Because I tend to obsess on negative things, I try to change it up  and obsess on something worthwhile. This year it’s Romans, chapter 12* which I try to read every 2018 morning.  Truth be told I am such a child that I can only digest a weighty chapter per sitting which amounts to one Dick and Jane book at a time – over and over and over. It works cuz some of us need a daily reset. I’m lovin’ it. You?

Romans 12 is one-stop shopping on how to live life. This is what it says to me — marching orders if you will.

  1. Every day is for you to do what God wants you to do. This shows that you love God and know that He’s in charge.
  2. Don’t jump off the cliff everyone else is jumping off. Be brave enough to have a different mindset than the pop-culture, and represent God well, Whose ideas are GOOD ones. Go ahead and tell people. It’s a free country.
  3. Don’t think you’re better than you are. You are valuable but not all that and a bag of chips. Remember, you get your faith from God. It’s a gift with which you had nothing to do. (I don’t really talk like that but my English major husband mentioned people shouldn’t end sentences with a preposition. Insert emoji with clenched teeth.)
  4. Stop comparing yourself to other people whose talents you don’t have. It’s just true that you don’t embody every talent and by the way, no one does. Do what you’re good at. You also had nothing to do with that gift.
  5. Don’t do nice things and be a jerk inside. Help other people and get your mind off yourself. Stick with it for as long as it needs to last. Do it for God so that when other people don’t thank you it doesn’t matter. Be a hopeful person who just keeps going and prays about what needs praying about. Meet a need if you can and have people over or at least take them with you on errands. It’s a lonely world.
  6. Be kind to people who make you crazy and don’t call them bad names. Be outwardly happy for people when good things happen to them and be sad with people who are sad. You can’t fix it but you can feel it.
  7. Don’t think you’re cool. Hang out with folks everyone else thinks are dweebs. You will probably change your definition of cool and discover the dearest people ever.
  8. Don’t be mean back to mean people. Act as you wanted them to act toward you — nice — which is what everyone likes.  If two wrongs don’t make a right — why bother?
  9. Do as much as you can to be on good terms with everyone. Sometimes that is just not possible with certain people. You tried, and God saw that.
  10. Don’t plan paybacks to people who hurt you. Defending you is God’s job. He’s better at it anyway.
  11. Be extra nice to cranky people. It drives them nuts and they can’t figure out what to do with that. They might feel sheepish and back it up. At any rate, defer to #8 and #9.
  12. Don’t let bad news and scary accident  stories rain on your parade. Trumpet what is good and that will drown out what should not get all the attention. Blow that trumpet as loud as you can.

Romans 12 

12 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, [a]acceptable to God, which is your [b]spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this [c]world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may [d]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and [e]acceptable and perfect.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, [f]according to the proportion of his faith; if [g]service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with [h]liberality; he who [i]leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; [j]give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the [k]saints, [l]practicing hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute [m]you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but [n]associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. [o]Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but [p]leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)