The Book of Romans – Our Relationship to Our Enemies

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“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone? Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will hear burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing well.” Romans 12:17-21 Jesus tells us to love our enemies, but this can be the hardest thing that we can do. I know in my case, I just don’t like to love people that are always causing trouble. I want to get even with them, but God has other plans. When I have the feeling of revenge, God reminds me that I need to pray for them. When I pray for them my attitude changes. We need to remember that Jesus came and died for us when we were His enemies. This is God’s great love for us and we need to show it to our enemies. As Christians, we are called to overcome in this world, but to overcome we must master evil. To do this, we must hate sin and cling to what is good. Throughout this entire chapter Paul gives us insight on overcoming evil. First we have to renew our minds to the word of God being transformed into his likeness. Secondly, our gifts must be in operation in the body of Christ, to which we were called to belong. Next we must love sincerely without hypocrisy, devoted to one another. We are to keep ourselves […]

The Book of Romans – Live in Harmony

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“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Romans 12:13-16  Paul reminds us to bless those who persecute us. This is a very hard thing to do; we want to strike back at the people that persecute us. I don’t see much persecution from people, but I do have Satan attacking me for being obedience to God. I have to stay in constant prayer to fight these attacks. This is true with any persecution.  We must be in prayer always. Praying for those who don’t see things as God does. As Christians, we are to follow Christ’s example of being willing to meet people where they are. Fully God, yet he humbled himself and stepped into humanity on our behalf. He gave up the glory of heaven to come and redeem mankind, born in the most humble way. He did not consider his royal position ahead of our need for him; he humbled himself and became obedient to death in order that we might experience firsthand the love of God. To live in harmony with each other we have to be willing to associate with everyone. We need to realize that we are no better than anyone else. Humility is the key to being in harmony with everyone. We are all part of mankind. The same blood flows through all of our bodies. God loves everyone and He wants us all in heaven with Him, but He dislikes our sin. […]

The Book of Romans – Love must be Sincere

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“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13 One of the differences between Christians and the world is our ability to love. This love comes solely from God and stems out of the fact that he first loved us. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) Our capacity to love is much more than a natural response to a feeling, our capacity is supernatural because we are children of God and God lives in us. Paul tells us that love must be sincere. It must be genuine – the real thing. It must be without hypocrisy. In our natural selves this is hard to do. It is not always easy to show love and compassion to one another, but this is the mark of a born again believer. Our love for one another should speak louder than any words we can express. These words of Paul are so simple yet so profound. As Christians, we are to love one another and be devoted to each other as members of the same family. We should consider each other over our own interests and give precedence and honor to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. There should be no quarreling or factions between us, and we should consider how to build and encourage […]

The Book of Romans – Our Gifts Bless the Church

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“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8 God has given us all gifts. We bless the church when we use our gifts. When we don’t use our gifts that God has given us we miss a blessing and the church misses a blessing. We are all part of the body of Jesus Christ.  “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) Paul is encouraging us to play to our strengths. We all have different gifts and talents according to the grace given us. So it makes sense that if we have the gift of prophesy we should use it to bless the body of Christ. If we are talented at teaching, then we should be teaching the word to others. If we have been given a servant’s heart, then we should be operating within that calling. There are many gifts and each one is very important to the body of Christ. Paul listed several things in these verses that are easily overlooked […]

The Book of Romans – Honest Evaluation

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“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:3-5 Each Christian must know what his spiritual gifts are and what ministry he is to have in the local church. It is not wrong for a Christian to recognize gifts in his own life and in the lives of others. What is wrong is the tendency to have a false evaluation of ourselves. Nothing causes more damage in a local church than a believer who overrates himself and tries to perform a ministry he cannot do. The gifts we have come because of God’s grace. They must be accepted and exercised by faith. Since our gifts are from God we cannot take the credit for them. All we can do is accept them and use them to honor His name.  Paul understood that God gave him his gifts. “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) We may not see the result of our ministry, but God knows and He used our ministry for His glory. I know that at times I feel that in my ministry, I am doing nothing then someone will tell me how my devotions are helping […]

The Book of Romans – Be Transformed

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“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 This is the problem with the church today; we are too much of the world. The world wants to control your mind, but God wants to transform your mind. “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.” (Ephesians 4:17-18) If we are being transformed by God our minds are full of light not darkness. If the world controls your thinking, you are a conformer; if God controls your thinking you are a transformer. God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. Are you spending time in His Word? Are you making His Word part of your being? Are you allowing God to speak to you about His Word? Our actions are a result of what we think. Intellectually we may believe something to be true, but our real convictions come out of our actions. This is why it is so important to renew our minds with the word of God. To take the scripture and implant it in our hearts so that it is in alignment with what God has said. If what is in our heart is scripture, then we will act based on that belief system. Your mind controls your body and your will controls your mind. Many people think that they can control their will by will power. It is only when […]

The Book of Romans – A Living Sacrifice to God

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“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1 Paul is now showing us how we should live because God has shown us His mercy and grace. If we accept God’s great gift of salvation, we will want to change how we live. Paul is calling us to live a life of peace, faithfully serving the Lord in all things and overcoming the evil of the world by faith. Paul is reminding us that God calls us to make a choice about the way we are to live.  Paul begs us to present our bodies a living sacrifice. Giving our all to God is an act of worship. This lifestyle of worship comes from knowing God and understanding his grace and mercy toward us. In view of these things, we should offer ourselves completely to God to be used by him. Not because we have to but because of who he is and what he has done on our behalf. We have been redeemed and set apart and his mercy has changed everything. Worship is a lifestyle. Worship that is pleasing to the Lord encompasses our whole being, thoughts and attitudes. Paul urges us to present our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices devoted and consecrated to him as this is our reasonable service and an act of spiritual worship. This offering before the Lord is in view of his mercy toward us. Understanding the abundance of His grace and mercy will change our hearts. This is why Paul spent the last eleven chapters of Romans going over in detail this […]

The Book of Romans – God’ Wisdom

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“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?  Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” Romans 11:33-36 Praise God for His plan and the progress of His plan. As I get older I have more questions than I have answers. At one time I felt that I had it all together, then God changed things. I have learned that all I have to do is trust in God and allow Him to guilde my life. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:33-34) Why should we worry about anything, God has everything in control? I don’t have the wisdom and knowledge to have anything in control. I owe God everything. You can try all you want but you will never make God a debtor to you. You cannot out give God. He will never need to repay a debt to anyone. It is amazing that Paul stops shortly after finishing his radiant expose of where the Jews fit into God’s salvation plan to praise God for who he is. Taking a moment to reflect and think through how this plan has unfolded since the beginning of time warrants a thankful heart toward God. Nothing in all of creation has ever caught God off guard because his judgments and unfathomable wisdom have […]

The Book of Romans – God’s Mercy on Us

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“Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.” Romans 11:30-32 Paul is reminding us that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. We all have rebelled against God. We all at one time have been disobedient. Without God’s mercy where would we be? It is only because of God’s love that we are His children. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) Mercy is a wonderful theme throughout the entire Bible. God has dealt with mankind in leniency and compassion since the beginning, but his expression of mercy was in the person of Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus brought into reality the forgiveness of sins so we could be reconciled to God once and for all. Understanding God’s mercy toward us is what brings us to Christ to be justified by him. God’s kindness and love is what leads us to repentance.  Repentance simply means to turn around and go the other way. So when we experience the mercy and goodness of God, we abandon the rebellious direction in which we are walking and turn 180 degrees toward God to follow after Him. When we turn to God and accept his message of grace, we receive his mercy that also brings us into right relationship with Him.  This is the good news of the gospel, that we are reconciled to God based on his […]

The Book of Romans – God’s Calling

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“Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.” Romans 11:28-29 This is an awesome truth and one that brings us further understanding of God. He has chosen the nation of Israel as his own and he remains true to that choice even after their rejection of Jesus. Paul said in today’s passage that “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn”. Once decided, God does not change his mind. There is security in knowing that God does not waver and change his mind like man does. You can be confident before him because he is not subject to whims and moods. This scriptue is very special to me. I was called to the ministry many years ago. I have failed God so mnay times that I have lost count. Everytime that I tell God that He made a mistake, He gives me this scripture. I know that my call will never go away until I walk with Jesus in heaven. If God is talking to you about a call on your life, stop fighting the call and give up and God will give you the peace that passes all understanding. If he spoke it, then he will carry it out unto completion. He has chosen Israel as a nation set apart for him and he remains true. Even though they are enemies from the viewpoint of the gospel, they are beloved and dear to God for the sake of their forefathers.