August 30, 2011

Today you should read: Romans 1:18-32

Today’s passage is a rich one! It teaches us some significant truth and challenges us to our core.

As you read these verses, you see a four-step process away from God… a process that always ends in destruction.

STEP ONE: Suppress (v.18-20)

This process begins when we begin to suppress the truth we know –- truth about God, truth about ourselves, and truth about sin. This produces wickedness in us. God has made truth obvious to all mankind, even those who don’t yet know Jesus are without excuse. Even the man on the island knows innately there is a God.

STEP TWO: Deny (v.21-23)

The next step is an easy progression away from God: we begin to deny. They know there is a God (v.20), but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks (v.21) They begin to think up foolish ideas of what God is like. In other words, they create their own God! They claim to be wise but instead they worship themselves and their own made-up God rather than the true God. This hits close to home! How do we do this? How do we worship our version of God instead of God as He really is? How do we dress Him up in our made-up clothes? By doing so, we deny Him.

STEP THREE: Abandon (v.24-27)

The next step is an obvious one: after we SUPPRESS truth and begin in subtle ways to DENY God, we ABANDON Him. This is where things go south in a hurry! Sin is produced and we do unmentionable things, things we NEVER thought we were capable of. But, because sin is fun and addictive, we continue in them moving further and further from God. One time – becomes two – becomes ten – becomes…

STEP FOUR: Reap (v.28-32)

And that brings us to the horrible part of the process – the reaping. For many of us, that’s when we really see this process in others, but it’s been active for a while. God gives us many opportunities to get out before this.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

By now sin has a real bite and verses 29-31 starts to be your song…

This sounds a lot like what James describes as the process Temptation takes in James 1:13-15:

THINK a THOUGHT -> COMMIT the SIN -> SIN becomes a HABIT -> ENDS in DESTRUCTION

Time for evaluation…

Where are you in the process? Will you to let sin have your heart or are you willing to repent right where you are and give your heart back to God? If you do, get accountability… you can’t do it alone. Count on my prayers and let me know how I can help.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

August 29, 2011

Today you should read: Romans 1:1-17

The Gospel is never to be left behind…

“Ok Romans, here we come!” Our journey through the book of Romans begins today, and what a passage to begin with!!

The letter begins with Paul’s introduction. Paul, right away, qualifies himself as well as shares his purpose in life (v1). He basically says, “I was set apart, by Jesus, as the last ‘apostle’ to proclaim the message that you are about to hear!”

Paul goes further by proclaiming that “this gospel of God” was the thing that was promised all the way from the Old Testament. He shares that Jesus Christ was the promised, coming Messiah who was fully man and was the Son of God! (v. 2-4)

Paul then writes that his goal as an apostle is to bring about obedience of all people, which begins with the gospel and is for the purpose of…don’t miss this…for the purpose of, Jesus Christ’s glory!!! (v. 5-6).

In verses 8-13 Paul expresses his longing to visit Rome and have ministry among them as well as be encouraged by them.

And lastly in verses 14-17, Paul brings it home. These are powerful words!! Don’t miss this. In verse 14 he says that he is under obligation, by the command of Jesus Christ, to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles! Hey guess what…so are you.

In verses 16-17 (skipping verse 15 for a second) Paul writes some of the most famous words in the Bible. It is a warrior’s battle cry!! He says, “I am not ashamed! I am not scared! I’m not timid in front of my family, friends, or anyone else! I will share the gospel!” But he also shows why he is so eager to do so. It is because the gospel is the power of God to save sinners.

Finally, in verse 15 Paul says, to believers, that he is eager to bring the gospel to them!?!?! Why? They’re believers!!? Why do they need the gospel? Here’s why, because the gospel is what changes lives, not only for salvation, but for the rest of your life as well!! This is so important, and this is where I want to land today.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

The gospel is the good news that Christ died for sins. When we accept this truth, we are saved from the penalty of our sin, because Christ took the punishment for us. That is good news indeed!

But, the good news doesn’t stop there. After we are saved we will face temptations (most of the time without knowing it) to believe lies. We will believe that God’s opinion of us is based on what we do, how we act, how we’ve screwed up, how many quiet-times we’ve had, whether we’ve had a good week or not, etc. We base His opinions of us, and His love for us, on ever-changing subjective thoughts, feelings, and actions. We also allow our guilt and shame to cause us to believe lies. And we don’t even know we are doing it! All of a sudden an all-loving, fully-pleased, wrath-satisfied, and faithful God becomes a disappointed, distant, displeased, and impatient God who does nothing but shake his head in disappointment. Can you relate?

Well, here’s the truth. If you have repented of your sinful nature and put your faith in Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the Gospel applies to you. And God’s love for you is only conditional upon ONE THING, and that is Christ’s death on the cross. I know that this seems too good to be true. But you have to force yourself to believe truth. That is why it is such amazing grace! It is the gospel! The good news! And you need the truth of it every day! Never leave it behind! Christ said, “It is finished!” and indeed it is.

That’s why I believe Paul wanted to bring the Gospel to people who were already “saved.” Because the message never ceases to work in our lives and they needed it. Do you need the truth of the gospel today? Believe it.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

August 27, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 93

How do you pray each day? Do you use a list? A certain model of prayer? I have used the A-C-T-S method for a long time:

A – doration
C – onfession
T – hanksgiving
S – upplication (sharing your needs with God)

I have to admit that sometimes I struggle a bit to think of new things to praise God for in the Adoration phase. I know I shouldn’t – but I often find myself listing the very same things over and over.

Psalm 93 helps! It’s a Psalm of Adoration – listing a lot of great things about the Lord. So… let’s spend today adoring Him together – whatcha say?

Verse 1 – Praise God because He reigns, because He’s robed in majesty, armed with strength, and the world is established firm and secure through Him.
YOU TRY IT! Pray these to God – recognizing His goodness in each of these areas.

Verse 2 – Praise Him for being eternal – His throne was established from all eternity – Your turn!

Verse 3 – The seas praise Him! They lift up their voice – the pounding waves.

Verse 4 – He’s mightier than the great waters.

Verse 5 – His statues stand firm, holiness adorns Him for endless days!

How did you do? Did you praise Him for all these things? It’s the perfect way to begin prayer. Remember… God inhabits the praises of His people! Praise Him!

Posted by: Tim Parsons

August 26, 2011

Today you should read: Psalm 92

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this about Psalm 92, “It is a privilege that we are admitted to praise the Lord, and hope to be accepted in the morning, and every night; not only on Sabbath days, but every day; not only in public, but in private, and in our families. Let us give thanks every morning for the mercies of the night, and every night for the mercies of the day; going out, and coming in, let us bless God. As He makes us glad, through the works of His providence for us, and of His grace in us, and both through the great work of redemption, let us hence be encouraged.”

Verse 4: “For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”

Verse 5: “How great are your works, O Lord, how profound your thoughts”

Now, go back to and read the opening paragraph. What an honor and privilege it is that we are admitted to praise the Lord all the time! Reflect on all that He patiently pours out on us. Think about His mercy and faithfulness. We see in verses 9-11 that the unrighteous never get to experience these things. We, who have repented of our sins and put our faith in Christ, were also once unrighteous but God, in His loving-kindness, took our sin and gave us His righteousness!

Read verses 12-15 in the NIV. The righteous will not only flourish like a palm tree and grow like the cedars of Lebanon, but we are planted in the Lord’s house! Because God is so faithful, those who are planted in His House (followers of Christ) will bear fruit in our old age proclaiming Christ as the One who is our Rock, and our Redeemer.

If you are a follower of Christ, know that His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness lasts forever. In Him, we are like firmly planted trees, and He is the Gardener who grows you and establishes you for His glory and for the advancement of His kingdom!

Worship God – Enjoy God – Be useful to His Kingdom

Posted by: Zach Monroe