God’s Overruling Providence, Romans 8:28-30

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These are some of my favorite verses. I love that God is at work in every circumstance, and that nothing is wasted with Him.

I’m reminded of when my mother-in-law keenly observed—while laughing and pointing to the black, mushy banana on top of my freezer—“some of us look like this, but we’re pretty sweet on the inside.” Yeah, I thought, this also applies to ugly trials and circumstances. God takes those ugly moments and turns them into something sweet; something only He can do.

There’s a catch, however, to God’s promise of working all things together: “For those who love God, and have been called according to his purpose” (vs. 28).

God’s Redemptive Purpose (Romans 8:30)

Paul uses verse 30 to bridge eternity past with his grand summary of God’s redemptive purpose. Shepherd’s Notes defines the following:

  • Predestination: God’s grace at work before the foundation of the world
  • Calling: God’s grace confronting us
  • Justification: God’s grace making us right with Himself in the midst of history
  • Glorification: God’s grace in the consummation of this age
So What?
  • Believers can be assured that God is for us. Everything that happens to us is in His sovereign hand.
  • Although we can’t control our circumstances, or others, God is able to take what happens to us and use it for our future good.
  • God’s ultimate goal is not to make us comfortable, but conformable. That is, to grow us into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2). This is when we discover freedom and fulfillment in the true person God created us to be.

Works God Requires

School is out and for the summer. My kids are electrified.

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Wish I felt the same. Actually, I am excited to go biking and camping with Eric and the kids, and visit relatives. With baseball season extending through June, then swim lessons and basketball camp, summer will come and go all too soon. I began planning my next posts, afraid my writing will become jumbled with my kids being home. (My desk is the kitchen table. Sigh.) So please be patient if I become more scattered—makes for a good excuse anyway! 🙂

Since I haven’t written much about “Service,” I thought I would explore there. And I am, but not sharing what I envisioned in terms of hands-on ministry ideas and examples, at least not yet. The Lord keeps reminding me of the following passage:

 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”  – John 6:28-29

In this passage, pisteuō is the Greek word for believe. It means not just to credit as real: “Even the demons believe (in one God)—and shudder,” James 2:19. But this term also means to trust; be persuaded of; place confidence in. It implies reliance upon.

God’s satisfaction with us is based on our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, not on the works we do.

Yes, “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26), but our service, obedience, and following God are not substitutions for salvation or earning God’s favor. Rather, our service to God verifies our faith in Christ.

My next few posts will center on God’s saving faith through Jesus, the eternal God.

I have been blessed and challenged in sharing God’s truths here, as well as encouraged by reading several others’ posts. THANK YOU to everyone who has encouraged me in this pursuit. The Lord laid this blogging thing on my heart when my husband was sick in the hospital last winter. After some prayer, He made it clear what I should write—which I’m thankful. (Trust me, you don’t want to read about my daily tasks or what we ate for dinner.) 🙂 Anyway, I enjoy digging into God’s Word. I love how the Holy Spirit speaks personally to the sincere seeker.

Is there a topic you are interested in? What are your summer plans? Anyone planning a vacation? Camping? New job? New hobby? Old hobby? Any prayer requests? I would love to hear from you!

Press On

I wonder when Jesus first realized He was God’s Son, and His purpose for living on earth. Growing up under the care of a carpenter, he likely hammered hundreds of nails. Did He ever cringe―knowing His earthly fate would end with sharp spikes piercing His own hands and feet?

Luke 2:40-52 gives an account of Jesus at the age of twelve. Jesus―strong and full of God’s wisdom and grace―remained behind in Jerusalem when his parents began journeying home from their yearly Passover Festival. Mary and Joseph were concerned. Where is Jesus?

After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.”   – (vs. 46-47)

Joseph and Mary:  Relief … astonishment … parental anger

Jesus:  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (vs. 49) “Or be about my Father’s business,” (NIV Bible’s footnote)

Joseph and Mary:  Fear … misunderstanding

Was this Jesus’ first experience of His identity and mission being misunderstood? It wouldn’t be His last. The gospels―Matthew, Mark, Luke and John―detail Jesus’ suffering. His blood brothers ridiculed Him. Many disciples turned away. Even those in His inner circle misunderstood many of His teachings, and then scattered upon Jesus’ arrest. His home town shunned Him. The Pharisees bombarded Him with false accusations…

But Jesus pressed on.

In ministry, Jesus didn’t have home comforts, but instead dwelt among throngs of people―many pursuing Him with selfish motives.

But He persevered.

Satan―knowing Jesus’ true identity and mission from the get-go―assaulted Him with temptations, seeking to steal Jesus’ worship, kingdom and glory.

But Jesus overcame (Matthew 4).

So what prompted Jesus’ strong resolve amid such opposition? He prayed often, plugging into His Father’s power source. Also, Jesus declared:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”  – John 4:34

God’s grace to us led Christ to His death. Jesus―fully God and fully man―did not come to gain political power or status, but to suffer and die so we could have eternal life (Hebrews 2:9-10).

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Our sinless Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:18). He is the answer to all our dilemmas and temptations. Through Christ, we too can press on (Philippians 4:13).

Me, A Saint?

When I think of “saints,” the following thoughts surface: 1) the song, When the Saints Go Marching In; 2) Saint Patrick’s Day; 3) Mother Teresa; 4) martyrs who have died for their faith, (and last, but not least); 5) I know I’m saved and am trying to become more Christ-like, but I am not a saint.

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I admit, the fact that God calls His children “saints” causes me to squirm. I’m well aware of my shortcomings. Maybe that’s why God prods me to explore this topic more in depth.

“Saints” appear 95 times in the Bible. The Greek word for saints is hagios, which signifies being separated from sin and consecrated to God. It is used of people and things concerning their devotion to God―divine demands upon the conduct of believers who are called hagioi, “saints,” “sanctified,” or “holy” ones.

This sainthood is not by achievement or attainment, but is rather a state into which God in grace calls people (2 Timothy 1:9); yet believers are called to confess sin, become cleansed, and forsake sin. We are admonished to live a holy life so we might experience fellowship with our holy God (1 Peter 1:15; 2 Peter 3:11).

When a person is spiritually reborn into God’s family he/she has the greatest experience of love and the greatest inheritance. Those who become Christians are purposed to be His holy children―saints―that are set apart for His service.

God views us as righteous only through our union and identification with His Son, Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Thankfully, holiness is God’s master intrinsic work … phew!

Jesus is the fulfillment and culmination of God’s revelation through the centuries. When we know Him, we have all we need to be saved from our sin and to have a perfect relationship with God (Hebrews 1:1-2). If we are in Christ, God looks upon us as saints … I know, mind boggling, but exciting just the same! So, the question arises, are we saints in Christ? Or, are we trying to be saints by our own efforts? When I’ve strived apart from Christ, I’ve always wound up frustrated. How about you?

Below is Chris Tomlin’s song, Jesus Messiah. The corresponding video is graphic, but a good reminder of the extent Jesus suffered that we might have life.

God Bless,

K. D.

*This article is also posted in the Gospel Blog by FEBC at http://bit.ly/19BNQF0

Who Am I?

What was I writing? … oh yeah, forgetfulness.

The other night I raked through my bathroom drawer looking for my headband, (to keep my hair back when washing my face.) Where in the world is it? Then I glanced in the mirror. Oh brother, when did I slip that on? I really don’t have memory loss―or do I? I admit, however, to occasional absentmindedness.

Ah, forgetfulness…

Remember the movie, Home Alone?

c56a17f1fd3a81af4cfb8077a6d1ea6dThankfully, I haven’t forgotten my kids on a family vacation. However, I can relate to frenzied Mom moments. Busyness, multitasking, and/or juggling hats only intensifies the craziness. That’s when I ask … who am I?

I know better than to let my feelings dictate my identity. For they come and go like the winter fog. I don’t want to settle for people’s opinions that change like the wind. And I refuse to listen to Satan’s accusations.

So, who am I in Christ?

In Christ …

I am chosen (Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9):

  • Hand-picked by God
  • Adopted as His child
  • Called and purposed for salvation, even though I don’t deserve it

I am called to a holy life (2 Timothy 1:9):

  • Because of God’s purpose and grace before the world began

God’s call on the believer’s life results in abundant blessing. I’m all for God’s blessings, aren’t you? Here are some more benefits for the believer in Christ:

  • I am blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).
  • I am holy, blameless, and covered in God’s love (Eph. 1:4).
  • I am forgiven (Eph. 1:7).560ebc9fada38635237e35db3f9b9761
  • I am marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).
  • I have been raised up to sit with Christ in glory (Eph. 2:6).
  • I am God’s work of art (Eph. 2:10) … wow!

Paul prayed that God would enlighten the eyes of (our) hearts so (we) may know the hope to which He has called (us), the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.”     -Ephesians 1:18

If you―like me―forget who you are, look in the mirror and remember WHOSE YOU ARE. Here’s another great song by Casting Crowns, Who Am I? You can view it at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7gfTYyLEHg.

Remember–you are blessed,

K. D.