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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 8’

original_Overcomer

It does not take much to realize that we live in a fallen world. From the soil we grow our food, to the defiance of a two year old, to the frailty of our own bodies, to the inability for the people of the world to live in peace, we see the effects of sin.

The realities of living in this flawed world can leave our shoulders sagging, and our hopes evaporating quickly.

Each day we encounter the side effects of living outside of Eden …

rejection and isolation
fears and failures
dreads and disappointments
separation and divorce
illness and disease and death

And on a Monday morning, all of it can seem to weigh us, our day, our life down.

But …

John 16:33, in the words of Jesus to his followers (both then and now), tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

On the eve of his horrible …

betrayal by Judas

denial by Peter

abdication to judge by Pilate

death sentence by the same people who shouted “Hosanna” just days before

torture by the Roman guards

death on a cruel cross

Jesus was delivering a message of peace, hope and victory.

His message of the reality of the trouble present in this world is not just to his closest twelve followers, but a reminder to us as well, that, quite simply, life is not ever going to be easy in this world.

But, he does not stop there, he declares “I have overcome the world.”

In those five words, the Son of God reminds us that this world has already been conquered. Although His death and rising from it have not yet occurred, He, and therefore we, are the over-comers. Although He has not yet even returned to gather His believers (“when everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:3), we have the hope of eternity without death … or taxes!

Romans 8:37 reminds us that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

He loved us
He loves us
He will always love us!

We are overcomers with Him!

Now, put your dancing shoes on, and overcome this sagging shouldered Monday!

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“He is hopeless”

When I heard those three words, that’s when my heart beat went into hyper drive. The word hopeless was in regard to a dying, elderly man, who was refusing to acknowledge the forgiveness, the redemption, the hope that Christ provides.

Within minutes I was motioning for the mic during the sharing of prayer requests, at a Sunday morning worship service.

What followed was a shaky-voiced monologue about Christ being our hope, and that we have hope for those we love, who are without Christ, until their final Earthly breath.

My only thought as I sat back down was, “God, why didn’t you just smite me down right then and there?” (I love the word smite).

Sometimes my zeal is problematic, as I just can’t seem to stop before I have stuttered my way through a sharing time.

All that stuttering and bumbling and red-faced humiliation aside, the message, that I poorly communicated, is truer than true.

Romans 8 speaks loudly of hope:

“For in this hope we were saved.”

The hope it is speaking of is the hope that is available (to all) through the blood sacrifice of the son of God. This is a hope for our lives here on planet Earth, as well as hope after we leave this place of “bondage and decay” for an eternity of “freedom and glory”after our current bodies have died their final death.

The dying man … that ‘hopeless’ man …

We might be baffled at why this man would not accept the free gift of salvation for sins and redemption for his life … really, it seems a ‘no brainer’ to those of us who have made accepted such a gift. Maybe this man is not ready to give up control, or maybe (as I think is often the heart of the matter) this man does not feel forgivable. Maybe he has memories of his life that he cannot imagine ever being forgiven, and certainly not forgotten … because he cannot forget …

Often, we humans act as the judge and jury of our sins. Deciding our eternity, our hope, based on the degree of sin in our lives. In the words of hymn writer Fanny Crosby:

“To God be the glory, great things He hathdone;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegate, that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

There could be no greater hope, than the hope in the promise of God. And it is available to all, as long as we still have breath.

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
Psalm 39:7

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I have one passion, that, I hope with all my being, I communicate with those around me.

That passion is that there is nothing
… NOTHING …
that anyone can DO that is
so bad,
so evil,
so sinful,
that is unforgivable,
by the God that I love.
And more importantly,
the God who created and loves all people.

I know, in my human frailty, that I fail to communicate this on a regular and daily basis. I hold onto resentments, I struggle to forgive, I bring up things from the past, I walk with one foot (regularly) in my mouth, I think thoughts that are vile. I am a walking, talking example of failure, of weakness … of sinfulness.

But, because I am fully human, I am the perfect material for a God who understands what it is to be fully human. I am the perfect material for a God who can heal and forgive. I am the perfect material for a God who rebirths, who recreates, who reconstructs, who redeems … saves … from myself.

It is so easy to look at our life and our choices through the shadows that our sin creates. It is so easy to look at our life and only see our mistakes, our failures and our sins. It is so easy to look at our life and think that
there is no way that the God of creation,
that the God who sent his own son to die,
would ever take us into his arms
after what we have done,
what we have thought,
what we have said,
who we are.
That is the work of Prince of Darkness … to discourage, to cause despair, to kick us to the curb of life.

Romans eight (Romans 8) is the most enlightening, the most encouraging, the most truth you can find about what God really thinks of us. At the end of the chapter, is the grandest of hope, offered to us”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else (NOTHING) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs. 37-39)

Let me give it to you, in the Carole version:

“It doesn’t matter what sin you committed. I love you, even if you have done wrong with your hands, with your ears, with your mouth, with your eyes, with your mind … to yourself, and even to others. I love you. And all you have to do is accept the fact that Jesus paid for it all. And he did so knowing that, even after you accept my love, you will still continue to do wrong. I love you that much. And NOTHING can separate you from me, once you accept my love for you.”

My version may not be a perfect translation, but, believe this:

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God, made possible through Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord.

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