Watch out for the Divisive Ones!

Paul’s letter to the Romans is coming to a close. Verses 6-16 contain a list of names so I won’t talk about that. But here is what he writes in verses 17-2O: “17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your […]

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No One Does it Alone

In the beginning of chapter 16, which is the end of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see Paul mentioning many people who were important to his ministry.  Here are the first 5 verses:  “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.  3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for […]

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Striving in Prayer

When you think about prayer do you think about “striving” or “struggle”?  When is the last time that you really felt like you were tired after praying…not “tired” like falling asleep tired but “worn out” tired?  I confess that this doesn’t happen that much in my life but I think it should. Look at how the apostle Paul closes out chapter 15 of his letter to the Romans:  “30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31 that I may be delivered from those […]

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A Little Help from Friends…and Brothers

In Romans 15:22-29, Paul writes about how the churches in Macedonia and Achaia made financial contributions to the church in Jerusalem.  Paul is carrying those contributions to Jerusalem.  Here are the verses:  “22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going […]

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Going Where No Man Has Gone Before…

When I hear that phrase I think of the opening of the old “Star Trek”. Captain Kirk says that the mission of the USS Enterprise is “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. This was also the mission of the apostle Paul. Paul took the gospel of Jesus Christ to pretty much of the known world in his day. Here is what he writes in verses 18-21: “18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— 19 in […]

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Jesus for the Jews…and Gentiles

The next section speaks to how the idea of glorifying God with one mind and one mouth was evident in the work that God did in the hearts of the Jews and the Gentiles, or non-Jewish people. In the beginning of the church this was a big issue but I think that Paul is reflecting back and praising God for the fact that His salvation and work is for both and that both Jews and Gentiles can glorify God together.  He reminds the Romans that Jesus came first to the Jews but then He shows them several examples of Old Testament […]

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Have You Read the Books of Patience and Comfort in the Bible?

I hope you are familiar enough with the books of the Bible to know that there are no books titled, “Patience” or “Comfort”.  However, what we do have woven through the books of the Bible, are patience and comfort. Let’s read Romans 15, verses 4-6: “4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The […]

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Benefit of Bearing Burdens

The word of God is consistent in its exhortation to put the interests of others ahead of ourselves.  As Paul continues to provide practical counsel on how to live life, he reminds us again of this principle in verses 1-3 of chapter 15: “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”  This isn’t rocket science but it is often outside the orbit of most people […]

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Pursuing Peace

Is peace a passive thing that just sort of comes to you or is it something that needs to be sought or pursued? I think that peace with individuals is something that needs to be pursued.  I think Paul agrees with me…or better…I agree with him.  Here is what he writes in Romans 14:19-23:  “19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your […]

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To Eat or Not to Eat

Paul continues with his discussion of the importance of the person over any particular practice.  Here are verses 14-18:  “14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves […]

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