I posted yesterday that I’m moving on with my Bible reading, and using my Bible Jar to let God direct my reading. His pick? Ezekiel!
Ezekiel AGAIN, I should say!
This is my SECOND time reading Ezekiel in three months’ time. Believe me, left to my own devices, I would not have picked this book to read even once, let alone TWO times, but I’m sure there is a message in there for me somewhere; one especially relevant to where I am in my faith journey right now. I suspect it has to do with speaking boldly about the other side of grace. You know it, right? That side of grace that is not gold-plated or fun to experience, or anything we could call human success.
THE OTHER SIDE OF GRACE
The other side of grace is punishment, and while we might do all we can to mitigate it or down right avoid it, the truth is that there are things to learn in the wood shed we cannot learn anywhere else. Valuable things. Timely things. God-things!
I will be sharing some of my impressions from the book of Ezekiel once I’ve gotten into it a little further. For now, I want to share some of what struck me as important as I read through Romans, the last book of the Bible God directed me to read.
I LOVE/HATE PAUL’S EPISTLES
I love Romans. I love Acts. I love/hate the Apostle Paul’s writings!
I love how Paul says what he thinks—exactly what he thinks–but I hate that he seems like a chauvinist sometimes. I can say that here, because this is my blog, and it’s how I’ve honestly felt in the past when reading Paul’s work. Today, I’m okay with who he was and what he wrote, because I can see what he says in greater context and so I don’t get so offended as I once did. I don’t have time for all the drama involved in fighting Paul on the subject of women and how he chooses to address them in Scripture. His opinions are his (and sometimes God’s), and I’m okay with Paul being Paul at this juncture in life. Why not? We all add something different to the faith recipe, right? And Paul has added a lot of spice, so I’m more likely to applaud him than dis him these days.
BUT I DIGRESS
What I really wanted to share here today is my thoughts, my significant thoughts, on the book of Romans. Here goes. I think…
Sin is awful and uncontrollable in/by us, but thankfully Jesus can handle it.
Anyone absorbed in self, ignores God.
Ignoring God causes a hobbling in my spirit, even as it displeases him. A lose/lose proposition.
We need to give our old life a decent burial, and get on with the adventure!
Mercy is God’s thing! He grants grace to us, and not the other way ‘round.
God sets everything right between Him and us when we 1. Call upon Him for help. 2. Trust in Him to provide help. 3. Release and relinquish those things we’d previously been holding on to that get between God and us. 4. Practice intimacy with Him.
God will not walk away from Israel, even though she walks away from Him. There still exists a fierce minority in Israel that trusts God, and they will be the agents of peace that partner with God when the broken olive branch (broke through disobedience), gets grafted back in. If their break meant a grafting for the Gentiles, just imagine what their being grafted back onto the trunk [God], will mean for the world. An explosion of power unseen before!
Placing your everyday life in God’s hands makes it possible for amazing things to happen in your life.
We should run from evil as fast as we can.
We don’t bring goodness to God, that He should be grateful to us. He brings it to us—and we SHOULD be grateful to Him!
We serve God best when we do so authentically.
Problems with being authentic begin with human pride, and are not the work of God.
We need to practice being second fiddle until we get really, really good at it!
[side note: a friend recently said something to the effect of, “I love people who race others to get to the bottom of the pile.” I think she’s onto something there. God first, others next, us last—always.]
Others need to be loved by us as well as we love ourselves.
It profits us nothing to be greedy—we will all kneel at the same place and time in the end.
Welcome those who don’t see things as you do, and don’t let something as temporary as food divide you.
If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you teach, then the way you’re living (or teaching), is wrong.
Jesus took on the troubles of the troubled, and stayed true to God’s purpose. Do likewise.
Hospitality is important, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Love on others, complimenting those who deserve it [and I would add, need it].
What is your favorite passage from Romans? Why do you love it so??