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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #42 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 14

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking again at verse 13.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, and to share with the Lord’s people who are in need! Challenging!

The fourteenth critical imperative is —14. Believers are to PRACTICE HOSPITALITY (v. 13)!

I live in the South where people traditionally built houses with large, wraparound front porches so the neighbors could come by and sit for a spell, drinking wonderfully sugared iced tea! Sadly, those porches seem to have fallen into disuse. It seems money is no longer wasted on such luxuries when few are inclined to get to know their neighbors, much less invite them over for a spell.

But what have we lost? Our homes have been transformed into our castles, apparently with a moat around them stocked with alligators and a drawbridge that is only lowered for relatives who visit! The believer can choose to be counter-cultural in becoming more neighbor-friendly, don’t you think?

It is possible that the Apostle Paul here is referring to believers’ showing hospitality to other believers. This is a needed challenge, especially in a Covid or post-Covid world where we choose to become “socially distanced” even when we don’t have to!

But our unsaved friends and neighbors need to see inside our homes! They need to be invited over for a game night, to watch a good movie together, to simply spend time getting to know one another, to be part of an evangelistic Bible study! And those efforts involve . . . HOSPITALITY!

Today’s Challenge: How would you rate yourself and your family on the hospitality scale? What is one practical step you can take to become more hospitable with your home?

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #41 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 13

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 13.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, and to be faithful in prayer! Ouch!

The thirteenth critical imperative is —13. Believers are to SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED (v. 13)!

The first-century Christians shared their material goods with each other, as we see in Acts 2. They recognized the poor among them — and did something about it. Part of the challenge today is that we are seldom honest about our needs. We want others to think we are self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and self-dependent.

This critical imperative — sharing with those who are needy among the people of God — hits us where we live. It challenges our greed, our possessiveness, our captivity to things.

In our Western culture where most of us are incredibly wealthy compared to the rest of the world, there are means other than financial which we can share with the people of God. What do you have that you could share with another believer if you (1) knew their need and (2) chose to do something to meet that need?

Today’s Challenge: Open your eyes this week and notice a need that another brother or sister has — that you can meet. And meet that need! Feel free to leave a comment below.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 102)

Psalm 102

A prayer of an afflicted person who Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 6.21.13 AMhas grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.

Hear my prayer, Lord;
    let my cry for help come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
    when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
    when I call, answer me quickly.

For my days vanish like smoke;
    my bones burn like glowing embers.
My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
    I forget to eat my food.
In my distress I groan aloud
    and am reduced to skin and bones.
I am like a desert owl,
    like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake; I have become
    like a bird alone on a roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
    those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
For I eat ashes as my food
    and mingle my drink with tears
10 because of your great wrath,Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 6.24.34 AM
    for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like the evening shadow;
    I wither away like grass.

12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
    your renown endures through all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
    for it is time to show favor to her;
    the appointed time has come.
14 For her stones are dear to your servants;
    her very dust moves them to pity.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
    all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion
    and appear in his glory.
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
    he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation,
    that a people not yet created may praise the Lord:
19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
    from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
    and release those condemned to death.”
21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion
    and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when the peoples and the kingdoms
    assemble to worship the Lord.

23 In the course of my life[b] he broke my strength;
    he cut short my days.
24 So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
    your years go on through all generations.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
    their descendants will be established before you.”

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 70)

Psalm 70

For the director of music. Of David. A petition.Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 6.10.17 AM

Hasten, O God, to save me;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May those who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    Lord, do not delay.Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 6.12.09 AM

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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