"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:28-29

It is so very important not to take verses out of context in the Bible and claim a promise without meeting the condition. We cannot manipulate the Word of God with half truths and get what we want. Romans 8:28 is a verse we often hear quoted when we encounter difficult circumstances in life. It is with the exclusion of verse 29, so we misinterpret it.

As we look closely at this verse we see it applies only to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose and not their own. Then verse 29 reveals what the good and the purpose means to us in verse 28. It is for us to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, and our Savior, Jesus. If we truly love God and are one of His children, our greatest desire is to please Him, and not ourselves. Conforming to our Savior means not our will be done, but His. His will is for us to be like Jesus,.the first born, among many brethren.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Romans 28 is more often prayed hoping for our will to be done, and to be relieved of trying circumstances in this world. God’s focus is eternity and eternal rewards. Paul tells us in this same chapter in verse 18:

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

It isn’t about our comfort as much as our becoming holy with holy lives. When the tribulation of this world hits my life I draw near to God, and it allows Him to draw near to me. It is during those times I die to my flesh and He enables me to see more of who He is. I experience His love and mercy to a greater depth.He increases and I decrease. It is always worth the fiery trials that expose and burn away the chaff. Anytime I have surrendered my will for His I proclaim with Paul in Philippians 3:8-10:

"I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

As we approach the time of year we celebrate the greatest day in the history of our existence, the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, let us fix our eyes on loving and worshipping Him by allowing ourselves to obey Him. Matthew 16:24 states:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."

Putting this in context, Peter had just taken Jesus aside and rebuked Him concerning the cross he was about to face telling Him God forbid, and this should never happen to Jesus. Jesus’s response to Peter, Matthew 16:23:

But He turned to Peter and said, "Get behind me satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s."

What a perfect example of what this devotion is trying to convey. Let us put aside the temporal for the eternal. God’s ways are so much higher as we know. He is God! What if Peter had been granted his will?

What cross has come your way, and you are trying to deny yourself, that you might follow Him and His ways? I am not saying it will be easy. It isn’t ever easy on our flesh, but as we allow the flesh to be crucified, the Holy Spirit is resurrected inside of us to a new level and we bring life to others. In the words of an old hymn:


In His love.

Springtime and turkey season! These gobblers in my yard are expressing their enthusiasm with their amazing struts and gobbling. I love observing their world from home, remembering when I used to sit out in the woods with calls and decoys, in full turkey attire, calling for hours for this experience!