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Romans 15:1-22

Paul continues on the idea of the "strong in faith" subordinating themselves to the "weak in faith. In Romans 15 he adds a caveat.

Don't yield yourself to the weak because it makes you feel good, or smug. Do it out of goodness, love for your brother, and to build up his faith.

We are to reflect the qualities of Christ who humbled himself by coming to earth as a "man", who came because He loved us, and it was the Father's Will. In all things we should strive to emulate Christ.

[NOTE: Yielding to the one with weaker faith is not about condoning unbiblical practices, it is about yielding to one who has a sincere belief in his non-essential practices. Paul is very tough in later Epistles on those who Sin continuosly or practice deceit within the church.]
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Rom 15:4 "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." NIV

Paul writes this after citing Psalm 69 to emphasize the OT was written to teach us.

Teach us what?

That through the steadfastness and encouraging promises of the Scripture we see: That God keeps his Word, that his plan is unfolding by His Will, and thus God's Word and plan will be fulfilled in the future according to the prophecies.

So what are we to be hoping (having certain expectations) for?

Not justification, that is already accomplished. We now are to look forward to the day when Jesus comes the second time.
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WE CANNOT DO IT ON OUR OWN

Paul comes back to the idea of unity in the church, and prays:

Rom 15:5 "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus," NIV

In Rom 7:18 makes clear there is no power in the new nature. The power to do the suggested items in the last few chapters is not in us. It goes against the "flesh".

When we access the Holy Spirit by offering ourselves as a continual living sacrifice - focused on God, His Word, and prayer - then God will unleash the power and abundance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Then the changes will occur and we will start fulfilling suggestions of Paul. It is an on-going process and will not be completed until we reach heaven.

Paul repeats this concept here by asking God to "give" (Gk. didomi: give, grant, bestow) the spirit of unity amongst the "brotherhood".

We should want this because this is how Christ accepted us - and twice Paul mentions it is to praise and give glory to God.
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Paul gives four OT verses to encourage the Gentiles - this was suppose to happen, God foreknew it in his plan, it was foretold, and it came to pass. That the Gentiles would be part of the elect and co-heirs to heaven.
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Paul has written to the Romans to reaffirm things they know. In other words, Paul was long-distancing his encouragement and exhortation phase of ministry.

He had been busy preaching from Jerusalem to Yugoslavia and back to those who had not heard of Christ. Not that he reached EVERY person, but he established churches, as beacons of light that would emit more light to the area through its members.

Now that that has been done - his eyes are westward, and he hopes to finally get to Rome via a trip to Spain. Paul gets there but he gets there by God's plan :)


II Chronicles 30-31:21
There were six passages in today’s readings that really struck me, four are in the thirtieth chapter.

1) 4 This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people.

Interesting how when we don’t know what to do, the first place we have a tendency to go is our sense of fairness of right and wrong. However, as we’ve learned in reading through the book of Judges (17:16; 21:25), what seems right could be deadly wrong. However, this time it turned out good.-- There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. (Pro 14:12 AMP)

2) 10 The messengers went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the messengers and made fun of them. 11However, some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

When we make a decision to submit to the Will of God and walk the narrow path, we must be prepared to face ridicule and isolation. That old gang of ours probably won’t be as supportive as they were when we were on our way to hell.

3) 18 Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to God's laws. For Hezekiah said, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon those 19 who decide to follow the LORD, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony." 20 And the LORD listened to Hezekiah's prayer and healed the people.

We can mess up and be wrong, wrong, wrong; however, earnest heartfelt prayer for those in error can bring those who are out of step with God’s commands, back into favor. God is Good!

4) 25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David's son. 27 Then the Levitical priests stood and blessed the people, and God heard them from his holy dwelling in heaven.

“God heard them…” Why did God hear them? Sometimes we think that we must do all kinds of jumping through hoops for God to hear us. I’ve heard people asking for others to join in with them to pray for a situation because they want to “Storm the Gates of Heaven,” as if we have to force the Grace of God in order for God to act. Grace by its very nature cannot be earned or merited; the Grace of God is free. He hears us because we are His. I believe God heard them from his holy dwelling in heaven because there was joy in the city. --- He said to them, "Go and eat delicacies and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh 8:10 NET.)

5) 1 Now when the festival ended, the Israelites who attended went to all the towns of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, and they smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and removed the pagan shrines and altars. After this, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes.

Society today tells us that we must be tolerant of the religious practices of others, and I believe we should. However, these idols and sacred pillars and Asherath poles that were smashed and cut down did not belong to foreigners, but to fellow Jews who considered the Holy One of Israel, just one of the many gods. How much tolerance should I show, if any, to those who call themselves Christians, yet worship at the alters of idols, both things and people that are placed above God.

6) 21 In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow the law and the commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.

Our success, true success does not come from following the latest marketing trends and business models discussed in Forbes or Business Week and the Wharton School of Business, but in following the Word of God. That is the only success that will last and satisfy.

Romans 15:1-22
I seem to be really focusing on specific scriptures in today’s reading. The fourth verse states, Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises.

We are on this journey, reading through the Bible in one year, to not only form a relationship with God, God and His Word are One (John 1:1), but to find out about God. We are journeying to discover the patterns and principals He desires us to adhere to so that we can be a success, and to encourage us by reading how God dealt with His people in the past and to truly know in our very fiber of being that God is Love.

Psalm 25:1-15

3
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Wow! We can find ourselves so tied up in knots because we are in bondage to what other people think.. We tremble in our beds, in the midst of a crowded room, on our jobs because we are afraid that our mouths, our actions may cause us to be disgraced. And if we do put our size ten feet in our mouths, we allow that “shame” to hound our every waking moment, and that ain’t good. But this word says, only those who try to deceive others will be disgraced.

Here is some free advice, if embarrassments come because of missteps which come to anyone and everyone, then laugh it off and live a life free of the shame that can totally paralyze you. Now, if disgrace came because of deception and deceit, repent and go ask for forgiveness and do not do it again.

Proverbs 20:13-15
13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

I got this feeling this verse is talking about spiritual sleep, and not the forty winks and eight hours of rest kind of sleep. There are many different Hebrew words translated poor or poverty and they all don’t mean, lacking resources.

Decided to do a quick “Word Study” by seeking out my friend, Mr. Strong and in his dictionary I get confirmation that this sleep and poverty has more to do with one’s spiritual condition then sleeping too long in one’s bed:

H3423 (Strong’s Number)
ירשׁ ירשׁ
yârash yârêsh
yaw-rash', yaw-raysh'
A primitive root; to occupy (be driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place); by implication to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel, to impoverish, to ruin: - cast out, consume, destroy, disinherit, dispossess, drive (-ing) out, enjoy, expel, X without fail, (give to, leave for) inherit (-ance, -or), + magistrate, be (make) poor, come to poverty, (give to, make to) possess, get (have) in (take) possession, seize upon, succeed, X utterly.


This poverty comes by not taking care of business.

Genealogy

I was looking at Romans 15:4 about the scripture (OT) were written for our learning and to give us hope. Then I ran across this:

Look in Genesis 5. I buckle sometimes at reading genealogies, but if you look at names from Adam to Noah and look at translations (meanings of names) - it gets kind of interesting.

Seth - Appointed
Enosh - Man
Kenan - To Acquire
Mahalalel - God's Praise
Jared - To descend
Enoch - Dedicated
Methusaleh - Man who was sent
Lamech - Mighty
Noah - Rest, Quiet, Peace
http://www.biblicalbabyname.com/

So we have:

Appointed Man to Acquire God's Praise to descend...Dedicated Man who was sent..Mighty...Rest,Quiet, Peace

I guess you have to assume that the appointed man was to bring: Rest, Quiet, Peace. However, I think this is a good enough description of Christ.

I apologize if this is "old hat" to some, but I found it kind of neat and wanted to share.

I heard a statement on "Family Life Today" (sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ) with Dennis Rainey that really blessed me:

"Spiritual growth occurs when we exercise our soul in response to the problems of life not on the basis of our feelings, but on the basis of the Word of God."

WOW! I agree 100%, and that is excellent.

When we are born again, we are born again in our spirits. We feed our spirits by reading and feeding on the Word of God.

Romans 8 (Amplified Bible)
10
But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].

I Peter 2 (NKJV)
2
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby [up to salvation]
3
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

~~

Yet, the rest of our personality --

(our souls: mind, will, emotions, etc., and our bodies) --

then also need to fully surrendered, brought to maturity, and saved.

THANK GOD that "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ". (Philippians 1:6)

PRAISE THE LORD!
~~~

2 Chronicles 30 (NKJV)
18
For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good LORD provide atonement for everyone
19
who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.”
20
And the LORD listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.

NOTE:
THANK GOD that He looks on our hearts. THANK GOD that we do not have to “perform with perfection” every one of God’s commands. (Of course, if we love God, we will WANT to obey with all of our beings!)

We can prepare our hearts to seek the Lord. We can trust the Lord to help us to exercise our souls in response to the problems of life not on the basis of our feelings, but on the basis of the Word of God.

We can feed our spirits so they become stronger and stronger!

2 Chronicles 31 (NKJV)
20
Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God.
21
And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

NOTE:
God desires to truly prosper us—that is, that we be enriched spiritually so we walk in God’s wisdom to be blessed in every area of our life.

THEN, WE CAN GIVE MORE AND SACRIFICE MORE to the Lord. A godly heart with a deep thirst to honor God always wants to serve the Lord and God’s people.

WHAT AN HONOR! To offer all of what we have that God has given to us out of worship and love for God--

and to suffer persecution for the Name of the Lord Jesus! This is the calling of Jesus.

"Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God." (Romans 12:1)

Romans 15 (NKJV)
1
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.

NOTE: AMEN! May we be so established in the Lord that we are unbendable and unshakable witnesses of God’s Word!

Romans 15 (NKJV)
20
And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation,

NOTE: I wonder if “where Christ is not named” now applies to America as well as other countries in which the Gospel historically has been planted.

I just met another person last Sunday who forcefully informed me that Jesus in the early years not recorded in the New Testament studied and learned from a Buddha in India. He also informed me that there are more “gospels” than what are included in the New Testament.

I had a chance to share God’s Word with him.

May we pray for all to know Jesus, and may we embrace the passion that others will really see and know the Lord Jesus!

Psalm 25 (NKJV)
12
Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13
He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
15
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

NOTE: Amen and Amen!

“The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.”

May we spend time in secret with the LORD away from the cares and distractions of family and of the world.

May we place ourselves under God’s grace and authority so He can teach us the secrets He has for us, and so we can personally learn from God His covenant.

AMEN!

Vance

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