Romans 15:1-16:27; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4
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Romans: Romans 15 verses 2 and 3 definitely give us much to think about: "We should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn't please himself." That's a bit of a counter-intuitive statement compared to what our culture preaches. We should please others? I think our culture would say instead, "We should please ourselves! It's all about you! You are #1!" and so on. This is the beauty of the Gospel. It is counter-cultural in so many beautiful ways. It's the great revolution. It turns the world upside down. The last shall be first. Blessed are the peacemakers. Rejoice when you are persecuted. We should please others. So, are you living your life to please others? Are you doing what helps them? Are you building them up in the Lord?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "Pleasing Others and Praising God" is at this link. Below is a great image for Romans 15:5 -
Paul's words in Romans 15 verse 30 stood out to me today - "Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit." The thing that stood out to me in these verses is Paul's encouragement to his brothers and sisters in Christ in Rome to pray for him. Not only to pray for him - but to "join me in my struggle." That is pretty powerful to consider. That we can actually join someone in their struggle - in their work for the Kingdom of God - by praying for them! And I'll be honest - I do not do this enough. I rarely join my pastors and family and friends and spiritual mentors in their struggle by praying to God for them. I rarely join my missionary friends in their struggle by praying for them. I rarely join my brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted in other countries for being Christian by praying for them. I simply do not pray for others enough. And in not doing so, I honestly think I am missing out on something powerful. I am missing out on joining them in their struggle for the Kingdom of God! My selfishness in not praying for others doing Kingdom work in this world is my loss. But - this actually sounds selfish - "my missing out - my loss." Sometimes I guess I try to trick myself into doing something good (praying for others) by attaching a selfish reason (so I won't miss out). The truth here is that our pastors and priests and missionaries and spiritual mentors need us to take up the struggle with them by praying to God for them. Even Paul needed this prayer coverage - and he asked for it! I am afraid that too often our pastors and priests and missionaries and others doing God's work may not ask us for our prayers. But they need them! So - are you regularly praying for others in your life who are in ministry? Are you joining them in their struggle? Will you begin today / tonight by praying for someone in your life that you know who is in ministry? Will you take up the struggle with them?
Below is a great image for Romans 15:32 today -
We finish up Romans today! Romans has been a powerful book for me to read and study this year. I hope it has been for you as well? I love the closing words in this book today from Paul in Romans 16 verses 25 through 27: "God is able to make you strong, just as the Good News says. It is the message about Jesus Christ and his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they might believe and obey Christ. To God, who alone is wise, be the glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen." Do you believe that God is able to make you strong? Are there areas of your life currently where you feel weak? Will you turn these areas over to God completely, so that he can strengthen you? To God, who indeed alone is wise, be the glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Romans titled "Watching Out for Wolves" is at this link.
Second Corinthians: Today we begin Paul's Second Letter to the church in Corinth! Corinth was a city known in the 1st century for its wealth and lust. It was a trade center with thousands of sailors who disembarked there. Its pagan temples encouraged the practice of sexual immorality along with idol worship. Thus, this was not an easy place for the early church! But clearly a place where the church was so needed! Below is a map of where Corinth is in Greece - it is about 48 miles west of Athens. And below that is a modern day photo of ancient remains of the pagan temple to Apollo from ancient Corinth:
~ Second Corinthians ~
Author: Paul the apostle
Date: A.D. 57
Content: Paul’s earlier letter to the Corinthians had not settled all of the problems. It had some good effect upon them but much more remained to be done. In particular, Paul had to settle the problem concerning his own authority. Deep suspicions had been aroused concerning him, for what reasons we do not fully understand. But in great anguish Paul writes to reestablish his own apostolic authority. He also attempts to deal with some more practical matters, like supporting the poor believers elsewhere.
Theme: Triumph over adversity is seen throughout this letter. It is a very personal one, written by one who loved his people but had been deeply wronged by them. As Paul catalogs the experiences of his life and the nature of the Christian ministry, it is possible to see the grace of God at work bringing good from evil. Satan is active, seeking to destroy God’s work, but God is greater still, establishing those who trust in him. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 25) More commentary on Second Corinthians is at this link. Below is "The Apostle Paul", by the artist Rembrandt from the year 1657:
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Second Corinthians chapter 1 titled "Why Bad things happen to God's people" is at this link. Below is a great image for 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 from today's readings from what looks to be Guatemala to me. (though maybe this picture is more South America/Andes region?) I had the good fortune to travel to Guatemala two years ago - and I miss it! It is a beautiful country with beautiful people!
I love that Paul calls Jesus the "Divine Yes" in today's readings in Second Corinthians chapter 1 verse 19 in the NLT! Here are verses 18 through 20 in the NIV - "But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ." Amen! Do you realize that Jesus is the fulfillment of all of God's promises in the Old Testament? The Law pointed to Jesus in the OT and the Law is fulfilled in Jesus. The sacrificial system pointed to Jesus in the OT and the sacrificial is fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is indeed the Divine Yes! In your life each and every day, is Jesus your Divine Yes?
Worship God - Today's readings in Romans reminded me of Britt Nicole's song "You:"
Are you coming back to You? Click here to make your heart more like the ultimate You!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." Romans 15:1-2 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are bearing with the failings of the weak every days. Pray that you are building up your neighbor. Pray for strength - to serve.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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