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Before I Come

Before I Come

02 June 2011

Reading: Proverbs 25-27; Romans 15

Scripture:

23 But now I have finished my work in these regions, and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you. 24 I am planning to go to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey. 25 But before I come, I must go to Jerusalem to take a gift to the believers there. (Romans 15:23-25 NLT)

Paul wrote this letter from Corinth to the believers in Rome. Paul’s letters were mostly written to churches he had planted, but his letter to Rome was to a church he had not visited yet. He wanted to come to see them and had begun to make plans for a missions trip to Spain with a stop in Rome. Paul planned to fulfill a long-standing desire to visit the Empire’s capital and to encourage the Roman church.

“But before I come..!” Paul determined to travel to Jerusalem to deliver a gift from the churches in Greece to the persecuted believers there. He did make the trip to Jerusalem and he did deliver the gift, but from that point on his plans were out of his control. He was arrested in Jerusalem, taken to Caesarea to avoid assassination, then held in jail there for two years. He appealed to Caesar and finally began his long-awaited journey to Rome – in handcuffs and a little behind schedule. (See Acts 21-28)

It’s not wrong to have sincere and deeply held desires. It’s not wrong to make plans to fulfill those desires. But it is wrong (at least foolish!) to insist that those desires and plans be fulfilled in just the way we determined and on the schedule we set.

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

Prayer:

Father, There’s so much for me to learn from the honest account of the adventures of Paul. Thanks for taking the time to teach me. Thanks for your patience with me when I’m slow to get it. This morning I’m thinking about the importance of being honest with you about my deeply held desires, about making plans, and about trustingly placing the outcome in your faithful and capable hands. Be it unto me according to your will and your word. Amen!

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