Reflection on Romans 8:22-27

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Scripture

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 groans that cannot be expressed in words.

Observation

All creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth. We believers also groan because God has given us a foretaste of the future kingdom. We have a hope for a future and must wait patiently.

The Holy Spirit helps us to pray even when we don’t know what to pray. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in groaning that cannot be expressed in words.

Application

Sometimes it is hard to know how to pray. God wants all people to be saved so that one is easy. But praying for specific issues relating to family, church, relationships, etc can be so much harder. Is what I want the same as what God wants? What is God’s purpose in this situation?

We must be careful of praying the answers we want.

Sometimes we can wait on the Lord and a direction for prayer will emerge. Then we can pray confidently knowing that this is God’s will.

Sometimes we have to just trust the Lord in our praying. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, and the gift of tongues is often the way forward.

When I pray in my prayer language I know that it is the Holy Spirit praying through me. I have nothing to offer but “groans”, but the Holy Spirit intercedes with me to bring about God’s purposes.

Lately I have been praying”I don’t know” a lot. I pray in tongues and trust that somehow God’s purposes will prevail. One day I will see the groaning answered.

Prayer

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the “groanings” of prayer we don’t understand but which you use. Amen.

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Today’s Sermon

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The sermon for February 25th is now available on the New Life web site.

In this sermon, which is based on Romans 4:13-25, I talk about growing in faith.

To listen to the sermon click here, or to download the mp3 click here

Reflection on Romans 4:13-25

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+4.13-25

Scripture

Abraham never doubted or questioned Gods promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God.

Observation

God promised Abraham the world. The promise wasn’t about Abraham obeying a law but because of his faith.

God’s anger burns against law breakers. But if there is no law it can’t be broken. Everything then depends on faith, and His promise comes to us through faith.

Even when God’s promise to Abraham that he would father many nations seemed impossible, Abraham still believed the promise.

The promise of Abraham being made righteous through faith still applies. We are still made acceptable to God through our faith in Jesus’ death.

Application

Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. He clung to that promise even when he was way past the age normally associated with reproduction.

His faith made him strong. He knew that he could trust God because of God’s nature. It is not God’s character to lead us on with false promises. He is faithful and trustworthy.

Abraham had a strong faith. But faith made him strong in character and in resilience. Despite numerous set backs, Abraham knew he had a destiny and a purpose, so he kept moving forwards to that destiny.

Knowing that God has given us a purpose can help keep us going against incredible odds. We might not see the final destination- like Abraham who died long before the promise was fulfilled- but we can know that we have played our part in God’s plan.

Prayer

Lord I thank you that my final destiny is greater than I can imagine right now. Your plans for my life are more fruitful than I can know. Help me to see your purposes in my life and to live up to the high calling you have for me. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 12:9-21

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12.9-21

Scripture

Outdo one another in showing honour.

Observation

This machine-gun list of commands come down to the practicalities of living the christian life each day.

We should hate what is evil and love what is good. We should love other christians and contribute to their needs,

We are to extend that love to those who persecute or curse us. We must bless them and not curse. We must not seek revenge, but leave that to the Lord. If our enemies are hungry we must feed them; if they are thirsty give them something to drink.

Application

We must be people who not only live honourable lives, but also excel in giving honour to one another.

We live in an age where honour is conditional and limited. We honour sports champions as long as they keep winning. We honour political leaders as long as they are on our side.

Many people spend a life-time quietly and humbly serving their community, but are ignored or taken for granted.

Even churches are loathe to honour leaders and servants. Pastors are criticised rather than lifted up. Other churches and denominations easily receive criticism.

This week the city of Houston in the United States is being pummelled by a hurricane and the subsequent flooding. Some people were quick to criticise Joel Osteen for not opening his church building as a refuge. It turns out that they offered their facility to the city as a last resort because it was feared that it could become subject to flooding also. We can be so eager to assume bad motives to other people.

Outdo one another in showing honour.” This must start with me. How can I express honour to the people around me, especially the one I don’t get along with?

Prayer

Lord may I become a person who builds up not criticises others. Show me how to honour my brothers and sisters, even my enemies. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 12:1-8

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12.1-8

Scripture

Don’t copy the behaviours and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Observation

Paul exhorts us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God; the kind that is acceptable to Him. We must allow God to change the way we think, becoming new people in the process.

We should always be humble, honest with ourselves and measuring ourselves by the faith He has given us.

God gives us different gifts (these are often called motivational gifts). Whatever our gifting- prophecy, serving, teaching,encouraging, giving, leadership or kindness- we should do it to honour the Lord.

Application

Many christians fail to grow in the Lord because their ambitions and desires are worldly, rooted in the flesh and in human wisdom. They forsake the most hateful sins easily enough, but they fail to grow in holiness or character.

We can change our outward behaviour without changing our heart, but this does not produce lasting transformation. Often such change becomes legalistic or religious because the focus is on changing behaviour not on changing the thinking.

When we surrender to God everything that we are, He starts to change our thinking. As our thinking changes, we discover that we are no longer conforming to the ways of the world but are being transformed by Him.

The best part is that when God does the changing in us, it is genuine. He changes us from the inside out.

Prayer

Lord I surrender all that I am to you- every thought, desire and ambition. Please bring my will into alignment with yours. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 10:5-15

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+10.5-15

Scripture

If you confess with your lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Observation

The word of God is on our lips and in our hearts, and so anyone who confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes that God raised Him from the dead will be saved.

Our confession with the lips and our heart belief will save us. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Who will hear if there is no preaching? Who will call on His name if they do not know there is a name to be believed? This means that we must go out from the church and preach the message of salvation.

Application

The Good News is remarkably simple. To be saved I must speak out with my lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that He is risen.

We have a Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He must be the one I follow and obey in everything I do.

Jesus’ lordship is not a religious phrase with no meaning. It rests on a historical fact- Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. He was dead and now He is alive.

There is salvation in the name of Jesus.

There is forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

There is healing in the name of Jesus.

There is power in the name of Jesus.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, today I declare you are my Lord. I say this not from empty religion but from the deep conviction of my heart. I thank you for dying for my sin and for rising to eternal life. Amen.