It didn’t take too long to realize that my van had a fuel gauge issue, as the van continued to show I had a full tank of gas after driving it for a week. I had a car like that before, and knew the quick remedy was to use the faithful trip monitor for mileage and get gas frequently. It was working well for me. I was told it would cost a lot of money to fix the gauge and I certainly didn’t want to make that kind of investment.
Recently, my van has been involved in numerous vehicular accidents. People cannot seem to get enough of hitting the van. At times, I’ll be in the van. At times, it’s park and people ram into it like playing bumper cars. Nonetheless, the accident that began the domino occurrences of accidents did something wild. It fixed my gas gauge. The accident that caused whiplash and days of pain fixed the fuel gauge. What a blessing in the middle of chaos!
Today, look at the blessings around you. Perhaps you are going through a great trial. Maybe you feel like you have been struggling for a long time. But through it all, there are blessings upon blessings. Acknowledge them. Thank the Lord! He is good. Always! And He uses everything—the good and the bad – for His good purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NIV]
God is good. Always. The Psalmist declares this and it is true. God is good, “and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon (Him)” (Psalm 86:5 NLT). “The LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NLT).
Not only is God good, but He does only good. You may hear someone say otherwise or you may think otherwise at times. Understand God is good and He cannot do anything that is not good. He is good. Goodness comes from Him. He only can do good. When something not good is happening, He may have allowed it but He did not cause it.
God uses everything for His good purpose. Remember Romans 8:28: “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” (NLT). If you are going through something right now, trust that He will use it for His good purpose. He is faithful. You are not alone.
“You are good and do only good; teach me Your decrees.” – Psalm 119:68 [NLT]
What controls you? That’s a good question and one that needs to be asked. Some will say that nothing controls them. They control themselves. But if that is the case, there is something within the person that is controlling them. Each of us are controlled.
In Romans 8, we read about those who are controlled by a sinful nature and those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Here we are given the two possibilities. If you are not controlled by the Holy Spirit, then you are controlled by your sinful nature. Therefore, there is such a struggle with life. If you are not being controlled by the Holy Spirit, your sinful nature controls you and this leads to death.
Today, consider what controls you. Are you controlled by your sinful nature or by the Holy Spirit? If you are controlled by the Spirit, this will lead to life and peace. If you allow the Spirit to guide you and to move freely within you, this will result in a life and peace that does not change with circumstances. This is the life only God can provide, the peace only God can give. If this is not where you are at in life, you are not Spirit-controlled.
“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. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:5-6 [NLT]
After the twelve spies surveyed the land, only two came back with a good report. Ten men came back to share their fear of the strong people of the land. When the people were speaking negatively about the situation, Caleb boldly stepped forward. The Bible says that he “silenced the people before Moses.” He exclaimed, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).
Caleb trusted the One behind the promise. He trusted God. Ten of the spies couldn’t look past the problems they saw with the land. They couldn’t imagine that God would see them through, that God would deliver on His promise. They were stopped in their tracks, stopped by mere men.
God says that Caleb had “a different attitude than the others have.” He also was called loyal. His loyalty didn’t change with circumstances. He was loyal. Some of us have an attitude problem today. We have the attitude of the ten, instead of the attitude of Caleb; we have an attitude of fear and distrust, rather than an attitude of trust and confidence. The Bible speaks of this hope—this confidence—we should have as believers. We should be confidence for judgment day (1 John 4:17-18). We should have confidence for prayer (1 John 5:14). We should be confident His plan is perfect and He desires what is good for His children (Romans 8:28). We should be confident that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). May the Lord be your confidence (see Proverbs 3:26, Job 4:6).
“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]
“And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:10 [NLT]
Aaron had this sacred chestpiece that he had to have over his heart when he went into the Temple. This chestpiece was to remind him that he represented the people before the Lord. It was a sacred chestpiece. This was only one of many symbolic items we read about that we don’t follow today.
We no longer have a need to have someone wear a sacred chestpiece and go before the Lord to represent us. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil was torn. We no longer need a representative before the Lord. He fulfilled the Law. He is the Representative. He sits at the right hand of God. He intercedes on our behalf. The Spirit of God is poured out upon us so that even our groans can be understood.
Though nothing separates us from the love of God, we can allow our heart to keep us distanced (Romans 8:38-39). We can stifle the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We can neglect the blessing we have to come before the Lord. We can cling to our filthy rags, and not enjoy the opportunity we have to dwell in His presence. Today, consider the last time you approached the throne of God. Embrace this awesome opportunity.
“In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.” – Exodus 28:29 [NLT]
A tortoise stands up to allow lizards and birds to get the insects that are in the hard-to-reach areas. One would think that a tortoise would not want to surround himself with lizards and birds, that they are very different from the slow-paced life of the tortoise. While this action of the tortoise benefits the tortoise, who likely gets irritated and annoyed by the insects, it also benefits the lizards and birds, who get a nice meal. What a great way for these creatures to live together in harmony!
In life, we are supposed to live in harmony with each other too. This can seem like a hard task as we sometimes do not understand certain people or enjoy their company. We question why someone comes along our path. We see some people near us as a nuisance. There are people we do not see as helpful. Some people are draining. Let’s be honest. It’s true. You will not like everyone. You will not get along with everyone. You may not want to lift yourself up for a lizard to help you out, because you cannot get past the annoyance of the lizard.
When you face these challenges, understand that the other person is created in the image of God. Just like you, the person is a broken image-bearer. It may be for your good that you have encountered the person. Remember, God uses all things to accomplish His great purpose. God is continuing to grow you into who you were meant to be in life. Today, choose to rise up like the tortoise and elevate those around you. As you look out for the best interest of others, as you invest in others and do whatever you can do to speak life to them, God will use what you pour out for His glory and He will continue to mold you into His image and teach you how to love others as He loves.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” – Romans 12:16 [ESV]
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 [ESV]
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 [NASB]
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 [ESV]
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 [NIV]
The pollen levels have been out of control the past few days. My normal allergy medicine has not been enough to combat the problem. Then the officials called for a Code Orange warning, which signifies poor air quality that will thereby impact those who are “sensitive.” This means people who are losing their allergy battle with pollen, people who have asthma, etc., should proceed with caution.
As I was walking the dogs, I was having intense breathing issues from the pollen. My great hope was the medicine that I would take after I finished walking the dogs. As I continued to drag my feet a mile, pollen from a tree blew right into my eye. Pollen 2, Tania 0. I spent the rest of the walk trying to get my watery eye to expel the bits of pollen, only able to walk with one eye open.
Life usually is full of struggle after struggle, whether small or large. It seems when we think we cannot handle anymore, something else is piled on top to cause us more of a burden. Sometimes it appears as if the world is against us. Truth be told, we aren’t meant to carry all this burden alone. Remember, we are not in this alone. Also, the world is against us. If we are living for Jesus, if we are not of this world, then we are standing against the world and the world will always be against us. Thankfully we know this world is temporary. God’s Word tells us that heaven and earth have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. The world may be against you – but God is always for you!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:13 [ESV]
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31 [ESV]
Trying to figure out who you are is one of the hardest things to do in life. I remember when I was younger, it was a big question that would be bounced around in my head. Many people would ask what I had planned for my future. I remember the “are you going to college” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” type questions. Now my kids hear those same questions.
The truth is, we live in a world that tries to tell us who we are, and so often we listen. We listen when the world tells us what we cannot do. We listen when the world tells us what we are “supposed” to do in the eyes of the world. We listen to what the world says about how would should think or what we should wear. We constantly are listening.
All of the listening we do, we forget to listen to the One Who is Truth. We miss out on truly grasping who we are—a child of the King. As we are busy trying to fulfill the titles of mother/father, sister/brother, friend, co-worker, parent, teacher, doctor, cashier, drama queen, youngest child, cat lady, etc., we look in all the wrong areas to figure out who we are and what makes us and moves us and completes us. We don’t understand our place in the world or what defines us because we aren’t looking in the right place.
May today be a reminder for you—for who you truly are in Christ Jesus. As a believer in Jesus Christ, many things are understood about you. You are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a child of God (John 1:12). You are a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8). You cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). You have access to God (Ephesians 2:18). You are united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). My friends, THIS is who you are—now live it out!
- 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
- He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
- He predestined us for adoption.
- Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
- 11 – Obtained an inheritance
- This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
- 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee
Adopted Children of God:
- Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
- Identical legal rights as blood child
- All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
- God will care for us
- Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
- Complete authority over child
- Legal role as caregiver
- Relationships will change
- Our relationship with God changes
- God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
- God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
- God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
- Our relationship with others changes
- Our relationship with God changes
1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]
Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]
Bible Study Questions:
- Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
- Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
- In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
- God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?