Saturday, December 10, 2016

live or die

Romans 14

7 For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die.

8 While we live, we live to please the Lord.

And when we die, we go to be with the Lord.

So in life or death, we belong to the Lord.

9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose,

so that He might be Lord who are alive & those who have died. (NLT, 1st ed.)



So, does this poke holes in some of the “right to die” & “assisted suicide” thinking?


Does this suggest that whether we live or die is not so much up to each of us individually?

Let me know what you think?

Friday, December 9, 2016

5 words

Romans 13

8 Owe nothing to anyone - except for your obligation to love one another.

If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law.

9 For the commandments say,

"You must not commit adultery.

You must not murder.

You must not steal.

You must not covet."

These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment:

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law.



Think about that – love fulfills the requirements of God's law.


All the commandments are summed up in 5 words...


Love your neighbor as yourself.


It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict.


It is Jesus' job to redeem.


It is God the Father's job to judge.


And it is our job to love.


Love your neighbor as yourself.”


There you have it.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

jam packed

This is another one of those chapters written by Paul to the followers of Jesus in Rome that is just so jam packed with all kinds of stuff.

Read it slowly & more than once.

So much stuff to think about &/or hang on to.

There are so many things is these 1 verses that we could spend a lifetime trying to implement in our lives.

And some of the things listed here by Paul would take a lifetime of effort to make a part of our psyche & behavior.

In my Bible there's more verses underlined than not underlined. I haven't underlined any so that anyone reading this can sense their own emphasis led by the Holy Spirit.

Prepare to be challenged – I am every time I read it...



Romans 12

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.

Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable.

When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?

2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world,

but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.


  3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning:
Don't think you are better than you really are.

Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,5 so it is with Christ's body.

We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.


  6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well.

If you are a teacher, teach well.

8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.

If it is giving, give generously.

If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.

And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.


  9 Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them.

Hate what is wrong.

Hold tightly to what is good.

10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

12 Be glad for the things God is planning for you.

Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

13 When God's people are in need, be ready to help them.

Always be eager to practice hospitality.


  14 Bless those who persecute you.

Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them.

15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.

16 Live in harmony with each other.

Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.

And don't think you know it all!

  17 Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.


  19 Dear friends, never take revenge.

Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;
  I will pay them back,"*
  says the LORD.

20 Instead,

"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
  burning coals of shame on their heads."*

21 Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

an outburst

Paul, the writer of the letter to the followers of Jesus in Rome, writes along & along, but then, he will just burst out in praise or thankfulness.

This is one such outburst.



Romans 11

29 For God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.


33 Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge!

How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the LORD's thoughts?

  Who knows enough to give Him advice?

35 And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back?


  36 For everything comes from him

and exists by his power

and is intended for his glory.

All glory to him forever! Amen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

go, again

Once again, when it all boils down, we see our universal mandate...



Romans 10

5 For Moses writes that the law's way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.

6 But faith's way of getting right with God says, "Don't say in your heart, 'Who will go up to heaven?' (to bring Christ down to earth).

7 And don't say, 'Who will go down to the place of the dead?' (to bring Christ back to life again)."

8 In fact, it says,

"The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart."


And that message is the very message about faith that we preach:

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God,

and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

11 As the Scriptures tell us,

"Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."

12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.

They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.

13 For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."

  14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?

That is why the Scriptures say,

"How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"



That last paragraph is the kicker...

How will people know about Jesus unless someone tells them?

How will they heard unless we go to them – not, “wait for them to come to us” but go to them.

It seems we as people & we as the church are waiting for them to come to us.

What arrogance, what hubris...

Where would you & I be if the people who influenced us to believe & follow Jesus had waited for us to come to them rather than them coming to us?

I know where I'd be, & it ain't a pretty thought.


We must go to them.

That's whether they are close by, in places we frequent, in our neighborhood or town, state, or country, or somewhere outside the borders of the USA.


There we have it – once again the mandate - “go”

Monday, December 5, 2016

remember

Let's hold on to this in the days ahead...



Deuteronomy 31

1 When Moses had finished giving these instructions to all the people of Israel,2 he said,

"I am now 120 years old, and I am no longer able to lead you.

The LORD has told me, 'You will not cross the Jordan River.'

3 But the LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you.

He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land.

Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the LORD promised.


  4 "The LORD will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites.

5 The LORD will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you.

6 So be strong and courageous!

Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.

For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you.

He will neither fail you nor abandon you."

  7 Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him,

"Be strong and courageous!

For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors he would give them.

You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land.

8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you.

He will be with you;

he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

towering

There are whole chapters in the Bible that tower above the rest in their import & their significance.

This chapter, written by Paul to the followers of Jesus in Rome, is one of those stupendous chapters.

Take the time to read it all...



Romans 8

1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

So God did what the law could not do.

He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.

And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us,

who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.


  5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things,

but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.

But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.

It never did obey God's laws,

and it never will.

8 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.


  9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.

You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

(And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.

And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.


  12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die.

But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.


  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.

Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.

Now we call him, "Abba, Father."

16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs.

In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory.

But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.


18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse.

But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

24 We were given this hope when we were saved.

(If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)


  26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.

But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.

And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.

And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.


31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else?

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?

No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

34 Who then will condemn us?

No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,

and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

  35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?

Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity,

or are persecuted,

or hungry,

or destitute,

or in danger,

or threatened with death?

36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.


  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.

Neither death nor life,

neither angels nor demons,

neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow;

not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below;

indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.