Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day two)

What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? vs. 21

In the margin of my bible next to this underlined verse I have written one word…NOTHING!

That is the sum total of what I have gained from the things in my life that distract me from God’s grace. When I look back at those things which would continue to cloud my vision were it not for the Holy Spirit, I marvel at why or how I let it cloud my vision in the first place. Where do those things/choices lead. Paul answers that question in verse 23 pretty clearly…death. So why do we allow them to continue to wage a war against all that we know to be true. If they only promise death where is the value? Perhaps this is how we should treat any stray thought or temptation. Pray that God give you the wisdom to recognize those things for what they really are…NOTHING.

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What say we?

Re: Verse reading–Romans 6 (day one)

“WHAT SHALL WE SAY then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?”–v 1.  Paul often uses this formula to advance his argument.  “WHAT SHALL WE SAY to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) is another example.

The short summary is “How shall we respond to God’s grace?”  “Given the truths of Romans 1-5, what conclusions should we draw?”

Note that Paul ASSUMES  we WILL reach some conclusions.  He also warns that some conclusions are incorrect.

“Since grace is free, then what I DO doesn’t matter, right?”  ” Christ paid for my debt, so sin is no longer a concern, correct?”

No! This is one conclusion that we are NOT free to reach.  Paul will spend this week convincing us. Life in Christ and death to sin are two parts of the same story.

Thanks for reading RE Verse.  It’s gonna be a great week.

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Shaped by stress

RE Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day seven) “We know that tribulation brings about perseverance”–v 3.  I have a framed picture on my office wall.  A gift from Holly, years ago.  A picture of an umbrella and a single Greek word.  Hupomeno.  Usually translated “patience or perseverance”, the original word is literally “to remain under”.  To stay under the pressure until you learned the lesson of it.  To not run or seek safety, to seek God and growth instead.

The pastorate surprised me.  Shouldn’t have, probably.  The criticisms, the various needs calling for my attention and care, the pressure of decisions, facilities and staff,  the first priority of prayer.

At first, I wanted to run!  “This is impossible”, I said more than once.  Over time, I learned the grace that Paul discovered.  Slowly, powerfully, by the Spirit, stress began to shape ME, teach ME.  The circumstances did not change.  I did.

This is always God’s way.  With all of us. You in?

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Fairy Tales

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day six)

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings,…” Romans 5:3

The Brothers Grimm wrote their fairy tales to provide a sense of escapism or present to their readers cautionary tales. Fairy tales are best when they impart some truth; acting as a sweet easy-to-swallow capsule to an otherwise unpleasant reality. And like medicine, you only use it when needed, or when you are eager to be swept away to another world.

The Gospel is nothing like a fairy tale. That’s Paul’s message in the first few verses of Romans 5. The Gospel is not a supplement to life, to be sprinkled here, or applied there as needed, no, the Gospel meets us in all of life, messy bits and all. It is not a sweet notion, or fashionable (or unfashionable) fairy tale, but is a gritty and real antidote to our most desperate brokenness. The Gospel is gritty; it is the clearest lens which to understand all of life, and it changes everything!

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Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day five)

Romans 5:6 “For while we were still helpless”.  I’ve seen glimpses of “Helpless” in a few scenes from my experiences: Over 16 years ago- our newborn baby girl who was unable to feed, clean, or clothe herself.   Recently- a terrified father sitting in the front passenger seat unable to turn, stop, or accelerate the vehicle while aforementioned daughter learns how to drive/aim a car.  There is a common thread in these pictures.  Both helpless characters in these pictures were “unable” to have any control to influence, change, or fix their circumstance.  We don’t like to think of ourselves as “helpless”.  Yet, in a spiritual sense, that’s how the Scripture describes us, and how the Lord sees us.  We are all Helpless in that we are unable to change or correct our spiritually dead condition.  What a kind and generous God we have, that offers life (rescue, hope, and salvation) to us, the helpless.

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The Roman Road

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day four)

It’s called the Roman Road to salvation…good verses to memorize.  Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10, and Romans 10:13.  Here in Paul’s letter to the Romans is the road map to salvation for all who believe.  Do you understand the pathway?  Can you explain it to someone else?  In our Re:Verse passage this week is Romans 5:8…why not begin by memorizing this verse.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Reconciliation is not something to keep to ourselves, it is our responsibility and privilege to share it with others.  Preparing, in advance, to share with someone will strengthen our courage and clarify our thoughts.  If memorizing scripture is difficult for you, mark these verses in your Bible and make a note in the margins for the next verse.  A note inside the cover can send you to the first verse on the road.  Prepare however you need to in order to share your faith with others.

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Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day three)

“Hope does not put us to shame.” Sometimes, a person’s thinking about the future is rooted in naiveté, not reality: The child who counts on the arrival of a parent who has in fact abandoned her, for instance. But sometimes, a person’s vision of the future isn’t rooted in what should happen, but it is instead rooted in what must happen. This is the place where the prophets stood. They presented not what should happen, or even merely what was going to happen. They presented what must happen, because thus saith the Lord. Paul stands in that same place. He says our assurance of salvation is rooted in nothing less than God’s glory–His character, goodness, and His being. Therefore, hope is is not a wish or a dream. It is our knowledge of what must be. Because God.

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We’re Not Worthy

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day two) …how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! vs. 10

We’re not worthy. Really bad movie quote from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but the sentiment is accurate. This is especially true when you consider the first part of that verse. “For if, when we were God’s ENEMIES, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son,”.

It is sobering to think that we will not be worthy of our own power, but it is also freeing. There is no class system in this kind of government. This kind of justice levels the playing field for everyone. The “earning” of salvation has already been taken care of by Christ on the cross. Our call is to live under that authority. Everything that follows is an opportunity to show how God continues to work through our unworthiness.

Are you trying to prove how good you are? What if you’re not, but God is? What if, rather, you openly and continually gave thanks to God for loving you in spite of your brokenness. He loved you first, might as well meet him on his terms.


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Joyful in hope

Re:Verse reading–Romans 5:1-11 (day one)

It is a powerful shift in thinking.  (Repentance at its finest).  In Christ, we move from “now” thinking to “someday”.  We shift our values from credit and comfort and control to Kingdom.  We pray for His will, His kingdom, His glory, His victory.

The result will be JOY!  The New Testament connects these ideas like peanut butter and jelly.  “For the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross.”–Hebrews 12:2.  “Be JOYFUL in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”–Romans 12:12.

Our Re:Verse reading this week repeats this theme.  “We REJOICE in the hope of the glory of God, not only this, we REJOICE in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint!”  v 2-5.

Need joy in your life?  Start here!  Trust Christ!  Lift up your head!  Make decisions based on “that day”!  Look forward!  Joy will come.  It always does.


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Credit score

Re:Verse reading–Romans 4:1-25 (day seven)

“Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”–v 3 (quoting Genesis 15:6)

They will check it when you want to buy a car or a house.  Your credit score.  How have you managed your financial life in the past?  Paid your bills on time?  Are you a good risk?

In arguably the MOST IMPORTANT VERSE IN THE BIBLE, God uses a similar idea.  A financial word.  From the world of accounting.  The Hebrew word is chasab–“to count, compute, or reckon.”  Like a teacher who gives you “extra credit” for another project, God counts faith as righteousness.

He is not pretending.  Not cooking the books.  Faith really is the essential core of being right with God.  It is the source and seed of all other virtues.  Let God be God.  Believe Him.  Trust what He says.  Do what He commands.

Nothing will substitute.  Not religion.  Not perfect performance.  How IS your credit?

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