Thursday, July 4, 2019

1Corinthians 1-2~ Day 65- Happy Fourth!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

I hope you squeeze your reading in today amongst all th fun activities!!

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.” (1:18)
Isn’t that the truth?!
Nothing has changed for 2000 years! People back in the day of Paul thought Christ crucified was foolish, and people today think it’s foolish. But to us….those who are saved by this “foolish plan”...…we see the power of God through it!
In a way, this statement makes me feel bolder to proclaim my faith. I just need to remember, those who are being called will respond, those who find it foolish will reject it.… It’s not in the perfect words that I could/should use that convinces someone (as Paul pointed out in 2:4), but in the condition of the heart of the person hearing about Christ.
The condition of their heart is not my responsibility. It’s only my responsibility to share about Christ. (1:21-25)  Doesn’t that take a lot of pressure off? Still… I do feel a little pressure and work on just opening my mouth and saying something!
God help me to open my mouth! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Romans 15-16~ Day 64~Confirmed promises

This verse stood out to me today, “For I say that Christ became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers, and so that Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy.” (Rom. 15:8-9) 
That verse reminded made me think of the time Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  (Matt15: 24). There was a specific reason why Jesus said that, and we find the reason spelled out here in Romans, “to confirm the promises to the fathers.”
I read a great commentary on the Romans verse. I thought I would share it. It’s kind’a long, but worth the read. 

To explain this more fully, “Jesus Christ was born a Jew, and exercised his ministry among the Jews, in order that the truth of God’s promises to the fathers, concerning the blessing of the nations in Abraham’s seed, might be confirmed by the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles. For as the Jews were the only people on earth who worshipped the true God, and had his revelations in their hands, it was absolutely necessary that the gospel, in which all the former revelations terminated, should be first preached to them; that a sufficient number of them receiving it, might preach it to the Gentiles, as the fulfillment of the former revelations, of which their nation were the keepers.

It may be proper to observe further here, that “conversion to the true God being the mercy, or blessing, which God promised to bestow on the Gentiles, it is particularly mentioned here, not only to make the Gentiles sensible that they ought not to despise the Jews, through whom they had received so great a blessing, but also to persuade the Jews to acknowledge the Gentiles as the people of God, equally with themselves.” — Macknight

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Romans 12-14~ Day 63~A renewed mind!

Wow! Lot’s of practical exhortations are given in today’s reading!! Yet none of the things Paul lists can be done without one key ingredient, a “renewed mind” that comes from a life transformed by faith in Jesus.
I thought this verse was so good; it’s a good one to memorize!
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. “ (12:2)
Isn’t that a good one?!
Especially in our “diplomatically correct” culture today where Christians are being forced to accept, tolerate and “conform” to what our culture is saying is perfectly acceptable behavior.
I LOVE “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
We are not to think like the world does. How does the world think? Well, pretty much opposite to God in every way!
Here are a couple ways,
  • God says for us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread”.  The world says, store up for yourselves treasures. 
  • God says, “love me with all your heart & with all your mind.” The world says, “I need to find myself and put myself first.” 
I bet you can think of a 100 more examples!
One way you can tell that God is transforming your mind is that the world is not going to like how you think! People are going to get angry with your responses. But, hey! Who cares?! You will be able to discern the good, pleasing and perfect will of God!! How awesome is that?! I would rather be pleasing God than worrying about pleasing the world!

I hope you are enjoying the reading! I gotta go now and do some memorizing! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Romans 9-11~ Day 62~ One big happy family!

“A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved.” (11:25)

I love that verse! Especially in light of what Paul was saying in chapter four about Abraham’s righteousness that comes through faith, and how he is the father of all believers (4:11).  Now, I know some Bible readers don’t see it this way, but as I read, it seems to me Paul is using “All Israel” in 11:25 to refer to all believers- believing Jews and believing Gentiles-we will be saved!  That means me, being in believing Gentile, is part of Israel! I love that! I’m included in the family! I feel like a kid who is adopted into a family and received the family name! This was the mystery that Paul referred to in 11:25.
We are one big, happy family~ true Jews, the true Israel.
I praise the Lord that He grafted me into the family, or adopted me into the family and gave me the name he loves! How about you you? 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Romans 6-8~ Day 61~ Our lives can be a beautiful song!

I am glad we are reading chapters 6-8 in one sitting.  I find you gotta read all of it to get the flow and point of what Paul is saying.

If one were to read only a part of what Paul is saying, one could mistakenly quote Paul, thinking he is saying one thing when he is actually saying the exact opposite.  Here is what I mean, I have heard Christians quote, and apply to themselves, "For I do not do the good that I want to do but I practice the evil that I do not want to do." (7:19) "What a wretched man I am!" (17:24)
Have you ever heard someone say that?  Or how about this, "I'm just as sinful as them (referring to a nonbeliever)!

I have heard that be said, but I certainly hope it is not the case for that believer! I am guessing that this person has read this portion of scripture but not in it's context.  If they had, they would see that Paul is talking like one "under the law" (7:7-24). In context of the entire chapter, we Christians know, "But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law." (7:6)

I like the CSB translation for 7:15, "because I do not practice what I want to do."  Practice is the operative word here.  As Christians, we do practice what God wants us to do.  Like practicing a piano, we become beautiful music!  Our fingers might slip off the piano keys once in a while, but we get back to the melody immediately.  It is our practice to live right.  We aren't perfect, but we are practicing.  It would not be appropriate to still have the mentality that we are "just as bad" as the non Christian.  We were before Christ, but not after!
We have been set free from being "just as bad". (Rom 6:6-7 & 8:2).  "For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace." (6:14)

I also like how the CSB translation uses the term "mind-set".  "Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace." (8:6)  If the Spirit of God lives in you, have the mind-set that you are free from sin!  You are not a slave to it!  You can overcome it!  Keep practicing righteous living, you'll get better and better at it and it will be a beautiful song to the Lord! 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Romans 3-5~ Day 60~There is no distinction!

Today we are half way through the four month reading plan! This is going fast!  Notice there are 3 chapters today and its not "light" reading!  You gotta put your thinking cap on for this reading session. But, I liked it!

I have learned that there are at least two camps on just about every topic under the sun.  I kind'a thought that wouldn't be the case in the Christian world, but it's true there too.  I have just recently learned that there are two schools of thought related to the Jewish people when it comes to end times.  One camp thinks that God has a unique plan for Jews just before Jesus returns to gather his people.  The other school of thought does not believe that there are promises that need to be fulfilled to the Jewish people alone before that final day.

I couldn't help think about these two schools of thought as I did today's reading.  These verses stood out to me:
"So what advantage does the Jew have?...they were entrusted with the very words of God." (3:2)  That is special!  But, that doesn't indicate special treatment in the future.  They completed that task once the Word of God became flesh (John 1:14).

Then Paul asked. "What then? Are we better off? Not at all!" (3:9)

Paul goes to great lengths to explain that Jews and Gentiles are the same in God's eyes- no special treatment of one group over the other.  "The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction." (3:21)

I also like how Paul explains how Abraham is the father of all who have faith.  You have heard me say this yesterday- but I'm going to point it out again, I am a true Jew.  Believers, those of faith, are the true Jews that the promises of the Old Testament are given.
"This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants." (4:16)

All that being said,....I think I know what camp Paul was in as far as a unique plan for Jews at end times.  It seems to me that if there is a unique plan, it involves those of faith, not those who have been born to a certain race.  What do you think? 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Romans 1-2 ~ Day 59~ Fun reading!

We start a letter today that Paul wrote just before his journey to Rome that we've been reading the past couple of days.  I think it could have been the recipients of this letter that were the one's who took care of Paul's needs and visited him when he was under house arrest (Acts 28:30).  So, in essence, this letter we are about to read, is Paul's introduction of himself (and a statement of what he believes), to a group of people he didn't know yet, but would be getting to know personally in about three years.

It was fun for me to read how God answered Paul's prayer!  Paul prayed, wanting to see the Romans "to be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." (Rom 1:12).  We just got finished reading in Acts that Paul found the brothers and sisters from Rome.  They had "heard the news about us (Paul and his travel companions) and had come to meet us...when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage." (Acts 28:15). Paul had prayed for this encounter three years prior and we got to see how God answered that prayer!  That's fun!

I also liked how Paul established who are true Jews.  This letter is addressed to the church of Rome that is comprised of both believing Jews and Gentiles. And he says to the whole group, "For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh.  On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart- by the Spirit, not the letter." (Rom 2:28-29).

You know that that means? I am a Jew! πŸ˜€ That means all the promises made in the Old Testament to the Jewish people are intended for me!  How about you?  Are you a Jew?