Paul’s longing to visit Rome

I was reading Romans 1:11-13 the other day. Here is the text…

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”

This passage talks about Paul’s longing or deep desire to visit Rome and meet with the Christians there. Bible scholars tell us that up until this point Paul had not been to Rome. He tells them that he eagerly wanted to encourage the people there and impart spiritual gifts to them.

In this passage we also see that Paul had been prevented from attending Rome in person. Some commentators say he was prevented by God’s sovereign hand guiding him, while others say it was because of his work in other places amongst the Gentiles.

Regardless of why Paul could not visit Rome, the thing I find interesting is that his desire to visit and his being prevented from doing so, meant that he penned what we know now as the Book of Romans.

Centuries later the Book of Romans is one of the great explanations of the Christian faith. It talks about sin, our inability to save ourselves, Christ’s death on the cross for sin, salvation through faith in Christ, having peace with God and being a living sacrifice for God. It is a priceless work.

So how does this related to us today? In my own life I have had times when I have been prevented from doing things I wanted to do. Sometimes the delays that have taken place, have caused me to do others things that have been very successful and advanced the Kingdom of God. God used the delay to focus my mind on other good things.

So today if you are waiting for something to take place of if you are being delayed, don’t worry. God may be using you to other things that are very valuable for His Kingdom. It may not be like writing the Book of Romans, but it might be something very important too!

God Bless,

Dave

 

About the Bible

I thought this was good from today’s Word for Today. It talks about the Bible…

“An anonymous author has written [about the Bible]: ‘It contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the fate of sinners, and the happiness of believers. It is a light to direct you, food to nourish you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s road map, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s weapon, and the player’s game plan. It’s a mine of incredible wealth, and a river of genuine joy. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Christ is its grand subject, your good its design, and the glory of God its end. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be spiritually healthy. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully. Let it fill your memory, rule your heart, and guide your steps. It is given to you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered for ever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and judge those who trifle with its sacred contents.”

Opposition is not always opposition

Sometimes when we are making changes or stepping out in to new things we face opposition. It might come from authorities, people we know or the Devil.

Opposition to any changes we are making can be very frustrating, especially when we think we are moving forward in God’s will for our lives or our ministry.

One easy trap to fall into is that all opposition or delays are actually the Devil trying to thwart our plans. This is part of his job description, but he might not always the one behind the delays or problems.

It is wise to pray and ask God what is happening in the situation. We need to remember that we make our plans, but the Lord is the one who orders our steps (Proverbs 16:9, 20:24).

When stepping out in faith we must not give the Devil too much credit or assume it is always him, it may actually be God placing our feet in the footsteps He prepared for us beforehand.

In our own life my wife and I have experienced many situations where we thought it was opposition from the Devil trying to derail our plans, only to find out a few months later it was God ordering our steps.

Sometimes God was growing our faith in Him, we needed to be stretched or other things needed to be done before our next step could take place. Often hindsight was the only way to see things more clearly.

Remember: God’s timing is always perfect, He is always with us working on our behalf and don’t give the Devil too much credit. Opposition is not always opposition!

God Bless,

Dave

Fools and foolishness

I have been reflecting on Psalm 14:1 this week. It says, “A fool says in their heart there is no God…”. As I have been thinking about this I have also been thinking about some other foolish behaviours.

Here are a few of the ones I have been thinking about. If you hover over the Bible reference (on my website) you will be able to read the verse…

1. A fool denies God’s existence – Psalm 14:1

2. A fool trusts in themselves only – Proverbs 28:26

3. A fool has no desire to get wisdom – Proverbs 1:7

4. A fool does not like discipline or correction – Proverbs 15:5

5. A fool finds pleasure in doing evil things – Proverbs 10:23

6. A fool is a rebellious person – Psalm 107:17

7. A fool loves to quarrel and argue with others – Proverbs 20:3

8. A fool does not keep his temper under control – Proverbs 29:11

These are only a few of the Bible verses that describe foolish behaviour, there are many more.

As I have reflected on this topic it is easy to see that being wise is about believing God exists, trusting in Him, following His ways, and being controlled in all we do.

Let’s purpose in our hearts today to be wise and honour God and His ways in all we do.

God Bless,

Dave

 

Quick to listen, slow to speak

I was talking with some friends yesterday about areas we have grown in over the last five years. One of the key areas that jumped out at me personally is that I have slowed down and learned to listen to people more intently.

I have found that when we listen, really listen (see post on this topic) we pick up a lot more of the visual cues that people send as they speak. It might be body language, tone changes in their voice or it might be emotions when they talk about something particular. When we really listen we pick up on these a lot easier.

My bad habit was to think about what I wanted to say to the person as we talked. Rather than focussed listening, it was more about saying my piece. Often it would be to share my experience in their situation, offer wonderful counsel/advice, or amaze people with my amazing Bible wisdom. In short it was about me and my pride. It was not about helping them 😦

One of the keys for correcting this bad listening was to read in the Bible about how much God speaks about listening. There are so many verses that talk about being quick to listen and slow to speak, bringing a right word in season, and where there are many words sin is not absent. It even says those who hold their tongue are wise!

Listening really is something we have to practice and get better at. If we start by slowing down and not thinking about what we are going to say in return, we are on the right track. We don’t always have to answer straight away and it is ok to leave silence in a conversation. Sometimes this space gives people time to process their thoughts and really share what they are needing to share.

God Bless,

Dave

Safe in the Shepherds hands

The last few days I have been reflecting on John 10:28-29. It says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Earlier is chapter 10 Jesus is referred to as the Great Shepherd and Jesus also talks to the Jews  about His sheep knowing Him and listening to His voice. This picture helps us to understand the above verses.

Jesus is the Great Shepherd who loving cares for His sheep – His followers. He provides safe pasture, protection and good food in the form of Kingdom teaching. As we walk with Jesus we can be assured that we are eternally safe in the palm of His hands. We can have peace in knowing He is the most powerful One in the universe.

In saying this we know as Christians that there are times in this life where we face all types of trials. We may have financial issues, relationship problems or serious health issues. This is because we live in a fallen world where Satan is always looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

However our souls are eternal and Jesus is eternal too. He holds us in the palm of His eternal hands. In our trials He lovingly cradles us like a parent holds a new born baby. In many ways it is like the image of Jesus holding a lamb above.

I love being a Christian and knowing I am kept in the eternal arms and hands of Jesus. I also love that no matter happens to me in this life it can not separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) and it all works for good because I love Him and am called according to His eternal purposes (Romans 8:28).

Today I want to encourage you that no matter what ever you face, that you are safely kept in the eternal arms and hands of the Great Shepherd.

God Bless,

Dave