Scripture reading for March 2nd: Romans 16
Key Scriptures: Romans 16:17-20 “I appeal to you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught: avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Paul’s final appeal to the Roman believers was a warning to watch out for people in Christ’s body who were divisive and created controversy and obstacles that would trip up others in the church. Paul warned the brothers to avoid such people. They were not serving the Lord Jesus, but using smooth talk and flattery to deceive those who were yet untaught or trained in sound doctrine. Paul desired these brothers to be wise and discerning for what was good, but to stay completely separated from those who were causing these divisions. Maintaining peace instead of constant arguing or disputing was preferred. God would take care of Satan soon as they walked with Jesus through this situation. He would be crushed under their feet!
Matthew 7:15-16 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothes but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”
Faith Confession and prayer: Dear Lord, give me discernment, strength and wisdom for what is good and keep me innocent from evil. Help me to avoid disruptive people and controversy. I believe that You will soon crush Satan under my feet as by grace I walk with You.
Romans 16:25, 27 “Now to Him Who is able to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, . . . to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
Scripture reading for March 1st: Romans 15
Key Scriptures: Romans 15:3-7 “For Christ did not please Himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written former days was written for our instruction, that through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragements grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Life isn’t supposed to be about me or centered on my will. Jesus demonstrated His own life lived out to please God and serve others in perfect submission and obedience. This took patience and endurance and for Jesus, the ultimate in suffering and sacrifice. Paul encourages the Roman Christians to follow Jesus’ example and gain encouragement from Scripture of the blessed hope that is ours in Christ. Paul prays that the “God of endurance and encouragements” would empower and make the way for harmony and unity among God’s people, that they may glorify God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. He asked that they would speak and live the Gospel of God’s love with “one voice,” welcoming others in the unity of Christ’s body. As Christ suffered to bring us into God’s unified Body, we may also have to endure suffering for others.
Psalm 69:9 “For zeal for Your house has consumed Me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on Me.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit that gives me endurance and encouragement today. Help me to live in perfect harmony with my brothers and sisters in the church. Use me to build Your Church and welcome others into fellowship and harmony.
Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.
Scripture reading for February 26th: Romans 14
Key Scriptures: Romans 14:1-4 “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Judges determine guilt or innocence after hearing all the facts and witnesses. Judges pass sentence. God tells His people not to act as judges over other people in the matter of tastes or personal preferences. There were those in the church that were driving new believers out of fellowship because of their dietary standards concerning various foods. Some were strict vegetarians and others believed that they could eat anything if it was received with thanks to God. Food is not the main issue, but our hearts. Only God knows all the facts and truth in our heart. Be patient and kind, and allow God to do the judging!
Romans 14:10,12 “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; . . . . So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for being judgmental of others in trivial matters. Help me to give grace as I have received it from You. Help me to give a good account before Your judgment seat.
Romans 14:17-19 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by me. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
Scripture reading for February 24th: Romans 12
Key Scriptures: Romans 12:1-3 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God assigned.”
God’s will for each person is their transformation into the image of His Son that they might reveal His Son to the world. Our true worship of God is not just singing songs to Him. It is the dedication of our bodies as ‘living sacrifices’. It is also a decision of our will to see our minds and thought life transformed by study of God’s Word and will. This requires humility and sober thinking about what we believe and why. This worship is all by faith through God’s grace. God has given each one a measure of faith and we are to humbly offer our bodies and minds to worship Him now and forever. In doing so, we overcome evil with good–God’s ultimate will!
Romans 12:6-8 “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I offer You my body to use as You will to reveal Your Son to this world. Thank You for the grace given me through faith to prophecy, serve, teach, and lead. May You be glorified!
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Scripture reading for February 23rd: Romans 11
Key Scriptures: Romans 11:19-23 “Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.”
Paul used the example of an olive tree to describe the Church and the true spiritual Israel. The Jews were natural branches that were cut off because they refused to accept Jesus the Messiah. The Gentiles who by faith received Christ were wild olive branches that were grafted into the tree that is the symbol of true believers. They stood in their place because of faith and by faith they would continue. Those natural branches were cut off because of unbelief, but God desired to graft them in again if they would believe. God’s kindness is towards believers and His severity towards those refusing to believe. He desires to show mercy to all and see them saved but they must repent and believe in Jesus.
Romans 11:30-31 “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.”
Faith confession and prayer: Thank You Lord for your patience and kindness shown towards me and all the unbelievers. I stand in faith and holy fear. Use me today to share the good news of Your kindness and mercy through Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”
Scripture reading for February 22nd: Romans 10
Key Scriptures: Romans 10:8-13 “But what does it say? “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart? (that is, the Word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.””
Our salvation, whether Jew or Gentile, is based on faith. We believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and God gives us His righteousness. This puts everyone on the same level ground. God is not partial to a certain race or a particular group or religion. God looks at the heart of each person and can see faith or unbelief. This is not just an intellectual process where a person acknowledges with his mind. He listens to each person’s words of confession and knows if the “Jesus is Lord” comes from the heart. When faith is found, His riches are freely given to everyone who calls on His Holy Name!
Psalm 145:1-2 “I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your Name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise Your Name forever and ever.”
Faith confession and prayer: I believe with all my heart in Jesus Christ, Son of God. Jesus Christ is my Lord! Help me to clearly proclaim the way of salvation to all who You put in my path. May the Lordship of Jesus be visible in my attitudes and actions as well as my words.
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Scripture reading for February 19th: Romans 9
Key Scriptures: Romans 9:30-33 “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.””
Paul was a Jew and would have given his own life and salvation for that of his Jewish brothers and sisters. He understood the futility of trying to keep the law for righteousness. He had tried and failed and knew that his brethren had also failed. It was only by faith that righteousness could be obtained as a gift, not as wages earned. This was the stumbling stone, Jesus Christ–one descended from David perfectly kept God’s law and offered Himself as a sacrifice by giving His body and blood. Faith in Him alone would bring the gift of righteousness.
Romans 3:28-30 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes of Gentiles also, since God is One–Who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for revealing the way of faith and grace to obtain justification and righteousness. I believe in Jesus Christ and will not be put to shame! Open doors for me to proclaim the Good News of Your grace gift today.
Romans 4:3-5 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. . . .”
Scripture reading for February 18th: Romans 8
Key Scriptures: Romans 8:14-18 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by Whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption given to all who trust in Jesus Christ. From inside we now know God as our Father and call Him “Abba!” (Daddy) The Holy Spirit leads us to know God and His Word and helps us apply it to our life. He reveals our inheritance as children of God. He helps us to endure suffering and persecution here on earth while we await the fullness of redemption–our brand new bodies! He provides vision of the coming glory and gives us power to pray when we don’t even know how to pray. Faith drives out fear as the Spirit of adoption reveals Whose we are and what God has planned for us!
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The Words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit that cries “Abba! Father!” within me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit afresh today that I might walk in my inheritance and fulfill Your will here on earth until I have the fullness in Your eternal presence and behold Your glory.
Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules.”
Scripture reading for February 17th: Romans 7
Key Scriptures: Romans 7:21-25 “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
Most commentators agree that Paul is here reflecting on his life as a strict Pharisee who loved God’s law and tried hard to apply it to his life. He wanted to obey and please God, but found within another law, that of sin and death, at work in his members. He ended up in a wretched condition feeling enslaved by the law of sin at work in spite of his desire to live in obedience to God. But thanks be to God Who by grace provided the remedy through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul understood at last how to be free from the condemnation that trying to keep God’s law through human effort brought. By faith through grace He was set free! Thanks be to God!
Psalm 103:2-4 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, . .”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of grace to me and all who will believe. Thank you for delivering me from the law of sin and death and my flesh. Help me to live in the power of the Holy Spirit today in joy and freedom.
Galatians 5:16-18 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”