Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Romans. .Week 4. .Fast Fact. .

Good morning!!  And a VERY MERRY Christmas to all!!
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!

I came across a couple little narratives from my chronological study bible that I wanted to share. .
to consider as we reflect on our lives this week. .
Some other ways to think about ourselves in an accurate way. .
Romans 2:24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
If you claim to be one of God’s people, your life should reflect what God is like. When you disobey God, you dishonor his name. People may even blaspheme or profane God’s name because of you. What do people think about God as they watch your life??
I’m going to guess that most of us will be TOTALLY unaware if/when someone watches us or listens to us. .and thinks “really. .this woman thinks she is a Christian??
She’s not really acting/behaving/speaking like one!! This paragraph should cause us to wake up and take notice. .what do our friends see. .our co-workers. .our families??
God or . . .??
 In the same sense. .
if people watch us behave in a way that consistently shows our disregard for what His word says (gossiping, judgmental attitudes, anger issues) What message ARE we sending about our love for God? Consider that for a few moments.
Along the same lines. .Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Some sins seem bigger than others because their obvious consequences are much more serious. Murder, for example, seems to us to be worse than hatred, and adultery seems worse than pride. But this does not mean that because we only commit “little” sins we deserve eternal life. All sins make us sinners, and ALL sins cut us off from our holy God. ALL sins, therefore, lead to death (because they disqualify us from living with God), regardless of how great or small they seem. Don’t minimize “little” sins or overrate “big” sins. They ALL separate us from God, but they ALL can be forgiven!
It is, personally, very easy for me to rationalize that my “little” sins aren’t “that bad.” And easy for me to compare myself with other people whom I might judge to be “really bad.”
 God reminds us that ALL people sin. .
and because of that, we will ALWAYS be short of the standard (which is perfect Jesus). .
and my sins are just as bad as the sins of someone waiting their time in a prison cell. .
according to God. .But. .He reassures me in verse 25. .
that BECAUSE I believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, by shedding His blood as a penalty for MY sins. .
I will live in eternity with Him!! And He has already removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) AWESOME!
Finally. .
Romans 8:17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

There is a price for being identified with Jesus. Along with being ‘heirs of God’s glory,’ Paul also mentions the suffering that Christians must face. What kinds of suffering are we to endure? For first-century believers, there was economic and social persecution, and some even faced death. We, too, must pay a price for following Jesus. In many parts of today’s world, Christians face pressures just as severe as those faced by Christ’s first followers. Even in countries where Christianity is tolerated or encouraged, Christians must not become complacent. To live as Jesus did—serving others, giving up one’s rights, resisting pressures to conform to the world—always exacts a price. But nothing we suffer can compare to the great price that Jesus paid to save us.

Just as a reference point. .
this verse comes right on the heels of what God expects the Spirit to be doing in our life. .
we are to have put on the new Spirit and gotten rid of the old spirit. .
if we have NOT gotten rid of the old spirit. .
and we continue doing life as our old spirit continues to drive our selfish natures and our sinful attitudes. .we will NEVER please God (8:8). .
If we are to be an heir to God. .
we must be willing to live in a manner that our old self would NEVER have accepted. .
that. .IS a form of suffering, because it is hard. .sometimes painful. .
maybe an inconvenience. .and it might cost us popularity or money. .
In many parts of the world, Christians are still being persecuted today. .
for going to church or having bibles in their possession. .and I assure you. .
that when you become bold enough to speak the truth to enough people who BELIEVE in God. .
but don’t KNOW God. .you will suffer to a degree as well. .
we should be glad in that. .and encouraged that Paul told us. .
that if we are doing things right. .we will have some suffering!!
But NONE of our suffering. .
will EVER hold a candle to spending eternity in heaven with God!!
I hope those verses and a bit of further explanation. .
will help you in the self-reflection that you are doing this week too. .
I hope that you feel encouraged as well. .that, along with the bad. .
there is really GOOD too. .an eternity with God for those who have his Spirit within!
So, without further delay. .HERE’S. . . . .the Fast Fact!!

What is your fondest Christmas memory ever. .
This was hard for me to decide!! So many Christmas memories from both long ago. .
and more recent!! 
But I think I finally decided on the memory that just makes me laugh to this day as I recall it. .
I think it was our first or second Christmas after we got married. .
We lived in a tiny little house in the middle of nowhere. .well, rather. .
in the  middle of any sized Christmas tree shaped cedar trees that you could ever want to have. .
And Grandpa Ed had this antique (even back then) Willy jeep. .
and we decided to load up our little weinie dog, Oscar and go cut us down a Christmas tree. .
mostly because Jeremy would have DIED before we spent our hard earned money on a tree!!
So we looked and we looked and we looked!! And picked out the perfect tree. .
and cut it down. .only. .when we tried to get it into the house. .
it wouldn’t fit through the door. .
so we junked it (after pushing and pulling for a while) and loaded up again. .
Back into the pasture for another tree. .
Broke the chain saw on the next one. .
which led Jeremy to run over the tree with the jeep to make himself feel better. .
FINALLY. .on the third try. .we came back with a totally lopsided UGLY tree. .
that DID fit in the door. .
and a promise that I could get a new ARTIFICIAL tree on clearance after Christmas. .
so that we could avoid the traumatic experience of cutting down another tree J 
Money well spent, if you ask me!!
Have a FANTASTIC Christmas celebration!
I'll be ready with our discussion questions again Friday. .
And after another little buffer week. .
We will be ready to start the book of James the first full week of January!!

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