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  • Be Merciful and Understanding

    We who are strong in our faith ought to guide and encourage those who are weak by our witness, not to please ourselves, but to please God.

    Let every one of us serve our neighbors, and by serving, edify them to grow in their witness to our Lord, Jesus.

    Christ did not live to please himself, but took on the sins of the world, as was foretold by the prophets. The prophecies and scriptures are meant to teach us patience and understanding that the comfort of our witness will bring us hope. The Holy Spirit will grant you comfort and peace so that you can witness with the mind of Christ, and with that mind glorify God the Father made manifest in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    And this is why I say we are to receive one another as Christ received us to the glory of God.

    Jesus came as the minister of truth to the Jews, to confirm the promises made by God, and to reveal Himself to the Gentiles so they may also worship God for his mercy.

    For it is written,

    “For this cause will I confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.”

    and

    “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people.”

    and

    “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles, and laud Him, all ye people.”.

    Isaiah wrote, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him will the Gentiles trust.”.

    So let the Holy Spirit fill you with all joy and peace in believing, and and you will live in hope of His power and majesty.

    I am convinced that you are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and understanding, and able to do what you know is right.

    Because you are strong in your faith, I have chosen to write to you with boldness, perhaps even a bit sternly, but with the love and grace given me by God. For I am the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, preaching the good news of His coming so the prophecies will be fulfilled and the Gentiles will come before God in humility and be sanctified through the Holy Spirit.

    I do not glorify myself, but glorify God through the mercy and grace of Jesus, Christ, Lord and Master of us all. I do not preach from my understanding, but from the revelation of mercy given to me by the Holy Spirit through Him.

    Mighty signs and wonders are the gifts of God, and it is through these gifts I have been able to preach the gospel far and wide among all peoples.

    I have taken the news of Christ's coming and sacrifice out to the Gentiles who were in darkness, not to build upon some existing beliefs, but to reveal the truth and glory of God to those who were ignorant of his power and mercy. This is why I have not come to Rome, since the word was already being preached among you.

    But I have wanted to come to you, and when I am preparing to journey to Spain, I will visit you, and I hope some of you will come to visit me before I arrive.

    I am on my way to Jerusalem now, to minister and encourage the faithful there, and to bring them gifts of support sent to them by Macedonia and Achaia. They consider it their obligation to help them, for the ministers in Jerusalem sacrificed greatly to bring them the gospel, and they are now in need of support.

    When this is done, I will come to Rome and then proceed to Spain. And when I come, I know I will come rejoicing in the fulness and blessing of the Holy Spirit to know you are growing in your faith and your witness.

    So I pray daily for you, my brothers and sisters, and for the sake of our Lord Jesus, I ask you to pray for me for the success of this ministry and for the Holy Spirit to fill the souls of all who here the message of salvation. Pray for me, I ask you, that my service be acceptable to the Lord and all to all believers.

    I will come to you in joy with the will of God, and will be renewed in my faith by your witness. May the God of mercy and peace be with you always. Amen.

    I know you can do this!

    For fourteen chapters, Paul has shown the Jews that the Gentiles have not replaced them in God's eyes, but have joined them in their inheritance of God and His promises. In this chapter, he reminds them of their obligations to sacrifice, not only as Jews, but as followers of Christ.

    This is sound advice for all Christians, even today. We live in a world where religious tolerance has become an issue of great importance. Here in the United States, our arguments between Christians, Catholics, and Jews have lost some power with the occurrence of the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th of 2001. Since that time, Islam has come under attack in the media and even in acts of violence as heinous as the ravaging of synagogues in the south by the KKK. On the continent of Africa, entire populations are exterminated on the excuse they worship God differently. And in the Middle East, Islam has been perverted to declare Holy Wars to defend the faith when the goal of all warfare is not conversion of a population, but economic gain. Religion is abused by us today as it has been for centuries.

    Paul defines faith as the search for the peace and understanding of God.

    ”Christ did not live to please himself, but took on the sins of the world, as was foretold by the prophets. The prophecies and scriptures are meant to teach us patience and understanding that the comfort of our witness will bring us hope. The Holy Spirit will grant you comfort and peace so that you can witness with the mind of Christ, and with that mind glorify God the Father made manifest in our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

    This is why he devoted so much of this letter to defining the obligation of a Christian to die to self and be reborn in the image of Christ. We are not to allow lust and greed to dictate our actions, but to begin each day with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit (that part of us that is given from God to guide us) to direct our day, to open our eyes to the needs of others, and to serve them, expecting nothing in return. Like the recently told Sufi story of the Fox and the Tiger, we are to serve those who cannot see the truth, so that by our witness, they might be awakened.

    The final chapter of Romans will follow, but I believe this chapter is the most revealing in this letter. Paul is telling us what a Christian witness truly is, and how to achieve it. Paul is telling us he has faith that if we follow that witness, we will achieve all that we should.

    I hope you are having a blessed day.

    Fred
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