He Gave Them Glory
“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God” Romans 8:28
They were a tight-knit group of Christians who met for prayer weekly. In the beginning, they were uncertain about how to pray and what to say. But as time progressed, they became more confident, more certain of how and what to say. It seemed powerful and life-changing. There was, however, one problem, a serious one. This steadfast group had fallen in love with their ability to pray—it was as though they, through their powerful-sounding words, were causing things to happen or not happen. They had forgotten about God’s Holy Spirit who intercedes for us as we pray.
Additionally, they had forgotten about Romans 8 which says, in part, that all things work together for good for all believers. They were constantly praying that God would take away all problems and obstacles from people, as though God’s intention was for all believers to have a smooth-sailing life, coupled with a bit of prosperity. Good jobs, ample money and smooth-sounding prayers had jaded them to reshape God into a human; a powerful and generous one, but a human none-the-less.
This went on for several years until one night, a newcomer quite innocently asked if she could read a section of Scripture that God had put on her heart. She read as follows:
Romans 8:28-39 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. 29 For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory.
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with Himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 As the Scriptures say, “For Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” (Psalm 44:22) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Her reading brought tears of repentance and renewed joy to all in attendance. God took a simple request, blended with His living Word to remind this group of believers of their first love.
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”
Psalms 12:6 “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace. . .purified seven times.”
Engrave these words of God on your mind. Call upon them during times of fear, depression, anxiety, frustration, doubt and failure. God’s words never fail or lose their power. And remember that the Bible does not teach that God promises His followers smooth-sailing in this world. Quite the contrary, He assures we shall have conflict, suffering and problems. The equipment provided to navigate these troublesome waters is based on our faith and trust in God’s Son through His death and resurrection. Nothing escapes God. He is always with us and will never leave us. Powerful-sounding prayers are not really that. Simple, heart-felt prayers are actually more powerful.
Ephesians, Part 6
“I rejoice in your Word like one who discovers a great treasure” Psalms
Ephesians Chapter 1
6-8 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. TLB
Do we continually wash ourselves in the Word of God? Do we take time each day to relish our eternal standing in Christ, our complete forgiveness of sins?
Two Christian men in a meeting to discuss the upcoming events in their church:
“Well, let’s begin with prayer.”
“Sure, but keep it brief. I have two more meetings after this one.”
“Don’t worry, my schedule is hectic as well.”
You may be thinking, what’s your point? These men are obviously very busy and know that God hears them at all times so why not get on with their meeting? Take a second and consider Psalm 119:162 above, If one of these men had just discovered a great treasure in his attic or received a notice of a large inheritance, do you think he might find time to share his joy and great fortune with his friend? Would his demeanor be glowing with excitement as he continually thought of what lay ahead? Of course.
And yet, we have discovered the greatest treasure of all. One that will never tarnish, rust or lose its value. Our treasure came wrapped in swaddling clothes, walked upon the earth healing disease and telling the future. And then our treasure willingly died for us, took on Himself the punishment for our sins. But next came His most stunning example of eternal power, He rose from the dead, assuming his position of power at God’s right hand.
Through His actions, Jesus gave us new life both here on earth and, more importantly, in heaven forever with God. Does this sound routine to you? Am I excited by this wonderful truth? Or have I allowed myself to be overcome with life’s busyness; reading the Bible occasionally, attending church, giving my tithe.
I was at a friend’s house lately, watching a sporting event with several people. The teams were closely matched and the score moved back and forth until the final few seconds. My team was slightly behind. There was a spirit of tension and excitement in the room. And then, as the clock wound down to the final seconds, my team scored, winning the game. The room exploded with joy and disappointment, depending on which team you hoped would win. Those who were rooting for the winning team were jumping up and down hugging each other. The others were disappointed and sad. You know the feeling of joy when your team wins at the last second.
After reading the verses in Ephesians 1 above, what sort of excitement and jubilation should I feel— every day?
“All praise to God for His wonderful kindness to us.”
I should be jumping up and down as I recall His words. I am on the winning team forever. God has forgiven all my sins and prepared a place for me in heaven (John 14:1-3). He will wipe away all my tears (Revelation 21:4).
“For the joy that was set before Him” Jesus “endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2 Savor God’s Word.
“In the beginning God created—” Genesis 1:1
“Did God create everything in six literal days?” This question has been asked millions of times since God spoke all creation into existence thousands of years ago. As a non-Bible reading person, the question seems logical. After all, the idea of the universe, man, animals, plants, earth, sky and water spoken into being over six days does seem incredible, even unbelievable. But is it impossible for God? According to the Bible, these are the things God created in six days:
Day 1 — light and time (Gen 1:3-5);
Day 2 — the sky and “separated” waters (Gen 1:6-8);
Day 3 — dry ground, bodies of water, and plants (Gen 1:9-13);
Day 4 — the sun, moon, stars, and planets (Gen 1:14-19);
Day 5 — fish and birds (Gen 1:20-23);
Day 6 — land animals and humans (Gen 1:24-30; 2:7,15-25).
On the seventh day God rested from his work (Genesis 2:2-3).
God also reveals that the days of creation were six normal, 24-hour days. As God said for each day, “And there was evening, and there was morning” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), and as Moses stated, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11).
As the writer to the Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Therefore, in the beginning God created the world and everything we see in the universe out of what you couldn’t see, out of nothing.
It is our nature to understand how things are done, created, built, manufactured. We’re naturally curious, seeking a reasonable answer. But God is beyond our understanding isn’t He? Otherwise He wouldn’t be God and could be understood by all humans. However, He is God the creator. He is Jesus the Savior. He is the Holy Spirit, our guide and counselor.
When we ask God why, He may answer, “Because I love you and have a plan for you.” Jeremiah 29:11. God could have created everything in one second but He didn’t. Likewise, He doesn’t need hundreds of millions of years either.
If we decide the creation account in Genesis, chapter one does not mean literal days, we are saying the Bible is in error. If that is the case, how can any of the Bible be accurate? We have opened the door to our own interpretation for all of it. What about John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” We may decide the actual meaning does not apply to people today. This was written for those alive at that time. The Bible is God’s written word for all people of the earth, regardless of location, age or culture.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Look Up, Our Redemption Is Close!