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Friday, February 4, 2011

Mountain scene with Scripture

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

If you are able we encourage you to listen to this anointed song based on our daily text (much of it word for word). It prompted today's message. It will also prepare your heart for the teaching based on this passage.

"Who Shall Separate Us From The Love Of Christ?"

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35, 37-39).

Listening or singing along with Bible verses set to music is a great way to memorize the Word of God. Yesterday, while in route to one of our businesses where we serve as chaplains, we were listening to
our local Christian radio station, WDAC, when a song came on that brought assurance to both of us; one of those powerful songs that you play to the end even though you arrive at your destination before it's finished!

The apostle Paul is expressing his supreme confidence in God's master plan for his own life and for His Kingdom in our daily Scripture portion. Due to it being a part of the Holy Scriptures we can make it our confidence as well!

He begins the section by asking a vitally important question, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

He then lists a number of adverse situations in life that may seem to separate: "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:35).

Now as I read this verse on February 4, 2011 at 56 years of age I've had some heartaches and disappointments in life. Certainly things have not always turned out the way that I had planned or desired so I've known distress at times. However, I have not experienced tribulation, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword anywhere near like Paul or like many others who have lived for Christ in the 2,000 year history of the church.

Paul responds to his own questions with this glorious verse of assurance: "No, in all these things (the adverse conditions described in verse 35) we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

"We are more than conquerors" translates the single Greek word "hupernikomen", which is used only here in the entire NT. This is linguistically known as a "hapax legomenon", a term used for words that occur only once in a body of literature (in this case the New Testament). In fact it's so rare that it's possible that Paul originated the word to express his thought!  I've been accused on more than one occasion (by my wife) of making up words as I preach!

Hupernikomen literally means we are "hyper-overcomers" or "preeminently victorious".  It is actually a combination of two more familiar words; "huper" from whence we get "hyper" and nikao from whence "Nike" gets its name.  I'm most blessed by the rendering in the NASV which states "we overwhelmingly conquer."  Now let that bless your soul today, fellow overcomer! Note that the basis of this overcoming is "through Him who loved us."

The words "I am persuaded" are a great source of strength and assurance for the believer. Other versions use the word "convinced". Living in a state of being persuaded and convinced is an essential part of living the God-ordained life of spiritual assurance and abundance. If we are really convinced of God's love and care we are blessed indeed!

This conviction is an internal, personal appropriation of a constant, unchanging spiritual reality. You see, the reality is that God loves and cares for His own, whether we are persuaded of it or not. The Amplified Version conveys a strong sense of the meaning when it translates: "I am persuaded beyond doubt."

We are dealing with many troubling issues in our day leaving tremendous impact on the personal, nationwide, and worldwide levels. Error is not creeping but charging into the church that our forefathers could not have imagined.  New sources of fear abound. Uncertainty permeates. We shake our heads in wonder as to what this world is coming to?

Therefore we need to be persuaded like Paul, don't we?
"Nothing shall separate us from the love of God." May I suggest you say this verse aloud throughout the day, or perhaps you'll want to put it to a musical tune so that you can joyfully remind yourself.   Perhaps you will choose to personalize it by filling in any adverse circumstances you're presently dealing with that would otherwise lead you to doubt this powerful promise from God's Word.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, I know that doubt and uncertainty imposes fear while faith and assurance develops a calm, trusting spirit.  I do not look to the unstable world for strength or encouragement but I look to Your unchanging Word where You fully assure me that nothing shall separate me from Your love.   It is in Your strength and through Your power that I will remain faithful though tested by adverse circumstances.  These come so that my faith is purified, proven genuine, and becomes sweeter than honey from the honeycomb. May my life bring praise, glory and honor to Jesus my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

For Greek Students: I found this comment so edifying as I studied this text. Hupernikomen is in the present active and the prepositional compound intensifies the verb "we are winning a most glorious victory" (from Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament).

We continue to pray for the conditions in Egypt and especially the church. This note from Mission Network News: Although the protests started out peaceful enough, violence between government and anti-government supporters spread quickly. It comes at a time when Global Advance is preparing for strategic events in the Middle East. Jonathan Shibley was in Egypt last week when the protests started. While the spiral into chaos is unsettling, he says, "I think this is a watershed moment not only for Egypt, but for much of the Arab world. We're going to have to take a little bit of a 'wait and see' approach to what continues to play out. I also believe that it's a ripe time for the Gospel." The physical aspect of the uprising has provided an opportunity. "Some of the things that are happening parallel what's going on in the Spirit, as well. There's restlessness in that entire part of the world. I think, as believers, we need to focus our prayers on the people in the Middle East." No matter what happens, the Great Commission won't change. "Pray for God's will to continue to unfold and then for the strengthening of the believers there."

Snowman 2/3/11
We're seeing a lot of interesting snowmen in the course of our work. Yesterday we passed this sitting snowman who was dressed as a road crew worker in Palmyra, PA.

Our deck bench!
Anyone care to have a seat on our deck bench?  So much for the Webers extending a "warm hand of fellowship" if we invite you to "have a seat" here.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.

"Who Shall Separate Us From The Love Of Christ"  Video  This is the song we heard yesterday on the radio station. This is by a musician named Wayne Tate, though the version we heard was by Calvin Hunt and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

"More Than Enough"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"My Life Is In Your Hands"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  Powerful,
this was filmed in Louisiana State Penitentiary.

"Helpless"  Video  Paul Baloche and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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