Category Archives: Romans

Plans

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.

“But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain.”  Romans 15:23-24.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Proverbs 25-27, and Romans 15.

We all do it; we make plans.

Paul is planning to go to Spain, but he will never get there.

We don’t know the future.  God does.

In James it says that if the Lord wills, we’ll do this and that.  When we start saying, with certainty, what will happen, we miss Who is in charge.

I have often been guilty of starting something and THEN asking God to bless me.  How does God feel about my approach?

Planning something without involving God is folly.

A better approach is to present my blank schedule to Him and ask Him to guide me in filling it in.  That approach makes me open to His changes and His better ideas.  Apart from Him I can do nothing Godly.

“Lord, direct me.  Show me the way; Your Way.  Forgive me for going my own way.  For asking for blessings without being assured I am doing what You want me to do.  What a fool I am!  I love You, Father.”

If I plan without God, I have created a counterfeit god; me.

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Zeal off course

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” Romans 10:2.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Proverbs 10-12, and Romans 10.

Paul is talking about the Jews.  They are keen on pleasing God, but they have misunderstood God.

I like to spiritualize the Scripture I read and apply it, if possible, to myself.  So here we go down that road!

I want to do what God wants me to do.  The issue here is: How do I figure out what God wants me to do?

There seems little doubt that the Jews studied the Bible.  They had the Old Testament and there were plenty of scholars on hand to explain its meaning.  The synagogue was a community center, of sorts, and the regular folks were there often hearing about God and His expectations of each of them.

But despite all this God-centeredness, most of them missed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.  How could that be?  Their hearts/minds were not opened to Him.  Their teachers failed to see Jesus as Messiah and passed that mistake to their congregations.

I must be certain that I am OPEN to God.  I cannot get self-entrenched in my own wisdom and miss His wisdom.

I enjoy Bible studies because people are comfortable sharing what they believe about certain Scriptures.  Often, different views are shared.  It makes me think.  It makes me realize how easy it would be, in a closed group of think-alikes, for a wrong view to become the only view.

“Lord, I beg You to prick my conscience when I am misguided.  I want to know You right and to share You right.  I am a sinner, prone to wander.  Help me, Lord.”

How often do you examine what you believe to validate it’s accuracy?  Is your belief system based on what someone else said?

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Do you pray like a know-it-all?

“We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  Romans 8:26.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Proverbs 4-6 and Romans 8.

Do we really think that we know what we need?

There’s no way that we do.  Our total vision of things is majorly limited.  We see through a glass darkly.

BUT that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make requests to God!  We need to have conversations with Him.  He is indeed our Father.

If there is a message for me out of this, it is that my requests are often too specific.  I base this thought on the prayer of Jesus for us at the end of John 17.  Few specifics but important generalities.  The same with the Lord’s Prayer, if you reflect on it.

I, too often, want to tell God what to do.  To treat Him as MY servant.  Think how I would speak if I remembered that I am HIS servant.

Conversely there are some very specific things that come along that would encourage very specific prayers.  What I like here is that our God can figure out, and handle, the necessary details for His people.  We can trust that forever!  Hallelujah.

“Lord, You are the way-maker.  Help me to live accordingly.  Help me to call on You but ultimately to follow You.  To eagerly seek Your Will.  To align my will with Your Will so that what I do pleases You.  I love You, Father.”

Are your prayers too specific?

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God cleaned up Adam’s mess

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”  Romans 5:19.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 8, Psalm 136, and Romans 5.

To a newbie to the Bible, this verse would be very confusing.

With a background in reading the Bible, the pieces come together.

Adam was given specific instructions by God that involved a “you shall surely die” consequence.  Adam made the wrong choice and sin (death with God) followed.

God provided a way (sacrificial system) for unintentional sins to be dealt with.

God also heard the prayers for forgiveness from those who committed intentional sins.  David is an example in his request to God that He “take away my iniquity.”

Later, God sent Jesus to die (sacrificially) for all our sins.  When we trust what Jesus did to save us from sin’s consequences, we are assured of an eternity with God in heaven.

“Lord, thank You for loving us enough to create a way for our sins to be forgiven.  We stand hopeless before You otherwise on Judgment Day.  Thank You, Lord.”

He prepared a way for us to get out from under the consequences of our sins.  Hallelujah!

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Works and salvation are not connected

“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”  Romans 4:4-5.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Chronicles 6-7, Psalm 135, and Romans 4.

Salvation is a GIFT.  I cannot earn it at any level.

If I am earning something, then I have a part in the result.  Salvation omits me from the equation.

I am saved from the consequences of my sins when I transfer my solution trust from wherever I’ve located it, to Him.

When I have made the trust transfer, my behavior will change, BUT that behavioral change is NOT a prerequisite for my being saved from sins’ consequences.

“Lord, I thank You for Romans.  I thank You for “Godsights” that come through reading Your Word.  I need my brain to be filled with Your Thoughts.  Help me to live as You want me to live.  Thanks for taking care of my sin problem.  I trust You, Father.”

Salvation is a gift.  Take it!

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Guilty with no defense

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”  Romans 3:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Kings 8, 2 Chronicles 5, Psalm 99, and Romans 3.

God’s laws serve an important purpose: They convince us that we are all law breakers.

God does not evaluate us on a curve.  It only takes one sin to put us into the “sinner” category.  We can’t do the, “What about them?” routine or, “At least I’m not like them.”

We all stand before God guilty.  We live in a world, however, that after recognizing its guilt, chases a loophole.  Chases a way of lessening their status.

Those who recognize themselves as sinners must recognize the consequence they face; eternal separation from God.

Our inability to obey God’s law puts us in a no-win situation on Judgment Day.  We can’t honestly tell God that we are not sinners.  His judgment of us is about “guilty” or “innocent” and we know where we stand.  If only it was about “good” or “bad” then we would have a chance at heaven………but it isn’t.

I know that before a holy and righteous God on Judgment Day I stand completely in the clear!  How is that possible?  When Jesus died, He died in my place for my sins.  I believe it.  The consequences of my sins are GONE!  I am innocent because Jesus took care of my guilty.  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

“Lord, Your Word is a light.  It shows me what a sinner I am, but it also shows me a way to remove the consequence that my sins deserve.  Thank You for what You did for me.  I am blessed.  Open the eyes of readers who need this truth, I beg.  I love You, Lord.”

In God’s sight we are guilty, not good.  Believe that He took care of the consequences of our guiltiness.

 

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How can I stay away from evil?

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”  Romans 16:19.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Romans 13-16.

There are some fine lines here.  We need to remember that evil exists but not be too curious about it.

We are flooded with alternatives.  The “same old, same old,” doesn’t attract interest.

We need to get straight what Godliness really is.  How will we do it?  Connecting to God is the obvious answer.

I need to remember that God’s Word is the manual on how to build a Godly life.  The bonus in God’s manual is that I also learn how NOT to build a Godly life.

There are enough “do’s” and “don’t” in Scripture to keep me occupied!  I wander away from Him when I neglect to live out the certainties found in His Word.

The stronger I am grounded in His Word the more accurately I will represent Him in my world.  How often do I have those, “Why did I do that?” moments?  More than I would like, for sure.

“Evil” is another piece of today’s verse.  I need to know it exists, not exist in it.  Everything wireless seems to be loaded with evil options.  I must, in His strength, fight off the curiosity that leads into the doorway of evil.  My Godly sense needs to be fully activated BEFORE I even venture online.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for ever thinking that I have the capacity to figure out right and wrong.  I want You dominating every part of my life.  I surrender now to You. Forgive me for my waywardness.  I know better.  Thank You for Your Word.  I love it and You too.”

I must be prepared spiritually to discern right from wrong otherwise I will mess things up.

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How can I know right and wrong?

“Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.”  Romans 7:7.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Romans 5-8.

It is spelled out plainly for you, my friend.

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) lay out the foundation for rights and wrongs.

We are a nitpicking people.  We look at the Ten Commandments and notice that there is no mention of road rage.  “I guess that’s up to me,” we imagine.  Wrong.  If we knew what “murder” encompasses, we would cringe at our driving behavior.

God knew the importance of rules and regulations.  We can’t be trusted to figure out right and wrong without them.

The ultimate beauty of the Ten Commandments is that once we have figured out what they mean, we realize that we all are Ten Commandment breakers.

In God’s sight, one sin moves me into the SINNER category.  It isn’t quantity that gets me there.  Many live under the delusion that God will be weighing sins and good deeds on Judgment Day.  Their hope is that they’ve done more good than bad.  It DOES NOT work that way!  Sin separates us from God.  Once we grasp that truth then we know that we need help.  “Needing help” is where we must first be.  If my good deeds won’t carry the day, what will?  That leads to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that carried our sins to their deaths.  His resurrection brought life without the sins for all who will believe it.  It is so simple!

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  Open minds to You and to what You have done.  May they not miss out on recognizing their need for You.  Nudge them toward You, I beg.  I love You, Father.”

Do you understand why the Ten Commandments are important?

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Shut up and recognize your actual status with God

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”  Romans 3:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Romans 1-4.

Is this not obvious?  Yet it is often missed.

What keeps folks from becoming believers is not their sins but their goodness.

Many refuse to recognize that they are lawbreakers.  They imagine themselves as law keepers.

The missing piece in this thinking is that we are ALL lawbreakers.  We have done things wrong and there is nothing WE can do to change that.

Many have their hopes on being good enough so that God will give them a waiver to heaven because of what THEY have done.  Won’t happen!

Verse 19 is so helpful in explaining what person must do first to become a believer: they must be silent about their goodness.

When my goodness isn’t enough, and yet I still want to spend my after-life in heaven, I perceive my neediness.  God can help the needy.  He can’t help the good enough.

“Lord, thank You for Your Word.  Today’s verses so clearly explain that we are all lawbreakers.  We are all sinners with nothing at our disposal to change that status.  We need You.  I love You, Father.”

Your good deeds carry no weight before God.  You are a lawbreaker unworthy of heaven.

 

 

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Sweet talk

“By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”  Romans 16:18.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Proverbs 28-29, Psalm 60, and Romans 16.

When should I stop learning about God?  Silliest question you’ve heard today, right!

I always need to be in the learning mode.

I like to be in Bible studies or church services and hear references to familiar Scripture.  Having been into the Bible every day for 6+ years, it acquires a familiarity.  I know the stories and have heard/read discussions of various Scriptures.

HOWEVER, I need to examine the Word.  I need to be prepared to take in new insights from the Bible.

Recently a minister got me up to speed on the setting in which a book in the New Testament was written.  Knowing of the setting, helped me to understand the content of that NT book better.

Many in our culture are Sunday-only followers.  I wonder how they can claim familiarity with God that way.  I must NOT, however, be elevating myself because of my nearness to the Word.  I have so much to learn and must continue to have a thirst to know more.

“Lord, fill me with Your Wisdom.  Open Your Word to me.  It is my life’s manual.  Help me to understand and apply what is in it.  I love You, Father.”

Am I spiritually strong enough to resist the Devil’s sweet talk?

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