Romans: Do Not Feel Condemned

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APRIL 27: Do Not Feel Condemned

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

There’s a lot to learn when going to another country, such as traffic laws and dress code. A person could travel from a very strict culture to one much more relaxed, or vice-versa.

Becoming a Christian is like traveling to a new country. We’re just conditioned to follow the rules of the old country. What happens when we break those rules? The rules that no longer apply to us?

If there is no condemnation in Christ, why is it that we sometimes feel condemned or shamed?

Habits, or culture, are hard to break. Romans 8:1 mentions two different ways of existing. Most people spent years living under the law of sin and death (and condemnation) before they were saved. Many Christians have spent much of their post-saved lives also under the law of sin and death (and condemnation). So where does condemnation come from? Simply put, the enemy. We have been set free from that law to live under the law of the Spirit of life. And those are two different ways of thinking, feeling, believing and existing: dead or alive.

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 8:1-2

What do you consider to be the law of sin and death? What do you consider to be the law of the Spirit of life?

When you became a Christian, do you feel that you moved from a strict country to a free country or vice versa? Why do you think that is? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are, and thank You for who You are not. Remind me whenever I feel condemned that it is not You, that it is never You. Condemnation will only take me away from You, and I ask that You would show me how to be freed from any thoughts that are more life-draining than life-giving. Continue to help me see myself in the same way You see me. 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: Matthew 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: April 24 – Write it Out

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APRIL 24: Journaling

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

READING & JOURNALING:

In The Good and Beautiful Community, James Bryan Smith writes, “The kingdom of God is not about rules, but about the goodness and confidence and laughter we discover when we let the Holy Spirit lead us.” What have you learned about the goodness of God this week? 

(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: John 1

 

 

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: The War for Your Mind

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APRIL 23: The War for Your Mind

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 7:22-23 reads, I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

In The Lord of the Rings, the young hobbit Frodo Baggins is tasked with a challenging mission: to destroy the ring of power. As the story progresses, the burden becomes heavier and heavier. Frodo wants to be rid of the ring, yet he also finds a unique desire to keep the ring close at all costs. He discovers the truth of Romans 7:22, that there is a power at war with his mind. 

The story is an excellent reflection of what Paul is communicating in Romans 7. As Christians, we are not immune to sin. While we have been set free from its reign in our lives, we are still flawed. The desire to sin against God or others can creep in even in the most unexpected of moments. We must constantly keep our thoughts and hearts on Christ, knowing that He and He alone can remove the burden of sin in our lives. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 7:1-25

There is an ongoing war for your mind. What, specifically, is your responsibility in that battle? 

Romans 7:22 notes that there is another power (sin) that is at war with your mind. What are two or three Scripture verses you can regularly turn to to replace sinful thoughts with the truths of God’s Word? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I don’t need to read Romans 7 to know that there’s an ongoing war for my mind, but it is a helpful reminder that I need to accept my responsibility in this battle. Today, may my time, energy, thoughts, words, actions, and even spending reflect that I am taking this responsibility seriously. 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: Mark 1

 

 

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: Willpower Won’t Work

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APRIL 22: Willpower Won’t Work

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 7:15 reads, I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

Have you ever tried a new diet or exercise routine and told yourself (and maybe others), “I’m actually going to follow through this time?” If not, you’re likely in the minority. Every year, millions of people set New Year’s Resolutions and the vast majority of them fail by the end of January. Why? Because far too often we live with a false narrative, telling ourselves what we will or will not do based solely on our own willpower.

The Life Application Study Bible1 notes on Romans 7:15 that Paul has learned 3 valuable lessons. (1) Knowledge of the rules does not make it easier to obey them. Just like knowing the benefits of diet and exercise does not mean we will simply follow them. (2) Self-determination and self-improvement cannot change our hearts. (3) Becoming a Christian does not stamp out all sin and temptation in a person’s life. 

Real transformation only occurs when we allow God to change our hearts and our minds. To think we can make it happen on our own is foolishness. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 7:1-20

When is the last time you were determined to accomplish something based on your own willpower? How did it work out for you? 

What is one area of your life in which you need to allow God to change your heart and/or mind? 

PRAYER:

Today, write out your own prayer to God. Confess at least one area of your life in which you need to allow Him to change Your heart and/or mind, and ask Him to transform this area of your life. 

(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: Matthew 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: Earn It

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APRIL 21: Earn It

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

In the movie Saving Private Ryan, WWII soldier James Ryan learns that his three brothers had all be killed in various battles. As such, he is to be released from duty and return home as the only surviving son. Toward the end of the movie, the commanding officer sent to retrieve Ryan, John Miller (Tom Hanks), becomes mortally wounded while protecting the younger Ryan. In this climactic scene, Miller’s final words to Ryan are, “Earn it.” Miller was basically saying, I paid a huge price for you. Make sure you live a life worthy of it. For the rest of his life, James Ryan wondered if he lived a good enough life to earn it.

This theme of earning life or salvation is prevalent all throughout the book of Romans and is especially prominent in Chapter 7. The Apostle Paul notes that some may believe they can earn their salvation by following God’s commandments. Others may think they can earn God’s favor by living with good intentions. But this isn’t the real gospel. The real gospel tells us that we don’t have to live always wondering if we’re good enough to earn it. The real gospel is a gift.  

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 7:1-12

How regularly do you still find yourself trying to earn God’s favor or blessings in your life? What lies may you be believing that lead you to think you can or should try to earn God’s favor?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, as I continue to study through the book of Romans, I’m recognizing that even though I know the gospel is a free gift, I still sometimes live by trying to earn favor or blessings for You. Today, simply help me to rest in the truth that I cannot earn Your grace, but must simply receive it and know that I am Your beloved son or daughter. 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: Luke 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: Living in God’s Kingdom

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APRIL 20: Living in God’s Kingdom

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 7:4 reads, So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.

Before faith Christ we saw the world as we wanted to see it. We were, in essence, kings and queens of our own lives and often had very self-centered ways of thinking. As the NLT Life Application Study Bible1 notes, our own self-determination was our source of power.

But after choosing to follow Jesus, we began to see the world differently. By following Christ, we can now see the world as God does. We not only see the brokenness in the world, but we recognize the solution. We not only see the destructive power of sin, but we understand we are free from its power. We not only see the overwhelming goodness of God, but we see that He will work His goodness into our lives. In short, we see that we now live in His kingdom and not our own. And we see that there’s no better kingdom in which we could live. 

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 7:1-6

What are some ways you now see the world differently than you did before trusting in Jesus? Be specific. 

What are some ways you now see yourself differently than you did before trusting in Jesus? Be specific. 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that it is easy for me to see the world, myself, others, and even You in ways that may go against Your Word. This week, I simply pray that You will continue to open my eyes to see everything as You see it. Provide me the wisdom, strength, and grace to be the person You have made me to be. 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: Luke 1

 

 

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 19-25

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April 19: 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 17 – Write it Out

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APRIL 17: Journal

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Take some time today to write out a brief summary of Romans 6. Try to do it in only 2-3 sentences, making it easy to remember and easy to share with 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: Malachi 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: A New You

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APRIL 16: A New You

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 6:23b reads, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our culture thrives on consumerism. For example, Amazon reported a 4th quarter revenue of 87.4 Billion dollars in 2019. 87.4 Billion with a B. That’s a lot of sales and consumerism!

It shows that, at least in our culture, we’re always looking for something new. So when we think about having a New Life, or a New Nature, or New Freedom, we may immediately think to ourselves, Sign me up! But…what’s it going to cost me? 

Romans 6 answers with the most surprising answer — it’s not going to cost you a thing.  

The very idea causes some to balk and walk away. Others may want more information, but in the back of their minds they’re still thinking like a consumer: Surely it’s going to cost me something. 

In reality, there is no cost. Jesus paid it all. But if you accept it, there will be a New You. And while the New You may not be everything you expected, it’ll be far greater than you could ever hope for.

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 6:12-23

In your Study Bible of choice, read through the commentary notes for Romans 6. What if anything did you learn about God providing you a new life, a new nature, and new freedom? 

Read Matthew 13:44. What do you think about the grace of God being a “free gift” (Romans 6:23) yet also paying everything you own (Matthew 13:44) to receive it? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, Your Word is clear in saying that the Gospel message is a free gift. It’s also clear in saying that I must give up what I think I know about You and about myself in order to fully receive it. Today, I simply acknowledge that I want to know You in your fullness, and I want to see myself as You see 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: Malachi 3

 

 

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: New Freedom

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APRIL 15: New Freedom

(Begin with 1-2 minutes of silence)

Romans 6:7, 19 reads, For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin…Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible7 notes that when Romans was written, many intellectuals would use the illustration of slavery to speak against wrong ideas. As such, the Apostle Paul uses a similar argument by saying, “You are no longer slaves to sin!” Those who first read his letter would have known the illustration and would have rejoiced at the thought that they need no longer be burdened by sin. That they indeed had been given New Life, and a New Nature. 

But Paul then flips the argument around and encouraged the Christians in Rome to be slaves of righteous living. You can just imagine them reading his letter and thinking, What?! You just told us that we had a new life. Now you’re telling us to be slaves again?”

But Paul wasn’t encouraging the people to be slaves of sin. Instead, he was saying to be slaves to righteous living. His argument was simple: Righteous living leads to New Freedom.

READING & JOURNALING:

     ROMANS 6:12-23

How does being a slave to righteous living actually lead to experiencing freedom and fruitfulness in life? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that when I think about being a slave to righteousness, it’s easy for me to think about a checklist of what’s right and what’s wrong. But I’m continually learning that being a slave to righteousness isn’t about a checklist but is simply about me growing in my knowledge and understanding of who You are, as well as growing in my knowledge of understanding of who You have made me to be. I pray that the truths of who You are and who I am will open my eyes to the freedom only You can provide. 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: Malachi 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.