Monday, June 29, 2009

Slavery That Sets You Free: Romans 5 & 6

This week on the news I saw where a high school football coach was honored after his passing. Apparently, he had made a huge impact on his community and the players he coached. Each person interviewed talked about how he set the example of a Christian man. Some talked about how his coaching had made them a better person as well as a better player. Some remembered when their town was hit by a bad tornado and he came to assist many of the people as if they were his family. This one man impacted the lives of many.

Romans 5 discusses how sin entered the world through one man. One bad decision and no more Garden of Eden. One bad decision and death becomes a reality. It’s hard to think of Adam and not think of original sin. And as much as I’d like to tell Adam and Eve a thing or two for taking away Eden, I can’t say that the outcome would have been different if I was the person in the garden. I’ve made a lot of bad choices, some which affected many people. Some of those bad decisions I made as a Christian.

We all influence others. We all have the ability to impact the lives of others with our choices in life. We moms have a huge opportunity to impact our children. I’ve been told that the tone of the house is set by the mom. I’m sure you’ve heard, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy”. Well, I’ve got to say that can be true at times. At least it is in my house! It’s a scary thought that my actions and my choices might have a negative impact on my children, but it’s a thought I don’t want to forget because it challenges me to think, pray, and seek God’s help.

Romans 6 says we should become a “slave” to righteousness. A slave is defined as a person that is the property of and wholly subject to another. The word “slave” makes me think of this being a chore....putting someone else’s desires ahead of my own desires..something that takes work. Sometimes being a slave to righteousness is a chore. Sometimes I’d rather scream at the person that has offended me rather than be nice to them and love them. Sometimes I’d rather hit someone over the head with a bible rather than be patience with them. Sometimes I’d rather skip out on my responsibilities and my commitments. It goes back to our choices, and the impact of those choices. I like the question asked in Romans 6:21. “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?” I feel much better when I make the right choice through my slavery to righteousness!!

But don’t you just love how chapter 6 ends…22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thank you Jesus for grace and mercy, and thank you most of all for your gift of eternal life through Jesus!!

What does Romans 5 and 6 say to you? Please post your comments or email them to me and I'll post them for you.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Abraham, Paul & Aunt Wayne: Romans 3 & 4

Romans 4:3 ……… "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

My husband once told me to, “Start with the end in mind”. I was thinking about that today, and thinking what I want people to say about me when I pass from this earth into my eternal life in Glory. I couldn’t help but laugh at some things I’m sure people would say about me. I’m certain they will say I’m a Southern gal and that I like to talk. Others will say how I love to tell jokes and have fun. There’s actually a lot others could say about me, some of which I don’t care to write here!! However, if there’s one thing that I want others to say about me, it’s that they see Jesus in me, and that maybe they would even consider me a righteous women.

Paul brings up Abraham in chapter 4 of Romans and talks about his faith. I can’t imagine being told at the ripe old age of 100 that I would have a child. That is exactly what happened to Abraham. God said He would make Abraham the father of many nations and Abraham believed. My response to being told that I would have a child at 100 years old would have been more like “Why me Lord?!?!! Are you mad at me Lord? Are you sure Lord? Can I change your mind Lord?” Some righteousness I have!!!

Paul goes to great lengths to talk about our FAITH making us righteous in these chapters, not our works! Paul had studied the Old Testament and God’s law many years before becoming a follower of Christ. He had been taught we should follow the law, but trying to following the law apparently made him conscious of his sin. (Romans 3:20) He realized at some point living perfectly was impossible. As he said in Romans 3:23 and really drove home in Romans 4: 4-18, we are ALL sinners. Christianity is the only religion that believes one is entered into heaved by faith alone. All other religions believe this is accomplished through works. I always like to ask people of other faiths, “How’s that working for ya? Are you living by the law and without sin?” If they say yes, they are lying, and well, that’s a sin!

Now, we should certainly try to keep God’s law and do good works. We are saved by faith FOR works, and not by works. But faith alone is how we can be accredited with righteousness in God’s eyes.

If I look back at the struggles in my life, I don’t think I went to Jesus right from the beginning of the struggle. I don’t remember saying, “OK Lord, whatever you have for me is just fine.” When I moved to San Antonio and didn’t know anyone. I certainly struggled with loneliness, but I was here months before I looked to Jesus for help. When I lost two babies due to miscarriage I certainly looked to Jesus, but not until I talked to my doctors and tried to figure out what was going on and how we could fix the problem. And when God told me I should quit my full time job, well, let’s just say it was silly how I tried to remind Him what my bank account looked like. Where was my faith!?!?!

And then I think about my Aunt Wayne. (Yes, it’s AUNT WAYNE. It’s a Mississippi name. Her full name is Hilda Wayne and we just call her Aunt Wayne for short.) In the last several years she’s lost one child, one grandchild, and her husband. If anyone has had an excuse to be angry with God or to question His ways, it’s my Aunt Wayne. I asked her one day how she does it, “How in the world do you keep that joy in your heart during the mist of such difficult times?” Her answer….. FAITH. She said she has complete faith in God and whatever He has for her was just what she wants because she is confident His plans for her are good. Amazing faith. Faith like that of Abraham.

So how do we get this faith like Abraham, or like Paul, or even like my Aunt Wayne? I think Martha touched on it in her comment from last week. It’s a process. It’s a faith to faith process. After we first believe and begin to trust, our faith grows. But our faith grows when only we make strides to make it grow. I have faith in my husband, that he will take care of me and he will love me until the day he dies. However, I didn’t just get that after I figured out I loved him. It took spending time with him, getting to know him, sharing my thoughts with him, and being his friend before I would trust him with being my husband. I think it’s the same with God. We believe a little, and then as we read the bible and go to church, our faith grows. And then we go through hard times, and our faith grows a little more. Some faith builders are fun, some… well… some not so much.

I know my faith is growing each day. I’ve certainly learned to go to God first when there’s a problem and to trust Him. I’ve not perfected that, but I’ve gotten better at it. But as I was finishing my reading last night, I read back through Romans 3 and 4 and saw this verse:
Romans 3:3-4 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all! Praise God!!! God is faithful even when we’re not!
  • What are Romans 3 and 4 saying to you?
  • Is your faith increasing? If so, how?
  • Have you taken a risk for faith lately?

Post your comments by clicking below or email them to me at:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Changed Life and Encouraging Each Other - Romans 1 & 2

It's hard to think about the book of Romans without thinking about Paul, the author. What an amazing testimony he had! Acts 9 tells us he was on his way to Damascus to kill followers of Christ when a bright light appeared and he heard a voice saying, "Why do you persecute me?". It was Jesus speaking to him. That moment changed Paul's life and purpose forever.

Paul's original mission was based on his life's education, what he'd learned from his father, a Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin, and from a Jewish rabbi he studied under. He wasn't just an average, uneducated man. He was a Roman citizen, and a very educated Jew. He was confident in what he had been taught by man. He was taught to follow God's law. But then, he meets Jesus. Not just Jesus, but the resurrected Jesus. Three years later we find Paul headed back to Damascus, but this time to preach the Gospel as a follower of Christ!

What a change!! From killing Christians to preaching the gospel! Most of us, well, hopefully everyone reading this, are not Christian killers. But I hope all of us have had a change in our lives after meeting Jesus. And not just a change, but a redirection. Is your life different with Jesus?

As we begin reading Romans, we see Paul has given us so much information. There are so many things we could address, but I think for me God is saying, "Let's do a heart check." I read Romans 1:17, and wondered - am I really living by faith? I read Romans 2:8 and thought about my heart. Are my actions self seeking or truth seeking? And then there's Romans 2:28-29. Do I try to follow God's law because that's what you're suppose to do, or because my heart is being circumcised(changed) by the Holy Spirit?

What about you? What do you think the Lord is saying to you in Romans 1 & 2? Please click on the comment box below and sign in to post your comment, or email me your comment ( and I'll post it for you. I want to hear from you. Romans 1:12 "I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Romans Beauty Treatment To Begin Soon!

Ahhh...Summer. A little more relaxed. A little more time with the ones I love. There's a lot to enjoy during the summer...swimming, the beach, vacations. One thing I don't enjoy during the summer is getting away from my typical Bible study routine. Each summer, I always make a commitment to study the Bible, but it never works out like I plan. It's easy for us moms to get caught up in entertaining and caring for our families, so much so that we forget about caring for ourselves! OK, so now you're probably saying, "How does bible study relate to caring for myself?!??!!" Well, Bible study is the best way we can care for ourselves. It can put more glow on your face than any Avon, Mary Kay, or Cover Girl product. I'm convinced that it is even better than exercise. (1 Timothy 4:8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”) I look better when I have a good dose of the Bible. AND, I act better when I've had a good dose of the Bible. (I can hear my husband saying, "Amen to that!" HA!)

So what about you? What are your summer Bible study plans? Why don't we hold each other accountable for staying in God's Word this summer?

I'm making a commitment today. I'm going to read and study the book of Romans this summer. I've read this book before, but I want to go back through it again... a little deeper...think about it a little more. Starting Monday, June 15th, I will post my thoughts and findings on 2 chapters of Romans a week. I would love it if you would let me know your thoughts and findings too. Comment back or shoot me an email. ( Just think how beautiful we will be by the end of the summer if we do this!!