Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 6.19.22

By June 19, 2022Daily Bread

Good morning!

I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.

Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:18-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in[o] hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes[p] for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[q] with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,[r] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit[s] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[t]

28 We know that all things work together for good[u] for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.[v] 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.[w] 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Some books are known by their first lines.  The Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

A much more recent example, published in 1981, is “Life is difficult.”  That is the first line of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled.  It’s a simple line, but it resonated with people.  Peck challenged his readers to accept that simple truth and asserted that acceptance of that truth can change our lives for the better.

That statement, those three words, that little sentence was undoubtedly true in the Apostle Paul’s day.  It was true every time he sat down and dictated one of his letters or occasionally when he took the pen with his own hand.  “Life is difficult.”

Time and again, the Apostle Paul even lists reasons why “life is difficult” and gives examples of the difficulties of his own life and the difficulties in the lives of those to whom he wrote.

The letter to the Romans is no exception.  Paul has several lists of difficulties in his letter to the Romans, but that’s not Paul’s purpose for writing.  Paul’s message is not to tell people “life is difficult.”  Everybody knows that.  He writes to give people a perspective on life that could be called the Christian perspective.  He describes how life can be difficult in detail—what he calls “the sufferings of this present time.”  He lists hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, and death.  But he doesn’t leave it at that.  He gives us a perspective on those very difficult realities:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. (vs. 18)

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  (vs. 31)

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vss. 35, 37-39)

In today’s reading, Paul says that “we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”

Have you had that experience of having no idea what to pray or how to pray but can only sigh?  Those sighs that are too deep for words are enough.

 

Hymn: “Make Me a Captive, Lord”

by George Matheson (1890)

Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free.
Force me to render up my sword
And I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand;
Imprison me within thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

My heart is weak and poor
Until it master find;
It has no spring of action sure,
It varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
Till thou hast wrought its chain;
Enslave it with thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.

My pow’r is faint and low
Till I have learned to serve;
It lacks the needed fire to glow,
It lacks the breeze to nerve.
It cannot drive the world
Until itself be driv’n;
Its flag can only be unfurled
When thou shalt breathe from heav’n.

My will is not my own
Till thou hast made it thine;
If it would reach a monarch’s throne,
It must its crown resign.
It only stands unbent
Amid the clashing strife
When on thy bosom it has leant,
And found in thee its life.

Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture.  I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

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