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Young people, I am convinced that the LARGE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE on the earth today make it through life through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN!  The majority of people have NO PLANS for their lives and they HIT THAT DEAD CENTER! Their lives are a HODGE-PODGE of actions with no planning and no meaning!




I will be 50 years old September 6! I am either 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the way through my life! 70 years is the AVERAGE LIFESPAN that God’s word tells us about! All of man’s technological improvements and medical treatments have not moved that average age forward more than 2 years!


Let’s say that in your lifetimes the median age for death in America is 80: What does that tell you about your life today? YOU ARE ALMOST 1/4th THROUGH LIFE TODAY!!!!!!! This means that YOU ONLY HAVE 3/4ths MORE TO GO!


Sadly, many never live out their full time on earth and death comes early. When I was your age Sally Murphy was one of the brightest and most well liked young ladies at East Wake High School. One day in class she came down with a headache. 1 hour later she was lying in a fetal position and completely unresponsive. 4 hours later she was dead- a cerebral hemorrhage! She was 17. My friend Larry Privette was 16 and leaving a date with Nancy Creech- he had been drinking and ran off the road into a tree and died.


The moral to these 2 stories is that “NO MAN IS PROMISED TOMORROW”. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may not come- therefore TODAY IS THE DAY TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER!


Seek to so live EACH DAY that if you die, you will NOT BE ASHAMED in the Lord’s presence! When you realize that YOU ARE NOT PROMISED TOMORROW, the importance of whether you are saved or not takes on new meaning!


May I give you one other bit of “balance” on life before we get into Romans 12? REMEMBER THESE WORDS: MONEY IS A TOOL, NOT A GOAL! Say that twice with me: MONEY IS A TOOL, NOT A GOAL! MONEY IS A TOOL, NOT A GOAL!


Don’t live your life for the “GOAL” of gaining money! If you do, you’ll miss your life and by the time you get money (if that is your lot in life) you will be too old to enjoy it! LIFE IS LIVED ALONG THE WAY, NOT AT THE END!


Psalm 90:12So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”




We’re going to do the study today BACKWARDS! As I read over the chapter and sought God’s mind on what to do today, I felt God leading me to take the chapter in its entirety backwards- this way, we move as a crescendo- a swelling wave to the peak of the message contained here by Paul many years ago!


Romans 12:21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”


Most people cannot control their anger, many cannot control their tongues, often young people have not been taught by their parents how to control themselves when having fun and they break the law and end up in prison (I’ve seen young people your age in handcuffs often in Magistrate offices across the state)!


EXERCISE CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE: don’t let wicked things overcome you!

-          If you take drugs- buy them at the pharmacy for a problem, not from a street vendor!

-          AVOID smoking- I was not that smart at your age- it made me feel like I was grown and my friends did it- I smoked for 10 years and it was a waste of money and led me down a wrong path!

-          Don’t put yourself in a position with another person where you would be tempted to pursue sex outside of marriage.


RATHER you should seek to have a PURPOSEFUL LIFE!

-          Make healthy practices for your life

-          Instead of wasting your time as a teen, explore your interests! Build a computer, help out at a hospital, serve at a city volunteer event, get a job in a field you’re interested in, take a course and develop a skill- USE YOUR SPARE TIME WISELY!


Psalm 90:12So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”


Romans 12:18-20 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

-          Let me state that anyone can get into a fight- it takes real wisdom and real inner fortitude to so control yourself that you don’t INFLAME relationships with problems! Any fool can cause a relationship to deteriorate with another person, only a REAL MAN or a REAL WOMAN can control themselves enough not to inflict unnecessary pain upon another in a stressful situation and gain a positive outcome! Live peaceably with all people!

-          The Bible teaches that it is possible to be ANGRY and NOT SIN! The actions of others CAN RESULT IN RIGHTEOUS ANGER IN OTHERS! The goal is to NOT SIN when others anger us! Avenge not yourselves!

-          GOD avenges you when others wrong you! And, GOD DOES A MUCH BETTER JOB of dealing with VENGEANCE than you will! Knowing this, you and I should have pity on those who seek to harm us, realizing that they are messing around with your Heavenly Father when they “mess around” with you! If you want to get a negative response quickly- you mistreat my daughter in my presence- IT’LL BE ROUGH! SO also, God loves each of us, and when others mistreat us, GUESS WHAT’S COMING! So, realizing that God is going to “work them over” for sinning against you, you should forgive others and do them good, even when they do you wrong! The 2 men who have done me the most wrong in my life are the 2 people I pray the most for- seeking God’s blessing in their lives and spiritual growth such that they will not hurt others as they have hurt me! This releases me from the BITTERNESS and puts me in a position to love them through my prayers! If your enemy has a need- help him!


Romans 12:17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”


-          Most marriages break up because the husband and wife follow a pattern of “recompensing evil for evil”. Marriages that truly succeed are ones where the husband and the wife both choose NOT to recompense evil for evil, but rather return love and help when the other does wrong! It is not a 50/50 proposition, but rather a 100% commitment on your part to the other with no strings attached. Strings can be broken and this causes hurt. Do all you can for your mate and don’t place unreasonable requirements on them that will break and cause problems! Good advice for marriage in the future!

-          BE HONEST: I worked with people, side by side at Memorex Telex for 24 years! When I left they knew that I was honest. Everyone trusted me. It’s the same way at the Administrative Office of the Courts. They know that I am honest and will always tell the truth. The result is that though there are many who perhaps had better education, I have advanced because I am honest and trustworthy. YOUR REPUTATION IS SOMETHING YOU EARN, and it can be lost in ONE DAY!


Romans 12:16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”


-          Satan is ALWAYS looking for a way to hinder God’s blessing in a local church by CAUSING DIVISIONS! Satan uses believers with PRIDE problems to do this. Believers who think they are better than others gather with only those they think “LIVE UP” to their conduct, appearance or financial standards! Be of the same mind one toward another- let your love for others be equal-not unfair. Don’t focus on “worldly rules” for your care for others!


Romans 12:14-15Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that week.”


-          As you grow older and wiser in your walk with the Lord, you’ll learn that you can find fulfillment even alone as you learn to appropriate the reality of the Lord’s presence in your life- then, when with others, you can focus on fulfilling their needs in relationships instead of your own needs! You’ll love others because you should, not because they love you- then your relationships will be enriched as you are able to enter into concerns for their lives, there by expanding your own!


Romans 12:11-13 address issues related to WORK in life: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”


-          When you work for someone else, remember that the New Testament teaches that we are to “work as unto the Lord”! If we view our employer’s commands as “from the Lord” we’ll be the best workers they have! This is God’s goal. Do NOT obey sinful or unlawful commands from those you work for- it would be better to loose your job than compromise and end up in jail!

-          In the doldrums of the work life to follow your education years, rejoice in hope and be patient during the tribulations of working closely with people that have problems that spill over into and onto your life! Continue in prayer on your jobs daily. When you work, remember to do your best to make the most money so that you will have to give to God and the poor saints who are not as able as you to live! BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS because of your being a good employee! Diane and I have been able to give $5,000 to other families and help them this year alone just because we work as unto the Lord and realize that money is a TOOL and not a GOAL! These families have been helped over hurdles they could not overcome on their own because we have been yielded and yielded all to God’s control. This has enriched our lives with their love because they know we are not fair-weather friends, but in times of trial are there as moorings for them in the storms of life!


Romans 12:9-10 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”


-          These statements go to the heart of daily living- they address CHARACTER! Your actions are what others SEE; your character is what you ARE!

-          Don’t show favoritism- treat everyone with the same respect and love!

-          Hate evil things- don’t let them stain your life!

-          Hold fast to the truly good things of life that bless you and others!

-          There is a special, eternal bond between you & all other Christians- prefer to spend your life among the brethren!


Romans 12:6-8 define a number of spiritual gifts. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophecy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”


What are YOUR spiritual gifts? You can’t use them till you know what they are!

-          All believers are given their spiritual gifts at the moment of salvation

-          We are to work out those gifts and excel in them with practice throughout life!

-          Prophecy: The ability to understand and explain the prophecies contained in scripture

-          Ministry: service related work in the church- any kind of service you would perform for others and God!

-          Teaching: The correct expression of what the scriptures contain for the understanding of the hearers

-          Exhortation: Encouraging others to move forward towards a goal for God

-          Giving: knowing when and to whom to give money, gifts, help, etc..

-          Ruling: the gift to lead others in the church

-          Mercy: the ability to comfort and encourage others!


Romans 12:3-5For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”


- Let’s not have a “rose colored view of ourselves”. Get a real picture of who you are:

- are you fat, are you thin,

- are you short are you tall,

- do you have a passive personality or do you have a strong personality,

- What are you good with, what aren’t you good with,

- are you smart are you dull, are you good with your hands are you good with    your head?

- SEE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE IN REALITY- MAKE PEACE WITH WHO YOU ARE BEFORE GOD and then you will be able to accept yourself when around others!

- REALIZE THAT GOD ALLOWED YOU TO TURN OUT THE WAY YOU HAVE FOR A PURPOSE! ALL of use have a ministry- ALL of our ministries will be different!

- Think soberly- view yourself as you really are! ALL have bad points and ALL have good points!




“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. 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.”


This is it! This is the goal! This is the standard! This is the direction to go in! Young people- this is the way to live your life- the ONLY way that will assure satisfaction, fulfillment, true joy and happiness in life!


-          Present your bodies a living sacrifice: Not a DEAD sacrifice- don’t wait till you’re ready to fall in the coffin at 69 to try to live for God- the ENERGY and VITALITY needed for good living for God is yours NOW- live for HIM NOW!

-          Live HOLY lives- only a holy life will yield a clean conscience and peace in your heart for living!- this is a REASONABLE request that God places on us as believers!

-          DON’T BE CONFORMED TO THIS PRESENT WORLD! Rather, conform the present world to the mind of Christ by THE WAY YOU LIVE!

-          Be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind! How? By the reading of God’s word- if you read any book it will affect you and your thinking. If you read the Bible it will CHANGE YOU and CHANGE YOUR THINKING! Be transformed into what GOD wants you to be, which is best for you!

-          PROVE THE WILL OF GOD by the way you live- live such that when you are my age you can look back and say “I HAVE LIVED MY LIFE FOR GOD- I HAVE NO REGRETS AND I HAVE PROVED GOD’S HAND IN BLESSING FOR ME!


Psalm 90:12So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom”