read the Bible we are able to discern God's will; meaning that if it's in His Word it is His will. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts because it is the source of life, so if we pray and ask the Lord to help us guard our hearts, or those of our sons and daughters, He is going to answer that request according to what is written in His word.

I love to go slowly when I read the Bible. I don't always get to because I'm reading in chronological order, but I love that in doing the Scripture writing I get to go really slow. Going slow and studying intently is how I learn so much. I also use a website called Blue Letter Bible. If you go there, you can type in the verse and the translation of the Bible you want to use, and when it pulls up the verses you're looking at, you can click on 'tools' to use to help you. There are cross references, interlinear, different Bible translations, commentaries, and dictionaries. I am certainly no expert in this, but I've learned a lot in using that website, and a few others that help me along with commentaries. I don't always like to use commentaries, but sometimes I really need someone else to explain something to me. Other times I may think I know what the verse is talking about, and will check a commentary to make sure I'm on the right track.

I say all that to encourage you to try digging into Scripture yourself...if I can do it, anyone can. About that song by Sovereign Grace, I always ask God to help me when I do this kind of thing, and He always does. I always make sure to thank Him for that after the fact. There's a passage in the New Testament that talks about how Jesus healed several men one day and only one came back to thank Him. I always want to be like that one who went back.

Thanks for reading my blog. Love to all.

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