Readings Romans 16
Any mail worth reading in this pile? Maybe if you think there really is 1 million dollars in a bank in Africa for you.
The ones I like to look for have human handwriting on the front.
Dear letter lovers,
There has always been something about getting something in the mail. I remember as a kid waiting for my Happy Hollister books coming in the mail. I would sit down as soon as they came and devour them. I must have been in third or fourth grade at the time. After that I remember waiting for my Estes rockets to come in the mail from Colorado, and would quickly build them and shoot them into the sky. I never did find my mini rocket that I put a high powered C-engine in. I saw it for a brief moment after take off, and it was gone! I once sent a grasshopper up for a ride, and he came back a little slower moving than when he went up. (Hopefully I will not be picketed for my cruelty to insects. I thought he said he wanted to go to a place he couldn’t fly to. J)
Then in college I learned to really love looking for the mail, as I would look for my now wife’s letters. There is still something about getting a letter in the mail, that seems to be more appealing than an e-mail. Paul’ letters in the New Testament must have been longed for messages, for believers in the early church. They are still full of messages we should long for.
I am not the best letter writer. It seems that I should be licking more envelopes than I do. In reading Romans 16, I was impressed with all the names of people that Paul was greeting and thanking, and building up. I am thinking right now of a young man in jail, named Ian, that I have not written to in years. I need to find where he is and write him. There is also someone in Hart that would love a letter. And then there are so many from Church and work and family that could use encouragement, or a thank you.
Take time to read through the list of names Paul mentions. Starting with Phoebe, all the way to Olympas, look at Paul’s loving mention of the individuals. I have been impressed with Paul’s love in Romans.
Remember back in Romans 9:3-4 (NIV)
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,
4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
Romans 10:1 (NIV)
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
how Paul longed for his fellow Israelites.
Now in chapter 16, we see his love for his sisters and brothers in Christ. And if we look at the end of Paul’s letters, we also see the compassion of Paul towards others.
And in the ending of Paul’s words, I did find a great ending to a letter. Recently I have been encouraged to pray for people for wisdom, grace, and protection from evil. Seems Paul among other things, wanted people to experience the grace of God. Check out these endings to his letters.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”
“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
“Grace be with you.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
“Grace be with you.”
“The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
“Grace be with you all.”
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
I know there are a lot of people around us that are isolated, and unable to get out like many reading this today. Pause for a moment and see who God brings to mind. Listen to the Spirit.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Please pray for a Martha, who is really hurting right now!