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 13

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

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DEBT OF LOVE

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…” (v 8 NIV)

“Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other” (v 8 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for the lessons You’ve taught me through taking care of my own debt.  Thanks for connecting me with Crown Ministries several years ago,** that study through Your Word which reveals Your plan for how I can best handle Your money (and other resources) that You allow me to use.  Plus, You woke me up to the realities of debt … and here in this verse, those realities twist into being an expected part of life in You … but another kind of debt.

You are the lender in this case.  You have said, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another … We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:10-11, 19 NIV).  And when You were here in skin, before Your death as a human, You said, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

My credit limit was maxed out by my own sin.  You paid that debt with the blood of Your Son.  Now, You set the terms of repayment: “Love one another,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Thanks, Father, for Your example of how to love and for Your help as I do so.

ARMOR OF LIGHT

(c) Kat Kreations – Do Not Download or Copy or Otherwise Take/Use This Image – Visit http://katkreations82.weebly.com to order as a greeting card or art print

“…Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daylight… Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (v 12-14 NIV)

Father, protect me from getting so absorbed and exhausted by the investment of myself in all my day-to-day responsibilities and obligations that I would ever become oblivious to You.  Center all of me on all of You that I can know, and keep me pressing forward.  Dress me in Your armor.  Clothe me with Jesus — garments that reflect YOUR choice of fashion and style.  Cause my mind to be absorbed with Your Word and Your will.

“…The night is about over, dawn is about to break.  Be up and awake to what God is doing!  God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work He began when we first believed.  We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight.  Get out of bed and get dressed.  Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” (v 13-14 MSG)

As I continue paying my debt of love and put on Your armor of light, keep shaping all of who I am to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

**For more info on Crown Ministries, see their website:  http://www.crown.org

Romans 12:1-3

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

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“…[with] God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (12:1-2 MSG)

Today is one of those really full days, Father.  To lift up the load and place it at Your feet, I’ll definitely need Your help, Your strength.  Still, I offer today to You.  As I awaken and with my head still enjoying the pillow, I greet You.  As I crawl out of a warm, comfy bed, I roll to the floor to kneel before You, surrendering today to You.  Then, we go about the day together, my hand in Yours, as You lead, teach, encourage, comfort, strengthen, etc.

Open my eyes to see the many, many things You do for me even in one day.  “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what we do for Him.” (v 3 MSG)  Help me recognize Your activity in my life, acknowledge it and proclaim Your praise in light of the attention You give me and energy You invest in me … Thank You for embracing who I am; I choose to embrace who You are.

Lord, keep this world, this culture that I live in from infecting my mind, my heart and my behavior with ideas, ideals, practices, and attitudes that are not of You, that do not ultimately honor You.  So many subtle things can seep into who I am that have come from the world and not from You.  However, when I choose to saturate my mind with Your Word and my heart with continual fellowship with You, then the world has no room to get in.  Daily increase my attention to You and Your Word’s influence on me, as You cut down the influence this culture has on me.  Make me holy, like You want me to be.

You are continually at work around me, Father.  I see Your hand, Your glory in so many things.  As You work, You pursue on ongoing love relationship with me–it’s a real and personal one.  You invite me to be vitally involved with You in Your work.

Thanks for how You speak to me by Your Holy Spirit through Your Word.  And You speak through prayer, circumstances, and Your Body as You reveal to me Yourself, Your purposes and Your ways.

When You invite me to work with You, it always leads me to a crisis of belief.  I must decide whether my faith in You truly believes that You know best, and I must decide to act on that belief in You.  There are adjustments in my life that I must make in order to join what You’re doing.  Each step I take in obedience allows me to know You, to experience You and allows You to accomplish Your work through me.  (*Blackaby/King, p. 32)

So, Father, take my heart, conform it.  Take my mind, transform it to Yours, as You make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

*Segment adapted from Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby & Claude King, Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Romans 10

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us… Say the welcoming word to God—‘Jesus is my master’ –embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead… With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: ‘God has set everything right between Him and me!’”  (v 9-10 MSG)

There was a wall that separated You and me, Father, a wall that was erected long, long before I was even conceived.  You had had such a wonderful plan for Your creation.  Yet, since You created people with a free will, desiring that they would choose to love and follow You, oh! so many chose to look another way … And the dividing wall was slowly built, “brick by brick” — until Your created people, whom You loved, were left standing apart from You on the other side.

Your love for us doesn’t give up at all.  You saw that wall and You chose the very BEST way to bring it down.  Further along in human history, You entered the scene as Your Son — first as a Baby, then as a boy who grew to a Man.  That Man showed me how to live–Your desire for me in the first place–as I chose to follow You.  Then, You let Him be put to death, so that by His death that wall between You and me would be removed!

Thank You for clearing the way to You.  Thank You for the privilege of approaching You and of walking in Your presence throughout each day.  I’ll “say it, right out loud: GOD HAS SET EVERYTHING RIGHT BETWEEN HIM AND ME!” (v 10 MSG)  Take my heart, my mind, my will and make me just like Jesus. Amen.

Romans 9

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

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“–in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by Him who calls–“ (v 11-12 NIV)

“What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that His purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by His decision, flowing steadily from His initiative… God has the first word, initiating the action, in which we play our part for good or ill” (v 11-12, 18 MSG)

It all boils down to two facts:  (1) There is a God; and (2) I am NOT Him.  You are Sovereign Lord — there is NONE like You.  You are above all things.  You are the Potter who shapes each piece of clay into a vessel or utensil that will carry out the purpose You have for it.

Here I am as a piece of clay.  You’re kneading, pulling, stretching, molding as You work on transforming me to be just like Jesus.  Help me to be continually pliable in Your hands, Lord.  Amen.

Romans 8:18-39

Eyes speak so easily, Lord. Let the eyes You’ve created for me master the words, “Jesus loves you.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Waiting …waiting …and more waiting–‘seems to be a common pastime in any era, not necessarily a chosen action, but one that’s just part of life (especially when all those orange barricades line a highly traveled roadway–ugh!) Yet, when it comes to spiritually waiting, You, Father, bring Your presence, Your purpose, and Your promise to carry me through. “And [I] know that in ALL THINGS [You work] for the good of those who love [You,] who have been called according to His purpose.” (v 28 NIV)

YOUR PRESENCE WITH ME
“…the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.  If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves…” (v 26-27 MSG)

Because You live in me by Your Spirit, You know me so thoroughly, so intimately. Much like a mother can decipher a point and a grunt, You can tell by my sighs and moans just what I need … and then You’re at work to meet that need according to Your will for me. “THAT’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (v 28 MSG)

YOUR PURPOSE FOR ME
“God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son… We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.” (v 29 MSG)
• You made the decision of what Your children should be like
• You followed up by calling people by name
• You set us on a solid basis with Yourself
• You then stay with us to the end, gloriously completing what You have begun

YOUR PROMISE TO ME
• There are BETTER things to come (v 18)
• Your continual attention to my growth (v 28-29)
• Your victory is my victory (v 37)
• Your never-ceasing love for me (v 38-39)

“[Nothing] fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s loves because of the way that Jesus our master has embraced us.” (v 38-39 MSG)
You hold me. You carry me. You love me for always, Jesus.

“In You alone is where I find my comfort.
In You alone … You’re my only hope
In You alone, my heart has found a resting place,
only in You alone … ” (lyrics by Kim Hill)

Your presence with me reveals Your purpose for me as You fulfill Your promise to me. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for being with me, guiding me and loving me. Keep making me just like You. Amen.

Romans 8:1-17

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“In His Son, Jesus, He personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.” (v 3 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for stepping into the human timeline as Your Son, Jesus.  Thank You for making a way to be set right in Your eyes and to be freed from sin’s chains.

“…For you who welcome Him, in whom He dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms… When God lives and breathes in you (and He does as surely as He did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life.” (v 9-11 MSG)

You make Your home inside of me.  Thank You for choosing to live in me.  Thank You for the freedom, the deliverance You bring from the sin that tries to choke out life.

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.”  (v 15-17 MSG)

Thank You, Papa, for this intimate existence with You.  Thank You for unfolding each new day before me as I walk with You through it.

This reminds me of something Marge Caldwell shared during Heritage Keepers one year.  She said that her mom used to wake her up each morning with “Good morning!  It’s gonna be a GREAT day!  ‘Wonder what God’s gonna do for us…?  ‘Wonder what we’re gonna do for Him…?”  (WOW! What an expectant attitude to grow up with!)

So, Papa, what are we going to do together today?  What will You do in, through, for and around me as You make me just like Jesus?  Here’s my hand … let’s go do today together!

Romans 7

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“…The law [of God] started out as an excellent piece of work.  What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of ‘forbidden fruit’ out of it.  The law…instead of being used to guide me, was used [by my enemy] to seduce me… the very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong… Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: Using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me.” (v 9-13 MSG)

How true, Father!  When I know what I’m not supposed to do, it’s then that that activity becomes more appealing.  I may have been totally oblivious to it before, but when You say, “No, don’t do that,” I get to thinking I WANT to do that.

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.  So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary… I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.” (v 19-24 MSG)

Sometimes, Lord, no matter how deeply I love You and desire to do Your will, there seem to be moments when my old nature of sin rears its head and strikes.  It’s more like a small prick that releases a tendency toward rebellion within me.  As the toxin works its way through me, what I don’t want to do, becomes what I just did.  How desperately I need You and Your antidote for this poison in my being!

“I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?  Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.  He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (v 24-25 MSG)

Thank You, Father, for Your antidote of grace through Jesus!  Thank You for the victory over sin that can be mine through my faith in Him and my acceptance of His sacrifice from my sin.

Thank You for Your Spirit that convicts me of sin and strengthens me to avoid it and to remain faithful to You instead (1 Cor 10:13)

Thank You for Your Word that tells me how to obey Your will.

Thank You for Your work in my life as You fashion me to be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 6:1-14

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call!” (v 6 MSG)

“…that means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives.  Don’t give it the time of day.  Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.” (v 11-13 MSG)

Walking down a timber path through a luscious park, You stroll with me as we head for Your Home and what You have prepared for me, Lord.  We visit, we play.  We laugh; we discuss.  We cry; we sing.  We whisper; we shout.

Along the way, voices and beings around us call out to distract me from our fellowship.  One wants me to pause along the path’s edge to listen to a tale.  Another begs me to see his stuff on display.  Further along, one wants to share a piece of her mind about my stride.  Still another holds out a big glass of lemonade and motions to a comfy lounge in the sun.  One even hands me some cash and asks me to pick up something for her on the path ahead and bring it back later.

Only by maintaining my focus solely on You and our fellowship can I avoid those distractions and enticements.  How much this scene is like the way sin tries to get me to move back into its neighborhood and stay.  But in You and by Your sacrifice for me, I’ve “left the country where sin is sovereign, how can [I] still live in [my] old house there? … [I] still live in [my] old house there? … [I] packed up and left there for good … in baptism.  When [I] went under the water, [I] left the old country of sin behind; when [I] came up out of the water, [I] entered into the new country of grace–a new life in a new land! … a grace–sovereign country.” (adapted from v 24 MSG)

Thanks for my new citizenship, Lord.  Thanks for the freedom from sin’s tyranny and the freedom You bring.  Help me to throw myself wholeheartedly and full-time into Your way of doing things.  You’ve raised me from the dead!  Your resurrection power is at work in me to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 5:12-21

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? …Sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.  When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.” (v 17, 20-21 MSG)

“Aggressive forgiveness” = “grace.”  There You are on the field, Lord, suited up in Your uniform that’s alive with grace.  The snap… the runner acquires that ball of sin and You head directly for her.  Before she can reach that dead-end zone, You aggressively tackle her with Your grace.

Thanks, Father, for Your grace–Your grace that knew me and reached for me even before I knew You or reached out to You… Your grace that sacrificed Your Son in my place to take away my sins… Your grace that carries me through this life of growing and changing, so that one day I’ll be just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 5:1-11

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“…God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (v 5 NIV)

“…we throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us.  We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand–out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise” (v 2 MSG)

Thank You, Papa, for Your wondrous grace!  Before I ever think to take a step toward You, You’re already running toward me; You’re already dousing me with Your grace.  What a wonder You are!

“There’s more to come:  We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop PASSIONATE PATIENCE in us, and how that patience in turn forges the TEMPERED STEEL OF VIRTUE, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In ALERT EXPECTANCY such as this, we’re NEVER LEFT FEELING SHORTCHANGED.  Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (v 3-5 MSG)

Over and over You give and give!  You soak me in Your grace as I dance in the freedom that Your mercy and forgiveness bring!  Thank You for the ways You transform who I am into the person You desire me to be.  I long to be just like Jesus, and I surrender myself into Your hands.  Amen.

Romans 4

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“AGAINST ALL HOPE…WITHOUT WEAKENING in his faith…yet he DID NOT WAVER…was STRENGTHENED IN HIS FAITH…GAVE GLORY TO GOD…being FULLY PERSUADED… Abraham…BELIEVED and so…” (Fantastic results! He became the father of many nations!) (v 18-21).

WHAT intense descriptions of the faith of a person!  This guy wouldn’t quit believing what You said, Papa.  He fervently counted on You to keep Your Word.  Nothing was going to cause him to doubt You in the bigger picture of it all.

Interestingly enough, there were moments when Abraham SEEMS to falter a bit, as though he thought he needed to help You out with doing what You promised.  He listened to and acted on Sarah’s suggestion to sleep with Hagar, with her reasoning being, “…perhaps I can build a family through her” (Gen 16).  The main thing here, though, is that although he made a choice like that–one which showed more faith in a human plan than Your plan–You STILL many years later, chose to have Your Word remember him for his faith and not his faults (Rom 4; Heb 11).

Lord Jesus, You know every time that I have taken the reigns of my life into my own hands, thinking I knew better than You.  But, in it all, I really, deep down, have known You know best, that YOU are Lord and that You’re faithful.  I pray that, in the years beyond my life on this earth, I am spoken of by my faith in You regardless of my wanderings from that.  May I be remembered as one who increasingly seemed more and more just like Jesus.  Amen.

Romans 3:21-31 – Riding a Tandem Bike

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

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“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners…and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.  Out of sheer generosity, He put us in right standing with Himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be.  And He did it by means of Jesus Christ.  God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.  Having faith in Him sets us in the clear.”  (v 23-25 MSG)

You did it, Father.  YOU did it.

There I was trying to live well, but I’d continually fall in the muck of sin.  I’d keep trying and keep slipping, then down I’d go.  WHAT a sight!

It’s the same story for every human.  No one can live a sinless life here.  You knew that; yet You desire holiness in us, because You are holy.  So, YOU made the way.

You designed a most elaborate yet simple plan for cleaning us all up once and for all.  You chose the perfect timing, the appropriate means, and set it into action … You came to earth, crawled then walked on the earth, lived among those on the earth, and died at the hands of some on the earth to save us all over the earth.

Thank You for Your generosity and fantastic gift of love through Jesus!

“God does not respond to what we DO; we respond to what God DOES… Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting Him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade… God sets right all who welcome His action and enter into it.”  (v 26-30 MSG)

Yesterday, while driving home You gave me such a simple picture of this.  I met a bicycle along the road.  I caught only a glimpse of the riders, but that image still lingers in my mind.  It was a tandem bicycle with a dad at the front, peddling hard as they headed into the setting sun.  Behind him was a little girl, who was peddling also, her young legs looked like they were giving all she could.

Now, I’m aware of what it takes to make a tandem work– a “bicycle built for two”– as I remember the one my dad built when I was not much older than that little girl.  The person in the front steers–that’s the primary role there, since that’s where the handle bars are attached.  The person in the back has the key position for making the bicycle go, since the peddling from that seat is in such direct contact with the rear wheel, where the drive sprocket is.  The back seat rider goes where the front seat rider leads.  Together their peddling makes the ride more enjoyable and the tough spots more bearable.

Jesus, that’s me on the bike with You.  I’m with You, Lord, and I’m making the pedals move.  I’m trusting You to steer and to take us down the roads You want me to go along.  You know the best way and I choose to go with You, as You make me just like You along our journey.  Amen.

Romans 3:1-20

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness?  Not at all!” (v 3 NIV)

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23 NIV)

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, HE WILL REMAIN FAITHFUL, for He cannot disown Himself.”  (2 Tim 2:11-13 NIV)

No matter what I am like, no matter how strong or weak my faith … YOU remain unchanged.  Your faithfulness never waivers.  There is no time whatsoever, Father, that I can’t count on You to be You in ALL Your fullness and glory.

Thank You for Your consistency in my life, no matter what’s going on around or in me.  Thank You for Your new mercies each morning.  Thank You for Your faithfulness every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day, every day of every week, every week of every year, every year of my lifetime and throughout eternity!

Thank You for revealing Yourself to me, Father.  Continue to make me just like Jesus, so that others will be drawn to You too.  Amen.

Romans 2:17-29

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

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? …” (v 21 NIV)

“As you teach, are you failing to teach yourself? …” (v 21 God’s Word)

Then, there’s this paraphrase from Clarence Jordan in the Cotton Patch Version of Paul’s Epistles, 1968, p. 18: “…all right, teacher of another, you are teaching yourself, aren’t you?  You who place such emphasis on the Bible, are you disgracing God by your violations of the Scripture?  For it is written, you know, that ‘it is because of YOU that Christianity is sneered at by non-Christians.'” (vv 21-23 CPV)

INTEGRITY — “soundness; firm adherence to a code of esp. moral or artistic values; incorruptibility; the quality or state of being complete or undivided; completeness; honesty; antonym of duplicity” (Webster)

Father, search my heart, my mind, my actions: Reveal anything that maligns what others think of You when they see me.  Clean me up where my witness has become infected with a virus of duplicity.  Point out to me where my life doesn’t honor Your name that I bear before a world that needs You.

How desperate our world is for genuine examples of integrity, to see lives in which the “walk” and “talk” are united and sound.  You’ve called me to be light in this world, to help others see You.  You’ve called me to be salt in this earth, to draw others to thirst for You.  You’ve told me that though I’m in this world, I’m not to be “of” it.  My life is to be different, surrendered to You, so that others see You, Jesus, and so that they’ll want to know You too.

(1 Peter 2:11-12; 3:15; Col. 4:5-6; Eph 5:15-16; Matt 5:13-14; 1 John 2:15-17; John 15:19; 17:14-19; 1 Cor 10:2-3)

Father, here’s my heart (intentions, motives), my voice (talk), and my body (walk) — melt them together into Your mold that’s shaped in the image of Jesus and keep making me just like Him.  Amen.