Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It says we are as sheep to be slaughtered. Sheep are led to the slaughter. If we are led by God and of His Spirit (as it talks about in this same chapter of Romans), then we are not being led to our destruction but to our victory.
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We are saved by grace, not by our own effort. It does not come from ourselves. Our salvation is a gift from God. The word saved in this verse is a Greek word that embraces all of Jesus’ kingdom work: saving, healing, delivering, protecting, making whole. We aren’t required to heal ourselves, to deliver ourselves, to save ourselves. We are required to have faith and allow God to do His job in and through us.
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Gideon said to Him, “O my lord,if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” Judges 6:13-14
This is just an encouragement that this is what it feels like the day before the victory, the day before God moves. Gideon is wondering where God is, what He’s been doing, why all these bad things are happening, where are the miracles? But it only takes a moment for the Lord to speak the word and change everything.
He hasn’t changed while you’ve been waiting on Him, waiting on miracles. His power hasn’t changed, His love for you hasn’t changed. But your life will change once He speaks that word. Don’t tire of waiting in His presence for the “Go,” for Him to announce the time has come.
I am delivered from my sin and from having to be perfect. Jesus is my perfection. He fulfilled God’s law. I can never do anything in and of myself to fulfill it. We will never know all or be all. But Christ can be our all in all.
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I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19 NIV
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20 NASB
Whether by the evil intent of our enemy or that of humans, God’s intentions of good win the day. Joseph went through years of blessed suffering. To have a concern about scorpions and snakes, they have to be there threatening. To experience healing there has to be something that hurts. To experience deliverance there has to be confinement. Jesus promises that we will have trouble. But He declares Himself as the means to which we overcome them all. The command He gives us? Do not fear. Our job? To walk with confidence in our deliverer, our protector.
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The Bible says that our strength will be renewed if we wait on the Lord. It’s supposed to be a good thing to wait, so why is it so hard and why don’t we like waiting? God purposefully chooses to make us wait. We read how during creation God just spoke and the waters, which covered the mountains, just fled away. Noah has to wait on that ark for about a year as the waters slowly, slowly, went down. God could have had that water fleeing; the verse says it “hurried away.” God didn’t have to make Noah wait. Did waiting keep his family briefly from sin? We know that Saul walked into sin because he didn’t wait. Abraham caused all sorts of trouble by not waiting. We know that waiting is for our good. God is always working things for the good of those who love Him and whom He’s called to Him. So hang on. Wait. Trying to solve the problem in your own strength will cause you to grow weary, but waiting on the Lord will do the opposite. It will give you strength.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Stop your mind swirling with thoughts of “what if” and “how about.” Stop and hold fast to the truth that you know. Other possibilities don’t matter in light of the truth.
Don’t let His word be taken from you. Satan steals words and he confuses words.
How can we keep from being afraid? The same reasons we have for rejoicing are the reasons we have to not fear. The Bible tells us that God is love, that He’s a good father, that He’s watching over us, always with us. The Bible also tells us that God has the ability to control all of creation, including Satan. If we can hold onto these truths, then we have a reason to reject fearful thoughts. We can be confident knowing that our good, loving Father is looking out for us, taking care of us and that we are never out of His reach or in any situation where He is unable to save us. We can live without fear because we are loved perfectly.
Rejoice in the Lord always. That’s the command. How do we rejoice when we suffer? There’s always a reason to rejoice, despite any circumstance. The Bible tells us that God is love, that He’s a good father, that He’s watching over us, always with us. The Bible also tells that God has the ability to control all of creation, including Satan. If we can hold onto these truths, then we have a reason to rejoice and to be thankful. We can rejoice knowing that God is using all things, even the horrible, awful things, together for our good; He has our best in mind. If you really believe that God is your perfectly loving and caring Father who has everything under control, then you can be thankful and rejoice even in the darkest of circumstances.
There may be someone in your life right now that you don’t particularly like, but love is a choice. It’s kind. It’s good. It’s generous. It’s patient. Galatians 5:22