Romans chapter 15


Living to Please Others

15 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote:

“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles;
    I will sing praises to your name.”

10 And in another place it is written,

“Rejoice with his people,
    you Gentiles.”

11 And yet again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles.
    Praise him, all you people of the earth.”

12 And in another place Isaiah said,

“The heir to David’s throne[f] will come,
    and he will rule over the Gentiles.
They will place their hope on him.”

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s Reason for Writing

14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. 15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, 16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.

20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,

“Those who have never been told about him will see,
    and those who have never heard of him will understand.”

22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.

Paul’s Travel Plans

23 But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. 24 I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey.

25 But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. 26 For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem. 27 They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially. 28 As soon as I have delivered this money and completed this good deed of theirs, I will come to see you on my way to Spain. 29 And I am sure that when I come, Christ will richly bless our time together.

30 Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. 31 Pray that I will be rescued from those in Judea who refuse to obey God. Pray also that the believers there will be willing to accept the donation I am taking to Jerusalem. 32 Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.

33 And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.


Paul starts with a call for unity among the believers. We need to recognize we are all different. We grew up in different family dynamics, different cultures, different experiences, different financial status etc.., but these things should not matter as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to build each other up in the Lord and do what is right.

But Paul tells the Romans that they already know all this, and that he is just merely reminding them. Paul is eager to visit them and encourage them and makes them feel very special in his desire to do so. However, it is clear Paul is not going anywhere because of his own desire, but that where the Holy Spirit leads him. His journey has been a long one, being sent here and there to preach to those who have not heard. I find Paul’s boldness interesting as he tells the Romans that after he has enjoyed their fellowship, they can provide for his journey. To me, that shows 100% confidence in what he is doing.


We know our mission too. We are to love our neighbor and spread the Good News where ever and how ever we can. We, too, can be confident in what our mission and purpose is. Will it be without bumps in the road and trials to face, absolutely not. Even Paul expressed that he was having issues with the non believers in Judea, but be assured God is there with you every step and will give you words to speak and courage to do so when you need it. Be bold for the Lord.


God we ask for courage to speak the truth and love our neighbor. Build our confidence knowing we have the most important message in the world in our hearts that needs to be shared. Give us an urgency and desire to do so. You are so good God, thank you for your blessings today, in the name of Jesus, amen.

Romans chapter 14

download (33)

The Danger of Criticism

14 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval.

In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
    and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.[b]’”

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.[c] 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.


Let me share a part of a story I read to help illustrate this chapter.

A lovely family is converted to Christ from a seventh-day sect, with which they were affiliated for a number of years, and in which they were more than superficially involved. They are honest, dedicated students of the Holy Scriptures, and they soon learn that the Law of Moses, with its Sabbath obligations, is not in force today. They are convinced of such and are able to argue that case admirably.

They have a couple of problems, however. They simply cannot feel comfortable about doing yard work on Saturday; out of long habit, they prefer to reserve the day for Bible study or other primarily spiritual activities. Should they be ridiculed if they so choose? If they prefer not to attend a ballgame or some other recreational pursuit on the seventh day of the week, should not they be loved and respected?

And what if it is the case that they cannot in good conscience, at a church potluck, partake of some sister’s baked ham, or of a sportsman’s platter of fried catfish? Cannot their long-time dietary habits be regarded with honor, rather than someone suggesting how “silly” such abstinence is?

What Paul is proposing as a “weak” brother is simply a lack of faith due to lesser understanding of the Word of God. They may not eat certain meat because they simply don’t know what the Word actually says about it, or like in the story, it’s been habit for so long, it’s just not comfortable yet. We are all at different levels in our faith walk, and we were the “weak” brother at one time. We are not to judge, that’s not our job. Paul is encouraging unity among the believers. Remember, there were many different cultures hearing the Gospel message, and each had to overcome their own unique cultural practises.


These days everything seems to relate to the virus pandemic, and this is no exception. Everyone you meet is on a different level and of a different opinion about how we should be reacting and how we should be isolating. Some of us live in a lot of fear and do not leave our homes, while others stick to the minimum requirements just to appease the law. We wrestle with our “lack of faith” by staying away from others while feeling guilty because God can protect them, while others are not careful because they have faith God will protect them, and thereby potentially put others at risk. Should we as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ ridicule and shame each other for how we respond to this? Absolutely not. We need to support and love each other, pray for each other and encourage each other as much as possible with tremendous respect for each others personal view on the situation.


God you are so good. Help us today to search our own heart and reveal to us where we have been judgemental of our “weaker” brothers and sisters. Help us to be encouragers and supporters, help us to be unified in our different opinions and levels of understanding your Word. We thank you for this amazing day, in Jesus name, amen.

Romans chapter 13

images (20)


Respect for Authority

13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Love Fulfills God’s Requirements

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”[a] These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.


Have you ever met a police car on the highway, and immediately released the gas pedal, not even looking at your speed first, or checked in your mirror to see if they were turning around and putting on their signals? Why would we do that? probably because we know we have been guilty of breaking the law before. This is small example of what Paul is talking about. Why fear the authorities if you aren’t doing anything wrong? If we followed the laws of the land, we would not feel that instant panic or guilt when we see an authority figure. It would be just that simple, if it weren’t for our sinful nature.

Paul starts with an important point, especially in this time. Respect for authority. And support our authority. Our taxes go to pay the salaries of our government workers and authorities. The bible is clearly telling us that God has placed these people in these positions. Our job is to support what God has put in place. Even if we don’t agree with our government leaders. They have the impossible task of trying to take care of every person, they need our support.


Paul goes on to say “love your neighbor as yourself”. Biblically, our neighbors means all people. This does include our authorities. This includes our government, law-makers, policemen, doctors etc…  Whether we agree or disagree with how things are being handled in our country, or how things are being handled regarding the virus and isolation, or how the countries finances are being handled etc…, we as Christians have an obligation to uplift these people. Are we praying for our leaders, or just grumbling? Do we lift up our Prime Minister in prayer? Do we complain how unfair it is when we get a speeding ticket, or do we accept the fact we were guilty? We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard because God has asked us to do so. Today, let’s begin a habit of lifting our leaders up in prayer on a regular basis.


God we thank you for what you have put in place. We pray for our leaders, we thank you for each one and the hard task they have to run our country. Give them wisdom in every decision, give them words to speak and the boldness to make the tough choices, even when they are unpopular. Lord, help us to not be judgemental, but uplifting. Give us words of life to speak towards our government. We ask you Lord for safety over our health and well-being today. in Jesus name, amen.

Romans chapter 12

A Living Sacrifice to Godimages (19)

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

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, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 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,”
    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.”

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


This chapter takes us in a completely different direction. Up until now, Paul has been focused on some big and deep subjects, sometimes even tough to follow and understand. It feels completely opposite today. Paul very clearly explains how execute this new relationship with Christ they now found themselves in by starting with a command for all of us.   2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Many bible translations say ” be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Paul continues by breaking down what this looks like. 

First, he says don’t think higher of yourself than you really are. Be honest with yourself and where you are at. In the world, everyone wants a position of privilege and power, but Paul says each of us plays a key role in the body of Christ. Basically, I think Paul is saying figure out what strengths God gave you and use those. Don’t seek after a ‘higher’ position or envy the abilities of others. In my own life, I can get very envious of those who are so incredibly gifted musically, but it’s quite clear that is not what God intended for me. Each of us is critical in our abilities if the kingdom of God is to be grown.

Once we have evaluated ourselves, Paul again breaks it down even further, and it becomes actually quite simple.


If you are an encourager, then encourage. If you are one who likes to serve, then serve. If you’re a teacher, then teach. And do it with love for others. Do this because God has called us to love everyone, even those who are not so nice to you. My challenge is this today, are we honest with ourselves in what our strengths are? Do we envy, and therefore strive after something that is not our strength? Love others with whatever talents God has given you. Typically these are the things you enjoy and do naturally already. People more than ever during this period of isolation need love from others, are we doing our part? And are we doing this with and urgency and a passion?


Lord, you instruction is quite clear. You gave us all different abilities and interests so that we could use them to further your kingdom. Help us today to be honest with ourselves and that you would make clear to us how we can use these in the best way to reach out to others. Give us a new love for our neighbors and an urgency in our hearts to show the love of God to each one. Thank you for this incredibly beautiful day, in Jesus name, amen.

Romans chapter 11

download (32)(S)

God’s Mercy on Israel

11 I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”

It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say,

“God has put them into a deep sleep.
To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,
    and closed their ears so they do not hear.”

Likewise, David said,

“Let their bountiful table become a snare,
    a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble,
    and let them get what they deserve.
10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
    and let their backs be bent forever.”

11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. 12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.

13 I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, 14 for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. 15 For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! 16 And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.

17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. 18 But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.

19 “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. 21 For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either.

22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. 23 And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. 24 You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.

God’s Mercy Is for Everyone

25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say,

“The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem,
    and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
    that I will take away their sins.”

28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. 30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. 31 Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?

36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.


The grace of God extended to the Gentiles is an incredible privilege. Paul seems to highlight this fact several times and in several different ways. Isreal was and still is God’s chosen people whom He used to glorify Himself and show Himself to the rest of the world. Because many were hard-hearted, however, this grace was extended to the Gentiles also. And according to what Paul is saying here, it was, at least partially, to make them jealous and hopefully turn their hearts back to God. Paul has a real burden for the Jewish people, his people, and you can hear it in his writing.


Paul challenges us to not be boastful or arrogant regarding our adoption into His kingdom. We have been given an incredible gift, let’s not undervalue or take for granted being grafted into the vine. My challenge to everyone this weekend is to reflect on this privilege while enjoying the beautiful weather, and stop and really look at the world around you to see the beauty of what He created.


We thank you for again for grafting us into your vine. Help us to not take that for granted. Thank you for the beauty of this world, the wonderful weather and this time in history when we all have time to stop and really look around. Help us to be a blessing to others, show us who we can show love to this weekend. In Jesus name, amen.

Romans chapter 10


10 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

Salvation Is for Everyone

For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,

“The message is very close at hand;
    it is on your lips and in your heart.”

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile[f] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[i] 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. 18 But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have:

“The message has gone throughout the earth,
    and the words to all the world.”

19 But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said,

“I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation.
    I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.”

20 And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying,

“I was found by people who were not looking for me.
    I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.”

21 But regarding Israel, God said,

“All day long I opened my arms to them,
but they were disobedient and rebellious.”


“Predestination” is a word that I got a few questions about this week. Now I don’t claim to completely understand the word, but I’d like to share my thoughts on it and tie it into this chapter. This probably could be something we could talk about for hours, but this will be a brief explanation of my thoughts.

There are several views on what this word means, three of the main ones are this:

1- God already knew who He was going to call into salvation ahead of time

2.- God knew who was going to be saved ahead of time and just used those people for His purpose

3.- God predestined everyone from the beginning to be in relationship with Him

Now I’ve heard good arguments for all of these, but my personal view is number 3. In Romans 8, it says God predestined all He foreknew (NIV)  My take on this is God foreknew each and every one of us from before the beginning of the world. If we combine this with verses like 1Timothy 2:3-4″ this is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth” and 2 Peter 3:9 “…He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent”, we see it’s not for a select few.  My argument is if God only wanted to predestine a few select people, then these verses are contradictory. This ties into todays chapter.  Over and over Paul says anyone who calls on the Lord is saved.

  • vs. 4  all who believe
  • vs.  9  if you…. you will be saved
  • vs. 11 anyone who trusts
  • vs. 12 Jew and Gentile are the same
  • vs. 13 everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

The very important thing to remember is that God is not saying everyone will be in heaven someday with Him, but only those believe in Him. Our requirements for salvation is very clear in vs. 9  “ If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ”  There is a belief out there that thinks because God “predestined” all He foreknew, everyone will be with Him eventually. That is call universalism I believe, but it’s quite clear that He desires us all to be with Him, but there is a condition; faith.


I appreciate good questions and feedback that causes me to think and look into. It’s a lot of fun digging into the Word and trying to figure out some of these big questions and “mysteries” of the bible. This is why it is so important to connect with other believers, whether it be through technology or in person. Iron sharpens iron, we need each other to keep each other motivated and accountable.


Lord we thank you again for another beautiful warm day. Thank you that the virus has seemed to almost stop here in Manitoba. God we ask for your continued protection and guidance in the coming weeks. In Jesus name, amen


Romans chapter 9

images (18)(S)

God’s Selection of Israel

With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

10 This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. 11 But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; 12 he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” 13 In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”

14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15 For God said to Moses,

“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
    and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”

16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” 18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22 In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23 He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24 And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

25 Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea,

“Those who were not my people,
    I will now call my people.
And I will love those
    whom I did not love before.”

26 And,

“Then, at the place where they were told,
    ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called
    ‘children of the living God.’”

27 And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out,

“Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore,
    only a remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth
    quickly and with finality.”

29 And Isaiah said the same thing in another place:

“If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    had not spared a few of our children,
we would have been wiped out like Sodom,
    destroyed like Gomorrah.”

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. 31 But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32 Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. 33 God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said,

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble,
    a rock that makes them fall.
But anyone who trusts in him
    will never be disgraced.”


Paul begins by declaring how heartbroken he is about the state of his people Israel. Paul was both Jewish and a Roman citizen. He and his father both served as Pharisees. Paul was truly a child of Israel. He was in such anguish for his people because they had, as a nation, rejected Christ. A few had believed, but Paul knew the majority of Jewish people were trusting the law to save them from God’s wrath. Paul has gone to great lengths in Romans to show that the law cannot save.

Paul finds Israel’s rejection of the Messiah all the more sad because God has given to her so many privileges as His chosen people. These include national adoption, showing them His glory, the covenants, the law of Moses, the worship at the temple, the promises, the patriarchs, and the ancestry of Christ. Paul insists that God will keep all His promises to Israel, but that not everyone physically born an Israelite will be saved from God’s wrath


We cannot be saved by the law. We’ve read that over and over again the past few chapters. Our works will not save us. The rock they stumbled over was Jesus Himself, whom they just could not quite grasp. One of my earliest mentors always used to say “we don’t work to be a Christian, we work because we are a Christian”. That always stuck with me. It’s not about what we have or have’t done, it’s about faith in Christ alone. Unfortunately God’s chosen, Isreal, mostly rejected that idea. Let’s not let our works determine whether we feel saved, let’s rely on the fact that you are.


God we pray today for those who just cannot grasp faith in You. Help them to not see a rock to stumble on, but rather that it is you standing in their path with open arms. Lord help us also to not get caught up in feelings but rather we remember the fact that you promised your salvation to all those who call on you. thank you for this, in Jesus name, amen.

Romans chapter 8

images (17)(S)

Life in the Spirit

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

The Future Glory

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Paul continues his explanation/argument of the gospel message. the first few verses really started tying together the other chapters. Paul explains the law could not save us because our sinful nature made us weak, so God sent His son, in flesh and blood like us, because we read in chapter three there is no one righteous. So Jesus was made like us to be the example and the only righteous one to be the sacrifice and fulfillment of the law.

Paul goes on to explain the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. Here is a list of benefits he mentions in this chapter

  • we think about things that please the Spirit
  • gives you life
  • made right with God
  • Spirit lives in you
  • gives life to our mortal bodies
  • no longer controlled by our sinful nature
  • leads to life and peace
  • joins with our spirit to confirm we are children of God
  • a foretaste of future glory
  • helps us in our weakness
  • prays for us
  • pleads for us in harmony with God’s will
  • no condemnation
  • freed from the power of sin

What an incredibly powerful and impressive list of benefits of the Holy Spirit. Paul goes on to explain that since we are one with God’s Spirit and we are heirs to His kingdom, His children, then no power on earth or otherwise can separate His love from us. What a powerful chapter this is, this is the blessing of God while we remain in this life.


Let’s end with one of my favorite passages in the bible. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Read it, meditate on it, claim this verse as your own today. This is a promise for you and I. 


God we thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the incredible benefits and promises you make because of your Spirit. Thank you that we are called your children and heirs to your kingdom. Lord today we claim these incredible verses of assurance into our own lives, thank you that we do not need to fear that something can separate your love for us. In Jesus name, amen.


Romans chapter 7

(S)download (31)

No Longer Bound to the Law

Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

God’s Law Reveals Our Sin

Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10 and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11 Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12 But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.

13 But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.

Struggling with Sin

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.


Paul says so much in each chapter, it’s hard to narrow it down to a couple sentences. For me today, what really caught my attention was the first 4 verses. As he compares how a widow is released from the law of marriage because of the death of the husband, so are we released from the law because of the death of Christ. This really clicked in my mind today, maybe just a moment of clarity. The widow is now free to pursue a new relationship, just as we are now free to pursue the new relationship of grace in Jesus.  No longer are either bound by their old covenant.

Verse 8 also stood out to me today.   “But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power”.  A kind of vicious circle is described here. Without the law, we do not know we are sinning. The law then points out our sin. Once we know about the sin, sin (the enemy) uses that to get us to sin more, even though we don’t want to. Paul says the law is not the problem, because it is spiritual and good, it is him, and us, because we are human and slaves to sin.


16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.”  The law is still as valid as the day God inscribed those commands on the stone tablets. The principles and values meant by those laws are still the same we hold to today. Paul says that when we sin, and we know it is wrong, we agree with God’s law. The difference now is that sin does not have the power over us anymore for all those who live in Christ. We have freedom from the legalities of it, freedom from sin’s accusations, freedom from sin’s guilt. We have freedom in the grace of God through the work of Jesus on the cross. Satan has no hold on us any longer, nor any right to accuse us. Let’s rejoice in that today.


God, we thank you for your law, and we thank you for sending Jesus to be our atonement when we break that law. God help us to always know when we have done wrong and confess it. Help us to understand that Satan has no right over us any longer, nor do his accusations. Help us to understand the grace we have in Christ. Thank you Jesus for you blessings, may you encourage each person reading today. In Jesus name, amen.


Romans chapter 6

download (30)(S)

Sin’s Power Is Broken

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.


Another incredible chapter of encouragement. Starts out with a fantastic piece of human logic. Since God shows His grace through our sin, let’s sin a lot so we can get a lot more grace. It’s like saying the policeman gave me grace on my speeding ticket by giving a warning. I enjoyed that grace so much, I will keep speeding hoping I will get caught and be given grace again. Nope, bad logic.

Before Jesus and the time of grace, we were slaves to sin. I love that analogy. We can all picture ourselves in shackles, burdened down and not free. Christ’s grace breaks those chains, and Paul says “For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” This is an interesting statement that i think is often misunderstood. We are set free from the power of sin. I’ve heard people question their salvation because they still sin, how can this be if I’ve been set free from the power of sin? There must be something wrong with me. But it’s not that they are free from sin, but the power of sin. As long as we are alive on this earth, we will be vunerable to temptation and sin, but by God’s grace, Satan has no right or power over that sin. He has no right to accuse you or burden you with guilt. Your sin has been forgiven, yesterday, today and tomorrow. 


This doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility when we sin, however. It is our job to try and become more like Jesus everyday. God created us for a relationship, and asking forgiveness and trying to do better is a pretty standard part of any relationship, especially our relationship with God. This is part of what Paul meant when he said ” But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life”   We have a part to play, even under God’s immense and awesome grace.


God, by your plan you broke the power of sin. Thank you that you made that available to anyone who chooses to take it. Today, show us where we need to confess sin in our own lives, and help us to learn to walk the way you desire. Lord, we love you and thank you for your blessings, thank you for this beautiful day. In Jesus name, amen.


Have a great weekend!!