Romans 12:1-21 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasingand perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Psalms 131:2 (NRSV) – The psalmist wrote, “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother.”

DEVOTION – Steven C. Booth (Virginia)

In his book Shaped by the Word, Robert Mulholland defines spiritual formation as “the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.”  Because I’m an associate pastor for Christian formation, I think a lot about my part in this formative process.  What am I to do?  What effort will it take from me?  How hard do I need to work at it?  I can’t imagine how God could form me without my help, my effort, and my hard work.  But what I’m learning is that God doesn’t need or desire my help.  What God longs for is my presence.  What God desires from me is surrender – resting in God’s unconditional love.

I’m a new grandfather.  And I must confess, I’m smitten.  I’m filled with love every time I look at my grandson, Jackson.  He doesn’t have to do anything.  All that is required is his presence.  Quite simply, his presence is the gift.  And as I continue to search for my part in the spiritual formation process, I’m gradually beginning to understand what God needs from me.  I hear God saying in my heart, “It’s enough, Steve, to show up and be with me.  Sit with me a while.  Let me heal your hurts and disappointments.  Be like Jakson, content to rest peacefully in his mother’s arms, trusting that his every need will be met.  Rest in my love.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Resting in God’s love renews and transforms us.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us always to trust you and to rest contentedly in your love.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Those Wishing for Grandchildren