Recently, I watched a Bible teacher who taught on a set of verses from Romans 8 and showed the viewer several points of interest to be learned and applied to your lives. As anyone who’s been a believer for even a short time probably knows, this particular book and chapter is among the most popular. I’d like to share just a few of the truths found in this wonderful, reassuring chapter of God’s Word. This may take more than one post just for this chapter alone!
So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. -Romans 8:26-27 (AMP)
Sometimes, I have no idea what to pray for and [am in such a state that] it seems impossible to pray, let alone communicate with anybody. In those times, as a believer, the Bible assures me that I have a great intercessor who will pray on my behalf. What a great advocate to have!
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28 (HCSB)
Everything is going to work out. Even when we seem to be under the gun and things don’t look very rosy, God is there to remind us through His Word that things will turn out OK– if we trust Him and keep working in accordance with His will for us (which we discover in His Word).
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? -Romans 8:31 (HCSB)
In a nutshell, we need fear nothing or no one if we know that God is on our side. Who is mightier than He?
One of the daily devotions that are emailed to me comes from one of my favorite preachers, Jack Hayford. They are brief, but always to the point– and give me something of value to meditate on as I begin my day. Today’s stood out for me when I let it sink in. it talked about Christ as our Kinsman Redeemer. I have decided to copy and paste the body of his text into this post to share with anyone who might happen by this blog. I hope his message blesses you as much as it does me.
The scripture quoted comes from Philippians 2:8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Here is Pastor Hayford’s message:
When Jesus came to earth, He came at unimaginable expense to Himself.
Jesus knew He was God, knew He possessed the infinite resources of heaven at His fingertips, but He laid it all down. He emptied Himself. He made Himself of “no reputation.” When He stepped into human flesh, He poured out all of His prerogatives as God, choosing to be completely and totally human.
He lived and suffered and died in a normal human body.
He did it so He might become our kinsman-redeemer.
Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil.-Ephesians 4:26-27 (MEV)
Our Lord knows we are going to get angry. He Himself had moments when He was hardly pleased. Let us not forget His anger in the Temple. However, it is important that we know why we are angry (if it is truly justified) and that we do not stay living with that anger. God knows we must work through it, grow from it and move on to do His work in love, for God is love. Anger and love are hardly fit companions for each other. God’s Word has much to say on the topic of anger –for good reason. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. -Ephesians 4:31 (MEV)
One book of the Bible that I have read through, but not really taken the time to study is the book of Revelation. Many books have been written on the topic, many theories expounded, and countless prophecies misinterpreted by well-meaning folk. A small group I attend on Wednesday nights has recently undertaken a study in Revelation following a series of teachings by Pastor Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church in Montana. I expect this study to take a few months to complete at the speed in which we shall endeavor to digest it, so look for the occasional post (perhaps weekly ) as I take tidbits of information from it.
Revelation, believed by a majority of scholars to be authored by John the Apostle, begins and ends with a blessing to those who read it (provided they do not add or take away from it). In the first chapter: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. -Revelation 1:3 At the end: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. -Revelation 22:14
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. -Isaiah 64:6
How many people (including Christians) have the notion [even if just in the back of their head] that, the more righteous they are, the better their chances of pleasing God and getting into heaven might be. Certainly, God is happy with us when we think of others and act out of love. We know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). I suspect we all have a built-in sense of condemnation if we are without Christ– which explains the constant need to seek approval. The good we do never seems good enough, because it isn’t. So what do we do about it? God has made a way for us to be with Him. the operative word is GRACE.
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.] -Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. -Luke 5:32
Many in our churches today have sadly come to some understanding of Christianity that lines up with “easy believism.” Simply accepting the fact that Jesus died for our sins should be enough for us to get to heaven, living whatever type of life we want to. That includes sex with random people outside of marriage, gluttony, greed, lying, etc. After all, God forgives it all because we have accepted Christ, right? The Bible has the answer to that if we dare look for it. It’s not a hidden answer, either. It’s all over His Word. And… it’s not just a King James word that has been replaced with something softer in more modern translations, either. The word is still found in its various forms all over the Bible. The word is repent. If we have given ourselves over to Christ, it’s something we want to do.
How does the Merriam-Webster dictionary define it?
: to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right
Note that the words feel and show are used. It’s not enough to make some intellectual conclusion. It requires feeling it. Feeling it will lead to action; hence, the word show.
Some modern Bibles have replaced the word “repent” with phrases that involve ‘changing your heart’ or ‘the way you think or act’– or simply ‘turn from your ways.’ I guess they did that– for fear that the modern reader would not fully understand the word “repent.” Sad. That must mean it’s not preached much in churches any more– or at least as much as it should be.
I love the Amplified Bible and make no secret of it, because it breaks down the meaning of verses and defines words in ways I might not otherwise notice or realize. I love the way it renders Luke 5:32 because it does such a fine job of explaining what it is to repent: I have not come to arouse and invite and call the righteous, but the erring ones (those not free from sin) to repentance [to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins].
Please visit my new blog, A Journey Through Proverbs!
The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word].
It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:25-26 (AMP)
As a child, patience was definitely something that alluded me (as it does most children). I wish I had a nickel for every time I asked my parents for an e.t.a. for anywhere we might happen to be going. Then there were times of enormous wait for things such as Christmas morning, when we knew as kids we would be rewarded with all sorts of neat things– previously unavailable to us during the year. While those times of waiting might have seemed like torture to a child, there were obvious tangible results at hand that I knew [in the back of my mind] would soon be realized. Now, as an adult, much has changed in some ways and, in others, not much.
Fast-forward from those childhood days in the back of my parent’s 1960 Ford sedan to the present day, well over a half-century later. Time has “marched on,” and so has my impatience– in some ways. However, I have (over the course of time) gained a modest amount of patience– as I have been around long enough to see the rewards to people who wait on God and seek His will for their lives.
I love how the Amplified Bible puts it: “require Him by right of necessity…” Truly, as time marches on, I realize that God is much more than a luxury or convenience– He is a necessity in my life. Always.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -James 4:7 (ESV)
I can’t remember how many times I have heard the words “the devil made me do it” used as an excuse for bad behavior. Usually it is said in jest– and, if said at all, should never be seriously used as an excuse by any member of God’s family. We have a power at our disposal that no earthly or evil power can ever rival: the name of Jesus and the power of His blood!
Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,
That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:9-11 (AMP)
It has been said that Satan trembles when even the lowliest of Christians gets down on his knees and prays in the name of Jesus. I know one thing for sure: that name carries power that the devil will flee from! Confess frankly and openly, as the Amplified Bible puts it, that Jesus is Lord and you will be kept safe from the devil.
Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith? Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. -Luke 12:24-31 (HCSB)
There’s a large measure of comfort in these verses, but also an admonition to seek God’s kingdom first. To just sit back and wait for God to serve you like a waiter in a restaurant isn’t going to work. If I act like a child at Christmas time, making my list of things I want (my “gimme list,” so to speak) without so much as a care for the one whose birthday is supposed to be celebrated, I really can’t expect much from God. We reap what we sow. Personally, I think we reap far more than we sow, if we sow good things for the kingdom of God.
What a wonderful life it would be if I were to tune into God through constant prayer and walk with Him each and every moment of the day. Worry would be non-existent. As it is, with what little I do in prayer and study of His Word, my life seems like it has improved 100% in regard to stress and anxiety!
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -John 14:27 (NKJV)