REAL 2014 may be finished but the word of God is still living and breathing. Let's carry on listening to His voice, through our next Devotion, written for YOU by a woman within our community....
Romans 12 v 1-2
I don't know about you, but when I read those verses my eyes skim quickly past most of the first verse. "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice" seems more reminiscent of a horror movie than the Bible.
But that phrase in verse 1 does have something to teach us as women in 2014. The physical choice to read a Bible, however and wherever and whenever we do it, is an act of sacrifice as we switch off to everything else - work, twitter or Facebook, family, plans for the day - and tune into God. That physical choice is also an act of worship, as we obediently serve God. Brother Luigi Gioiaia puts it like this "Whenever we enter into our heart and close the door to the noise of the world for a while to be with the Father, we find him waiting for us." As we make this choice, this sacrifice, this act of worship, we are doing something "pleasing" to God.
Hold onto that thought about pleasing God, because we'll come back to it.
My practical side takes over now as I think about how we actually make that physical choice to read the Bible. I find that I need the discipline of some sort of plan, like the on-line youversion.com or Bible reading notes. Simple things work well for me - anything complicated and I give up or become distracted. So I really like Bill Hybels' notion of "chair time". Find a chair, or wherever works for you, and spend 15 minutes there every day reading the Bible, thinking about what you've read, maybe writing down phrases which leap out at you, praying about your day. When you miss a day or a week, because that will happen, you can just get going again.
And the more I do this simple act of sacrifice, the more I miss it when I don't do it and the more I find, amazingly, that the verses I read that day speak straight into what is happening in my life.
I said we'd come back to the idea of pleasing God. I want to know God better, know what he wants for my life, be guided by him and live a life that pleases him "his good, pleasing and perfect will". But if I'm honest, my mind is constantly bombarded with thoughts drawing me away from God and certainly needs to be "renewed". We all live with thoughts which affect how we feel and then how we act.
These verses tell us that our minds really can be transformed. This transformation is not instantaneous, but a process that happens over time, like getting fit. As we make the sacrifice of time to read the Bible, our minds are renewed, changed. We open a door to truth and reality, and allow God the opportunity to speak into our everyday lives. We get to know him better and understand what pleases him.
Father God, as I make the choice to read the Bible today, help me to be transformed to know you more and to live a life pleasing to you. Amen.