Power of the Gospel

Because of Jesus, we have received God’s undeserved kindness. In our gratitude and excitement, we have an obligation to deliver his message to people all around the world (Romans1:5 by Frank Ball).

Romans by Frank Ball: Romans 1:1-17
In Your Bible: Romans 1:1-17

Romans contains encouraging and corrective comments – both are important. However, as a devotional I prefer to focus on the edifying aspects as we meditate on God’s Word.

Are you grateful and excited about the message of Jesus? Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a wonderful privilege (Romans 1:6 by Frank Fall).

Undeserved Kindness

Jesus said, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life” (John 3:16 J.B. Phillips). Note this inclusive wording – everyone who believes – it should excite the new believer and the seasoned one as well. For it is true, believers receive undeserved kindness from God.

Boast in God

Has becoming a believer changed your life? Paul says it will and believers are obligated to get the message out! We all should be boasting of how God has changed our lives, and what Jesus means to us (Romans 1:17c by Frank Ball). Yes, go on and boast in the Lord…he’s the giver to be praised.

Prayer: Father, your salvation embraces all who believe in you. Thank you for this undeserved kindness and position in Christ Jesus.

Questions: Has your excitement from the day you received the Lord Jesus Christ grown or diminished? What do you think of when you read “undeserved kindness” Paul writes about?

New Series in Romans

This devotion will now focus on the book of Romans, with the main source the Bible – always. We will also use a book (in modern language Scripture) called ROMANS, Living in the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Frank Ball. He is the author of Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story, which I’ve done several devotional blogs on previously.

Frank Ball has this to say about how Paul might view today’s church:

If the apostle Paul were to walk into the church today, he might see the theater seats and musicians on stage and ask, “Why have I been invited to a rock concert?” Or maybe in a traditional service, the slow playing of an old hymn would make him wonder if people didn’t know that Christ was alive, not dead.

Ball seems to say, Paul would recognize a need to use updated language from what he wrote to the church in Rome!

My goal will be to gain insight for believers to live by. I’ll not promote specific or separate doctrinal themes. The body of believers should embrace in Jesus’ love rather than fight over differences.

Do check the “About” and “Concept” Pages for more information that may be helpful. Note: When citing Scripture from ROMANS, Living in the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I will simply use Romans by Frank Ball

Please pray and meditate on God’s Word, then try to apply it to your daily life. I’ll try to do that also.

Climb in, slow down and enjoy.

Denny

Do All Things In Christ

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Part 2 of a series from Colossians 3.

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective (Colossians 3:2, 15-17 The Message).

The Message: Colossians 3:2, 15-17.
In Your Bible: Colossians 3:2, 15-17.

Paul tells the church in Colossae, believers must make an effort to see life from God’s perspective. To gain peace of mind and peace with God – live in Christ.

Harmony

How do we live in harmony with one another? Paul states it should be easy, “Let the Word of Christ – the Message – have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense” (Colossians 3:16 The Message). We know from our lives, it’s not that easy, but we must keep working at it.

Praise

Be vocal in your praise to the Father. ..sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way (Colossians 3:17 The Message).

It’s plain and simple. Sing praises to the Father for all he is doing in your life – even if you don’t see it! That’s good advice to live by. It will demonstrate your joy to the world.

Prayer: Father, I need to grasp the simplicity of these words. Your words on how to live in harmony – clothed in Christ. By your grace I can do this.

Questions: How do you deal with living in harmony with your family, neighbor, loved ones? Which is harder for you, praising God in tough times or in times of things going well? Why?

Clothed In Christ

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you… (Colossians 3:12 The Message).

The Message: Colossians 3:12-14
In Your Bible: Colossians 3:12-14

Paul affirms nine specific attitudes are needed to live a life clothed with Jesus’ love. Some are fruit of the Holy Spirit and some are character attributes Jesus Christ exhibits. He gets straight to the point. Believers already have these in Christ Jesus. Clothe yourself in them and use them!

In Christ

In Christ, believers are to ..dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you [a heart of] 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 (Colossians 3:12,13 The Message).

Paul states convincingly, you must wear the basic, all-purpose garment – love. Some translations say love is the bond of unity – rightly so.

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:34-35 The Message).

Prayer: Father, thank you for the analogy of a wardrobe. Yes, help me gain Christlike attributes in my life. I want to praise you living this out daily in words, actions and all I do.

Questions: Are you fully dressed, as Paul refers to in this passage by Paul? Does any of your clothing need alteration?

Connected to the Father

“When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relationship [is] intimate and organic, the harvest sure to be abundant” (John 15:5 The Message).

The Message: John 15:1-10
In Your Bible: John 15:1-10

On the way to Gethsemane, Jesus knew he had little time remaining before he went away. He wanted the disciples to understand the importance of staying connected with him. A relationship that matters. Also an essential relationship that would last forever. What he taught them applies just as much today.

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus laid it out for them, “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the farmer” (John 15:1 The Message).

Organic Relationship

Eugene Peterson uses up-to-date wording to describe the believer’s unique and correct relationship with God. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. When you’re connected with me and I with you, the relation [is] intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing” (John 15:5,6 The Message).

If the believer does not respond to the words of Jesus, the gardener cuts off the branches not bearing fruit. Yes, severe pruning! We not only should listen but act on his words.

Joy in Christ

Jesus told them, “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love” (John 15: 9). Jesus had a purpose in this: he wanted believers to be mature and have complete joy. It was not merely a warning.

Prayer: Father, thank you for this life building (organic) relationship that matters. You know I need it.

Questions:What branches bear fruit in your life? What other branches might need pruning?