"to all in Rome who are loved by God...,"
but honestly, I think it is a misprint. My Bible, (because I did a little personalization, of course) reads;
"...to Michele, who is loved by God and called to be a saint. Grace and peace to you, Michele, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
I seriously think it was/is a misprint. It has to be, cause I can't explain it, but God knew I needed these letters when He inspired you to write. I know He must have been thinking of me that day. He must have. How else can you explain how your words have met the needs of my heart the last few days? How else can you explain that your words have answered my questions? How else could your words become my prayer?
I started in Acts the other day and just kept reading. I LOVED how your friend Luke told of your conversion. When I reread the story over and over again and how Christ totally "transformed" you, I am humbled. I know you have written many letters, yet I don't think it was an accident that I decided to take on Romans first.
Thank you, for you have challenged me. I have read some of your words and wanted to cry "OUCH!," while others have given me great hope and joy. I am taking baby steps right now, for I am a gal who has grown up in church, thinking "she's had all the answers." Yet, I am now realizing that I can know the truth, but without surrendering my heart to that truth, the answers found on the pages of my Bible are null and void. It hurts me to say this, but somewhere through the years I have become callous to the Word. I would just pick out a verse here or there that seem to meet my needs at the time. I have been missing out on the WHOLE message.
Since dedicating myself to read word by word, chapter by chapter, book by book, God's word has come alive again. So much so, that I think I will probably have to reread Romans again. Every time I read, God speaks. Paul, are you sure you didn't write it just for me?
I am at Romans 12. Can I just say "beautifully written?" Romans 12:9- 21 has become my prayer for the month. It pretty much sums up what I need to do and be daily.
"Love must be sincere.
(Oops! How many times have I said "love you" and really didn't mean it?)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves?
(Oh no, I can be pretty selfish and proud at times.)
Keep your Spiritual fervor serving the Lord.
(definition of "fervor" is great intensity and excitement. I need improvement here for sure.)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.
( I sometimes look at the glass half empty. And my prayer life can often be on a need to need basis. OUCH!)
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
(Ugh! This is my weakest point. I need to make the welcome sign on my door bigger.)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Seriously?! I mean can't I just be nice? Do I have to pray for them too?)
Rejoice with those who rejoice.
(What if I'm not feeling it?)
Mourn with those who mourn.
(I don't like to cry in public. I sometimes have a hard time with emotions...)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(OK. I go on missions trips, but do I have to act mission minded daily?)
Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
(Surely nobody can hold it against me if I say that one bad word or gossip just a little. Every one does it, it won't hurt my witness too bad. After all, they were talking about me the other day.)
If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
(EVERYONE?! Is that even possible?)
Do not take revenge my friends but leave room for God's wrath.
(But sometimes I don't like God's timing. I want something done NOW! )
Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. "
(It is so hard not to be caught up in the world and be a part of worldly things. Can I really make a difference?)
Thank you, for although your letter was originally written to your friends in Rome, I appreciate the fact that you were an open vessel for the Lord. How could you have known your letters then would so deeply affect the life of a woman so many years down the road? That too, leaves me humbled and deep in thought...
I know I have a lot to work on. I know there will be days that I flub up and trip all over myself. I just pray that there will be some moments in there, where I am without a doubt a Romans 12 gal for God. I can't help but think what a better world we would have, if everyone just lived by this message, one day at a time.
I am sure I will be writing again, because you are known to be a gifted, God inspired, letter writer. And, I am grace given gal, who needs all the help she can get.