Category Archives: Romans

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.” They did, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God. He has made me the king’s highest official. I am in charge of his whole country; I am the ruler of all Egypt.  Genesis 45:4-8 GNT

If I were to make an action plan based on Joseph’s response to his brothers, this is what it might look like. First, decide with my head that I need to come to a place where I might forgive with my heart. Secondly, depend on God because forgiveness does not come naturally to me. Thirdly, understand my emotions and allow my feelings to catch up to my decision. And lastly, pray for my enemies and those I think are persecuting me – love them.

I think of Jesus’ prayers, there were so few recorded. I cannot imagine how He felt when He prayed this one.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” – Mark 15:34 GNT

Of all the prayers He could have spoken, I love that He chose one from the Psalms, a traditional prayer or maybe a more prophetic prayer being fulfilled.  It may not have been as long as some of His spontaneous prayers but I love knowing prayer had a place in His life.

Paul gave us the best examples of requesting prayer from his friends.

I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there. And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God’s will, and enjoy a refreshing visit with you. May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen. – Romans 15:30-33 GNT

I want to learn how to pray with strength and I am motivated by Paul’s request for prayer. If I want God to use me, I need to depend on people who depend on Him by being in prayer.

Father, my strength to forgive, to love, to be a follower of You, to be a shoulder for others and to proclaim the Gospel comes through my conversations with You. I am thankful that Your door is always open.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized

Genesis 44; Mark 14; Job 10; Romans 14

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.  So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.  Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat.  Remember all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.  Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.  But if you have doubts about whether you should eat something, you are sinning, you are sinning if you go ahead with it.  For you are not following your convictions.  If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”  Romans 14:17-23 NLT

Am I being a stumbling block or  helping unity? How often do I judge what someone else is doing, but haven’t looked at my own heart?  It’s not my job to convict, but the Holy Spirits. I am reminded that I need to pray for others, before I open my mouth.  And ask the Holy Spirit for discernment.  Why am I voicing my opinion? Is it to bring the person closer to the Lord. Or will it just push them away?

“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.”  He took Peter, James and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed.  He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me…Then he returned and found the disciples asleep.  He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.  For the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Mark 14:32-38 NLT

I can relate to Peter.  Sometimes I ‘fall asleep’ when Jesus has asked me to be alert and pray. I get overwhelmed and burdened. I am more susceptable to temptation.  My mind drifts into old habits or ways of coping that are not giving God glory.

“While he was eating, a woman came with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from the essence of nard.  She broke open the jar and poured perfume over his head.” Mark 14:3 NLT

Lord, I pray that my life would be an offering to you.  That I would hold nothing back from you.  Help me to live with open hands towards you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 35,36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6

How much do I stand out from those around me?

different color

A life of obedience to God’s commands pretty quickly sets us apart. There are activities that we won’t participate in, moral boundaries that we hold ourselves to, and habits that we work diligently to maintain.

Church attendance, tithing, Bible reading, protecting our purity, moderation, and integrity all tend to make our way of living a bit different from the cultural norm.

Really, this “otherness” started back at the beginning. Jacob’s descendants were clearly seen as different from others.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” . . . And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:2-3,5 ESV)

While our actions and decisions may set us apart, it is God’s response that makes it even more noteworthy. He responds to a life lived in obedience and those around us cannot help but take note.

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, (Job 2:3)

God pointed out Job to Satan because Job chose the higher path. His wife didn’t know how to handle the suffering and broke down. Job still had lessons to learn, but he also at least refrained his lips from speaking against God.

Jumping to the life of Christ in the book of Mark, we find the community that he grew up in struggled to make sense of Him. They simply could not believe.

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter . . . ” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)

God’s work on earth doesn’t always make sense to the non-believing mind. It usually causes a stir, and we should expect to stand out as not-of-this-world.

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

We are free. Free to walk in His power. Not bound by sin. Not held back by guilt. Not seeking the approval of the world or our neighbor.

We might look a little weird at times, but if we do, we are in good company.

Lord God, you have done an awesome work to transform my simple self into one that shines Your light and can walk obediently in Your Word. Give me boldness to be different and perseverance when walking with the crowd seems the easier path. My life doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Genesis 30; Mark 1; Esther 6; Romans 1

Then God remembered Rachel; he answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. – Genesis 30:22 GNT

I believe that God is faithful even when I am unfaithful. I believe He draws me close when I feel discouraged.

I know this to be true for even Jesus needed to pray.

Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed. – Mark 1:35 GNT

It dawned on me that Jesus prayed – He was God. It dawned on me that Jesus valued the relationship with God the Father more than anything else. He delighted on spending time with Him. They enjoyed spending time together – talking. It is what makes for a good healthy relationship.

I believe that my pride deceives me on this very issue. I read of a man who had no need to pray – Haman. He is such a man that illustrates the deceitfulness of my own heart which appears as conceit I have of myself and my own performances. These things would jump out at me if I was watching and praying. Imagine thinking that I was loved and valued and then finding that love and value was given to another?

It is with a thankful heart that God’s grace is towards me, even though I was dead in my sins. I was brought near to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death. – Romans 1:4 GNT

Father, I come to You believing that You are prepared and willing to answer my prayer, even if that prayer is only a sigh. Jesus, thank you for modelling prayer and for encouraging me to have a relationship with You just as You had one with Your Father. Father, when I look at how black my heart is with pride and conceit in who I think I am, I am sickened to realise how much I am not like You. Thank You Jesus for coming, dying, were buried and yet through the power of the Holy Spirit You were raised from the dead so that I can be set free from those very chains that kept me from You. It is with a light heart and a glad and full cup, that my joy in You is seen in my life. I bless You for walking with me and allowing me to walk with You. May I never find myself taking You for granted. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Esther, Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized

Isaiah 26-29; Romans 16

“In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation.  Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter.  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.  Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.” Isaiah  26:1-8 NLT

Am I building walls around my mind to keep the enemy out? Or am I willingly letting him in? These questions come to my mind as I read these verses.  I let my guard down and fear can creep in when I least expect it. Isaiah 26:3 has been a refuge to me when I am going through a dark time. It reminds me that trust is greater than fear. And I ask Jesus to fill me again.

“The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.  The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.  That is why the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear.  For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob.  They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19, 22-23 NLT 

I am in a season where I am in need of fresh joy.  There has been hard battles fought in my family and I am weary.  But, these verses give me hope. I see God working in our midst and I am in awe.  He still does miracles today.  He still restores and makes broken things whole. May I never grow tired of that.

“But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord.  That makes me very happy.  I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong.  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:19 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for your faithfulness.  I am humbled by how you would use someone like me.  Thank you for always directing my path.  Help me to fill my mind with your word. This is the true battle.  Thank you for your promises to always be with me. Amen.

“ In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you.” Isaiah 26:1-9 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Isaiah 12-15; Romans 12

Romans 12 is one of those portions of scripture that I often find myself in a love/hate relationship with. It contains such great encouragement! But it also contains such difficult instructions and directions.

In verse one, we’re reminded to live in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross. How do we do that? By living surrendered to God in body, mind, and spirit. This is how we find freedom, and this is how we can discover the will of God in our lives. Ultimately, when we live surrendered, we learn to see through God’s eyes:

First, we can see ourselves through God’s eyes, and that causes us to live in humility. It causes us to live our gifts without comparing our gifts. It causes us to serve others without worrying what they will do in return.

And then we can see how this humility causes us to see our brothers and sisters in Christ through God’s eyes. It allows us to recognize that there can be diversity in unity. It causes us to value our differences, our unique personalities, and various gifts that God created us with. It allows us to be generous and welcoming. It allows us to treasure others and treat them in such a way to make them feel treasured.  It allows us to love with an enduring and sacrificial love.

Finally, it allows us to see outsiders and enemies through God’s eyes. It moves us to forgive when we’ve been hurt. It gives us the ability to meet others halfway, to extend mercy, to seek harmony, and be generous even when people attempt to take advantage of us or mistreat us. It causes us to seek peace – to chase after it, and to make every effort to have it, even with the people who constantly provoke us. And it’s what allows us to overcome their evil with good – the goodness that can only come from God’s grace as we live surrendered to His will.

The “Romans 12 Christian” is one I long to be, but I must confess, I fail more often than I succeed.

Instead of seeing myself accurately, I often get puffed up in my skills and attribute them o myself instead of seeing them as gifts from God to be used for His glory. I can easily fall into the trap of comparing myself to others to justify my own shortcomings. And I struggle greatly to serve others if I don’t think I’ll get anything out of it.

Instead of seeing my brothers and sisters in Christ accurately, I often find myself impatient with them, feeling frustrated with the differences in everything from gifts and talents, to personality and communication styles. I struggle to devote myself to others and to be generous and sacrificial, instead focusing on how I wish they’d be more like me.

And I especially struggle with those who are outsiders or enemies. I don’t like choosing forgiveness. I’d much rather nurse the hurt into a grudge that demands justice. I’d much rather focus on my rights. I’d much rather focus on their failures. And I’d much rather justify my sinful behavior as a result of their provocation. But God calls me to forgive as I’ve been forgiven – “In view of God’s mercy.”

And so, in view of God’s mercy, I will choose humility in how I see myself and others.

In view of God’s mercy, I will value the differences between believers.

In view of God’s mercy, I will extend forgiveness when it’s undeserved.

In view of God’s mercy, I will seek peace and pursue it.

In view of God’s mercy, I will make every effort to love as I’ve been loved.

In view of God’s mercy, I will live surrendered.

 

Father, in Jesus’ name, thank you for the mercy you showed me at the cross. Thank you for offering your one and only Son to take my place on the cross and to rise again, defeating death, so that I could live with You. Help me to live in the light of that mercy. Help me never to forget it or take it for granted. Rather, let it move me to surrender. Let it move me to love as I’ve been loved. And let me learn to overcome evil with good by letting Your love flow through me. Amen.

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Micah 1-4; Romans 9

So this morning we find ourselves in the middle of chapters that theologians have argued over for millennia. And 66Books A Year is a devotional not a theological treatise. So where do we find the devotional point in these chapters.

In Romans 9 and Micah 1-3 God is seen as punishing and setting aside His chose people. They have left God and gone their own way and depending on the way one may read the Romans chapter it may be of God’s own doing. But then we see in Micah 4 the hope for not only Israel and Judah, but for us all. Two verses give us this hope:

6 In that day, declares the Lord,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away
and those whom I have afflicted;

7 and the lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore. (Micah 4:6&7 [ESV])

God has always been for the marginalized. Here we see Him caring for the remnant and the lame and the disenfranchised. There is coming a day when things will be set right and we will enjoy the presence of the Lord forever. In the meantime He meets out His judgement and carries out His will and it can be hard to understand all that. But the promise is sure. We who have put our faith and trust in Him alone for our salvation will be forever with Him. Praise be to God!

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