VIDEO Inseparable

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

The truth found in these two verses has inspired some of our greatest thinkers and teachers of the Word of God to comment on its meaning.

Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Nothing in all the universe can separate us from God’s love. It isn’t just the things we see, it’s also the things we don’t see. Supernatural forces, demons, all the forces of hell, the entire hierarchy of evil…. And where does that leave us? It leaves us as ‘more than conquerors through him that loved us.’… If we have truly trusted Christ for eternal life, he assures us that we will never perish, and that nothing can ‘pluck us out of his hand.’ Then, as though this were not assurance enough, he says that nothing can pluck us out of God the Father’s hand either.”[1]

Simply stated, we are inseparable from the loving arms of God—nothing can ever break the bond that holds us firmly in His love.

If you have trusted Christ, nothing can separate you from His love, and nothing can separate you from God the Father’s love.
Francis Schaeffer

[1]Francis A. Schaeffer, The Finished Work of Christ: The Truth of Romans 1 – 8 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998), 232.


Nothing Can Separate Us (Romans 8:35-39)

Accepted and Approved

You are precious and honored in my sight . . . . I love you. Isaiah 43:4

As a child, Tenny felt insecure. He sought approval from his father, but he never received it. It seemed that whatever he did, whether in school or at home, it was never good enough. Even when he entered adulthood, the insecurity remained. He continually wondered, Am I good enough?

Only when Tenny received Jesus as his Savior did he find the security and approval he’d long yearned for. He learned that God—having created him—loved and cherished him as His son. Tenny finally could live with the confidence that he was truly valued and appreciated.

In Isaiah 43:1–4, God told His chosen people that, having formed them, He would use His power and love to redeem them. “You are precious and honored in my sight,” He proclaimed. He would act on their behalf because He loved them (v. 4).

The value God places on those He loves doesn’t come from anything we do, but from the simple and powerful truth that He’s chosen us to be His own.

These words in Isaiah 43 not only gave Tenny great security, but also empowered him with the confidence to do his best for God in whatever task he was called to do. Today he’s a pastor who does all he can to encourage others with this life-giving truth: we’re accepted and approved in Jesus. May we confidently live out this truth today.

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

How do you think God sees you? What does John 1:12 tell you about your relationship with Him? What comfort do you find in that knowledge?

Heavenly Father, I know You love me, accept me, and cherish me. Thank You for adopting me as Your child and loving me without conditions.

The Power of Prayer

Focusing on God’s endless power puts our problems into perspective

2 Chronicles 20:1-17

In Scripture, we find examples of people who prayed with spiritual authority, and King Jehoshaphat is one of them. When he heard that a great army was coming against Judah, he immediately turned to the Lord for help. His example teaches us important lessons about praying powerfully. For instance, he … 

  • Sought the Lord. Instead of relying on his own ability to conquer Israel’s enemies, Jehoshaphat took a different approach and immediately looked to God. 
  • Focused on God, not the problem. The king acknowledged that the Lord was ruler over all the kingdoms and no one could stand against Him.  
  • Remembered God’s past faithfulness. Jehoshaphat’s prayer recalled ways that the Lord had protected Israel in the past. 
  • Depended on God. He acknowledged that the Israelites were powerless and didn’t know what to do. The Lord was their only hope. 

If your prayers seem to be having little impact, ask yourself if you’ve been focusing on God or the problem. Have you remembered His past faithfulness, or do you doubt His care for you? And finally, is God your only hope, or are you trying to fix the situation yourself?

Evil People Hate God’s People

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. (Psalm 139:21-22)

Once a conscious choice has been made to reject God’s truth and love, an individual begins to hate God and the people of God. The Scriptures are replete with these insights, but two references should suffice to establish the teaching—“they that hate the righteous shall be desolate” (Psalm 34:21) and “the bloodthirsty hate the upright” (Proverbs 29:10).

Don’t be surprised at the hatred of godly issues and people. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

Perhaps more alarming than the widespread evidence that many are running full-tilt into the “broad way” leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13) are the few who have found the “strait gate” leading to eternal life and yet continue to remain indifferent to the crisis of evil surrounding our country, our churches, and our families.

Would God that our leaders would have the same passion the psalmist felt when he wrote, “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law” (Psalm 119:53). Perhaps it is time that we each feel something of the godly sorrow that caused “rivers of waters [to] run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law” (Psalm 119:136) or sense an ache when we “beheld the transgressors, and [were] grieved; because they kept not thy word” (Psalm 119:158).

As our text notes, “I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me” (Psalm 101:6). HMM III

Benediction to the Pilgrim Psalms

Now praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who stand in the Lord’s house at night! Lift up your hands in the holy place, and praise the Lord! May the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion (Psalm 134 vv. 1-3).

I’m intrigued by the relationship between the act of leading people in worship and the boon of personal blessing spelled out in this psalm. This unusual benediction, given by the congregation to their leaders, exhorts the priests and Levites to keep up the good work!

These ministers are encouraged to continue their personal times of devotion in order to undergird their public ministry. Leaders who have to bear heavy burdens for others day and night (v. 1) are especially vulnerable to attacks from the enemy. When they are physically and emotionally exhausted, their spiritual guard is down. It is imperative, then, that they be lifted up in prayer by members of their congregation, just as Aaron and Hur lifted up Moses’ hands during the long hours of the battle with the Amalekites (Exod. 17:8-16).

The final words of this psalm flow like a soothing balm across troubled and tired spirits: “May the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion” (v. 3). Our Lord—not the lifeless pagan gods of the ancient world, such as the Canaanite god, Baal—created the universe and can certainly strengthen his faithful representatives.

I am deeply touched by the significance of this psalm for my own life and work. First, I’m reminded that the effectiveness of my public ministry is dependent, to a great degree, upon keeping a vital and dynamic personal relationship with the Lord. I also have a number of close friends who regularly and faithfully pray for me, and a corps of choir members and church musicians who remember to pray for me when they see my name on a piece of music. I have no way of knowing what my life would be without this consistent, loving care and support!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, thank you for the intercessory prayer of Christian friends. I am blessed both by serving you and by the encourage ment and concern of those who act as a link for refueling my tired spirit.

The Language of Music

Benediction

The invocation of a blessing to conclude public worship.

The Consuming Fire

Our God is a consuming fire.—Hebrews 12:29

George MacDonald writes: “Nothing is inexorable but love, for love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more; it strives for perfection even that itself may be perfected—not in itself but in the object. Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love’s kind, must be destroyed. Our God is a consuming fire.”

Powerful words.

The nature of God is so terribly pure that it destroys everything that is not as pure as fire. God desires us to worship Him in “the splendor of His holiness” (Ps 29:2). This means that He wants the purity in us to match the purity in Him. We cannot arrive at this purity by self-effort, of course, but the more we draw nigh to Him, the more the fire of His purity will burn out the dross within us.

“It is not the fire that will burn us up if we do not worship,” said George MacDonald, “but the fire will burn us up until we worship.” And the fire will go on burning within us after everything that is foreign to it has been consumed, no longer with pain and a sense of something unwanted being consumed, but as the highest consciousness of life.

God is a consuming fire. He always was, and always will be—world without end.

Prayer

O God, I long with all my heart that my worship might be all You want it to be. May Your consuming fire burn out all the dross within me until everything that is foreign to Your nature is part of me no more. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 97:1-5; Isa 66:15; 1Co 3:12-14

What does the psalmist say about fire?

What will the fire do?

Quick! The Bandages

Luke 10:36-37

He was lying in a ditch, blood oozing from several parts of his body. He had been beaten senseless. There was no one else in sight. The victim must have been traveling alone. That, in itself, was tempting danger. The descent on the unsuspecting was always swift and vicious.

The victim lay helpless and dying. There were some passers-by, but for various reasons they didn’t stop to help. Then a solitary traveler saw the crumpled, wounded figure in the ditch and stopped to investigate.

The fact that the victim and rescuer lived on opposite sides of a traditional border didn’t matter. There was a life to be saved.

Anything like a “911” call belonged to a distant future. Centuries would pass before an ambulance with life-saving staff and equipment would appear on a scene. Fortunately, there was some “oil and wine” in the saddlebag of this good-hearted “paramedic.”

If he could get the victim to the next rest house, the sufferer might survive. The Samaritan had some money. He knew he could give the innkeeper two denarii—two day’s earnings—as a deposit, and could settle whatever else was owing on a subsequent visit. But the immediate need was not money; it was for bandages! So many things are more important than money, and never more so than in the moment of crisis.

Bandages! Who has bandages? But, alas, there are no bandages in the saddlebag. So, off comes the Samaritan’s headdress, a piece of linen about a yard square. What had screened his eyes and protected cheekbones and neck from the hot Eastern sun become strips of cloth—improvised, blood-stanching, life-saving bandages! So “He bandaged his wounds” (Luke 10:34).

Did it really happen like this? We don’t know, because it’s only a story, a story told by Jesus (Luke 10:25-37), to a lawyer who was more interested in controversy than compassion. When he had asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells him about the victim saved from death by a member of an ostracized race who doesn’t pass him by on the other side. It is compassion in action, turned loose on anyone who lies helpless and bleeding in the ditches of life.

Helmut Thielicke suggests the decisive question is not: “Who is my neighbor?” but “To whom am I a neighbor?” It may be that there is someone, somewhere, who is pinning his hopes on me desperately hoping that I will not pass by on the other side. Beaten by life, I am his only hope of rescue. As Luther put it:

“To whom am I to be Christ?”

Arnold Brown, Reading Between the Lines