Romans – “Therefore”
We are troubled deeply by what is going on in the world. We wonder how bad will it get before things turn around. We blame the government leaders, no matter who is in charge, for everything that goes wrong. We blame local and state leaders if needs are not met immediately as we see them. The world blames church leaders and Christians for not being all they should be then murders, rapes, robberies, prejudices, and all other sin would not exist. We blame everyone for everything that goes on in our world. We even blame God. Mm.
As believers in God as the One and Only God, we begin to wonder if we are in the minority in all of this. Are we the only ones who still believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him as Lord? Is there only a few left who truly believe what God’s Word says and try to live it? Where are they?
“I feel alone in my commitment to You, Lord,” we cry out in our hearts at the work place when we are made fun of for our beliefs and behaviors. It’s really serious when a more worldly church makes fun of you because you have never taken a drink of alcohol and still choose not to because you don’t see the need for it in your life. You are called a prude and judgmental because you don’t go to a party, or go for a strong drink after work, where getting drunk is an option. “I feel all alone in this, Lord”, we cry out, even in a church setting.
Just yesterday, I was told my praying to God is useless. Wow. A few years ago, a family member told me that my “religion” is just a psychological crutch to deal with life. Wow. Yes, we can feel all alone in this battle between evil and God’s righteousness.
But, are we all alone? Paul reminds us what God said to Elijah’s lament of aloneness, “I still have seven thousand who are loyal to the finish.”
The numbers may or may not be dropping in living loyally to Christ, but it is not the time to quit, now! We are NOT alone.
I know I’m plucking a thought from a few words of this passage but I feel led to write it down for those of you, who like me, feel like you are living in a world gone massively bad. There are still quite a few of us that still believe, still walk the walk even though we mess up at times, and talk sincerely about God’s love for the world, even when mocked. We are not perfect and will humbly admit it, but we know, without doubt, that we ARE perfectly forgiven by the One and Only Savior, Jesus Christ.
I will share another thought…It was so refreshing to spend time in ministry alongside a powerful group of missionaries and other Bolivian staff members who had fun as they gathered in relaxed settings at dinner, at a retreat, staff meetings, etc. without alcohol or the mention of it, without foul language, and no harsh kidding or speaking bad about each other behind their backs. Their goal was to help each other as they help others find and follow Jesus. Period.
No, we are not alone!
Romans 11, The Message (Part 1)
The Loyal Minority
1-2 Does this mean, then, that God is so fed up with Israel that he’ll have nothing more to do with them? Hardly. Remember that I, the one writing these things, am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham out of the tribe of Benjamin. You can’t get much more Semitic than that! So we’re not talking about repudiation. God has been too long involved with Israel, has too much invested, to simply wash his hands of them.
2-6 Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer?
God, they murdered your prophets,
They trashed your altars;
I’m the only one left and now they’re after me!
And do you remember God’s answer?
I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit,
Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish.
It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.
7-10 And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this:
Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways,
God blurred their eyes and dulled their ears,
Shut them in on themselves in a hall of mirrors,
and they’re there to this day.
David was upset about the same thing:
I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals,
break a leg walking their self-serving ways.
I hope they go blind staring in their mirrors,
get ulcers from playing at god.
THERE IS MUCH MORE to these thoughts. Read ahead and see what you think about how God works…More tomorrow.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Like the prophet Elijah, we get whiny at times thinking we are all alone in our following you. But we are not alone. YOU are with us! You have people all over the world who DO believe and are trying to live Your Word out loud. Thank you for this reminder. Continue to transform us. Transform me from the inside out. Transform the thinking of this world.
In Jesus Name, Amen