To make it more interesting or a quicker read I am tempted to put my thoughts first and then if you want to read the scripture I would put that below. Then I thought, "Do I really want to put my words before God's words?"
Romans 1:8-17First, I thank God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in at Rome.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Lord, let me serve You with my whole heart. How often do I half-heartedly go about my day because I'm so exhausted from not getting enough sleep the night before or exhausted from disciplining a child or nursing. Help me to preach the gospel to my children, to share with those around me and with my whole heart be there, be present.
I love it that God is Paul's witness. Something about that phrase is crazy to me because Paul is so completely sure of his prayers and how faithful he has been that God can be his witness. I love it. This leads me to the question: am I praying at all times? Are there people that I am constantly remembering in my prayers? Help me to pray while I'm washing dishes. Help me to pray while I'm nursing, while I'm folding the laundry. I do actually pray out loud a lot. I want for my kids to hear my prayers even if it's "Help me to get through this grocery shopping trip. I need You, I feel scattered and afraid and frustrated," Even in those moments I want to remember my friend who has THREE little kids and her shopping trip to the store, that the Lord would strengthen her. I can also remember my sister in law who is in Africa without all the conveniences that I have (mostly any kind of air conditioning or relief from the intense heat) as I step out of my car into 95 degree heat and pray for her strength. I want my kids to hear these prayers. I want them to see what praying without ceasing looks like in me. Please help me Lord, I am weak.
Paul wants to see his brothers and sisters in Christ. He longs to see them so that they will be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. He knows the value of fellowship. He can't come see the church in Rome because he is on a missionary journey to Corinth and then to Jerusalem to take supplies to the poor, but he still longs to see them so that he can strengthen them. If I have learned anything in the past few months of being a stay at home mom it's that fellowship is difficult. You have to pick up the phone and call another mom, you have to coordinate schedules or places, you have to allow for interruptions or last minute stuff. Also, when you get together you have to be intentional about what you talk about, you can't just shoot the breeze, you need some encouragement, to build one another up. You also have to settle squabbles among kids, change diapers, naps will be pushed back, food will be distributed, it's just craziness. Jesus, if I could just go sit at a coffee shop with some friends for a couple of hours and talk that would be HEAVEN! (That's just an off the cuff prayer:))
I want Romans 1:16 engrained in my heart. Help me not to be ashamed of the gospel. How often do I withhold the gospel from the Mormon guy who is knocking at my door wanting to sell me a security system? How often am I afraid to share with the people in the grocery store, with the lady at Target, or just with those anywhere and everywhere I go? The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. All we have to do is believe. So simple, and yet it means our whole lives are given to it. Our whole, tiny, puny vapor of a life.
Can I just say one thing about life being short? If you ever have a baby you will SEE how stinking short life is. In that one year that baby goes from being helpless, cannot do anything on his own to being able to crawl or even toddle around, he can grab things, feed himself and play by himself. In the next year he will learn to talk, It is astounding to me how quickly Levi has grown from a tiny baby into a full fledged little boy. Life is but a vapor.
All flesh is like grass, their glory like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.