Archive for : July, 2019

07/31/19: Romans 14:1-24; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 20:12

Romans 14 was mostly directed toward the question of whether eating meat versus being a vegetarian was “sinful.”  While the specifics of this issue may not apply to the church today the passage sets a precedent for all of us on what may be considered disagreements within the Lord’s church.

In my mind this would be real-world questions encountered by the Lord’s church today — like “should we use ‘one cup’ during communion,” “is supporting missionaries OK,” “what about eating dinner in the church building” or “are bible classes appropriate?”

And what does Paul write — “accept each other and do not judge…”

Romans 14: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them

 

07/30/19: Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11

Today’s reading includes one of the most quoted scriptures, Psalm 23.

I once read a commentary on Psalm 23 by Mr. John Creach from the Pittsburgh Theological seminary.  He highlighted that “this psalm is commonly used in the context of death and the funeral service.” But the psalm’s language and imagery may be more fitting for the season of Easter when the Church tries to discern how to live in light of Christ’s resurrection. Indeed, Psalm 23 is more about how a person lives in relationship to God than how one faces death or finds security beyond the grave.

With this thought in mind I encourage you to re-read this psalm again, focusing on your relationship with the Lord.

07/29/19: Romans 12:1-21; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 20:8-10

Romans 12We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

First, take a look at each of the highlighted words in the above passage.  Did you notice something that they all have in common?

Going “way-back” to grammar class they are all verbs.  And verbs “describe an action.”  Paul is first telling us — you all have gifts.  Then, just as importantly he is telling us to use them!  I often teach that all believers are unique and have at least one gift that can only be used by them for serving the Lord and His Body, the church.

Our primary service mission — identify our gifts and than as the Nike commercial said “JUST DO IT…”

07/28/19: Romans 11:13-36; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 20:7

In today’s reading from Romans we come to a passage that needs no comment – just reading and reflection:

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

07/27/19: Romans 10:1`4-11:12; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6

Romans 11God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]?And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

I am always reassured by this passage.  Throughout history there have been multiple attempts to eradicate true believers who realize that they live by the grace of God and not human institutions.  These attempts have come from governments and even the “religious order” of the day.  Just think of the Romans’ attempts; the Catholic church inquisitions, the numerous Muslim extremists killing of Christians, and the stringent (but non-Biblical) teachings of some denominations.

And, yet, throughout these persecutions and exclusions the Lord has always maintained a “remnant” of true believers.  He will do so until the glorious day of His coming.  Amen …

07/26/19: Romans 9:25-10:13; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 20:2-3

Romans 10  Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Can you almost feel Paul’s desire for the Jews?  And as I read this passage I can almost see Paul’s own story.  He was, indeed, zealous but for the wrong reason.  And it was not until he personally encountered Jesus and was taught by Him that he realized the it is Christ who fulfills the law Paul erroneously sought so vehemently to enforce.

07/25/19: Romans 9:1-24; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 20:1

Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words;  no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

My thought for today — just the presence of the heavens declare the Glory of God — no words are needed.  In a different way I think the same concept can apply to us.

People are watching us and by our actions, not our words, we can also declare the glory of God.

 

07/24/19: Romans 8:26-39; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29

When I ponder on the unfailing promise of redemption we have I can think of no greater description than the inspired words that we read in Romans 8.

I return to this passage whenever I wonder about events that enter our lives:

Romans 8: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

07/23/19: Romans 8:9-25; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26

When I read the notes in my Bible regarding Psalm 18 they state: “For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.”

And I then I am reassured when I read David’s inspired acknowledgement of just who God IS:

Psalm 8:  30 As for God, his way is perfectThe Lord’s word is flawlesshe shields all who take refuge in him.

 

 

 

07/22/19: Romans 7:14-8:8; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 19:24-25

In the following verses I think Paul captures the reality of the battle we all face when confronted with sin.  Satan is a master of deceit and in my opinion he searches us until he finds at least one weakness and then works to make us a “prisoner”  to that weakness.  And once a prisoner there is only one escape — to humble ourselves and our rationalizations and turn to Jesus Christ through prayer and reading His word.  Sounds easy — but real work and dedication is needed to stay within this freedom.

Romans 7: 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

07/21/19: Romans 7:1-13; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23

Interestingly, I found that when speaking to the Jews Paul’s use of a marriage example in Romans was easier to understand than I have in the past (really do not understand why it took so long …)

Romans 7For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

The Jews would have certainly understood that the death of a husband (as tragic as it would have been) freed the wife from the sin of marrying another man.  In the same way the death of Jesus frees us from abiding by the old law and requirements.  So, the question we should as is then how do we serve if it is not by following the old law?

Paul answers that question in verse 6 — we serve, inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit:

Romans 7:  But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

07/20/19 – Romans 6:1-23; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 19:20-21

Proverbs 19:  2Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

I find it interesting that in yesterday’s reading from Romans we discussed God’s timing & will versus our own.  And we see that same concept today in the above passage from Proverbs.   Today’s passage also reminds me of the inspired word in James.

James 41Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

07/19/19 – Romans 5:6-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 19:18-19

Romans 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Artie has presented some great teaching on this verse and other scriptures which highlight that our schedule is “ours” and that God’s schedule is “His.”  And they do not always align.

I think one our greatest challenges as believers is humbling ourselves to this reality and recognizing that through the grace and sovereignty of God we are blessed (though this may not always be recognized on our desired schedule.)

 

07/18/19 – Romans 4:13-5:5, Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 19:17

There are many passages in the inspired Word that come to mind as we progress through our lives — words of wisdom for child rearing; words of encouragement when we are forlorn; words of advice when we are tempted; and words of hope when we are suffering:

Romans 5:  Not only so, but we  also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 

07/17/19 – Romans 4:1-12; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 19:15-16

Psalm 13: How longLord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?   How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Can’t you feel David’s despair as he pens this Psalm?  Indeed, we are sometimes in the same state when it appears that the Lord has left us and we are on our own.

But David also pens the reality that is available for all believers — JUST BELIEVE!

Psalm 13: But I trust in your unfailing love;  my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,  for he has been good to me.

 

 

07/16/19 – Romans 3:9-31; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 19:13-14

Romans 3: 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

In these verses Paul continues to very objectively explain a revolutionary religious tenant.  It is not the “Law” that justifies – it is faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  And this is all in fulfillment of the prophets who spoke to the Jews over hundreds of years.  In fact, Coffman estimates that there are roughly 333 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament.

And how blessed we are to be included in this grace.

07/15/19 – Romans 2:25-3:8; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 19:10-12

Acts 2: 25  Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

As you read Romans 2 can you see the “groundbreaking” tenant that Paul is teaching?  It is not the outward symbolism (circumcision) that brings salvation it is obedience to God’s will.  And in our time nothing has changed – obedience is greater than any outward symbol we may present.

07/14/19: Romans 2:1-24; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 19″8-9

Acts 2:  You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,  for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

I can see no greater warning throughout scripture on the temptation for us to judge others.  While we may offer to help correct behaviors that are ungodly we are not to judge the person.

Our human frailties, weaknesses  and prejudices prevent us from seeing the real “truth” in a matter.  No – we are not to judge — the Lord will do so.

07/13/19 – Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 19:6-7

Romans 1: 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

These verses speak to me of the “free will” that we all have and the tragedy that occurs when this will is exercised not for serving God but for not following and even opposing His teachings.

These verses also speak of how important it is for us when we have the opportunity to reach-out to these people & remind them of the truth and promises within God’s Word.

07/12/19 – Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5

Having recently read about the trial of Jesus and Stephen and sitting through Artie’s Thursday night series on the last week of Christ, today I was drawn to Proverbs 19:5.

Proverbs 19:5  A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. 

As opposed to the tenants taught by God’s inspired word the leaders of the Jews used multiple false witnesses to “convict” Jesus and Stephan.   And we know that within God’s timeline they will be punished.