January 2, 2018

Delete This App?

Romans 1:4–6

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and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

In Context:

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—

Delete This App?

Bio | Kari Kurz


New year, new you. Right? 

Well, it's a new year, and I'm thankful for the daily newness we have in Christ that frees me to commit to His ways rather than a new resolution I might break in two weeks.

I get to serve here at Watermark as a director of single women's community groups. I love seeing the life change that God brings through community, but I also I love hunting, jigsaw puzzles, backpacking, baking, and game nights—but that's old news. Let's move on to the good stuff in Romans.

Central Truth

We have an unmistakable opportunity to bring glory to the name of Jesus as we wholeheartedly choose a life of obedience that overflows from our faith in Him.

Devotional | Romans 1:4–6

The introduction. It is the part of the book we often skip because we are too anxious to get to the main reading. Think about men staring at their dainty appetizer salad waiting for that 10-ounce filet. But...

The introduction. It is the part of the book we often skip because we are too anxious to get to the main reading. Think about men staring at their dainty appetizer salad waiting for that 10-ounce filet. But goodness! The introduction is pivotal. The introduction informs us of the direction we are headed. It primes our appetites so that we can fully enjoy and absorb the text.

In this introduction, Paul initiates a pretty hefty challenge to the readers. Not only does he remind us that Jesus is our holy God proved by His resurrection and defeat of death, but Paul also lays the foundation for this letter. In verse 5, Paul gives us the purpose for sharing the gospel with all peoples. Our goal is to bring glory to the name of Jesus. The means by which we bring Him glory is our obedience made possible by faith. This obedience is not the kind that rewinds us to the law of Moses operating between dos and don'ts, rather it is the choice to trust our God's directions and His perfect design for our life. Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith.

This letter from Paul gives us the complete picture of God's righteousness. It leaves us no reason to believe we could do or even understand this life in a way that glorifies Him apart from a surrendered faith in Jesus Christ. Reading Romans should produce an authentic desire for wholehearted obedience to God. If you find yourself dragging your heels in the pursuit of complete obedience, then please do yourself a favor and delete this app before you get lost in checking the box of daily devotion. We are about to embark on a journey through THE book that transforms our hearts to a better understanding of God's love for us. If you do not want a heart renovation, stop now. But if you will patiently and obediently yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work in your heart through this book, you will taste and see God's goodness and righteousness.

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Discussion Questions

1. In what ways do you find yourself dragging your feet to fully obey God?

2. What steps can you take to practice obedience that gives God glory?

3. How would your life change each day if you chose to operate out of obedience to God?

72 Comments available

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

“Beware when you read Romans. Anything can happen.” F.F. Bruce

Robert Cohee 11 months ago

A calm, a knowing when i start out and end my day in Gods word.

Robert Cohee 11 months ago

Start each day in prayer and reading through the Bible

Robert Cohee 11 months ago

Getting in with a local group

Michael Macomber 11 months ago

I am disobedient in sharing my faith. That will be number one focus this year.

Claudia Prasauskas 11 months ago

If I lived more in obedience for Christ my life would have a greater impact for His Glory, my questioning and wondering would cease and my trust in Him would take over.

Claudia Prasauskas 11 months ago

If I lived more in obedience for Christ, my life would have a greater impact for his Glory. My questioning would cease and my trust in Him would take over.

B Busse 11 months ago

I’m finding it difficult to “hear” His voice on several situations in my life. None that are knowingly sinful but for His will and direction. Seemingly unanswered quiet times leave me tired, frustrated, and wanting. I try to do what I know. Choosing to operate out of obedience is freedom.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

Sorry it sent befor ready. Being obedient in His work and setting time to give 100% wo distraction is what I’m praying for before starting the lesson of the day.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

Focusing and time are where I drag my feet. Being obedient

Abigail Voorhees 11 months ago

Thank you for giving more perspective on obedience. I’ve only seen it is a way to show appreciation for what Jesus did for me, but I like seeing it as my faith in action. I should obey because it shows I trust His ways are the ‘positive consequence.’

Nicole Tinkoff 11 months ago

I drag my feet when I question God’s path for me. I need to rest on Him and He will bring me joy.

Marina Delgado 11 months ago

Dragging when I acknowledge that my plans have to be the plans of God.

Sara Alfaro 11 months ago

Dragging when it comes to give my financial portion to the Lord .

Sara Alfaro 11 months ago

Seek the Lord with ALL of MY heart and have HIM as MY 1st LOVE .

Sara Alfaro 11 months ago

My Life would be Empty and Dark without God in my life and I would be like the 1 missing sheep.

Scott Sharp 11 months ago

I love the defining of obedience not as do’s and donts. I can get so wrapped up in that and find myself powerless to keep the do’s and leave out the donts. Praying tonight about my lack of trust in my Savior and want for a deeper trust.

Fred Shea 11 months ago

Yes “to bring glory to the name of Jesus”. God in His Love delivers me from my self promotion/destruction and enables me to live free in Him empowered by the free gift of the Holy Spirit. Oh so wonderful is He who made it possible for us to partake in the receiving and the sharing of His gospel. Oh how he loves us.

Claudia Mansinghani 11 months ago

As far as the east is from

Claudia Mansinghani 11 months ago

west, so far he has removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Rita Barnard 11 months ago

I love checking off the box so I can see how far I’ve come in my commitment! But, my commitment is to strive to stay in God’s word so that I can learn to better put Him first in all things and, therefore be more obedient so that I may glorify Him! I wish I could go back and read this to see if it makes sense…:)Thank you for this app!

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

Q1 & Q2: I find difficulty in what’s voluntary over what’s mandatory. My “pace in the grace”, if you will. When I question ‘ how repentant do I need to be?’—when God plants a suggestion that feels inconveniently excessive, but when community suggests a repentance plan “below par” to God’s internal call, I can gladly take it. Maturity = ‘you guys said that, but God calls for this.’ A heart after God is going all the way without anyone prodding me. It was probably the most difficult thing about community-pushing to be fully repentant for God, not just edging be a little more repentant than the man next to me to save face, get them off my back, or dilute admonishment-a boyish tactic.

craig callewart 11 months ago

Happy New Year…struggling with new format, but enjoying the change. Q1: forgiving those that don’t want to be forgiven Q2: extending a servant heart, Q3: enjoy less of a burden

jennifer shepler 11 months ago

I am here for the complete heart change! I want to be in it all the way! I want to be moved by Gods grace and Glory!

Gillian Papanek 11 months ago

Challenge accepted. I’m in it for complete heart change. I will not delete the app!! On that note…I’m really digging the new app. Wish you could comment in the app instead of having to open this separate page. Also kind of strange how you cannot see the comment you’re typing other than 10 letters at a time. Anywho…none of that really matter. Just grateful for this platform. Loved your deck today.

Brent Voorhees 11 months ago

Kari, I really liked your 2nd question… as it goes well with my take away from Scripture, “Jesus was declared the Son of God in power…” Jesus is not simply declared by the church as the Son of God. He is not simply written as the Son of God. He was declared it in POWER. It is a historical reality that Jesus rose from the dead; He was seen, a Church birthed from it, the calendar was changed, cultures divided… why? Because He is declared in power through His resurrection from the dead! And I get to practice obedience by declaring His power today!

sherry crowley 11 months ago

I so want to have a life of obedience to God and to learn more about Jesus through the book of Romans.

Julie Breedlove 11 months ago

Thanks, Kari! I love your description of obedience. Obedience is a beautiful thing - and should be described as such. Happy New Year!

Andi Guevara 11 months ago

I completely agree with Kari as to why we decide to do JTJ. Is another thing off our checklist or truly looking for heart transformation? I pray that my heart would be transformed through reading and studying Romans.

CATRICE HINES 11 months ago

I drag me feet sometimes when it comes to giving my tithes and offering. My desire is to do better in this area this year.

Tina Phillips 11 months ago

Discussing the questions in our CG tonight. Pride, Control, Fear, and Rejection are our stumbling blocks to fully being obedient.

dawn funderburk 11 months ago

Thank you Watermark. I’m excited to join in this bible study with you. “Obedience is the positive consequence of a fully devoted faith” such good words today.

jay joiner 11 months ago

I love this study of Romans. My teacher the Holy Spirit has applied its teaching to my life experience. I give mt hearts for Christ’s righteousness alone, not a righteousness of my own to be manifested by my indwelling Lord whose love fills me and fullfills His righteouness thro me towards God and man. Praise Him that it is all about Him and giving Him my hearts desire!

Colleen Park 11 months ago

Question 3 will be discussed at our next CG! Thanks for the challenge!!

Cooper Wagner 11 months ago

dang it… early comment I accidentally clicked enter… anywho, so encouraged by todays devo. It is so easy to skip the beginning rather than let my heart sit on it in preparation for the rest of what Paul has to say. Also thank you for the challenge not to let this become a stale check the box year!

Donisha Reed 11 months ago

Happy New Year what a way to start in Romans

Ross Ferrans 11 months ago

Great Devo Kari! I loved the reminder that our devotion to God isn’t just a list of rules, but rather trusting His will and direction for us. Prayerful that I trust Him more each day.

Steve Thompson 11 months ago

I haven’t been actively studying scripture for way too long. I’m thankful that because of Join the Journey, 2018 has started off with me looking forward to getting the email every morning and studying God’s word with others! What a great opportunity for spiritual growth!

Lisa Olsen 11 months ago

Thank you, Kari! What a good reminder to pursue actual heart transformation as we read the words each day, as opposed to just checking it off that we completed our “quiet time”. May we all experience a deeper love for Christ and a more devoted life to Him as we read Romans together.

ariana Travelstead 11 months ago

Thankful for this years study of scripture! Upon our introduction I was reminded of these verses: Psalm 103:3 our God is a forgiving and healing God who redeems my life from the worst places and shows me compassion. Proverbs 3:5-6 We are to trust in the lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Just two of the many reasons we can serve and adore our Lord with confidence and hope as we enter into the new year. There is no greater advice than to look at scripture. It has everything we need.

Ted Mattos 11 months ago

Thanks, Kari, for your devotional. I’m so eager to get into Romans, as I’m responsible for leading my Sunday school through the same book this year.

Alma Barber 11 months ago

I love everything about your central truth Kari. I love the fact that we… get the opportunity… to glorify the Lord. By the choices we make. He has already made everything available to us for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) The rest is up to us. May we remember, that with that privilege also comes responsibility. Not only to receive his grace, but also to give it away. Not only to receive the good news, as to keep it to ourselves, but to share it with others. May we represent him well today and be an example of the exchanged life we have received through Jesus.

Ken Stewart 11 months ago

Is I reads this morning and begin our journey through Romans, I find my spirit renewed in knowing that my journey with Christ doesn’t begin anew just because it’s the beginning of a new year. But that Christ offers us the chance to begin anew daily. I am so thankful that when I begin to rely on myself, God gently reminds me that I am to rely on Him. May God bless your journey each day.

Julie Newmeyer 11 months ago

Before I started JTJ 4 years ago, I definitely lacked in the area of bible reading and talking with my Heavenly Daddy. I didn’t have the self-discipline nor desire. Plus I didn’t understand what I was reading. But I got into a routine of reading with JTJ and now I desire reading the word daily and cannot get enough! God has definitely transformed my life during these years.

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

Love reading about the power in his name this morning, through the spirit of holiness he was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. (The divine Son of God, promises Son of God, Messiah, rightful Son of God, King of the world). His namesake gave us opportunity and right to receive grace and the honor in going and telling others of him. Obedience from faith. We have been called to this! What an honor.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Good morning Kari. Love the appetizer/filet analogy. Guilty. Today my heart leads me to the two phrases “received grace and “obedience of faith”. Grace is what I receive. Justice is what I deserve. Obedience is my response. Rebellion is what I want. When I reflect on a life of rebellion versus a life of obedience I wonder why its so hard for me to make the right choice. Rebellion can feel good now, like the filet - but feels bad later at 3:00AM when it sits in my stomach like rocks. Obedience feels much better later, like the salad that digests easily and fully.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Col 1:3-7 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Understanding the grace of God does lead to fruitfulness, as was the case in Colossians

Michael Wolfe 11 months ago

My main takeaway today is that obedience is a result of our faith. By faith the Holy Spirit directs my obedience, therefore God is glorified, not myself.

Kristi Lichtenberg 11 months ago

I like the way you connect desire with obedience. They must both be present in order to obey the greatest commandment, right?! (Mt. 22:37) I have found that desire sometimes follows obedience. Rather than a linear process, one sometimes comes before, during or after the other.

JOHN FUNK 11 months ago

I’m taking your challenge seriously— have a desire for heart renovation, or delete the app. Great advice! I’ll keep the app.


Thanks Kari! Your central truth is great and this line: Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Powerful devo, Kari! “Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith.” BAM! Good stuff! The emphasis on obedience as the fruit of trusting Christ and responding to the gospel is what called to me as well. It goes along with my discovery that the Lord’s love language is obedience. (“If you love Me, keep My commands,” John 14:15) I keep seeing more and more evidence that what wrecks our lives and brings about bitter, rotten fruit is a refusal to obey God’s commands, and an insistence on doing things our own way as if we know better than the Creator and designer of the entire universe, much less our own bodies, minds and spirits.

William Breazeale 11 months ago

Great truth this morning. I find myself dragging my feet CONSTANTLY. To be diligent and disciplined is to deny yourself, and pursue something greater than yourself. To follow your analogy of an appetizer before a hefty steak, there are days that I do not want to wait for the steak, and would rather get a cheap “fast food” version of God instead of diving deep, being patient, being diligent, and following hard after Him. A great reminder today that I must pursue a DEEP obedience with him, so that my life can produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Tom Bliss 11 months ago

I drag when I do see the plan for me or don’t know where it is He is leading me. Lack of trust.

Tom Bliss 11 months ago

Best way to know someone is to spend time with His family. Get with community, share my heart with others and see that no one is perfect but He loves us anyways.

Trey Collins 11 months ago

Great devo today Kari and excited to be back on the journey this year! I love the phrase: Obedience is the positive consequence of a fully devoted faith. That’s a great takeaway for life! Praying for you this morning!

Tom Bliss 11 months ago

My life would not be my life (my Will/flesh driven) own but His vessel to seek and reach out to His children. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. John 3:21

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Kari, great devo and thank you for serving the single women of our church. Q2- I can practice obedience by memorizing God’s word and meditating on it throughout the day, as well as praying continually.

Linda Aland 11 months ago

Thanks for the start of another great year of JTJ! I pray that I can stay the course and really memorize Scripture from this book!

Scott Coy 11 months ago

You nailed it Kari, introductions are essential to the listener/reader. They provide information, build anticipation, instruct expectation, clarify and put the spotlight of the subject.

Rita Satagaj 11 months ago

I focused on verse 5, as well. God wants everyone to receive the Gospel, everyone, “among all the nations.” We have received the ultimate gift of grace and can share God’s love by sharing our story. Start by sharing our own story then you can tell God’s beautiful story.

Pam Pelley 11 months ago

I’m one of those weird people that does read the introduction to a book first! It frames the rest of the book, telegraphs it’s purpose, and provides a window into the author’s intentions. One of Paul’s intentions was “to bring about the obedience of faith.” Too often I let the frantic pace of this world bring about chaos in my life…often good things, but not the best things. I need to constantly push back the demands and preserve space to listen for the voice of God. For me, obedience is often influenced by maintaining margin in my life. I need to say “no” to some things this year and not let fear drive me. Fear of missing out, not mattering, falling behind, or disappointing others. Obedience starts with margin to listen to God for me this year.

Mark Steinbrueck 11 months ago

“Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith.” Great point! Thanks for the perspective Kari.

Rita Satagaj 11 months ago

I keyed in on verse 5, as well. What a beautiful gift of grace we have received. God desires all to be saved, everyone, “among all the nations.” I can certainly share my own story of God’s wonderful gift of grace to me and continue with the truth of salvation. Jesus is life for all.

Patti Jones 11 months ago

Chosen to be & yielding to being a “fixer upper”

Greg Jones 11 months ago

Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith.-That is the best description of obedience towards God I have ever heard.

Theron Smentek 11 months ago

Good morning Kari, I too appreciated the focus this morning on saving faith. I think Luther said something to the effect of; “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone”. I also appreciate how Paul sort of “hides” (in plain sight), a essential truth in the Gospel in verse 4 ("…apointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead…). Ths statement, for me, establishes that certainty of the foundation of our faith. It’s almost as if Paul said, “hey obedience is hard, but if you are lacking in obedience, remind yourself of what the Gospel declares-Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected”. That is the beauty, to me, of Romans. Paul makes a charge and then gives the tools to “succeed”.

Susan Williams 11 months ago

Thank you, Kari, for starting us all out on the right foot - Obedience! (not the check-the-box kind, though!) My husband and I are leading a class on Experience God by Henry Blackaby, and his beginning thoughts are - it’s all about our love relationship with God. That love for our Savior (and His love for us) is the catalyst for obedience. . In Andrew Murray’s devotional, he points us to John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” and goes on to say “the great objective of God’s Word is to make us holy. No diligence or success in Bible study will really profit us unless it makes us humbler and holier.” In this darkened world, the light of that kind of life will bring God glory.

Matt Taylor 11 months ago

Hi there. Is anyone else noticing that words in the devo are merged together? There might be a glitch…

Craig Hardy 11 months ago

Thank you Kari. Surrender and Obedience to the Lord, through the Spirit and for His glory. Definitely not deleting this app. Thanks for this encouragement ‘Obedience is the positive consequence of fully devoted faith’!

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Thanks for your devo today Kari and for serving our community groups. I focused on verse five today here are my key thoughts: The gospel is God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts in Him. Through the gift of Jesus, I am restored to a right relationship with God and main purpose which is to honor and glorify God. The gospel has restored order to my sin filled disordered life.

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