Romans Devotional

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Day 42 - How Will They Hear?

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Reading: Romans 10

Reflective Thoughts

How will they hear?

Statistics do not always like us. The Barna group and others have claimed for years that Christians are no different than the world. They say the divorce rate among Evangelicals is only slightly lower than those of the general population. We're told that the choices our teens make about sex mirror those of their non-believing peers. Some recent scholarship, however, has challenged these findings. University of Connecticut sociologist Bradley Wright asserts that Evangelicals who attend church at least a few times a month look significantly different than the world.

The light of Christ is no more evident from church attendance than simply saying we are Christians. However, when Paul says that the Word is near us, in our mouths and in our hearts, he's speaking about faith confessed and believed in such a way that it is demonstrated outwardly. We do this most powerfully when we do it together.

Jesus said that the way we demonstrate who we are is by loving one another (John 13:35.) Living in the submission and others-centered unity of our local Body of Christ is something that we don't often equate with sharing the gospel. But it's the only way that the Church (Christians) can function the way Christ intended. The feet that bring good news are beautiful because they carry with them the mouth that speaks it, the hands that serve it and the eyes that search for those who need it-that's all of us together.

 

Day 41 - The Choice

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Reading: Romans 9:24-33

Reflective Thoughts

The Choice

My best birthday present ever, never happened. I was seven, and I was at a store in Kearny, New Jersey, called "Two Guys." They sold pets next to the hardware section and in one of the crates were two Border Collie puppies. One was plump and fluffy, sweet and gentle. She cuddled with me and licked my hand. Her littermate was a hot mess. Her coat was wiry; she never stood still, and she bit me. Mom told me that just maybe she would return with my dad that evening, and I might get a special birthday present. Instantly I fell in love. What I couldn't know was that someone else fell in love with the one I wanted. Before my parents could return, she was gone.

 

I knew immediately that they had returned with the wrong dog when they pulled into the driveway and the puppy was on my mother's head. There was nothing to recommend her to me. She wasn't even cute. She was peculiar. She preferred rocks over balls. She climbed trees; she swam underwater. But she became "my dog," and love turned her idiosyncrasies into admirable qualities. She became famous in the neighborhood as my canine chauffer, happily pulling me through the neighborhood on my skateboard by way of her tail.

 

When Paul wrote about the hope for Israel's redemption in verse 24, he included us. We were the ones who were not His beloved, who He calls beloved. We were the ones who were not His people who are now called sons of the living God. We are the ones He wouldn't have chosen, but the fact is, He did. It wasn't because we were the only ones left. He actually went out of His way to make a way for you and me-and to redeem all of our hot messes into admirable qualities that glorify Him.

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