Does He have your attention? Are you following after Him? Do you live with the hope that goes beyond all circumstances? Do you live knowing that you are free? Praise God for all the yeses.
What would it take to get your attention? Would it need to be a picture of heaven or a picture of hell? Would it need to be incredible blessings and joy or incredible pain and suffering? Would it need to impact you directly or would seeing it happen to those around you be enough? How bad would it have to get? Would there have to be injustice? Would there have to be bloodshed? Would some kind of sin work? Would the lost son type of experience be enough to point you back home? Or would it take something along the lines of what Ezekiel shares in today’s reading?
How far must you walk away from God before you realize it? How far from under His cover and protection would it need to be? It’s not that He would leave you, but He has given you free will to be able to make choices. He won’t give up on you though and hopes you will turn back! His hope is that nobody would perish but that everyone would come to repentance. Will you turn back to Him before it’s too late?
Are you able to see who is plotting evil? Are you able to identify who is giving wicked advice? Do you see who is stirring up the hate? Do you see who is stirring up the anger? Do you see who is stirring up violence? Do you see who is stirring up the division? Do you see who is stirring up the bloodshed?
God sees it all! God knows each though! God knows the heart of the matter! God knows every word! God knows every action! God is just!
As we read in Jeremiah 29:11 about God’s plan it is that we will have a hope and a future! As we read in 2 Peter 3:9 about God’s plan it is not that He is slow to anger but that He is patient in hopes that people will turn back to Him in repentance! As we read in John 3 about God’s plan, Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it! God desire is that none would perish but that everyone would believe and have everlasting life!
God promises that He would return the Jews back to Israel and God keeps his promise as they returned in 1948. Jesus made a promise and we each have to make a choice if we will receive Him as our Lord and Savior or try to go it alone. If we receive Him, accept Him, follow Him, believe Him, we will be saved!
So those who believe, will you point people to Jesus? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you take heart when you face troubles and be overcomers? Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s be ambassadors of hope! Let’s be ambassadors of love! Let’s help people see Jesus in and thru us! Let’s endure it all so that in the end we can be mature, complete and lacking nothing! Let’s encourage so that we can come together in unity in alignment with the mind of Jesus! Let’s speak in unity! Let’s act in unity so as to glorify God!
Let’s help the world around us to be filled with the spirit of God, so they can be filled with hope and joy and peace as we trust in Him! May it overflow from us into the world around us!
As we consider and contemplate all of this, let’s reflect on the closing information we read today in Romans…
1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jewson behalf of Godʼs truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
10Again, it says,
“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
let all the peoples extol him.”
12And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13May 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.
Paul the Minister to the Gentiles
14I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone elseʼs foundation. 21Rather, as it is written:
“Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand.”
22This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
Paulʼs Plan to Visit Rome
23But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lordʼs people there. 26For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lordʼs people in Jerusalem. 27They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jewsʼ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. 29I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lordʼs people there, 32so that I may come to you with joy, by Godʼs will, and in your company be refreshed. 33The God of peace be with you all. Amen.