NUGGETS OF WISDOM

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BELIEVING WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE

David recollected that as a young lad, with long unruly hair and a ruddy complexion, sleeping out in an open pasture under a starry sky after watching his father’s sheep all day long; how he would take his little harp and sing to the God above all gods. Looking up, he saw the sky as a huge tent with the sparkling stars as lights that lit up the night. He may have even tried to count them once or twice. But what really impressed him was that each night every star was in exactly the same place, not one of them was missing. He was so overcome with awe that he penned a hymn to the creator of that starry universe.

O my LORD Eternal and heavenly Master, Your awe-inspiring works mark You as a genius, as You display Your grandeur all over the heavens for all the world to see. For through these small and tiny dots of light You communicate as a way of countering those who don’t take You seriously; yes, You do this to silence the doubter and unbeliever. When I look up into the sky and see the galaxies Your hands created, the stars and the moon You put into orbit I ask, “What role do humans play in this vast universe; why do You care and fuss over them?” Then I realized, You created them a little short of being angels; endowing them with attributes of honor and dignity; making them the smartest and most influential creatures on earth; putting them in charge to being stewards of Your handiwork, even taking care of the animals, both domestic and wild, including the birds that fill the sky and the fish that fill the sea. O LORD Eternal and heavenly Master, Your awe-inspiring works mark You as a genius for all the world to see.” Psalm 8:1-9

Reflection: Back in the days of the hippy movement I sat in a coffee house in Stuttgart, Germany talking with a long-haired flower-child about God. The young man was respectful but adamant about his doubts concerning God’s existence because he couldn’t see Him or talk to Him. At that moment the Holy Spirit gave me an inspiration, so I pointed to a picture hanging on the wall beside our table and asked the young man if he believed that picture came into being due to an accidental collision of paint and paper. He laughed and said, “That’s ridiculous; that picture was painted by an artist.” I responded that I wasn’t convinced because I couldn’t see the artist in the picture; how did I know that maybe one day it just appeared on the wall by accident. The young fellow looked at me for a moment and then admitted that even though I couldn’t see the artist in the painting, I had to accept the fact that an artist painted the picture because it just makes sense. I told him that in the same way, one must exercise faith to believe an unseen talented artist created such a beautiful portrait, we can also believe an unseen God created the beauty of the universe. The magnificence of God’s creation shows His responsibility for man’s existence, and man’s responsibility to acknowledge God’s handiwork. The young man smiled somewhat embarrassingly as he bowed his head and said, “Okay, you got me on that one.” I asked him if we could have prayer for him to have faith, but he wasn’t sure. As he went away I asked the Holy Spirit to go with him and open his eyes to the truth.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

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TO ALL MY READERS AND FACEBOOK FRIENDS

I have some good news to share with you. A few months ago, during a Governors Meeting of the Phrear School of Theology where I am privileged to serve as an Academic Officer Operations Trustee, the Chancellor informed us that they were considering initiating a Masters Degree level course on Ministry, and were looking for some Textbooks or Supplemental Reading Material for that course.

When I told him about our study here, and on Facebook, on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. he graciously asked me to send him a draft for consideration. Praise the Lord, I was able to send the whole commentary to the school yesterday. Now it is a matter of simply waiting to see what God has in store for the work His Holy Spirit helped me to research and write.

I informed the Chancellor that I did not want any remuneration for the commentary were they to decide to use it and publish it, I desired that all proceeds go to the School to help the students and expenses of the operation. That would be my contribution. Any reward I might receive is knowing that students as far away as the Republic of the Philippines on one side of the world and the country of Malawi in Africa on the other side of the world would be given a chance to see and study what the Lord shared with me.

Researching and writing this work has taken over five years. So now I’m leaving it in the Lord’s hands, and the capable hands of the Chancellor and his staff. All I ask is that you pray with me that God’s will is done to His honor, praise, and glory. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

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POINTS TO PONDER

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Last Sunday my wife and I enjoyed listening to Pastor Stephen Arterburn, from Indiana deliver an inspiring and humorous teaching on “Changing the Way You Think About Love. So I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

https://saddleback.com/visit/locations/onlinecampus?autoplay=true

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SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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FULFILLING PSALM 150 DOWN HERE

The following is a true story told by Mildred Honor, a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa. I was a lot like this boy Robby, she writes about when my Mom arranged for my sister and me to take piano lessons in Germany when I was twelve years old. Even my piano teacher, Brigitte, didn’t think I stood a chance of learning (and she was partially right). So you can imagine how much I can understand this story. By the way, this boy’s name is also Robert.

Mildred tells how she always supplemented her income by teaching piano lessons during the summer, something she did for over thirty years. During those years she found that children possess many levels of musical ability, and although she experienced the pleasure of teaching a prodigy, she did teach some very talented students.

However, she also tutored her share of what she called “musically challenged” pupils – one such pupil being a boy nick-named Robby. At the age of eleven, Robby’s mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson. She preferred that students (especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which she explained to Robby. But Robby said that it was always his mother’s dream to hear him play the piano. That was enough for her so she accepted him as a student.

Well, Robby began his piano lessons and from the beginning, she thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel. Nevertheless, he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary piano pieces that she required all her students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while she listened and cringed and tried as best she could to encourage him.

At the end of each weekly lesson, Robby would always say “I know my mom’s going to hear me play someday.” But to her, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability. Mildred only recognized his mother from seeing her briefly as she dropped Robby off or waited in her to come in her old car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but she never came in and visited.

Then one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. She thought about calling him but assumed that because of his lack of ability he decided to pursue something else. She was also glad that he stopped coming – he was bad advertising for her music lessons program!

Several weeks later she mailed out a flyer recital to each of the students’ homes about a recital. To her great surprise, Robby called and asked her if he could be in the recital. She told him that the recital was for current pupils and since he dropped out he really did not qualify. He told her that his mother had been sick and unable to bring him to his piano lessons, but that he kept on practicing. “Please Miss Honor, I’ve just got to play for my Mom,” he insisted.

To this day Mildred still doesn’t know what led her to allow him to play in the recital – perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of her saying that it would be all right. The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives, and friends. She put Robby last on the program. He would play just before she was to come up, thank all the students and their parents, and then play a finishing piece herself. She thought that any damage Robby might do would come at the end of the program and she could always salvage his poor performance through her “curtain closer” performance.

Well, the recital went off without a hitch. The students all practiced intently and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though an egg beater went through it. “Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other students?” she thought. “Why didn’t his mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?”

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and she was surprised when he announced that he chose to play Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major. Everyone looked shocked! And she was also not prepared for what she heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories.

He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demanded magnificently! Never did she hear Mozart played so well by anyone his age.

After six and a half minutes he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was up on their feet in wild applause! Overcome and in tears, she ran up on stage threw put her arms around Robby in joy. “I never heard you play like that before, Robby, how did you do it?” Through the microphone, Robby explained: “Well, Miss Honor …. remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away just this morning. And well …she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she finally heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed in foster care, she noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. She thought to herself, how much richer her life became bringing Robby as her pupil. (By the way, she never got to play her final piece to cover up for Robby’s expected bad performance).

No, Mildred never had a prodigy, but that night she became Robby’s prodigy. He was the teacher and she was the pupil, for he taught her the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and maybe even taking a chance on someone and you didn’t know why.

So after hearing this story, we can understand why Mildred was shocked to the core when she found out later that Robby was killed years later in Timothy McVeigh’s senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. May God rest his precious soul until he plays for heaven’s choir after the great resurrection, with his mom in the audience to proudly cheer him on. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

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CALLED TO LIVE IN THE FREEDOM OF THE SPIRIT!

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TO ALL MY FABULOUS STUDENTS AND FRIENDS

You may not have kept track, but here’s a little information for you. On our journey through the Book of Romans, you read 1411 pages of commentary. That means you studied that material in 489 Lessons. That comes to 97 weeks (over one and a half years) of constant reading and comprehending this fabulous Epistle. In other words, you spent more time studying Romans than most Bible School or Seminary students. So I congratulate you on your love for God’s Word.

Romans contains the premier Doctrinal Theology of the Christian Faith. It’s like learning what parts make up a complicated pocket watch. But there another step to this process of spiritual enlightenment through the Word of God. Now you must look at the Practical Theology of the Christian Faith. Since you know what it is, how does it work, and how is it applied to your everyday Christian life.

That is found in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. So this is next in our curriculum. Galatians only has six chapters whereas Romans contained sixteen. So it’s a shorter distance to journey. But there is so much to learn of how all this is meant to work for us. We need to go from being young Christians in God’s Word to young adult Christians. And the Epistle to the Galatians helps us do that. Who knows, if God continues to give me strength, we may reach mature adulthood by way of Paul’s First and Second Letters to the Corinthians.

But as for now, this is Spring Break time. With my sweet and talented wife’s help, we are working on Galatians, Chapter One. I will start a new class on Facebook named: Called to Live in the Freedom of the Spirit! Now that we’ve learned how and why we were Reborn in Christ. Now it’s time to turn the coin of Grace around and see the other side that deals with how our Sanctification must be put to use. So if we do get to Corinthians we will take another step in discovering how being Baptized in the Spirit uses the coin to receive the necessary gifts and empowerment to do the work that God redeemed us to do.

I will keep you up-to-date on our progress on Galatians One, and let you know when Spring Break is over. Then we can jump in and take an exciting and invigorating journey through Paul’s letter to the Galatians. There will be a bumpy road, to begin with, as we learn of what can happen to new Christians if they don’t put their heart and soul into believing and serving God. But it ends up just fine as we discover just how much seed was planted in our souls by the indwelling Spirit upon our conversion to produce the Fruit of the Spirit. So stay tuned and we will give you updates between now and then.

I will let you know when the new class on Facebook is created so you can have time to join and have your friends join. Until then, God bless you for your faithfulness, and may He reward you greatly for your ambition in wanting to know more about Him by knowing more about His Word. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

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POINTS TO PONDER

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Our Pastor, Rick Warren, at Saddleback Church here in Lake Forest, California is the best expository teacher I’ve ever listened to. Since I’m some sixteen years older than him, I can safely say, he reminds me of myself. That’s why I connect so well with him. He just started a new series of messages on “Why You Need To Think About What You Think About: Rethinking Your Life.”

I want to share his basic outline with you to give you some points to ponder. Under each major point, I will add my Reflection.

Choosing to Manage My Mind

Rethinking Your Life

Rick Warren

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2 (NLT)

WHY MUST I MANAGE MY MIND?

  • BECAUSE my thoughts control my life.

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

Proverbs 4:23 (GNT)

[Reflection: As Christians, we are called to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5). We know that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Rom. 12:2). But often our minds seem to be out of our control. Thoughts come unbidden and unwanted. They entice us into sin or taunt us with doubts. We must learn how to control these thoughts by replacing them with positive spiritual thoughts, thereby truly taking them captive?]

  • BECAUSE my mind is the battleground for sin.

    I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind, I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead, I find myself still enslaved to sin.” Romans 7:22-23 (LB)

[Reflection: Jesus tells us to be careful that the light He placed in us does not go out and leave us in darkness. (Luke 11:35). We must recognize that the areas where we hide in denial will be the very areas of our future warfare. Also, beware because pride is a barrier that conceals those dark areas. We must realize that the greatest defense we have against the devil is to maintain an honest heart before God. Scripture tells us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So we must submit ourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from us. (James 4:6). Satan fears virtue. He is terrified by humility; he hates it. To compromise is refusing to explain away our thinking even though we know it’s wrong. Keep in mind that demonic strongholds are any type of thinking that exalts itself above the knowledge of God. This gives the devil a secure place of influence in an individual’s thought-life.]

  • BECAUSE it’s the key to peace and happiness

If your sinful old self is the boss over your mind, it leads to death. But if the Holy Spirit is the boss over your mind, it leads to life and peace.”

Romans 8:6 (NLV)

[Reflection: There are times when you feel so confused with what to do next or how to do one thing or another it makes you freeze in fear. There will also be times when you feel like you have no guidance or no assistance shows up to help. You feel miserable when you face that kind of confusion. In fact, the more miserable you feel, the more you will stay stuck with no ideas at all. The truth is, that kind of feeling attracts more resistance to receiving any inspiration. In order to gain inspiration and to attract more opportunities, you need to be at peace. In that state, your prayers are heard and inspiration will flow into your mind. Scripture tells us that God will keep those in perfect peace when their minds are concentrated on Him because He trusts us to obey His will. (Isaiah 26:3).]

3 DAILY CHOICES I MUST MAKE TO MANAGE MY MIND

  1. I MUST feed my mind with truth.

    Man does not live by bread alone. Rather, he lives on every word that comes from the mouth of the Eternal One.” Matthew 4:4 (The Voice)

[Reflection: We can call this “Soul Food.” We all know that seeing, hearing, and feeling are stimuli channels to the mind. How often do we watch a movie, see a TV show, or read a magazine that contains things that our conscience is not comfortable with, and sometimes, even offended. But we tend to overlook those things and try and find the good, exciting, dramatic, suspenseful, or funny content instead. Little do we know that like pollen, those things do not go away but migrate to our mind and heart where they generate thoughts and ideas we would otherwise never think of. That then leads to desire. As Jesus said so clearly, where your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21). So if God and Christ and heaven are where our treasure is, our heart will follow. (Matt. 6:33).]

WHEN SHOULD I FEED MY MIND WITH GOD’S TRUTH ALL THE TIME!

I RISE EARLY . . . I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.

Psalm 119:147 (NLT)

Lord, how I love your Word. I think about it ALL DAY LONG.

Psalm 119:47

Even in the DARKEST NIGHT, your teachings fill my mind.

Psalm 16:7 (CEV)

Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.Psalm 119:95 (NLT)

  1. I MUST free my mind from destructive thoughts.

    Three Enemies battle against the truth & my best intentions:

[Reflection: First we must identify our destructive, or negative, thoughts so we can challenge them. We should not have an all-or-nothing mindset. That means everything is either black or white, there is no middle ground for finding a solution. Also, we should keep away from overgeneralizing everything. Stop criticizing by telling someone, “You always do or say...”, “I never do or say...”, or “Everyone is or does…”. Having such a point of view will throw away a whole basket of apples because you spotted one bad apple in the bunch. Furthermore, get rid of your mental filtering, keeping out what you don’t want but need to hear; stop jumping to conclusions; relying on emotional reasoning; quickly labeling; habitually magnifying even the smallest thing, or as they say, making mountains out of ant hills. The Apostle Paul gives us a great list of ways to keep negative thinking from dominating our minds. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8-9).

  • THE 1ST ENEMY OF MY MIND: is my old sinful nature

I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” Romans 7:23 (NAB)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.”

Romans 8:5 (NLT)

[Reflection: You don’t have to believe everything you think is true. You must reject the thought that “a little bit won’t hurt that much;” or “I’ll try it just once to see if what they say about it is true.” or “Even though others say it’s bad for you, I don’t see anything wrong in it;” and “I’ll drop it if I don’t like it.” That’s what fooled Eve in the Garden of Eden. The serpent just wanted her to taste the forbidden fruit, in other words, just take one bite. Keep in mind, that the payback for sinning is disaster, even if it’s just a little bit. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23).]

  • THE 2ND ENEMY OF MY MIND: is Satan.

Paul: (I’ve forgiven that man) so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11

[Reflection: There is a battle going on in this world. “Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the high places.” (Eph. 6:12). However, if we are born into the family of God by the spiritual new birth, we are on the winning side. We will battle much of our lives with the weakness of our own flesh. Some battles may be influenced by Satan. We should certainly know more about him. He is always a foe, never a friend. Nothing he says is true, he is a pathological liar. “He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). So never believe anything he says. He only wants to make you look like a fool.]

  • THE 3RD ENEMY OF MY MIND: is the world’s values.

All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (KJV)

[Reflection: This equals a total lack of discipline. We live in a convoluted world. The morals of yesteryear that were considered of highest value are now considered as being of little worth, and what was thought of as trash is now bragged about as having great value. The Scripture says: “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:15-16).

How to Fight:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish STRONGHOLDS. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT to make it OBEDIENT to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

A “STRONGHOLD”: a lie that I believe.

I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what.”

Psalm 119:112 (CEV)

  1. I MUST focus my mind on the right things

  • Think about Jesus

Keep your mind on Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:8 (CEV)

Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying.” Hebrews 12:3 (NCV)

[Reflection: Remember these things about Jesus: He loves you unconditionally that’s why He died for you before you even knew Him. He wants the best for you, that’s why He wants to be a daily part of your life. He wants to be number one in your life. Either you make Him Lord of all or He cannot be Lord at all. He expects the best out of you and will give you all the help you need to be the best you can be. He doesn’t find fault in everything you do that doesn’t meet His expectations, but takes what you’ve done and helps you make the best out of it. And remember He’s not a pushover, He’ll stand His ground and fight for you. Even though you may not always follow Him, He’s always following you. Always keep in mind Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep. (Luke 15:3-7). But it is much easier walking with Him than walking alone.]

  • Think about others

Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. Philippians 2:4 (LB)

Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.”.

Hebrews 10:24 (NCV)

[Reflection: In being considerate of others, the scripture says “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for the person you’re trying to help.” (Col. 3:23). “Be friendly with everyone. Don’t be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people.” (Rom 12:16). “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3). “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Rom. 12:10-11). “We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” (1 Cor. 10:24)

  • Think about Eternity

Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here.”

Colossians 32 (LB)

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

[Reflection: Everything we see around us will one day be destroyed. So what kind of people should we be? Our lives should be holy and devoted to God. We should be looking forward to the day we’ll be with the Lord, wanting more than anything else for it to come soon. When it comes, the heavens will be destroyed with fire, and everything in the sky will melt with heat. But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for what He promised – a new sky and a new earth. That will be the place where only goodness lives. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

In the words of that old hymn we used to sing written by Albert E. Brumley:

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Chorus:
O Lord, you know I have no friend like you,
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

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SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF HIS HEART

When we pray to God, we certainly hope He’s listening and will answer. I read this account of one person who imagined that they and God held a conversation and here’s how it went:

Me: God, can I ask you a question?

God: Sure

Me: Promise you won’t get mad

God: I promise

Me: Why did you let so much bad stuff happen to me today?

God: What do you mean, bad stuff?

Me: Well, I woke up late

God: Yes

Me: I ran into the biggest traffic jam I’ve ever seen, and ended up late for work.

God: Okay

Me: At the cafe, they gave me the wrong sandwich so I had to wait 15 minutes for another one.

God: Sounds normal.

Me: On the way home, my cell phone battery went dead, just as I received a call

God: All right

Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home – I just wanted to relax and watch the news but my satellite TV couldn’t pick up the signal because it was raining outside. So I don’t understand why You didn’t do anything about it?

God: Let me see…the death angel was at your bed this morning ready to give you a heart attack and I sent one of my angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me (muffled): OH!

God: I let you get caught in that traffic jam because you would have been in that five-car pile up you passed that was causing the backup.

Me: I didn’t think of that’

God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they had from the contaminated sandwich you received, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.

Me (embarrassed): Oh my!

God: Your cell phone went dead because answering the phone would have distracted you and caused an accident that you wouldn’t be able to afford the repairs for because you bought the wrong insurance just to save money.

Me (softly): Oh dear Lord!

God: And your satellite TV signal didn’t come in because of the rain, but because I interfered with it to keep you from watching a program that wasn’t good for you instead of having your evening devotions.

Me: I’m Sorry God

God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust Me…. in all things, the good, and the bad.

Me: I will trust You.

God: And don’t doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan.

Me: I won’t doubt anymore, God. And let me just tell you, thank you for everything today.

God: You’re welcome, my child. It was just another day being your heavenly Father who loves looking after one of His delightful children. Amen!

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I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

Dr. Robert R. Seyda

EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER SIXTEEN

We see that Paul ends this Epistle, in the same manner, we might end a telephone call today by asking the one we’re talking to if they wouldn’t mind saying “Hello” and giving a hug to the rest of the family and mutual friends. The fact that the Apostle took the time to name as many as he could remember was a sure sign of his love and affection for the believers in Rome.

It is obvious that Paul started out with two main goals in his writing. First and foremost was for the Jewish believers to be patient with their Gentile brothers and sisters, since they did not come into the faith in Christ from the same moral, ethical, and religious background as they did, but from an idolatrous and heathen perspective on life – the survival of the fittest. And second, that the Gentile believers be understanding of their Jewish brothers and sisters who were still bound by a number of ties to their moral, ethical, and religious instructions and ceremonies concerning all things required by the Law of Moses.

Now in this last chapter, Paul closes with various instructions, greetings, warnings, and a doxology. Of particular note are his comments concerning Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchreae. Also, his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila remind us of how instrumental this couple was in the spreading of the Gospel. The remaining greetings from Paul remind us that there were many others who contributed to the growth of the church in the first century, and we should be as happy for them as Paul was.

A final warning is given against those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to what Paul taught in this epistle. For above all else, Paul wanted to ensure their continued obedience in the Gospel. Paul’s companions at Corinth add their greetings, and Paul closes this wonderful epistle with an expression of praise to God for the revelation of the Gospel which was leading to the obedience of faith among all believers in all nations.

None of what Paul says here as an afterthought. What he says is vitally important for the believers in Rome, and us today, in order to continue learning and growing in Christ until the day of our departure from this earth. I’m sure it was with some reluctance that Paul ceased his dictation of this letter to Tertius because there were other things he may have wanted to say. But what he did say is certainly sufficient for all who read this letter to understand God’s plan of Salvation and His inclusion of all peoples, not just Jews in His spiritual family. And the key to making the plan of Salvation work as it should is Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. Then the final factor is that with the help of the Holy Spirit this message is spread all over the world so that as many as believe might be saved. And all to the glory and honor the triune God.

Paul’s doxology is the best way to end our study of this fabulous and indispensable book in the Bible:

Now to God, who can strengthen you, according to my Good News, in harmony with the revelation of the secret truth which is the proclamation of Yeshua the Messiah, kept hidden in silence for ages and ages, but manifested now through prophetic writings, in keeping with the command of God the Eternal, and communicated to all the Gentiles to promote in them trust-grounded obedience — to the only wise God, through Yeshua the Messiah, be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

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