Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:18-39 (day two)

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” vs. 18

I was a Cross Country runner in high school. I loved it, particularly in the Fall when the hills around my hometown were ablaze with color. When I ran I came up with a formula that kept me motivated. P=J (Pain=Jingle) I knew that if I pushed myself, if I trained well and listened to my coach’s instructions it was likely that I would medal in each race. That medal would be proudly displayed on my letter jacket and jingle among the other medals. Silly? Yes. Effective? Also, yes.

Even when I didn’t know what I needed to do to improve as a runner, I could trust my coach to challenge me in the areas that needed improvement. The Holy Spirit does the same thing. Consider verse 26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that our words cannot express.”

Whatever challenge or trial we are currently enduring, we can rest assured that the glory that is to come will be worth every sacrifice. His glory is bigger than any pain we might endure.


Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:1-17 (day four) 

Everyone…rich or poor, male or female, regardless of race or creed…everyone is born into the law of sin and death.  The law states that all have sinned.  Then the law states that the wages or due penalty of sin is death.  Left to ourselves, we cannot avoid eternal death.  Our passage in Romans 8 though gives hope.  Verse 2 says “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”  Our passage identifies a whole list of outcomes that result from the law of flesh vs. the law of the Spirit…antonyms that result from the source of our allegiance.  If we are living according to the flesh, we reap sin and death, condemnation, curses, and we are hostile to God.  If we are living according to the Spirit, we reap blessing, we are Spirit-led, we are sons of God, we are free from the law, and we have life and peace.  Why would we ever choose to follow the flesh rather than the Spirit?


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?

Shaped by stress

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day seven)

“We know that tribulation brings about perseverance”–v 3.  I have a framed picture on my office wall.  A gift from Holly, years ago.  A picture of an umbrella and a single Greek word.  Hupomeno.  Usually translated “patience or perseverance”, the original word is literally “to remain under”.  To stay under the pressure until you learned the lesson of it.  To not run or seek safety, to seek God and growth instead.

The pastorate surprised me.  Shouldn’t have, probably.  The criticisms, the various needs calling for my attention and care, the pressure of decisions, facilities and staff,  the first priority of prayer.

At first, I wanted to run!  “This is impossible”, I said more than once.  Over time, I learned the grace that Paul discovered.  Slowly, powerfully, by the Spirit, stress began to shape ME, teach ME.  The circumstances did not change.  I did.

This is always God’s way.  With all of us. You in?

Is good good enough?

Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day seven)

“A man is a Jew if he is one inwardly. . .by the Spirit.”–v 29.  In Romans 1, Paul declares the wrath of God against those who REJECT Him.  Pagans/Gentiles.  Jewish listeners said “Amen” to the first part.  In Roman 2, Paul declares the wrath of God against those who try to satisfy Him with RELIGION.

Surprised?  Being good is not good enough.  God’s demand is not that we go to church or read our Bibles or try to be inclusive.  No.  God’s demand (something known only by revelation) is that we, “by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality”–v 7.

But, who does that?  Do you know ANYONE who steadily, courageously, at all times, in all circumstances seeks God’s will?  As the Bible says, we fall short of God’s glory.  Way short.

So, God provides a way.  A new life, Spirit-born.  It is the ONLY thing that is enough. Being good just isn’t.


Re:Verse reading–Romans 2:1-29 (day six)

But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:29

Paul makes it increasingly clear that we are all in trouble. We are idolaters, all of us; and even those of us who look the part, we too have rejected God for the praise of men. He then introduces the type of person that God seeks, one who is concerned more about the affections of their heart, then the one putting on airs. This one doesn’t live for the approval of men, but lives to worship God in all of life. Finally he tells us how such a person takes shape, “by the Spirit.” The Spirit of God does the work of reshaping the human heart through faith in the Gospel. The key to living a life of faith is just that-faith! It is not working harder, or beating yourself up over past sins (penance), it’s not adding another Bible study to your schedule, no, it is none of those things. Live from faith to faith forever resting in God’s approval of you because of the work of His Son! Have faith in the Gospel, and let the Spirit of God do the hard work of reshaping your heart!