Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Do All Things Work Together For Good?
By Adrian Rodgers via www.billygraham.org
All things are not good. It would be mockery to say that they are. The death of a child is not good. Cancer is not good, drug addiction is not good, war is not good, blasphemy is not good.
But the Bible says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”(1) In the chemistry of the cross God takes things that, in and of themselves, are bad, and He puts them together, much as a chemist might take chemicals that, in and of themselves, may be deleterious and mixes them to make a medicine that brings healing.
Many of us have some salt with our meals. Table salt is made up of both sodium and chloride. By itself, sodium is a deadly poison, and so is chloride. Put them together, and you have table salt. Salt flavors food, and a certain amount of salt is necessary for health and life. We cannot live without some salt in our systems.
God can take things that are bad and put them in the crucible of His wisdom and love. He works all things together for good, and He gives us the glorious, wonderful promise that He will do so.
We know that we have victory over sin and over Satan, but this verse in Romans teaches us that we also have victory over our circumstances. It says that all things work together for good.
I want to point out five things about this promise in Romans 8:28 so that we can see how God works together to help us rise above our circumstances.
The first thing is the certainty of the promise. Notice how the verse begins: “We know.”(1) This is not conjecture, this is not happenstance, this is not perhaps, this is not maybe; this is ironclad certainty. “We know that all things work together for good”(1)–it’s not a hope, not a vague opinion. Sometimes it may look as if God’s plan ebbs and flows, but in God’s timing His plan will be high tide. We can be certain. We live by His promises.
Completeness The second thing is the completeness of the promise: “We know that all things work together for good.”(1) That’s a big promise, but it’s there, and it’s absolutely certain.
God is a teacher who, by our standards, seems strange. He gives the test first, and then He gives the lesson. We learn through affliction. Think about Joseph in the Bible. Think of all the terrible things that happened to Joseph. He was maligned by his brothers. He was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave; he was lied about and accused of rape. Then he languished in prison.
But Joseph, as he looked back, said something that is much like Romans 8:28. Talking to his brothers, Joseph said, “As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”(2)
The third thing is the cause of the promise: “We know that all things work together for good.”(1) But don’t get the idea that things inherently, in and of themselves, automatically work for good. Greek scholars tell us that literally the verse says, “We know that God works all things together for good.”
In his Letter to the Ephesians Paul clarifies this point: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”(3) If there were not a God in glory, there would not be the promise of Romans 8:28 in the Bible.
God is not dead. He is alive and well. He’s not sick. He’s not worn out. He’s not even old. It is God who made this promise. He is the cause of it.
Condition The fourth thing is the condition of the promise. It’s not axiomatic, it’s not automatic. The promise has a condition. What is the condition? “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”(1) If you don’t love God, you can’t claim this promise. The condition is that we must be lovers of God. Haters of God cannot claim this promise.
Some people may be able to sing better than we can sing. Others may be able to teach better than we can teach, preach better than we can preach, lead better than we can lead, give more than we can give. But can we love God? That above all other things pleases and honors God. The first and great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”(4)
Consequences The fifth thing is the purpose of the promise. It is about those who are called according to His purpose. What is His purpose? In Romans 8:28-29 we read, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”(5)
That’s the key. What is the good that all things are working together for? To make us like Jesus. To be conformed to the image of His Son. There is no higher good than to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many times this promise has been trivialized. For example, someone may be driving down the road and a tire will blow out. The person may say, “Oh, well, the Bible says that ‘all things work together for good.'(1) Maybe there’s a sale on tires.” That isn’t what this verse means. The good is not to make us necessarily healthy or happy but to make us holy, to make us like Jesus. If the goal of our lives is not to be like Jesus, that goal is too small. Our goal must be to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.
We may go through many dangers, toils and snares, but one day we will be like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever the circumstances that come to us, we can rely on God’s promise in Romans 8:28. No matter our circumstances, no one can take this verse out of the
Bible–and may Satan never take it out of your heart..
Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) was the longtime pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., and a beloved Bible teacher. His sermons continue to be broadcast internationally via television, radio, website and through social media.
REFLECT & RESPOND
For Kids: (led by adults or teens)
The cooking of popcorn demonstrates the concept that when life HEATS UP, God is up to something GOOD.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Before mentioning the popcorn - discuss Romans 8:28 – giving examples of bad things working out to something good. Use examples of your own life or that of other friends or family members, or better yet, have the class participate.
• Put the bag of popcorn in the microwave and start the 2 minute or so process of popping the corn.
POPCORN is considered a classic snack. Just hearing it POP in the microwave brings on anticipation of something good – an excellent example from God’s Word.
• Show a handful of UNPOPPED POPCORN. Did you know that popcorn makes the perfect tool to teach us a lesson from the Bible? Would any of you like to chew on a handful of POPCORN before its popped? Of course not!
• But we know if we “put the heat” to the POPCORN we can be sure we will have something delicious in no time! We are a lot like this tiny little piece of dried corn.
• GOD knows that inside of each of us there is the potential to become something much better.
• But to reach that BETTER potential there is a process to bring it about.
God works on us much like POPCORN. HE will “turn up the heat” in our lives….Situations POP up with which we are uncomfortable – and unfortunately, things just POP up – one thing after another. POP- POP- POP!
NOTE: This is a good object lesson for adults and children. Your group might enjoy listening for the words, POP, POPPED, POPCORN and clapping their hands one time for each time they hear the word. (And of course, eating the Popcorn!) You could also ask them to take an accentuated big breath – and let out a soft sigh – whenever they hear the word AROMA.
Excerpt from: firstname.lastname@example.org by Emmalea Butler
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
by Taraea L. Griffith
Father I know that in all things you works for the good of me because I love you and I have been called according to your purpose. What was intended to harm me you intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done saving many lives. In so doing I show hospitality to men/women so that I may work for the truth. Lord you know the plans you have for me plans to give me hope and a future. I am confident and I avail myself you your will and way for the work of the ministry so that your people may be built up in Christ Jesus.
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
By: Ashley Russell
Being able to let go of control over your life is one of the hardest things to do. I'm such a control freak when it comes to all aspect of my life. Over the past few years, God has really started to show me that I need to turn things over to Him. I need to trust that He is in control and He has a plan that is much better than mine.
A little over three years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had started to have some weird symptoms about a year and a half before the diagnosis. Not really know what was going on, I pushed them to the back of my brain kept going. Finally one day I felt like I needed to research my symptoms and see what was going on. That was obviously God telling me it was time to figure it out. After a small amount of reading, I came to the conclusion I most likely has MS. Off to the doctor I went and with a few tests to confirm, I indeed had MS.
For those of you that are not familiar with this disease, here is a brief synopsis. Multiple Sclerosis affects different parts of your brain in the form of a lesion. Your brain controls your entire body, from walking to waving all the way down to blinking or sleeping. So let's say you get a lesion, on a certain part of your brain that controls your left hand. You might not be able to grip anything, or type anything, or write anything. Now imagine having those little lesions all over your brain essentially affecting different parts of your body. Things can quickly become harder than you ever imagined.
I never questioned God on why I have MS or why me, why now... blah blah blah. I more had the mindset of "ok, if I do have this disease, how is this supposed to bring glory to God?"
The past 3 years have been a roller coaster of obstacles. After the initial diagnosis, I kicked into the "nothing is going to get me down" syndrome. Pushing harder with my wedding planning business and acting like nothing was changing when really it was. I believe God was and is using the diagnosis to teach me something. Maybe teach me to slow down and take more time with Him and my family.
I know that for whatever reason, MS is in my life and is going to be used for something greater than I can imagine. God has bigger plans for me and is bigger than MS so I'm open to letting Him do his thing in and through me. I was called by Him for a greater purpose and I know that all things work together for the greater good!
Ashley Russell lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina with her husband, Jon, two boys, Austin & Caden, and dog, Bentley. She is a creative entrepreneur and serves as the ministry administrator of Why Not Charleston.