Tag Archives: Romans

Psalm 40, Proverbs 19-21, Romans 16

Have you ever felt invisible? Or maybe there has been a time when your hard work, act of kindness or good deeds went completely unnoticed or unappreciated.  From motherhood to the workplace, the day to day of living a life that is set apart from the way of the world is difficult and thankless.

I am always surprised by passages like this one in Romans 16 because just when you think the little people go unnoticed, names pop up that you have never heard before. At different points in my life I have definitely felt like a “no name” and that all my efforts are in vain. To make a name for yourself, you typically have to be over the top, smarty pants, super successful, rich or loud OR on the other end of the spectrum; ignorant, disruptive, or violent. Often, there is little room for the middle man if you want to be noticed.

But here in Romans 16, Paul recognizes 25 “no names” that never had their own book of the bible but made a mark in the faithful, day to day service to their Master. Here they are called patrons, fellow workers in Christ Jesus, fellow prisoners, chosen. Some “risked their necks” for Paul’s life and all of them worked hard for their fellow believers. Paul not only mentions these people by name but asks that the Romans would treat them in a way worthy of the saints and to accept them. These people’s faithful service in the day to day grind paid off.

When I read through the list of names and descriptions Paul gives, one word comes to mind; consistency. These believers didn’t just do one random act of kindness and then move on. They lived lives of service to the Lord. Some of them had actually walked with Jesus and other’s converted after he had already risen but they remained faithful to the Lord’s service. I know that deeds to not gain my entrance ticket to heaven but somewhere my name is written- I am not a no name any longer.

Before Paul closes out his letter to the Romans he gives a final word of warning to these people who have remained consistently faithful over the years.

 

17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[f] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16 17-20

 

Some things never change. That warning from Paul over 2,000 years ago is still true today. His warning is a reminder that if we are not careful our once faithful hearts can quickly be lead astray. As Romans 16:25a, 27 says, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

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Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

When reading Proverbs, I understand Ezekiel’s appetite, “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am going to give you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted like honey.” Ezekiel 3:3

There are Proverbs that I want to grab hold of, memorize, ponder and turn into personal prayers. I hear God’s warning to protect that which he regards precious, my heart:

“Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Another Proverb stands out and I flashback to playing dress up at my grandmother’s house: I am 5 years old, standing in a discarded pair of white high heels and trying on old church hats and admiring myself in the mirror.

“(Wisdom) will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” Proverbs 4:9

Grace is the glorious crown Jesus has put on my head. I mentally don it as I begin the day, It isn’t make believe; it is reality. Grace bestows a beauty that no make up artist or plastic surgeon can come close to. It shines through in the darkest of places and it is the very righteousness of Christ covering me. I am the undeserving sinner who is now a child of the King. The garland of grace transforms all who bow down to receive it.

My hunger for God’s truth, his Word increases.

“The word is near you, it is in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is in your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Lord, your love is my glory, my crown. Thank you for your life giving grace. May your Word be alive and at work in me today so that I live in the truth of who You are and what You have done. Amen

Klueh

 

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1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

4King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice. He went there because it was the most important place of worship. He offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar. 5While he was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.”

6Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you. He was honest and lived right. And you showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. 7Lord my God, you have allowed me to be king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child. I do not have the wisdom I need to do what I must do. 8I, your servant, am here among your chosen people. There are too many of them to count. 9So I ask that you give me wisdom. Then I can rule the people in the right way. Then I will know the difference between right and wrong. Without wisdom, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.” 1 Kings 3:4-8  (2 Chronicles 1:7-10) (ICB)

If God had come to me like He came to Solomon and said, “Ask for anything you want. I will give it to you.” I’m not sure what I would have said. Having read these accounts, I would know to ask for wisdom and understanding, but I also have a list of wants and (in my mind) needs – I want a cosponsor for my husband to be able to come to US and our family be reunited; I want greater financial stability; I want to live in a nicer, more spacious house with a fenced in yard in an awesome community of friends; I want an iPhone that actually works correctly, I want…I want…I want….

I suppose the reality is that asking for wisdom and understanding would make a way for gaining the solutions to my wants list. But I wonder if my fallen nature would think immediately to the bullet points on the list rather than the all encompassing wisdom.

In the midst of a lot of lingering unknowns in my life right now, I struggle every day with the desire to have answers to all of the uncertainty. If someone asks me what my plans are, what I want, I can list out all the things I think “should” be happening; but are my “wants” lined up with what God knows is best for my, for my family, not to mention His timing. I don’t know.

He knows the big picture, the eternal. I can only see my little moment of that eternity. But in my weakness, when it seems like nothing is going as I hoped, it is frustrating.

26Also, the Spirit helps us. We are very weak, but the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us. The Spirit speaks to God with deep feelings that words cannot explain. 27God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way that God wants. Romans 8:26-27 (ICB)

When Solomon asked for wisdom, God was pleased, because Solomon trusted God. God saw that Solomon was looking to God, not to riches or power, and so God, in turn, gave Him everything. It’s so important for me to press in and really trust God, trust His wisdom, His timing, His provision. It’s important for me to trust His goodness as my Father, no matter if I have the answers, the understanding, the wisdom, or not.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your Spirit. Strengthen me, in my weakness. He me better understand Your ways. See my heart and make it wise because I turn to You. Check my spirit when I look to my own understanding, so I can put my focus back on You. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

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1 Kings 4; Proverbs 1-2; Psalm 43; Romans 9

My child, listen to what I say,

and treasure my commands.

Tune your ears to wisdom,

and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight,

and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver;

seek them like hidden treasures.

Then you will understand what it means to fear the lord,

and you will gain knowledge of God.

For the lord grants wisdom!

From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.

He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.

He guards the paths of the just

and protects those who are faithful to him.

Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,

and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will fill you with joy.

Wise choices will watch over you.

Understanding will keep you safe. Proverbs 2: 1-11

The Lord gives me wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. He gives me common sense. He guards and protects me because I believe in Him, because I am His child.

And yet, sometimes I don’t always seek Him right away for the knowledge and wisdom that I need. I don’t always ask Him to help me make wise choices as I journey through time. I don’t always ask Him to give me wisdom to handle my kids’ daily shenanigans or to manage my household without feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed.

It’s more often than not, that I remember to ‘cry out for insight and ask for understanding’ when I am at my wits end, when I am not sure how I’ll survive another moment. And sometimes, even when I do cry out, I have difficulty filtering God’s still small voice out from the cacophony of living with three small children.

But all who listen to me will live in peace,

untroubled by fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33

In reality, He is always there for me, always willing to share His heart, offer counsel, and enlighten my mind. He wants me to understand the right steps to take, and know which way to walk. He wants me to be privy to His expansive knowledge, pieces of hidden treasure, God’s ‘hacks’, as it were, to the ups and downs of life.

He wants me be filled with hope and joy that is found in insight. He wants me to be overflowing with love that replaces fear. He wants me to live in His peace, the peace that surpasses human understanding, and untroubled by the potential of harm.

Yesappa, Thank You for being there for me always, providing for my every need. Tune my ears to hear your voice and help me concentrate on Your Words. Remind me to continuously seek out Your understanding. Help me treasure every tidbit of wisdom and insight that You offer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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1 Kings 1: 1 Chronicles 26-28; Romans 6

Waiting and watching as death drew closer, I sat beside and watched each breath. The chest rose, then fell; I waited to see, “Was that the last breath?” The final breath came and a haunting, stillness followed. A soul who seemed larger than life, someone whom I thought would always be, was gone. Spiritual truth became physical reality. There was no punching through some unknown wall to draw that life back into existence. It’s from that context that I read Paul’s words:

Count yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ. Romans 6:11.

If we know Jesus Christ as Lord, then the power of sin is dead within us. If we try to grab hold of sin in hopes that it brings us life, we grasp in vain. Sin is without breath; once we are found in Christ, sin has absolutely nothing to offer us. It takes us down dead end roads and spent….so why do I forget that? Thank God for his grace!

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22,23.

Lord, thank you that you have called me to live in a richness and beauty that can only be found in you. Forgive me when my appetite for you is weak and small. Forgive me when I choose death over life, sin over righteousness. Thank you Lord, that when you see me, you see the righteousness of Christ.  Lord, be my master and teach me what it means to pursue your  holiness in all its wonder. Amen.

Klueh

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