If you are looking for something to share on your social media pages, I am giving you two great resources to pass to your friends and family. Stop spreading hate and start spreading love. It’s the only thing that can save this broken country. Become the bridge.
The riots that are unfolding in major cities across America are absolutely without reason or excuse. No matter how you feel about race relations and police tactics, the way this small part of society is acting is completely absurd. My beloved city of Savannah has been spared thus far, only by the grace of God. A grace that has found it’s way into the leadership of the city, who have prayed openly for the protection of the city. The brave men and women of local and visiting law enforcement and the National Guard, putting the needed pressure on those seeking to do harm. I assure you, no major vandalism will happen to this historic city on my watch. We emerged from the weekend with the feeling of God’s eternal protection on this majestic city. A beautiful sunrise greeted us on Monday morning, with a surprising cool breeze blowing constantly, as if God was moving all around us. This song came on my random playlist on the way home and I felt it was perfect for the mood of the morning.
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
These verses from Romans chapter 1 set the stage for most of the letters written by Paul. Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel, nor of his interpretation of the truth. He will reveal that to his audiences in each letter he writes. I often think that leading Paul’s letters with Romans is an unfair choice because it is the strongest of all Paul’s writings. Of Paul’s letters, this one might be the most important as well. This was the letter to the first Christian Church in Rome, and as we discussed last week, the Roman Empire ruled the modern world at this time in humanity’s history. From this Church in Rome soon Christianity would spread throughout the Roman empire and become the largest religion in the world. This first letter from Paul shows the format he will follow through most of the fourteen books Paul authored. Each letter begins with a greeting and statement of faith, followed by Paul’s thoughts on the current state of the church he is writing to. The Book of Acts ended with Paul finally getting to visit Rome, but when he wrote this letter, he had still not visited this important epicenter of the Christian faith. His devotion to the Roman church is clear in this first chapter as he states is verse 1:8: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”
If you were to summarize all of Paul’s teachings into two sentences, the two above would be pretty close to capturing it all. Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel and he knows that the power of God brings salvation to all those who believe in that Gospel. And secondly, that through faith, righteousness is found. Paul always stresses that through faith alone can one find righteousness. But it will be the goal of my analysis and teachings to argue to you that it is not just in faith alone that one becomes righteous, but only through faith and works that we live righteous lives.
Reading plan: Romans 1
Deeper reading plan: Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Prayer and meditation: Pray for Jesus to stir the hearts of the hurt and the angry. Pray the Holy Spirit infects them all to make a positive change for their lives and this country. Let everyone come to the realization that only in Jesus will we find peace and salvation from the current despair griping America. Pray for the family of George Loyd, that they can find peace and forgiveness in the face of this horrible crime. And continue to pray for all those affected by COVID-19.
Fitness Challenge: Calisthenics day. For June we are doing a new circuit, still just seven exercises. For this first week we’ll keep it short reps. Perform the following circuit for three rounds, seven reps each exercise.
- Hand-release push-up
- Single Leg Glute Bridge (7 each leg)
- Jumping Sumo Squats
- Handstand Wall Walk (up and down is one rep)
- Frozen V sit (hold each set for ten seconds)
- Reverse lunge with leg raise (7 each leg)