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Darlene

Romans 14:6-12

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Heavenly Father,

 

Lately I've been thinking about how I'm in Chapter 14 of Romans, with 2 more chapters to go...

 

Just thinking about that right now grips my heart a little bit because I feel a little nervous as I think, "what will I do after this?"...

 

Will You have me do another book in the bible? If so, I have no idea what it might be. And the reason this is even laying on my heart is because I know that without You placing the responsibility of these bible studies (Romans and Ephesians) to share in public, I never would have finished them all by myself.

 

Oh, I would have started with a vengence like I always do. But somewhere along the way I would have gotten tripped up and they would have been set aside and forgotten, except those times when You would bring it back to mind how I had never finished and that would have pricked my heart and I would have felt sad.

 

But You know exactly how to work in my life. I never wanted, nor planned to ever do anything public like this, but You orchestrated it's birth in the most cutest way...quite by accident, because of an innocent comment I made at another site, "has anyone ever done a study in Ephesians before?". What I meant was, "God has laid on my heart to study this particular book (by myself, I might add) so I'm curious whether anyone else has studied it, and if so, is there any particular reference, outside of His Word, that you might highly recommend?".

 

The response I got was, "when are you going to begin the study, Darlene?".

 

Unreal.

 

That was scary for me Father. It was very scary for me to start because I had never done anything like this in my life. I've been very open about how unqualified I am in alot of ways to spearhead a 'bible study'...I'm learning myself. But as the days and weeks and months rolled by, something happened and I became very comfortable writing out my conversations with You, knowing that I'd be posting them public, but not caring...focused on what that particular study would reveal that day.

 

The routine of it, the responsibility of knowing that others were reading...knowing that if I were to just drop the ball, it would be too much for my heart to bear because I'd feel so bad and embarassed...was the glue that kept me going and propelled me to finish that which I had started.

 

As I write that paragraph, I have to clarify. The above is very true, but the real Truth is that it is Your grace that completed that which You alone, started.

 

I cherish these studies Father...it brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. My heart, and my walk with You the past couple of years is actually preserved in writing in the pages of these studies. For me, that is a gift. Once in a great while, I'll have to go back into one of the studies I've done, to reference something there, and as I skim my prayers it takes me back and helps me to see in a more concrete way, the work You've been doing in my life. The calls, the tests, the nervous extensions of trusts I haltingly and at times fearfully took risks to extend...and over time You caused my 'spiritual blindness/darkness' to recede and somehow through Your Word I began to realize and believe that You were all I had, You were all I need, and You are all I want.

 

I'm only human Father, and sure, there's many desires in my heart, BUT when they're placed next to You, they just lose their meaning.

 

And this Father, happened by going into Your Word. You are very much alive and in Your Word. I don't know how to explain it, or put it into words but it has been through Your Word that I've learned the Truth about You on a deeper level. Misunderstandings, misconceptions are now clearer understandings and they fill my heart with peace, hope, security.

 

I wouldn't be where I am right now if You had not created this opportunity to share with others, these 2 studies.

 

I feel silly writing this, but I feel a little fear at the thought of not having this. But You know me, and You know that I won't do another one unless You lead me to. If it is Your will that I not do another, I trust that You will fill that void with something of equal or greater value.

 

But Father? I need to talk to You about something else too. Yesterday I had such a burden to call one of my Christian girlfriends to talk with her about something that was laying very heavy on my heart. As I began to share with her, something suddenly dawned on me and I could help but sob as a reality hit me smack in the face and it actually scares me a little bit...

 

There's no denying the fact that You have done a work in me over these years. You've changed me, You've grown me, and I still sometimes sit in wonder as I look at all You alone, have accomplished. I know for a fact that I never could have accomplish even a slice, of what You have done. You've matured me a little bit and it is confirmed by the fruit that You alone produce in my life, to use as You will. But oh Father God, something has dawned on me...it's a perspective that I didn't really put any conscious thought into...it was more hidden, yet still present at the same time.

 

I don't know if it was an assumption on my part or my natural nature just kicking in, but I would have expected that all this change, this growth You've worked in me would have caused me to do better than in years gone by. What I mean by that is I think I was aware of these changes, but I somehow was translating that into beginning to try to stand on my own two feet a little better...I was assuming that I was stronger and would be more able to withstand the temptations or pitfalls that constantly cross my path. I assumed that there were some areas that I wouldn't fall prey to like I had done all my life previously.

 

I forgot, or missed, one critical component to all this.

 

I began to loosen that desperate need to hang onto You tightly, and tried to just place my hand on Your shoulder for balance (per se), stretching out my legs that felt a little bit stronger, and had an anticipation in my heart as I set my sites on the goal of finally being able to stand...even if it was for a short period of time, I was ready to take that next step and see how 'sea worthy' my own legs were.

 

*sigh*

 

I immediately crashed. I even crashed in one little way worse than I had ever done in the past.

 

So as I sobbed, trying to express this to my girlfriend yesterday, I told her that I have no choice but to always, always, always, hang tightly onto You. I told her that while most people, when they fall, seem to only skin their knee...I seem to break every stupid bone in my body and it devestates my heart, and the only solution I know...the only hope I have, is in You, You, You...You alone because You are God.

 

And then Father, as I write all that, I begin to see things a little clearer...a little more alone Scriptural lines. My position is in Christ, and I think what I started to do was step outside of Him a little bit.

 

I immediately fell.

 

hmmmmmm...

 

There's nothing wrong with a healthy fear, and I certainly have that of myself. So Father, I guess my prayer this morning is a genuine, heartfelt, humble request that through the power of Your Spirit that You keep me in that position, because that is the only place I will be safe...in Christ.

 

There's been a Christian song that has been playing over and over and over in my mind and heart the past day or so. I've already listened to it a few times this morning. I'd like to end this prayer with bended knee, heart lifted up, eyes on You alone, singing, "Glory, glory, hallelujah, thank You for the Cross".

 

 

In Jesus Name I humbly offer this prayer to You, my Holy, Heavenly Father,

 

 

6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that doth not eat, unto the Lord he doth not eat, and giveth thanks to God.

 

7. For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.

 

8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether therefore we live or die, we are the Lord's.

 

9. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might rule over both the dead and the living.

 

10. But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou, again, why doest thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment weat of God.

 

11. For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, to life every kneww shall bow, - [not to men]. And every tongue shall confess to God.

 

12. So then each oneof us shall give account concerning himself to God - [not to men]

 

The rvbv writes, "Verse 6: These verses, of course, contemplate true believers only, those who "give God thanks."

 

Here we have some regarding the day as holy in itself. Jewish believers especially, not fully delivered from the Law, would have tender consciences about days. But if they knew the Lord, it would be toward the Lord their consciences could be exercised, and they must be considered in love on that account; love would see through their eyes!

 

Again, there were those with greater knowledge and liberty who "regarded not the day," knowing that every day, for those risen in Christ, is alike: the first day of the week being not a sabbath, but rather the celebration of our Lord's resurrection which delivered us from legal things. Ignatius (martyred from 115 A.D.) said, "Those who were concerned with old things have come to newness of confidence, no longer keeping Sabbaths, but living according to the Lord's Day, on whom our life, as risen again, through Him, depends." And Justin Martyr, (martyred about 168 A.D.) when reproached by Trypho with "giving up the Sabbath," said, "How can we keep the Sabbath, who rest from sin all the days of the week?"

 

Let those of legal tendencies mark this: that a man may regard not what we regard, and do so "unto the Lord." Then the man who has liberty to eat all things, eats "unto the Lord," and gives God thanks. And again, (let the stronger brother consider) there are those that eat not as "unto the Lord," giving God thanks.

 

Verses 7, 8 and 9: The argument of verses 7, 8 and 9 is that each one of us is living or dying absolutely 'unto the Lord', - whose we are. We are not in any sense one another's lords! but belong to Christ alone, who died and lived that He might rule over us all, - and not we be lords of each other! or of the faith of others! Therefore comes the searching question:

 

Verses 10-12: But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou, again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

 

For it is written:

 

As I live, saith the Lord, to Me every knee shall bow, - [not to men].

And every tongue shall confess to God.

 

So then each one of us shall give account concerning himself to God - [not to men].

 

The best manuscripts read "the judgment seat of God" in verse 10: thus accomodating the words to the quotation from the Old Testament (Isa. 14:23). This word "God" is also used in Romans 14:12, as we see; although we know from II Corinthians 5:10, it will actually be before the judgment seat of Christ that believers will be called. (Always remembering that Christ is God the Son.) Also, that "the Father has given all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22).

 

Of course we know from our Lord's words in John 3:18 and 5:24, that condemnatory judgment cannot be applied to believers here, for, "He that believeth on Him is not judged"; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life." In Revelation 20, also, the saved, the "blessed and holy," partake of the first resurrection; and over them the second death, the penalty of the lost, 1000 years later, has "no authority." Nevertheless, we must not allow this blessed fact to dull the force of the solemn question propounded to us by our beloved apostle Paul, as to how we dare either judge or despise our brother? seeing that such action involves presumptuous forgetfulness both of the fact that we are not judges; and of the other fact that we shall all, though saved, stand before the judgment seat of God and each "give an account of himself" to Him. In II Corinthians 5:10, of this judgment seat (bema) for believers this is said: "We must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad." In I Corinthians 3:13-15, we see that "if any man's work shall abide...he shall receive a reward." It is a matter of reward for our service, and not salvation, that is here in question. "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire" - that is, losing, as one whose house is burned, all his goods, though himself delivered. The whole emphasis here in Romans 14:12, is that each gives an account concerning himself - not of others; and to God instead of to man!

 

The reading "judgment seat of Christ," Romans 14:10, would seem to agree both with II Corinthians 5:10, and the whole spirit of the preceding verses here, especially verse 9. We know also that the Father has committed to the Son all judgment, both of believers and unbelievers (John 5:22,27); Acts 17:31). But that it is before God (instead of a fellow man) that all will bow, is being emphasized; and Christ is God, and will, we believe, as Man be the Judge, even at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20:11-15."

 

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm kind of stunned that the song I referenced at the end of the opening prayer is quoted in today's study..."every knee shall bow, every tongue confess". I certainly didn't know that beforehand.

 

I need to thank You so very much for these studies, for this time in Your Word. Bless it Father because it's Your Word and it glorifies You.

 

Thank You for Your patience with me, Your faithfulness...the fact that You'd never, ever give up on me. That fills me with hope and makes me feel safe and secure.

 

I love You deeper each day. I sometimes wonder if that depth will ever find an end because somethings it seems like it can't go any further, but further it goes as if the depth is eternal and has no end.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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