Romans 15

Eyes speak so easily, Lord.  Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”

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“…God wants the combination of His steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever He will do next.  May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all” (v 4-5 MSG).

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus” (v 4-5 NIV).

ENDURANCE – God’s “steady, constant calling” (Peterson, The Message)*

ENCOURAGEMENT – God’s “warm, personal counsel” (Peterson)

HOPE  – “alert for whatever He will do next” (Peterson)

The purpose of Your Word unfolds here: to teach me, to instill Your character in me.  Intrinsic to You are endurance and encouragement–these are part of Your character.  From the riches of who You are, You reach out to me with gifts of the same.  You are “dependably steady,” enduring through everything. In Your Word, You are steadily, constantly calling me to follow you always.  You are “warmly personal,” full of encouragement, as You set forth “warm, personal counsel” in Your Word, that’s applicable to EVERYthing I have or will ever face, as You keep me “alert for whatever You’ll do next.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (v 13 NIV)

“God of hope” –that’s YOU, Papa!  Not that You’re the Subject of hope, but You’re the AUTHOR of it.  “Hope…finds its expression in endurance under trial,” (Vines, p. 563).**  “It is ‘an anchor of the soul’ (Hebrews 6:18-19), staying in place amidst the storms of this life. It is a purifying power (1 John 3:3).

Write on the pages of my heart, the narrative of Your hope as it infiltrates my being.  When the trials come, may You pen how hope spurs me onward, enduring the trying circumstances.  When the storms rage, Your prose can convey how Your hope anchors my life and assists me in riding out the storm.  With “confident expectation” (Vines, p. 562)** set on You, I watch You unfold each chapter of my life and desire for You to purify my heart and mind, just like Jesus’ (1 John 3:3) … until You pen THE END of this life, and begin the sequel set in eternity.  Amen.

*The Message, contemporary paraphrase of the New Testament by Eugene Peterson

**An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by  W.E. Vine

Romans 12:3-21

Eyes speak so easily, Lord.  Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (v 12 New International Version)

“Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.” (v 12 Amplified Bible)

“Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.  Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” (v 12 The Message paraphrase)

“Be joyful because you have hope.  Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.” (v 12 New Century Version)

“Let your hope make you glad.  Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.” (v 12 Contemporary English Version)

“Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually.” (v 12 God’s Word)

“…in hope, bubbling over; in trouble, taking it; in prayer, keeping it up. (v 12 Cotton Patch Version)

“rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (v 12 New King James Version)

“Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time.” (v 12 Easy-to-Read Version)

“Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.” (v 12 J.B. Phillips New Testament)

“Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.” (v 12 New Living Translation)

HOPE

It’s different from the kind of hope that says, “I hope I get to see you tomorrow,” or “I hope I get a new bicycle for my birthday,” or “I hope she doesn’t say anything to him.” … the way the word is used as wishful thinking.

When my hope is rooted or originating in You, Jesus, it’s more than a wish. It’s a “confident expectation” (Vines, p. 311).*  I can trust an unseen future to Your unseen hand, especially when the seen past has revealed fulfillment of so many of Your promises, as recorded in Your seen Word.  When You are my Hope and my hope is in You, hope becomes assurance because of Your faithfulness.  And that’s why and how I can be “joyful in hope.”

PATIENCE

“An abiding under” is how Vine’s puts it (p. 42),* as well as the verb form meaning “to tarry behind, still abide” and “to wait for.” (p. 463)*  You’ve definitely designed this kind of fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23) with a particular spiritual genetic code.  This kind only grows under trial, so the more of this that’s evident in a life, the more trials that person has most likely been through.  There are two paraphrases above that give a tip on the how-to of being patient:  “Don’t quit in hard times” (MSG) and “in trouble, taking it” (CPV).  You call me to continue on, to remain, abide, reside, no matter what trouble I face.

PRAYER

You desire my prayer life to be “faithful,” “constant,” “all the harder [in hard times],” “at ALL times,” “never stop[ped],” “continual,” “kept up,” and “always.”  You call me to a continual conversation with You about all aspects of my life, not just the hard times, but definitely not ceasing when life is hard.

You hold out hope to me through the assurance of Your faithfulness to Your promises.  You grow my patience as I continue onward in the face of trouble.  You hear my voice and respond to me, Your child, when I converse with You in prayer.  You gather all these tools and use them on this piece of clay as You shape me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

 

*Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr, Thomas Nelson Publishers.