Stranded

stranded

Romans 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

My brain works in mysterious ways sometimes or maybe it is just how the Holy Spirit challenges me to dig a little deeper or think harder about what I read in the Word of God and its application to my life so I apologize if this makes no sense. This morning as I read Romans 8, I have decided that if I was stranded on an island somewhere without any communication, electricity and could only have one chapter of the entire Bible start to finish – Romans 8 would be the one that I wanted the most. There is no need to debate as my mind is made up. When our son was on his second diagnosis, I was really struggling with the relapse. It did not line up with my mentality that this cancer-thing was a “one-and-done” scenario no matter how much I professed “trusting” God. It irritated me almost as much when I prayed and was given this verse to hold on to. Trusting God relies solely on knowing God well enough to completely trust Him.

With this in mind, curiosity surely will lead you to open your Bible and at least scan this chapter if for no other reason than to form a debate. But if you are stranded in a situation, lost in darkness over a diagnosis, deeply depressed by your current position or succumbing to the pressure to throw in the towel and give up again – maybe just maybe this is exactly what you need. When we feel the foundation of our faith is quite small, it may just become a comfort to know that it is exactly where the Lord placed you and you are not failing at all. When God is in complete control, nothing is wasted. God is always in complete control even when we choose not to listen, follow or obey. I am just going to sit back and let it all soak in for a moment. As the Word of God says, “Selah!”

Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 

While with my sister caring for my mother, there were long periods of waiting that allowed for endless conversation and some Dubsmash videos that I would rather NOT discuss. It was an ordained time when the Lord knew we would be together and completely alone and it was perfect. We talked about our relationship and family. We discussed ministry as we are both called to Women’s Ministry. There was even times when we entered in depth spiritual conversations when it was like swimming in a fathomless ocean. One of those led us to the point of discussing that fact that every single person is giving the opportunity to know Christ. Creation points to His Existence if no one else does. Think about that for a moment. It explains the first two verses in Romans 8.

We do not have to have the Bible in its entirety laid before us to know God through Jesus Christ. John 3:18-21 sum up exactly what is required to know God through Jesus. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” Judgment is based on this fact – people rejected the Light of God’s Love – Jesus choosing to remain in sin, evil and darkness forever. Religion has developed a doctrine to lead others to Christ. Church is not a bad thing. Jesus is everything. What if they never pray the sinner’s prayer? However, one day realize that there is a God who loves them and His Son becomes the Light of their life. Walking away from evil to pursue the Light of His Love. What then?

I am messing up some people’s theology right now. Good! It messed up mine forever, too. My pursuit of Jesus Christ is personal. Yours should be, too. Not mandated by man or church, but a love so strong and fierce for God and His Son that nothing will stop us from chasing Him and running from sin. Our life and love for the Lord can be evaluated by one simple verse. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5) I truly believe if churches, congregations and ministries operated on this one simple standard – there would be revival.

Romans 8:15-17 (NLT)  So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Romans 8 “cuts to the chase” as some say. We are no longer slaves. We are the Sons and Daughters of God by adoption filled with His Spirit. Together with Christ we are heirs of His Glory. To share in His Glory, we must also share in His Suffering. Take that “prosperity gospel” being pawned by some pulpits and throw it right out the door with all the other theological nonsense they sell. To share in His Glory will also mean sharing in His Sufferings.

Yet nothing we suffer now can be compared to the Glory of the Lord that is coming. This statement translated for us plain folks is “it will be worth it – it will be worth it all.” Whether everything is fine or all hell is breaking loose in our life – it will be worth every moment of discomfort, pain and sorrow that we face when we see Jesus face-to-face. When we stand for Christ it the face of opposition. Those days that we feel isolated and all alone. The times when we don’t want to push through prayer or press into His Presence and His Spirit won’t let us give up. See it isn’t easy being a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ but it is always worth it.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

So what I don’t have the whole Bible and don’t know every verse, I have Him. Jesus lives inside of me. His Spirit is always with me. His Spirit helps us in our weakness. He prays for us. He reminds us. He helps us to believe when fear and doubt try to creep in. The Father knows our heart so His Spirit intercedes for us as believers in harmony with God’s Will. SO THAT, we know that all things work together for our good…event the worst days, in the midst of epic failure, when we cannot take another step or ran to the wrong refuge. Whatever the case, wherever you are, even in the midst of a bad choice – God is always on our side working for us! He chose me before I even knew that He existed. God created me as a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) It doesn’t really matter how He found me or what kind of mess I made from things – He sees me as He created me not as I have allowed myself to become. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God’s Works are wondrous. (Psalm 139)

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Stuck in a rut today? Surrounded by people yet feeling isolated? Wondering what this whole faith in God thing is all about because your life is no better yet? Thinking about giving up? We can become stranded in hopelessness that sucks us in like quick sand. We walk by faith not by sight. It is completely unnatural on every level. We are called to trust and believe that we cannot see. We are given a set of rules and doctrines that sometimes seem impossible. Romans 8:37 says, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Nothing and nobody can separate us from the Love of God. Somebody needed to hear that today. God loves you. He planned to send His Son to die for me because He knew me before I was born. The Lord knew I would not be perfect so He gave me grace and adopted me. My future is safe and secure in the Lord and nothing else. Nothing can ever separate me from His Love. This makes every challenge worth it. Every time I fall and grab His Grace to get up – worth it. It is all worth it because God loves me and “causes everything to work together for (my) good” because I love God and am called according to His Purpose. The end. No additives or preservatives. Just Jesus. All day every day – Jesus. If I am stranded, I want it to be with Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

 

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