Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.
You may listen to today’s devotional blog by clicking the link above.
Paul is such a great orator, even with his pen. He gives multiple sides of a situation, then brings the final decision to the place that lines up with the Scriptures. Eat this or that. Take this day for a sabbath or that one. Don’t judge your brother. Don’t be condescending to your sister. For, in the end, we will each stand before God. HE is God! He’s got this. He is worthy to be worshipped!
Here’s the passage of his conclusion, from the prophet Isaiah:
God, Creator of the heavens— he is, remember, God. Maker of earth— he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch. He didn’t go to all that trouble to just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in. This God says: “I am God, the one and only. I don’t just talk to myself or mumble under my breath. I never told Jacob, ‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’ I am God. I work out in the open, saying what’s right, setting things right. So gather around, come on in, all you refugees and castoffs. They don’t seem to know much, do they— those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood, praying for help to a dead stick? So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence. Put your heads together. Make your case. Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here? Who made sense of things for you? Wasn’t I the one? God? It had to be me. I’m the only God there is— The only God who does things right and knows how to help. So turn to me and be helped—saved!— everyone, whoever and wherever you are. I am God, the only God there is, the one and only. I promise in my own name: Every word out of my mouth does what it says. I never take back what I say. Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me. Everyone is going to end up saying of me, ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’” All who have raged against him will be brought before him, disgraced by their unbelief. And all who are connected with Israel will have a robust, praising, good life in God! (Isaiah 45:18-24, MSG). For more on Isaiah 45, go here.
Three times in Matthew 6, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV). Sarah Young’s interpretation of Jesus’ words, from Jesus Calling: “You need not fear the future for I am already there.” Wow! Such a powerful promise!
God is God. We need not worry. But you say, “I’m sick.” Or “I lost my job.” Or “My marriage is a wreck.” Or… I will say it again, as Paul did. God is God. Turn to him and be helped.
As you do, be sure to do so with love. In another letter The Missionary says it like this: So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. (Colossians 3:12-14, MSG).
The way we live is to be consistent with what we believe.
Just like in Romans 13, Paul continues to encourage love over all else. Many in that day were holding up their good works, like worshipping on a special day or eating kosher, in a higher place than love. He urges us all the way we live is to be consistent with what we believe. If we believe in grace, have accepted Jesus’ grace, we are to offer His grace.
God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. (Romans 14:17-18, MSG).
Love others with His love today. Never be without love.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.