Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 16

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is somewhat of a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 16

Questions for Reflection:
1. What do you notice about the identifying factors of everyone that Paul asks to be greeted on his behalf?  Do we often (or ever) think of each other in such a way, identifying them with their identity in Christ rather than some other, worldly identity?
2. Paul warns about divisive people.  What does he say about such people?  Thinking about what has been said in the last couple of chapters, how are to respond to and interact with those who fit this category?  Does Paul’s warning here mesh with what he has said in these previous chapters?
3. The letter to the church in Rome is concluded with a beautiful doxology in verses 25-27.  The word doxology literally means “praise to God.”  Does the way that Paul ends this (and most of his) letters with a doxology teach us anything about our own lives, interactions, and communications?  Are we quick to praise God for the things we experience?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that you would both see yourself and others through the lens of identity in Christ and that it would change the way we think about ourselves and others.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we would see people as God sees them, that we would avoid divisions and remove obstacles to belonging in the family of God and hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that God would crush Satan and his schemes here and open a new door for Gospel impact and Spirit-filled revival in this town!
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

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