Friday, May 17, 2013

A Week to Review Romans 1

Sometime in mid-February I began the Romans Project. 

I began about a month and a half later than others who are participating in this year long challenge to memorize three chapters in Romans, so I am just getting to what others were during the first week of May. 

After 13 weeks of memorizing, this week begins (for me) a week to review Romans 1.

As I think about the time spent pondering God’s word in this letter of Paul and hiding it in my heart, I realize how rich it has been.  The weeks have all held different blessings—I have drunk in the promises, wrestled with truth, embraced the challenges, and received the grace poured out.

I want to share it with you today.
Read Romans 1.

Notice what captures your attention.  Is it a promise, a truth that is difficult to read, a challenge to embrace, or perhaps a grace to receive? 

Explore your thoughts.  Talk with God about them.  Listen for Him.  What He might have for you to discover about Him?  How He might lead you to respond to Him?

Leave changed and live in the truth you have received. 

Romans 1:1-32

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him we have received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.  And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last, by God’s will, the way may be opened for me to come to you.

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now), in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  For in the gospel of God the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Although they claimed to be wise they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.  Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.  Even women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have not understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to let the Word of God soak into our hearts and take root, as we receive and God to change us.  May we find that in Him we bear fruit that will last.

Jessica :)

P.S. The emphasis in the text is mine.  They are some of the phrases I really thought about.  So many through the last 13 weeks.  The version of Romans 1 is what is used in the Romans Project booklet--NIV or TNIV, I think.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A New Variation

The beat goes on.

But the rhythms—
they’re changing.

So I pause…
in pregnant


Preparing for a new movement,
a shift in life’s seasons.
Embracing the gift of what has been,
while looking to intentionally step into what will be.

It will be a new variation.

Its core Essence the same

As Jason and I explore rhythms with Crossroads I find myself wondering what rhythms of life will be like with the addition of a Little Love.  Maybe it will look a little like this?

I think of how I have taught and read about spiritual rhythms.  I think of how during pregnancy I have been trying to be open to changing rhythms while still keeping Christ central to them.  I think of our family rhythms—the ones we have followed well and the ones where we have sometimes skipped a beat or two.  I think about the patterns worth holding onto and others that can be let go.  I think about others that are, as yet, unknown and untried. 

I want to be intentional in the way I live as a person, a wife, a parent.  I want to be intentional about the way we live as a family.

I think this is the most important thing—to let Christ shape the rhythms that form and change as life does too. 

So I’m waiting in this pregnant pause...

…and choosing to trust the One who will pick the variation for the next season in life.

I know Him.  His Essence is will permeate whatever it holds.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we step into each new season of life surrendered to Christ and allowing him to lead us to the rhythms of abundant life.

Jessica :)

P.S.  Just in case you were curious about the rhythms series this was the video portion of a video/live rhythmic immersion.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Bulletin Prayer

This week has been full of coming and going around our house. 

This morning I slowed down a little and found myself sitting quiet enjoying a prayer from a bulletin a relative sent me.  I thought I would share it with you.

“Almighty God, there is no other subject of meditation that can fix our wandering thoughts, purify our sinful thoughts, harmonize our perplexed thoughts, sooth and comfort our sad and mournful thoughts as to think upon you – your love, your power, your holiness, your wisdom – this alone will sweeten the solitude, smooth the roughness, and illumine the path homeward across the desert of this life.  Most of all, we rejoice not in our thoughts toward you, O God, but in your thoughts toward us!  You – upon whom all the worlds and all the creatures depend – you have thoughts of love toward us.  Oh, wondrous grace that entwines us, your beloved children, in your thoughts of peace, and care, and sympathy, with an intensity, individuality, and minuteness.  You have engraved us on the palm of your hands.  Amidst all our mental wanderings, our fickle, faint thoughts of you, you still remember us, through Jesus Christ your beloved Son.  In that we rejoice!  Amen.”

 -adapted from Octavius Winslow, reflecting on Psalm 139:17

Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we think on God.  May we encounter His great love for us in a way that penetrates deep—healing hurts, revealing truth, guiding us through decisions and uncertainty, and giving us confidence to trust Him more with each passing moment.

Jessica :)