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Scripture Text (NRSV)

Romans 8:26-39

8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

8:27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

8:29 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.

8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

8:31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

8:32 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?

8:33 Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

8:34 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.

8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

8:36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."

8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

8:39 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.




Wow! This is a great collection of memorable verses. But most often they are quoted seperate from one another. You hear the thing about the Spirit interceding in prayer. And on other occasions you hear that all things work together for good, but rarely in conjunction with the predestination thing. And then at other times you hear the "what can seperate" Q&A. But look at all this together. Is the sum greater than the parts? I have a gut feeling it is. I'm going to wrestle with this passage in prayer a while. Contend with me. tom in TN(USA)

I feel we need to keep this first verse in context. Paul has been writing about the constant conflict within us between following the Will of God and our own will, doing what we want instead of what we know God wants us to do, the tension between the spirit and the flesh, and the already and not yet of salvation and being in Christ yet not fully with Christ. We, I would imagine, as a rule don't really know how to handle all of that being spiritual beings enclosed in fleshly bodies - and therefore fleshly temptations - and aren't really sure how to ask God for help because we don't know where to begin - so Paul assures us that the Spirit knows this - and hears those groanings as prayers of that fervently waiting oxymoron for freedom from the bondage to earthly decay even while still within our bodies. The rest of the passage acts as our "assurance" of God's knowing us well enough that we are weak, that we need and call for his help even when we don't know how it is that God will help us.

Seems to be a good fit for a time when the problems of this world seem suddenly even more overwhelming than they had been - and what had been was bad enough. God Bless; Rev. Rick in So.GA.

Tom was a bright, athletic and energenic young man. He was in the Honor Society, played baseball almost like a pro, and was doing well to please his adoptive father who was strict. Not having biological offspring, he wanted to raise his children correctly. One night after Tom had a fight with his girl friend and the relationship looked like it was over, he took out all his frustrations behind the wheel of his car. Fortunately he was stopped by the local sheriff before he hurt himself. But it meant his licence was gone, either by the Motor Vehicle Division or his father. His grades had fallen in the past semester and his ball playing was beginning to suffer. He took the only way out he could see; a rifle to his head! He survived for a few hours in the hospital, then died. I was called to conduct the funeral. I struggled with what to say to this family so stunned by such a tragic death. These words from Romans came to me. I noted that Tom's death was more an act of desperation rather than an act of destruction. The father was inconsolable. This text offered him a Word of hope that NOTHING in all creation can ever separate us (any of us) from the love of God in Christ. It took some time to fully appreciate what Paul had offered for him but it was healing.

There is power in these verses!

A W-G rocky coast Me.

Perhaps it is the power in the verses that makes it difficult to expound upon. I am reading about a shrine in Bosnia that has impacted so many pilgrims. Yet the country remains in conflict. The various groups locked in the past... There is a paragraph in the book that talks about why this powerful place fails at keeping peace in the country. The answer given by a nun, essentially says, in order for the shrine to work, the person must give up everything to God, and do his will. We are starting an intercessory prayer ministry in August, and praying for those who do not come to church. I is a very non intrusive ministry, but prayer is a powerful force. I want this weeks service to be preparation for next week which will be a Wesley covenant service. So I guess, it is our will vs. God's will that will be my theme. Nancy-Wi.

"Nothing can separate us from the love of God." Last week, I lived through a parable of this truth.

My husband and I led our church's youth mission trip this summer. At the end of the trip, we celebrated by going river rafting. Within a few yards of entering the river, the first Class 4 rapids were upon us. Our guide didn't get us to the correct part of the rapids, and we hit a rock head-on. My husband was catapulted into the rapids ahead of us, and I was thrown off the side. The guide pulled me in within 5 seconds, but by that time my husband was a bus-length in front of us.

As he moved further from our raft, my love for him grew more prominent and more prominent. As I saw him being thrown end-over-end on the rocks, I prayed mightily for him, as 100% of his concentration was focused on trying to figure out how to breath and which way was up.

Nothing could separate my husband for my love from him--and his going through hardship made my love even more vibrant. My husband in that river was unable to spend any part of his consciousness on prayer, but I prayed mightily enough for both of us.

What a powerful illustration of God's presence in the midst of the chaos of our own lives.

-Momma Helen