Daily Archives: November 6, 2011
I was a child
in this particular dream
on a moving bridge
is what it seem
Was filled with fear
I did not know
just what to do
which way to go
Should I move back
or keep walking on?
I was all alone
where had everyone gone?
The house lay ahead
within rock and tree
it looked so cold
and was somewhat scary
As back and forth
the bridge did sway
my only desire was
to just get away
Caught in my throat
was then a scream
just as I awoke
from having this dream!
Teresa Marie 11/6/11
(This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new sermon series, “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.”)
Lesson 20 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
By Eric Elder
I have a riddle for you today. Can you answer all seven of the following questions with the same word?
1. The word has seven letters
2. Preceded God
3. Greater than God
4. More evil than the devil
5. All poor people have it
6. Wealthy people need it
7. If you eat it, you will die
I’ll give you the answer at the end of today’s message. But for now, I’d like to talk to you about Romans chapter 8.
Last week, I talked about how God can work ALL things together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. This week, I want share why God works all things for your good. It comes because, ultimately, God is FOR you. And if God is FOR you, who can be against you? That’s the question the Apostle Paul asks at the end of Romans chapter 8:
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:31-34).
It’s easy to wonder sometimes if God is really FOR you. You lose your job and it makes you wonder what happened. You get a horrible report from the doctor and you wonder what you did wrong. You open an email from a friend to discover some news you wish you had never read and you wonder how God could be working in this, too.
Yet the truth is that God IS for you. He loves you deeply and cares about your life more than you could possibly imagine. He is as heartbroken about the things that break our hearts as we are, yet He has a perspective that is greater than ours. He can see the good in situations that we can hardly grasp while we’re going through it.
Often it’s only through hindsight that we can see what God saw in foresight. That job loss wasn’t the worst thing that happened to our career after all, but actually helped us leapfrog forward. That bad report from the doctor turned out to deepen our faith rather than shatter it. And that email from a friend brought situations to light that never could have been dealt with had they stayed in the dark.
If only we could have the foresight that God has, we would be able to weather the storms that come at us much better. If we could see things as He sees them, our minds would be refreshed rather than distraught when seemingly bad news comes along. Today, I’d like to give you a lens through which you can look at everything that comes your way, and see it in foresight rather than waiting till it’s long past to see it in hindsight.
The lens of life comes through looking at everything through the cross of Christ. Rather than be tossed to and fro by the storms of your life that come along, God has settled that matter once and for all when He sent Jesus to die for your sins. He didn’t have to come along and rescue you, but He did. God didn’t wait until you were cleaned up and doing good for Him to send Jesus to die, but, as Paul said in Romans 5:8:
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
If this question is settled, why then do we still wonder if God loves us when things go wrong in our lives? Why do we wonder why funds seem to have dried up, or job opportunities seem limited, or our health or relationships seem to be falling apart? It’s a natural feeling, I know, but it’s not the truth. If God loved you when you were still in the muck and mire of sin, why would he then abandon you when you’re trying your hardest to follow Him?
My wife and I have felt this before. After giving birth to three healthy children, my wife had a miscarriage. It was a blow to us emotionally and personally. Then she had a second miscarriage. Then a third. Then a fourth. It was as if everything we were doing was falling apart. Yet we felt like we were giving our all for the cause of Christ more than ever before. It was natural to wonder what we were doing wrong.
Yet it was during a time of worship when my wife had a breakthrough. She was listening to a Don Moen worship CD about the healing power of Jesus when she finally surrendered to whatever God’s will was for her in this area of her life.
She wasn’t happy about the miscarriages, but she knew that all she could do was to trust Him completely. She had asked herself all the important questions, trying to find out if there was anything she was doing to contribute to these miscarriages, but finding nothing, there was no more she could do but to trust in God. She did, and God gave her the peace that passes understanding, that somehow, in some way, He would work all things for her good.
What happened next, we don’t know, but she became pregnant again and this time she was able to carry the child to full term, giving birth to our fourth child. Then came a fifth, and eventually a sixth. Whether the turnaround in her heart and mind had anything to do with the turnaround in the situation, we still don’t know. But what we do know is that when she came to the end of herself and put her faith in Christ again, she regained the peace that God was indeed FOR her. And regardless of what happened after that, she was going to be able to praise God.
I have felt the same in other areas of my life at times. When I’m praying to God for funding for a special project, or just for our daily needs as we minister to others, it sometimes feels like pulling teeth. Like I’m begging God to do something for me that I know He doesn’t have to do, but that I wish He would do for our sake and the sake of those we’re trying to reach through our ministry.
Then I think about what God has already done for me through Christ, and it’s like I put on a whole new set of glasses and can finally see what God is wanting me to see. Rather than wondering what I’m doing wrong, I start to see things from God’s perspective. I start to see that there’s nothing that God would withhold from me, if He thought it was for my good. As Paul said:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).
I sometimes think I’m asking God for too much when I ask for money—whether it’s ten dollars, or a hundred, or a thousand. But then I remember what He’s already done for me. If someone were to give you ten dollars, or a hundred, or a thousand, they’d be giving up a lot for you. What if they gave you ten thousand, or ten million, then they’d really be paying a price.
But what about someone who’s gone to war for you, and lost an arm or a leg for you, so you could be free? If someone gave up their arm for you, that’s way more than ten million dollars. Now imagine if they gave up their life for you. What price could you put on that? And then, to take it a step further, they not only were willing to give their life for you, but their most cherished possession, their child, so that you could live? Now we’re talking priceless to the n-th degree. And that’s what God has done for us by sending Jesus to die for us. And we’re worried that God doesn’t love us because He doesn’t give us ten bucks? Or ten thousand? Or ten million?
The truth is, there’s nothing God wouldn’t do for you. He loves you, and He is, overwhelmingly, FOR you. He wants to work all things for good in your life because He created you. He has a purpose for your life. And He wants to see you fulfill that purpose.
Don’t ever think that because you don’t get what you want, when you want it, that God doesn’t love you. It’s a lie. There may be other reasons involved, and their may be things that God wants you to change, or redirect, or pray differently about. But it’s not because He doesn’t love you. He’s already proven that point beyond arguing. And when you look at what’s going on in your present situation through the lens of what He’s done for you in the past, you’ll see it clearly too. You’ll have the foresight that most people only get in hindsight. Your mind will be fixed on the good that God is doing and wants to do through you, rather than the bad that may seem to be engulfing you. This isn’t just positive thinking. This is godly thinking. This is looking at life as God sees it—the God who created you and the whole universe that you inhabit.
Once you see that God is for you, you’ll become convinced, like the Apostle Paul was, that there is nothing else in life that can separate you from His love. Nothing! As Paul said in the conclusion of chapter 8:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
What can separate you from the love of God? It’s the same answer to today’s riddle: Nothing!
God loves you and would do anything for you. He’s already demonstrated that. Now your role is to believe it and live it out in spite of whatever you might be facing today. Remember: God is FOR you!
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for reminding us that You are FOR us. Help us to look at life today through that lens, so that we can have your foresight into the situations we’re facing. Help us to know that You are working for our good in ALL things, and that nothing can separate us from Your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
P.S. I’ve had several people ask me about ordering some of my books and CD’s as gifts for the holidays. As I’ve been sending them out to people, I thought I’d mention it to you, too, as they do make great gifts… not just because I helped create each of them, but because they inspire people in their faith in Christ. If you’d like to take a look at each of the books and CD’s I’ve helped to create over the years, just visit the link below:
Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 8:31-39. Have you ever felt like God doesn’t love you because of something specific that happened in your life?
2. Why is Jesus’ death more valuable than anything else God could do for you?
3. What kinds of struggles did Paul go through, and how do you think those struggles may have helped him become convinced that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love?
4. If God is FOR you, who can be against you?
To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, please visit:
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These are starting to show up around our country!
After dinner she took a $1 dollar bill out of her purse and displayed it on the table.
Underneath the words “In God We Trust” someone had stamped the dollar bill in red ink—NO GOD BUT ALLAH.
We asked her where she had gotten this dollar bill. She said it was part of her change in Alamosa, CO.
We took a picture of her dollar bill. If anyone tries to give you one of these dollar bills as change, please refuse it and ask them to give you a dollar bill that has not been defaced.
Send this on to everyone you know, please.
God bless our USA!
As the mother’s womb holds us for ten months, making us ready, not for the womb itself, but for life, just so, through our lives, we are making ourselves ready for another birth…Therefore look forward without fear to that appointed hour- the last hour of the body, but not of the soul…That day, which you fear as being the end of all things, is the birthday of your eternity.
He is not afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
The Revised Standard Version
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.