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Roman Road

I have a lot of tools at my workbench.  Mitre saws, levels, angles, chisels, power tools and many others.  These are tools I don’t use every day, but they’re good to have around for when I decide to add a bedroom to our house!  Then I have my toolbox that contains those essintial tools that will get me through almost any situation in a pinch.  Pliers, screwdrivers, wire, a handful of screws, glue, tephlon tape, electrical tape - and yes - duct tape!  These are the Swiss Army Knife tools for help in any standard household emergency.

The Bible is similar, in that the whole compilation of Scripture is a set of valuable tools effective for teaching us and bringing us into a close relationship with God.  But I may not always have my Bible with me.  So how about a toolbox, containing those verses useful in an emergency.  Say someone at work says, “I’ve noticed you’re different.  Why don’t you act like all the other people?”  What would I say and could I recall Bible verses from memory?

I need a Swiss Army Knife tool kit of Bible verses.  These are the verses that I could memorize to help in an emergency situation.  The Roman Road is a collection of four just such verses from the book of Romans.  I’ve noted them below from the New Living Translation Bible, but you could use the translation you’re most comfortable with.  If I had these four verses memorized, I could explain to someone who asks, “What does it mean to be a Christian?”  Or, “How do I become Born Again?”  (John 3:3-16)  1 Peter 3:15 says, "And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”  So if you don’t already have your Swiss Army Knife tool kit of memory verses, ask God if these might be a good place to start.

Roman Road:

Romans 3:23 "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

There it is, the simple plan for salvation from key verses found in the book of Romans.  By the way, I can’t take credit for inventing the cool tittle of Roman Road.  I was actually taught this as a young man during a church class, shortly after being born again myself.  However, I was recently reminded of the Roman Road while listening to the radio the other day.  So I'm making a personal commitment to memorize these four verses again.

There are a couple other verses we might consider memorizing for your Swiss Army Knife tool kit.  These are 1 John 1:7-10 "But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.  If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”  And another addition to our Swiss Army Knife tool kit could be 1 John 4:4 "But you belong to God, my dear children.  You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Of course, there are a lot of verses I could memorize and include in my Swiss Army Knife tool kit.  Memorization is healthy, both mentally and spiritually.  And, the Bible itself instructs me to commit Scripture to memory.  I was once told that during the time of the gospels, religious leaders would often make it their life goal to commit the whole of Scripture to memory!  WOW!

A Year of Bible Study in Review

Racial tension, cyber attacks, airline crashes, virus outbreaks & ISIS are just a few of the disturbing headlines from 2015.  With all this bad news, we could use a healthy dose of hope as we face 2016.  We all hope for peace on earth, while at the same time we must recognize that people are divided by politicians, nations and special interest groups.  We live in a broken world that needs to be made whole.

Even as we suffer, we must continue to hope that better days are ahead.  Paul put it like this, "Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay." (Romans 8:18-21 NLT)

We could all use a healthy dose of hope.  Many people, Christian or not, turn to the Bible to find words of hope and encouragement.  Each year digital media becomes more accessible to us and this includes the Bible.  Which now allows data to be gathered about what we are looking for in the pages of Scripture.  Let's take a look at some of what was most searched, underlined and shared in digital Bibles in 2015.

According to the Olive Tree Bible Study App® we do a lot of highlighting of Bible verses.  Olive Tree reports that their users have created and synced over 87 million highlights - that's a lot of digital highlighters!  The favorite highlighting colors are yellow, green & pink; in that order.  The most highlighted verse is Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

So as we are dealing with all the bad news and personal tragedy from last year, what are the most searched Bible verses of 2015?  According to Bible Gateway® the top 10 searched verses were:

10. Proverbs 3:6 "Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."

9. 1 Corinthians 13:7 "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

8. Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding."

7. Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

6. Philippians 4:6 "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."

5. Psalm 23:4 "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."

4. Romans 8:28 "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

3. Philippians 4:13 "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

2. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

1. John 3:16 "“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

Don't allow discouraging news headlines to smother your hope.  Jesus came into the world to give us hope in abundance.  God became human and made the ultimate sacrifice to save us and give us hope!  If you're a believer in the God of the Bible you know that all the unrest in the world is going exactly according to His plan for us.  But many people live in uncertainty of what may happen next in their lives or world.  Perhaps you'll find an opportunity to share one of the verses above with someone who could use a healthy dose of hope in a broken world.

Read more about the most highlighted, shared & searched verses.  Or if you want to learn more about where to get a digital Bible, click on the links below.

What's In The 500 Million Synced Items?

Top 10 Bible Verses of 2015 And More: Bible Gateway's Year In Review Is Here

Oh The Joy…!

Joy


New Year Goals

Happy New Year!  It's that time when I tend to think about the coming year, and what my goals should be.  I don't like to use the word "resolutions".  I prefer to say goals.  I might be splitting hairs here, but hear me out.  To me resolutions speaks of my resolve to change something.  Some goals are within my power to affect - reading the Bible, praying or exercising.  Others I have limited control over - getting married, a job promotion or medical conditions.  Jesus cautioned me about making a vow to the Lord that I can't keep, "Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black." (Matthew 5:36 NLT)

I am not saying that I should not have goals.  What I think Jesus is telling me is to be careful about vowing something that the Lord is not in.  I need to have goals.  But can I make a resolution like, by the end of the year I want to have a better job and buy a home?  Rather, as a Believer, my prayer needs to be something like, If it's your will...  I need to have goals.  It was the late Zig Ziglar who said, "You can't hit a target you can not see, and you can not see a target you do not have."  Anyone familiar with Zig knows that he would follow up that statement by adding that our targets need to be realistic.  An archer, regardless how skilled, can not hit his target while blind-folded.  Remove the blind-fold so he can see his target and dramatically improve his chances of hitting it!  Some goals, or "targets", are within my power to affect.  Others I have little control over.

Proverbs 16:9 tells me, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." (NLT)  For me, this is reminding me of two things.  First, I should not make goals that I have not offered to my Lord in prayer.  Second, don't get discouraged.  I may envision a path to accomplishing my goal.  My Lord may see a different pathway, which becomes an opportunity to develop my faith.  I have to become flexible to my Lord's will, even putting aside my goals if need be.

So, what am I trying to say?  Goals are a healthy part of my Christian life, to help keep me focused.  I need to be cautious of making goals that are unrealistic, or may not be my Lord's will for my life.  Remain flexible, remembering that I am God's servant and He has the better plan for my life.   Something to pray about as I consider my goals for 2016!

"Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.  We will do business there and make a profit.'  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.'  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.  Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 4:13-17 (NLT)

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