Thursday, May 21, 2009

Romans 12

v. 9-16

Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. Share with God's people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes.
Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.

These were the verses that the best man read at my wedding. He read them in a different translation that I think conveys more exactly what we wanted to impart on our relationship, but I like the way they sound in NCV. If two people abide by just these simple lines – except maybe not the brothers and sisters part – how could a marriage go bad? If we love each other with a real love, keep God in the heart of it through prayer, and focus on what we can do for others, I think we could get through anything. This is all much easier said than done, of course, but clearly God knew what he was talking about when he made this plan.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Romans 10-11

This has been a rough month for me. I’m going through something that I have been through before and will probably face again down the road. Actually, there are two things going on in my life that fit that description. I am being vague not to be secretive, but rather because the details aren’t important. We all have our “somethings” that come up again and again in our lives and wear us down. When I reached a breaking point in prayer this week, God told me that He would be “mighty” in this struggle. I don’t know what that means, but I expect to find out.

I don’t have very much to say about these books in Romans. God chose the Jewish people to be His children – to be saved by His covenant with them. In the Old Testament, the Jews are that “something” that has come up again and again for God, rejecting His ways over and over despite his continual calling of them. Romans 11 says that we as Gentiles are now grafted into the tree whose root is Israel. We are now part of the blessing, but aren’t we also now part of the problem? Aren’t we just as much a “stiff-necked” people who turn away from God at the slightest temptation?

Taken together, these chapters are also about the Mightiness of God. Like the song, our God is Mighty to Save. Even now, he is orchestrating events to widespread for us to put together that will bring about His will for His people. All this grafting and cutting off is just an illustration of the millions of works He is doing in the world to bring us to Him.

Yes, God's riches are very great, and his wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain the things God decides or understand his ways. 11:33