VIDEO God’s Love

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Romans 8:32

 

A father was approached by a young man who wanted to marry his daughter. After a lengthy conversation, the father gave the young man the permission he sought: “Yes, you may marry my daughter.” Before leaving, the young man also asked, “Could I have a glass of water before I drive back?” “A glass of water?” the father asked, smiling. “I’ve just given you my most valuable possession, my daughter, and you ask me for a glass of water? Of course! Help yourself to whatever I have, now that you have what is most valuable to me.”

Something similar happened when God gave His only Son to the world, to die for our sins. Sometimes when we pray about a need, we forget that God has already demonstrated His unconditional love for us by giving us His Son. Paul reminds us, “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Our needs are important, but they pale in comparison to what God has already given.

Remember God’s unconditional, unchanging love when you pray. He is ready to “give us all things.”

The true measure of God’s love is that He loves without measure. Anonymous


A Midterm Exam – Romans 8:31-34 – Skip Heitzig

God Heals Our Brokenness

By grace you have been saved, through faith. Ephesians 2:8

Collin and his wife, Jordan, wandered through the craft store, looking for a picture to hang in their home. Collin thought he’d found just the right piece and called Jordan over to see it. On the right side of the ceramic artwork was the word grace. But the left side held two long cracks. “Well, it’s broken!” Jordan said as she started looking for an unbroken one on the shelf. But then Collin said, “No. That’s the point. We’re broken and then grace comes in—period.” They decided to purchase the one with the cracks. When they got to the checkout, the clerk exclaimed, “Oh, no, it’s broken!” “Yes, so are we,” Jordan whispered.

What does it mean to be a “broken” person? Someone defined it this way: A growing awareness that no matter how hard we try, our ability to make life work gets worse instead of better. It’s a recognition of our need for God and His intervention in our lives.

The apostle Paul talked about our brokenness in terms of being “dead in [our] transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). The answer to our need to be forgiven and changed comes in verses 4 and 5: “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive . . . . [It] is by grace [we] have been saved.”

God is willing to heal our brokenness with His grace when we admit, “I’m broken.”

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

What brought you to your need to ask God to heal your brokenness? How do you need Him today?

God, thank You for being rich in mercy toward me! May I boast in You and Your gift of salvation through grace by faith.

The Love of God

We didn’t earn the love God has for us, and that’s why we can never lose it

1 John 4:7-21

Christians often hear that God loves them. This truth is repeated in church, and believers often recite Bible verses on the topic. Yet do we really grasp what it means to be cared for in this way by the Creator of the universe? Let’s explore two aspects of His love.

First, God’s love isn’t influenced by anything within or around us, because it is one of God’s unchanging attributes. We know that even while we were still living in sin, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). We didn’t do anything to earn His love, and we can’t do anything to hinder it.  

Second, divine love is eternal. Believers will never be separated from it. In fact, Ephesians 1:4 tells us that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world. We know, therefore, that His care for us has always been a fact—and always will be. 

We can trust the One who loves us completely. Jesus proved His love by dying in our place to rescue us from sin and its consequences. He promises to stay with us always and redirects us when we stray. Whether or not we feel His presence, His love surrounds and protects us forever

Evil Hearts Produce Evil Deeds

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

Make no mistake—those who love evil hate righteousness. Petty selfishness is often invoked to justify a host of social evils, and the sin burden constantly overlays human behavior. But an evil heart produces evil deeds and drives an evil person to commit atrocities. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20).

Both the apostles James and Paul made the same observation. James noted that “wars and fightings” come from the “lusts that war in your members” (James 4:1). Paul bemoaned the conflict of “laws” that he sensed in his own body and called himself a “wretched man” because he couldn’t seem to shake the “law of sin” (Romans 7:18-24).

The beloved apostle John insisted that the twice-born should never love the world or “the things that are in the world” because “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).

Once a decision is made to reject the overwhelming evidence of the “eternal power and Godhead” that the Creator has displayed for all to see (Romans 1:20), and once the personal conviction of the Holy Spirit has been spurned (John 16:7-11), nothing remains but social pressure to do good. And when that wanes (as it surely will), the individual person cycles ever more rapidly into a godless lifestyle, falling away “from the faith…having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). HMM III

A Litany Of Praise

Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord. Give praise, you servants of the Lord who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to His name, for it is delightful… House of Israel, praise the Lord! House of Aaron, praise the Lord! House of Levi, praise the Lord! You who revere the Lord, praise the Lord! May the Lord be praised from Zion; He dwells in Jerusalem. Hallelujah! (Psalm 134 vv. 1-3, 19-21).

Because this psalm is a compilation of quotations from other Old Testament sources, the form is a musical mosaic of praise based on the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

The theme, praise, should be the theme of my life. I am not always physically present in the “house of the Lord,” but somewhere in transit, torn between the roles I’m called to play in the world in which I live. But I can make praise a priority—then spend those precious moments or hours meditating on God’s goodness, greatness, and faithfulness—wherever I am.

Having a daily quiet time with the Lord is vital. I’ve used many different approaches over the years—reading the Bible through in one year, incorporating five psalms a day plus one chapter from Proverbs, studying a book of the Bible in depth with the aid of an excellent commentary, reading the Word aloud. A special blessing comes when I read the Bible and pray with Karen. How easy it is to neglect that precious time! What a missed opportunity!

No one is exempt from the roll call of the faithful. The houses of Israel, Aaron, and Levi (vv. 19-20) include all who fear and reverence the Lord. We are called to praise him in the house where he dwells—Jerusalem (Zion), for the ancient worshipper, our individual local churches, for the contemporary saint. The psalm ends as it begins, with a mighty “Hallelujah!” ( “Praise the Lord!”)

Praise is easy for a musician, you say, but what about the person who’s tone- deaf or can’t carry a tune? I would suggest that you try singing along with one of our major Christian artists on CD.

A faithful heart, an earnest desire to please the Lord, a life dedicated to his glory—these are the most eloquent songs of praise!

Personal Prayer

I join with my ancient Levite brothers, Lord, in praising your name for your goodness and faithfulness.

Pray for Me That …

Pray for us; for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything. And I especially urge you to pray that I may be restored to you very soon.—Hebrews 13:18-19

The apostle ends his discussion of spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10-20) on the following personal note: “Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel … that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should” (vv. 19-20).

Paul was wise enough to know his own need of supernatural strength in being able to stand against the enemy, and he was humble enough to ask his brothers and sisters to pray for him in this matter.

Imagine this great apostle, probably the most powerful and effective disciple of Christ the world has ever seen, asking his friends to pray for him. Truly, the greater a Christian is, the more he realizes his dependence on the prayers of others. Paul knew full well the power that was against him, and he did not hesitate to ask for the prayers of the church in Ephesus.

Notice also that his request for prayer was clear and specific. When you ask someone to pray for you, be equally specific. Don’t just say, “Pray for me,” but “Pray for me that …” Paul’s request was not that he might be delivered from prison, but that through his testimony in prison the gospel of Christ might be advanced. He knew that the most important thing was not to triumph over prison but to triumph in it. He knew he was where God wanted him for that time, and he would allow no self-interest to interfere with the divine schedule.

Prayer

O Father, teach me, as You taught Your servant Paul, to know Your will and purpose so clearly that I might know just how and what to pray for. I ask this in and through the strong and mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

Further Study

2Th 3; 1Th 5:25; Rm 12:2

What was Paul’s request?

Whom are you praying for regularly?

Prayers Without Words

Romans 8:26-27

A perplexing part of Paul’s theology of prayer is contained in the rather mysterious passage where he speaks of groans, which in reality were forms of wordless prayers: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27).

In solidarity with us, the Holy Spirit joins in our inarticulate beseeching, meeting us at the point of near despair; and He does so because “we do not know what we ought to pray.” What Paul has in mind is the only solution left when we become conscious of our weakness, when our needs and unfathomable longings go far beyond anything our minds can grasp, beyond anything our language, even our groanings, can express. In such a crisis, only the Spirit can adequately intercede for us.

My father was a man of prayer. He was a Salvation Army officer and often faced agonizing problems as the spiritual leader and counselor of his flock. As a young teenager I recall occasions when he would emerge from his place of private prayer in our home, frustrated in mind and dejected in spirit. He had a saying at such times which expressed how he felt: “The heavens are as brass!” He had not “got through.”

Though he may not have been aware of it, the Spirit was interceding for him. In God’s time and in God’s way the problem would be resolved. It was as though the Spirit simply took over when my father seemed to give up. It was then he learned that his “battering at the gates of heaven in prayer” was not in vain. And also then he learned how dependent he was on the Spirit who interceded for him with the Father.

My experience has been similar. So often I have prayed amiss. I have made an inaccurate assessment of the situation, or failed to perceive God’s will for that particular crisis. But the Spirit interceded, in harmony with the Lord’s prayer,

“Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42).

When we cannot read His thoughts aright, the Spirit comes to our rescue. When we lift empty and helpless hands because we know not how to pray as we ought, and our tongue is speechless, He stands by to support us.

Clarence D. Wiseman, The Desert Road to Glory