Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 11/23/2002

November 23

Read Romans 14 -- 16

In Today’s Reading:

Law of love concerning doubtful things; Jewish and Gentile believers share the same salvation; Paul's desire to visit Rome; personal greeting; concluding doxology.

It is amazing that the Eternal Creator, who is Christ the Son of God, did not please Himself (Romans 15:3). His love led Him to come into the world, live, pray, and die on the cross for our sins. Even now, the resurrected Christ is making intercession on behalf of our weaknesses and temptations (Hebrews 7:25).

Since not one person in history has been without sin, except Jesus, and since we do not know the hearts, convictions, or understanding of anyone, we are warned: Who are you that judges another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be upheld: for God is able to make him stand (Romans 14:4).

We . . . who (think we) are strong (in our faith) ought to bear the infirmities (failings) of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us (make it a practice to) please his neighbor for his good to edification (to encourage rather than criticize). For even Christ did not please Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached you fell on Me (15:1-3).

The "stronger" brother will put aside his spiritual pride and lovingly consider how to strengthen his (assumed) spiritually weaker brother without passing judgment, so as not to give Satan a foothold through division or self-righteousness. The greatest example is Jesus Christ, who unselfishly took our sins upon Himself, suffering insult, persecution, and a cruel physical death on the cross for our sake. His personal sacrifice shows us the Christian way to deal with other people for their good and God's glory.

When we allow Christ to be Lord of our lives, it results in a sincere, compassionate concern for others, not only for a weaker brother or sister in Christ, but for the lost as well. Spiritual discernment leads us to be understanding of others and their situations. We will then have a listening ear with a desire to pray with someone who needs our patience and compassion. The admonition to bear the infirmities (weaknesses) of others requires action and not indifference on the part of more mature Christians.

Yes, we recognize sin as destructive and deadly to the sinner. God judges sin and makes it clear that we also must reprove, rebuke, (and) exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine (warning, urging, and encouraging the sinner to be obedient to the Word of God) (II Timothy 4:2). Truly, sin is of Satan. We should strongly oppose obvious evils, and yet have the compassion of Christ for the one who is caught in Satan's grip.

Our compassionate Lord is saying to those who represent Him: Be . . . merciful, (even) as your Father . . . is merciful (Luke 6:36). It is a privilege to bear the burdens of others and help them learn more about Jesus and His will for their lives! Now the God of patience and consolation (source of comfort and all encouragement) grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to (the example of) Christ Jesus (Romans 15:5).

Thought for Today: Giving -- not getting -- is the key to receiving God's blessings.

Word Studies:

14:1 not to doubtful disputations = not for passing judgment; 16:2 succourer = helper, defender.

Cross References:

For Romans 14:11: See Isa. 45:23. Rom. 15:3: See Psa. 69:9. Rom. 15:9: See Psa. 18:49. Rom. 15:10: See Deut. 32:43. Rom. 15:11: See Psa. 117:1. Rom. 15:12: See Isa. 11:1,10. Rom. 15:21: See Isa. 52:15.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), Rep. Bobby Rush (IL), and Sen. Charles Schumer (NY) · Pray for one more person to read through the Bible · Country: Dominican Republic (8 million) in the West Indies occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 96% Roman Catholic (many are spiritists); 2% Protestant; 1% Afro-American spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord that His Word is absolutely trustworthy (I Kings 8:56).

Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 12:10

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