Meaty Scripture, 23MAY
It’s cool to zoom around the back of the bible chapters – it’s like getting to the good stuff at the end of a mystery… Except it’s not a mystery because we already know the ending! That’s salvation! Yes, it’s still seems mysterious but the CURTAIN IS TORN, that’s so cool…
The book of Romans is very meaty… The last two chapters are so definitely written by classic Paul, his “bravado” (if that is the right term) is in his energy as he REALLY feels the need to spread the Word of God… His exuberance REALLY spills out of his writing… He REALLY REALLY wants everyone to hear the good news, and I can’t fault him at that! And even in prison he yearns to teach and to spread the good news… His thorn in his side is placated by his JOY in the LORD… I can see him finding delight in his HOPE that the churches are starting to form from the disciples reaching out… And yes, it must have been heartbreaking for Paul to see many church units fail… it’s equally painful for us too to see so many of our friends and family (and the world as a whole) not know the JOY and the conviction from knowing Jesus as Savior – or tasting it and then falling away. As the praise song lyric goes: “one day every knee will bow, but the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose YOU now!” So there IS HOPE for the church even if we can’t fathom how it will all come together… God’s timing is not on our timetable… Of course, this is not easy waiting! God is so busy doing everything … and yet HE takes the time to love us all so much, we must be patient with the Lord – as He is patient with us.
So reading backwards from the verse of the day I found some really good verses: “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good to build them up” as Paul writes in Romans 15:2 is good, and chapter 14 is seriously meaty… Yeah, don’t judge, but more importantly, don’t cause your neighbor to fall… Don’t grumble, and if you can’t help yourself, keep it between yourself and God… And don’t use the excuse “everyone else is doing it, I can too…” nope that doesn’t fly with following God’s Will…
I could write volumes, but I won’t… “Lead us not into temptation” also means, as written here in Romans, that we are not to enable temptation in others, or cause them to fall, and it doesn’t JUST mean in our eating or complaining, nope, it’s in everything… And it ALSO means that you, yourself, shouldn’t allow your eyes to go astray… there are others who see our actions – and they may take it as enabling theirs…
God needs us working on HIS side… Our joy IS walking with the Lord…. I love that concept that when we walk to HIM, HE is running towards us!
We do have to turn towards HIM daily, I am easily led into temptation like everyone else, but tasting the JOY of walking with God is more powerful then the temptations… And “MY HOPE is in the LORD” allows us to know God is working on all the world, bringing us closer to one.
It’s no wonder Paul had to write out his soul singing with these joyous feelings of God’s overcoming despair! That’s the GOD OF HOPE… “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in HIM, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Romans 15 (NIV)
15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a] 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[b] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”
10 Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.