January 4, 2018

When in Rome

Romans 1:10–12

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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—12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

In Context:

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— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

When in Rome

Bio | Bryna Morrow

Hello from Cowtown! My name is Bryna Morrow, and my home is as crazy and fun as it can get right now. My husband and I both work from home with two little girls under four. We live in an old 1950s house by a lake, and we hop from one house renovation project to the next—most likely without finishing the last one, ha! I'm consistently surprised at God's goodness and faithfulness, even in the hard times. His mercies are new every morning.


Central Truth

With God in charge, you never know exactly how things will end up. We must cling to the hope of His promises and mutually encourage each other in the faith as we watch God work.


Devotional | Romans 1:10–12

A death threat, court trials, prison, a shipwreck caused by a "northeaster," and a snakebite! When Paul prayed fervently to go to Rome, I doubt he'd have ever guessed how much he'd go...

A death threat, court trials, prison, a shipwreck caused by a "northeaster," and a snakebite! When Paul prayed fervently to go to Rome, I doubt he'd have ever guessed how much he'd go through to get there, much less that he'd arrive as a prisoner (Acts 28:16). At the end of the Book of Acts, God creatively answered Paul's prayer. God does amazing things, doesn't He? He takes a terrorist determined to wipe out the Church and transforms him into a man who wrote almost half of the books of the New Testament.

Speaking of which, when Paul penned Romans, he hadn't made it there yet; but his heart was with them. He prays in Romans 1:10 with complete alignment to God's plan. Here, and in Romans 15:32, Paul writes "by God's will." Paul is praying that God's desires would be his desires. Oh, that is so hard. God's way is often not neat and easy. It's hard to the point of wondering if God is really faithful when your ship goes down—when the "northeaster" blows in and disrupts life as you know it. 

My own shipwreck occurred when my husband was unemployed for two years. My worst fear was a reality that gripped with a fierce, unrelenting hold. Was this really God's will for me?

Two things encouraged me through that period of time:

  1.       God's promises in Scripture.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." (James 1:2-3)

The testing of my faith DID produce a steadfastness. Like a ship anchored in a storm, I was anchored in the hope that God would redeem this situation unexpectedly. He did! 

  1.       The mutual encouragement of our faith.

Our family and friends encouraged us, prayed for us, and helped practically in so many ways. It truly was a group effort to finally overcome unemployment! 

I can only imagine the relief Paul felt when he finally came ashore near Rome, sea-legged and weary. He made it! At long last, he could wrap his arms around believers, fortified in their encouragement.

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Discussion Questions

1. As you pray, do you want God's will to align with yours or your will to align with God's? What Bible verses specifically encourage you as you think through conversations with God?

2. When your "northeaster" blows in—and it will—what Scripture keeps you anchored in hope and truth?

3. What can you do today to mutually encourage someone else in the faith who needs perspective and a friendly face?

58 Comments available

Fran Steele 11 months ago

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Claudia Mansinghani 11 months ago

#1. I don’t always pray for an exact or particular way of answer, but my prayer life hasn’t been the best one lately. This question and devotional have been encouraging to me, to fall on my knees and ask for His will in my life, that His name would be glorified in me.

Marina Delgado 11 months ago

I would encourage someone else in the fith through modeling love.

Marina Delgado 11 months ago

BY modeling love, there re no extr words needed.

Marina Delgado 11 months ago

The best encourgement is to model love.

Phillip Metcalfe 11 months ago

“Be still and know that I am God” ~Psalm 46:10. Our Father in Heaven is that present help in our times of trouble. No matter what storms we are trying to weather, no matter what adverse conditions are blowing us away, God is standing by yelling “Be Still, Be Still, Be Still”. He is our refuge, our strength. But we have to be still. We have to be listening to Him….so that he can come into our lives, guide us back to His pier….where we can moor up to Him, take a breath, and he can put an end to our chaos. Be still so that God can speak to you.

Marina Delgado 11 months ago

The bet encourgement to someone else is to model love. No words needed.

Deborah Rivera 11 months ago

3 versus I find encouragement. Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. Psalm 120:1 I call on the Lord in my distress and He answers me.

Deborah Rivera 11 months ago

3 versus I find encouragement. Joshua 1:9

Deborah Rivera 11 months ago

3 verses I find encouragement

Phillip Metcalfe 11 months ago

“Be Still and know that I am God”. ~Psalm 46:10 Our Father in Heaven is that present help in our times of trouble. No matter what storms we are trying to weather, no matter what adverse conditions are blowing us away, God is standing by yelling “Be Still, Be Still, Be Still”. He is our refuge, our strength. But we have to be still. We have to be listening to Him….so that he can come into our lives, guide us back to His pier….where we can moor up to Him, take a breath, and he can put an end to our chaos. Be still so that God can speak to you.

Sara Alfaro 11 months ago

As I shared my story with others about God’s love and grace for my life, I can only continue to let God work his purpose in my life, and that everyday it can be a reminder of all he has done and will continue to do for me.

Sara Alfaro 11 months ago

ALL I want is God’s purpose to guide MY life and i really just think about ALL he has done in MY life to keep him close and I share MY story to others and share the gospel .

JJ SLAGLE 11 months ago

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”” Matthew 26:39 ESV http://bible.com/59/mat.26.39.esv

Linda Aland 11 months ago

Colleen Park, I pray that the god of the Universe will protect you and comfort you with His promise that He is always with us.

Ryan Mathisen 11 months ago

This was a particularly difficult thing to come across today as I’m in the midst of my own storm. Dealing with a job that is crushing me in stress, traveling away from my wife constantly, struggling financially… It’s been difficult to weather the storm, but I’m struggling with trusting God’s will over mine. I know I have to get right with Him.

sherry crowley 11 months ago

I know intellectually that I want to be in God’s and His timing. But sometimes I would love if God would do things my way and in my time and my time would be now. I am so thankful that God doesn’t turn control over to us and then lean back and say let’s see what she can do for a while. It would be bad. My go to verse is Jeremiah 29:11. I know the plans that God has for me. He doesn’t plan to harm me and His plans for me are for good and not evil. He know my future.

Alma Barber 11 months ago

Having had countless shipwrecks in my life, I can say today that I am thankful for each one of them. Because of them, I’ve learned what I might not have otherwise; I have learned that Jesus is my all in all. That He is faithful and is not a man who should lie. Philippians 4:11 … I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. It IS possible to have joy unspeakable and full of glory in the midst of chaos. Weeping May endure for a night, but joy does come in the morning. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

Swish, Bryna Morrow! This devo is on point just like Steph Curry in the Golden State vs Mavs game last night. I was laid off my job of 6 years last year. Even though God clearly closed the door after I had prayed and processed with my community group about leaving-I just didn’t expect Him to do it that way-man!. A verse that I love (Q1): “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Psalms 37:25 (but I say it like Gandalf or MLK-with epicness) I can testify that no one can beat the buzzer like Jesus can. Swish!


Great stinger right here!! Thank you for this tough question: As you pray, do you want God’s will to align with yoursor your will to align with God’s?

Brent Voorhees 11 months ago

2 continued… “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5. These Scriptures remind me of the security we have in Jesus (as well as Romans chapters 5-8 to come!)

Brent Voorhees 11 months ago

#2 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever…” - Hebrews 6.

Kelly Nix 11 months ago

Bryna, Great devo sister! Observing you throughout the Nor’easter, I was encouraged to see the growth from the wind in your family. Both literally and spiritually. I’ve seen God’s kingdom spread around your faithfulness to take life His way and it’s beautiful!

Andi Guevara 11 months ago

I find myself struggling at times to pray for God’s will bc I want prayers answered in my way and in my timing. I then remember that our prayers aren’t always answered in the way that we expect. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaish 55:8-9

Betty Lovell 11 months ago

Hands down, my “go to” verse in these situations is Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Michelle Diehl 11 months ago

I like your verse choice Ross! Usually Jeremiah 29:11(NASB) (For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope), is my "keep me calm verse.

Ronnie Oldfield 11 months ago

Thanks for sharing the past storm in your life Bryna. Verse 11 became my focus today. Paul wanted to go to Rome, but he was also diligent each day to proclaim the truth to the people around him daily. Paul didn’t fall into a trap that Rome was the only place that needed to hear truth. How can we all be encouraged to look for people we encounter today, initiate a conversation, transition conversation to spiritual things, use our spiritual gifts for their benefit and leave the encounter spiritually encouraged.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

Wow these questions are hard. I don’t have a bible verse to go to. I pray and give thanks for the smallest things to the hardest. From blessings to hardship I thank God and ask question. I wish I New the Bible and would have that go to bible verse. I will one day.

Lisa Olsen 11 months ago

Thank you, Bryna! It definitely can be a challenge to trust God in the midst of a storm blowing through our life. Praying for His will to be done is easy when things are going “as planned”, but when something rocks the boat, it becomes difficult to trust God and cling to Him, instead of trying to not control the out of control situation ourselves. Thank you for the reminder that we need to trust Him no matter the circumstances!

Autumn Zevely 11 months ago

Trusting in Him and not leaning on my own understanding. It has gotten easier throughout the years. 3. We have been encouraging each other in CG through scripture. I shared Proverbs 31:16-18 today b/c it empowered me to provide better for my daughter. We are all single mom’s in our group.

Autumn Zevely 11 months ago

My will to His. I have done things my way & it hasn’t gone well.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

@HollyLester Thanks friend

Hope Harris 11 months ago

@ColleenPark Prying for you friend

Jeremy Perez 11 months ago

Part of the strength God gives us to “do all things through him” is the ability to choose to do his will, even before we know the full implications of what that means. He will begin to change our desire, developing within us more and more of a “want” to do his will.

Holly Lester 11 months ago

@HopeHarris Excellent comment, Hope!

Holly Lester 11 months ago

@Hope Harris Excellent comment, Hope!


Praying with you Colleen Park

Pam Pelley 11 months ago

Interesting timing. The news talked about the Nor’easter happening now on the NE coast! The Nor’easters in my life revealed my own wrong concepts of who God is and chiseled away at my lack of maturity and character. “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:3-4

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Colleen Park: I’m so sorry, and I am praying for the Lord’s comfort and peace as you trust Him in the storm. Mark Steinbrueck: another way to answer your question is, Are we saying, “God, please give me what I want,” or “God, I submit to what YOU want.”

Hope Harris 11 months ago

@ Colleen Park Praying for you friend

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Thanks for blessing all of us Journeyers, Brynna, as you bless the Ft. Worth folks! What you focused on was also my takeaway: how Paul modeled godly prayer. He asked for what he wanted in ongoing prayer, but it was tempered by his submission to the limitations of God’s will. Just like Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane: He asked for what He wanted (for the cup to pass from Him) but only “if it be Thy will.” That’s what balance looks like.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Happy thaw out to those in the DFW area. Thanks, Bryna for sharing about your own shipwreck with us today. Paul models, that our relationship with other members of our local community of believers is reciprocal in nature. A mutual faith where love others in a respectful way and lock arms and run the race together. #BetterTogether!

Jennifer Borgne 11 months ago

Bryna, I appreciate your entry! I especially love the way verse 12 defines community. Dr C adds that this fellowship is “mutual sharing of things profitable”. Paul notes the result of submitting to living within a community: we are strengthened, encouraged, and comforted. My prayer today is about my lack in this area.

Mark Steinbrueck 11 months ago

Drew Pickle - the difference is in who’s wisdom you are seeking to come to fruition. Are you asking God to grant what you deem to be the wisest action to come to be or are you asking to see and understand what God views as the wisest path and then aligning yourself with His will.

Kelly Fuhrman 11 months ago

Bryna! Awesome job on JTJ today and thanks for all the ways you lead and serve in Fort Worth! I love question #2. Here are two truth bombs I’ve been marinading on recently: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” Jeremiah 17:7 NIV “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT

Drew Pickle 11 months ago

As I read the first discussion question- “As you pray, do you want God’s will to align with yours or your will to align with God’s?” I found myself wondering what the difference was and which one was the right one. Can anybody clarify this for me?

Cynthia Hester 11 months ago

Believers sharing their Spirit-given gifts with the body for mutual encouragement is the divine plan. Thank you Bryna for sharing your gifts of teaching through writing today!

Theron Smentek 11 months ago

I love what you said about how Paul finally does arrive in Rome. Those plans man creates in his head are fickle aren’t they? I know Paul probably imagined going and meeting the believers and witnessing for Jesus in one of the largest cities in the world, yet instead his impact in Rome (with evangelism at least) is being chained hand and foot to a guard. Talk about obedience in spite of plans that went according to what was initially thought. We know where Paul finds his joy, but I was encouraged with something Bonhoeffer said about Christian community. He states that community is a form of God’s grace when we are living in an unbelieving world and when we look at as Bonhoeffer and Paul does, suddenly our lives aren’t plotted out with despair but joy. Thank you for that reminder today Bryna!

Colleen Park 11 months ago

Absolute perfect timing for today’s devo! My “northeaster” blew in yesterday with a not-so good mammogram. Having to have a biopsy next week. As I read through your Devo, I am reminded that God has this! He has me in the palm of His hand and all I need to do it TRUST, RELAX, LEAN into Him and He will make all right! My verse: “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” ~ Jeremiah 17:14

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Yesterday Paul saw God at work in the church and it enthused him to pray for them. Now Paul ways it to be a two way street, they strengthened by his faith and he strengthen by theirs. His unceasing prayers turning to actions and coming to them somehow

Tina Phillips 11 months ago

This was so appropriate for today as I am going through goal setting for the year that my goals are to be aligned with Gods purpose for my life. Question 1 hit me between the eyes. Thank you!

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

It (v10,13). Paul prays to be an encouragement and give strength to the Roman believers. But Paul also wants to have some community Andy be mutually encouraged with others by the faith. A great reminder how important sharing life with believers is and that being mutually encouraged is a gift and privledge.

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

Paul has a heart for people. Truly. He wants everyone to experience and know the truth of the Jesus. Here we see that Gods perfect timing as always, is sovereign and when Paul finally comes to Rome it because God has allowed

Ross Ferrans 11 months ago

Matthew 7:24-25 comes to mind as a verse that keeps me anchored to truth “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Ross Ferrans 11 months ago

Love the devo Bryna!

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Bryna, thank you for sharing your story of trusting the Lord through 2 years of your husbands unemployment. I imagine you worked on mutual encouragement as a wife. Verse 11 really stuck out to me today. A good reminder that we are to “impart spiritual gift(s)” to one another to help “make (us) strong.” Thinking about what spiritual gifts God has already given me, that he wants me to excercise. I think sometimes I need to do a HUGE Display of care and encouragement for others; yet I know that God has gifted me in small ways to serve.

Ted Mattos 11 months ago

Thanks for today’s devotional, Bryna. I’m often reminded that when hardships fall upon me, it’s to make me stronger. Like a young plant bending against a wind so that its trunk will become more stable, so will my foundation in my LORD.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Today I am reflecting on the intensity of Paul’s desire to see the believers in Rome. The two words I am centered on are - asking - (deomai) beg as binding oneself, petition, beseech long - (epipotheō) yearn, dote upon, intensely crave, desire Until I came to Watermark, on one ever pursued me or cared for me like this. That fact helps explain decades of loss and brokenness. I am blessed to understand God wants this kind of relationship with me. I am thankful for my community group and other friends who purse me like this and seek this level of mutual encouragement.

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