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Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

It’s extremely difficult to find meaning in our pain.  When you’re right in the middle of the death of a loved one or a devastating illness or betrayal or disappointment, where do you get comfort that there is some reason for this experience?  Jesus did not hesitate to tell us on numerous occasions that we would suffer in this life, but we have been given perfect truth in God’s Word, a lifeline we must hang onto in the midst of the storms of our experiences.  God is sovereign.  He is intimately in control.  And He is supremely concerned for His children.  Therefore, Paul tells us that for those of us who are His, for those who have been called “according to his purpose,” or according to His will, God is actively working all events in our lives into one beautiful tapestry for our good.  He is weaving all of them together, the good and the bad, not necessarily so that we get what we think we want, but so that we have only what is ultimately in our best interests and good for our lives from our Heavenly Father.  How great is His love!  How awesome are His ways!  How intimate is His love!

Study/Meditation:  What might be the difference between what you consider “good” for you and what God would consider “good” for you?  Why is it so important to keep in mind that there is often a big difference between the two?

*Father, thank You for loving me so completely that You care for every detail of my life.  Thank You for working all events in my life together for my good.  Help me to lean on that understanding in the middle of life’s storms.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:27 “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

When your heart is breaking and you cannot even seem to breathe, even prayer can appear an insurmountable task.  Words don’t come and emotions battle for domination, and even when words do tumble out, you know they’re not the right words.  Where is our comfort in our Father’s faithfulness to prayer then?  Paul tells us right here in verse 27.  The Holy Spirit perfectly expresses our heart’s desires and the Father perfectly understands them, even when we cannot.  Furthermore, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf to the Father, who perfectly understands, according to the Father’s will.  That is simply astounding!  When we are at the end of our ropes—spiritually, physically, emotionally—and we not only do not know what to pray but we pray according to our will, the Holy Spirit, who is God, beseeches the Father on our behalf correctly, and our Lord understands perfectly according to His perfect will.  We are never left nor are we ever forsaken.

Study/Meditation:  Spend some time today thanking God for His complete and perfect love.

*Father, You are glorious beyond compare and beyond my words.  You are loving and faithful and mighty to save.  I love You.  I adore You.  You are my Abba Father.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:26b “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Often is seems too difficult to articulate our needs, especially when we are trying to articulate them to our Father.  Believers know that God’s will is ultimate and that often we simply do not know what that will is.  Paul’s further encouragement for us in the rest of verse 26 is that in addition to the Holy Spirit helping us in our weakness, He is also interceding for us when we just have no words, when the breath has been taken from us by life, when our hearts are seemingly void of emotion.  Truly, we have two intercessors on our behalf all of the time—Jesus who intercedes for us at the right hand of the throne of God and the Holy Spirit who does so from the recesses of our own souls.  We are covered from both ends of the spiritual spectrum.  The good news is that we are not alone and we are not expected to understand.  We need only lean on the strength and prayers of our Intercessors, knowing that even though we’re lost in the torrents of a life that can take our words in prayer, our Intercessors pray on our behalf.

Study/Meditation:  Read Jesus’ example for prayer to His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13.  What does our Savior’s prayer show us that helps us know how to pray when we don’t have words?

*Father, thank You for the interceding groans of the Holy Spirit.  I do not know the heights and depths of Your mind and Your ways, so I am exceedingly grateful for the Spirit’s aid as I look to You.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:26a “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

The world loves strength.  It cheers for the winning team, adores the best player, admires the most successful businessman, longs for the wealthiest business.  The world lifts up the weak when they exhibit strength, but certainly not when they are weak.  The world wants what is strong.  The problem is that we are most often one of the weak.  We struggle and fail and wonder at our trials and failures.  Paul has comforted us in the previous verses by telling us that God is with us when we struggle, and now he tells us that He also helps us in our weakness.  And notice that Paul does not say “the Spirit removes us from our weakness.” He says “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  Indeed, God told Paul that His power was perfected in Paul’s weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)  Our Father doesn’t leave us as the world would when we are weak.  Instead, He is there, helping us while we are weak and in need, giving us comfort and guidance when we need it most.

Study/Meditation:  Read Paul’s plea to God in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  What was Paul’s resulting attitude after he heard from God regarding his weakness?  What does this teach you?

*Father, help me to remember that You are magnified in my weaknesses and that You will help me in them.  Thank You for lifting me up through all of life’s trials.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:24-25 “For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

It is extremely difficult sometimes in this life to imagine what God is doing.  What we see is certainly not what we were promised, but God is the One who promised it, so we live in hope for it.  However, that does not take away the difficulty in imagining what it will be.  That is, by very definition, hope.  Hope is that thing we hang onto when we can’t see or imagine how it will ever be.  But we’ve been promised that it will be, so we look to it eagerly, anticipating its culmination.  God has promised us an inheritance in glory, one that will make even the worst things here seem like nothing in comparison to its brilliance.  Even though we cannot imagine it at times while living in this time and in this place, we trust in our Father who is faithful and true.  He has promised us eternity, and our salvation is in that hope.

Study/Meditation:  How does the hope of our future glory help you face today?  How can you explain it so that it can give hope to another?

*Father, I trust You, my loving Abba Father, and I believe in Your promises.  Thank You for giving me an inheritance in glory that I can look to as I live in hope.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 8:18-29

Romans 8:23 “And not only creation, but we ourselves groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Paul uses two phrases in this verse that when translated appropriately mean “hope”—“groan inwardly” and “wait eagerly.”  The reason why we long and groan from deep in our souls is that we know this is not our home.  Our souls long for our inheritance; they groan in anticipation for the coming culmination of all God’s promises.  In addition, our souls are eagerly waiting on that day, looking toward it as a child looks toward Christmas or her birthday.  We are unsettled here, and that is as it should be.  God has for us, His adopted sons and daughters, a future so glorious that our very beings gravitate toward it, and in that we take refuge from this world and this day.

Study/Meditation:  Read Ephesians 2:11-22.  What more does Paul say in this letter to Ephesus about our adoption into the family of God?

*Father, I do long for that day when I will see You face to face, receiving my glorified body and living in eternity with You.  Help me while I am here to focus on that coming promise.  Amen.