Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:18-39 (day four)
It is one of the greatest passages of hope in the Bible…Romans 8:38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. All things have been created by Him, therefore, there is nothing that is stronger or more powerful than Him. By faith, Christ has come to dwell in our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit. Nothing can take us away from His indwelling. He will always be with us throughout eternity. Paul was a man of unshakable confidence in our eternal position in God. How about us? Do we live our lives with unshakable confidence that we will always be with God in eternity?
Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:1-17 (day three)
“If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Left to its own power supply, the human body will eventually become completely drained of all energy and die. This is the damning detail of the fall of man: We ceased to draw our source of energy–of life–from the spiritual realm, in particular from God himself. There is no reason these bodies God created should not last forever, provided they remain joined to the source of their power. Did you know your body was that well-made? Any program of physical conditioning must include a submission of your body to the leadership of Jesus Christ, or the care of your body is ultimately in vain. Are you willing to let Jesus teach you how to live in your body?
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day four)
It is not often we see a snowflake in Texas, but it is said that there are no two alike. God is a creative genius. Flowers, stars, animals, and people…God has endless creativity. One thing though is common with all people…we have all sinned against God. We have all disobeyed His commands and have chosen our own will rather than His. Something else is common to man, forgiveness for our sin is available by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the only way we can be justified and it is available to all men. Jews, Gentiles…rich, poor…good, bad…God’s grace reaches to every man, woman, or child who places their faith in Jesus Christ. There is nothing…absolutely nothing…that we can do to earn our salvation. It is a gift from God. Faith in Christ is the key to the grace of God. Have you received His forgiveness?
Re:Verse reading–Romans 3:21-31 (day three)
“We uphold the law.” The law of God sums up, in terms human minds can understand, the way the universe actually works, physically and spiritually. The universe still works in the same way, and the law is still God’s word about those workings, Paul says. It has not stopped being true. It enabled the formation of a people–the nation of Israel–but the law was never going to be scalable to the kind of future God designed for the human race. Through Christ, who came from that nation, God subjected himself to his own law–and lived where all others would have died. God spoke to Israel through his law, and it is the truth. God has now spoken to Israel and to the whole world through Jesus Christ, and he is the truth. Hear him. Believe him.
Re: Verse reading–Romans 1:1–17 (day two)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. vs. 8
This is the NASB translation, but may provide some evidence that Paul was also writing to the church in Texas. This is as close to y’all as we will see in scripture.
The write of Hebrews says this: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (10:24). If we are in the business of helping, serving, and loving others then it stands to reason that we ought to let others know when we see them serving well. In the midst of a society that was intolerant toward the gospel, Paul went out of his way to give thanks to those in the field who were serving well. He acknowledged their struggle and declared that he was “not ashamed” of the good news that he and they were declaring. I can imagine what a boon to the Roman believer’s spirits to read these words from Paul. May they encourage you also as you serve a world that is increasingly intolerant of God’s love. Serve well.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 5:21-33 (day four) Our culture does not teach or encourage submission. We prize independence. Nobody can tell me what to do! We even demonize discipline or competition with our children for fear of scratching their psyche. In reality, society must be built on discipline, self-control, and submission. The populace must willingly submit to civil authority or there will be anarchy. The military must exist on discipline and submission to authority or they will dissolve into uselessness. In the marriage relationship, God has given us a model to follow…wives should submit to their husbands, husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church. This relationship paints a picture of the heavenly relationship between Christ and His Church. When we distort the relationship from God’s design, we give an inaccurate picture of God’s eternal plan. We are choosing to forego submission to God in favor of our own independent choices. Why should we submit to God? He is our Creator…He paid our price for sin with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. What does your relationship look like at home and in heaven?
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 21:1-2, 7-17, 22-27; 22:21-31; 23:1-12 (day four)
There are consequences for every action…prices to pay for offending the law. God’s word is law. There is a price to pay for disobeying His word. In the garden, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. Sin entered the world and mankind is born under that sin. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…” Death is the consequence for sin. When Christ died on the cross, He paid the price for our sin. When He rose from the grave, He had victory over sin. Our consequences were not just cancelled, they were paid in full. We often hear of a victim of a crime forgiving the criminal, but there are still consequences, even though they are forgiven. Jesus didn’t just forgive, He paid the price, He suffered the consequences in our place. We can stand before God justified, only through Jesus Christ.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 21:1-2, 7-17, 22-27; 22:21-31; 23:1-12 (day one)
It is an important point. God gave the people of Israel three different kinds of law. Moral law–the Ten Commandments. Written on stone to symbolize their permanence. For all people, at all times. Civil law–laws for the national life of Israel. Not permanent or universal. See Acts 10-11 as God convinces Peter to set aside “kosher” law. Ceremonial law–guidance for the religious life of Israel. Feasts and fasts and ceremonies. No longer binding on Christians, but rich in symbolism and instruction. Fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Our RE Verse reading this week deals with civil and ceremonial laws. Are Christians under these? No! Is the Moral law still a permanent revelation of God’s will for us (achieved now by the Spirit)? Yes! “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law shall pass away, until all is accomplished.”–Jesus (Matthew 5:18) Followers of Christ benefit from reading and reflecting on the Law.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 3:1-14; 4:1-15 (day three)
“I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” If the universe had a beginning, something other than the universe must necessarily exist in order to have made that beginning possible. And that “something other” must necessarily have the ability to decide to initiate the universe. That ability is called will, which means the “something other” is a personal being. If you’ll believe it, the Bible reveals the personal being is God. There is nothing that inherently prevents the spiritual realm from continuing to interact with the physical realm. God interacts with the world. Regularly. Moses saw it, paid attention, acted, led a people out of slavery, and built a nation from which came Jesus Christ. God acts in history now. The Bible tells you specifically how this goes. So read. Heed. Act accordingly.
Twenty-second Day of Advent
Micah 5:2-4 (ESV)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
Unsuspecting. Humble. Small. Modest. Undistinguished. Ignoble.
The world could use any or all of these words to describe the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Think about it. He was born in Bethlehem…a shepherd’s town. He was born in a manger…not even your grandpa’s barn. He is compared to a shepherd…not exactly a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. His triumphal entry was made on a donkey….not quite Aladdin’s entrance to meet Jasmine. It’s really no wonder so many people missed the boat. They were looking for someone born of a king in a palace and introduced to the world with fanfare and fireworks.
And don’t we often make the same mistake? I so often look for God to speak in a billboard or a red-lettered memo or in a sermon where the Pastor says, “Tiffini, this is for you.” But instead I most often FIND God in whispers and worship songs and friends’ encouragement.
The world missed His birth because it looked too lowly to be the Messiah. They missed His life because He laid His head in the homes of acquaintances. They missed His death because it was no different than a criminal’s. The Old Testament is fraught with prophecies and don’t-miss-what-I’m-about-to-do warnings of how Jesus would come not from “just a carpenter” but from the lineage of King David, how He would not have a home but that His home was the place God intended for Him to spread the Gospel message, how He would not die as a criminal but as a sacrificial lamb for the atonement of the world’s sins.
So this Christmas I will choose to look for Jesus Christ not in extravagant department store displays or grand parades with blimps of every imaginable character. I will instead look for Him in my heart, in my children’s hearts, in the sweet words of an Advent devotional book, under the tree in a bed made of straw with the eyes of the shepherds upon Him. And my guess is that I will use different words to describe what I find….
Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.
Re: Verse reading – John 6:25-51