2.5 Romans – Wrong Path

I enjoyed the question in today’s study asking the difference between depraved and not thinking it worthwhile to retain knowledge of God.

To me, the thought that came to mind is a road.  God has a plan and a purpose for my life, a journey, a road to travel.  This road leads to Him and all the good and holy things He has planned for my eternal life.

Beginning to think it is not worthwhile to retain knowledge of God, to begin thinking I can do something better than keeping God on my mind and in my heart, is an off-ramp from the road God has planned for me.

That off-ramp, if I continue in that thinking, leads to a road of a depraved mind.  The further I travel on that road, the farther I go away from the road God has for me.  It never leads to anything good or better, just taking me from one unfulfilling by-way to another.

Interestingly, the root of the word depraved comes from de – “completely and pravus – “crooked”.  So, to be depraved is literally to be on the completely crooked path.  How telling it is that John the Baptists call and mission in heralding Jesus was to “make the paths straight.”

 

My Answers:

12.
They are not different. One (not think) is an off-ramp of the purpose God has for our lives, the other (depraved) is a completely different path, however, neither are the right and true path. The rood of the word depraved comes from de – “completely” pravus – “crooked”. It is not the straight path of righteousness but a distortion of all that is of God.

13.
Greed. I thought a level of greed drove initiative and commerce and a level of it was good. But it is not. It immediately puts us above our neighbor and our love of self is more than our neighbor. Jesus’ teaching is that these should be on par.

2.4 Romans – Who’s day?

This is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it., Ps 118:24

As I worked on today’s lesson, especially the question about what substitutes for God are you serving, I had just had a conversation with my wife about calendars.  Both of us realized we had, for a very long time, taken the same approach.  We would both plan out our day.  For example, I would decide what I was going to do, who I was going to meet with, what my tasks and todo’s were going to be for my day.  I had my calendar for my day and my checklist of my tasks for me to do in my day to achieve my goals for my life.  Then I would ask God to bless it.

Do you see the problem, the foolishness?

Just as God is the Creator of everything else, He is also the Creator of this day for me.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask Him to show me the plans He has for the day He has for me instead of the other way around?

Since doing it, the first message I am hearing is “margin”.  Instead of running from thing to thing being proud of all that I check off, I’m hearing a call to be open to the hallway conversations, to spend extra time on the phone asking one more question not “to the person”, but “about the person” I’m talking with.

In case I needed a clearer message on this, God used an audio-book I’m listening to while driving back and forth to work and appointments.  On the day that I had this conversation with my wife, I went to my car and the audio-book started immediately discussing the Princeton Seminary Experiment from the 1970s.  If you are not familiar with the study, here is a link with background so you can see just how clear this timing and message were from God for my life.

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
He is Creator

b.
Self satisfaction and indulgence. The underlying belief that I am in charge of my life, when I know I am not. That my day is mine, my calendar is mine. That I accomplish things by myself without God.

10.
We are made in the image of God and to indulge in these two areas of sin is to physically push God out of our existence. To lay claim to our body and to our ability to name our own gods instead of the God. Sexual immorality is to lie to ourselves, to God and to others around us. It is an indulgence of lies. Yet, even this is not outside of God’s ability to forgive.

11.
“God gave them over to”
God is aware, God is in control, God is kind and generous to honor/allow someone’s choices and free will even when it is against everything that is right and true and is a lie in itself

2.3 Romans – Fools

Belief in God is for the weak-minded fools

Words to this extent have been repeated over and over again through history.  From Jesse Ventura in 1999 to Stalin to Marx to Freud to Feuerbach and you can keep going, the same message has been voiced over and over again.  But lies told over and over again do not make them become the truth.

To really look at the heart of this requires us to look at the alternative.  For almost all of those making this argument about the foolishness of faith in God, the answer to the question, “if you don’t believe in God then what do you believe in?” is “I believe in me or in us or in mankind.”

This is at the heart of all idolatry.  That we can substitute either ourselves or something we have made, whether it be a statue or a pole or monument or idea or dream or principle, in place of God.  It isn’t that we don’t have belief in “a god”, it is that we don’t believe in that God, and that we want gods that we make and control.  We want to be the god of our gods.

But what have we done to be in that position?  Did we create the earth?  Do we give life?  Can we provide forgiveness?  Can we secure a life after death?  Can the things we make out of wood or rock or steal?  Can the things we think, so or do?  The truth is we are not gods and therefore nothing we make is or can be a god, either.  To think otherwise is, by definition, to be a fool.

Don’t you love how Satan, the father of lies, uses the fools of the world to call the truth of the world foolish?

 

My Answers:

6.
They knew God but neither glorified him as God or gave thanks to him. They took the gift every day and ignored and rejected the giver

7.
a.
foolish hearts were darkened

b.
The light of the world is Jesus Christ, who was sent by love to save the world. I can bring God’s light by not being ashamed of the gospel and spreading the good news of Jesus in my words and actions.

8.
They exchanged the glory of God for graven images, false idols, man-made things. By giving what is God’s to something that is not alive and man made is to worship self over God, making our foolish selves into our own Gods although incapable of doing anything that God can do. I lowers us to fools.

2.2 Romans – The Artist

Life is a great big canvas.

I don’t know if you paint or not or have an appreciation for painting.  While it is not one of my talents, my wife and children all have been blessed with an eye for color and a talented hand to guide the brush.  One of the things I have noticed and learned from being with them is that painting not only requires a number of different colors, but it also requires a number of different brushes and techniques.  There are big brushes and small ones, broad fanning bristles and bristles that come to a fine point.  The skill of the artist is not in mastery of one brush and one color, but in the combination.

In today’s lesson I thought about how God is the master artist.  He not only created everything, but He also created life so that we could know and enjoy and appreciate His creation.  In many ways, all of creation is His gift to us.

Like an artist, God puts part of Himself and reveals part of Himself in every brush stroke.  Throughout nature we seed the broad strokes.  We see the broad strokes of beauty in a sunset.  We see the broad stokes of vastness and space in the cosmos.  These broad strokes are plainly evident to all and there is not logical denial of an artist behind them.

But God is not just the artist of broad strokes.  He also desires for us to know Him intimately and for Him to put the fine details into our lives.

When we push God out of our lives.  When we deny His presence in the artwork, we don’t deny the artwork, we just decide we are a better painter than God.  If Michelangelo were in your studio, would you push him out so that you could paint yourself.  If DaVinci were there would you do the same?  But that is exactly what we do when we close the studio of our hearts to knowing God.

 

My Answers:

3.
God has made himself evident and plain but despite knowing they choose to not know and lead others astray

4.
a.
He is creator, magnificent, powerful, mighty, big, beautiful, God – Validation of the bible is found in nature and science

b.
The specifics of God and how He specifically has interacted with His people in Love and salvation

5.
Do it myself attitude. Trusting God will follow. I lay plans and ask God to bless and follow them instead of asking God what my plans should be and trusting Him