Have you ever read something that seems so simple and then once you actually READ into it you are just struck with a "WOW-ness" feeling?!
Last night my husband and I began reading Romans together. We decided to start with just the first 17 verses. The first 17 verses are titled as "Introduction". So, I actually told Steven before we started, "I want to read further than that, because this is just the introduction-greeting." Well, thankfully he looked past my ignorance and we began reading together the 17 verses and were amazed at what Paul's greeting was to the Romans.
I would just like to say, I am soooooo thankful for God's Word. It is so powerful! I wrote down the things that stood out to us after we read through the verses and talked about it.
1.) He tells the Romans in v. 8 that their faith is being reported ALL OVER THE WORLD! That is fantastic! I would love to get a letter from someone in another state or country and see the words to my family, or to my church, or to my country saying, "Your FAITH is being reported ALL over the world!" It is so neat to see a group of people so on fire for God that their faith is spreading throughout the world fast!
2.) He tells the Romans in v. 9 & 10 that with God as his witness, he has been praying for them and thinking about them constantly. It reminds me how much my prayer life can only increase. I am never at a place where I can be content in how much time I spend talking to God about my heart, friends, church, family, those who are lost, and strangers! See, Paul had never met these people. He was praying for complete STRANGERS. I began imagining what would happen if our churches began praying for each other constantly with a desire to reach the world. Not only would we see change, but our faith would be reported around the world!
3.) In v. 12 he tells them he is looking forward to seeing them not just so that he can teach them new things, but that they can encourage each other spiritually! I have seen this first hand this year. God has definitely blessed me with a wonderful husband who wants me by his side in ministry. And I love it. I absolutely love serving beside him and helping him as much as I can. I have had the honor of leading a girls in-depth Bible study on becoming women of integrity. I am also now leading the 11th & 12th grade Sunday school class. All that to say, that encouragement is exactly how I feel with our students. As much as I am so ecstatic about teaching them and sharing God's Truth with them, they have taught me so much also. They have opened my eyes to what it must be like living in a home as the only Christian, or being faced with the pressures that they deal with at school, etc. They have encouraged me just as much as I have encouraged them. And how easy is it to get in the mindset that we don't just go to church to be fed or to feed, but we go to give & take together. People feed off of you just as much as you feed off of them.
4.) In v. 14, he tells them that he is obligated to both Greek and non-Greeks, both the wise and the foolish. So, basically he is saying, I am obligated to share my faith with those who are like me and those who are different, those who seem to have it all together, and those who don't. We don't have a choice in who we share our faith with. We are obligated to be the light to EVERYONE. And then he goes on to say in v. 16...
5.) "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." That says it all without explanation. I am thankful for God's WORD and for the power in His name. It would impact our cities and nation if every one who claims to be a Christian would stand up and say, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel..." and would go OUT and tell people! We shouldn't rely on our "Missions" ministries to get the job done. We each have a responsibility to share Christ with others.
So, introductions & greeting in the Bible are FABULOUS! :) All of God's Word is FABULOUS!
Paul is such an encouragement to me to just see how he was so absolutely in love with our Lord and Savior and that just makes me want to shout for joy! He didn't care what people thought about His faith. He was not ashamed! He wanted to shout it from the rooftops! And that is who I want to be. I am not ashamed of my Lord!