Fitting into His Plan . . .

Vol. 3, No. 34

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

There are things we do not schedule into our Day-Timer (or tech calendar of choice), but they happen anyway! We wind up having appointments with injustice, frustration, decay, tragedy, and downright disappointment. These appointments bring times when we might do what is right, but we often get negative backlash. Who would have known?

There are times when things just do not turn out the way we wanted, expected, or intended; times when physically, our mobility and independence are limited.

Our normal response? Why me? Why this? The comfort of Romans 8:28 is dramatic if we will just look at it’s context. The biblical promise offers hope, smack-dab in the middle of our deepest despair!
This passage follows one that is blatant, with a groan. The word, groan, reveals a deep emotional response to distress. It is the anguish of our heart that comes to the surface, not in so many words, but in a whispered moan.

Life at times just plain hurts!

It is at those very times, when all we can do is groan, that God works for good. Wow – there is great hope for us! God, in His mysterious and miraculous ways, has the ability to take the pain of our life, and bring profitable outcomes out of it.

Christians and Christian Leaders need to drink in this great truth; hang on to it, for it will be needed.
Let’s be honest though, not everything that happens to us feels good. It does not feel good to have your newborn baby die, or for you or your loved one to have cancer, or for you and your mate to have marital problems; for you to be a single parent, or for you to stand in that dreaded unemployment line.

So what is the good that God is after?

In verse 29 we get an answer. Too many attempt to use snippets of Scripture to form theology. It is better to keep God’s Word in the context in which it is given.

To be conformed to the image of his Son is the point.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren (8:29).

God has committed Himself to work on our holiness. Holiness? Yes, God is at work in the middle of our experiences that we want so much to be over, for the purpose that in our attitudes, our actions, our thinking, our speaking, and even our choices we become more and more like Jesus Christ.

Don’t miss this.

The real issue, then, boils down to whether we will trust God that He knows what is best for us. God wants us to have His joy.  We tend to be committed to our own happiness – happiness is rooted in happenings; all are subject to change.

God is committed to our holiness. We want our circumstances to change; God wants our character to change, and our recognition of the source of joy to be found – it is in Him, for joy is a part of His very character.

So . . . the question is: Will I trust Him that holiness is a more important need in my life than happiness?

In case you are wondering which is best, just ask yourself which one will take you through those times of groaning?

Christians and Christian Leaders need to consider the value of what God is doing in this area of our lives.

Any reason why, starting today, you cannot begin fitting into His plan?

Joined at the Hip

Vol. 3, No. 33

And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:17

People of the earth are no better than their convictions. Human kind is no happier than their assurances; are no more secure than their anchorage.

The authentication of our Christian pilgrimage lies in our convictions, assurances, and anchorages.
True “heirship” is based on a relationship; being in the family. Not being in the family in God’s economy is to be without being born anew. Not being born anew is to be without Jesus Christ. There is no true faith without Jesus Christ.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 4:1-5, 13

If we have faith, then we have new life; if we have new life, then we are a child of God; if we are a child of God, we have an inheritance! Part of that legacy is to say:

Abba, Father (Romans 8:15)

The cry of a new-born is Abba. The cry of the infant toddler in the Arab world is “Abba;” in Germany the child cries “papa.” In America, we teach the child to call its father, “daddy.” But the child of God addresses the Father as “Abba.”

The first act of our being born of God is that we turn back toward Him with a “high-tech” receiver implanted within us supernaturally; responding to the One who has loved us beyond description.
Through His grace we are now:

Sons/daughters. This is the affinity of a new relationship. Sons/daughters, a generic term for all believers. Now we are in the family of God, and for the first time, He is Father to us. This is biblical Fatherhood of God; the brotherhood of people of the earth is within the bounds and bonds of that relationship with the Father.
Heirs. As a member of God’s family we share in His vast estate, both now and in the eternal future. We are common sharers of everything that the Son of God has inherited. What He has, we have. What He receives, we are destined to receive.
Joint-Heirs. In law, there is a difference between an heir and a joint-heir. If a dad dies leaving his farm to four children; the estate is divided evenly and each child receives 25% of the whole. They are heirs. But if dad leaves the farm to all four as joint-heirs, then each one owns the whole farm.

Each can say: The house is mine; the barn is mine, those corn fields are mine.”

In the human economy that does not work out very well; but in God’s economy the procedure is perfect.

We shall be like the Lord Jesus, and each of us will be fellow-participants in all that He has, as well as in all that He does. Such a deal!

The question remains: Are you in on it?

If the Bible were a Ring . . .

Vol. 3, No. 32 – August 12, 2018
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Just over 55 years ago, Donna and I exchanged rings, marrying for life, committed for life. There was another marriage for us (she, when she was 23; I when I was 22). No … we did not dissolve our marriage; we came to Christ. Our dependency of our marriage is vested upon our right relationship in Jesus Christ.

Praise Him for all that He does in our lives.

If the Bible is a ring and the book of Romans the precious stone, chapter eight could shine as the sparkling point of that jewel. –Spener

Chapter eight opens with: No condemnation! The chapter closes with: No separation! The message in between is: No defeat!

In chapter seven we find the story of the man trying to live the regenerated life without the “Regenerator.” The attempt is to be a Christian without Christ as Lord. It is hard to theological reconcile a person claiming salvation, while still remaining a slave to sin and the old life; no effort to change. In chapter seven, also, Paul speaks of Christ’s work for us; in the eighth chapter, Paul writes of Christ’s work in us. In chapter seven, the personal pronoun “I” is used 30 times; in the eighth chapter only two times.

In chapter eight, the Holy Spirit is mentioned 20 times, while in the seventh chapter only once. In chapter seven defeat is turned into victory through Christ; chapter eight begins with instruction, rises to consolation, and culminates in jubilation. –Frank Gaebelein

I defy any man to get out of the seventh chapter of Romans into the eighth except by that one word, Christ. –H.W. Beecher

It is no Sunday School picnic to get caught with you hand in the cookie jar and pronounced by the Judge (mom): guilty!

Condemnation is an ugly word. The sentence of judgment all the way to the execution of that sentence is ugly, embarrassing, costly, and damaging. Webster says it is to declare one guilty of wrongdoing, disapproved, declared unfit for use or service.

The bad news is the penalty, or condemnation, for if that condemnation is for my sin, it brings the outcome of death. Now, because of what Jesus Christ has done for you and I on the Cross of Calvary, there is written across my spiritual accounting ledger, the good news, no condemnation, depending if I have turned to confess Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

The judgment does not say: no mistakes, no bloopers, no short-comings, no faults, no failures, no humiliations, and that I must always obey my wife. It says: No Condemnation. That is a phenomenal statement to an undeserving person.

The word, “no,” is a little negative adverb of two letters, but it is entire, complete, and absolute. Paul is saying that a Christian or Christian Leader is a person that has to be taken entirely outside the realm of any possible or conceivable condemnation, based on that person being drawn to Christ, responding to Christ, repenting, and declaring publicly that he/she has received the salvation offered by Jesus Christ, and has placed their trust fully and only in Him.

Condemnation? No. Never! Ever!

St. Augustine says in his book, Concerning Grace and Free Will: “It is faith alone which by prayer and supplication accomplishes what the Law commands.

Beloved if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God. –1 John 3:21

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Dear beloved friends, if our consciences are clear, (no condemnation), we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, even though undeserving!

Contemplate how great a loving God we have!

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