Monday, February 15, 2010 Romans 9
Ask God to reveal how he is speaking to you through these words. Paul feels great anguish for the unbelief of the Jewish people. How should the benefits in 4-5 have drawn them to Christ? In 10-13 and 25-26, we are reminded our sovereign God has worked out the perfect plan according to his purpose. How do the Old Testament references resolve the tension between the Jewish and Gentile Christians? How does God relate to us (15-16)? Which question from 6, 14, and 19 express your concern about God’s plan? Where are you growing in your understanding of God’s will for your life?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 Romans 10
We are reminded that God does not intend for any person to be lost. God seeks salvation for all mankind. How would you respond to the theory that what you believe doesn’t matter as long as you are sincere (1-2)? What is the difference between the person in verse 5 and the one in 8-9? What is the message in 14-17? Compare this to Hebrews 4:2-3. Verses 16-21 remind us that not everyone accepts the message of God’s freedom and salvation. Has the need to have a faith response to Christ been a stumbling block or a steppingstone for you? Re-read 9:30-31. How does this help you explain the difference between Christianity and other religions?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Romans 11
The fate of the Jews plagued Paul. How could the chosen people not accept Christ and receive his salvation? Paul seeks to explain the “remnant of Israel,” and God’s mercy on all. On what basis was the “remnant” chosen? An image of grafted branches on an olive tree gives a message to the Gentiles (13-24). What phrases indicate what the Gentile believers were thinking? What attitude were they to have concerning God’s acceptance of them? In 28-32, Paul shows how the Jews and the Gentiles benefit from each other (also Genesis 12:3 and Isaiah 60). Do churches today sometimes have an attitude toward “outsiders?” Do you think that we “believers” stumble with the idea that there is “no difference” between us before God?
Thursday, February 18, 2010 Romans 12
This chapter moves from the theological to the practical. Paul gives guidelines for living life with a total commitment to God. Verses 1-3 tell us that worship is applying faith to everyday life. This world molds us to conform to the desires of our heart; how do we present ourselves as a living sacrifice in your everyday life? We are all gifted by God (3-8). We should not envy others’ gifts, but use our own gifts along with theirs for the church. Do you know what your gifts are? Do you praise God for them, or envy others’ gifts? What does 9-21 have in common with 1-2? How does your relationship with God, and your love for him, show in your relationship with others? (Matthew 18:1-10.) Of the commands listed in 9-21, which are the easiest for you to keep? Which are the most difficult? Pray for our church and its leaders, and that our love is sincere.
Friday, February 19, 2010 Romans 13
In this summary of obedience to the government, Paul does not describe any particular political system, just Christian guidelines for obeying just authorities. In light of Paul’s teaching about freedom in Christ, why do you think this section is important to the church in Rome, and for us today? How does government relate to God in terms of its origin? Power? Purpose? Compare this passage with Acts 5:27-32. What principles do you find to help you deal with authority? What could Paul say to people in modern democracies who face injustice? Verses 8-14 deal with moral imperatives. How is the love described here different from popular notions of love? What do you think is meant by the light and darkness in 12-14? What does the clothing in 14 mean to you? How would your lifestyle be consciously different if you tried to “wear” Jesus Christ?
Saturday, February 20, 2010 Romans 14
Fellowship should be a fundamental concern to all Christians. This chapter describes the effects of our behavior on others, and gives a warning about passing judgment. What attitudes and motivations do you see in 3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 19 and 22 that guide your relationships when you disagree? Using verse 1, how would you define what Paul means by “disputable matters?” What are these issues today? Based on 13 and 17-18, what should occupy our energy? In 20-21, what does Paul mean by the words “stumble” and “fall?” What is the motivation and reward for putting others first? As mature in your faith, how does your sensitivity to the consciences of other Christians change? What have you done in the last six months that has led to “peace and edification” among your family? Friends? Church?
Sunday, February 21, 2010 Psalm 6
This psalm is about deliverance from trouble. In 1-2, do you believe that God is punishing David for his sin, or is David just afraid that God is against him? This is one of seven penitential psalms, expressing repentence for sins. The others are Psalm 32, 38, 51, 102, 139, and 143. Throughout this psalm, David is honest with God. David knew that if God treated him with justice alone, and not with mercy, God’s wrath would wipe him out. David cried out for God’s mercy and deliverance. Has anything in your life ever made you “cry out”? Have you ever seen God as an angry judge? In 8-10, David’s tone changes. Why? How does he know that God has answered him? Does this psalm add to your despair, or bring you hope? Spend some time with God and a repentant spirit.