The Book of Romans – Glory to God

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“Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him.  All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27 We close out the book of Romans with glory to God and this is so true; we must give God all the glory because of His great plan to deliver us from the life of sin and give us His great love and peace. “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:6) We have worked our way through the book of Romans. I pray that you have not only enjoyed our journey, but have grown closer to God. I know that I have grown closer to God during this time. I have written before that I learn more than anyone else as I write these devotions and dig deeper into God’s Word. I pray that you will not only read my devotions, but you will also study God’s Word more. In these times that we live in, we must stay close to God and His Word. I pray about what direction I need to take in my devotions. God’s leading in the next devotions has been difficult. After much prayer my next devotions will be in The Book of […]

The Book of Romans – Jesus will Crush Satan

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“Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:18-20 Paul is giving great instruction for us today. So much evil exists in this world, but we can be confident in this truth that Jesus spoke over two thousand years ago, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Knowing the goodness of God brings us peace and crushes Satan and the evil that means to destroy us. Jesus has overcome and through faith in Him, we too have overcome. God never intended for us to know about evil. In the beginning He made the universe, the world, all living things and mankind. Then He called it good. Evil, sin and corruption never entered the picture until Eve was deceived by Satan. Satan used her curiosity about evil to trick her into thinking she would be better off if she knew what evil was. The result was disastrous for mankind. As Adam and Eve ate of the tree that God commanded them not to eat of, their eyes were open to the knowledge of good and evil. The rest is history, the result was the universe and everything within it had a working knowledge that both good and evil existed, and we were not […]

The Book of Romans – False Prophets

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“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.” Romans 16:17-18 Paul has taught us some amazing truth as we have studied Romans.  He is issuing a warning to the believers to hold fast to the truth they know and protect it at all costs. From past experience Paul knew that others would come in after him with smooth talk and flowery speeches in hopes of causing division and confusion among the church. Not everyone was working with Paul to spread the gospel. There were some who, for selfish reasons, were dividing the church by teaching false doctrine. False doctrine is anything contrary to the teachings that they had learned from Paul. He doesn’t encourage them to discuss or persuade those individuals, he tells them to have nothing to do with them. This is because deception is a most subtle form of trickery which can, in many cases, even if only slightly alter your course in life. This is one of the major tricks that Satan uses to lead us away from following God and His word. Sometimes it is hard to know if it is false doctrine. Satan is so smooth that he can make things sound so good and Satan knows the Bible so he can twist the verses so that they sound true. How can we know if someone is spreading false doctrine? We need to be in the word studying and praying that God will show us the truth. If you doubt what […]

The Book of Romans – Credit to Others

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“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me. Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus.  In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home. Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ.” Romans 16:1-5 Paul knew the value of women serving in the church. Phoebe was on her way to Rome with the letter that Paul has written. We see that Paul gives credit to others knowing that he did not minister alone. That God had other people that helped him to win others to Jesus Christ. Sometimes we feel life Elijah that we are the only ones that are working for God. Just as God told Elijah that He had over 7,000 that had not bowed to Baal. We have that today. We look at our world and it looks like everyone has turned their back on God, but there are more than we know that are serving God and getting the message of God’s grace out to a dark world that needs hope. In this scripture we see a clue to the organization of the early church. In a city with a Christian community of any size, there would be several congregations meeting in different houses since there were no church buildings at that time. Today we need to look very closely at […]

The Book of Romans – Prayer Works

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“Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem. Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other. And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:30-33 Prayer changes circumstances! Can you imagine how the Apostle Paul must have felt going to Jerusalem knowing that the people there intended to take his life? This did not sway him from going as he entreated the Romans to join with him in prayer, knowing that the unity of their intercession would change the outcome of his journey. This is why Paul was not afraid to go to Jerusalem even though he was walking into hostile territory. He was tasked with taking the offering to the believers there. One can only imagine that he also desired to go and preach Christ among the Jews one more time, hoping to sway them into believing that Christ was the Messiah. This is why he asked the Romans to join with him in praying for safety and protection while in Jerusalem. What a marvelous vote of confidence that Paul had in this church who he had never met. He had heard about their faith and knew that these believers would join in his struggle, interceding for him in accordance with God’s will. Prayer is the most […]

The Book of Romans – Care for Other Believers

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“But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially.” Romans 15:25-27 This is a wonderful testament to the heart of God’s people. Paul is sharing a marvelous account of believers who came together to provide relief for their brothers and sisters in Christ who were struggling. The Jews in Jerusalem were living in extreme poverty. Because of their confession of Jesus Christ, they had been thrown out of the synagogue and lost all connections with families, communities and ways to make a living. As believers they faced extreme persecution and extreme poverty living in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life. Gentile churches that were growing around Asia heard of their distress and took it upon themselves to collect an offering to be sent as relief for these believers. What a marvelous truth to know that our gifts express thankfulness to God for what He has done in sending Jesus. It is another way for us to praise him and show our gratitude to him.  These churches were great examples in giving with a pure heart. I am sure as the church in Rome read these words of Paul’s they were encouraged by the faith of other believers. This needs to be our example today. We need to care for other bodies of believers. Today we don’t think we can help other churches because […]

The Book of Romans – Paul’s Plans

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“But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey.” Romans 15:23-24 Paul had these plans to visit Rome on his way to Spain. As we know from the book of Acts, this did not work out too well. Paul did make it to Rome, but as a prisoner of Caesar. He did get to preach his message of the cross of Jesus Christ and God’s wonderful grace; it was in prison. He also was able to preach his message to Caesar. This is what happens many times. We have these wonderful plans, but God has a different plan for our lives. Paul knew how to follow God’s plan, not his plan. Paul knew that if he followed God’s plan it would all work out.  “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) I know that in my life I can make all these great plans but if I leave God out of the conversation, it is not going to succeed. When I returned to the ministry several years ago, I told God that I had failed at everything I tried. He told me that He knew it, because I tried to do it myself without Him. Remember, “This foolish plan of God’s is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

The Book of Romans – God’s Plan

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“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.” Romans 15:20-22 Paul’s desire to share the gospel with people who previously had no knowledge of it, fueled three missionary journeys across the known world at that time. Everywhere Paul and his companions went they faced persecution because of the good news message of Christ as well as overwhelming response to it. His desire was to share Christ where this message was previously unknown so this foundation would not be built upon anything else but grace. Paul’s revelation of grace was unmatched by anyone. He received it by direct revelation from Jesus. “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) It is interesting to think how Paul alone was the apostle to the Gentile nation. The Jews had the twelve’s apostles specifically set apart to share the good news of Christ with them and show them how he was their promised Messiah. But Paul was the only one sent for the Gentiles. He not only wrote most of the New Testament, but the details and accounts of his life and missionary journeys were incredible. This is because […]

The Book of Romans – Enthusiastic

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“So, I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.” Romans 15:17-19 Being enthusiastic means showing interest in the things that you do and getting pleasure from them. It means having an active and motivated attitude instead of a passive one. Enthusiasm means having a good attitude and getting satisfaction from getting things done and pursuing your dreams. Enthusiastic means passion, fervor, enthusiasm, zeal and intense emotion compelling action; it a strong feeling of excitement and interest in something, and a desire to become involved in its enthusiasm. We can get so excited about a sporting event, but we cannot get excited about God and eternity. It really does not matter in the long run if our sports team wins or loses. Life goes on. What really matter is where you are going to spend eternity? Paul was enthusiastic about Jesus and the gospel. Paul knew what was important in life and he preached the message of Jesus Christ. What a marvelous thing to exclaim that everywhere you went you fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ without reservation. What a great feeling to know that your life was given for the good news of Jesus, which has the power to save. This was the theme and mission of Paul’s life. He boldly taught Christ, faced all opposition to the message and ran the […]

The Book of Romans – Reminder of God’s Grace

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“I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:14-16 The book of Romans is written about grace. This letter to the believers in Rome has changed the hearts of many as they read and understand the wonderful truths about grace and God’s love for us.  Paul wrote this letter to these Christians to explain his revelation of grace. This revelation was not made of man but Paul received it directly from the Lord Jesus himself. “Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) I know that as I had written on Romans, I have been drawn closer to God and a better understanding of grace. I pray that the study of this book has been a reminder of God’s grace.  Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles. He wrote to this church to settle a dispute between the Messianic Jews and the Gentiles. The church was a diverse group of people who had settled in Rome from other areas. There is no record of a visit to this church by an apostle offering doctrinal teaching and guidance.  In […]