Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get You Some Christian Friends! : Romans 15 & 16

Dean and I had just joined Community Bible Church when we were married in 1998. We met several other couples our age playing on a co-ed softball team with the church. One of the couples invited us to their bible study. We didn't know when we started that bible study how important that group would be to us. We didn't have any family in San Antonio, and our bible study group quickly became our family. In late 1999 and early 2000, we lost two babies as a result of first term miscarriages. We were devastated to say the least, but our bible study group was there to pick us up. Some of them brought us meals. Some prayed with us. Some just came by and hung out with us. They encouraged us and reminded us the Lord had great plans in mind for us. We would have never made it through those days without our Christian friends. We praise God for them!

In Romans 15 and 16 Paul is closing his letter. He's saying greetings to all those brothers and sisters in Christ and telling them of his travel plans. When I read these chapters, I was immediately reminded how important it is to have Christian friends and how we should be treating our Christian friends. In Romans 15:14- 15 Paul says "I am fully convinced, dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well that you are able to teach others all about them. Even so, I have been bold enough to emphasize some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder from me." We all should be doing this. We all should be reminding our Christian brothers and sisters of God's great plans. Later on in chapter 15 Paul talks about being "eager to visit you" and that he is to "take a gift to the Christians there" in Jerusalem. He was encouraging his brothers and sisters in Christ. Isn't that what we should be doing? I love Paul's example here. It's simple brotherly love. And then in 15:30 Paul writes, "join me in my struggle by praying to God for me". For sure, we should be praying for each other. To me that is the basic support system for our sisters and brothers!

On May 2, 2001 our little Leanna Grace was born. It was and still is the best day of our lives. We had cried so many tears and prayed so many prayers asking for a child. And then we got Leanna. It was a wonderful, wonderful day. And guess who came to visit us in the hospital that day? Almost every one of our bible study friends! They had come to celebrate with us after having prayed with us for so long for this child. I'll never forget their kindness to us...their support...their encouragement...their prayers. They were Jesus to us, and they made us want to be Jesus to others.

Today is the last post for this Romans study. I've enjoyed going back through the book of Romans and I hope you have too. Please post your comments on the blog, or email them to me to I'd love to hear from you.

If you are in the San Antonio area and looking for a women's bible study group, I'll be meeting at Community Bible Church each Tuesday from 11:30 to 1:00pm starting September 8th. I'd love to have you join our group. We're going to do a study this fall called "Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed: A study of David" by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shiver, and Kay Arthur. It will be fun and I'm sure the Lord will teach us something new.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Knowing When to Say Something: Romans 13 & 14

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in South Mississippi. I love that church. It was instrumental in me coming to know Jesus as my Savior. As a matter of fact, I visit that church each time I'm back in my hometown of Petal. (I should now give a shout out to all my Petal Harvey Baptist friends! Praise God for you!) Each week I knew what to expect at church. There would be announcements of upcoming events. Then there would be a couple of hymns with the organ played in the background, and there would be one special music piece, usually a solo. And finally, the Pastor would deliver his message for the week. I enjoyed church and felt like it honored the Lord so much.

One time I went to South Louisiana with my grandmother to visit my aunt for the weekend. While we were there, we went to church at my aunt's church. It wasn't a Baptist church, and honestly I can't remember what denomination it was. I just remember getting there and seeing tambourines in the pews and an electric guitar on stage where I expected the preacher to be. I was freaked out to say the least. Surely these people weren't going to play that guitar in church and surely they didn't expect me to use that tambourine!!! If so, I was certain we would all be struck with lightening!!! Church wasn't supposed to be like that! Well, they did play that guitar and some people did pick up those tambourines during the music. And you know what, we didn't get struck with lightening!!!!

As I've grown in my relationship with the Lord I've realized that Christians all over the United States and all over the world worship differently. Some have very structured services and some have very free services. I've also come to believe that God likes them all as long as they are worshiping Him! In Romans 14 it talks about accepting differences between Christians. I love this chapter. To me God is saying, "Quit judging your Christian brothers and sisters. Be kind to them and do not offend them. Don't expect them to dress, eat, worship, or anything like you do. What I tell you to do and not to do might be different from what I tell them to do and not to do." Now, there's a time to step out in faith and tell a Christian brother or sister when they are living outside the law. But that's not what these verses are talking about. These verses are talking about the "grey" areas. For example, I have some dear friends that were raised Catholic. Each year prior to Easter they give up something for Lent. Now, the Lord hasn't told me I need to do that. However, I honor my friends for their commitment to continue doing that in worship of the Lord. And, they don't look down on me for not giving up something for Lent. You see, it's a personal decision based on what the Holy Spirit is telling you. So, when in doubt on how you should live..... ask God!

Now, Romans 13 is a little different. One thing we are all commanded to do is submit ourselves to the governing authorities as it says in 13:1. It goes on to say all leaders have been put in place by God. So, with that in mind should we be silent when they are doing something we don't agree with? I don't think so. I think this is a time to speak up. And when we speak up, we need to do it with love so that they will see Jesus in us, but we need to speak up. We can be praying for those leaders and supporting them while also voicing our opinions. As a matter of fact, when I see a leader that is not doing what I feel is correct I pray for him more!

So, there are times as Christians when we need to honor others that are different and not offend them or cause them to stumble, and there are times as Christians that we need to stand up and voice our opinions. It's up to us individually to seek the Holy Spirit's direction and then follow Him and not man.

By the way, that precious Petal Harvey Baptist church I was telling you about earlier....well, the last time I was there visiting they had a guitar being played alongside the organ. And they didn't get struck by lightening. :-)

What is Romans 13 and 14 saying to you?

Post your comments or email them to me at and I'll post them for you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Don't Have To Buy A Farm: Romans 11 & 12

I am so glad that I don't have to do sacrifices like in the Old Testament to cover my sins. Whew! They had to go through a lot to get forgiveness from their sins. First of all, I'd have to get a farm because I'd need a lot of animals. Of course I try to live without sin but my mouth, or even my thoughts, get me into trouble sometimes. So, I'd need to have lots of animals on my farm. Then of course those animals would want to eat each day. I grew up having to feed horses and cows, and let's just say that's not a mid day chore. I'd have to get up early to feed those animals. And then there's land. You can't just live in a planned neighborhood or an apartment if you have all those animals. I'd have to have a big piece of property and that would cost some money. And then there's the actual sacrificing issue. I know I'd have a hard time with that one! I mean, here's my cute little lamb that I raised and now we have to what? Oh, I wouldn't like that!

I'm so thankful to Jesus for being the ultimate sacrifice. I'm so thankful for grace and mercy through faith. When we compare the Old Testament way of getting forgiveness of sin with the New Testament way of getting forgiveness of sin, we see how easy the new way is. In Romans 12 Paul says we have to be "living sacrifices". That's sounds tough, but you know, He's not asking a lot of us. He want us to be nice to others, and ourselves. He wants us to hate what is evil. He wants us to remain faithful to Him. Romans 11 and 12 reminded me of what Jesus said when asked what was the most important commandment. Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

So now when someone is ugly to me, I'll try to smile and show forgiveness quickly. I'll try to love on them so they will see Jesus in me. But you can be sure in my mind I'm thinking, "I'm so glad I don't have to buy a farm to get some forgiveness. Showing love to others as a living sacrifice will do just fine for me!"

  • What do you think about Romans 11 and 12?
  • What ways can you offer yourself as a living sacrifice to Jesus?

Please post your comments or email them to me to and I'll post them for you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Watch Out!! Romans 9 & 10

Let's say you and I were sitting on a bus bench waiting for the next bus to take us some place. While we were sitting there talking we realized a lady had stepped into the street unknowingly in front of the bus that is just about to run over her. I would have to imagine that both of us would jump out of our seats yelling, "WATCH OUT!!!". We'd probably even try to push her out of the way. Even if we didn't know her, I'm certain this is what we'd do. I can't think of anyone that would just sit back and watch this lady get run over without doing something to help her. I mean, once you see the big bus coming you are confident something bad is going to happen unless you react.

Each day we see people headed to disaster...and not just any disaster but eternal disaster. Whether at Wal-Mart, the grocery store, at work or even in our neighborhoods, we are surrounded by people headed for disaster. They don't know Jesus. But for whatever reason, not all of us do anything about it. Maybe we're busy. Maybe we're concerned about what they will say to us or about us. Maybe we just don't care enough. Or maybe, we're just not confident in what we believe.

In Chapters 9 and 10 of Romans, Paul's love for others shows through. Romans 9: 1 - 3 says, "I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel." And then in Romans 10:1 he says, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." Paul is so confident in his beliefs and is so concerned about the future of those he is speaking that he's willing to be cut off from Christ if it means all the others would be saved. And when we look back at Chapters 1 - 8 we see him screaming "WATCH OUT" so to speak.

Now all of us can't be like Paul. Obviously we have people that are called to full time ministry, and I totally get that not everyone is called to full time ministry. But with my reading this week in Romans 9 and 10, and hearing my Pastor say this past weekend, "What have you done for Christ today?", it really got me motivated. Each day we should think about what we can do for our Lord. It's good to plan to take a mission trip once a year or every so often, but what if we planned to take a mission trip each day. What if we started the day with, "Lord, show me one way today that I can serve you." Maybe those people headed for eternal disaster won't get there. Maybe we'll plant a seed for Jesus and He'll grow that seed right into eternity. And what a blessing we'll have when we get to heaven and see others there because we figuratively said, "WATCH OUT" to them

Romans 10:12 - 15 "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

  • What holds you back from telling other about Jesus?
  • What ways can you serve Jesus today?
  • What does Chapters 9 & 10 of Romans say to you?

Please post your thoughts or email them to me to

Monday, July 6, 2009

Put Your Crown On! Romans 7 & 8

Even if you haven't read Romans 7 and 8 in the last week, I bet there are several verses that if I started them, you could finish them. Verses like Romans 8:1 which says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," and verses like Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose." These chapters are filled with information for Christian living. There is so much we could discuss. But this week, two verses kept my attention. Romans 8:16-17 says "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

Heirs? Heirs of God? Heirs as in Royalty? I have a hard time thinking I'm royalty, but over and over in the bible it says that as followers of Christ we are heirs.

Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

Colossians 1:12-14 "giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,the forgiveness of sins."

Daniel 7:18 "But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever."

Ephesians 1:13-14 "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory."

When I think of royalty I immediately think of the Queen of England. I am like a lot of people that find her so interesting. She has such a privileged life. She lives in a beautiful home, well, actually several beautiful homes. She has servants and housekeepers. She has advisors. She gets to meet other royalty all the time. And in all of that she is very loved by her subjects because of her love for them. Oh, the life of a queen! But wait, I'm a queen too!! My daddy is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I have a privileged life too. I can have peace that surpasses all understanding no matter what my circumstances. I can ask my Dad for help on any matter at any time. I have the most beautiful home waiting for me in eternity. I have angels that watch over me. I have the Holy Spirit as my Advisor. I have the love of Jesus in my heart which hopefully spills out on others most days. And, I get to hang out with lots of other royal people that are brothers and sisters in Christ.

So as I start my day today, and every day, I need to think about my royal obligation to live by the love others. I am putting my imaginary crown on! Oh, I hope others see it glowing and know that the glow is from my Heavenly Father!

What about you? Do you feel like royalty? What does Romans 7 & 8 say to you? Please post your comments to the blog or email me: