“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 AV
Consider: For something to work together for my good, surely God has to, somehow, turn it into a blessing.1Lu 18:27 NIV Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Doesn’t faith inspire an omnificent God to creatively combine things together into a blessing?2Heb 11:1 AV Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Further Consideration: If everything becomes a blessing, is it not possible the answer to my prayers may look absolutely nothing like what I’m expecting; perhaps even looking like something that would normally be considered a curse? 3Num 21:8 AV And the Lord said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole: and it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live
My Prayer: God help me4Ps 121:1-2 NIV I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. to remain focused on You and Your promises and not be distracted by my circumstances. You are omnipotent; my circumstances are not!5Joh 19:10b-11a NIV Pilate said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Help me to remember that even if I’m walking through the valley of the shadow of death that You are with me.6Psalm 23:4 AV Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? — Ro 8:31-32 AV
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” –Matthew 24:3-14 ESV
The gospel message is foundational for the Christian. A good foundation becomes ever more important as you build on it. In construction, a strong foundation is essential to support the heavy loads from the weight of the building along with internal and external forces. (i.e. occupants, storage, earthquake, snow and wind loading etc.) Isn’t a strong foundation even more important when it relates to eternity?
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. –Romans 10:13-17
If the law is not preached how will men become aware of their sins?7Ro 3:20 NIV Therefor no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. If men are unaware of their sins, does the gospel have any relevance?2Ro 5:20 NIV The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased grace increased all the more Once a man becomes a believer does the relevance of the gospel increase or decrease?31Ti 1:15-16 NIV Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners –of whom I am the worst. But for this very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Isn’t it the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us so that we are aware of our need to be cleansed from unrighteousness?4Joh 16:7-11 NIV But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgement, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. How do we present ourselves to be cleansed if not through confession?5 1Jo 1:9 AV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Doesn’t the relevance of the gospel grow as our awareness of sin grows, and conversely doesn’t our awareness of sin increase as the gospel comes to fruition in our life?6Pr 4:18 AV The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shinning ever brighter till the full light of day. Since we are being conformed to the likeness of God7Ro 8:29 NIV For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. and since God is love81Jo 4:8 NIV Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.91Jo 4:16 AV And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. can we not conclude that we are being conformed to the likeness of love?101Jo 2:28 NIV And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.111Jo 3:2 NIV Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. If we are not being conformed unto the likeness of love, have we anything of value?121Co 13:1-3 NIV If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. How do we experience love in the most relevant way if not through the forgiveness of sins?13Joh 3:16 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.14Joh 15:13 NIV Greater love has no-one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends.152Co 5:21 NIV God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Since the wages of sin is death16Ro 6:23 AV For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord wouldn’t it be natural to love knowing that I’m a sinner saved from death.171Jo 4:19 AV We love because he first loved us.18Lu 7:47 NIV “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven –for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
My Prayer: Lord, I see lawlessness growing in the world, please let my life reflect the fullness of your gospel message: in my words, in my actions, and in my prayers. Worldly hostility is growing toward those who speak out against sin; please let me never side with the world against you, let me grown daily in agreement with you regarding sin. Knowing that light shines brightest in the midst of darkness, let my life shine brightly for you and my life be a testimony of your mercy and grace. Let my heart overflow love because you first loved me! Amen.
The book of Revelation is written to believers; the very first verse confirms it. 19Rev 1:1 NIV The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. Some say we are close to the time of Jesus’ return. No one knows the day or hour however, we can be sure of one thing: we are closer with each passing day. 2Mt 24:36 NIV But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.3
Mr 13:32 NIV But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Even If Jesus doesn’t return in my life time, I need to be prepared to meet Him.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.4Rev 2:4-5 NIV
Was the Holy Spirit impressing me with the importance of returning to my first love? Have I forsaken my first love?
Honestly, I don’t think my relationship with God has the simplicity it used too and I don’t think I truly rely on Him with the same dependency as I once did.5Mr 10:15 NIV “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”6Lu 18:17 AV “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.“ The fact is, I used to do things, as a new believer, that I don’t do anymore.
My Prayer: God, thank you for calling me back into a deepening relationship with you. I remember, I used to steal away moments, during the course of the day, to delight in your word; back then I wrote down your word and carried it with me everywhere I went. Now that I have your word in a host of translations and commentaries at my finger tips; have I taken it for granted? We used to go on those long walks, now I don’t have the time. Please forgive me, thank you for reminding me of the first things and giving me the grace and desire to return to you, my first love. Amen.