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. (Romans 8:28 , NIV)
“Romans 8:28 is my all time all circumstances all everything verse of choice in good and challenging seasons. I memorized it when I was about 10 years old and I’m 63 years old now. God knows what I’m going through when I’m happy and when I’m sad. He IS going to make things work out for good. I love him and he’s going to work it out. I will never be collateral damage in the war of good and evil, light and dark, earthly and heavenly. I’ll experience loss, which is Satan’s realm. I’ll experience death, which is Satan’s realm. I’ll experience pain, disappointment and heartache, which are Satan’s tools, BUT my God is stronger. My God will comfort me and those around me who suffer Satan’s attacks. Satan and his darkness cannot have me because I have been called according to God’s infinite Grace, and all things will work out for good in me.”
What situations in your life have most caused you to ask whether God cares about the struggles you are going through?
How can you continue to focus on God even in the midst of those times of struggle or hardship?
In what ways have some of those situations turned into positive moments in which you were (later) able to talk about God’s goodness and faithfulness to you, even though it may not have seemed that way at the time?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39, NIV)
This passage was a favorite of many at South Plains.
When you think about your life, what are those things you fear, the things that can totally sidetrack the plans you have and are living out? In what ways are these things out of our control, in spite of our attempts to manage them?
How afraid are you that you may be separated from God, that his love is not enough to take care of you? Why do you think this is a common fear, even among people who are believers?
How do you live your life differently knowing that nothing can separate you from God’s love?
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21–26, NIV)
We often quote Romans 3.23 (“All have sinned…”) but we need to remember the next verse: “And all are justified freely by his grace.”
What are the different ways you can identify that people try to justify themselves, that is, try to determine they are in good standing with God? Why do so many of these ways involve our own doing and our own power?
How does being justified freely by God’s grace through Jesus affect how you approach trying to live for God? In what ways does it make living for him easier?
How do you have faith in Jesus to redeem you, a redemption that comes from no effort of your own?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (Romans 5:1–9, NIV)
We have been justified by faith and the result is we can have peace!
Think about times in your life when you have attempted to live perfect a perfect life, without any mess-ups. How much peace did you feel during these times?
In the midst of trying times, what–or who–gives you hope?
How does it make you feel to know that someone died for you when you were most powerless? What sort of response does this make you want to have?
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, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37–39, NIV)
What things have you being trying to win on your own terms and with your own power? Have you allowed God to fight those battles for you?
What are some things in your life that seem to conquer you more than you conquer them? What are you doing to try overcome those things?
Why do we think that life, death, angels, demons, etc. conquer us versus thinking the other way around?
How does knowing that whatever you can think of that might be stronger or more powerful than you comes nowhere close to the power of God’s love? How can you demonstrate this confidence to someone today?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered 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, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39, NIV)
This may be one of the most cherished questions in all of Scripture: Who can separate us from the love of Christ? No one, of course!
Why do you think so many people have a hard time understand that God loves them, instead thinking God is “out to get them?”
What does it mean to be a conqueror? How does the love of God help us conquer?
In what ways do you assume something or someone can separate you from God’s love? How can you live differently now that you have read this passage?
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12, NIV)
Need a great “To-Do” list for today? Here’s one!
In what ways has the hope you have brought you joy? Why do joyful people make us feel hopeful, like everything is going to be alright?
How do you typically react when things go bad? Are you stressed out and anxious? What can you do to be more patient, even in the midst of problems in your life?
Have you prayed today? If not, why not take a moment to do so now. If so, why not take another moment to do so now?
It is written:
“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” (Romans 14.11, NIV)
“Every knee shall bow before God. That’s powerful!”
As you read this verse, do you assume most people do or do not bow their knee to God, that is, recognize God as the Sovereign Lord? What causes you to think this?
What does it mean for “every” knee to bow before God? What causes people to recognize him as Lord?
In what ways have you recognized God as Lord today?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to text and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12.1-2, NIV)
What do you consider worship? The things you do on a Sunday morning between 9:00 and 12:00? Or is it everything you do throughout every day?
Why is it so easy for us to conform to the pattern of this world? How can we do a better job of NOT conforming?
You are unique and have a special part in the body of Christ! How are you using those gifts and talents that are uniquely yours to build up and bless others?
As you read through Romans 12.9-21, which of those things might you be able to practice better as you work to encourage others?
2 Chronicles 21.1-23.21; Romans 11.13-36; Psalm 22.1-18; Proverbs 20.7
Think about everything you have or own. Have you ever considered why you have those things and the purpose they are to serve as you use them? Paul writes that everything comes from the Lord and intended for his glory. Does this match how you use the things you have? What needs to change for this to be the case?
How would you like to live a life where your obituary read: “No one was sorry that he died?”
In what ways is God both kind and severe?
Have you ever felt like God abandoned you? What caused you to feel this way?
How can you work to walk in integrity?