True to Yourself

FB_be yourself 02It’s January 16th! If you’ve kept up with the reading you’ll finish Romans today! Congratulations!

Where will you go next? I’m headed to Jude. It’s only one chapter. Go with me and we’ll finish in one day. I’ve finished my reading of Romans, but I’m behind on my writing. Stay tuned here to finish Romans with me and check out Jude next!


Here’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 14

SCRIPTURE

Romans 14:1-3, “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.”

OBSERVATION

Before we get to the serious part of my thoughts I have to point out the twisted delight I find these verses. Don’t they basically say that people who like vegetables have a weak faith!? That’s encouraging for one who NEVER eats them!

Seriously – this passage could be confusing. It seems to say that sin is measured by what you would call sin. In other words, be true to yourself. If you think it’s sinful, it is. If you don’t think it’s sinful it’s probably not. But that’s not really what it’s saying at all.

This passage isn’t about how we evaluate sin. It’s about how we evaluate one another.

As we manage our lives and our organizations we encounter CORE VALUES, FAMILY VALUES, and PREFERENCES.

Core Values are those non-negotiable beliefs and behaviors that define who we are and why we do what we do. Core Value Examples for Believers:

  • Jesus is Messiah, salvation comes through Jesus by grace alone through faith alone.
  • The Bible is the Word of God. It’s accurate and reliable.
  • The Trinity is real. God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirt are all God, three-in-one.
  • There are also lists of sins that fall into Core Values, behaviors we should or shouldn’t pursue; Honor your father and mother, don’t steal, lie, murder, or live in sexual immorality.

Family Values are those family rules that change from one family, one organization, even one generation to the next. In my house bedtime for my kids is around 8:30. In your house it may be 7:30 or 9:30. It’s not right or wrong, it’s how we do things in this house.

Preferences are how I like to do things. I prefer the house a little cold. My wife prefers it a little hot. My brother’s a little bit country. I’m a little bit rock and roll. Again – preferences are not about right or wrong. They are about how I like things done.

APPLICATION

We’re not satisfied to let CORE VALUES be our set of non-negotiable beliefs and behaviors. We have within us this natural tendency to try to force our family values and preferences onto everyone else. If you don’t do it my way you’re wrong. If you don’t it my way your in sin.

Romans 14 tells us that how we relate to one another is important. It tells us how we should handle preferences and family values. If it’s not clearly defined in Scripture as a core value then we shouldn’t condem someone because they do things differently than we do. We shouldn’t consider ourselves more righteous because our way is ‘better’. But there’s more.

This passage seems to say, out of respect, the more liberal viewpoint should submit to the more conservative. If it’s okay for you (the more liberal viewpoint) but your brother thinks it’s wrong (the more conservative view) out of respect for the views of one another the more liberal viewpoint should relent to the more conservative.

It doesn’t mean you give up your beliefs. It means you practice them privately. It doesn’t mean you don’t have conversations about it. It means you have the right kinds of conversations at the right time and in the right way. You persuade without condemnation or temptation. You convince through love rather than judgement.

Alcohol is one of those issues in our church. The Bible say, “Don’t be drunk with wine.” Some in our church interpret that to  mean DON’T DRINK EVER. Other’s interpret that to mean they can take a drink every now and then as long as they drink responsibly. Because the people of my church are respectful of one another and mindful of passages just like this it’s led to great conversations without condemnation.

Those who take a drink every now and then do it privately. Those who are t-totalers stick to their sodas. One is not tempted, the other not condemned, all serve together around the CORE VALUES of who we are as Believers.

Today – what are my core values? What family values or preferences do I spend too much time arguing about or condemning others over? What family values or preferences do I have that need to change? Am I living FREE or am I still in bondage to some older mindset that keeps me tied up?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you, Father, for not making salvation about a list of do’s and don’t’s. Thank you for saving me from all my sin and for clearly defining the core values of what matters most. Today, help me identify my family values and preferences. Give me the wisdom to discern right from wrong, the patience to have great conversations with people who disagree with me and the maturity to adjust my life to match your word when I’m wrong. I can learn from others. They can learn from. Help us to listen to, learn from and love one another – especially when we disagree.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Establishing a State Religion

firstHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 13

SCRIPTURE

Romans 13:1, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

OBSERVATION

An ancient Chinese proverb – some call it a curse – says, “May you live in interesting times.” For those who are Believers we certainly live in interesting times. History books have called America a Christian nation. Without an official edict or government mandate the history of the U.S.A. is filled with stories of people who have placed their faith in God and called on Jesus as their Savior. Our Ivy League institutions were founded as centers for higher learning. Many were focused on teaching people and preachers the depths of theology in preparation for ministry. Higher learning in these days meant not only the advancement of traditional sciences but a recognition that there is more to this world than science can explain. God is on high and any truly higher learning must include a study of him.

But we’ve gotten away from this as a nation. Our Ivy League schools are more interested in business, law, science and engineering. Our government still doesn’t have an officially established religion, but it would seem we do have a State sponsored set of doctrine.

  • Prayer in schools and government institutions is acceptable, just don’t mention Jesus.
  • Talk about sin is okay, just don’t be so specific as to include sexual immorality in your discussion.
  • Conversations about how faith influences politics are just fine as long as you land on the liberal side of the aisle. If faith talk leads you to a conservative answer your words are not ‘sanctioned’.
  • Diversity of opinion is okay, encouraged even, as long as you agree with the current administration.

There’s more to the unofficial doctrine of the U.S. Government, but I won’t list it here.

Romans 13 is a challenging chapter in light of our current social and political climate. It seems this nation, once open to Christianity, is slowly rejecting the most basic principles of our faith. Our government is becoming increasingly combative toward and exclusive of people of faith. How should we respond?

APPLICATION

I won’t go into a full response here. This is post is intended to be a more devotional space. Let me point out a few things. When Paul wrote these words there was nothing ‘Christian’ about the government. Political leaders in the Romans Empire were pagan. Caesar worship was common – meaning the man at the top of the government was considered a god. The government of Rome was not inclined to assist people of any faith. They saw religion as a tool to keep the masses under control. When religion stepped out of the bounds the Roman response was quick and severe. They would identify the religion and wipe it out.

They tried this with Christianity. They didn’t like it. They didn’t understand it. They saw it as a threat. So Christians became the stuff of sport, entertainment in the Colosseum, dinner for hungry lions. During Paul’s time Christianity was so young the Roman government didn’t really know what to think about Christianity, but things were headed this direction.

Still, Paul writes Romans 13.

America, as a whole, has an established religion. We may sometimes hear the traditional language of Christianity used to describe this faith, but the heart of our established religion isn’t Jesus or the Bible. It’s secular humanism. This established religion is defended by law and slowly eating away at our religious liberties.

Yet Paul’s response is still the same. Give honor to those in authority. Paul’s example is a good one. He used his citizenship as an opportunity to spread his faith. He used the law of the day as a platform for ministry. His goal wasn’t to establish a state religion. His goal was to establish faith in Jesus Christ in the hearts of people.

His method worked. We’re still talking about his faith today.

Regardless of what our government does. Even if living your faith means facing the same persecution Paul did, respect the authority of those in office. Express your faith. Share your opinion. Use your influence, position and the laws of the day to establish faith in Jesus Christ in the hearts of people. In the end, that’s so much more valuable than trying to legally establish a state religion.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for our President, Congressional leaders and the Justices of our Courts. Bless them with your favor today. They may or may not believe they serve you. Whatever the case, surround them with people who will help establish faith in Jesus Christ in their hearts. Let them know your favor in every position, law, argument and issue that lines up with your will and your way. Resist them in every plan that is contrary to you. Teach them to lead well.

Since we are a government of, by and for the people – convict the people of our nation, grant us the gift of repentance and the capacity for forgiveness. I ask you to bless America, but not simply with prosperity and peace. Bless us with your presence and the courage and strength to follow you.

Show me how I can use my influence, position, citizenship and the laws of our day to establish faith in Jesus Christ in the hearts of people.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Don’t Be Evil

evilHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 12

SCRIPTURE

Romans 12:21, “Don’t be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.” (NKJV)

OBSERVATION

Paul quickly goes from doctrinal and philosophical to practical. This passage is full of a world of practical advice for those who Believe. However, it’s more than simply practical. It is the natural outflow of a life that has been saved by Jesus Christ. He starts the passage, “Therefore, I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God…” In other words because of all the truth of chapters 1 – 11 here’s what you should now do. You don’t do these things in order to be made right with God, but because you have been made right with God.

The last verse sum it all up nicely, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

APPLICATION

If you practice Scripture memory Romans 12:21 is a good one to memorize (several in this passage are). Romans 12:21 has the added advantage of being easy to memorize. First, it’s short. Second there is a play on words here that makes it memorable. Like the numbers themselves, it’s a mirror image of itself. Write a 12. Look at it in a mirror you see 21. Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I’ll bet you have it memorized all ready.

Now for the hard part – actually living it out. It’s so easy to give in to the temptation to fight fire with fire. When someone is nasty to you don’t you have permission to be nasty back? When someone is mean isn’t the appropriate response meanness? Like in the movie The Untouchables if someone brings a knife to a fight shouldn’t you bring a gun? If your enemy puts one of yours in the hospital shouldn’t you put one of theirs in the morgue? Strength must be met with strength, right!?

That’s not exactly what the last part of Romans 12 teaches. It tells us to kill ’em with kindness and love ’em to death. It’s counterintuitive. Instead of escalation respond with the opposite of what seems natural. It tells us that what seems like a strong response isn’t actually strong at all. Evil verses evil only destroys. Good verses evil allows you to overcome.

Why do you think so many people struggle with the same relational issues over and over again? It’s because they attempt to overcome evil with evil. Look at the word evil – spell it backwards.

l – i – v- e

It’s another mirror image. You can be evil or you can live, but you can’t do both. An evil response to an evil act will always lead to an evil outcome. A good response to an evil act leads to life.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for not doing to me what seems natural in regards to my response to you. I rejected you. I rebelled against you. I denied you. I doubted you. I am complicit in the death of your son. Thank your for not returning to me evil for evil. Instead you have done exceeding abundantly above all I could ask your think. Your goodness has overcome my evil and brought life. Teach me today to do the same. Show me the good response to every evil circumstance and allow me to overcome the evil in my life and the evil in my world with your goodness and lovingkindness.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Get the Facts Straight

factsHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 11

SCRIPTURE

Romans 11:9-10, “Likewise, David said,

“Let their bountiful table become a snare,
a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble,
and let them get what they deserve.
10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
and let their backs be bent forever.”” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Sometimes I read Scripture and it sounds like today. We live in the most prosperous nation on earth during the most prosperous time in history. The poor of this generation are certainly in a pitiable state, but their poverty does not compare to the poverty of generations past. Common citizens amass wealth greater than ancient kings or civilizations could imagine. In a few short hours I can be on the other side of the world. In a few short seconds I can post a message available for the entire world.

We live in a bountiful time, yet it seems like a snare. I see people with the resources to buy happiness who discover all they can afford is a better class of misery. People don’t pay attention to facts. They choose facts to fit their current worldview. Their backs are bent forever bearing the weight of a fruitless pursuit.

In spite of all this, God is there.

Romans 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.”

Recognize the prison. Thank God for His mercy. Trust His Word. Follow His plan.

APPLICATION

Sacrifice is giving more than you think you can afford and trusting God to provide. It’s giving up something you love for something you love even more. What ‘facts’ do I believe about myself or my world that aren’t really facts at all, but the walls that imprison my thinking and keep me bound to old habits that break my spirit and cause me to stumble? Am I willing to give those ‘facts’ up and trust God to provide or do I love the comfort of what I think I know more than the reality God has revealed for those who believe?

It’s time to examine what you think you know. It’s time to reconsider your standard of success. Romans 11:29, 32 & 36 say it all. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. He has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone. For of him and to him and through him are all things to whom be the glory for every. AMEN.

Get the facts straight and trust him.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thanks for moving heaven and earth – not simply to save me, but to convince me. Thanks that your gifts and calling are irrevocable. thank you for imprisoning everyone in disobedience so that you could have mercy on everyone – even me. Today, help me examine the ‘facts’ through your word. Give me the wisdom, discernment and understanding to know right from wrong, truth from error. Give me the courage and strength to choose right. I surrender all that I am, all that I have and all I ever will be.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Good is Not Enough

be goodHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 10

SCRIPTURE

Romans 10:1-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Paul expresses the same heart for the people of his nation that I have for the people of mine. I wish they would ‘get it’. I’m surrounded by passionate, committed and capable people. Our nation is filled with smart people, many who try daily to live a good life. They actively try to create more value than they consume. They are enthusiastic but with misdirected zeal. They misunderstand God’s way of making people right with himself. They refuse to accept God’s way. They cling to their own good and reject the work Christ has already accomplished for them.

APPLICATION

What do people see of the work of Christ in me? Do the people around me hear my good intentions, see my good works, experience my good deeds and assume all this happens because I’m a good guy? Or do they understand there’s more to me than meets the eye? How will they know. It’s good to be good. Everyone wants to be liked and feel good about the choices they make. Good is good.

Through the power of Christ we can be so much more. We can be godly.

Good is not enough. Good is average. It’s normal. It’s mundane. Is that what you really want? It’s really worse than that. Good is satisfying. It’s anesthetizing. It makes you feel like you’re all right. Until things get so bad you realize things aren’t really all right. Then you’re left wondering what went wrong. We were good. It was good. But it never moved beyond that.

Good is not enough.

God wants to do something in you and through you that can’t be explained because of you. It’s bigger than that – God want’s to do something in you and through you that you will NEVER be able to accomplish on your own. He wants to move you past good to make you godly.

Sincerity won’t get you there. Practice won’t help you overcome. All the education, information and inspiration in the world could double every second and still we’ll never go beyond good on our own. That takes something more. It takes the power of Christ in us.

This statement affects our life and our afterlife. It’s not just about heaven. It’s about the hear and now. Stop trying so hard to be good. Don’t settle for average. Trust Christ, follow him and discover the grace, mercy and power of life the way God intended.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thanks for surrounding me with good people. Thanks for allowing me to do good things. But I pray that we would go beyond that. Show us what it means to be godly. Give me the wisdom, courage, and strength to trust and obey you. I pray that my life would be unexplainable apart from you. I pray that my life would encourage others to be dissatisfied with good. Give me and those I influence a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Help me show people the value and reality of faith in Jesus Christ. Deepen the faith of our nation. Thank you for already completing, through Jesus, everything we need for life and godliness. Do something in me and through me that can’t be explained because of me.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Controversy

calvinHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 9

SCRIPTURE

Romans 9:30-33, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

There are a few passages in the Bible that cause arguments. This chapter is one of them. We can run headlong into a theological conversation about the differences between Calvinism and Armenianism. We could debate the philosophical question of what it means that God, “…loved Jacob, but hated Esau…” We could even get into a moral argument over the fairness or justice of God showing mercy to some while hardening others. Discussions about Romans 9 are about as old as the chapter itself. In a devotional space like this I wouldn’t likely persuade or convince anyone to shift their opinion.

Instead I’ll focus on another principle found in this passage that often goes unnoticed. We use this passage to debate the ‘exclusivity‘ of salvation, “…Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated…”, “…some he hardens and on some he shows mercy…” But what we often miss is God’s message of ‘inclusivity‘ found in this passage.

Romans is Paul’s history of salvation. He defines where salvation comes from, why everyone needs it, who’s eligible and how we receive it. It’s a message that came through the Jews but affects the entire world. Romans 9 is the shifting point. It’s the place where Paul clearly states that this message of salvation isn’t limited to the Jews. It’s for Gentiles too. It’s for EVERYONE!

The Jews were chosen by God to deliver the message and the messenger. But now Jews and Gentiles alike are chosen to be the object of that salvation message. Those who were not his people, have become children of God. Those who did not seek after God have become God seekers.

APPLICATION

It seems an unusual contradiction. There are some who try hard to win God’s favor. They sincerely seek spiritual truth, but they miss the mark. They look in the wrong places. They look to themselves or the seemingly wise rules of this world. Like Rich Mullins once sang, “They said boy you just follow your heart, but my heart just led me into my chest. They said follow your nose, but the direction changed every time I went and turned my head. And they said boy you just follow your dreams, but my dreams were only misty notions…”

Some are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.

Then there are those who find it. They may not even be looking. They stumble upon the grace of God and receive more than they ever imagined.

Isn’t it interesting that the end of this passage speaks of the Jews stumbling into offense? It’s almost as if some stumble into the rock of offense while others stumble onto the rock of salvation. Either way the picture is clear. Salvation is not of my making. It’s something God does in me, through me and even in spite of me.

The implications here aren’t about how I evaluate the spiritual life of others. This passage isn’t here to cause me to look into your life and ask, “Are you in or are you out?” The purpose of the passage is self evaluation. Where do I stand with God? Am I trying to earn my way in? Am I trying win his favor through cheap parlor tricks and petty games? Am I sincere? Am I sincerely wrong?

Where do I stand in my relationship with God? Is it about the things I do or the faith I have? How would I know the difference?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving me in spite of me. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you that you chose to make the way for my salvation, that even though I’m not the ‘right kind of people’, by your lovingkindness I have been remade into the ‘right kind of person’. I pray that my appreciation for that and my love for you would never grow cold. Allow me to draw nearer to you today than I was yesterday. Allow me to demonstrate your great love to others. Let my life paint a picture for others that would cause them to see you. You have saved me. That is something you’ve done in me and through me that can’t be explained because of me. Complete that work, and, like Psalm 126:3, let people stop and take note, “The Lord has done great things for me.”

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Love Wins

what-i-knowHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 8

SCRIPTURE

Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

What do you know? No really. Stop and think about it. What do you really know…for sure…without question, beyond all reasonable doubt, with no variation or shadow of turning, with unswerving confidence, unshakable faith, undeniable certainty?

There’s so much more to this chapter than one simple reading will uncover. What captured my attention today were three little words.

“…I am persuaded…”

Paul was persuaded and so am I. Nothing can separate us from the love God.

When I was kid I played this game with my friends. Who am I kidding? I still play this game with my own kids. Want to play? In a fight, who would win? Batman or Superman? The Incredible Hulk or Thor? Iron Man or Spiderman? Star Wars or Star Trek? This game doesn’t hold a candle to the truth declared in these few simple verses. In the fight you face today who will win death or the love of God; angels or the love of God; principalities and powers or the love of God; things present, things to come or the love of God; height, width, depth, any other created thing or the love of God?

Paul was persuaded and so am I. Love wins.

APPLICATION

Today my application is less about what I do and more about what I know. I am persuaded…for sure. I’ll express what I know using the lyrics to a favorite song.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Whatever you face today – love wins.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Free

freeHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 7

SCRIPTURE

Romans 7:14-23, “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Whether you believe the Bible or not this is a passage on which we all agree. There are times we all do things we know we shouldn’t. We know what’s right, but we choose what’s wrong. We know it’s bad for us, but we choose to do it anyway. Paul puts this in the context of the Hebrew Law. You may not. But you still know it’s true. Maybe your standard is what’s legal in our nation. Maybe you live by some kind of personal moral code. Perhaps for you it’s simply your built in sense of obligation, I ought to do this, not that. Whatever the case, we’ve all been there. We know within us what’s right and willfully choose to do the other thing.

Paul offers a reason for this. Sin lives in us. Not ‘sin’ the verb. ‘Sin’ the noun. Like ‘cancer’ the noun causes all kinds of problems in our physical body ‘sin’ the noun causes all kinds of problems in our relationship with God, one another and within our soul.

Overcoming this sin isn’t as simple as turning over a new leaf. When we do that we just find old dirt. It’s more involved than making right choices. Again like cancer, diet and exercise won’t make the cancer go away. Simply ‘choosing’ a healthy lifestyle won’t fix the broken cells. It takes something radical to remove cancer from the body. And it takes something radical for sin to be removed from our life.

Paul gives us this answer too. Romans 7:24-25, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Jesus Christ is the antidote. He removes the sin in our life and replaces with his righteousness. Once sin is removed we have the power to make choices that aren’t sin-induced. The good things we want to do can become the good things we actually do and the bad things we want to avoid we actually successfully avoid.

It’s not about my will power, but about the power of Christ in me.

APPLICATION

The sin in my life has been dealt with by Jesus Christ. I am forgiven. I don’t have to live by the worlds rules anymore. Today, I will choose right. I will overcome temptation. I will do the right thing. I will avoid the wrong thing. I will look for opportunities to encourage others. I will forgive those who have wronged me. I will ask forgiveness from those I have wronged. I can do all these things, not because of my own will power, but because of the work of Christ in me. I’m free, so I can. Like a cancer survivor I can live my life to the fullest. Jesus has removed my sin and given me life.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for removing sin from my life and replacing it with your righteousness. Thank you that you have made me just as if I had never sinned. Today, remove me from temptation. Give me the wisdom to recognize the right path, the discernment to recognize the wrong path and the judgement and courage to choose wisely.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?

Life Without Rules

rulesI apologize – I wrote this yesterday, but it didn’t get posted!

Here’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 6

SCRIPTURE

Romans 6:12-14, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (NLT)

Romans 6:16, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Try as we might we live in a world that has rules. We may walk around with our head in the clouds, but gravity’s grip keeps us down to earth. Parents give us curfews. The government requires taxes. We fight and struggle. We plot and connive to get away with as much as possible. We push the limits of the law and try to use every rule to our greatest advantage. Sometimes we find loopholes. Sometimes we ignore the written rule and hope no one will notice. I know the speed limit is 65, but they won’t pull me over if I cruise around 70. We walk the line.

These verses remind me of Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

You would think my choice is to either live by the rules or spend my life trying to find a way around them. But God offers a third option. A better option. There is a way to live without rules. It can be summed up in two words, “Follow me.”

Go where He goes. Do what He does. Say what He said. Instead of your every choice being used as an instrument of sin, an instrument that causes pain, grief, sorrow and guilt your life can be something different. You can choose to obey God which leads to life. In other words, you don’t have to live by the worlds rules anymore.

APPLICATION

As a Believer in Jesus Christ I’ve been set free from the Law of Sin and Death. I now live under the Law of Liberty which says, “I’m free…so I can.” I’m free, so I can experience real love and give real love. I’m free to find joy. I’m free know peace. I’m free from the anxiety of needing resolution to every minor challenge right now, that’s patience – and the list goes on.

Today, I will try to recognize that I don’t have to live by the world’s rules anymore. It’s not that I’m above the rules. It’s that when I follow God the rules aren’t an issue.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

There’s no way I could ever live up to the rules. I’ve broken most of them either accidentally or on purpose. Those I haven’t willfully broken through my choices I’ve dreamed of breaking in my heart. I’m guilty. Thank you for the forgiveness you’ve given me through your son. Thank you for restoring our relationship and making things right. Thank you that I don’t have to live by the world’s rules anymore. Give me the wisdom and insight to follow you. Help me to know your will, follow your way and live my life as an instrument of grace.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?

One Right Thing

Here’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 5

SCRIPTURE

RomansRomans 5:18-19, “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. (NLT)”

OBSERVATION

For the past 4 chapters Paul has shown us the history of salvation. He’s made it clear that we all have a problem. That problem is sin. Sin is our disobedience to God.

  • We are sinners by nature – which means sin is built in. It’s like our DNA. We’re born with a condition that ultimately leads to our physical and spiritual death. From birth our relationship with God is broken. What caused this condition? It started with Adam. He made one wrong choice. He and Eve chose to ignore God’s Word and eat from the one tree in all the world they were told to leave alone. One wrong choice and everyone throughout history is infected with a fatal condition. But let’s not place all the blame on Adam. You would have taken a bite yourself.
  • We are sinners by choice – We don’t simply sin because of a pre-existing condition. Be honest. We sin because we like it. We like doing things our own way. We don’t like being told what to do. We enjoy getting rowdy every now and then. It’s fun to see how far we can push things before they get ‘really’ bad. We’re not looking to hurt ourselves or anyone else. We’re just looking for a good time or the freedom to do what we want, when we want, the way we want.

It’s often the word ‘JUST’ that takes us the wrong way. It’s ‘just’ one drink. It’s ‘just’ one look. I ‘just’ flirted a little. It’s ‘just’ one bill I can’t really afford. I ‘just’ lost my temper once or twice with my kids. ‘JUST’ is a little word that gets us in BIG trouble. We ‘just’ take one step that leads to another and then another. Adam ‘just’ took one bite. We ‘just’ take one step and one day turn around to find we’ve cheated on our spouse, become overwhelmed with debt, ruined our relationship with our kids or wrecked our relationships with friends.

How can we break this cycle of sin?

We can’t.

But God can. That’s what Romans 5 is all about. Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)”

Jesus Christ gave his life to overcome the infection that’s killing us all. He came to restore our relationship with God. He made one right choice, one right choice after another. Adam’s bad choice, your bad choices, can be forgiven because of what Jesus did for you and me. The question is whether or not you will believe.

APPLICATION

This passage is so rich in truth, the depth of God’s love so clearly expressed. His gift is too great, his work too wonderful for me to fully appreciate. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for the life he has given me. It’s a life that has come with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I am blessed and it all began with one right choice. Not my choice, the choice of Jesus, the choice of Jesus to live his life God’s way and trade his life for mine.

Today, out of gratitude for the life he’s given, I will try to make one right choice, one right choice after another. I won’t try to make right choices in order to earn his favor, but because I already have it. Every time I’m tempted to say, “It’s ‘just’ one…”, I will pause to consider where this one wrong choice will lead and remember the one right choice Christ made for me.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending your son, Jesus. Thank you for loving me in spite of me. Thank you for making a way for our relationship to be restored. Thank you for overcoming the sin nature in me and replacing it with your Spirit. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to overcome temptation. Today, out of gratitude to you, help me make one right choice after another. Fill me with your Spirit and the fruit of your Spirit. Remove my appetite for sin and replace it with a hunger and thirst for righteousness.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?