This series is impacting me. I’m being transformed. I’m not what I was, nor am I what I will be, but I’m experiencing His transforming power.
I know I can’t transform myself, but amazingly, His mighty power can.
I’ve been singing the following prayer all through the day: audibly when alone — silently when in public — and He is answering.
Too often I’ve relied on myself, forgetting I can do nothing without Him.
He keeps bringing this truth home to me.
This week Marti, a pickleball friend who came to Christ a few years ago, visited me, remarking on how changed she is because of the power of Christ in her, propelling her daily. She’s the gal who had trouble when she first came to Bible study in seeing herself as a sinner. But one day she was riding her bike, thinking about this, when God showed her she was a sinner. She came flying into our next Bible to tell us, her face radiant. “I”m a sinner! God showed me when I was riding my bike. I know now I need a Savior. And that’s good!”
She told me, this week, “Every time I pass that spot where I was on my bike, I remember how God met me there.”
But it isn’t just in our initial encounter that He will meet us, but all through the day, making us grateful for the smallest mercies, changing our thinking, transforming our eyes to see people as He sees them.
As Paige says, “grace and gratitude are not successive but simultaneous.” I need Him every hour. (That’s another good song to sing constantly. In The Pastor’s Wife, Richard Wurmbrand’s wife tells how she was aware he was attracted to a beautiful young woman they were mentoring and she often heard him singing loudly at the piano, I Need Thee! She put her hands on his shoulders and told him that this would pass — and it did.)
This week she says: “We are not to do loving acts, instead, we are to be loving.” It is who we are as we are conformed to Him. So when I walk into the grocery store, the pickleball court, the church, the family reunion… I pray:
Breathe on me breath of God, fill me with life anew that I may love as though dost love…
When I start to go over in my mind a hurt I have experienced, defending myself and destroying my adversary with my thoughts, I pray:
Breath on my breath of God…til every selfish part of me, glows with thy fire divine.
And He, through His Spirit, helps me let it go, and not just let it go, but to overcome evil with good. As Philip Yancy says, “Grace is amazing because it is not natural — it’s supernatural.”
I’m being transformed by His power.
This is our final week with Paige and next week we return to the 2nd half of Revelation. Paige ended this series with “The time is at hand. The day is nearer.” A perfect send off to return to Revelation. Even if you have not been with us in the first half, there will be a review next week, and you can hop on. You will want to get this commentary in softcover or kindle:
There is so much that is golden this week, I want us to dig in right away. (Paige’s last three videos are all available until Friday, Nov. 12th) But here is her last video of the series:
Questions in purple for those simultaneously reviewing Revelation.
Sunday: Getting Started
Paige packed in so much I’ve chosen not to add her reflection questions so as to not overwhelm you. Monday and Tuesday are definitely heavier than the rest of the week — so take heart!
- I shared that I am being transformed through this series and gave a few specific examples. How have you been impacted so far by this series? Share at least one specific example.
- Paige begins with a review of last week. What do you remember about:
- We want to be cherished but not transformed.
- There’s nothing that doesn’t come from the gospel.
- What a living sacrifice looks like.
Monday: Gospel Responsiveness to One Another in the Church (Romans 12:1-8)
3. Paul often comes back to the gospel using the word “not.” I am not ashamed of the gospel;” “I am not under the law,” “God did not spare his own son…” Find two examples of “not” in Romans 12:1-3. If we are to respond to the gospel, how are we not to be in each case?
4. Paige said we are naturally very aware of ourselves. Is that true of you? Explain.
5. Through the Spirit, what are we told not to do in verse 3, but rather, what are we to do?
6. Paige said we are to think with sober judgment according to faith. We should assess ourselves not by our beauty or talent but by our faith. She said “faith is looking completely away from ourselves and to Jesus.”
A. Apply this to a current struggle. How, by looking to Jesus, and exercising your faith, could you not trust in yourself to overcome but trust in Jesus to overcome?
B. How is this an antidote to pride?
7. Read Romans 12:4-8
A. God defines the family here — who is this “One Body?”
B. Paige said “We are not who we are in our journals, only who we are when we are together.” This reveals who we really are, how conformed we are to Him. How are you when you are together with the body of Christ? Are you other-centered? Are you intentional in drawing them out, in loving, in seeing them as God does? Assess!
C. Paige said, “We need each other.” I know I get cranky when I’m hungry or tired, but I don’t always realize I get cranky when deprived of Christian fellowship. Reflect — is this true of you? Are you getting the fellowship you need?
8. How are you unique in your gifting, and how, by faith, are you using this gift in the body?
It is so easy to turn your gift into an asset, but then it becomes an obstacle. It is a gift from God and should be used to point others to Jesus.
9. Take any of the gifts listed in verses 6-8 and give an example of how that gift could be misused by pointing it to oneself, and how it can be used rightly by pointing others to Jesus.
10. Paige said “The things we are gifted for are not more important than things we are all called to do.” Do you agree? What are some things we are all called to do?
Tuesday: Gospel Responsiveness to Neighbors in the World (Romans 12:9-16)
11. What does verse 9 say? How is this different from acting loving, or having good manners? (The word for love is agape — used only of God until now.)
12. Look at the list in Romans 12:10-16 and explain why none of them are natural, but only done supernaturally as we are transformed by the Spirit.
Paige said often we weep with another because their trouble provokes a memory or a concern for us, not because we are really empathizing with them. I called my daughter Sally to tell her our elderly neighbor drowned and she became hysterical. I know she cared for him, but I also think it made her fear I would be next on this Great Lake. I do know that always I have double grief at a funeral — for the family, and for myself! The curvature of my soul, always curving inward.
13. My absolute favorite story she told was how a roommate responded when she came home and found Paige in tears. Do you remember what happened? And do you remember her point?
14. I found her discussion on love languages interesting, saying, it doesn’t matter what your love language is in showing love, it matters how to meet their need best. How could you apply that — especially with holidays coming up?
15. She also said loving everybody is an excuse for loving nobody in particular. Comments?
16. Meditate on verse 16. How would you apply that specifically in your life?
Wednesday: Opponents in Our Lives (Romans 12:17-21)
17. Read Romans 12:17-19.
A. What are the main points?
B. Paige said that most people are competitive so they see others, even brothers and sisters in Christ, as competitors. Do you agree? If you do (I know can feel that way in the areas of my gifting and need to talk to my soul!) If this is true of you, how should you speak to your soul?
18. Read verses 20-21.
A. Paige talked about how when her children fight, one will say “She started it.” What is her response and how is that supported by this passage?
B. How should we respond when someone hurts us, according to this passage? Can you give either an example of how you have done that or how God is telling you to now?
I think of several of you, my sisters here, who are overcoming evil with good. You are living with husbands who do not obey the Word, and loving without receiving. You have been betrayed by children, but have taken their children in because they are not fit to raise them. God sees. Even the rulers and authorities in heavenly places (angels and demons) see. (Ephesians 3:10)
Thursday: Indebtedness to Love (Romans 13:8-10)
19. Read Romans 13:8-10
A. What are the main points?
B. Why, according to verse 8, is loving not arbitrary for the believer? (Some translations say “Owe no man anything except the debt of love.”)
C. This love must go beyond the law, to loving as He loved us. She told a story of her daughter swinging her arm. What was happening and what was her point?
20. Why must we never see loving others as a way to gain God’s favor? Do you do this?
Friday: Incitement to Love (Romans 13:11-14)
21. What does Paul mean by “the time” and “the day?” What does he tell us about it?
22. In our study of Revelation, we are taught the tribulation began at Christ’s resurrection, but the sorrows increase as “the time” draws near. How did you see that happening at the close of the first two judgments (the seals and the trumpets). Do you see an escalation going on today?
23. What would you do if you KNEW Jesus was coming at the end of the week? What wouldn’t you do?
24. Read Romans 13:12-13
A. What is the main point?
B. Paige said our lovelessness is drowsiness. What did she mean? How to apply?
C. What was her point with the Snowman in Frozen?
25. Read Romans 13:14 and explain what we must do and why we must do it to live this way.
26. What did she mean when she said in a very Keller like way: “We wear Jesus because He wore us.”
27. What is your take-away from the week? From the study?