What we need

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15.13

Paul wrote to the Roman Christians that it was important for the strong to help bear with the failings of the weak. He cautioned against pleasing ourselves at the expense of others. We should do what we can to build one another up. He reminded them that even Christ did not please himself.

Romans 15.4 states that the scriptures have been written for our instruction. Through this message we receive what we need to persevere and endure, as well as hope. Paul recognized that the God of endurance and comfort could unite the weak and the strong in Christ, so that with one voice, they might glorify God.

He continued to encourage the Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, weak and strong, to receive one another as Christ had received the Gentiles. Then, in 15.13, Paul talked about the God of hope.

The God of hope is generous! For those who believe in him, Paul’s prayer was that they be filled with all joy and peace. It is a growth that occurs through our belief! Where does one get this belief? It comes from reading and studying the Bible. This joy and peace brings about a hope that abounds not through my strength, but the power of the Holy Spirit. Abundant life! Do you have it?

#risingjoy #Romans #hope

Convinced in their own mind

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living. Romans 14.7-9

There are areas in life in which we all have differing opinions. My opinion is as good as yours if not better. When there is no direct commandment regarding a subject, Paul tells the Romans to be convinced in their own mind and act accordingly, taking care not to offend one’s own conscience. Otherwise it would be sin. As well as allowing others to hold to their opinions without judgment on our part.

When we are a part of the body of Christ, our identity is tied to him. Jesus is the head of the body. We identify with him. We do not live or die for ourselves. We live or die for Jesus. We belong to him. He came to earth, lived, died, and was resurrected for that purpose, to provide the ransom that had to be paid for my sin-stained soul. I have the ability to die to sin and rise to walk a new life that is forgiven and redeemed. What joy and peace that brings!

#risingjoy #Romans #opinions

Jesus the sacrifice for me

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5.6-8

God is the one who shows us what love is. Helpless. That is what I was. In my sinful state, I was helpless and weak. I think of a newborn baby. It is dependent upon those who care for it for everything. But unlike a newborn baby, I was not innocent. I was stained with sins. The sins that I had chosen to commit. God took the initiative. When I could do nothing to stand before him on my own merit, he took the initiative and sent Jesus to die for me. I was not righteous or even good. But even in my sinful state, he loved me enough to send Jesus to die as the sacrifice for me, in my place. God shows us what love truly is. That brings joy to the heart. May I be willing to share this love, sacrifice, and joy with others.

#risingjoy #Romans #sacrifice

Follow Jesus to death

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. Romans 6.4

Paul paints so clearly here in Romans what happens when we are baptized. First of all we are buried. Immersed. We are covered over with water. Also, one normally is not buried until the person has died. To what have I died? I have died to the sinful life where I followed mindlessly after my own passions and desires. In John 12.25 Jesus tells the crowd that was around him that the one who loves his life destroys it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards it for eternal life. If we want to serve Jesus we have to follow him to death. I have to be willing to put him first and die to myself. Baptism is where it happens. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, I, too, am raised from the dead. Just as Christ was raised through the glory of the Father to live in the heavenly realm with a new body, I arise from the watery grave a new creature and through the glory of the Father I live a new life. A life that is not dictated by my passions and desires that so often lead to conflict and strife. A life that is lived to glorify the Father in all that I do. That relieves many a burden. That brings joy!

#risingjoy #Romans #life

A child of God by adoption

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8.14,15

Adoption. Being accepted into a family of which we were not originally a part. We know many families who have adopted children. Years ago, we had a woman who came from Europe to adopt a baby here. She stayed in our home for a month while waiting to get the proceedings finalized. The adoptive mother took care of the baby as if it were her own. Indeed, the child was finally legally made a part of her family. In Romans 8, Paul tells the Roman Christians that there is something we must do. We are under obligation to do it. We must put to death the deeds of the flesh in our bodies to be able to live. On my own, that is impossible. But I can do it with the Spirit of God working in me, changing me. If I am led by God’s Spirit, I am a child of God by adoption. I call him “Father.”

#risingjoy #Romans #adoption

Renewing my mind

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. Romans 12.2

There is much dissatisfaction, strife, and unhappiness in the present world. Here in our city alone, we have had several people to commit suicide. One would think that it would affect more adults, but we have had a young man in his early teens that jumped out of a window from the 12th floor. The world is the realm where sin is rampant. Despair and hopelessness abound. Paul tells his readers to not be conformed to this present world. I do not have to give in to the negative. But how do I resist such influence? I resist by renewing my mind through the word of God. God’s will is good, well-pleasing and perfect, complete. The neat thing is that this word can transform my life. It will change my life if I let it. By renewing my mind, I can test and approve what God’s will is. I do not have to guess. I can know. Now that is something worth sharing!

#risingjoy #Romans #renewal

I do the very evil I do not want! Romans 7.19

“For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want!”

Romans 7.19

Paul shows the futility of human struggle against sin in this chapter. Man may intend to do go, but he winds up committing the sin he has rejected.

The final declaration of the chapter ends this exercise in frustration. It is a must read. It leads into the rich victory of chapter 8.

#votd #Romans #gospel

Who will separate us? Romans 8.35

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”

Romans 8.35

Paul’s question draws attention to the strength of Christ’s love. Nothing can happen that will drive him away. No bad situation can overcome this relationship.

Does our faith drive us to Christ or do we desire new and better circumstances? Our relationship with God defines how we approach the difficulties of life, and not the other way around.

#votd #Romans #love

If possible, Romans 12.18

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.”

Romans 12.18

Paul recognized it is not possible to live peaceably with some people. Not every persecutor will convert to Christ. But we must make every effort on our part.

Christians are peacemakers, like their Lord. They go the extra mile. They know how to bite their tongue. They bless instead of curse. How am I doing in this area?

#votd #Romans #peace

Hostile to God: Romans 8.7

“So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t.”

Romans 8.7 CEB

The self-serving attitude is diametrically opposed to serving God. The meaning of conversion is to move from one to the other. Serving both is impossible.

Jesus never performed a miracle to serve himself. So he refused to turn a stone into bread. How can I refuse catering to self in order to obey God?

#votd #Romans #selfishness

From them came the Christ: Romans 9.5

“To them [the Israelites] belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.”

Romans 9.5

Listing the advantages of the Israelites, Paul mentions the greatest of all: Jesus was born of them. They had the best position to appreciate and follow him.

The Jews rejected Jesus. Some today seem to forget he was a Jew. They also forget he is God in the flesh. They make him out to be what they want. Do I do the same?

#votd #Romans #Jesus

No partiality: Romans 2.11

“For there is no partiality with God.”

Romans 2.11

For mercy or judgment, God is the same toward all people. He acts according to his holiness. He has no preferred people. He offers no one special privileges.

People tend to prefer some above others. Even some parents are guilty of having favorite children. But to please God, we must believe in Christ and obey the Lord.

#votd #Romans #equality

The result is eternal life: Romans 6.22

“But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God’s slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life.”

Romans 6.22 ISV

Freedom from sin comes through obedience, vv. 17-18. Servitude to God means receiving a life wholly given over to him. The outcome is no temporary benefit but eternal life.

How many of your prayers concern things of this life? How many of your efforts seek earthly benefits? In what ways does your sanctified life manifest itself? Do you glory in being God’s servant?

#votd #Romans #eternal-life

The Spirit himself: Romans 8.16

“The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.”

Romans 8.16

The statement above is part of an argument of Paul’s about our inheritance with Christ. He does not affirm the manner of the Spirit’s witness. But it must be a discernible, objective one, not some inner, subjective one, whether by his Word or by the production of his fruit in a Christian’s life.

We do not want to reduce the Spirit down to only the Bible, as some do. His witness is personal and real. His action continues today. Still, “let’s interpret our experiences by the Bible, and not the Bible by our experiences” (Mark Dunagan).

#votd #Romans #Holy-Spirit

I long to strengthen you: Romans 1.11

“For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you”.

Romans 1.11

Paul hoped to visit the Romans in order to, first, bless them by passing on miraculous gifts in their midst, since they apparently had never had an apostle among them.

The desire to be among the saints is prompted in the first place by the desire to bless others, not seek a blessing for oneself.

#votd #Romans #blessing