Savoring Summer #35: Glorious Morning

IMG_2377 edit.jpgMemory verse: “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”” (Romans 10:13)

The fifth and final step on the Romans Road is about the assurance we can have of salvation!

P.S. See this post if you’re unfamiliar with the Romans Road!  Also, see this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #33: Seed Explosion

IMG_2339 edit“One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” (Romans 14:2-3)

This is not a verse that is talking about black and white right versus wrong.  Paul covered that earlier in the book (remember? I referenced it here.)

This is a verse talking about personal differences in opinion over things that are not clearly black and white in the Scriptures. Like…wearing masks versus not wearing masks during a pandemic, a very hotly debated topic in church and out of it.  This is such a good current example, because I’ve heard a lot of judgement being thrown around in both directions. 

People shaming mask wearers for “giving in to fear” or “giving in to overt government control”. 

People shaming non-mask wearers, saying they don’t care about people dying, and are therefore basically murderers.

Okay, ya’ll.  Wherever you stand on this, here are your instructions: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind…The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (vs. 5-6)

Research it, make sure what you’re doing and how you’re doing it truly honors the Lord, then stand firm in your convictions.  Ask loving questions if you’re curious, and engage in kind discussion, but don’t “quarrel over opinions” (vs.14) and ultimately respect the brother or sister who somehow managed to come to a complete opposite conclusion.

“…why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)

(And, of course, masks make a good contemporary illustration here, but I’m sure you’ll have no problem inserting other scenarios!)

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo: Don’t these yellow goat’s beard seed heads just remind you of 4th of July fireworks along the fields and ditches right now?!

Savoring Summer #25: Blush Slippers

IMG_2118 edit.jpg“I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)

Yes, it’s quite possible to be zealous for God but be incorrect about it.  He’s referring here to the Jews, who had God’s very law in their hands—and still missed the point.  This was such a good warning to me, to beware lest I ever slide into establishing my own ideas and standards of (seemingly Godly) righteousness instead of always falling back on the truth of His Word and His righteousness!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo:  Home-school lesson of the week: an in-person introduction to our state flower.  Haven’t they been wonderful this year?!

Savoring Summer #24: Wood Anemone

IMG_1480 edit“As it also says in Hosea,

I will call Not my People, My People,

and she who is Unloved, Beloved.

And it will be in the place where they were told,

you are not my people,

there they will be called sons of the living God.” (Romans 9:25-26)

For those of us who are not part of God’s chosen people, the Jews, by birth, but believe in our hearts that Jesus is the only Way, the Truth and the Life: this is OUR promise!  God has enlarged His fold, and we, too, are chosen!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #23: City Bush

IMG_1862 edit.jpg“For the Scripture tells Pharaoh, I raised you up for this reason so that I may display my power in you and that my name may be proclaimed in the whole earth.” (Romans 9:17)

Isn’t it a tremendous comfort to recognize that God is in control, that He has a plan, and that His purposes will not be thwarted by the foibles of mankind?  

So, when everything seems out of control in the world or your life, remember that God still is, and always will be in ultimate control.  Don’t give in to fear.

Or when you think YOU have everything under control, or are tempted to put your trust in the power and promises of man, remember that God still is, and always will be in ultimate control.  Don’t give in to false security.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo:  This magnificent elderberry bush beautified my lunch break during a trip to town today, proving that the beauty of nature is to be found even in a grocery store parking lot.

Savoring Summer #21: Field of Flowers

IMG_1627 edit

Memory verse: “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The third step on the Romans Road is the solution to the problem.

P.S. See this post if you’re unfamiliar with the Romans Road!  Also, see this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the photo: I have never seen the fields near our house as completely covered in flowers as they are this year—and other people are saying it, too, so I know I’m not imagining it.

Savoring Summer #19: Deptford Pink

IMG_1743 editIMG_1741 edit“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

This is the verse you need to keep handy for that hard day…or hard week…or hard month or year.  What infinite grace to know that was is coming for those who love the Lord will, indeed, no matter what you’re going through, “be worth it all”.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

About the pictures: Just when I start to think that I’ve identified every flowering plant in the area (always a personal project of mine), I find a new one!  Apparently, this variety of dianthus is a non-native introduction that’s considered a “weed”…but it sure is pretty!

Savoring Summer #15: Dogwood

IMG_1449 edit“What then? Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6:15)

When it comes to the topic of good works, people often fall into one extreme or the other.  Either their good works are earning them a place in heaven (legalism), or good works are useless and mean nothing (which gives them license to do as they please “because it’s all covered by grace”).  But neither of these views is accurate!

I love how today’s passage explains so well the proper place that “good works” should have in a Christian’s thinking.  We are not just saved FROM sin, we are also saved TO righteousness.

Sanctification, that big word that basically means “to be set apart to holiness” or “to become pure, free from sin”, is God’s desire for His children, just as our desire is for our children to heed our parental discipline and instruction, learn and mature, and grow up to live happy, healthy and useful lives.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #11: Wild Columbine

IMG_5350 edit“If by the one man [Adam]’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)

I have occasionally thought that it doesn’t seem quite “fair” that we all, without exception, have to suffer for Great-Grandfather Adam’s bite out of an apple. 

But is it “fair” that God had to send His only begotten Son to buy redemption for Adam and his entire family with His own life?  No, Adam had very “fair” warning (“you shall surely die”), but even after daily in-person face-to-face walks and talks with God (can you even imagine?!), he still chose to disbelieve his Creator. 

What probably would have been “fair” would have been for God to completely abandon Adam’s race to their deliberate and foolish choice and start again with an entirely new race on a different planet.  Why shouldn’t the Master Artist toss out a project that failed due to willfully flawed material and move on to other, better things?

But we all know that He didn’t, and that He chose an epic plan of love and redemption instead.  There’s nothing “fair” about that; it’s sheer mercy.  What wondrous love is this, O my soul?!

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!

Savoring Summer #8: Blue-Eyed Grass

IMG_1355 edit“The righteousness of God

is through faith in Jesus Christ,

to all who believe,

since there is no distinction.” (Romans 3:22)

The word that stood out to me was ALL, coupled with “no distinction”.  It reminded me of this verse:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28)

(…and you fill in the blank with any number of “opposite” parties.)

There is no room for segregation in the family of God.  In the midst of a world that seems to thrive on sorting people out into many separate groups and categories with all sorts of labels, let us strive instead for God’s view of people, who freely robes in righteousness with only one condition: belief.

P.S. See this original post for info about this photo challenge and more about this reading plan I’m using this summer for the book of Romans (and I’d love to have you join in!)!