Posts tagged ‘Romans’

February 13, 2014

843 Acres #TBT: A Benediction and Prayer

by Bethany

Job 12 (txt | aud, 2:30 min)
Rom 16 (txt | aud, 3:09 min)

Paul: Romans 16:25-27

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen

God All-Sufficient from The Valley of Vision

O LORD OF GRACE,

The world is before me this day, and I am weak and fearful, but I look to thee for strength; If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall, but on the Beloved’s arms, I am firm as the eternal hills; If left to the treachery of my heart, I shall shame thy Name, but if enlightened, guided, upheld by thy Spirit, I shall bring thee glory.

Be thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.

To enrich me will not diminish thy fullness; All thy lovingkindness is in thy Son, I will bring him to thee in the arms of faith, I urge his saving Name as the One who died for me. I plead his blood to pay my debts of wrong.

Accept his worthiness for my unworthiness,
his sinlessness for my transgressions,
his purity for my uncleanness,
his sincerity for my guile,
his truth for my deceits,
his meekness for my pride,
his constancy for my backslidings,
his love for my enmity,
his fullness for my emptiness,
his faithfulness for my treachery,
his obedience for my lawlessness,
his glory for my shame,
his devotedness for my waywardness,
his holy life for my unchaste ways,
his righteousness for my dead works,
his death for my life.

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February 12, 2014

843 Acres: The Love of Receptive Grace

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 11 (txt | aud, 3:59 min)
Rom 15 (txt | aud, 7:59 min)
Highlighted: Rom 15:1-3

Relationships: How can we live together with people whose beliefs, practices, and views deeply distress or offend us? How do we relate to them, care for them, and even love them? Tolerance is the answer that our culture gives, but the gospel gives a different one.

Love: As we saw yesterday, there was a dispute in the church of Rome. Some people believed that their Christian commitment restricted them from eating “unclean” foods and, therefore, they ate only vegetables. Others, including Paul, however, disagreed. Tolerance would have told Paul not to make any negative evaluations about the beliefs of others, but Paul did not do that. Instead, he said that those who agreed with him were “strong” and those who disagreed with him were “weak.” Yet he didn’t stop there. He told the strong to be driven by love, not selfishness. He wrote, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself.” [1]

Receptivity: Tim Keller says that the solution to the weakness of narrow-mindedness is not tolerance, but receptive grace, which does not enter into the distorted or erroneous thinking of the weak, but instead bears their weaknesses. [2] He says that this happens in two ways: (1) the strong intellectually enter into the weaknesses of the weak—making negative evaluations as necessary, but doing everything possible to understand and sympathize with them, and (2) the strong also personally enter into the weaknesses of the weak—becoming willing to change their own behavior to serve and love the weak.

Prayer: Lord, We confess that we are often driven by selfishness, not love. We frequently think of tolerance as the ideal, but it is not. Give us hearts that discern what is true and then to enter into others’ weaknesses intellectually and personally. For Christ did not please himself, but was wounded for our weakness to make us strong. Therefore, make us love receptive grace. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Romans 15:1-3a ESV | [2] See Tim Keller. “Receptive Grace.” Sermon. February 10, 2002.

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February 11, 2014

843 Acres Tweetable Tuesday: The Selfishness of Broad-Mindedness

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 10 (txt | aud, 2:13 min)
Rom 14 (txt | aud, 3:01 min)
Highlighted: Rom 14

Discerning Brokenness

Dispute: “One person believes he may eat anything” (broad-mindedness per se) “while the weak eats only veggies” (narrow-mindedness). #Rom14

Narrow-mindedness may be weak, but broad-mindedness per se is often selfish.

For broad-mindedness per se says, “We shouldn’t make negative evaluations. And I won’t let anything you believe hinder how I live.”

Imagining Redemption

Paul often criticizes the strong (who live in grey) bc they often embrace a selfish freedom + reject loving the weak (who need black/white).

If your brother is distressed bc of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy him for whom Christ died.

“In love, make negative but kind evaluations then adjust your life to have deeper relationships with all sorts of people.” @timkellernyc [1]

Praying ACTS

Lord, We #adore you for setting us free in Christ, that we may live out of abundant joy, not legalistic righteousness.

Yet we #confess that we often lord our freedom over those the weak, expecting them to change and not submitting ourselves to them in love.

#Thank you for rejecting selfish freedom, exhorting love for the weak. For you loved us, tho weak, and submitted to us in the incarnation.

We pray that you would cause us to be truth-seekers, not becoming weak but submitting to the weak. That love may drive us. #supplication

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Footnotes

[1] Tim Keller has a fantastic and free sermon on this passage. “Hope, Race, and Power.” April 25, 2004.

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February 10, 2014

843 Acres: The Locust Effect

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Job 9 (txt | aud, 3:18 min)
Rom 13 (txt | aud, 2:09 min)
Highlighted: Rom 13:1-7

Authority: Paul writes, “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.” [1] This command may be fairly easy to obey for those of us in places with functioning legal systems. But what about for people in places where the systems of law are corrupt—even extremely corrupt?

Violence: In The Locust Effect, IJM founder and former Federal prosecutor Gary Haugen argues that billions of the global poor, when they are victimized, don’t run to, but away from, the police. In the developing world, those in the law enforcement pipeline—police, prosecutors, judges—are often in the pockets of wealthy criminals, which means that the poor are often the defenseless targets of “common, everyday, predatory violence.”

Protection: According to the World Bank, four billion people in the world are living outside of the law’s protection. Last year, in Oregon, for example, a man broke into a woman’s home. She called 9-1-1, but the dispatcher told her that nothing could be done—it was Saturday and, due to budget cuts, the police were only available on weekdays from 8am to 4pm. On weekends, in other words, she was outside of the law’s protection. In the 9-1-1 recording, the dispatcher says, “It’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there.” [2] The perpetrator broke in, choked her, and raped her.

Fight: This may be rare in Oregon, but it’s the horrific daily reality for millions of the global poor. They have laws, but no law enforcement. In this scenario, however, we see the nuance of Paul’s command. He continues, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” [3] In other words, we discern whether an authority is fulfilling its God-given role by whether it’s rewarding good conduct or bad. For organizations like IJM, which works in places where good laws are on the books, therefore, the good news is that a false authority (the corrupt law enforcement) can fall to a true authority (the law). In this, there is great hope.

Prayer: Lord, Billions of our neighbors are living in places without basic law enforcement. Knowing that you love justice, we ask you to break our hearts for this epidemic. Open our eyes to see where there is brokenness and where we can participate in healing. Amen.

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If you are interested in learning more about IJM and its work to end violence, we strongly recommend that you read The Locust Effect. There’s obviously very little a 400-word devotional can accomplish. Bethany’s review and a place where you can buy it for a 20% discount is: here.)

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Footnotes

[1] Romans 13:1-2 ESV | [2] Cash-strappedlaw enforcement agencies in Oregon stop answering calls, sending officers: ‘If he … assaults you, can you ask him to go away?’ New York Daily News. 2012 | [3] Romans 13:3 ESV

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February 7, 2014

843 Acres: On Being Zealous for God without Knowledge

by Bethany

Job 6 (txt | aud, 6:07 min)
Rom 10 (txt | aud, 6:10 min)
Highlighted: Rom 10:2

Triperspectivalism: In The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, philosopher John Frame suggests that, in every act of knowing, the knower is in constant contact with three perspectives—the normative perspective (the standard by which knowledge is obtained), the situational perspective (the facts of reality), and the existential perspective (the person doing the knowing). [1] How do these three perspectives work together? Let’s take an example.

Knowledge: Here, in Romans 10, Paul writes, “For I bear witness that [the Jewish people] have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” [2] In their normative perspective, the Jewish people looked to the authority of Scripture to check all truth claims. The Scriptures told them that a Messiah was to come. In their situational perspective, they had to ask whether Jesus was, in fact, that Messiah. Was his life consistent with the prophecies? Did he fulfill the law? In their existential perspective, they had to be aware of how their interpretation of the normative and existential was affected by their own biases, dispositions, and temperaments. Do we have presuppositions or vested interests that make us more likely or less likely to accept him? In the end, although their normative perspective pointed to Christ as the Messiah, their situational and existential perspectives led them to reject him. Thus, they did not “know” that Christ was King.

Modernity: We, too, are apt to default to certain perspectives and not know God. Unlike the Jewish people of Paul’s time, however, we tend to prefer the situational and existential perspectives to the normative one. I know the Bible says not to do X (normative), but my friend did X and she is happy (situational). Plus, I want to do X, too, so I’m subconsciously looking for reasons to justify doing it (existential). They were tempted to create a purely objective knowledge of God, but we are tempted to create a purely subjective knowledge of Him—thinking of Him only as personal and intimate and never as authoritative and holy.

Prayer: Lord, We confess that your Word often is not hidden in our hearts and, therefore, we forsake the normative perspective. Therefore, we are at risk of having a zeal not according to knowledge. Give us a thirst for your Word and open our eyes to have full knowledge—normative, situational, and existential—for knowing you can only come when these three work together. Amen.

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M’Cheyne Weekend Readings

Saturday, February 8: Job 7 (txt | aud, 4:37 min) & Rom 11 (txt | aud, 10:06 min)
Sunday, February 9: Job 8 (txt | aud, 4:00 min) & Rom 12 (txt | aud, 5:09 min)

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FAQs

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Footnotes

[1] See Triperspectivalism. Wikipedia. | [2] Romans 10:2 ESV

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