Posted in Devotions

I Corinthians 1 Part 2–Unity and Clarity

We all have one thing in common, the love of the Most High God.  Adonai, our Almighty God, loves us with an unconditional and encompassing love.  Paul starts his discussion with the Corinthians with the idea that that love of God should unify us. Additionally, as His chosen, We have an understanding of God and His Love that the world will never share. Many of the real and eternal principles of our relationship with God simply “DO NOT COMPUTE” to the world or its mindset.

Knowing this, the body of Christ must not fall into fussing and fighting about affiliation or leadership.  Our leader must be the Lord and our affiliation is with the family of believers.  We need to be each other’s greatest advocates not their adversaries.  If we will practice that mindset, God will be glorified, and His message will win out over the chaotic messages of the world.  

If we fail to unite, we will only add more noise to the world’s chaos.  We will actually be aiding the enemy in causing the family of God to lose heart and fall prey to the worlds lies and lifestyle.  It is a very clear objective,  we respect and sit in awe of God, and then we love the family of believers! 

God Bless You

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Posted in Devotions

I Corinthians 1–A Letter to All Believers Everywhere

As we start into the fall, we are moving out of Romans and into Corinth.  Paul wrote his letter to Rome from Corinth.  Corinth was one of Paul’s most vital churches and one with a host of issues and challenges.  As one wanders through Paul’s letters to Corinthians, it is mentoring of the highest order.

Paul attacks the most personal issues in the church.  Paul directs the Corinthains back to the Lord and their purpose time and again.  He knew this church had the potential to change lives all over the world.  

Paul starts the letter out a bit differently than most of his other letters.  He announces that the letter is to the Corinthians, but also to all people everywhere who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—there Lord and ours.  Corinth was a vital Roman Seaport.  People from all over visited the city and the Church at Corinth was an evangelistic church.  So, as the letter and its teachings were shared, Paul’s letter literally had the ability to be taught all over the known world.  

Additionally, The letters to the Corinthians have been shared all over the world as part of God’s message to us.  The issues that Paul raises in the letters to the Corinthians are ones vital to all Christians; especially today.  We Are to be a church united.  We are to flee sexual immorality.  We are to work as a family and not sue each other over differences.  We are to accept the gifts God gives us with humility and use them with Love.  We are to keep the main thing the main thing…Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, as Paul starts the letter, He does so with thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving that God has given this church grace, and that grace highlights God’s desire to be in relationship with us.  He is also grateful that god has empowered the church with every spiritual gift.  Finally, Paul is grateful that God will hold the church, and He will help them to stand firm until His return.

We should also be grateful.  We should be grateful to be in relationship with the Lord.  Additionally, we should remain grateful that God grants us spiritual gifts so that we can equip, lead and build His kingdom until His return.  

Finally, we should be grateful that God’s spirit indwells us and assists us as we face the spiritual battles that encompass our lives.  He tells us to trust Him; to hold on and stand firm.  As we do, the Lord has already won the victory, and He will continue to carry us through until we join the Lord or until He returns.

God Bless You

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 15–Do the Right Thing, In the Right Way, For the Right Reason!

As Paul is wrapping up his letter to the Romans, Paul focuses the readers hearts back to the three primary principles of being Godly.  First, we are to bear the burdens of those less fortunate than us.  My wife and I were reading scripture this morning and were drawn to the story of a certain leper.  He fell before Jesus and pled, “If you are willing you can make me clean!”  The next verse is as compelling as any scripture in the Book. It says, Jesus was moved in His inner most part with compassion, reached out and touched the unclean outcast leper and said, “I am willing!” The leper was immediately cleansed! 

Jesus met this man in his most vulnerable state, touched him, showing no concern of his leprosy, and healed him completely reversing his shame and restoring his place in society.  What a world changing moment. “Eggo Emi” the great I AM was willing to change the course of this man’s history for no other reason than that Jesus loved the leper! 

We are called to literally be moved with that compassion for our fellow sojourners in their need. We are to reach out and reverse their histories.  That brings us to the second part, we do this with Christ’s attitude.  We give and serve out of a humble spirit.  We empty ourselves of our personal interest and from the compassion that only the Holy Spirit can provide, we do what we are called to with the heart of the Savior!

Finally, as God often saves the best for last, we are to serve for God’s glory! When we step out and serve and give of ourselves, we must not be looking for or longing for personal acclaim.  Our hearts and minds need to be focused on bringing God the glory.  When, in the fast-paced flurry of life, we do selfless acts; then, we can sometimes forget that it is for God’s acclaim and not our own.  

Make no mistake, we will never be able to out serve or out give the Lord.  He has, is and will always meet our needs and then some! Still, the enemy will try to twist our efforts to somehow make them about US rather than God.

When that happens, we lose the true blessing. When acting for His glory, we have no pressure to perform, nor do we have to achieve some predetermined outcome.  God works His plan, in His time, for the outcome He pre-determined since before the words, “Let there be light!”

We serve the less fortunate in God’s way, for God’s glory.  That is Paul’s encouragement to these people and to us.  When we do, we will be fulfilling God’s plan and we will be amazed at the things that God will do!

God Bless You!

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a] 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.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 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 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.”[c]

10 Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”[d]

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
    let all the peoples extol him.”[e]

Posted in Devotions

Romans 14 Part 2–Take One for the Team

The most wonderful thing about the Alpha and Omega God of the Universe is that He is never shocked or taken by surprise.  Sadly, we do not always share God’s ability to know and see all.  So, when we live our lives, we have to live them selflessly.  The tag line from Purpose Driven Life rings loudly in my ears, “It’s not about You!”  God is quote flexible when it comes to what he considers acceptable and what he does not consider acceptable.

Take Daniel, as an example.  There were a host of captive young people in Babylon.  They were being fed “The Good Stuff”.  Daniel felt that God had been clear about dietary restrictions.  Daniel risked his life to stay pure by eating fruit and vegetables and drinking water.  God honored his holiness and made Daniel themost healthy man among the captives and also made Daniel the longest standing administrator in Babylon.  He led through different kings and even different empires.

The humorous part is, that God also blessed Jesus, His Son, that ate well with tax collectors and sinners and made the best wine in the Land.  The point is this, God is concerned 1st and foremost with the attitudes of our hearts. We need to live earnestly and humbly following God’s lead in all areas of our lives.  If like Daniel, one feels they must live a strict code and diet then, for them it is the right call.  Even if we think it silly or wrong, that is something between that person and the Lord.  I can assure you that all Daniel’s fellow captives thought He was crazy…that is until He was Nebuchadnezzar’s Chief Administrator.  

Paul reminds us that we need to worry only about what our heart and attitude regarding faith looks like.  Whether we are talking specks vs Logs in our eye, or that Jesus IS Lord of the Sabbath; the key issue is one of the heart.  As we do life together, we need to adopt Paul’s command to the Thessalonians, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as you have been doing” I Thessalonians 5:11. 

So, if your dietary or social abstinence or liberality causes a fellow believer to have an issue regarding their faith, your selflessness should cause you to neither highlight the difference nor judge the other for their difference.  That means you may have to “Take one for the team” and sacrifice your desires for the sake of another’s growth in God.  

One also needs to remember that in our crazy and chaotic culture, the issues can run the gambit from food, to drink, to make-up and dress, entertainment and language.  As a believer, in love, err on the side of conservatism, but also do not judge others nor shut them out simply because you may not agree.

God Bless You

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? 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.’”[b]

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.[c]

Posted in Devotions

Romans 14 Part 1–Smokin’ New Game

Some things never change.  Paul is discussing the amazing Christian pastime of rating others spirituality on a scale that makes our personal faith almost perfect, while other’s differences are definite score-lowering penalties.  In Paul’s day, it was things like living vegan, Sunday v Saturday Worship, or eating meat that was purchased at the “discount idol market”.

Fortunately, we have risen so far above…Well, OK as I said, some things never change.  The church of old and the church today struggles with keeping the main thing the main thing.  To clarify, the main thing is Christ and Him crucified.  When we start our relationship with Christ, we become part of a body of believers.  Like our body, different parts have different jobs.  Also different parts have different needs and perspectives.

As frail humans, it is not our job to judge the body, it is simply to support it. We may feel strongly that we have all the boxes properly checked; but only when we stand before the Lord will true and fair judgement come.  What’s more, we will be judged innocent by the creator of the universe.  I must confess, If our Father can forgive my huge and many sins, I guess I best not judge my family in Christ.

It is time to change games. Join me in playing the new and crazy game called “Have the same attitude in You that was In Christ Jesus!” Philippians 2:5 You will find it exciting, and non-stop action! When you finish, You will be full of peace and joy…and what’s more, your personal needs and concerns will be addressed.

God Bless You

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? 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.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 13 Submitting to Authorities and the Law of Love

This is a difficult chapter for the Romans.  They were serving an Emperor that ruled most of the known world.  The authorities were not fans of the Jews nor the Christians.  Rome saw them as ones that caused trouble or at least drama.  Still, Paul speaks some pretty hard truth.  Paul’s bottom line was to simply do the right thing for the right reasons and the authorities will leave you alone.  Pay your taxes, pay your bills and do not badmouth those that are doing their jobs to protect and to serve.

We live in a time when we are watching authorities at every level being questioned.  the result is chaos.  Teachers are leaving the profession because of death threats from their 3rd graders. Cities are defunding law enforcement and in the same breath crying for protection.  The world is on the fringe of war because of the dictates of world leaders that refuse to act like human beings against the calls of their international partners.

The Church is trying to meet the needs of the communities.  The church is preaching to the most real issues.  Marriage, politics, sexual sin and greed.  The world gone mad can only be restored to order when those in it begin to focus upon others and not upon themselves.  Paul is telling the Romans and us…be selfless, do the right things, lose yourself in the care of others and then you will know peace and the absence of fear.

Paul ends it well, Owe no one anything but a debt of love, because loving God and loving others is the fulfillment of the Law!

God Bless You

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Love Fulfills the Law

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 12 Part 2–Choosing Good over Evil–“Superhero?”

Next, Paul expounds on some of the most practical ways of staying on the side of good and defeating evil. It almost sounds like a Marvel Movie.  Interestingly, the adoption of those principles shows God’s Spirit ruling our life.  When God’s Spirit rules, it is similar to gaining a superpower.  Being Spirit filled and Spirit led is allowing the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God to live through us.  It is confirmation of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Behold if anyone is Christ, they are a new creature! the old is gone and the new has come!”

Specifically, Some of the characteristics of this status as Superhero look a great deal like the movies.  Don’t simply pretend to care for others truly care! Take genuine delight to bring honor and peace to others.  Work hard and be enthusiastic to do so; not displaying your personal identity but showing the identity of the Superhero within. 

More heroic characteristics include rejoicing in the hope of God’s immortality and invincibility. Heroes also must be patient to play the long game.  No instant gratification.  It is always the villain that cuts the corners and wants everything NOW! Heroes always go back to the source of their power and work to use their superpowers on behalf of others not for their personal gain.

Finally, Superheroes practice hospitality, do not hold grudges, nor do they take justice into their own hands.  God calls us to do the same.  We are to step back and step out of our natural predispositions and walk in God’s power and leadership.  As we do that, God is faithful to meet our needs and empower us to be His tools to complete His mission to seek and to save that which is lost.  Please, make it your goal today to be Christ’s superhero!

God Bless You

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”[g]
    says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”[h]

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 12 Part 1–Being a True Worshipper of God

Next, Paul discusses the practical steps to truly worshipping the Lord.  As His children, each of us want to worship the Lord gladly and gratefully.  So, with that in mind, Paul sets out some key elements.  Interestingly, Paul starts out by reminding us that one of the most important parts of worship is to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice—holy and pleasing to God.     For us to truly worship God, we have to separate ourselves from the pattern of the world.  In short, we have to become selfless, and God focused.

That is why Paul explains that being a living sacrifice has a few key parts.  First, worshippers need to move from conforming to the world’s pattern of living for yourself and seeking your needs first and foremost, to a transformed life; one with a new mind focused upon God.  While that transformation is ongoing and requires a renewed mind and heart; God does that renewal—not us, in our own power.  It is God’s ongoing sanctification carried out until the day of Christ’s return that, will transform us into Christ-centered worshippers that are holy and pleasing to the Father.

In addition, we then become part of the family of believers that make up the body of Christ.  Paul reminds us that does not mean we are all to look and act the same.  Instead, like any other body, we are made up of many different parts with different looks and functions.  No matter the look or the function, each one is a critical part of the entire life of the body of believers we call the Church.  We worship the Lord by accepting our role with humility and with joy.

It is wonderful to see a church full of folks that make God the focus.  whether greeting, preaching, teaching, giving, encouraging, or simply helping with operations in some capacity; each person graciously and gratefully carries out their function with a joyful heart. The members focus upon making God the center of their day.  That is true worship. God receives all the glory, and we get all the benefit of being a part of something that is so much bigger than ourselves.

God Bless You                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 11 Part 2–Wrapping up Israel’s Fate

Paul closes the discussion of Israel with a reminder that we serve a mighty God.  Paul speaks of the mystery of Israel’s fate in a form and fashion of a God Who is all-powerful, all-knowing and, in all-places, and times at once.  God simply was not surprised by Israel’s rejection of the Lord Jesus.  As Paul spoke in Romans 8, God works all things together for the good for those that are His chosen. 

As Paul so carefully reminds us, the Lord worked the spreading of the gospel to the world through Israel’s rejection.  In the same way, He will use the world’s treatment of himself to draw His chosen nation back into relationship as well.  We are simply not able to comprehend the entire plan.  Further, we simply cannot begin to understand the mind and the ways of God.

One thing we do know, is that God’s riches and wisdom are unfathomably deep. We also know that His judgement is unsearchable, and paths are untraceable. No man has nor can understand the mind of God.  No person can outthink, counsel or strategize for God.  Many have tried and invariably made a mess of things. (incidentally, I am in that group.)

We can neither out love, nor can we outgive him.  Such is also the case with Israel.  God has their fate well in hand.  And just as Abraham trusted God and it was counted to him as righteousness.  So should we simply trust and follow God’s leads and allow that to work to our sanctification and righteousness as well.

God is God, and sadly we simply are not.  We have to learn to rely upon Him for our lives as have all that have gone before us.  If we will, we will enjoy a meaningful, full and abundant life here on earth and an amazing eternity in His glorious presence.

God Bless You

 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is[f] my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”[g]

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.


33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”[k]
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Posted in Devotions

Romans 11 Part 1–The Conundrum That is Israel

Paul deals with the Issue of Israel.  Not an easy issue.  God sent Jesus to restore the relationship with His people.  It was only after Israel rejected Christ, that the Gospel spread to the Gentile world.  First it was Peter at Joppa, and then throughout the world through Paul, Barnabus, Silas, and a host of others that the Gospel has spread over all the earth.

God’s initial plan was for Israel to be a nation of priests.  It was always God’s desire that Israel would be the ones that spread the good news across the earth. Yet, as many rejected Christ, God made a way to spread the Gospel to and through the rest of humanity.  Still, God loved His nation, Israel.  Paul makes clear that He will continue to pursue them with an unconditional love.

No matter the outcome, we can be assured that God will save those He chooses to save.  Since we are saved by grace, God’s grace can extend to His national people in any form He sees fit.  In short, We as Christians saved by grace have no place or right to judge to whom God shows mercy.  If it is God’s choice to save all Israel, we rejoice as it was through Israel that we were saved.  If He chooses to save only a remnant, that too is God’s call.  We need only be grateful for our salvation, and we should remain committed to tell anyone that can hear the truth of Jesus!

God Bless You

 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[c]

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.”[d]

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!