A REFORMED AND LIVING SACRIFICE
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 1
JAN. 31, 2021
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“Your bodies”.—is not merely a periphrasis for “yourselves,” but in the strict sense “your bodies,” which is the very part of you which is apt to be “an occasion of falling.” The Apostle takes the two main parts of human nature separately. In this verse he deals with the bodies of men, in the next verse with the “mind,” or the intellectual and spiritual faculties.
A living sacrifice.—“How is the body to become a sacrifice? Let thine eye look upon no evil thing, and it hath become a sacrifice; let thy tongue speak nothing filthy, and it hath become an offering; let thy hand do no lawless deed, and it hath become a whole burnt offering. But this is not enough, we must do good works also; let the hand do alms, the mouth bless them that despitefully use us, and the ear find leisure evermore for the hearing of Scripture. For sacrifice can be made only of that which is clean; sacrifice is a first-fruit of other actions. Let us, then, from our hands, and feet, and mouth, and all our other members, yield a first-fruit unto God”
The idea contained in sacrifice is that of dedication. We are to dedicate our bodies to God. But there is to be this distinction between the old Jewish sacrifices and the Christian sacrifice: the one was of dead animals, the other of the living man. The worshiper must offer, or present, before God, himself, with all his living energies and powers directed consciously to God’s service.
Dear Heavenly Father, today I submit my body unto you for your glory. I want you to delight in the offering of my service to you. With clean hands and a pure heart I lift my life to you. Be glorified in me and may you delight to use me for your kingdom. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 2
FEB 1, 2021,
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound
It unlikely that there is no one who has not experienced a broken heart at some point in their lives. It can feel like we are captives to crushing darkness in our minds and a heavy feeling in our hearts. There could be many causes for the heartache such as relationship breakdown, bereavement, ill health in yourself or those you love.
The theme of the later chapters of Isaiah is a message of comfort and hope for the exiles in Babylon. In Isaiah 61:3 it describes how there is the comfort for “those who mourn” and “those who grieve”, “instead of ashes…. joy” and “instead of mourning…praise”. We all need to feel comfort and hope when we are brokenhearted and to know that the Spirit of God can transform our broken hearts. God does not want us to live in darkness and distress, He wants us to feel joy and to praise Him.
We may think at times that others cannot fully understand our distress, that unless they have experienced the same heartache they cannot truly know. However, God fully knows and through His Holy Spirit can give us compassion in our hearts to help those who are in need, to help them to rebuild what is broken and gain a sense of freedom and peace in their lives.
Jesus read part of this passage during His first sermon in his hometown of Nazareth and interpreted it as a reference to himself in Luke 4:16-21. The passage also reveals the positive nature of the ministry the Lord wants His people to perform. We can turn to God in our pain and distress and he will help us to rebuild and recover, we can also turn to each other, to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to show Gods love. When we reach out to others we demonstrate the spirit of Christ and we are called to follow his example.
Father thank you that we can come to you and you will help transform and/or rebuild our broken hearts, that you can free those who are in darkness and distress. Give us all a compassion and a desire to give comfort and hope to those who are broken-hearted. Give us the opportunity to reach out to those who are in need today. Amen.
RETURN AND REBUILD THE WALLS
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 3
FEB 2, 2021,
Nehemiah 2:17-18, KJV
17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 18Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.
Jerusalem has been destroyed by the Babylonians, the city wall lay in ruins. Some of the Jewish people were in exile in Babylon, only farmers were left. Nehemiah was a Jewish man, who served in the privileged position as cupbearer to the king Artaxerxes of Persia. Nehemiah was visited by his brother and others from his home country of Judah. Nehemiah learns that the people in Jerusalem were in trouble and the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed. He wept and mourned for many days, fasting and praying to God, he confesses his sins and the sins of his people and asks for the Lord’s mercy.
God enables him to find favor from the king (Nehemiah 2:8). Who allows him to return and rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. He calls up the Jewish people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and explains to them how God’s hand was on this work.
When the enemies mocked Nehemiah and the builders of the wall, they were not intimidated and the work continued, with prayers and wisdom. They set families to guard their work. He also encouraged the people not to be afraid of the enemies. Altogether they finish rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days because of God’s hand was upon their work. The importance of relationships cannot be overstated nor overlooked. It took a “people”, as will the purpose and plan of God in our lives.
Points of Reflection:
1. Nehemiah earned the king’s credibility. As a child of God, it is important to have credibility with people in authority, i.e. parents, teachers, supervisors, and pastors.
2. Nehemiah fasted and prayed to God and asked for God’s mercy prior to taking action. In order to rebuild, we need preparation in the presence of God.
3. Nehemiah’s testimony was not only rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem but also rebuilding the lives of people.
4. He did not claim glory for himself but always gave God the credit for his successes.
5. When Nehemiah faced opposition from his enemies, he did not give up his trust in God. We may decide to rebuild something in our lives such as our relationship with God or our family/friends. We need to remember that the enemy tries to stop the rebuilding process by various means. We need to remain focused on God and not give up.
Dear loving Heavenly Father, Please, help me to be faithful and consistent before you. Lord, give me the courage and strength to rebuild the things that you want me to rebuild in my life. Prayer, the study of your word, discipline and certainly damaged relationships In Jesus name, Amen.
TRANSFORM MY LIFE
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 4
FEB 3, 2021,
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
The woman in this story was healed instantly by touching Jesus’ cloak. Jesus healed many in unique ways. We don’t hear of any other healing occurring by touching Jesus’ clothes. She spent a lot of her money and energy on getting treatment for twelve years, she would have been left alone by her family because of her sickness, she would have experienced a lot of pain and suffering. She would have lost all her hope of recovery. But one day she heard about Jesus and believed she could be healed. She lacked the courage to ask for healing publicly and instead touched his cloak receiving immediate healing. What a great miracle it is!
Dear friend, you may be in a similar situation like this woman with the issue. You might have gone through failures and you may have found yourself alone. The same living God who transformed my life and healed the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak, can heal and transform your life. All you need to do is put your trust and faith in the one living God, commit to following in Jesus’ footsteps and He will transform your life. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Dear Heavenly Father Please strengthen my faith in You, as I trust you to continue to transform and heal my life so that I can serve you faithfully. In the gracious name of the Lord Jesus, I pray, Amen.
THE BODY AND SOUL DUET
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 5
FEB 4, 2021,
It’s a fundamental Christian teaching that the human person consists of body and soul. Like the animals, we have a body that occupies space, eats, sleeps, and engages in various activities in this physical world. Like the angels, we are also spirit: we have a soul that is eternal, cannot be seen, and can communicate with the spiritual world, including with the creator of the universe. It’s common among Christians to see these two parts of the human person as almost completely separate. What impacts the body has no impact on the soul, and what lifts up (or brings down) the soul doesn’t have any effect on the body. But this is not the case. We are a composite of body and soul—what impacts one aspect of our selves will impact the other.
WHY AM I HERE
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 6
FEB 5, 2021,
Psalms 139:14-18, KJV
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Many people, including many unbelievers in Christ, would affirm that they are here, on this earth, for a special purpose. That they were made for more than just a paycheck. That there is more to life than just making it through life. But many would deny that a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is crucial to finding that unique purpose. They feel this “religious” reason has no place in their life journey. What does a relationship with Jesus Christ really give a person?
It fulfills the deepest longings we have as created beings. Evolutionary teaching through the ages has sought to erase this creation aspect from our minds and intentions. Yet, the urge to be something more, something beyond just “being here” does not go away. It does not go away because that desire has been implanted in us by God Himself. To deny this truth does not make it an untruth. Augustine well said that there is a God-created vacuum inside all of us that can only be filled by knowing and worshiping the God who made us. And I would point out that this is a “common ground” aspect of witnessing we can successfully use with unbelievers. We all sense and know these God-given urges.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ lays the foundation for everything else we aim for. It is not just being “religious.” It allows us to pursue our dreams with the security and rootedness that all people seek. It gives us stability and purpose in the hardest or darkest of times. It gives us a base from which to operate. And it gives us a guarantee for an unknown future because it is rooted in the Christ who came to this earth to redeem us and will come again to complete his work in and for us. We as followers of Christ need to trumpet these truths and realities to our unbelieving friends and neighbors. And then pray for them and see God at work in their lives. Again, ask yourself and ask God; Why Am I Here?
Lord, today I praise and thank You for my relationship with you. It is you who fills that God-given vacuum in my heart and life and gives me purpose for my life. Help me share the witness of your grace with others this day. Bring them to such a saving relationship. For your honor and glory and their good. In Jesus name, Amen.
P H Y S I C A L R E F O R M A T I O N D E V O T I O N A L: 7
FEB 6, 2021,
Psalms 96:1-6, KJV
1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. 4For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Every true believer in Christ is a “new creation.” God has put a “new song” in our being. We live under a “new covenant,” where God says “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33, 34)
What does it mean to be “new” in the Lord? There is an inside-out change of being. Being a Christian is not first a change in the outward character, but a renovation in the inner person. This internal renovation creates an outward change of lifestyle and character. While outward changes can be faked or duplicated for a while, they never last, and God, who sees the heart, knows who we really are. This is why Jesus so emphatically said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21- 23) And doing the will of God comes from inside-out, from the heart, from the center of our being. So, the very first question of this new year should be, Have you had an inside-out change of being?
Dear Lord, I praise You for my new creation! I thank You for changing me from the inside-out. I adore the works of your hands, the creation all around me. Help me this day use “new eyes” to see what You want me to see. For the sake of my Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.