When Romans 8:28 Is True For YOU

GoodThere are two qualifications that determine whether or not Romans 8:28 is true for YOU…

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.

Is love for God a feeling toward Him?  Is loving God keeping His commands? Consider two thoughts…

First… John 14:15 is DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE. WHEN a person loves God, the WILL keep His commands… naturally… from the heart… joyfully. John 14:15 does NOT mean that we prove love for God by doing things for Him… ie, keeping His commands as we know from Acts 17:24-25…

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things… (God does not need anything or anyone… NOR does He desire in order to be satisfied).

There is only ONE way anyone is able to love God. It is found in Deuteronomy 30:6!

Third, here is what love for God IS… (From John Piper):

Love for God is desiring God APART FROM HIS GIFTS (Forgiveness, Salvation, Heaven, Blessings, etc)…

Love for God is treasuring God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is delighting in God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is satisfaction in God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is cherishing God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is savoring God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is valuing God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is prizing God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is revearing God APART FROM HIS GIFTS…

Love for God is admiring God APART FROM HIS GIFTS.

Fourth, remember that Romans 8:28 is written in the context of suffering (8:15A; 8:17B; 8:18A; 8:23B; 8:26A; 8:31B; 8:35; 8:38-39-A).  Circumstances and events are NOT proof of either God’s love OR displeasure!

In the words of Job (13:15)… “Though He slay me, still I will hope in Him.”  If anything, difficulties are PROOF of your salvation (Phil 1:29)!

In the words of Habakkuk (3:17-19)… “Though the fig tree should not blossom… there be no fruit on the vines… the yield of the olive should fail… the fields produce no food… the flock should be cut off from the fold… and there be no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength…”

CLICK

Advertisements

Why Christians Suffer

Suffering has always been a difficult topic for believers & skeptics alike.  How can an all loving & good God allow suffering?  The question is better stated.. . “Why does God let ME suffer?” or “Why does God let ‘good people’ suffer?” or “Why did God let my grandmother suffer?”  (Actually, none are good… all have sinned.  Ro 3:10-17, 23)

I don’t have the all the answers but we can go to God for help.  I am one phone call or letter away from tragedy, I constantly do what I can to be prepared for when it does eventually happen.

When I hear people say, “I know we’re not supposed to question God…”  I wonder… Why not?  When I hear people say, “I know we can’t know why things happen…” I wonder… Why can’t we know?

Didn’t Jesus say if anyone seeks they will find (Mt 7:7-11)?  Isn’t it written if any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God and it will be given (James 1:5)?  Don’t those apply to us?!

We can’t know every reason for what God does nor can we know all the intricacies of what happens in our lives… however… I do believe God has given us many answers to “Why ‘bad’ things happen to Christians.”  My goal is to suggest a few reasons… keeping in mind this is not exhaustive and only begins to explore this issue.  Here are some of the reasons I’ve thought of…

Reason #1: To Glorify God (2 Cor 4:15; 1 Pet 4:16; Jn 21:19)

Reason #2: To Be Conformed To The Image Of Christ (Ro 8:29)

Reason #3: To Reveal To Us Our Need For Sanctification (2 Cor 12:7-10)

Reason #4: To Mature Christians In The Faith (James 1:2-4)

Reason #5: To Share in Christ’s Glory (1 Peter 4:12-14)

Reason #6: To Rest Completely Upon Christ’s Power (2 Cor 12:7-10)

Reason #7: To Comfort Others In Their Trials (2 Cor 1:3-4)

Reason #8: So That Jesus’ Life Is Manifested In Us (2 Cor 4:7-12)

Reason #9: To Embolden Christians To Faithful Service (Phil 1:12-14)

Reason #10: It Is God’s Will For Christians To Suffer (Phil 1:29)

Reason #11: It Is God’s Way Of Increasing Rewards (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Reason #12: It Is God’s Way Of Sanctifying Us (Job 1-2)

Reason #13: God uses suffering to humble us

Reason #14: God uses suffering to draw us to Himself

Reason #15: God uses suffering to display His grace and comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4)

Reason #16: Suffering perfects God’s power in us.

Just a few thoughts to ruminate upon during your quiet time(s) this week…

Hard Times Are Good!

No person grows or matures in Christ apart from hardship, trials, and difficulty.  No one.  A good friend of mine and I got into a “discussion” one time listening to Dr. Chuck Swindoll preach several years ago.  Dr. Swindoll said, “God doesn’t use anyone He doesn’t first break.”  Now consider the brief conversation that ensued as I turned to my friend and said…

Me: “He’s wrong…”

My friend: “No.  YOU’RE wrong…”

Me: “NO.  HE is wrong!”

My friend: “No.  You ARE wrong…”

Me: “What do you mean?”

My friend: “He is right.  You ARE wrong!”

At that point I decided to be the godly one and not make a scene (Ah-hum.  Yea right…).

Not long after that… and for many years since… I’ve come to realize I was wrong and Dr. Swindoll was right (I just can’t bring myself to say my friend was right though!).  During one of those difficult times in my life I ran across two verses in Psalms and ever since then when life presses in on me I fall back on them.  They are from Psalm 119…

Ps 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.

Ps 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes.

Let those settle into your heart for a little bit.  Meditate upon them.  Submit your soul, spirit, and emotions to the truth of God’s Word.

119:67.  Affliction is used by God to draw His children back to Him.  He uses difficulty to teach us to keep His Commands (Which are for our good).

119:71.  Sometimes our hardship and affliction is NOT necessarily because of anything we’ve done wrong.  When life is hard, it is then that we are much more prone to listen… and hear… God speak to us.  It is in difficulty that we learn (to the depths of our heart) to keep God’s commands.

Are you having a hard time?  Is someone close to you struggling?  Consider the love of God in the event and what He is working out in life as we find in Hebrews 12:5-7, 10-11…

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.”  7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. 10 …But He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. 11  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Why It Happens To Christians Part 1 (Suffering)

fred-wintersAs I write this post, a pastor has been shot to death in the pulpit by a person who walked into the church.  It happened at the First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL.  We wonder, “Why would God allow such a thing… in His house… on His day… in worship?”  Keep reading…

Last week I wrote about a young man who is a member of the church I serve who found out he has pancreatic cancer (click here This post is something of a followup but has a different purpose in mind that follows the question posed in the last paragraph.

suffering  When I hear people say, “I know we’re not supposed to question God…”  I wonder to myself… Why not?  When I hear people say, “I know we can’t know why these things happen…” I wonder to myself… Why can’t we know?

  After all, didn’t Jesus say if anyone seeks they will find?  Isn’t it written if any man lacks wisdom he can ask of God and it will be given?

I would agree we can’t know every reason for what God does nor are we able to know all the intricacies of what happens in our lives… however… I do believe God has given us a lot of answers to “Why ‘bad’ things happen to Christians.”  My goal in this post is to suggest a few reasons… keeping in mind this post is not exhaustive and only begins to explore this issue.

In order to get our arms around the answers, I believe there are two foundational questions that must be answered in the affirmative:  #1 Do you believe God (Ps 84:11b)?  #2 Do you trust God (Heb 13:5b)?  If either or both are answered “no,” then these answers will be very difficult to deal with.

Reason #1: To Glorify God (2 Cor 4:15)

   For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

   John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Reason #2: To Share in Christ’s Glory (1 Peter 4:12-14)

   Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…

Reason #3: To Be Conformed To The Image Of Christ (Romans 8:29)

   And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might bethe firstborn among many brothers.

Reason #4: To Mature Christians In The Faith (James 1:2-4)

   Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Reason #5: To Comfort Others In Their Trials (2 Cor 1:3-4)

   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Reason #6: To Rest Completely Upon Christ’s Power (2 Cor 12:7-10)

   So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Reason #7: To Embolden Christians To Faithful Service (Phil 1:12-14)

   I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Reason #8: So That Jesus’ Life Is Manfiested In Us (2 Cor 4:7-12)

   But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We areafflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Reason #9: It Is God’s Will For Christians To Suffer (Phil 1:29)

   For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake…

Reason #10: It Is God’s Way Of Increasing Rewards (2 Cor 4:16-18)

   So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Click here for part 2…