Elder’s Thoughts 2019

                                                            Be Christ to Others – Romans 12: 19-21


Reagan- LIVING SACRIFICES  To be a living sacrifice seems an oxymoron because sacrifices are usually dead. So, how are Christians supposed to be living sacrifices? It is with sacrificial service, or worship that is reasonable for someone who is genuinely grateful for what they have received from God. The goal of presenting oneself as a living sacrifice is service. In Luke 1:74b-75, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, prayed that “we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.” That is a beautiful model of what it means to live as a sacrifice to Christ.
Phil Robertson -STEP UP AND STEP OUT   -As we conclude our study of Romans 12, the obvious question is: where do I go from here? Re-reading the entire chapter, I find that answer in the first verse.
• I am to be a “living and holy sacrifice.” (I don’t live for myself.)
• I am to be “acceptable to God.” (I must strive to always please God in my behavior.)
• I am “not to be conformed to this world.” (Others should see that I am different in my approach to life.)
• I am to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind.” (I am to change my behavior based upon God’s will.)
• I am to “prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (I am to live so that all men      will see that God is our Lord and I live to His glory.)
This can be summed up by saying that I am to strive to be like Christ. IF God is my Father, then Christ is my Brother, and we all share certain family characteristics. Those traits are demonstrated by the way I live and the way I act toward others, regardless of the circumstances or my former feelings. I need to “step out” and make a difference in my life, my family’s life, and the community where I live. Then God will truly be glorified.

Bo Gray-OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD  I have tried to read the suggested verses from Romans 12 every day this year, but I think I missed a few days. I believe, however, that studying this chapter has helped me be a better Christian, and I hope it has helped you also. We are looking at verses 19-21 this month, and I find it easier to understand them by looking back at the whole chapter.
In the first two verses Paul issues a challenge to us as Christians—to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, and to not be of this world. We are to do this by transforming our minds, or to control what we think. Many years ago, I heard someone say that the only thing that we have control over in this world is what we think. I believe that is true.
In the next 19 verses Paul describes what this looks like. In these 19 verses, by my count, Paul gives 32 examples of what this should look like in our everyday lives. I am not going to list these, but I urge you to go through and count for yourself. If we follow the teachings Paul gives us in the earlier verses, especially verses 9-16, we will be better equipped to handle difficult situations such as those mentioned in verses 17-21.
I believe Paul sums up the entire chapter in verse 21: “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”

Jack Vanderpool – THE CHRISTMAS CARD LIST   During my career, I was blessed to work with some of the finest citizens of this great land. One was an Army buddy and good friend named Paul. He has supported two students at Trujillo Christian School—once I told him about our work in Trujillo. He even traveled to Trujillo with Bo and me a few years back to attend graduation ceremonies. Paul is the opposite of what you would envision as an Airborne, Special Forces career soldier. Almost every time I hear someone talk about seeking revenge for some perceived injustice, real injustice, or just a disagreement, I think about Paul. We have known each other for over 30 years. On active duty, during our second careers and, now, as true retirees, we remain friends. During one 10-year period, I worked very closely with him. Over those 10 years, he found money to hire me as a Department of Defense military contractor and then said, “Just do what you think that needs to be done to make the Army better.” He provided an office, connectivity, a computer, travel funds, and even gave me the option to “work here in the office or at your home.” It was an amazing experience.
I saw him handle many intense situations, including character attacks. In each instance, he found the right approach to achieve his objective and in every case he succeeded. He never tried to bulldoze through situations, but, through amazing patience and persistence, he simply looked for another path. His alternate path often was just to bring someone a box of hot Krispy Kreme donuts. He knew that it was hard for anyone to say “no” when he showed up with hot donuts and a smile! Over the years, I never heard him call anyone names, swear, or talk about “getting even.” On one particular occasion I overheard him engaged in a rather long, intense phone call with someone who had gone back on a promise to help him achieve one of his tasks. After the call, he swiveled his desk chair around and said to me, ‘Well, Jack, I think he is off my Christmas card list.” Those were the harshest words that I ever heard him speak.
He truly found the path each time to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
May each of us look for and discover that same path.

Phil Robertson – ‘GOD IS MY SURETY’  I am currently with my son at a conference in Boston sponsored by the American Bar Association. It is about fidelity and surety bondsmy son at a conference in Boston sponsored by the American Bar Association. It is about fidelity and surety bonds and their use and litigation. The conference is for attorneys and insurance companies. Surety and fidelity bonds are specialized insurance policies that protect companies from losses due to fraud, embezzlement, willful negligence, and other types of misbehavior that cause harm to the insured company. For a fee, the insurance company, known as the “surety,” will handle bad behavior and make the victim whole due to damage done. It occurred to my son and me that this is a perfect example of what God is telling us in Romans 12:19-20. God reminds us that HE is our surety
It is difficult when we feel we have been wronged, damaged, or hurt by another. We experience anger, embarrassment, pain, disappointment, and resentment. This soon leads to a desire for revenge, and to feeling justified in that revenge. When damage rises to a certain level, society steps in and takes revenge for us, preventing us from overreacting and beginning a blood feud.
God reminds us that nothing is too small or insignificant for Him. God says that no hurt or wrong is too large that it should cost us our souls. We don’t have to make a cost/benefit analysis. We don’t even have to investigate the wrongful action; God has all the information already. We just have to let Him handle things for us. He simply asks us to go about doing good to everyone. Also, God is better than being in Allstate’s hands; God doesn’t charge a fee!

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