Romans: Preach the Gospel to Yourself Daily

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APRIL 8: Preach the Gospel to Yourself Daily

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Some people may grow up in a small country church, listening to the same gospel message presented at the end of every Sunday message. The same twenty-six people who attend every service smile and nod at the pastor, while thinking to themselves, We know, and we don’t need to hear it again. 

While the pastor in the illustration above may not be communicating in a way that resonated with the people, it’s important not to give into the false narrative that goes something like this: I’ve accepted the Gospel. I don’t need to hear it again.

A review of Paul’s letters in the New Testament shows that he was writing to Saints (those who had already accepted the Gospel and trusted in Jesus Christ), but also shows that he continually communicated the gospel to them. Paul is speaking a different, true narrative. He’s saying, “You really need to get this. This message is so important, you need to hear it every single day! Whether you hear it from me, from somebody else, or from yourself. But it’s vital that you hear the truth of the gospel every single day.” 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 5:12-21

Why do you think it’s important to preach the gospel to yourself every day? 

What are some ways in which you can preach the gospel to yourself throughout the day today? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess there are times when I hear about Your goodness, Your grace, or Your gospel, and I think to myself, I know, and I don’t need to hear it again. But I recognize that it doesn’t take long for me to neglect, or to set aside the truth of Your Word. May the wonders of who You are and what You have done for me be etched into my heart, so they become the life blood of who I am and how I live. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 10

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: We Have Peace with Ourselves

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APRIL 7: We Have Peace with Ourselves

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 5:11 reads, So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Throughout my (Pastor Justin) ministry career, one common story I’ve heard from others is, I just can’t believe I did (fill-in-the-blank) when I was younger. I just feel awful about it, and I’m not sure I can forgive myself for it.

There’s a false narrative behind stories such as these, and it’s quite similar to the one mentioned yesterday. This false narrative goes something like this: I will have peace with myself when (fill-in-the-blank).  Or perhaps it’s worse: I will never have peace with myself because (fill-in-the-blank).

Those suffering with thoughts such as these may have taken the step of recognizing their own sin against God or others (Romans 3:23), but have failed to fully accept that God has done all the work to forgive them of their sins. They fail to see themselves as a friend of God. The truth is that God’s forgiveness is full, and for those for who have professed faith in Christ, God now sees you as His friend. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 5:1-11, JOHN 15:13-15

How do you define friendship? 

Imagine God saying to you, “I want you to know the fullness of who I am and how much I love you. You will know this by following Me.” This is essentially what Jesus shared with His disciples. How does this impact your understanding of what it means to be a friend of God? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that it’s rare for me to wake up and think of myself as a friend of God. But this is what Your Word teaches, and I want this truth to permeate into me so deeply that I know it deep in my bones. When a biblical truth such as this helps form my identity, there is little that can rattle me. Help me, Lord, to see myself as Your friend every day. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 9

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: We Have Peace with God

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APRIL 6: We Have Peace with God

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

In his ancient writings titled Discourses, stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “The proper work of the mind is the exercise of choice, refusal, yearning, repulsion, preparation, purpose, and assent. What then can pollute and clog the mind’s proper functioning? Nothing but its own corrupt decisions.” 

Ryan Holiday6, a modern-day author who researches stoic philosophy, writes that repulsion, in this sense, is being repulsed by, “negativity, bad influences, [and] what isn’t true.” 

Every day, we are inundated with information that may be either negative, a bad influence, or simply untrue. Some of these thoughts don’t come from elsewhere, but from within our selves. They come from our own negative thoughts. 

For example some may give into the false narrative of, I will have peace with God when (fill-in-the-blank). Thoughts like these are biblically untrue, and as such, we should be completely and utterly repulsed by it. Instead, we must replace narratives like these with truths such as Romans 5:21, “we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.”

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 5:1-11

Do you find yourself being repulsed by thoughts that lead to negativity, are a bad influence, and/or may not be true? 

Write down a few things you’re not currently repulsed by, but you’re thinking maybe you should be. Are there Scriptures that go against these things? If so, meditate on those passages this week. 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I recognize that there are a lot of things I see, hear, or read every day that are negative, a bad influence, or are untrue – in that they go against You and Your Word. Help me to see these things for what they really are and to recognize that true peace comes only because of what Jesus has done for me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 7 & 8

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: Prepare for Week of April 5 – April 11

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April 5: Prepare to Engage

As we continue this series on the Book of Romans, take a few minutes today to prepare your heart, mind, and schedule, so that you’re ready to engage with this study throughout the remainder of the week.

Tips for Completing this Reading Guide:

  • Take some time to think about what you may be able to eliminate from your current schedule in order to commit to having time to engage with God’s Word for 15-30 minutes a day. (It may be as simple as having less screen time each day.) 
  • Go to bed at a decent hour, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Remember, your body and soul are united. You cannot grow spiritually if you are weary and tired physically. 
  • Spend 1-2 minutes in quiet silence before reading each day. Similarly, end your time with an additional 1-2 minutes of silence. 
  • Write down your answers to the questions from this Reading Guide in a journal. 
  • Try to get into the habit of reading and journaling at the same time each day. Many find it helpful to review their answers a couple of times throughout the day as they may have additional thoughts to include. 
  • Mark time in your calendar for each daily reading. This will help you remind yourself that this is as important (even more important) than other items on your schedule. 
  • Ask your spouse, a colleague, a Community Group Member, or another friend to check-in with you each week and ask what you’re learning. 
  • Don’t rush through the readings. If something comes up and you need to pause and return to it later, this will provide a better result than reading too quickly.
  • Most importantly, remember that your time with God is not something to check off your list. It’s a dedicated time to get to know Him and grow in your relationship with Him. 

What can I eliminate from my schedule to follow through with this commitment?

What time will I plan to go to bed each night to rest well?

What time will I plan to read and journal each day?

Who can I ask to check-in with me each week to help me follow-through?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: April 3 – Write it Out

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APRIL 3: Journal

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Have you ever wondered if God really loves you? If so, what might be one way to find a clear answer? 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 5 & 6

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: God is Working

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APRIL 2: God is Working

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

The story Abraham reveals that God not only makes promises, but that He will fulfill them. The challenge for us is that God will fulfill His promises in His timing, and not in our own. 

In the book of Genesis, God had made some specific promises to Abraham. Years and years passed, and God’s promises had not yet come to fruition. Yet Paul writes in Romans 4:20-21, Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.

Ultimately, the promise God made to Abraham wasn’t completely fulfilled until Jesus Christ. While Abraham was able to experience a part of God’s promise in his own lifetime, the complete fulfillment of God’s promise was hundreds and hundreds of years after Abraham’s death. 

Today, you may be praying, hoping, or waiting on one of God’s promises in your own life. Remember that God will fulfill His promises in His timing. While God may be working slowly, this doesn’t mean He isn’t working. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 4:16-25

What are some things you have learned about God’s timing vs. your own timing? 

Why is it important for you to rest in God and not in the timing of His results? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I live in a world in which instant gratification is the norm. I can stream a movie, read a book, or eat a meal whenever I want. As such, I am guilty of wanting to see You work or fulfill Your promises in my timing instead of patiently awaiting Your timing. Today, I give up this wrong way of thinking, and trust that You will fulfill all things in Your timing. I acknowledge that the best thing I can do is to rest in You, and not in Your timing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 3 & 4

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: Do You Think He Loved Me?

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APRIL 1: Do You Think He Loved Me? 

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

In his book The Good and Beautiful God, author James Bryan Smith writes a story about two friends who grew up together, joined the military together, and found themselves together in war together. While hunkering down in a foxhole the friends were chatting when a live grenade landed nearby. One friend smiled and looked at the other, and then dove on top of the live grenade, killing him instantly, but saving his friend’s life. 

Years later, the surviving friend continued to wrestle with this event, and whether or not he was worthy of his friend’s sacrifice. Late one evening, he asked his friend’s mother, “Do you think he loved me?” The mother quickly jumped off the couch, shook her finger in his face and said, …”What more could he have done for you?!” 

In this moment, he had an epiphany. He realized not only that his friend deeply loved him, but also that Christ loved him in the same way. He had sometimes wondered if he was truly worthy of God’s love. He could picture God shaking His finger in his face saying, “What more could I have done to show you how much I love you!?” 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 4:1-15

In the Old Testament, King David lied, murdered, and committed adultery, yet he experienced the full forgiveness of God. Do you struggle to think that God has fully forgiven you of any wrongdoing? If so, why do you think that is? 

PRAYER:

Today, write out your own prayer and/or praise God. Thank Him for fully forgiving you of any sins you’ve committed against Him or others. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Nehemiah 1 & 2

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: Performance vs. Acceptance

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MARCH 31: Performance vs. Acceptance

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Think about this: Do you live your every day life thinking more about how you can best perform or be perfect, or do you live thinking more about the truth that God accepts you? 

For those who live by performing or trying to be perfect, author and researcher Brené Brown writes in The Gifts of Imperfection4, “Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.” Brown’s understanding of performance or perfectionism aligns well with Romans 3:21-31. We can try to overcome our sinful tendencies on our own, but our efforts won’t produce any real fruit. Instead, it is simply by our faith that we can avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. 

The Life Application Study Bible notes on Romans 3:28, (1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do. (2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what we do. (3) Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standards—we need help. (4) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God.

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 3:27-31

Be honest: Do you live more by performance and/or perfection or in the acceptance, security, and significance given to you by your faith in Jesus Christ?  

How ought your faith in Christ free you from the burdens of trying to perform for God/others? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess there are many days when I try to perform by either living perfect, looking perfect, and/or acting perfect in order to minimize the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. But these thoughts often lead me to experience more feelings of judgement and shame because perfectionism cannot be attained on my own. I am only accepted, significant, and secure3 because of Christ. May these truths continue to shape how I see You, myself, and others. Amen. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Esther 8, 9, & 10

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: Not Guilty

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MARCH 30: Not Guilty

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Imagine for a moment that you’re sitting in a court room, but not as an active observer. Instead, you’re on trial, and Satan is taking you to court. All day long, you hear arguments from the devil about how you are guilty of sinning against God (see Romans 2:1-3:20). Throughout the trial, you hear what Satan is saying and you try to take down notes to mount a defense, but by the end of the day, you know that he has made a very compelling argument. 

Afterward, your defense attorney, Jesus, looks directly at you and says, “There’s nothing you can do on your own. You are guilty of sinning against Me. But I have taken on your punishment. If you will trust in Me and commit to following Me, then you will be cleared of all charges against you. You will not only be free to go, but God will also see you as His son or daughter. You will be invited into Our family and will always have a seat at the table with Me. You will be declared a righteous saint and not a guilty sinner. Now tell Me, would you like to accept My offer?

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 3:21-26

If you have accepted Christ, then God (the Judge) has declared you Not Guilty. Neither Satan, the world, or others can declare you unrighteous or insignificant. Today, write out Romans 3:24 in your translation of choice. In what ways should the truth of this verse impact your everyday life? Be specific. 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s easier for me to accept the truth of Romans 2:1-3:20 – that I have sinned against You — than it is for me to accept the truth of Romans 3:21-26 — that You have willingly offered me freedom by declaring me “Not guilty,” because of Jesus Christ. Today and every day, I simply want to rest in the love You have selflessly lavished upon me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

(End with 1-2 minutes of silence)

 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

The F260 is a Scripture Reading Plan designed to read through the foundational passages of the Bible through a year (September 2019 – August 2020). It is a separate reading from the daily devotional but is included for those who would like to engage with the Scriptures on a deeper level throughout the year.

Read: Esther 5, 6, & 7

 

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.

 

 

Romans: Prepare for Week of March 29 – April 4

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March 29: Prepare to Engage

As we continue this series on the Book of Romans, take a few minutes today to prepare your heart, mind, and schedule, so that you’re ready to engage with this study throughout the remainder of the week.

Tips for Completing this Reading Guide:

  • Take some time to think about what you may be able to eliminate from your current schedule in order to commit to having time to engage with God’s Word for 15-30 minutes a day. (It may be as simple as having less screen time each day.) 
  • Go to bed at a decent hour, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Remember, your body and soul are united. You cannot grow spiritually if you are weary and tired physically. 
  • Spend 1-2 minutes in quiet silence before reading each day. Similarly, end your time with an additional 1-2 minutes of silence. 
  • Write down your answers to the questions from this Reading Guide in a journal. 
  • Try to get into the habit of reading and journaling at the same time each day. Many find it helpful to review their answers a couple of times throughout the day as they may have additional thoughts to include. 
  • Mark time in your calendar for each daily reading. This will help you remind yourself that this is as important (even more important) than other items on your schedule. 
  • Ask your spouse, a colleague, a Community Group Member, or another friend to check-in with you each week and ask what you’re learning. 
  • Don’t rush through the readings. If something comes up and you need to pause and return to it later, this will provide a better result than reading too quickly.
  • Most importantly, remember that your time with God is not something to check off your list. It’s a dedicated time to get to know Him and grow in your relationship with Him. 

What can I eliminate from my schedule to follow through with this commitment?

What time will I plan to go to bed each night to rest well?

What time will I plan to read and journal each day?

Who can I ask to check-in with me each week to help me follow-through?

 

Note: Are you looking for a Study Bible to help you engage with the Scriptures at a deeper level? If so, click here for some recommendations.