Romans 16 - Day 334 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 16:1
Observation: Paul introduces Phoebe, a deaconess in the church in Cenchrea, to the Christians in Rome.
Application: Without Jesus, the world would be very different today and I believe that men would still treat women as expendable objects whose sole purpose is to bear children (consider the Taliban Muslims who ruled Afghanistan with and iron first in the 1990's). Jesus, on the other hand, viewed and accepted women as equals for they are also created in the image of God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to support and promote Your daughters at Waiokeola...
Romans 15 - Day 333 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 15:1-9a
Observation: As Paul begins winding down, he reminds his audience that we glorify God by extending the grace that we have received from Him to others.
Application: It's more important to treat others with love, dignity, and respect than to accomplish great things for God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to love others as You love them.
Romans 14 - Day 332 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 14:1
Observation: Paul instructs the church in Rome to value respect and kindness over being right.
Application: Just because I think I'm correct, doesn't give me the right to impose my "will" upon others. Rather, we are to "aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up."
Prayer: Lord, help me to love my neighbor as myself...
Romans 13 - Day 331 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 13:1-5
Observation: Paul revealed God’s will for us, His children, in chapter 12 (to be sanctified/Holy) so now he explains what that looks like practically. Surprisingly, Paul instructs us to submit to our governing authorities because God is the one who has established them. This is coming from a Jewish man living under Roman oppression.
Application: There is so much packaged here in this one passage that I don’t understand or agree with. It’s as if God knew that I would object to Paul’s instructions here, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person to have ever felt this way. Hence, God gives us a model/example of what it looks like to be subject to the governing authorities through Paul’s life, as well as in the lives of the other apostles. Remember that all the apostles lived under Roman oppression and were eventually martyred.
The lesson - we don’t have to like or agree with our governing authorities to submit to their instructions. We just need to trust that God is in control. That doesn’t mean that we can’t pray for God to do something and change the existing leadership, especially if they’re immoral or unjust. In fact, we should do everything in our power to do what we can and believe that God will do His part.
Prayer: Lord, have Your way in me, especially when I don’t understand or agree with what’s going on.
Romans 12 - Day 330 (link to today's reading)
Scripture: Romans 12:1-2
Observation: Up to this point, Paul’s epistle to the Church in Rome explains to us who God is and what He has done. It tells us of Jesus Christ and what His death accomplished and just as importantly, it tells us about ourselves, what we were like without Christ and who we are after trusting in Christ. Having experienced God’s grace, Paul points out that Jesus doesn't demand men that we straighten out our lives before coming to Christ. Rather, "While we were still sinners Christ died on a cross for our sins.”
In the remaining chapters, Paul gives us some practical applications of how we are to live. He starts with God’s will for our lives - sanctification.
Application: Offer my body as a living sacrifice. How? "Be transformed” (passive verb) by the renewing of my mind. Meaning, submit to God and rely on the Holy Spirit to transform my thinking - meditating on scriptures seems to work best.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, have Your way in and through me.