Monday 30 September, 2013

Romans 9:19–29

19 One of you will say to me, “Then why does God still blame us? Who can oppose what he wants to do?” 20 But you are a mere man. So who are you to talk back to God? Scripture says, “Can what is made say to the one who made it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” (Isaiah 29:16; 45:9) 21 Isn’t the potter free to make different kinds of pots out of the same lump of clay? Some are for special purposes. Others are for ordinary use. 22 What if God chose to show his great anger? What if he chose to make his power known? That is why he put up with people he was angry with. They had been made to be destroyed. 23 What if he did that to show the riches of his glory to others? Those are the people he shows his mercy to. He had prepared them to receive his glory. 24 We are those people. He has chosen us. We do not come only from the Jewish race. Many of us are not Jews. 25 God says in Hosea, “I will call those who are not my people ‘my people.’ I will call the one who is not my loved one ‘my loved one.’” (Hosea 2:23) 26 He also says, “Once it was said to them, ‘You are not my people.’ In that very place they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” (Hosea 1:10) 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel. He says, “The number of people from Israel may be like the sand by the sea. But only a few of them will be saved. 28 The Lord will carry out his sentence. He will be quick to carry it out on earth, once and for all.” (Isaiah 10:22,23) 29 Earlier Isaiah had said, “The Lord who rules over all left us children and grandchildren. If he hadn’t, we would have become like Sodom. We would have been like Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9)

We have no right to protest at what God does. We are the creation but he is the creator. He is sovereign. This passage seems unfair to us, but we need to remember that

  1. God knows our hearts, and “hardening” them may mean giving us over to the hardening which some have already adopted.
  2. We know from elsewhere in scripture that God’s will is that all men should be saved.  v 22 – 24 show that God does not choose arbitrarily but has great patience and mercy although we deserve his wrath.

Remember that Romans is written to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Here Paul outlines that Gentiles are now accepted and shows from the OT that it had always been God’s plan. He also shows that God is preserving a remnant of “True Israel” for himself.

I think our response to this passage should be profound gratefulness that God has chosen US to be given eternal life. It should also spur us on to pray for others, so that they are included too. Never let go of gratitude for being part of the Kingdom.

Written by Megan Cornell

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    I think you are absolutely right about hardening. People hardened their hearts in spite of God not because of God.

    However the hardening of a heart is not an all or nothing proposition, we all suffer it to some degree. Maybe the antidote for hardness is gratitude.

    Thank you Megan!

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Sunday 29 September, 2013

Romans 9:1-18

9 I speak the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My mind tells me that what I say is true. It is guided by the Holy Spirit. 2 My heart is full of sorrow. My sadness never ends. 3 I am so concerned about my people, who are members of my own race. I am ready to be cursed, if that would help them. I am even willing to be separated from Christ. 4 They are the people of Israel. They have been adopted as God’s children. God’s glory belongs to them. So do the covenants. They received the law. They were taught to worship in the temple. They were given the promises. 5 The founders of our nation belong to them. Christ comes from their family line. He is God over all. May he always be praised! Amen. 6 Their condition does not mean that God’s word has failed. Not everyone in the family line of Israel really belongs to Israel. 7 Not everyone in Abraham’s family line is really his child. Not at all! Scripture says, “Your family line will continue through Isaac.” (Genesis 21:12) 8 In other words, God’s children are not just Abraham’s natural children. Instead, they are the children God promised to him. They are the ones considered to be Abraham’s children. 9 God promised, “I will return at the appointed time. Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:10,14) 10 And that’s not all. Rebekah’s children had the same father. He was our father Isaac. 11 Here is what happened. Rebekah’s twins had not even been born. They hadn’t done anything good or bad yet. So they show that God’s purpose is based firmly on his free choice. 12 It was not because of anything they did but because of God’s choice. So Rebekah was told, “The older son will serve the younger one.” (Genesis 25:23) 13 It is written, “I chose Jacob instead of Esau.” (Malachi 1:2,3) 14 What should we say then? Is God unfair? Not at all! 15 He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. I will show love to those I love.” (Exodus 33:19) 16 So it doesn’t depend on what we want or do. It depends on God’s mercy. 17 In Scripture, God says to Pharaoh, “I had a special reason for making you king. I decided to use you to show my power. I wanted my name to become known everywhere on earth.” (Exodus 9:16) 18 So God does what he wants to do. He shows mercy to one person and makes another stubborn.

Paul is deeply concerned that his fellow countrymen have rejected Christ.  He would even go so far as to separate himself from Christ so that the Jewish people would acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.  Paul readily admits this is not possible.

God makes his intentions and purposes known by the promises he makes.  As God’s promises come to pass we see his sovereignty at work.

God is in charge of both mercy and compassion.  We can’t force his hand in these areas.

How we respond to God’s promises – his word, determines the softness of our hearts.  If we continually reject or show a lack of interest in God’s purposes are hearts will eventually become hard to the things of God.  The roller door comes down and we can’t see God’s ways.  On the flip side, if we seek to understand, acknowledge and declare God’s promises over our lives our hearts remain soft  and our vision clear.

Dear God, please help me to understand your intentions and purposes as I read your word.  Help me to trust the promises you have made and keep my heart soft before you. Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Saturday 28 September, 2013

Romans 8:31-39

31 What should we say then? Since God is on our side, who can be against us? 32 God did not spare his own Son. He gave him up for us all. Then won’t he also freely give us everything else? 33 Who can bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? God makes us right with himself. 34 Who can sentence us to death? Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us. He died. More than that, he was raised to life. 35 Who can separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or hard times or harm or hunger? Can nakedness or danger or war? 36 It is written, “Because of you, we face death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be killed.” (Psalm 44:22) 37 No! In all these things we will do even more than win! We owe it all to Christ, who has loved us. 38 I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God’s love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can do that. 39 Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can do that. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.

God is on our side, He has chosen us. Jesus has made us blameless and is defending us from our enemies.  Nothing that comes against us in life can separate us from the love of Christ. God is triumphant and we will remain in his love and protection no matter what happens.
Paul is adamant about the infallibility of God.  Nothing in all creation can pull us out of His loving arms.  This is logical when you think about it, because God is the creator of all the universe and therefore he has authority over everything in it. As His chosen children we have Him as our defender in any situation.
Knowing that God will always be with me no matter what, gives me courage to face trials.  I know that even if I die I will never be apart from His love. Nothing and no one can take this from me.

Father God thank you that what ever happens in life, I can run to your open arms and you will always defend and protect me; you have overcome. Help me to be bold in the assurance of your loving presence. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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Friday 27 September, 2013

Romans 8:26-30

26 In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. 27 God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God’s people just as God wants him to pray. 28 We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. He appointed them to be saved in keeping with his purpose. 29 God planned that those he had chosen would become like his Son. In that way, Christ will be the first and most honored among many brothers. 30 And those God has planned for, he has also appointed to be saved. Those he has appointed, he has made right with himself. To those he has made right with himself, he has given his glory.

This passage of scripture makes me want to breathe a sigh of relief.  God’s Spirit helps us in our weakness when we don’t know how to pray.  This applies to me so often!

I find it very comforting to know that I don’t need to have all the right words to pray.  Have you ever felt like you are not a very ‘good prayer’? I certainly have!  But this reminds me that I can just come to God and He will help me in my weakness. As it says here, even wordless groaning can be interpreted by Him!

Then God promises that He will meet me in my weakness and He will work things out for the best when I trust Him. Very comforting and very simple. Lord, help me to take you at your word and rest in this!

Written by Shelley Witt

2 replies
  1. David Newton says:

    Roman 8:28 is considered by many people to be one of the most significant verses in the Bible.

    It promises there is order in the chaos of the world, that God is active in times of crisis and in seemingly unanswered prayer you have not been forgotten.

    Romans 8:28 when exercised with faith is both a powerful shield and wieldable sword. For young Christians it is a great first scripture to memorise and it is easy scripture for all to meditate on.

    Thanks Shelley for the great advice you gave me the other day!

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Thursday 26 September, 2013

Romans 8:18-25

18 What we are suffering now is nothing compared with the glory that will be shown in us. 19 Everything God created looks forward to the time when his children will appear in their full and final glory. 20 The created world was bound to fail. But that was not the result of its own choice. It was planned that way by the One who made it. God planned 21 to set the created world free. He didn’t want it to rot away completely. Instead, he wanted it to have the same glorious freedom that his children have. 22 We know that all that God created has been groaning. It is in pain as if it were giving birth to a child. The created world continues to groan even now. 23 And that’s not all. We have the Holy Spirit as the promise of future blessing. But we also groan inside ourselves as we look forward to the time when God will adopt us as full members of his family. Then he will give us everything he has for us. He will raise our bodies and give glory to them. 24 That’s the hope we had when we were saved. But hope that can be seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 We hope for what we don’t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it.

Our present sufferings vs. the hope of what is to come.  It is a very significant statement when so much of our life today is about instant gratification.

That creation is also waiting, suffering, is nice to know but not a comfort as such, at least for me.

It is so easy for me to get caught in the now and as a result look for opportunities to solve the ache of my heart or the situation that is causing my distress.

How large does the coming glory loom in my thinking, am I conscious of glory’s magnificence and the resolve it will bring for everything in my world.  Do I honestly long for it?

I am so prone to the now, my God consciousness needs to increase – I can see that plainly as I read this passage!

Father, help me to have you as the subject of every frame in my world and so give me perspective like Paul, that my present sufferings are nothing in the light of the glory, Your glory that will be revealed!

 Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Today I have to make a very difficult decision. Because of it, I had become personally distressed and was feeling a little lost and alone.

    I thought, before I begin this process I will read the ‘daily digest for today’. The very first words I read were,
    ‘What we are suffering now is nothing compared with the glory that will be shown in us’.
    This verse was totally unexpected as I experienced a sudden rush of the ‘father heart of God’ towards me. I felt an acknowledgement of my situation from beyond this realm and at the same time I received wise advice for putting into perceptive a difficult moment in my life.

    Was this a coincidence? You decide for yourself.

    As for me, I received what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it and as a result I don’t feel alone threw this experience.

    We serve a living God. amen!

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Wednesday 25 September, 2013

Romans 8:9-17

9 But your sinful nature does not control you. The Holy Spirit controls you. The Spirit of God lives in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. 10 Christ lives in you. So your body is dead because of sin. But your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies, which are going to die. He will do this by the power of his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Brothers and sisters, we have a duty. Our duty is not to live under the control of our sinful nature. 13 If you live under the control of your sinful nature, you will die. But by the power of the Holy Spirit you can put to death the sins your body commits. Then you will live. 14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit that makes you a slave to fear once again. Instead you received the Holy Spirit, who makes you God’s child. By the Spirit’s power we call God “Abba.” Abba means Father. 16 The Spirit himself joins with our spirits. Together they give witness that we are God’s children. 17 As his children, we will receive all that he has for us. We will share what Christ receives. But we must share in his sufferings if we want to share in his glory.

The beginning of verse 9 in The Message says “But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can be hardly thinking more of yourself than Him.” A great description, a great reminder of how we should think. In other versions this verse says we are no longer controlled by our sinful nature. It’s thinking that helps us not be controlled by our sinful nature – thinking of God and what He would want in everything rather than what we want. How great that we have help to live life better!!

A new start and help to not make the same mistakes – how wonderful it is that the Lord comes to live in us.

Thank You Lord

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    V 17 Glory & suffering go hand in hand.
    Dear God help me to know more of your glory & teach my children this so when suffering comes we will truly know you.

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Tuesday 24 September, 2013

Romans 8:1–8

8 Those who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s sentence. 2 I am now controlled by the law of the Holy Spirit. That law gives me life because of what Christ Jesus has done. It has set me free from the law of sin that brings death. 3 The written law was made weak by our sinful nature. But God did what the written law could not do. He made his Son to be like those who have a sinful nature. He sent him to be an offering for sin. In that way, he judged sin in his Son’s human body. 4 Now we can do everything the law requires. Our sinful nature no longer controls the way we live. The Holy Spirit now controls the way we live. 5 Don’t live under the control of your sinful nature. If you do, you will think about what your sinful nature wants. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you do, you will think about what the Spirit wants. 6 The way a sinful person thinks leads to death. But the mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God’s law. It can’t. 8 Those who are controlled by their sinful nature can’t please God.

I had a conversation this week with someone who felt that they needed help with connecting the spiritual and faith elements of their life to physical reality.

I hope that I was helpful in my conversation with them, but since reading this passage, I wonder whether I should have just encouraged them to read Romans chapter 8!

I love the way that Paul uses philosophical principles that would have been very familiar to his audience to teach us about how to apply faith to temptation and self-control, and how the outward signs of the nature of someone’s flesh are a good indication of the nature of his heart and mind.

It is so important for us to not just have a right understanding of how salvation impacts our response to temptation, but to also live out that response through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, give us the knowledge, wisdom strength and power to overcome the nature of our own flesh so that we can better chase the deeper desires of the new nature that you have given us in Christ Jesus

Written by Justin Ware

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Monday 23 September, 2013

Romans 7:14-25

14 We know that the law is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. 15 I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. 16 I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them. 18 I know there is nothing good in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. 19 I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. 20 I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me. 21 Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body. 24 What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25 I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord. So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law. But in my sinful nature I am a slave to the law of sin.

There is an intense struggle going on within us. Paul is showing us that nothing good indwells his flesh, but sin is present in him.

Becoming a Christian does not instantly solve all our problems. Until we hate sin, we will never turn from it, just the same it is only when we acknowledge we need God, we will look to God. And the solution to both is the cross of Jesus Christ.

Sin is complicated, but the solution is simple. Paul already said it—sin is beyond our comprehension. We cannot understand it. But we don’t need to understand it in order to solve the dilemma it poses. Whatever form sin might take, the solution is the same. We need to go to the cross of Jesus Christ.

Remember the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees. They did not come to Jesus for forgiveness simply because they didn’t think they needed it. I hope I always have the agony and intensity that Paul has.

V24 Wretched person that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord. God has provided a righteousness that I cannot produce by myself; it is the power of the Holy Spirit living in me.

Lord, help me to grasp the immensity of the struggle with sin. Help me to stop all efforts to serve You in the strength of my flesh. Help me to acknowledge that my flesh is a body of death from which I must be delivered. Amen

Written by Cathy Croft

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    Quote of the Day
    “Sin is complicated, but the solution is simple.”
    Thank you Jesus!

    Thanks for that Cathy.

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Sunday 22 September, 2013

Romans 7:7-13

7 What should we say then? That the law is sin? Not at all! I wouldn’t have known what sin was unless the law had told me. The law said, “Do not want what belongs to other people.” (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21) If the law hadn’t said that, I would not have known what it was like to want what belonged to others. 8 But the commandment gave sin an opportunity. Sin caused me to want all kinds of things that belonged to others. No one can break a law that doesn’t exist. 9 Before I knew about the law, I was alive. But then the commandment came. Sin came to life, and I died. 10 I found that the commandment that was supposed to bring life actually brought death. 11 When the commandment gave sin the opportunity, sin tricked me. It used the commandment to put me to death. 12 So the law is holy. The commandment also is holy and right and good. 13 Did what is good cause me to die? Not at all! Sin had to be recognized for what it really is. So it produced death in me through what was good. Because of the commandment, sin became totally sinful.

We have been set free from the Law, Hoo-rah! It sounds as if we have been released from the powers of an evil overlord. Anyone would think that the Laws God gave to Israel in the Old Testament must be themselves evil.

By no means is this true!

God is telling me here that His Laws are like a bright light in the darkness. God’s Laws show me the way to living a holy and beautiful life. They also show me the way to death and destruction, displaying the ugliness of evil.

God has made very clear to me the way in which I must walk if I want life. His Law makes clear that death and destruction are the consequence of walking in sin.

My sinful nature saw that now God’s way was made clear, so it took the opportunity to rebel to God’s face. My rebellion was no more unclear, it was seen in the broad daylight.

My God, I thank you that the Law became flesh, Jesus Christ. You walked the earth as a light in the darkness and you touched sinners like me. As the perfect man you died a sinners death in my place and you rose to life victorious over death. You fulfilled the perfect Law of God. I thank you that the way to life is found in faith in you Jesus.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Saturday 21 September, 2013

Romans 7:1-6

7 Brothers and sisters, I am speaking to you who know the law. Don’t you know that the law has authority over us only as long as we are alive? 2 For example, by law a married woman is joined to her husband as long as he is living. But suppose her husband dies. Then the marriage law no longer applies to her. 3 But suppose that married woman gets married again while her husband is still alive. Then she is called a woman who commits adultery. But suppose her husband dies. Then she is free from that law. She is not guilty of adultery even if she marries another man. 4 My brothers and sisters, when Christ died you also died as far as the law is concerned. Then it became possible for you to belong to him. He was raised from the dead. Now our lives can be useful to God. 5 Our sinful nature used to control us. The law stirred up sinful longings in our bodies. So the things we did resulted in death. 6 But now we have died to what used to control us. We have been set free from the law. Now we serve in the new way of the Holy Spirit. We no longer serve in the old way of the written law.

In this passage Paul is speaking to the Jews who know the Law (of Moses) very well. It’s almost like “mission impossible” to ask a Jew to be released from the Law and turn to Jesus Christ without changing their thinking. Paul knew it very well and tried to break through this deep-rooted concept inside the Jewish mindset.  So, Paul makes an example by using the rule of marriage and remarriage which is familiar to all to explain how to live for Jesus Christ “legally”.

Just like if a woman’s husband died, then, she can remarry to another legally. In the same way, if a person died to the Law through the body of Christ, then he/she can live for Jesus Christ justly and serve Him in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The challenge of this passage to me is: How many times, have I “Lived

to the law but been Dead to Jesus Christ”.

Dear Lord, help me to remember that I am DEAD to the law, and I won’t give my body to sin as the instrument of wrong doing, but the instrument of righteousness to God. Amen.

Written by Allen Leu

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    It is interesting that Paul addresses both men and women equally several times in this passage. To us this sounds normal but when Paul wrote this there was very little equality for women in the ancient world.

    Regarding your challenge, it is a good question, how often do we mindlessly perform dead works without realising what we are doing. My guest is far more often than we think!

    Thanks Allen

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