TOO DEEP FOR WORDS

Rom.8:26 – And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.

One of the great mysteries of God is prayer. The omnipotent and omniscient God hears and answers our prayers. There are two main ingredients of prayer that actually come from God and not from us. The first is His word Jesus, said it like this, “But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done”. The word of God is the very foundation of our prayers. In today’s verse we see God’s second great ingredient for prayer, the Holy Spirit. If God’s word is the understanding of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is the unveiling of His affections. These two ingredients, the Word and the Spirit make for a very effective prayer. Here is how the Puritan John Cotton explained the work of the Spirit in prayer.

“The Spirit of Grace in the heart is greater than the world; nothing can do what the Spirit of Grace can do. It teaches us to cry with sighs and unutterable groans. A soul cannot tell God how much it grieves in such a case as this, because the principle of it is the Spirit of grace. We are shallow and can soon run our eyes and hearts dry for any grief we take up ourselves. But where the Spirit of grace works, the grief that it puts forth cannot be expressed. As it comes from a deeper fountain, the eternal love of Christ, so it has a deeper work. It searches the deep things of God. It is a profound spirit, and so it works a profound work.”

So have you been overcome with emotion recently? Many have in these unprecedented waters we have been asked to navigate. Maybe those emotions could be described as affections. Even better, maybe they are the affections of the Holy Spirit. What should be our response? Give words, unspeakable words to those affections. Those are the prayers that change the world.

WAITING FOR LIFE

Rom.8:19 – The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!

Paul has been teaching the amazing message of salvation for almost eight chapters. He has just finished a section on sonship. No wonder he is excited about the coming kingdom. It is literally breaking in on us everyday awakening a hunger for the kingdom of God. Paul is describing a yearning in creation itself for the reign of Christ on earth. For those of us who have tasted the power of the world to come we must admit, we too are standing on tiptoes and stretching our necks peering into the coming kingdom. The stuff that we face in this life begins to fade into the background of our lives as we anticipate what is next. The good things that we relish have lost their attraction, the regrets from our past have been washed away by His love, the suffering and injustice of this world fades into the background as we sense the advance of the glorious coming kingdom of God. Here is how Barclay describes this verse.

“In Romans 8:19 he uses a wonderful word for eager expectation. It is apokaradokia and it describes the attitude of a man who scans the horizon with head thrust forward, eagerly searching the distance for the first signs of the dawn break of glory. To Paul life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a throbbing, vivid expectation. The Christian is involved in the human situation. Within he must battle with his own evil human nature; without he must live in a world of death and decay. Nonetheless, the Christian does not live only in the world; he also lives in Christ. He does not see only the world; he looks beyond it to God. He does not see only the consequences of man’s sin; he sees the power of God’s mercy and love. Therefore, the keynote of the Christian life is always hope and never despair. The Christian waits, not for death, but for life.”

I guess the question we must ask is this, what exactly are we waiting for? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop, your ship to come in, or are your sights fixed on Christ and His coming new world? Renewal of the Holy Spirit can wash away the fear of future tragedy, the regrets of past mistakes and sin, and plant the joyful expectancy of the new world in our hearts. All I can say is it time to get up on our tiptoes too.

WAITING FOR THE NEW WORLD

Rom.8:20 – For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin.

There are critical seasons in this world that awakens us to how close we are to eternity breaking in. Times like 1973 when war for Jerusalem broke out, or 911 when the terrorists bombed the Twin Towers, and even Katrina. Those seasons caused me to stare straight into the eyes of eternity and conclude, there is not much time. We live in one of those moments right now. We are on the downside of a three month (so far) pandemic and basically a world wide quarantine. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, a police officer kills an African American while all of us look on resulting in protests that gave way to rioting, looting, and vandalism. Our nation is killing itself before our eyes. My conclusion, there is not much time. This fallen world is about to give way to a brand new world. Here are comments from Barclay about the end of this age.

“The dream of the renovated world was dear to the Jews. Paul knew that, and here he, as it were, endows creation with consciousness. He thinks of nature longing for the day when sin’s dominion would be broken, death and decay would be gone, and God’s glory would come. With a touch of imaginative insight, he says that the state of nature was even worse than the state of men. Man had sinned deliberately; but it was involuntarily that nature was subjected. Unwittingly she was involved in the consequences of the sin of man. “Cursed is the ground because of you,” God said to Adam after his sin (Genesis 3:17). So here, with a poet’s eye, Paul sees nature waiting for liberation from the death and decay that man’s sin had brought into the world.”

I would’ve be surprised if nature gets involved next. I heard of rumblings yesterday of a 5.5 earthquake in Southern California and a tropical storm is making noise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe we are supposed to open our eyes and take a good look at what s happening. Creation is groaning, crying out in anticipation for what’s next in the Lord’s prophetic time clock. Soon there will be the unveiling of the Lord’s sons and daughters, that’s really what all the commotion is all about.

PRAYERS OF LOVE

Rom.8:34,35 – Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph?

One of the most encouraging and shocking revelations in the Bible for me is seen in this passage. Jesus Himself is praying for me. Recently I was at an outreach in the French Quarter with our worship team. One of the songs they began to sing was ‘JESUS LOVES ME’. It seems that the simplicity and the power of this song connected with people more than anything else we did. As I watched a mom with her children on the outskirts listening to the music she began to wipe tears from her eyes. Obviously the words of the song penetrated her heart and began to minister personally to her. When we see that Jesus loves us personally suddenly everything changes. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this verse.

“Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, so does Jesus Christ. Two divine intercessors are praying for you each day. Two-thirds of the Trinity are actively engaged in intercession for us. This is typified by the incident of Moses interceding on the mountain for Israel’s victory with one hand held high by Aaron (the high priest, a type of Jesus, our High Priest) and Hur (or “light,” a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who prays with divine illumination for our good).”

What are the implications of Jesus love for us? Ultimately it brings us to the revelation that nothing can defeat or overcome us. God’s love keeps us and leads us in triumph in every arena of our lives. Here is another statement from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“Clearly implied in the text with the Greek word hupernikao. The love of God gives us “a glorious hyper-victory,” more than can be described or contained in one word. God’s love and grace has made us hyper-conquerors, empowered to be unrivaled, more than a match for any foe!”

So no matter what you are facing God’s love is more than you need. If He is for you and is praying for you everything is going to turn out okay.

PRAYING WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY

Ro.8:26 – And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.

Prayer is a mysterious proposition. If God is sovereign and all knowing why should I pray? Actually it is an invitation. He doesn’t really need us but chooses to work through us. Even our prayers are dependent on Him and could actually be called God breathed. This verse says I don’t how to pray or what to ask for. So what do I do ? I pray by and in the Spirit. He prays for me and through me exactly according to God’s purposes and plans. Here is how the Passion Notes describe this supernatural prayer.

“The Greek word hupererentugkhano is best translated “super [or hyper]-intercede for us.” We can only imagine how many blessings have poured into our lives because of the hyper-intercession of the Holy Spirit for us!”

The Holy Spirit takes over using our voices to call in the plans of God. I may not know how to pray but He surely does. Here is the crazy part, He bypasses our brains and prays in inexpressible groanings the intercessions of the Spirit. Here is a quote from the Expositor’s Commentary about this passage.

“Verse 27 is needed to clarify something referred to in v.26, i.e., the inexpressible groanings. How can such prayer, if it be called prayer at all, be answered? Are not such prayers unintelligible? Not for God! He is no stranger to the intent of the Spirit. He knows what the inexpressible meaning is, because the petitions that the Spirit voices are strictly in accord with the will of God.”

Just think about what this is saying, the Lord humbles Himself to become intimately involved in my little world actually praying prayers I would never pray to fulfill the will of God in my life. To me this is way too good to be true. This unlimited, all knowing, all powerful God is working in my life orchestrating my prayers in order to cause all things to work together for my good. So what will I do? Pray in the Spirit and let God take over my world.

LIONS, TIGERS, AND GIRAFFES

Ro.8:20,21 – For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children.

My wife Parris and I recently went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about going to zoos. My feelings about zoos got more complicated a number of years ago when my family was able to go to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya while we were on a missions trip to Tanzania and Uganda. To see the African animals in their natural habitat kind of ruined going to zoos. The animals in the wild were alive and excited about life. When I went to zoos after that Africa trip it was never the same. The animals at the zoo seemed to be depressed and aware of their slavery, it just wasn’t the same.

That’s why my recent zoo excursion was so differently exciting. I knew something was up when we went to the lion exhibit. This lion, his name is Arnold, was very active wandering all over his enclosed area eyeing every person that came by. His eyes were intense and exciting, not like the sleepy, depressed lion I was accustomed to. It was as if Arnold was expecting his circumstances to change at any moment. He exhibited a wonderful display of anticipation.

Next we saw the giraffes. There were three males in the exhibit acting in very aggressive ways. They were slamming each other with their horns, swinging their necks at a high velocity. So much for the lazy animals at the zoo, something was up with these animals. Next we were at the elderly elephant area. Two females were entertaining us by climbing in and out of the water, spraying water in the dirt to make mud. Then they would spray themselves with mud. They were enjoying their daily mud bath. That’s when one of these girls let out a tremendous trumpet blast with her trunk. The animals seemed to be talking to us, or maybe the unseen One was speaking through His creation.

Then there was the tiger. He was going from roaring to swimming to attacking his barrel as if it was a prey of some sort. Finally we saw the jaguar, you know the one who made the news not long ago with his late night escapade and rampage as he killed multiple animals in other enclosures. He was ramped up, pacing, growling, and roaring. The animals were all speaking in concert.

What were they saying? Better yet, what is the Lord of creation saying? If you were paying attention you saw it in today’s verse. Creation itself is groaning in prophetic declaration about the coming kingdom and the releasing of the sons and daughters of God from the corruption of the fallen world. If the animals sense something then what about us?

GOD’S NEW THING

Rom. 8:18,19 – TPT – I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!

The Old Testament Hebrew prophet Isaiah had an interesting theme that weaved all throughout his book. He saw creation restrained but existing in a state of anticipation. Isaiah also spoke in great detail of the birth and death of the Savior. Even though Isaiah lived about seven hundred years before Christ appeared, he lived in a state of expectancy. He saw the appearance of the Messiah as imminent and His appearance marking the beginning of God’s new day. In today’s passage the Apostle Paul takes up Isaiah’s theme. From Paul’s perspective the Messiah has appeared and the glorious day of the Lord is upon us. Paul acknowledged the suffering and the day to day struggle we experience was part of creation’s anticipation. He said it was like the suffering of a pregnant woman anticipating the birth of her child. Glory is about to break in on the world, it has already broken in to the lives of God’s sons and daughters. Here are some thoughts from the Passion Bible on today’s verses.

“Interestingly, the Greek word used for “unveiling” (apokalypsis) is the same word for the full title of the last book of the Bible, “The Revelation [Unveiling] of Jesus Christ.” The created universe is but the backdrop for the dramatic appearing of God’s sons and daughters unveiled with the glory of Jesus Christ upon them. The verb tense in the Greek text is clear that this “unveiling” is imminent, soon to happen, and destined to take place. Christ’s glory will come to us, enter us, fill us, envelop us, and then be revealed through us as partakers of the glory. Although God will not share his glory with any other, we are no longer “another,” for we are one with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.”

The great culmination of everything that the Bible points to is breaking in upon us. Don’t be surprised at the struggle and adversity you face living out the Christian life. It is all part of the struggle. We are all groaning in anticipation of the great appearing of our Lord. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

EXPECTING GOD’S NEW DAY

Rom.8:26-28 – And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny. So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.

I put a lengthy passage from Romans 8 for today’s devotion, please take time to read it and ponder. There is power and revelation for those who hunger. This passage speaks of the groan of creation that lives in the heart of every born again child of God. The Holy Spirit who has come to dwell in us prays God’s powerful prayers within in us. He is praying for the fulfillment of redemption, the manifestation of the Bride of Christ. What this passage reminds me of is the personal nature of God’s plan. He has chosen me as a vessel to pray through for His kingdom plan. That’s not all, I am included in His plan. I see through a glass darkly and am often not sure how to ray. These groanings of the Spirit is actually the Lord calling for His kingdom through me and in me. Here are some observations from the Passion Notes on today’s passage.

“We find three groanings in this chapter. Creation groans for the glorious freedom of God’s children (v. 22), we groan to experience the fullness of our status as God’s children (v. 23), and the Holy Spirit groans for our complete destiny to be fulfilled (here).”

So I say let the groaning begin. Our prayer language is obviously part of this groaning. Pray in the Spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to take you to deeper places as you prayer in your heavenly language. As we yield we join in to this heavenly anticipation. The struggles in life won’t all go away, they just won’t seem like such a big deal as God’s kingdom breaks in on us.

“Burn me beautiful”

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS

“The Kingdom of the Heavens is like treasure buried in the open country, which a man finds, but buries again, and, in his joy about it, goes and sells all he has and buys that piece of ground.” Matt. 13:44

Jesus spoke an amazing parable about how a man sells all he has because he has found the treasure of treasure. He is speaking of the kingdom of God. Have you too sold out to buy that one field? Life changes when Christ walks into the room. Now we leave family parties, rearrange our weekends for church, and say no to late night office parties. To most of us all the above was never really a sacrifice in light of the love, life, peace that we obtained through the love of God. But there is always a deeper sacrifice somewhere along the line.

Edwards speaks of a true strength that overtakes a Christian, “The strength of the good soldier of Jesus Christ appears in nothing more than in steadfastly maintaining the holy calm, meekness, sweetness, and benevolence of his mind, amidst all the storms, injuries, strange behavior, and surprising acts and events of this evil and unreasonable world.”

When we meet Christ, he burns us beautiful. Along the pilgrim way there will be difficulties, tests, setbacks and disappointments. Christ warned us of these things and told us to fear not. Edwards writes of this sorrow as beauty when he says, “True virtue never appears so lovely as when it is most oppressed; and the divine excellency of real Christianity is never exhibited with such advantage as when under the greatest trials; then it is that true faith appears much more precious than gold, and upon this account is “found to praise and honour and glory.”

Rom. 8:24 says, “We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” Each step of our journey we are becoming beautified as we are engaged in our joyful anticipation of our union with him. Again Edwards says, “And as grace increases, the field opens more and more to a distant view, until the soul is swallowed up with the vastness of the object, and the person is astonished to think how much it becomes him to love this God and this glorious Redeemer that has so loved man, and how little he does love.”

I’m pretty sure you will have no regrets following the steps of the Master picking up our cross and being made beautiful adorning the robes of righteousness. After all does not our hearts burn within?

HEART SEARCHER

ROM.8:26,27 – And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny.

This passage of scripture from Romans is one of the most powerful looks into the blessing of our heavenly language. It shows us several results of our praying in tongues. The first is supernatural help by the Spirit interceding for us. Here is a glimpse into the word intercession from the Passion Notes.

“The Greek word hupererentugkhano is best translated “super [or hyper]-intercede for us.” We can only imagine how many blessings have poured into our lives because of the hyper-intercession of the Holy Spirit for us!”

Amazing. As we pray in tongues the Lord is actually releasing His prayers in us and for us. This brings immediate supernatural help.

The next benefit is connected to the word groaning. Again, the Lord is interceding for us using our own vocal cords. He is praying in groans for God’s perfect plan in our lives. This is a comment on this from the Passion Notes.

“We find three groanings in this chapter. Creation groans for the glorious freedom of God’s children, we groan to experience the fullness of our status as God’s children, and the Holy Spirit groans for our complete destiny to be fulfilled (here).”

Finally, the Holy Spirit uses this intimate language of the Spirit to search our hearts. As we yield to the Lord consistently praying in the Holy Spirit, our will becomes entangled with His. His purposes and plans began to be infused in us as we become more and more conformed to Him by the Spirit. Here, again, some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“Or “God, the heart-searcher.” God searches our hearts not just to uncover what is wrong, but to fulfill the true desire of our hearts to be fully his. Grace triumphs over judgment.”

So what shall we do? Pray in the Spirit and allow Christ to be formed in you.