VIDEO They’re With Me

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Maybe it happens more in the movies than in our own lives, but it does happen. Someone important approaches the entrance to a restricted area where he is recognized and waved through. But the people with him are not recognized and are denied entrance. When the “celebrity” sees the problem, he turns and says, “It’s okay; they’re with me.” Suddenly the whole group is waved through. Knowing the right person has its advantages.

When Paul writes about hardships not being able to separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35-39), he says we can overcome them because “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”—meaning Christ. He may have been thinking of Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). It’s as if you and I are with Jesus when we suddenly encounter some trouble. Trouble waves Jesus past, but then He says to trouble—gesturing at us—“It’s okay; they’re with Me.”

Jesus has overcome the troubles of this world. If you are in Him, you have overcome them as well.

The Christian faith is not a way to explain, endure or enjoy this world, so much as to overcome it. Vance Havner


For the Love of God – Romans 8:35-39 – Skip Heitzig

When You Can’t Go On

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed . . . great is [His] faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22–23

In 2006, my dad was diagnosed with a neurological disease that robbed him of his memory, speech, and control over body movements. He became bedridden in 2011 and continues to be cared for by my mom at home. The beginning of his illness was a dark time. I was fearful: I knew nothing about caring for a sick person, and I was anxious about finances and my mom’s health.

The words of Lamentations 3:22 helped me get up many mornings when the light was as gray as the state of my heart: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed.” The Hebrew word for “consumed” means “to be used up completely” or “to come to an end.”

God’s great love enables us to go on, to get up to face the day. Our trials may feel overwhelming, but we won’t be destroyed by them because God’s love is far greater!

There are many times I can recount when God has shown His faithful, loving ways to my family. I saw His provision in the kindness of relatives and friends, the wise counsel of doctors, financial provision, and the reminder in our hearts that—one day—my dad will be whole again in heaven.

If you’re going through a dark time, don’t lose hope. God can help you to not be consumed by what you face. Keep trusting in His faithful love and provision for you.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

In the midst of difficulty, where do you go for strength? How can you remind yourself to trust in God’s great love?

Father, help me to keep trusting You. Open my eyes so I can see Your love and faithfulness

The Effects of Unforgiveness

For the sake of others and ourselves, God wants us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

Matthew 18:21-22

Resentment has far-reaching and often unexpected consequences. Although bitterness takes root in the mind, it can spread into other aspects of a person’s life. For example, the hostility a man feels toward his father can color his relationship with his wife, his performance at work, or his involvement in church. 

Most of us realize resentment impacts the mind, but have you noticed the physical toll it can take on us as well? An attitude of bitterness triggers tension and anxiety, which can affect everything from muscles to chemical balance in the brain. Over time, that kind of stress weakens the body. 

Unforgiveness also causes spiritual turmoil that hinders a believer’s growth. It can stifle prayer and turn worship dry and hypocritical. That’s because it’s difficult to effectively honor the Lord while trying to justify or hide a wrong attitude. What’s more, resentment dampens a person’s witness.

Forgiving someone means giving up bitterness and the “right” to get even with him or her, even though you were wronged. And God insists on forgiveness not just for others’ benefit but for ours as well. He knows the damage that hostility and vengeance can cause in our life and wants to protect us from it. 

The Captain of Our Salvation

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:9-10)

Christ is referred to in this passage as the captain of our salvation. The word translated captain implies one who is first in line, the beginning, or the originator. So, Christ is discovered to be the first in line of an endless procession of the saints of all ages resurrected from the grave and marching to the ultimate realization of their salvation. He is truly “the first born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

The word finds usage only three other times in the New Testament, each within a resurrection and glorification context. Peter, addressing the people of Israel, said that they had “killed the Prince [originator] of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15). And later, “the God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince [leader] and a Saviour” (Acts 5:30-31). As a result of what our “Captain” has done, we should be “looking unto Jesus the author [same word] and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

The only way we could ever share in His glory is for Him to suffer and die. “Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11). JDM

Longing To Praise

For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself Israel as His treasured possession. For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths. He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses… Lord, Your name [endures] forever, Your reputation, Lord, through all generations. For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants (Psalm 135 vv. 4-7, 13-14).

My dad, Jack Wyrtzen, has had an aura of authority about him for as long as I can remember. A man of unusual strength and energy, he founded Word of Life International from scratch. He spent his life ministering in camps, Bible institutes, clubs, concerts, rallies, and through media all over the world.

As you might imagine, his presence had been strongly felt in our home. I always wanted to please him—to be the best I could be, to perform well in recital, to speak and teach effectively, to achieve so that he would be proud of me. His image, in my concept of reality, has profoundly affected my view of God, the transcendent Sovereign of the universe!

The motive behind the praise in this psalm is the sovereignty of God, who chose Israel as his “treasured possession” (v. 4), “does whatever He pleases” (v. 5), and still orchestrates all the events of Israel’s history—past, present, and future (vv. 8-13).

Knowing that God never changes and that he is as concerned with the daily agenda of Don Wyrtzen as with the affairs of mankind, I am moved to write a song of praise.

Personal Prayer

Lord, I acknowledge you as Sovereign, my complete and ultimate Authority. I long to please you in everything I think and do.

“Some Extra Practice”

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials.—James 1:2

The Bible is replete with instances of God’s wisdom moving men and women through the most difficult times to the most wonderful ends. Take Abraham, for example. Although he is known in Scripture as the “the friend of God,” he was capable of some shabby behavior. On one occasion he actually compromised his wife’s chastity (Gn 12:10-20), and later, submitting to her pressure, fathered a child by Hagar, their maid (Gn 16:1-16). Then, seeking to avoid Sarah’s hysterical recriminations, he allowed her to drive Hagar away from their household (Gn 21:8-21). Clearly, Abraham was not a man of strong principle, and there were great flaws in his character. But God in wisdom dealt with this man and brought him through some great trials until he was changed from a man of the world to a true man of God.

The same wisdom that ordered the path Abraham trod orders our lives. We should never be taken aback when unexpected and upsetting things happen to us. We should recognize that no matter how hard the trial, God’s power will be there to get us through, and God’s wisdom will ensure that the trial will be worth more than it costs.

I like the way Jim Packer describes what may be God’s design when He permits us to go through trials: “Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility, or meekness by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under specially difficult situations.” “Some extra practice.” Some of us, myself included, sorely need it.

Prayer

Father, help me grasp this truth once and for all, that Your wisdom ensures the trials I go through are worth far more than they cost. You are more committed to making me like Jesus than I am myself. It hurts sometimes, but deep down I am grateful.

Further Study

Isa 48:1-10; Ps 66:10; Mal 3:3; 1Pt 1:7

What process is God’s testing likened to?

What is the end result?

The Blessings of a Pure Heart

Ephesians 5:25-27

A pure heart will ensure a holy life, a life fashioned after the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will, at the best, be very imperfect, have many weaknesses, and be subjected to many mistakes; but still, according to the light possessed, it will be a holy life.

Such a man is honest and faithful in all his worldly dealings. He has an honest heart. His word is his bond. He has a true heart. He neither shirks his duty nor wastes his time. He has an industrious heart. He is loving to his wife, tender to his children, faithful to his comrades, gentle to the weak. He has a kind heart. He is compassionate. He pities the poor, yearns over the backslider, fights for the salvation of sinners.

A pure heart will give you peace. It is a condition of peace. You must not expect a life of uninterrupted gladness in the world. But the peace of God is your birthright and, with a pure heart, the treasure shall be yours.

Purity of heart is the condition on which God will enter and dwell in your soul. God wants to live with you, not only in your home, but in your very heart.

A pure heart will make you a blessing to those around you. A pure heart makes a good life. Goodness is attractive; men respect it and are drawn to it, for what it is in itself. So it is with the soldier who enjoys purity of heart and lives in harmony with the experience. A holy influence will be going out from him all the time, not only from what he says and does, but from what he is himself.

Now I affirm, on the authority of the Bible, that Jesus Christ your Savior is able and willing to keep you from doing wrong. First, you cannot doubt God’s ability to make and keep you from sin. He who made you and sustains you in being, who redeemed you on the cross, can surely do this for you. He who will raise you from the dead and land you at last safely in heaven, is surely able to keep you from breaking His commandments all the rest of the short time you have to spend in this world. I am sure He can.

It may be a difficult task, perhaps, fixed as you are. But God will be equal to the undertaking. He has saved you from many sins already. Evil habits and passions that used to reign over you have been mastered.

And then, if God is able to make and keep you pure, you cannot question His willingness to do it. God tells us in the Bible in plain language that He wants to make you holy. Jesus Christ came into the world, lived and suffered and died that you might be made holy.

William Booth, Purity of Heart