Archive for August 2013

Romans 11:7-12

I changed the oil in both my vehicles today. The van went super smoothly. The car beginning and end went super well, but in the middle I ran into a colossal snag. I couldn’t find the oil filter. I have changed it many times before, but I could not remember where it was. I—really—couldn’t—find—it. I looked and looked. I had my son help me. I took a break and ate dinner then came back. I called a friend with a similar car and asked for a consult…no dice. Oil filters are not hard to find, but…I was finally forced to watch a YouTube video to locate the thing. Read more ...

Published on August 1, 2013 at 2:59 am |

Romans 11:13-15

I am programming my children to do certain things just like my father programmed me. One of the things which my father trained me to do (and I have passed on) is to pick up trash. “What trash?” you might ask…any trash. My dad randomly picks up trash wherever he goes. “Leave the place cleaner than you found it” [to be read in a Marine Corps drill sergeant bellow]. So, I pick up trash, and my kids do too. If I step over a piece of trash, I will feel guilty (not even joking a tiny bit), and I will almost certainly go back and pick it up.Read more ...

Published on August 2, 2013 at 3:08 am |

Romans 11:16-21

Have you ever heard someone brag about something that has nothing to do with them? The classic example is professional sports. Lots of us who love sports say stupid things like, “Yeah, we won. We are going all the way this year.” Really, champ? When did you make the team? Read more ...

Published on August 6, 2013 at 2:15 am |

Romans 11:22-23


My father has a cane. He has had it for years. He does not use a cane; it is a memento.Read more ...

Published on August 7, 2013 at 3:05 am |

Romans 11:24-26

 My dad recently cut down our family plum tree. We harvested many plums from that tree over the years. The tree was originally a cutting from our neighbor’s tree. Our next-door-neighbor is a plant wizard. Quite a few years ago she talked my dad (not a renowned arborist) through the  planting of this tiny shoot. This little sprig grew into a big tree, grew old, and eventually died, but it started as little more than a twig stripped off a bigger tree.Read more ...

Published on August 8, 2013 at 2:31 am |

Romans 11:27-31

When I was growing up, we had daily chores. One of the chores was unloading the dishwasher. Once when my sister was unloading the dishwasher, I was pestering her. She happened to have a large knife in her hand. She waved it at me and said, “You better leave me alone.” Now, at no time did I feel threatened. I knew that she just happened to have the knife in her hand, but I still went running to Mom. I told Mom, “Heidi said I better leave her alone and she waved a big knife at me.” Mom asked Heidi if that was true. Heidi said, “Well, yes, but…” Too late, her doom was sealed.Read more ...

Published on August 9, 2013 at 2:57 am |

Romans 11:32

Few people would ever consider imprisonment, slavery, or bondage to be a blessing. But that is what this passage teaches. This verse says that God consigned all those He had chosen to disobedience. When we hear “consignment,” most of us think of second-hand clothes, but that word means to send or hand over. So, God handed us over to disobedience? Actually, yes. A similar verse in Galatians 3:22 says “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” Now the Greek word translated “consigned” in our passage is the same word translated “imprisoned” in this verse.
God imprisoned us under disobedience to demonstrate our need for Him. Resistance is futile, but surrender brings mercy and kindness.
Romand 11:32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Published on August 13, 2013 at 3:40 am |

Romans 11:33-36

Have you ever been completely outclassed in something? I am a very good ping pong player. A few years ago I was at a Thanksgiving dinner with some family and friends. After dinner a few of us gathered around the table to test our mettle. I had no reason to think I would not emerge victorious…I was wrong. One dinner guest sauntered out to the table and asked if he could play—imagine an elderly Bill Nye the Science guy. I agreed, already considering my next competitor. Then, things went south for me. This fellow pulled out a custom racquet case which (no exaggeration or joking) opened with a pneumatic hiss. His case was pressure sealed to protect his paddle. He then wielded that paddle with crushing proficiency. I have never been manhandled in any athletic outing that badly. I knew he was my master…and then some.Read more ...

Published on August 14, 2013 at 4:10 am |

Romans 12:1

When you made a sacrifice in Old Testament times, the sacrifice was no longer “useful.” If the sacrifice was an animal, it was killed. If it were fruit or vegetables, they were picked. If it were a drink offering, it was poured out. Here, though, Paul calls on us to be living sacrifices. Our effectiveness for ministry is ongoing. Based on the greatness of Jesus (as described in 11:33-36) our response should be one of humble worship and service. Read more ...

Published on August 15, 2013 at 1:32 am |

Romans 12:2

Our lives should be lived purposefully. We cannot take on the shape of our world. Paul uses a word that means something like to be pressed into a mold. He says do not be molded by your surroundings so that at the end of the day you end up just like everybody else. No, you live purposefully. You allow your mind to be changed by the truth of God’s Word. Paul uses a word (transformed) which means metamorphosis. The type of change that is seen when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly is the type of change you should experience. Read more ...

Published on August 16, 2013 at 3:13 am |

Romans 12:3-5

My wife and I love the show “Get Out Alive” with Bear Grylls. It is a reality show about a large group broken into two person teams seeing who can make it through different intense survival challenges. In the most recent episode one of the challenges was that one team member had to go down into a crevasse to retrieve some food. It was a harrowing, slippery climb. The guy who volunteered to go had recently badly injured his knee, and he has really been struggling. Though he ultimately accomplished the task, it took him a long time; he really struggled. When asked about it, he said that he really wanted to prove to himself that he could do it. He put the whole team at risk and wasted valuable time for his own personal satisfaction.Read more ...

Published on August 20, 2013 at 3:19 am |

Romans 12:6-9

If you are a true believer, if you are a Christian, you are gifted by God for service. God has equipped you in some way to be a help and a blessing to other people. Paul says essentially, “Get on with it.” Quit wasting your time and ability.Read more ...

Published on August 21, 2013 at 2:47 am |

Romans 12:10-11

As a parent you love to see yourself in your children. I personally do not especially care if my children physically look like me, but I love to see characteristics of myself and my wife in my children. One of the things which makes me burst with pride is their competitiveness. Everything is likely to become a contest. A walk to the car will have a sideways glance, a quickening of the step…and then sprinting. I have seen my children nearly gagging on their food because they are trying to be the first one done. Are you competitive? Do you get competitive about random things? Does God want you to be competitive? Well…
Read more ...

Published on August 22, 2013 at 3:00 am |

Romans 12:12-13

The other day I saw a guy wearing a shirt which was a checklist of his life’s ambitions. It had only two items—both were checked. They were “become a software engineer,” and “become a ninja.” Now, unrelated to this passage, I think that if he had actually achieved ninjahood, I should not have been able to see him. Nevertheless, the point is that apparently he had definite goals. Read more ...

Published on August 26, 2013 at 2:59 am |

Romans 12:14-18

One of my duties at work is to write performance reviews for the associates whom I manage. One of the categories which I rate and upon which I comment is the associate’s ability to get along well with others. This recently made me laugh because when my daughter got her report card, that was one of the categories as well.
Now, you may run the gamut as your emotions run up against those of the people around you, but as a Christian you should be marked by a significant amount of control. Read more ...

Published on August 27, 2013 at 3:25 am |

Romans 12:19-21

Much of who I am as a man, or at least who I aspire to be as a man, was shaped by the writings of Louis L’Amour. If you are unfamiliar with his writings, he mostly wrote westerns. These were stories of cowboys and lawmen, gunfighters and ranchers. Every character survived through toughness, daring, and an unwillingness to be taken advantage of. If someone stole your horse, you fought. If someone encroached on your land, you fought. If someone insulted your wife, mother, or sister, you fought. That mindset makes a lot of sense to me.Read more ...

Published on August 28, 2013 at 3:17 am |

Romans 13:1-2

There is an interesting conversation for Christians concerning our role in politics. America is set up so that there is no aristocracy. Theoretically, anyone can run for office and represent his local, state. or national constituency. As a believer we each have to decide how much we want to be involved. Has God called you to serve Him through politics? Perhaps He has. 

There are a few guiding principles, though, which we should remember to help guide our views, conversations, FaceBook posts, etc. First, we are called upon to respect our civic leaders even if we do not agree. Peter says that we are supposed to use our freedom in Christ to (among other things) honor our leaders.   

1 Peter 2:16-17   Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Second, our God is sovereign. He uses current events to further His causes and purposes. You might think a local, state, or national legislative decision is idiotic and un-American, but remember that God was not surprised by it.

Proverbs 21:1  The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

Third, God directly calls upon you to submit to your authorities. In our passage it says that the authority over you was ordained by God. If you fight the authorities, you are fighting God’s plan. 
So, the next time you prepare a FaceBook post about how a particular politician is an idiot, ask yourself if you are about to insult God’s plan.  

Romans 13:1-2  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Published on August 29, 2013 at 2:29 am |

Romans 13:3-5

Today, I got called to the office. Now, I occasionally get called to the office to help with a project or to complete some task, but the call is normally issued by one of my bosses. Today, the call came from the girl in accounting. As I walked back to the office, I had an entire conversation with myself—“What did you do?” “Nothing, I swear!” You had to have made a mistake” No, I am always super careful about money. I have not messed anything up.” Dude, this is bad.” No, it’s not—I am always cautious and precise.” When I got back to the office, she asked me if I would please unlock the office—she needed to get something.Read more ...

Published on August 30, 2013 at 2:46 am |

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