God’s Way

To realize the promises of God, and to understand his purpose for your life, using his power, relying on his mercy, walk the path that is set before you, as did his son Jesus.

Inspired by Romans 9.

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At His Mercy

Some of us raised in another day were constantly preached at that you get nothing in life without hard work.

Here we read that we can will it so, or run hard at something, and still fail, that it’s only by God’s mercy that we succeed.

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Romans 9:16 (NASB)

Therefore, I’m at the mercy of the God of the universe.

It’s good to know he ended up extending mercy to people who were not even his (the Gentiles), and to a remnant of  his own people (the Israelites) who went their own way.

What we should pray for is to become a suitable vessel for his mercy, ready to receive a full portion.

[Romans 9:23, 24, 27]

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We are the Champions–Romans 8:28-39

There’s nothing we can do to separate ourselves from God’s love. This impenetrable bond was established by God before the foundation of the world (v. 29) while we were “yet sinners.” (Romans 5:8)

There’s nothing others can do either, because God has justified us (v. 33) and Christ intercedes for us (v. 34) on an ongoing basis.

If this is not enough, there’s no created thing (v. 39) that can pry us away from God’s love, no, not one!

He’s got us covered every which way to Sunday, and on that day too!

And it’s all credible because God allowed the ultimate sacrifice to be made by using his Son. The logic goes like this, if “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (v. 32)

So “We are the champions, my friend, and we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.”

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Hey, Look at Me!

It should be with fear and trepidation that we engage in social media. There seem to be sufficient warnings in God’s word, particularly in Proverbs 27, to counsel against participation.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, but the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them. Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:1-4

The first is that it is based on boasting. However it’s cut, you wind up with “ha, ha, this is what I’m doing tomorrow.” The biblical principle is that who can predict what tomorrow holds? The same would hold for true for what you’ve just enjoyed. All this just promotes the jealousy of others. It’s said here that jealousy is worse than anger and wrath. The latter characteristically flare up and subside. The former causes one to seethe.

We are counseled early on to not blow one’s own horn, but the whole basis of Facebook and Instagram is to invite the comments of others. But with your boastful posts you do blow your own horn with the purpose egging on others to praise you. Then you’re sad if no one does, or if they don’t react in the way you expect, which would always be, if you’re honest, to heap praise or to admit envy.

During the normal course of one’s life there may be times where you’re praised. But let these moments be special, not contrived. We should be about pleasing God not man. Sometimes he dispatches special emissaries to provide encouragement. Likes are finicky and ofttimes disingenuous.

But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,  and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Paul talks about our leading a quiet life working with our hands. Living online is not quite what he had in mind. The apostle was always under fire and second-guessed for his motives. He used a lot of ink trying to set the record straight or attempting to clarify himself even before he spoke. Today imagine the Twitter storms he’d endure!

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6

What we have to offer the world in many cases are “pearls before swine.” To argue with others on the meaningless platform of social media is to carry unnecessary weight. It’s a burden we need not bear.


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I’ve Got This

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 (NASB)

When our signal’s weak and we have trouble connecting with God, the spirit intercedes for us. His connection is solid and clear. When he does the talking God listens, because only the spirit can formulate what is in our hearts and align it with God’s will. This means out go our selfish wants, unfounded fears and impatient expectations. What’s left is our need in the truest sense, and God hears. At the very least God’s word to us will be comforting and encouraging, saying “I’ve got this.“

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Power Packed—Romans 8:1-25

There are many things you can buy these days, the features of which you may never use or understand. Cars nearly drive themselves. There are smart TVs that require a Millennial to operate. And try plumbing the depths of Photoshop! Not enough time in the day. The same goes for what the Spirit does in our lives! But in this case we can understand all that is under the hood.

Stepping aside from the almost word-by-word magnificence of Romans for a second, I scanned Chapter 8 to see what the Spirit of Life does for me—and you.

First, it’s replaced the law of sin and death with the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. I can now walk not according to the flesh but the Spirit. I have been emancipated.

With him on board I am able to set my mind on the things that are important to God. Only then am I able to experience real peace in my life and do the things that please him.

Actually I should not be able to contain the excitement in me when I truly realize who I’ve got inside! It’s mind blowing. Get this. The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is in me. Now I’m immortal. Now I’ve got power to live sin free, for “putting to death the deeds of the flesh.” Now I have a leader to follow who gives me instructions from within. It’s better than Google maps in a big city! Now I’m adopted into his family and stand to inherit all that’s his, that is everything that could be imagined.

But, and there’s always a catch, for now I get only the first fruits of his spirit. But even so, the unexpiring trial version is fully functional, only causing me by design to want it all. And that’ll be available in a place where he’s there in person, not in spirit.

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I Can See Clearly Then

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:23-25

While we have the Spirit in Christ we only have his first fruits so to speak. We see in the mirror dimly right now, as Paul says. (1 Corinthians 13:12) We know we’re adopted and redeemed, but in our bodies because we are not yet glorified, it doesn’t feel that way. If Paul calls himself wretched (Romans 7:14) then we can expect to be frustrated as well, having to drag this dirty old carcass around for now.

Our present condition produces a continuing reliance upon our eternal hope to live each day. It’s better to be fueled by hope than a sense that this is all there is. Buy a new car and you’ll know what I mean. You have what you hoped for and now what? Soon the new car smell fades.

This yearning for it all causes us to groan as we struggle to persevere. But in all cases, we can persevere in our frustrating humanity in and by the spirit. As we do our hope in what lies ahead grows.

I remember my grandmother. Such a hard life. She lost her gifted firstborn son to pneumonia when he was 17. Her husband, a lawyer, coped with the loss with alcohol and never was the same. They lost everything and lived in the projects. She never had a home of her own that I know of. But through it all, no one could shake her hope in the Lord. Living for a time with each of her surviving sons, she touched her grandchildren in such a way that they could not help but yearn for what she had. I remember her sitting out in the family room in the dead of night groaning deeply and crying out to God. But she never gave up hope. Now in glory she sees clearly why it was all worth it.

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