Tag Archives: Romans

Where is God?

Where is God? This is a question Job asked often as he was going through his season of pain and suffering. He couldn’t comprehend events, and he had trouble remembering where God was. Can you relate?

This is a question which has been asked through the generations, and many people are asking it today. Events seem incomprehensible as history is made right before our eyes. Folks may have trouble remembering God’s location. Job’s friend Elihu gives some insight.

In Job 36:26, Elihu says, “How great is God—beyond our understanding!
    The number of his years is past finding out.”

Max Lucado writes, “we may search out the moment the first wave slapped on a shore or the first star burst in the sky, but we’ll never find the first moment when God was God. For there is no moment when God was not God. He has never not been or he is eternal. God is not bound by time.”

God always has been and always will be. He is right beside us.

  • “May he rule from sea to sea
        and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8).
  • 7 “Where can I go from your Spirit?
        Where can I flee from your presence?
    If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
        if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
        if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    10 even there your hand will guide me,
        your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

Amid all that is going on, the Lord is right beside us.

Romans 8:38-39 reminds us, 38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.

He is not going to leave us or forsake us. We can have comfort in knowing the Lord is with us.”

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don’t miss christmas

A father and son enjoyed collecting art. They enjoyed attending art auctions together, and the two had amassed a stunning collection. Paintings by famous artists lined the walls of their living room, and the two spent much time pursuing their hobby.

One day the son received word he had been drafted, and he was to report to basic training before heading overseas. A few months later, early December to be exact, the father received news his son had been killed.

Still absorbing the shock, the father decided to spend Christmas day alone, but as he was sitting in his easy chair, there was a knock at the door.

The man opened the door to find a tall, young man standing there with a package under his arm. “Good morning sir,” the young man said, “may I come in?”

The father invited the young man into the house, and the young man began to explain, “I knew your son. I’m actually the one he was saving when he was shot. I know you like art as I do, so I wanted to give this to you.”

He unwrapped the package to reveal a portrait of the father’s son. “It is not the fanciest painting. I did it myself, and I thought you would enjoy having it.”

The father quickly jumped up to rearrange his collection giving the portrait of his son a prominent place. He placed it above his fireplace directly across from his easy chair. The father could gaze upon his son every time he sat in the chair. The father and soldier spent Christmas day together talking and laughing before parting ways.

Years later, the father passed away, and he left instructions in his will to have his art collection auctioned on Christmas day. Many collectors from around the country arrived to bid on the collection.

The crowd was upset when they realized the first painting on the block was the portrait of the father’s son. The auctioneer tried to move the painting for several minutes before a neighbor finally bid $10.

“I knew the boy, so I’d like to have the painting,” the woman said.

“Going once. Going twice. Sold,” came the auctioneer’s voice as the crowd cheered wildly.

“Now we can get on with the good stuff,” they snorted, but they were shocked when the auctioneer slammed his gavel declaring the auction over.

“How is it over,” the crowd demanded. “We didn’t even have a chance to bid on the good paintings.”

The auctioneer explained the father’s instructions were to give the whole collection to the person who bought the portrait of his son.

God’s Christmas Gift

Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own son, but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Don’t miss the true gift of Christmas.

People search for peace and hope in many places. Shiny packages of all kinds contain promises of peace and hope, but they are empty or fall short. True peace and hope are found in God’s Christmas gift. “Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you,” the angel told the shepherds. He is Jesus.

As you hustle and bustle this year, take a moment to find and reflect on the true gift of Christmas. Whoever gets the son, according to God, gets everything else.

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thankful heirs

When we think of inheritance, financial gain is what usually comes to mind, but it can be more. Families pass many items down from generation to generation, person to person. A younger brother once said, “All the comic books I inherited from my brother had the last page torn out. I had to reach my own conclusions.” Heirs of an inheritance will gain, and as Christians, we gain an inheritance of great value.

We are heirs to God’s inheritance.

Scripture says…

  • Romans 8:16-17 says, “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children, and since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory….”
  • Galatians 4:7 says, “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child, and since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”

We are heirs of a valuable inheritance.

This means we are heirs to Heaven, which is yet to come, but it also means we can be thankful that our inheritance has already started.

  • Scripture reminds us our inheritance is perfect peace. It is a peace which transcends human understanding. When it does not make sense to have peace, you and I can have peace because we are heirs to God.
  • Ephesians 1:19 reminds us the Lord is already working on our behalf with incomparable power. There is nothing capable of overpowering the Lord.
  • We can embrace this life thankful for victory, not fighting for a victory.

We are heirs of God. The Creator of the universe has decided to share with us. With hope for the future, we can give thanks for the blessings of the present.

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Remembering

Give to each one what you owe. If honor, give honor. If respect, give respect.

Joshua 4 records the account of the Israelites building a memorial to remember crossing the Jordan River. Joshua instructed one man from each tribe to bring a stone from the river to the bank to build a monument. The monument was to serve as a reminder of what the Lord had done for the Israelites. The stones would remind future generations of the Lord’s work. The Bible encourages Christians to remember those who have gone before us.

Memorial Day is not a religious holiday; however, the idea is Scripturally based. Shortly after the Civil War, the last Monday in May was set aside to remember those who sacrificed their lives to help their country, community, and family.

Remembering the past helps us be grateful for the blessings of the present.

Romans 13:7 encourages us to give to each one what we owe. If honor, give honor; if respect, give respect. As we celebrate the unofficial start to summer, may we pause and remember those who have went before us so we may enjoy the blessings of today.

Faithful in Prayer

Never stop praying.

Two ladies were discussing their lives as they were at the laundry mat. They were both married, and they had much in common.

While they were waiting on clothes to wash, they were both mending a pair of their husbands’ pants. “Things at home are stressful. My husband is grouchy and always a ball of stress,” the first lady said as she mended the butt of her husband’s pants.

As she mended the knees of her husband’s pants, the second lady said, “My guy is usually in a good mood. Things are going really well.”

It has been said the biggest fear of the devil is our prayers. He fears nothing from prayerless efforts, and trembles at prayer. The Bible encourages Christians to never stop praying.

“Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction.” Romans 12:12 encourages, “Faithful in prayer.”

Faithful in prayer.

Jesus illustrated the power of prayer. He spends a great deal of time praying. The disciples admired his prayer life and hoped they could model it. Jesus prayed about everything.

How do we do? Jesus encourages us to pray and never give up. Remember, the Lord does hear our prayers, and praying is just a conversation with him. Spend some time talking with him today.

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Patient in Affliction

Impatient Reaction vs. Patient Response

Billy, a young potato farmer, was having a conversation with Satan. Billy was harvesting his potatoes, and each one seemed smaller than expected. The crop was small, and the potatoes were little.

Satan offered to Billy, “Follow me, and I promise you big potatoes every year.”

Billy responded, “If I follow you, you will not give me any potatoes.”

Billy patiently responded in a rough moment in life. Satan was hoping Billy impatiently reacted. How do we handle those moments in life?

Romans 12:12 encourages Christians to patiently respond. “Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Faithful in prayer,” encourages Paul.

Patient in affliction.

You and I are being encouraged to be patient during adversity. 1 Peter reminds us it is these seasons in life which help our faith develop.

As adversity comes, here is encouragement.

 

  • James encourages us to consider trials pure joy because they are developing Godly character in us.
  • The adverse seasons may be leading to a better place then we have been thus far. A wise man once said, “Waiting on God is worth the delay.”
  • “Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance,” says Hebrews 6:12.
  • We can look ahead to what is coming for us.

Trials will come, and we can follow Billy’s example to navigate the season. It is better to have small potatoes than no potatoes.

 

Joy in Hope

“Joy is the flag which is flown from the castle of the heart when the king is in residence there,” said Robert Rainey.

In a Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, so Linus said, “Charlie Brown, you are the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.”

Are we like Charlie Brown? It is easy to become wrapped up in circumstances and loose sight of our hope. As Christians though, we are encouraged to always be joyful for our hope.

“Be joyful in hope. Patient in affliction. Faithful in prayer,” encourages Romans 12:12.

Be joyful in hope.

Life certainly has its difficulties, but we can always look ahead to the hope we have in Christ.

1 Peter describes this hope as…

  • A living and eternal hope. Time will not take our hope away.
  • A hope which will not perish or spoil. Our hope will always be the same. It is not going away.
  • A hope which will withstand trouble. We may be enduring afflictions, but they are not powerful enough to rob us of the hope we have in Christ.

No matter what we are going through or where we are right now, we can look ahead to the joyful promise we have been given.

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Our Work Matters

Colleen was a college student who was working a part-time job to cover bills. Not having a lot of money, Colleen tried to get by on what she had. Her shoes were showing age, but she planned to wear them if they held up.

One morning after church, a lady handed Colleen a box containing a new pair of shoes. “Here you go. I thought we probably wore the same size.” The lady said, “I can’t do much, but I thought I’d buy you a pair of shoes.”

Grateful for the shoes, Colleen replied, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” came the answer, “it takes a village to get us through life.”

The shoes were a small thing, but they made a big difference for Colleen. The lady’s act of service was not headline grabbing, but it was meaningful.

Our acts of service matter; our work matters. We may not be the CEO in our company or be in the spotlight at our church, but our contribution is important. The CEO is efficient because of her Administrative Assistant. The leader in the spotlight would fail quickly if not for the team around him. Each person’s role is crucial to success.

Our contribution is valuable.

The Bible says we have something to contribute.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “In his grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well, so if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak up with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well; if you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously, and if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

You and I are part of a community, and our role is just as important as the other roles. We rely on one another, and our interdependence is not a weakness; it is a strength.

To help us understand this, the Bible uses the illustration of the human body. Is the body made of only feet? Can the hand do the job of the eye? No, the body is made of several parts. Each part must do its job for the body to function. The parts work together making the body strong and sustaining its survival.

Our roles are the same. We must each do our role for the community to function. Some roles are in the spotlight, while others are behind the scenes. Some roles encompass many responsibilities, while others embrace only a couple. However, each role is equally important.

We matter at church and at work.

This principle holds true at church and work.

At Church

You may be responsible for teaching a class attended by a handful of kids, but your contribution is still meaningful.

You may be responsible for running the vacuum each week. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s your contribution keeping the building clean.

You may be the person who arrives early, unlocks the door, turns on the lights, and makes the coffee. It may not seem like much to you, but without you, people would have to break in the building, walk around in the dark, and remain half asleep.

Our contribution to the church matters.

At Work

The Theology of Work project brings to light this principle is the same at work as it is at church. For success, the work team must function as a unit.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord….”

The work we do at our job matters. Our contribution is vital to our workplace’s success.

If you stock shelves, stock shelves well. If you answer the phone, answer the phone well. If you tighten bolts, tighten them well. The work you and I do is significant in the overall health of the company.

Think of it this way. An auto factory worker is tasked with tightening lug nuts. He falls for the lie his job doesn’t matter, so he stops making sure the nuts are tight. A truck is delivered with loose lug nuts, and the wheel falls off while it is being driven down the interstate.

The accident causes consumers to question the auto makers safety. In turn, causing sales to slump, the slow sales cause lay offs at the factory. All the trouble started because the factory worker fell for the lie his work did not matter.

The assembly line worker is just as important as the CEO. The custodian is just as important as the CFO. No matter what we do, our work is meaningful.

Please do not fall for the lie your contribution is insignificant and your life does not matter. You do matter, and you do have something to contribute.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you recognize the meaningfulness of your contribution and opportunities to contribute.

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Jumping in Trust

Zack and his dad were hiking in the mountains of Tennessee on a sunny afternoon. Zack’s dad hears from above, “Hey dad! Catch me!”

Horrified to see Zack falling from an above cliff, the dad quickly put himself into position and successfully caught Zack. A moment passed while the dad calmed his nerves. Then he asked, “What happened?”

“I jumped,” the boy replied.

Why on earth did you jump,” the dad inquired.

Zack answered, “Because I know you are my dad and I knew you would catch me.”

Zack had complete trust in his dad because he was Zack’s father.

Trust is Foundational

Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Friends must trust each other. Parents and children must trust each other. Husbands and wives must trust each other. Our relationship with Jesus requires we trust him.

Jesus Requests Our Trust

Jesus requests in John 14:1 we trust him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples, and he is giving them much to consider. He’s telling the disciples what is going to happen soon, but from their vantage point, there is still a great deal unknown. Jesus knows it is perplexing, maybe even frightening, for the disciples, so he makes a request that they trust him. The same request Jesus makes of us.

What’s going to happen in the future? If you could know the answer, would you want it? I wouldn’t, but the unknown is nerve-racking too. We dislike the unknown. We find it perplexing and frightening just like the disciples, so Jesus says, “Trust me.”

Jesus asks that we trust him. Trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, our money and financial health, and our lives. Jesus asks that we trust him with everything.

Why can we trust the Lord?

Romans 8:32 says, “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?”

The Lord has proven himself trustworthy by giving us his son. So, the question you and I need to answer is do we trust him? Do we trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, and money and financial health, and our lives? Do we trust him with everything?

Do we have the complete trust Zack did?

Acting

Make a list of the areas of your life where you may need to trust the Lord more. Ask him to help you build that trust. Share your experience in the comments below.

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God Won’t Leave

Will God leave me? This is a fair question, and one we may ask in a difficult time. The Bible says the Lord will not leave us, and Joseph’s story helps us see the Lord can use the difficult stuff to do some amazing work.

The Beginning of Joseph’s Story

Joseph was one of many brothers, and his father loved him the most causing strain among Joseph and his brothers. It may be safe to say his brothers hated Joseph. Not only did his father love him the most, Joseph had some dreams the family found upsetting.

Over breakfast one morning Joseph told his family he had a dream where they all bowed down to him. This angered his brothers, and Joseph’s dad told him not to speak like this again.

A few days after the breakfast incident, Joseph was sent to check on his brothers as they were tending the sheep. They saw him coming and plotted to kill him, but one brother, Reuben, convinced the boys to throw Joseph in a cistern to avoid bloodshed. They did, but later sold into slavery. Joseph found himself in Egypt where he worked. You would think Joseph had enough trouble at this point, but his troubles continue.

While in Egypt, Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and spends a few years in prison. Bad things certainly happened to Joseph.

Bad Things Happen

Joseph’s story reminds you and I bad things happen in life. We are not immune to adversity and trials, yet we can find great encouragement in God’s word. Scripture teaches God will not leave us when bad things happen.

God will not leave us.

The Lord is committed to staying with us in bad times. Paul, in Romans 8, says the Lord will stay with us when bad things happen.

Romans 8:37-39 says, “No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced 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.”

None of these things will cause the Lord to leave us. This is an exhaustive list, and to make sure he covers everything, Paul ends the list by saying, “…in all creation.” I hope you find this statement as encouraging as I do. The hardest of times will not drive away the Lord.

The lost job will come, but the Lord will stay. The money trouble will come, but the Lord will stay. Our hearing or eyesight may go, but the Lord will stay. The disease may infect, but the Lord will stay. The mistake may occur, but the Lord will forgive and stay. Nothing will drive the Lord away. Our relationship may be strengthened amid these seasons.

He Carried Her

One night a lady had a dream in which she went to the movies. The movie playing that night was a movie of her life. Each scene was a season of her life, and there were footprints in each scene. She noticed something odd about the footprints.

In the good scenes of her life, there were two sets of footprints. One representing her and the other representing God, but in the bad scenes, there was only one set of footprints.

At the end of the movie, the lady had an opportunity to interview God. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Sir, you promised you would never leave me or forsake me, but in all the tough scenes, there was only one set of footprints. I mean I didn’t do well in math, but if we were both present, would there not be two sets of footprints?”

God answered, “Oh, that’s easy. I had to carry you through all the rough times. You couldn’t make it on your own.”

He’ll carry us in the same way if we just hang on.

The Result of Tough Times

Romans 8 reminds us God works everything together for good. He can use the bad things currently happening to do some amazing work. Joseph’s story didn’t end with him in prison.

The Rest of Joseph’s story

Joseph was wrongly imprisoned, but he did not stay there. While in prison he interprets dreams for a couple of Pharaoh’s officials and is eventually called upon to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. Joseph says a severe famine is going to take place, and his interpretation is so impressive that Joseph is promoted to an Egyptian official. He is given the job of preparing Egypt for the famine.

Through bad things happening, the Lord put Joseph in position to save his family and help them refocus their attention on the Lord.

If Joseph had not been an Egyptian prisoner, he would have not been an Egyptian governor. The iron chains around Joseph’s feet ushered in gold chains around his neck.

Acting

Join me in thanking the Lord today for being with us. Maybe even carrying us through the hardest of times.

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