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Romans 10:1-3


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

My heart has been yearning to do this next study in Romans. I had some company in town so was unable to start it back up after the holidays till now.

 

It was a year ago, New Years day 2009, that I first started this study in Romans. Yesterday, I went back and began to read the beginning of this study and then forward a little bit. It was very moving for me Father, to re-read my personal journey with You. It touched my heart to re-visit the conversations I had. They really got to me, and it meant alot that I could see the 'heart' I have for You in those words.

 

For a while, I've known that I would be doing a fast in the near future and yesterday, I decided I would start it today. I am feeling such an incredible starvation in my heart for You...it's almost as if my heart is aching, so I don't know what else to do except humble myself and fast and pray. There is something very holy and powerful in fasting. There's an intimacy that's unique too, and my heart is just really needing to humble myself in this manner, for this moment, and fast.

 

As I write that, a scripture comes to mind:

 

"and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

 

I'm not quite sure why you laid that scripture on my heart Father, but my heart desires to humble myself, and I wll be praying and seeking Your holy face. If there is anything in my life that is displeasing to You, show me Fatherthat I might ask forgiveness and remove it because my heart is just not interested in hanging on to anything anymore. It's not that I don't fall Father...it's not that I don't fail, cause I do and it hurts when I do, but the one constant through the whole process is the fact that I want and need You more than I want or need anything else.

 

I have been feeling like a little girl the last few weeks with You. I've been sensing that You are once again, beginning to plow up my heart a little deeper than before. Just yesterday I came across some scriptures that say:

 

"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

 

When I read that, all I could think was, it's true...I don't know why You love me so much but You really have given me a new heart and put a new spirit within me...the stone that housed my house is now so incredibly soft and pliable, and many times I don't recognize myself because You and only You could have worked these changes thus far, in me. That humbles me and I thank You because I'm so burned out on the things of this world and I find myself not just wanting, but needing eternal things...things that have to do with You.

 

So Father God, I lift up this offering (which is what this fast means to me) and humble myself before You. I know that it is pleasing to You and whatever work You are seeking to do in me, I ask that You do. I reserve and hold nothing back because I trust You and I want You to have all of me.

 

I'm not feeling good today though Father. I caught the head and chest infection that Kaitlyn had so I'm struggling with that but my heart is set on this fast so please heal this infection that is seeking to bring me down. I feel fuzzy headed and it's hard to concentrate, but as I think about it, I'd like to just crawl up into Your holy lap, feel Your holy arms around me, lay my head against Your chest and read Your Word like that.

 

Bless this study today Father God...teach me and cement into my heart, these things I need to understand and learn.

 

I love You so very, very much.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

1. Brethren, the dear wish of this heart of mine, and my prayer to God for them [israel] is for [their] salvation.

 

2. For I bear witness to them that they have a zeal for God, but not at all according to knowledge.

 

3. For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to God's righteousness.

 

The rvbv writes, "BRETHERN - Here Paul addresses all saints concerning his yearning for national Israel's salvation. The words my heart's desire are literally, "the dear pleasure of my heart." Israel's salvation was to Paul a thing of delight to contemplate and hope for. Moreover, as always, Paul puts his wish for them into prayer to God: in which all spiritual longings should end!

 

Verse 2: He bears them this witness, and gladly, that they had a zeal for God, but he most strongly denies that there was any real knowledge of God and His ways in that zeal. Mohammedans have zeal. When I passed through the Azhar Mosque, in Cairo, a Moslem merchant was kneeling, forehead on the carpet, in prayer. Four hours later I saw him still kneeling! And outside were over 10,000 students, diligently learning the Koran! Zeal must not be mistaken for knowledge in Divine things. See Josephus' quote: "The Jew knows the Law better than his own name...The great feasts were frequented by countless thousands...Over and above the requirements of the Law, ascetic religious exercises advocated by the teachers of the Law came into vogue...Even the Hellenised and Alexandrian Jews under Caligula died on the cross and by fire, and the Palestinian prisoners in the last war died by the claws of African lions in the amphitheatre, rather than sin against the Law. What Greek would do the like?...The Jews also exhibited an ardent zeal for the conversion of the Gentiles to the Law of Moses. The proselytes filled Asia Minor and Syria, and - to the indignation of Tacitus - Italy and Rome." Surely the Jews of Josephus' day had a "zeal for God." It is perhaps unkind in this place, (so tender with Paul), to cite the religious zeal of pagan or Mohammedan. But Paul himself classes the "beggarly elements" of the Jew and pagain together! (Gal. 4:8-10), since the cross."

 

In verse 3, Watchman Nee comments on the word "establish" and writes: "The Israelites seek to establish their own righteousness by trying to keep the law, and have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, which is Christ Himself. This is an insult to God, and it causes them to miss the way of God's salvation."

 

The rvbv writes, "Verse 3: But it is certainly a terrible thing we see. Here is the Jew with God's own Book, the Old Testament Scriptures, in his hand, and blind to that Scripture's revelation of his guilty, lost state before God. The Jews were in a fearful condition in two ways:

 

First, they were wholly ignorant of the one great, vital fact sinners must know: that righteousness, life, and all things are a free gift of the grace of God: and that the Law was meant only to make them discover their sin and their own helpless need of the outright gift of righeousness from God. The expression ignorant of God's righteousness, does not mean that the Jewish people were ignorant of holiness and righteousness as attributes of God, - in fact, they prided themselves on the knowledge of such a God as over against the hideous pagan gods. But the righeousness of which they were wholly ignorant was that while "God Himself was just," He was also "the Justifier of the ungodly" of all who "believed on Jesus." As we said in Chapter Nine, the Jews had seized upon their possession of the Law as in itself giving them a standing with God. Our Lord could have spoken to almost any Jew as He did to the woman at Sychar's well: "If thou knewest the gift of God, and Who it is that saith to thee!" For of a gift of righteousness they had no conception.

 

The law dispensation was necessarily unfruitful, "making nothing perfect," because it neither imparted life, nor gave strength to fulfill its demands. As Paul writes to the Hebrews, there was a "disannulling" of it, and a "vanishing away" of the legal covenant (Heb. 7:18; 8:13).

 

When Christ came, although born under the Law in order to redeem Israel (Gal. 4:4,5), yet He Himself, from the very beginning took the place of the Law! In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5, 6 and 7) He declared: "It was said...but 'I' say." He came, indeed, not to destroy but to fulfil, and inasmuch as Israel was under the curse of the Law, He redeemed them that were under the Law by becoming Himself a curse for them (Gal. 3:13).

 

Although Christ in His ministry, ("lest we cause to stumble," - Matt. 17:27) paid due heed to Moses' directions (as in the cast of the leper - "Go show thyself to the priest"), yet He never, for example, enforced the Sabbath: indeed He freely wrought healings on that day, in the face of the murderous hatred of the legalists.

 

The Law was designed not to bring about self-righteousness or self-hope, but contrariwise, self-despair. The law witnessed to a man his need of a mediator - as at Sinai (Deut. 5:23-27). Christ Himself is the righteousness of God. When He died, bearing the sin of the world, the Law's demand for human righteousness was over, ended, closed up, set aside. Christ has not been "made of God unto us righteousness": we want no other. But it is not easy to subject ourselves unto God's righteousness: for God justifies the ungodly. Justtification is a gift for very beggars, the only hope for the guilty, lost and undone. (This is what God calls 'subjecting ourselves to God's righeousness': finding a righeousness which is neither of nor in ourselves, but finding Christ before God, and the proud will, through grace, submitting to be saved by that which is not of or in ourselves. It is Christ instead of self, - instead of our place in the flesh." Rowland Hill, at the close of a great meeting, saw a lady riding in an elegant carriage, who commanded her coachman to halt, and beckoned Mr. Hill to approach her. "Sir," she said, "my coachman came to your meetings and says you told him how to be saved; so that he is now very happy. Please tell me how a lady of the nobility is to be saved, for I also desire to be happy." "Madam," said the preacher, "Christ died for the whole world. God says there is no difference. All are to be saved through simple faith in Him." "Do you mean," she said haughtily, "that I must be saved in the same way as my coachman?" "Precisely. There is no other way." "Then," she said, "I will have none of it!" and she made her coachman drive away.) The Jews, ignorant of God's gift of righteousness utterly refused thus to subject themselves. They said, "We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man [Jesus], we know not whence He is!"

 

John the Baptist's ministry is full of meaning here. It is both a precious and an awful thing - the results of John's testimony. Luke tells us: "All the people, when they heard [John], and the publicans, justified God [when John preached repentance and confession of their sins], being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him" (Luke 7:29,30). It is touching to the spiritual heart to find, for instance, that all five of those converted in the first chapter of John were John's disciples.

 

The Jews to this day go about to "establish their own righeousness." But in this path that "seemeth right unto a man" is the way of death, yea, of direct rebellion against God. (As Stifler so well says: "The Jews claimed that in following the Law they were submitting to God, for He gave the Law. No, says Paul; in so doing you are not submitting to the righeousness of God. 'For Christ [whom God gave and you reject] is the end of the Law for [with a view of] righteousness to every one that believeth.' The Jew's system was one of doing; but God's was one of believing, one of grace. Law and grace are mutually exclusive and antagonistic systems. Because the Jew held to Law he was not in subjection to God. The proof that he was not is the great principle of grace here recorded.")

 

They (the Jews) were desperately set on establishing, building up that which God had cast down, that is, human righteousness. They heard with deaf ears their own prophets' voices: "There is none righteous, no not one. "All our righteousness are as filthy rags Therefore, the Jews were, and are today, worse off than the heathen. Their Law - "whensoever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart." (II Cor. 3:15). According to Isaiah 25:7, there is "a covering that covereth all peoples, a veil that is spread over all nations" (to be removed in Millennial days, thank God!). But over the face of the Israelite there is now not only the common blindness of man to his own condition as a sinner, but, added to that, the false confidence the Jew has in his own righeousness because the Law was given by Jehovah to his nation. (It is with unutterable sadness that we contemplate the even worse condition of the Laodicean Church of today! "Wretched, poor, miserable, blind, naked" - and knowing it not! Christ on the outside of the door! Yet outwardly rich, and increased with goods!).

 

Heavenly Father,

 

When I typed out Newell's "The Law was designed not to bring about self-righteousness or self-hope, but contrariwise, self-despair", it really struck me because I so relate to that. For many, many years, when I was struggling in my relationship with You, my focus many times was in the fact of how far I fell short...of how unable I was to keep many of the Commandments. So, it touched my heart because that 'self-despair' was how I would feel.

 

It wasn't until You began to open my eyes and teach me about Your grace, that the peace my soul could never find, was found.

 

I love Your Word Father God...I really do. So today, as I fast, I just ask that You would lead me to the area in Your Word that You would have me read. The last time I did a fast like this, You led me to a particular book in the Old Testament and it was so incredibly moving for me. So Father, this time too, please lead me where You would have me go.

 

Also Father God, there is 1 or 2 other people that are also fasting, with their own hearts rising before You, seeking Your will and direction in their lives. I pray Father God that this day, You will begin to put a peace as You present and put in place, the pieces to the puzzle that they don't understand.

 

I know that my heart, and its genuine seeking of You, is nothing short of a reflection into how much I love You. This morning, when I was tending to the animals, I was burdened so strongly by their dependence on me to feed them and water them and to take care of them. I understand their need because that's exactly how I feel with You. I need You to 'feed and water and take care of me' too.

 

Yanno Father? I sit here and want to do something but I wonder if it's ok because You are holy and all those things. Just the thought of You stuns my heart and makes me want to bow down before You. But, I can't escape this yearning in my heart right now to......

 

(((((my Heavenly Father))))))

 

I love You.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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  • 2 weeks later...

Your open and honest prayers always touch me Darlene. It is a good example that you set for the rest of us here in the Chapel and I pray that God blesses you with this fasting and prayer time.

 

:hug3:

 

Q

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