Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read Romans 1:9-13 (Monday 1/16)
Life has many wrenches and detours which are placed in our paths. The Apostle Paul was no exception to this rule, indeed many times his plans were changed or altered on the spot. His love for the Church in Rome lit a fire in Paul to desire to see them and to be with them to encourage them. Even when he cannot make it in person he takes the time to write and send them quite a hefty letter. He makes an effort to do the next best thing possible in his situation. I know in the past year there are have been many changes in my life and ministry plan. My earnest desire to travel and encourage a specific group of people has become at the very least pushed far to the future. Like Paul, I have the option to look at my situation in life and reflect on how this time can be used for the purpose of gaining ‘fruit’ for myself and others. I could also look at it as a set-back which presents doom and disaster for my whole life and precedes a meltdown. Yet, Paul gives an example for how believers are to rise up to their circumstances and bear fruit.
For Reflection: What situation in your life do you feel is put on hold? How can you bear fruit in preparation for when or if that chance presents itself? Who are some people you can meet up with and encourage? What are the circumstances which you need to overcome to strengthen their spiritual gifts?
Read Romans 12:1-2 (Saturday 1/21)
I am occasionally struck by the thought that many who do not believe in Christ consider Christianity illogical or fancifully foolish. Granted there are aspects of the Christian life which are difficult and may go against the grain of our humanity (i.e. Loving your neighbor). Particularly for Paul the mind is one of the most powerful tools a Christian has. With it one can hear and believe, by employing it fully one can understand and embrace teaching, and when constantly renewing one’s mind they are able to find transformation. Too many times I tend to let my mind wonder or be distracted. I may give my mind to the flashes of color that we call television. I may absorb my mind in negative thoughts which are like rotten fruit. But Paul calls his readers to renew their mind, to present themselves as a living sacrifice. This action is what he calls a logical service, something which makes sense in light of the powerful claims of the Gospel. I believe Paul’s exhortation is a wise statement for believers to follow today. As a Christian, our minds are one of the most important ways in which we may live the Christian life well.
For Reflection: What is something in your weekly schedule which takes some of your ‘Brain Space’ away from being renewed? What would it look like it you cut that out of your day? What are some doctrines or teachings which you are interested in learning more about?
Reflections written by Jake Carlson