For Those Who LOVE God

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I normally choose to use the NKJV of the Bible for our weekly devotions, but this week I am choosing to use the NIV. The reasons behind this are stated later in this devotion.

NIV:

28 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.

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History Behind This Verse

Romans 8:28 was written by Paul to the church of Rome.  Paul was an apostle who spent the second half of his life traveling and spreading the good news of Jesus. He also wrote several letters to many of the early churches during this time.  The letters he wrote are called epistles.  There are 13 of Paul's epistles found in the New Testament. Paul's letters were written for multiple reasons.  Some were written for encouragement.  At this time Christians were often tortured and killed for their faith.  Paul understood the fear and difficulties that came to many believers during these early years.  And some of these epistles were written for redirection. Now days  many religious denominations have "boards" of people or "governing manuscripts" available to direct and guide their churches.  In the early days these "boards" did not exist. The early churches did not have manuals to follow or church heads to guide them in their daily decision making, so God called certain apostles to act as church governors. Paul was one of these appointed apostles.

When this verse was written, the church of Rome was just being established.  Members of this early church were being tortured and killed for their faith, Paul wanted to reassure these believers of God's LOVE for them! Verse 28 is part of this reassurance. This verse is still very much relevant to us today.  It is easy to question and doubt God's love when trouble befalls us, but we must remain strong in our faith.  Just as God only caused GOOD in the lives of these Christians of Rome, He ONLY causes GOOD in our "current day"  lives as well.  

We know that in all things that God works are for the good of those who love him.

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Why I chose the NIV translation for this week's devotion

Great thoughts to ponder on this verse by :

http://lhim.org/blog/2011/10/09/a-complex-verse-romans-828/

Let's look at this verse using two different translations:

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

NIV:

28 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.

According to Brian Keeting:

Translation 1: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.

Translation 2: In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.

“Translation 1″ appears to state the following about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then every single thing that happens to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, no matter what events happen to that person, all of those events are actually good things for him. This is because God, Himself, is explicitly controlling every single event that happens to that person.

“Translation 2″, on the other hand, has this to say about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then everything that God does to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, all of the events that God causes to happen to that person are for his own good. However, this does not mean that every single event that happens to that person is necessarily good – because many of those events are not caused by God at all.

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My Thoughts:

We live in a fallen world.  Bad things happen on a daily basis, but God does not cause these things to happen. God is not a dictator.  He rules out of love not out of ego-seeking power. God LOVES us. When God does step in to help, He only causes GOOD!!!!

Our Heavenly Father has given each person free will to make their own choices.  Sometimes our own poor choices cause bad things to happen to us and sometimes other people's poor choices cause us to suffer, but these events are caused by us (humans), not by God.  Our God is not going to cause evil to come upon anyone.  He will sometimes allow it, but He will not cause it!

Our LOVING Lord will often step in to help us if we ask, but we are not His puppets.  Our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to surround and fill us with His extreme LOVE, but He is not power hungry. He is not sitting on His Heavenly throne and controlling every event here on earth.

I know that sometimes even when we ask, it seems that God chooses to not step in at all. Sometimes a tragedy may lie ahead in our future and when we ask our Heavenly Father to use His power and wisdom to stop the tragedy, He does not. This is extremely difficult for our limited minds to understand, but one day we will understand all.  For now we must simply keep turning to HIM!

On a happy note:

 Even when terrible things take place, God CAN make something GOOD come out of those tragedies!

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Key Words

Those

Who

Love

Him

Those-  used to indicate a specific group of people or things

Love-

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Him-  God

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Connection To Us

Notice that the "good" that God causes to happen is directed to those individuals who LOVE HIM:

God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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What does it mean to love God?  How do you know if you love God?

These are questions that I think many of us wonder, but we sometimes feel silly to ask.

Let's work on answering these questions right now...............................

First of all, God created us to LOVE.

We came into this world READY TO LOVE.

The problem comes when we confuse what real love is.

Love is MORE than a feeling.

 Love is selfless action

Love is commitment

Love involves GIVING your TIME

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  1. Think about that amazing moment when you first fell in love with your spouse:
  •  All of a sudden, your needs took second place to theirs.
  • You wanted to speak and behave in a way that would bring them happiness.
  • Your thoughts drifted towards them all throughout the day and night.
  • You longed to spend as much time as possible with them.

When you LOVE God you will experience seasons like this!

     2. Next, think about a time when you were angry or upset with your spouse.

  • Maybe they did not behave the way you wanted them to.
  • It could have been that you thought that they are neglecting some of your needs.
  • This may have caused you to not FEEL loving towards them.
  • You knew that LOVE is a decision based on promises that were made in your wedding vows, so you stayed committed to the relationship.
  • You did not abandon your spouse or turn from them.
  • Instead, you stayed steadfast and worked to rebuild the feelings of LOVE.
  • Over time those feelings did return- sometimes EVEN stronger than before!

When you LOVE God you will also have seasons like this!!!!

The COMMON thread found in both examples involves our "intention."  REAL love, whether explored during a good season or bad season, always involves commitment. Time spent with the person you love should not be dependent on your feelings at the moment.  We must always focus our thoughts and energy on growing the relationship stronger.  The other person's needs should ALWAYS come  before ours!

Our LOVE for God should be the same..............

Our prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me learn to love you in a deeper, more steadfast way.  Your love for me is so perfect and mature, whereas my love for you is so selfish and childlike. Please help me GROW! Sometimes I base my relationship with you on the wrong things.  Many times I only spend time with you when I FEEL like it.  Please forgive me for this! Please help me learn how to become more unfailing and faithful in our relationship.  Thank you for loving me even during my selfishness!