Starting July 20, 2016, going on day by day
The Lord recently asked me to start reading Romans 8:35-39, and the chapter as a whole, meditating on it every day until it more fully takes root in my heart. I was specifically drawn to the last verses of the chapter, where we have the most amazing and wonderful promise:
Yet 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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:37-39, NKJV
Excited to share what the Lord was showing me, I started posting Romans 8:37-39 on my Facebook page, making note of what I believe the Lord wanted me to do:
“I plan to post this passage from Romans every day until it really, really sinks in. I will post different versions, some more than once. Getting the truth into my heart is like hammering a nail into concrete. Takes effort! Truly believing that nothing can separate me from the love is God is more than worth all the repetition.” (posted July 20, 2016)
My first post was from the Amplified Version, and I have been posting a new version every day since. At some point, I will run out of versions and will likely cycle through them again. I will do this until the Lord tells me to stop.
After a few days of posting, praying and meditating on this and related passages, I became much more aware of just how important the knowledge of God’s unfailing love has become to His people.
Partly inspired by my posting this passage on Facebook, our pastor preached on Romans 8 Sunday morning, July 24. As he preached, I realized that I needed to post from verse 35 to the end of the chapter, which I began to do that day.
I believe, though I pray that I’m wrong, that we will be entering a period of great trial for the body of Christ. Persecution will increase, as will the level of suffering that we as Christians will have to endure. If we don’t have it firmly established in our hearts that nothing that’s happening, and nothing that can ever happen, can separate us from the love of God which is ours in Jesus Christ, we simply won’t have the foundation within us to endure.
As an American Christian, I have thus far led a materially blessed life. I have never seen one day without good food to eat and a roof over my head. As for my Christian life, I have been largely allowed to worship Him as I please, in whatever church I choose to attend. So far, though there are many signs that this is changing, the cost of following Him has been fairly light. In short, I have had the luxury of not needing to be prepared for anything more costly than occasional social awkwardness.
But the time is coming when, in America, a believer in Jesus Christ will need to face the likelihood of persecution for his faith. It will start small, starting with increased disrespect, ridicule leading to ostracism, loss of opportunities, imprisonment, attempts at deprogramming, torture, and finally death. In the end, many will be called to die for the One who died for them.
The only hope we have to remain faithful to the Lord in times like that is to be completely filled with love for Him, the supernatural love that He alone gives to us by His Spirit, and to be convinced beyond all doubt that nothing can separate us from that love.
Today, I heard the Lord say that to be filled with His love, we need to be totally emptied of ourselves first. He can only fill an empty vessel, a new wine skin, soft, pliable, and fragrant (see note below), able to hold the new wine (Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-39).
None of us have arrived. We all need less of us and more of Him until we are finally able to stand strong, unwavering in the face of what is to come. He will not fail.
“Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being
threatened or even attacked. -As scripture promised:
For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. *These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, *or height or depth,” nor any
created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:35-39, Jerusalem Bible
Note: The Lord specifically mentioned to me the fragrance of new wine skins. Just as new leather has a wonderful aroma, the new wine skins spoken of by Jesus will have the fragrance of the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)