Day 44: Romans 10-12 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Romans 10-12 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

In Romans 10 Paul continues to point the readers to faith in Christ. Romans 10:2 is the verse that the Lord used to bring me to conviction of sin in my own life. I realized that I had a religious zeal for the things of God, but I didn’t know the LORD.  Hearing that particular Word of God at that time produced saving faith in my own heart (10:17).

Chapter 11 deals with questions about Israel (God’s chosen people) and their presumed rejection of Jesus. It is not as though the purpose of God has failed, but that it has been enlarged (11:12).

Moving into chapter 12, the Apostle Paul begins to write with more application in mind.  Most of what Paul has written so far, has been laying the foundation of a good theology. You will notice this trend in almost all of Paul’s letters. Theology comes first then the practical application flows last. This is what we see in Romans: Man is sinful, Jesus died to bring you to God, God is sovereign, therefore work together, love your enemies and trust God to deal out justice.

[SIDE NOTE: The point of a good theology is action. Some people live with a false dichotomy between theology and action. They say they believe one thing and behave another way. Then others just reverse the false dichotomy and say its all about action and forget why they do what they do. The truth is to have a fully colored in worldview you need to not only respond to God in faith, but know that previously you were separated from God by your sins.]

A love that focuses on the action and not the principle isn’t any kind of real love anyway. Its a coerced at best and a thin veneer over vileness at worst. Only resting in real truth about God and his character will ever free you to truly love your enemies

FATHER, Thank you that Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I pray your word would go out far and wide today and many would put their faith and trust in you. I pray for boldness on our part to share the gospel so that others might believe. I praise you that you are too infinate to fully comprehend and humble myself to realize that I need your counsel in every area of my life. I pray that you would equip me to do my part in the body of Christ and exercise the gifts that you have given me, for your glory and the edification of the church. I pray that my heart rests in you today and I love others in the same radical way that I am loved by you. Help me to grow even more in my knowledge of your love. Thank you for the calling to preach your word and prepare your people. I pray that I would walk faithfully with you all the days of my life. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN,

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 43: Romans 7-9 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Romans 7-9 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online. You can get a copy of the New in 90 reading schedule here.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that we have been freed from sin by Jesus Christ. If we are not careful old thoughts and patterns will creep back into our lives. Paul reminds us that we are not only free from the hold of sin, but that the Holy Spirit of God now has a stronger hold of those who belong to Him (7:4-6).

What a grace, to have the Holy Spirit in our lives. He shows us how to live. His very presence is a guarantee of our salvation in Jesus Christ (8:9, 16). He causes us to look forward to the return of Christ and the fulfillment His word (8:23). He helps us pray by making intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered/heard (8:26). [Side note: This does not explicitly indicate a private prayer language.  The indication is that the Holy Spirit takes our inability to form a proper prayer and intercedes in a way that does not need utterance (sound). This is made clearer in verse 27.]

With Romans 8:28 we begin to move more and more into an understanding of the Sovereignty of God. First with providence, in that God works all things together for good. It is important to notice that Roman’s 8:28 comes in the context of perseverance (8:25) and that “good” ultimately entails salvation (8:29-30).  Romans 9 then becomes one of the most exhaustive passages on the sovereignty of God and salvation, as Paul lays out God’s prerogative to save who He will (9:14-16).

Make sure you don’t miss Romans 9:30-33. It all comes back to faith. Those who would be saved must come to God in faith. We must believe God. The Jews had attempted to find righteousness on their own, but righteousness can’t be achieved, it can only be given and God chooses to give it to those who come to him (both Jew and Gentile) by faith.

FATHER, Thank you for the gift of faith and thank you for salvation. Thank you for the Holy Spirit and how He moves in our lives to confirm our salvation and draw us nearer to you. Thank you that He intercedes when we don’t know how to pray. I pray that we would be submitted to you and led by the Spirit in all of our actions and desires today. I pray for my friends who don’t know you and I pray that they would find the forgiveness of their sins and new life in you. Thank you for the privilege to pastor your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 42: Romans 4-6 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Romans 4-6 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

We are reminded in chapter four that “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” (4:3). Abraham didn’t just believe in God, he believed God. He took God at His word. Even when it seemed impossible (4:18-22).  This is what it looks like to have saving faith in Jesus (4:23-25).

Chapter five highlights that it is by this faith (response to the gospel) that we are justified before God (5:1). We are justified through faith that Jesus died for our sins and reconciles us to God (5:8-10). Paul affirms how this changes our disposition to sin (6:1-2). The the result of sin leads to death, but the fruit of a life submitted to God through Jesus Christ is eternal life (6:23).

My big takeaway today is to remember that I have been transformed by the power of the gospel and am no longer a slave to sin (6:17-18).

FATHER, Thank you for saving faith! Thank you that I can be made right with you through the work of Jesus Christ! I thank you that sin no longer has a hold over me. I pray that I walk in the freedom provided for me through trusting in Jesus Christ. I pray for my friends who haven’t trusted in you. I pray that you would give me opportunity and boldness to share with them. Thank you for abundant life! Thank you for the grace to lead your church. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 41: Romans 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes fromRomans 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul jumps right into the gospel in Romans. He is not ashamed (1:16). He is making his appeal to both the Jews and to the gentiles. Paul says in chapter one that what can be known about God is plain in creation, but our perverse hearts seek something else to worship (1:20-21). The reason we sin is because we are sinners and that’s not something that takes place on the outside, that’s a heart issue!

[Side Note: a lot of people are fond of pointing out homosexuality in this passage (1:26-27). It is there, but there are also a lot of other sins that are listed as the result of our rebellion against God (1:28-31). Some that are a lot more evident in society. Things like gossip, disobedient to parents, boasting, being unloving, or unmerciful. We are warned in chapter two of judging those who do these things while doing them ourselves. Romans 2:4 stands out as a gem of hope against the backdrop of condemnation and the coming wrath of God… We should be those who seek repentance not the condemnation of those who are in sin.]

Paul says that the purpose of our conscience is to bear witness against us,  condemning us or justifying us as the case may be (2:15).  We take notice that our conscience is internal, in our hearts. Our consciences are not an outside influence like an angel sitting on our shoulder whispering in our ear. If we are really going to be acceptable to God we have to change from inside out. We must be changed in the heart (2:29). 

Paul reminds us that we are all sinners (3:23). We all miss the mark. We all inwardly don’t long or aspire of our own accord to glorify God. We are bent and broken creatures. So bent and broken that the only one who could really straighten us out is God himself. And that is exactly what He did through Jesus Christ (3:24-26). We grab hold of this being made right with God though God by faith (3:28).

FATHER, Thank you for the gift of faith and of salvation. We lift up those who seem content to live in sin and plead for their repentance. We plead for our own hearts so often bent by sin and swayed by the philosophy of this world. Thank you for the high calling of shepherding your people. Give us grace today. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 40: Acts 26-28 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Acts 26-28 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Certainly Paul had a testimony to share and he wasn’t afraid to share it. Jesus made a noticeable difference in his life.  So much so, that Paul went from being the persecutor to being persecuted! So when people asked, “Hey what’s the deal?” He had a message to share.

We may not all have a testimony like the Apostle Paul, but those of us who are in Christ do have a story to tell about how Jesus changed our lives. If we are intentional we might just find a few opportunities to share with the earnest desire that God would change others the same way that he changed us (Acts 26:28-29).

A few years ago, I went on a mission trip and we were all challenged to prepare and share our testimony throughout the week.  The idea was that whenever someone asked why we were there, we would share a brief form of our testimony along with a verse or two of scripture. One of the people working where we were staying asked me if I could talk with them about Jesus. It seemed like this opportunity came out of the blue until I got to talking with her more.  She said that every time she would ask someone from our group what they were doing here, they would tell her about how Jesus had really changed their life and they wanted that for other people too. After several stories she realized that we were all together, but she also realized that we have all individually  had some sort of life changing experience involving Jesus. She wondered if Jesus had  changed all of our lives, perhaps he was worth checking into.”

My takeaway and challenge today is to revisit my testimony that I tried to write in 100 words or less. Pray that God might use me to share my faith with someone this week. Then see how many people I can share a simple and brief testimony with.

FATHER, Thank you for Jesus and how He has changed my life. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead stands at the center of history but it also stands in the center of my life. I pray that we would be bold in our witness for you this week. I know that there are many who have yet to hear how they can enjoy your grace, love and forgiveness through Jesus. I pray that this week we would be able to share with as many as you give us opportunity in the hope that perhaps you would change their life the same way you changed our. Thank you for the great responsibility of leadership. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 39: Acts 23-25 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Acts 23-25 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul was invincible until his time was up. He had suffered beatings, death threats and imprisonment and yet lived. He would get the chance to make his case and ultimately share the gospel in Rome.  Paul saw his inconvenience as his opportunity. He preached to high ranking government officials because he was in chains.

I’m learning that often God moves in our inconveniences as well as our routines. Paul was greatly inconvenienced for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps we won’t face the same challenges that He faced, but we will deal with inconvenience. It will be something like having to take the car to the shop or the trial of dealing with  a health issues that you didn’t know that you had. In each scenarios we find ourselves with interrupted plans and a lot of inconvenience, but there is opportunity there as well if you are looking for it. The car puts you in contact with the mechanic. The illness forces you to see the doctors and nurses that you might no otherwise see. The inconvenience of it might actually be the purpose of God.

FATHER, Thank you that the Apostle Paul recognized his inconveniences as opportunities. I pray that we would look out and see our challenges the same way.  I pray that we never look over someone or dismiss them as in the way, but that we see individuals the way that you see them and that we take every opportunity to share your gospel. Thank you for the people you have placed in our path. Thank you for the calling you have placed on my life to lead your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 38: Acts 20-22 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from Acts 20-22 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Paul’s life had purpose and direction. He was reminded in every city he went to that chains were ahead of him (20:23). He knew that he would suffer even from the moment of his conversion (Acts 9:16) and yet he pressed on. There were even those along the way who tried to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem because of the chains that awaited him there (21:11-14). (Side Note: This reminds me of Psalm 11 that we just studied a few weeks ago on a Wednesday at Little Escambia and Matthew 16:21-23, when Peter thought that he was offering Jesus sound advice, but Jesus told him, “Get behind me Satan.“) Yet Paul pressed on. 

Two things stick out to me here:

One is that Paul knew what he was called to do and he would not be deterred. Even when his friends pleaded with him not to go, he was more concerned with following God’s will than saving his own neck. We should strive to follow God that closely that we understand our purpose in life may culminate in losing our life.

[Theogical Note: The prophecy offered by Agabus  (21:11) must have been restricted to the fact that Paul would be bound if he went to Jerusalem. The pleading of his friends (21:12) seems to be the misinterpretation by way of poor application of the prophecy that was offered. Otherwise they would be counseling him to go against God’s will! This is where New Testament Prophecy is different that O.T. Prophecy.  There is some ambiguity, and just like a bible teacher may miss the meaning of a particular passage, individuals may miss the application of a particular N.T. prophecy. When someone says, “The Lord told me” and offer application rather than simple, specific revelation it may be an error.  It is always important to exercise discernment. Sometimes people lie (I Kings 13:18) and sometimes people mean well, but get it wrong (21:12)]

The second thing is that those we love and respect the most don’t always offer the best advice. Sometimes they are more interested in our safety that God’s purpose being fulfilled in our lives. It is always better to follow the Lord’s will than those who are clouded by there care and concern for us.

For example: It would be easy as parents to want our kids to live close to us as they marry and move out. We would want to be close to our grand kids and help them. We might offer great advice about getting connected with jobs in our area, etc… but what if God call’s our children to minister in a different part of the country? Or what if he calls them to go to the other side of the world to be a missionary? We wouldn’t want to hold them back from God’s will. This is where discernment and prayer are necessary.

FATHER, We trust you. We trust you to lead us and guide us. We ask for your protection and provision for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing persecution for their faith in you. We ask for grace to follow you no matter what lies ahead on the path before us. We ask for discernment to understand and do your will. Thank you for the grace to lead your people today. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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