Romans 14. Never Be Without Love.

Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.

You may listen to today’s devotional blog by clicking the link above.

Romans 14.

Paul is such a great orator, even with his pen.  He gives multiple sides of a situation, then brings the final decision to the place that lines up with the Scriptures. Eat this or that. Take this day for a sabbath or that one. Don’t judge your brother. Don’t be condescending to your sister. For, in the end, we will each stand before God. HE is God! He’s got this. He is worthy to be worshipped!

Here’s the passage of his conclusion, from the prophet Isaiah:

God, Creator of the heavens— he is, remember, God. Maker of earth— he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch. He didn’t go to all that trouble to just leave it empty, nothing in it. He made it to be lived in. This God says: “I am God, the one and only. I don’t just talk to myself or mumble under my breath. I never told Jacob, ‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’ I am God. I work out in the open, saying what’s right, setting things right. So gather around, come on in, all you refugees and castoffs. They don’t seem to know much, do they— those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood, praying for help to a dead stick? So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence. Put your heads together. Make your case. Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here? Who made sense of things for you? Wasn’t I the one? God? It had to be me. I’m the only God there is— The only God who does things right and knows how to help. So turn to me and be helped—saved!— everyone, whoever and wherever you are. I am God, the only God there is, the one and only. I promise in my own name: Every word out of my mouth does what it says. I never take back what I say. Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me. Everyone is going to end up saying of me, ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’” All who have raged against him will be brought before him, disgraced by their unbelief. And all who are connected with Israel will have a robust, praising, good life in God! (Isaiah 45:18‭-‬24, MSG). For more on Isaiah 45, go here.

Three times in Matthew 6, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV). Sarah Young’s interpretation of Jesus’ words, from Jesus Calling: “You need not fear the future for I am already there.” Wow! Such a powerful promise!

God is God. We need not worry. But you say, “I’m sick.” Or “I lost my job.” Or “My marriage is a wreck.” Or… I will say it again, as Paul did. God is God. Turn to him and be helped.

As you do, be sure to do so with love. In another letter The Missionary says it like this:  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  (Colossians 3:12‭-‬14, MSG).

The way we live is to be consistent with what we believe.

Just like in Romans 13, Paul continues to encourage love over all else. Many in that day were holding up their good works, like worshipping on a special day or eating kosher, in a higher place than love. He urges us all the way we live is to be consistent with what we believe. If we believe in grace, have accepted Jesus’ grace, we are to offer His grace.

God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you. (Romans 14:17‭-‬18, MSG).

Love others with His love today. Never be without love.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 45. Every Knee Will Bow.

Everyone will bow to Jesus, who walked along this shoreline of the Sea of Galilee.

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 45.

This chapter opens with what some commentators suggest is a continuation of the last verse of chapter 44. We see that someone named Cyrus is called His anointed. And we ask, “Is he talking about King Cyrus or maybe Jesus? Most agree this is a prophecy about King Cyrus, written 150 years before Cyrus led the Jews out of captivity and even helped them build the temple in Jerusalem! How did Isaiah know?

Then the prophet pivots to again using “I Am” statements. Four of those are “I Am the LORD, and there is no other.” You think he repeats it four times for emphasis?

Nothing is more important in our lives than our relationship with God through Jesus. He alone will sustain and provide. He alone is our joy! And, like God used Cyrus, He uses all kinds of things and people and circumstances to meet our needs and bring us peace and joy!

Key to those who live in Israel today and are waiting for Messiah: “But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced to ages everlasting.” (v 17, NIV).

And then there is this celebratory conclusion:

“Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’ …All the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the LORD and will make their boast in him. (v 23-25, NIV).

See why the words of Isaiah are so important to Israel?! The people of The Land will find their salvation, their deliverance, their strength in God alone! And, because there is only One True God, their salvation will also be found only in Jesus from Galilee!

If you’re new to this journey through Isaiah, you can start here.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 18

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 18.

Woe to Ethiopia. This is getting interesting, isn’t it? If you’re following along you’ll note that Isaiah is drawing this circle of countries of woe around Israel. It was Damascus to the north yesterday. Moab to the east earlier. In this chapter it is Ethiopia to the south.

As a part of God’s judgement, “The nation will be food for mountain buzzards during the summer and for wild animals during the winter.” (v6, CEV).

But then…

“Those Ethiopians are tall and their skin is smooth. They are feared all over the world, because they are strong and brutal. But at that time they will come from their land divided by rivers, and they will bring gifts to the Lord All-Powerful, who is worshiped on Mount Zion.” (v7, CEV).

The Ethiopians will bring gifts to the LORD! This may be a prophesy of one of the Magi who brings a gift to newborn Messiah in Matthew 2.  Isaiah is also saying that everyone will worship God on Mt. Zion. Those from Ethiopia and Moab and Assyria. And people from the USA and Japan and Sweden and Russia and Nigeria and… You see, ultimately, every knee will bow before God, the LORD, Yahweh, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Messiah (Isaiah 45, Romans 14 and Philippians 2)! Yes, every nation! Every people group!

“I invite the whole world to turn to me and be saved.  I alone am God! No others are real. I have made a solemn promise, one that won’t be broken: Everyone will bow down and worship me.” Isaiah 45:22-23 (CEV).

Join me in worshiping God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit today.


(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.