Beautiful feet…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 10:14-21

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

Obstinate and disobedient is probably not where we want to find ourselves!  This passage speaks quite clearly to the charge given the believer.  We are not told to remake unbelievers into good people (like ourselves?…hmmm)  We are not told to intimidate with fear (of death or hell?) or manipulate with scripture (the Word says…).  Change in individuals comes by the work of the Holy Spirit.  We are given a charge to share the message.  That’s it!  Short, simple, sweet.

“…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. …”

We can do this by our words, our lives, our actions, our reactions.  We can be.  Seeing to our own relationship, that it is as the Lord requires will be a message in itself as we live the believer’s life.  Do we see an absence of judging here?  Yet that is the most common complaint voiced against Christians from the unbelieving world.  Preaching implies speaking.  Speaking can be verbal but it can also be non-verbal.  What do those who cross our paths daily hear and see?  Is it Christ?  Is our voice “going out?”  Can those who do not believe hear the message delivered by us?  Be assured they hear a message, is it the word of Christ?   It has been said:  “Wherever you go preach the gospel.  If necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi

May it be said of us:

 “…”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” …”

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freedom from the curse of sin…freedom from the curse of death…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans10:1-13

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down)

 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);

 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Simple isn’t it?  Two steps, confess with the mouth and believe with the heart.  They go hand in hand.

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. …”

We say this is when we are “saved.”  What does “saved” mean?  The penalty for the sin we commit and are born into is forever wiped away by the blood of Christ.  No more ritual sacrifice spilling blood as was required by the Law for the Israelites for the sin offering.  That penalty, death, is no longer a fear or a hold on the believer.  Death was conquered by Jesus for us.

 

“…If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you….” Romans 8:11

We confess, “Jesus is Lord” and we believe it.  Jesus says out of the heart the mouth speaks.

“… But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person….” Matthew 15:18

Two steps yet one and the same.  This brings life; it is the last step in the law and brings us God’s righteousness.

“…For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. …”

We now operate, function by faith in Him.

“…the word of faith that we proclaim); …”

“… “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” …” 

Freedom from the curse of sin; freedom from death.

Works can be a stumbling block…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 9:30-33

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith;

but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,

as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Is it not true that those who have do not always realize what they have and those who do not have cherish the very same thing when given it? This provision for our salvation from the penalty of death is given to all-freely-by faith; and yet we still see in each of the various denominations and sects a requirement for works to achieve something freely given.  How is that?  Human nature, mankind, takes what God gives freely, at great cost to himself, and begins to  put requirements on it?  Why?  It is hard to believe that an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God, who is the Creator of all would love us that much and show us that mercy and grace-free for the believing.  And when we believe; we freely through the change begun in us and out of a response of love to love begin to do freely what some would try to require of us.  Human nature must love to always put the cart before the horse!  When we fully grasp that faith is the only requirement for salvation on our part, what freedom we experience!  Following on that initial faith we then begin to exercise faith in all areas of our life.  Believers have no room for fear of any kind if they are filled with faith and truly trust God.  Who is our source?  Who provides life over death?  We believe and we receive and it’s that simple and that complex at the same time.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

From the Lord:  Do not let Satan steal your joy!  Do not let the enemy steal your dream!  Do not let your senses and feelings steal your appointment given by God!  Dreams come from above for the believer.  Dreams put faith to work and bring joy and fulfillment.  As long as we live we have purpose given to us by our God, as long as we have purpose we have ability to fulfill that purpose.

Mercy provides…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

 

Romans 9:19-29

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,

in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'”

“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,

for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

 

Continuing through the 9th chapter of Romans, Paul presents to us again the sovereignty of God.   We have access to salvation only because He maintains mercy and provides that there will be believers whose praise will bring Him glory.

God is God…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 9:1-18

  I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,

and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,

though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—

she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

This chapter opens with a declaration of truth then follows with insight into the heart of Paul and the extent of his prior education and training in the Scriptures then available.  He speaks to us in Romans out of the wealth of knowledge in which he was trained and also from the heart of love for his people.  Above all that he speaks under the direction of the Holy Spirit; as the Holy Spirit guides in knowledge and understanding as promised by Jesus before he left.  The overarching message is that God is God; He decides and He determines who or what in life.  He grants mercy and has compassion.  We are the recipients at His will.

Who can separate us?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 8:28-39

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It  would seem that all that is mentioned in this passage as a possible means to separate the believer from God would only serve to drive us closer to God.

“…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…”

That probably rests on individual responses to distress whatever the origin.  Some declare Where was God?  Why didn’t He prevent this?  Others declare I can only go through this with the Lord’s help.   Whichever response we choose is determined in part by our relationship with the Lord and our understanding of Him as given to us through the Scriptures.  What pulls us away, speaking from observation, is the comfort status of the believer.  One who is living in a place without extreme burdens and without any real stress generally is the one who becomes complacent and drifts away from their relationship with God.  Closer looks at this passage highlights also that outside influences cannot separate us, we only need to be alert to our own awareness of our relationship with the Lord.

“…For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord….”

We can be our own worst enemy.  Yet that last statement holds truth — that love that sent Christ to the cross, that love will never turn away from us.  There is comfort in that knowledge.

Strength in prayer…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 8:18-27

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope

that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Our prayers are not futile; the spirit prays and His Spirit is there to intercede for us.  There is pain in the suffering; but when compared to His suffering for us although He was blameless and had the ability to not continue in the suffering; he chose to follow the will of God and so set us free.  Is there a suffering here for any of us that  exceeds that?  And we also have the prayers that bring deliverance.  In this we hope, we wait patiently in our weakness and in that He is strong.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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