Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 63~ Phil 1-3

OK, I admit, I read the first sentence in ch. 4 as part of today’s reading.  I had to, it goes with the thought of chapter 3!!!!  (I don’t know why the Bible editors put the 4 marker where they did!)

“Therefore…that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” (4:1)

How do you stand firm?  You gotta go back to ch.3 to see how.
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (3:15)  And, “…eagerly await a savior from there (heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ.” (3:20).

So Paul is saying if you live according to the pattern he gave and eagerly wait for Jesus, you should be able to stand firm in the Lord.

I buy that.  I think we Christians, well,…I’ll speak for myself…have lost the “eager anticipation” part.  Not surprising since it’s been nearly 2000 years since Jesus left saying he would come back.  I have been guilty of thinking “It won’t be in my time.”  If you don’t truly believe Christ is coming back “like a thief in the night” ( 1 Thess. 5:2), then you may live more for yourself than for him.  Over time, it becomes all for yourself and none for him.

However, I can see how it could change one’s way of doing things if the exact date of return was known, say, 7 months from now.  Personally, I would eagerly anticipate the day and nothing would detour me.  I would be standing firm, that’s for sure!
Paul is saying to do just that, “eagerly await”.  
I can still do that even if I don’t know the exact date of his return.  The eagerness also includes thinking about our heavenly citizenship (3:20), and our glorious bodies (3:21).  I can get excited about that!! I recently found out the pain I have in my hand and foot is arthritis!  ๐Ÿ˜ฉ
I can now easily understand the ‘eager anticipation’ for a new body!  It’s not bad to think like that!  In fact, Paul is telling us to do so!  
If we truly hold to that hope, it will help us stand firm in our faith!!   

As one commentary put it, “This glorious truth (that Christ will return to raise his people from their graves and gather his redeemed to himself), is fitted to cheer us in trial; guard us in temptation; to make us dead to the world; to lead us to keep the eye turned toward heaven.” (Albert Barnes).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 62~Eph. 4-6

“Live as children of light….find out what pleases the Lord.” ( 5:8-10)

Find out what pleases the Lord….one way to do that is to read the Bible.  I bet, if you think about it, some verses might pop into your mind about what what pleases the Lord…..

One popped into my mind that I learned as a song.  I love it when songs help you learn scripture!!  
This particular song was popular back in the 90’s and I can still quote the verse!! 

 “He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Can you think of other things that please the Lord, using scripture to back it up?

There are quite a few verses!  Come on….comment on some that popped into your head……

Listen if you want to learn Michah 6:8, (remember to skip the ad after 3 seconds):

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Day 61~ Eph. 1-3

I love Paul’s prayer for these saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus (1:1)!!

He prayed that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they would know the hope to which God called them, the richness of his inheritance and lastly, God’s power! (1:15-18)

That’s a powerful prayer that I want to accept as if he is praying that for you and me as well!  After all, we are “faithful in Christ Jesus” too, right?!

It reminds me of Jeremy Camp’s song, “Same Power”.
Click on the link, skip the ad (if there is one) and enjoy a moment of encouragement!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 60~ Gal. 4-6

Before I say what verse stuck out to me today, I want to remind you of a few things.  First, as a Christian, you are sanctified, made holy (1 Cor. 1:2). You have been made new (2 Cor. 5:17).  So, comparing your present self to your old self, you can test your actions, “Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:4)  You can take pride, that you are doing so much better than when you were living a life of sin.  You can be confident when you go before the Lord.
Therefore, please don’t say, (and I heard a Christian sister say this) “I can’t judge, I am just as bad of a sinner as that person.” (She was referring to a nonbeliever).  Really??? You better not be if you are truly born again!  I think Christians today feel they can’t feel confident (take pride) that they are “spiritual”.  They would rather take on a false humility and quote, the log/splinter analogy (Matt 7:5) in order to avoid conflict.

So, now for the verse that stuck out to me today, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (6:1).
Paul does not say, “Wait until you feel you have mastered all sin before you speak to someone else about their sin.”  Instead he says to us “spiritual” ones, restore them gently.  You can’t restore someone if you don’t address the problem.  I had a Christian friend say recently, “I won’t say anything to the person unless they ask me for my opinion.”…….Humm……Is that what Paul told us to do in today’s reading?……..

Something to think about…….

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Day 59~ Gal. 1--3

The last time I read Galatians 1-3, I was thinking more about the people that Paul was so concerned about.  They were deserting the faith ( 1:6) and Paul was fearing that he may have wasted his efforts on them (4:11).

This time however, I was thinking more about Paul.  How frustrated he must have been when he heard that these Christians were being “thrown into confusion” by people who were perverting the gospel of Christ (1:7).
I can imagine his frustration!  He had to take all three chapters we read today to defend his credentials and establish his authority to speak the gospel in truth.

Fortunately for him, he didn’t live in our politically correct world. He could say exactly what is on his heart, which probably wouldn’t go over well today! “You foolish Gentiles! Who has bewitched you?” (3:1)  Boy…, I have wanted to say that same thing to some people I know who are buying into the world’s teaching on some current social issues! They are willing to bend or change what the Bible says to fit what our current society says is right.

Paul had some good advice to Christians everywhere who are dealing with that problem.  I was reminded of the verse when I read a posted comment yesterday.  The verse is so applicable to us today, I thought I would share it again. 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) 

Thanks God, for giving us Paul’s radical example.  Help us to be like that!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day 58~ 2 Cor, 13

The other day, a Christian said to me that she felt “the church has done a huge disservice to the gay community.  Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to ask her to explain what she meant by that.  So, I was left to speculate.  The weird thing is, is that I am starting to hear that same accusation out of the mouths of other Christians as well.  
Like I do every time I am stunned by what I hear, I stay in shocked silence, yet I continue to dwell on the matter until I am able to articulate a response.  But the moment has usually passed so I am left with the classic, “I should have said this or that.”
So, in my current state of “dwelling” on that statement, I am pondering,…..the whole church?….the body of Christ?….where the Holy Spirit dwells……has done a disservice?
Then I did today’s reading.
If my fellow Christians had done the same reading today, would they stick to their accusation?

“I already gave you a warning when I was with you…on my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others….He (Christ) is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.” (13:2-3)
Boy!  Paul is radical!!!  He didn’t tip-toe around sin.  He confronted it quickly or as soon as he could.
So….when one says that the church has done a “huge disservice”, are they saying the church has allowed sin to stay in it’s midst? Or are they saying the church has followed Biblical principles by dealing with sin (1 Cor. 5:12-13, 15:33), but they just don’t like those principles?

Just some food for thought for you to ponder with me!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Day 57~ 2 Cor. 10-12

“Everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.” (12:19)  
I like that!
Paul said something similar in 10:8.  His entire ministry was directed to this goal.  The more I read Paul’s writings, the more I admire his love for his fellow man.  He is so committed to their eternal wellbeing!  However my admiration shouldn’t just be, “Wow! He was a great man!  Good for him!”
Rather, he says he wants us to be like him.
“I wish that all of you were as I am.” (1 Cor. 7:7)
“I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you.” (Gal. 4:12)
“Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Phil 3:17)

So, if we are to be like Paul, than everything we do should be centered around strengthening others in their faith. ….
So, …am I doing that?….Is that my goal in life?….not yet….๐Ÿ˜ฌ
I better keep reading Paul’s letters so I can learn from his example!

This has been a new way of looking at what my goal in life should be.  I have spent years thinking that it is important for me to strengthen myself in my faith.  I have been going to Bible studies and trying to live a self-disciplined life all in the hopes that my own faith would be strengthened.  I am sure what I have done has strengthened my faith, but what if I spent all those years focused on strengthen others instead of myself? 
I bet the Bible studies and self-disciplined life would have evolved naturally in the process of encouraging others, reading with others, praying with others all with the focus of strengthening the other one’s faith. What more could I have received in the process?……Who knows, maybe I would be moving mountains by now….
What a paradigm shift! 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Day 56~ 2 Cor. 7-9

Remember in the first letter to Corinth, Paul calls out the church on being proud about a sin that was going on in their midst (5:1). Today we read how these church members responded to his letter. 
Now he says, “See what godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” (2 Cor. 7:11)

I like how one commentary (Albert Barns) wrote in regards to this verse.  “When people are thoroughly convinced of sin, they will set about removing it with the utmost diligence.” And, “One effect of true repentance is to produce decided hatred of sin. It is not mere regret, or sorrow, it is positive hatred.”

The verse got me to think, is that the way I respond when someone calls me out on bad behavior?  Am I eager to get rid of the sin in my life? Do I have godly sorrow when I see I am doing something wrong in the eye of the Lord?  Sadly, I think, instead, I start out being defensive or deny my bad behavior.  Pride or embarrassment keeps me from responding how I should.  Thankfully, I do have the Holy Spirit, so usually, with a little time, I evaluate the critique and see how I can change. But it doesn’t come naturally!!

The question is, am I thoroughly convinced of my sin?  If I don’t feel bad when I do wrong, am I convinced it is wrong?  The Bible, the Holy Spirit and people like Paul in my life can teach me how I am not perfect and in need of a savior.  Lord please help me to respond humbly and quickly like the church of Corinth when you point out sin in my life! 
What a great example these believers left for us!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day 55~ 2 Cor. 4-6

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (5:15)

That sentence is radical!  When reading it, it can be easily lost in the paragraph, or at least, it can be lost in the thought that it only applied to Paul and his companions because they were the radical ones.  
However, if you apply it to yourself (which you should because Christ died for all, vs. 14), it’s radical!  …no longer live for myself but for him…..
That’s hard to imagine since everything I do is for myself!  Maybe I can say that some of what I do is for my husband and kids…..but….I am pretty focused on myself.  What will make me full (food), what will make me comfortable (housing, clothes. temperature), what will make me happy (exercise, activities, friends, travel), what will entertain me (books, movies, music).  Yup, it’s all about me.  

What if I put myself in the mind frame of a servant of days gone by (we don’t have servants these days so it’s kind’a hard to imagine).  Their existence was based on making their master happy.  They got up earlier than their master to do their morning physical maintenance so that they could then fully attend to their master. They ate after their master. They looked to their master to be given their task for the day.  All the results of their labor was to be given back to the master.  A good crop?= it was their master’s, a growing flock= it was their master’s.  They got none of it! 
Being complete focused on one who is over you…putting your own needs second all the time,….that’s radical!!!
But this is what Jesus is calling us to do.  He is the master and we are his servant. You take on this relationship when you accept that he purchased you for a price.
I am reminded of what he said in Luke 17:7-10, “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink.’?  Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

Accepting Jesus as my savior is a radical commitment, I am now a slave to him.  I should be doing everything a servant does that I listed above.  My “me’ time should be the short moments in the early dawn before I give the rest of the day to him!  ๐Ÿ˜ณWhat a paradigm shift!!!

But, as you know, there are a lot of perks to being fully submitted to Him, so it’s not a bad arrangement! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Day 54~ 2 Cor. 1-3

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (3:12)

Are you bold in your faith? I think that question gets a lot of people squirming.  “Oh no!”  She is going to tell me I have to be confrontational; go to street corners yelling at passerbyers the four spiritual laws!” ๐Ÿ˜–

No,…I’m not…so relax.

However, it is a good question to ask yourself.  Because…if you know that you aren’t bold in your faith…you need to look at the first part of that statement…. “since we have such hope.”  Do you truly have that hope that Paul is talking about; the hope and trust in the unfading glory of the ministry of the Spirit? (3:8)
Can’t the referee of Paul’s statement be true, if you truly have that hope, you will be bold?

This is a good time to self reflect…
Are there doubts lingering in your mind regarding certain issues that keep you from fully embracing the whole Bible?  If so, that will affect the hope you have and ….rightly so….make you less bold in sharing your faith.

So, how do we get more faith? 
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (10:17)
I am so glad you are reading daily with me!  What better way to learn and know what you believe?!   You are preparing yourself to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15).
In regards to those areas that you grapple with…pray like the disciples did….“Lord, increase my faith!” (Luke 17:5)  Therefore, isn’t the logical conclusion….increase your reading?!  

Look into those matters that confuse you.  The answers are in the Bible, you just need to read in order to find them!๐Ÿค“

Monday, August 21, 2017

Day 53~ 1 Cor. 16

The way my Bible is set up, I had to turn the page to read the last 3 sentences of Paul’s letter.  Prior to turning the page, as I am reading, I am almost being lulled to sleep with sweet words of, “Do everything in love..”, “I was glad,…”, “…they refreshed my spirit..” (16:14-18)  
Calm words in a peaceful goodbye….๐Ÿ˜Œ  And then I turn the page….“If anyone does not love the Lord- a curse be on him.  Come, O Lord!” (16:22) ๐Ÿ˜ณ  Boy did my eyebrows shoot up!  I’m thinking, “Whaaat?”  What happened to all the warm and comforting, good-bye words?! What is Paul saying?????

Then I thought about Paul.  
This actually fits right in line with all his preaching!  Remember, he is the guy who says, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor. 9:22)  Save them from what?  From perishing…..
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1:18)  

Remember back in Acts when Paul said to the Jews who opposed him, “Your blood be on your own head! I am clear of my responsibility.” (Acts 18:6)  Paul takes eternal life very seriously!  It is real, and he knows it! We will all go one direction or the other at the final judgement (Matt.25:32).
When we read what he says to the Corinthians, “a curse be on him.” it isn’t like he is calling down a curse from heaven to spite these heathens.  On the contrary, he loves people, he will be and do anything to save some, especially the Jewish nonbeliever! Remember he said, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

So, instead, his statement about the curse is more like he is summing up what John the Baptist said using a few more words, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36) 

The curse is already on all men who don’t love Jesus.  Paul didn’t call down the curse.  He is reminding this group of people he is writing to…..”Do, you truly love the Lord?  ‘Cause if you don’t, the wrath of God is still on you.”

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Day 52~ 1 Cor. 13-15

“Bad company corrupts good character.” (15:33)  Have you ever spent much time pondering that saying?  
I always pictured that those with bad character would be villainous.  You know, goth, scary looking, the type you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark ally.  But…when you really think about it, according to verse 22, ….it is anyone who takes the saying, “You only live once!” seriously.  It’s anyone who doesn’t give heaven or hell a thought.  Do you hang out with people like that?  Do you know someone like that? 
Or, here is something to think about…do you “hang out with people” that you “know” by book, TV, movie or music that do not hold to the resurrection?…..That’s looking at it from a new perspective!

For good reason, Paul is warning us, “Bad company corrupts good character.”  
I have experienced something that illustrated this for me…
I went for a stretch of time without watching TV.  Then my schedule changed where I found myself turning on the TV at the same time every evening.  When I saw the first episode of a particular sitcom, I was shocked!!!!  Not having watched TV for awhile, I wasn’t used to how crass the dialogue can be.  I couldn’t believe the content, language and theme of this show!  Utterly shocking!  I almost turned it off…..…except it was also funny.  I laughed out loud once…. I watched the program to the end.  The next time it came on, I watched again.  About 1/2 way into the season, I had been desensitized to all offensive content.  I over looked all the bad stuff just for the laugh.  Except, of course, when my kids came into the room, then I was aware that it was bad. I didn’t want them to see it, so I would turn the channel.  What a hypocrite I am! ๐Ÿ™„

That show was “bad company” for me!  It corrupted how I thought and acted.  Fortunately, I could easily turn it off once I came to my senses.  Friends are an entirely different matter.  It’s hard to walk away from a relationship that is bad.  But, in this context, Paul isn’t focusing on "bad" relationships, he is saying don’t hang out with those who don’t believe in the resurrection! You can actually have a fun relationship with someone who doesn't want to believe in heaven or hell.  But Paul is giving a clear warning.  Christians can get caught trying to “life style evangelize” and instead get sucked into a different way of thinking themselves.

Paul’s warning is so simple,  “Do not be misled… come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning”…….

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 51~ 1 Cor. 10-12

I have read through the New Testament in 90 days a few times now.  I must admit, I have sped through 1 Cor. 11. quite fast; and to be honest, without much thought.  I have felt the whole head covering thing was a custom of the times and something I didn’t need to pay attention to now since no one in Southern California wears anything on their head, except maybe a baseball cap or visor to protect from the sun. 

However, today….boy did I ponder…..why do we take some verses literally and others we disregard as irrelevant since our culture has changed?  
The chapter before (10) talks of the freedom we have in Christ.  I take that seriously….
The chapter after (12) talks of instructions on taking the Lord’s Supper.  I take that seriously…..
Why wouldn’t I hold Paul’s teachings on “propriety in worship” as seriously as his other teachings?
Well, let’s break this down a little bit.  
First, I remember that Paul said, “Some from Chloe’s house have informed me that there are quarrels among you.”(1:11)  So, Paul is using this letter to address the Christians in Corinth about some issues they were dealing with.  One of those issues was the fact that some were not showing respect (or proper decorum) in public worship.  According to one commentary, long hair on men and uncovered heads on women were custom for some idol worship. 
“Judge for yourselves: Is it proper…? (11:13)
If you keep that in mind, one does not need to get upset about the whole “submissive” issue.  That’s for another time. Today’s reading has more to do with showing respect in church.

The respect subject reminds me of my Dad.  He loves the Lord and has been a faithful church goer my whole life.  One thing that I remember from my youth was that when we went to church, my dad wanted us kids to have clean, presentable shoes.  He didn’t do this to make his family look perfect.  He did it because to him, you go to church wearing your best because it was God honoring.  It set the day aside to be special for God.  To him that meant, you go to church with spit spot shiny shoes!  
I picked up on that behavior.  When my kids were little, when we were getting ready for church, I would say, “Go put a church shirt on.”  My boys knew that meant a shirt with a collar.  Nothing fancy, just a little bit more special than a play shirt.  It was my way of teaching them, show your respect when you worship God.

We all saw examples of respect set for us when we were younger, didn’t we? Whenever we watched a western movie or the Waltons, the boys would take off their cowboy hats, out of respect, when they entered a church.  We still see this type of respect today when we see sports fans in the audience of a game take off their hats when they sing the national anthem.  

So Paul’s teaching here, in no way, should be disregarded.  Just as he taught how to take communion, he also taught how to come before the Lord with respect and decorum.  Do you think the pendulum has swung too far these days? It swung far one way when the church was very formal.  People got caught up in the show of looking perfect and forgot the heart of the matter.  Then the pendulum swung far the other way where anything goes and it doesn’t matter how you dress or wear your hair. 
I don’t know…what do you think in light of Paul’s teaching?  Has the pendulum swung too far?

I think if we take ALL of Paul’s teachings and apply them to anytime in history, “it is useful for teaching and rebuking.” (2 Tim 3:16)  I try to take ALL scripture for what it says and see how I can apply it to my life……after all, why should the national anthem get more respect than the Lord???  ๐Ÿค” Interesting stuff…don’t ya think? 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 50 ~ 1 Cor. 7-9

I believe, if you are reading daily with me, you are becoming a mature Christian.  But, beware, with maturity comes responsibility.

I was struck by the fact that Paul uses the term “weak conscience” 3 times in Chapter 8.  So, it made me ponder….
there is a difference between “weak” believers and strong (mature) believers.  According to Paul, the weak Christian is influenced by the example of the stronger Christian.  He says it is possible to cause others to sin (8:13) and destroy them (8:11)…..whoa!

What a huge responsibility we have to each other!  In fact, Jesus even goes as far as to say, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.  It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.  So watch yourself.” (Luke 17:2) 
I always read that thinking Jesus was referring to nonbelievers causing believers to sin….now after today’s reading, I see it can be applied to believers as well! 

I can see Paul’s point when he talks about the freedom we have in Christ, yet I have a whole new understanding now when I read, “Everything is permissible for me- but not everything is beneficial.” (6:12)

Heavy thoughts, don’t ya think?!…….Real heavy when you try to apply these principles to your life!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 49~ 1 Cor. 4-6

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (4:20)

I am seeing friends and acquaintances that I have had over the years, drifting away from the Lord, or flat out denying Him.   Oddly, it seems like they are all doing it at the same time, right now!  
So, I am left thinking….what can I say to them to get them to change their mind?  What brilliant words can I utter that would cause an epiphany in their life?  After all, I feel an urgency for these people’s souls!!  I take it seriously when I read,  “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them;…” (Jude 22).  I don’t want anyone I know and love to be in “the fire”  ๐Ÿ˜ณ

So, I felt a great sense of relief when I read 4:20 in our reading today! I don’t need to say all the right words and have convincing arguments.  It is by the power of God that hearts change.  I’m going to trust in that and pray for these people.  I pray that they have soft hearts and eyes open to see that power!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 48~ 1 Cor. 1-3

Believe it or not, I hadn’t read more than a couple lines in today’s reading before I found myself in a “word study” that took me on a bunny trail for about a half hour!
The word?..…..sanctified…
Do you know that Bible scholars have expounded on the subject using the terms, positional sanctification, progressive sanctification, moral sanctification and vocational sanctification? Whew!
Well, I am not going to bore you with the details of all the different ways of describing the concept.  (If you want to read more on the subject here is a website that has a pretty comprehensive writing on the topic:

I’m just going to comment on Paul’s context of the word in 1Cor. 1:2, “To the church of God in Corinth to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy,..”

The word sanctified means to be set apart for the Lord; to be made holy.  The way the word “sanctified” is used in this context is that it is not progressive in nature.  It is done.  Another word that can be used is ‘justified’.  It is a finished act. Paul goes back to this concept later in 6:11, when he says, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

I think this is so important for Christians to know and understand.  As a true follower of Christ, we can be soooooo very confident to go before the Lord (when our time comes).  We do not need to fear what He will say to us.  He will not open the book of Life and say, “Yes, I see your name here….but …let me look to see what kind of grade you got.”  Nope! We ARE holy, we HAVE been washed, we are sanctified, just like these people in Corinth. 
I imagine God saying something more like, “Come here and give your Abba a hug!” ๐Ÿค—

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 47~Romans 16

Once again, I am amazed at how much one can learn by reading just one chapter in the Bible! And this one chapter happens to be closing remarks to a letter that has a bunch of names! You would think it would just be...blah, blah, blah..peace to you, good bye. 
Instead, it is rich with instruction! 
i.e. "Watch out for those who cause division....keep away from them" (16:17) and "I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil" (16:19). 

The question is, do I follow these instructions,  that are tacked onto the end of this letter, or do I overlook them as some added after thought, not really applying them me.......๐Ÿค”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 46~ Romans 13-15

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scripture we might have hope.” (15:4)

Have you ever gone through a hard time and turned to read something in Psalms (for example) and you found it spoke to your soul at the perfect time….like it was written for you?…. 
Well, according to 15:4, it was!!!
By reading scripture everyday, or even once in awhile, we find hope.  That is why it was written!!  That’s a cool thought!!

I am glad you are reading with me!  I hope that the word of God is encouraging you and giving you that hope!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 45~ Romans 10-12

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (10:17)
I often wonder why some people have faith and others do not. 
I like that Paul explains how and why we have faith. We get our faith through Christ speaking his gospel. Sadly, while some hear and receive it gladly, others hear it, but because of being "disobedient and obstinant" (vs.21), they reject the faith that comes from hearing.
It's sad to think that I know people who are nonbelievers and according to the Bible it is because they are being stubborn!

They don't even realize that Jesus is holding out his arms to them "all day long" (10:11) ๐Ÿ˜”

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 44~ Romans 7-9

I think today's reading can be some of the most confusing chapters of the New Testament! For example, when Paul in 7:14-24 is talking from the perspective of one who is not a Christian, "I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin." (vs.14).

He is trying to illustrate how unbelievers think. It might be hard for some to see that he is not speaking of his present self especially when he says, "I delight in God's law" (vs.22).However, if you look closely you can see he was referring to the fact that as a Pharisee (prior to becoming a Christian) he was "zealous for God.... but their zeal is not based on knowledge"(10:2). The easiest way to confirm that Paul is not speaking as a Christian is when he ends this futile way of thinking with a rhetorical question, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (7:24)

So, please, if you are a believer, don't take this scripture out of context and apply it to yourself,
"For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do," That sentence is for the one who is still "in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."(7:25) As a Christian, we are set free from the law of sin and death. We "do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." (8:4)
I may have pointed this out before, but I feel it's worthy of pointing it out again, because I heard a Christian apply this section of Scripture to herself saying, "I am like Paul, I don't do what I know I should and I do what I shouldn't."๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Umm.... excuse me…that is not what Paul is saying he does now. It is what he did before he had a knowledge of Christ. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit that helps us. We now have the fruit of self-control (Gal 5:23). We are NOT under the control of sin (8:9). So, we can't use 7:19 to defend our bad behavior. Always be careful to keep scripture in context!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 43~Romans 4-6

As a Christian, have you ever given much thought to how God created the earth?  

Was it a literal 6 days or billions of years broken into 6 time periods? Some Christians believe the later based on that says, With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) But, using that verse would take it out of the context of why it was being said.  The context was illustrating Gods patients.

Why am I asking you this question while we read Romans?  Because I pondered the implications of 5:12, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned..” 
I have always been of the mind set that when sin entered the world”, that is when the world(meaning all creation) started dying.  Therefore, prior to Adam, animals and plants didnt die.
I was taken aback when a Christian friend said, That applies to man not animals.”  This person holds this belief because they are old earth, meaning they believed dinosaurs died millions of years before man was on the planet.
Well…….that was a new thought to me! Death did exist before sin entered the world? Huh!?.

Then why does Paul say later in Romans, 8:19-21, The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subject to hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.”   
I also remember reading in Genesis 3:17, God says to Adam, “ Cursed is the ground because of you..
These verses leads me to think……sorry.I cant buy the idea that death was occurring while Adam and Eve were in the garden.  For me, I am going to stick to what the words say in the Bible, sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin.” (5:12)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 42~ Romans 1-3

Whenever I start a new letter, I like to figure out to whom the letter was being written.  It was especially helpful for me to do that with this letter written to the Romans because it gave some clarity to the reading.

We just got finished reading about Paul’s trip to Rome where he spoke to Jewish people.  “Some were convinced” and “others would not believe” (Acts 28:24).  Paul then stayed in Rome for 2 years preaching to the Gentiles as well (Acts 28:28).
So, now we are reading a letter he sent to “all in Rome” (1:7); that would be to both believing Jews and Gentiles.  
I bet the Gentiles were glad to have their believing Jewish brothers there to help them understand Paul’s letter since it had a lot of references to Old Testament teaching that they may have been unfamiliar with (2:17-28 and ch.4 as well).  We can even see who Paul is addressing at certain times in the letter with specific remarks like, “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew…” (2:17) and “I am talking to you Gentiles.” (11:13)

So, keeping the audience in mind, I can see that Paul is using this letter, in part, to teach these 2 groups of believers how to integrate and get a long.  
The issue I see Paul addressing in these first three chapters has to do with the Jewish believers.  I think they might have been feeling a little superior to their Gentile believing brothers and Paul calls them out on it (2:1-4).  They were judging their fellow Gentile brothers and acting self-righteous.  I bet that was an easy behavior for the Jews to slip back into, after all, for hundreds of years they had been “the chosen ones”.  Paul’s letter came at a good time if they were starting to revert back to old habits of judging people by the law.
Paul reminds these Jewish brothers “Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.” (3:9)  “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” (3:20).

I can image, while this letter was being read out loud to the believers in Rome, the Jewish brothers might have been feeling like they were getting their hand slapped and the Gentile brothers were sitting up tall in their chairs with a gloating smile on their face…. But that will change when we get to chapter 11….. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 41~ Acts 28

I think God is very sweet and kind to the Jewish people!  

We read in 20:22 that Paul was compelled to go to to Jerusalem.  Why do you think God wanted him to go there?….To get an all expense paid trip to Rome of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰  God tells Paul, “As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (23:11)

Isn’t that sweet of God?  He wanted all Jews, even the ones far away from home to get to hear about Jesus.  So, in today’s reading we come to the reason for the trip.  To a large gathering of Jews, “From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.” (Acts28:23)

God is still doing this today! “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4).. Sadly, what was reality then, still holds true today, “Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.” (Acts 28:24)๐Ÿ˜ž

Even though some refuse to believe, that doesn’t take away from the fact that God is sweet, kind and wants all men to hear the good news! ๐Ÿ˜Œ