By Rev Bill Woods
Romans 8:26-29 esp. 28
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 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.
29 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;
A man hiking a mountain road saw an Indian lying in the road — ear pressed to the ground.
– The Indian was talking.
He mumbled: “Truck, Chevy truck, Chevy pick-up truck, large tires, man driving, German Shepherd in front seat, loaded with firewood, California license plate — UBH123.
– The hiker was astounded: “That’s unbelievable! You know all that just by listening to the ground?”
– The Indian said, “No! Truck ran over me 30 minutes ago.”
Life’s like that.
– We don’t always see what’s coming — when it does, it runs over us.
Worse, no matter how you try, you can’t keep from having a bad hair day.
– You can plan, prepare, do all you know to avoid those days, but they come anyway.
A train was going through a town — it wasn’t scheduled to stop.
– A very short passenger wanted off — He’d have to pay $100 to taxi back.
The man next to him said, “The train slows down to pick up a mailbag. When it slows I’ll hold you out the window. I’ll drop you and you start running so you won’t fall on your face — simply run to a stop.”
The train slowed — the man dropped his friend out the window.
– The little man was running along the platform waving, thanks for his help.
A man in the next car saw the little man running and waving.
– He reached out — grabbed him, pulled him through the window, and said, “This is your lucky day, you almost missed the train!”
1. Life’s filled with bad hair days, even bad hair months, or bad hair years.
Remember Romans 8:28:
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.
– God’s given us 3 truths for a bad hair day.
– They’re promise, providence, and purpose.
– 3 words are important to understand.
1st is “We.”
Paul said, “And WE know that God causes all things work together for good.”
– Who is “WE?”
– “We’re the ones who ‘love God’ and are ‘called.’”
2 kinds of people — those who love God, and those who don’t.
– Not everyone claiming to love God, loves God. — John 14:21 — “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
But, “We” are the ones who are “called.”
– God calls those who love Him to be part of His family — those who surrender to Jesus become children of God.
God’s Promises are for His children.
– Not everybody can say, “Don’t worry, everything will work out.”
– Everything doesn’t work out for everybody.
– Everything only works out for God’s children.
Some think, “I’m not a child of God, and everything’s working out for me.”
– If you die, and spend eternity without God, things didn’t work out for you.
2nd word is, “Know.”
– Paul said, “and we know that all things work together for good.”
– There are a lot of things about God, the Bible and life, we don’t know.
Romans 8:26 — In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
We don’t always know how to pray.
– What Jesus looks like.
– When He’s coming back.
– What’s going to happen in the next 5 minutes.
It’s dishonest to claim you don’t know what you do know.
– It’s foolish to claim you do know what you don’t know.
– No one should hesitate claiming to know what they do know — this you can know.
You might not like or understand what God’s doing.
– But you can KNOW God’s making things work together for your good.
3rd word “ALL.” — We know that ALL things work together for good.”
If Paul had said, “few,” or “some,” or “most” we’d not argue.
– He said, “ALL things work together for good……..”
He didn’t say, God works all things out for our good most of the time, nor most things out for good all of the time.
– He said, “God works all things out together for our good ALL of the time.”
It doesn’t say “we see all things work together for good.”
– You can know — whether you see it or not!
– Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean God can’t see it.
How could the plane crash on May 18, killing 10 pastors and wives in Cuba work out for good?
– Jim Elliot and 4 other missionaries martyred in 1956…………..
– Never doubt in the dark what God’s told you in the light.
2. REMEMBER GOD’S PROVIDENCE OVER YOU.
– Behind every promise is the providence of God.
– The oldest manuscripts say: “God works all things together for good.”
— IT’S TRUE!
Do you understand what providence means?
– It’s from 2 words: pro meaning “before,” and video meaning “to see.”
– Providence means, “To see beforehand and to provide for what’s seen.”
“Provide” is in “providence.”
– The providence of God means God sees everything before it happens, and provides for it and sees that it fits His Plan for your life.
There are no accidents in a Christian’s life — just appointments?
– Disappointments are really “His appointments.”
– Often what we think is a rock of disappointment, turns to be a boulder of blessing.
A man was shipwrecked on an uninhabited island.
– He gathered his few belongings that washed ashore and built a hut to shelter himself and his things.
For weeks all he had was hot sun, cold rain, and dark nights.
– He prayed a ship would come — nothing came.
– One evening he went looking for food, and saw smoke rising from his hut.
– He ran back — his hut was engulfed in flames!
His campfire had set the hut on fire and burned everything he had.
– He went to sleep crying to God, “Why has this happened to me? Why’d you let my hut burn? – Why’d you cause me to lose everything?”
Next morning he woke to find a ship anchored off the island, the rescue he’d prayed for was there.
– He heard footsteps and turned — men from that ship had come to rescue him.
He asked, “How’d you find me?”
– “We were passing by, saw your signal fire and came to rescue you.”
God can take a fire and turn it into a light that delivers you from darkness.
– He can take a flood and turn it to a river of blessing.
The Greek for “work together” gives the English word “synergy.”
– Synergy is what happens when individual parts of something come together into a whole, making a greater and a better effect than each individual part could’ve on its own.
Think about it: Every moment of every day is one individual piece of the puzzle of God’s Plan for your life.
– God can reach into a bag of circumstances any given day, pull out any piece, fit it perfectly
in the puzzle of His Plan for you.
That doesn’t mean everything that happens to us is good.
Everything isn’t good, but everything will ultimately work together for your good.
I’ve watched Marty bake cakes.
– Eat any of those individual ingredients and they’re not too tasty.
– Do you enjoy eating flour?
– Would you like a meal of baking powder?
– How about a cup of Crisco?
– Or a glass of raw eggs?
Those things by themselves taste awful and are harmful.
She takes those ingredients, mixes them together, puts them in the oven and out comes a cake.
– It isn’t what goes into the bowl that matters; it’s what comes out of the oven that counts.
You won’t always enjoy the ingredients God puts into your life.
– But when He’s finished baking it, you’ll have “Romans 8:28 cake,” — the taste will be unbelievable!
Every day we eat 2 deadly poisons — sodium and chloride.
– Either taken alone can kill you — together they form sodium chloride — salt!
– Either one without the other can poison you — both together can bless you.
If we take 2 things that are bad and make something good, surely God can take everything that’s bad and make it into good.
3. Remember God’s PURPOSE. — God’s purpose for you is “good.”
That doesn’t mean things will turn out like you think they should — certain things that are bad at the time really are good.
– Lyle fell and sprained his ankle at Pastor’s Retreat. It was painful and curtailed some of his activities he wanted to do.
– When he went to the doctor he found his blood pressure was so high that he was about to have a stroke.
– What seemed bad at the time turned out to be good because it probably saved his life.
Normally, thanking God for a sprained ankle or a flat tire seems crazy, but we give thanks “in all things.”
– Good doesn’t necessarily mean health — not all Christians are healthy.
– It doesn’t necessarily mean wealth — not all Christians are wealthy.
– God’s purpose for you isn’t to be healthy, happy, rich or famous.
His purpose is found in Romans 8:29 — 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;
– Paul said, we’ve been “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
– The word, “predestined,” scares a lot of Christians. We were all chosen (predestined) to go to Heaven (John 3:16), but we have the power of choice to choose back…………….
– God’s purpose is that you be like Jesus.
The best thing that can happen isn’t to be a millionaire, or be famous, to live in a mansion, or drive a Mercedes.
– The best thing that can happen is to us is to become like Jesus.
Only God knows what’s good for you.
– What’s good isn’t necessarily what you think is best.
– God’s “good” always is better than your “best.”
In 1971, Ravi Zacharias, ministered in Vietnam.
– His interpreter was Hein Pham, a young Christian who was a translator with the American Military and with missionaries.
Zacharias left Vietnam — within 4 years Vietnam fell and Zacharias didn’t hear about Hein Pham’s fate.
– 17 years later in 1988, Hein Pham called Ravi Zacharias to say he was in the US.
– The story can only be explained by the promise, providence, and purpose of God.
After Vietnam fell to the Communists, Hein was arrested for aiding the American cause.
– He was in and out of prison for several years.
During one long jail term, the sole purpose was to turn him against Democratic ideals and his Christian faith.
– He couldn’t read anything in English, only Communist propaganda in French or Vietnamese.
– Every day he was forced to read Marx, Engels, and other Communist philosophers.
He began to buckle under the pressure.
– “Maybe,” he thought, “I’ve been lied to — maybe God doesn’t exist. Maybe God is a farce.”
He decided he’d never again pray or think of his Christian faith.
– Next day he was assigned to clean the latrines in the prison.
– No one wanted that job — distressed, he began cleaning toilets.
As he cleaned a tin can filled to overflowing with toilet paper, he saw something in English printed on a piece of paper.
– He washed it off and slipped it into his pocket.
– That night he pulled out a flashlight and shined it on the paper.
– He read at the top corner, “Romans chapter 8.”
– Trembling, he read — Romans 8:28
Hein began to weep. He knew his Bible.
– There wasn’t a more relevant passage of conviction, encouragement and strength for
someone in his position.
– He cried for God’s forgiveness saying he’d never again turn his back on Christ.
Hein asked the Commander if he could clean the latrine again.
– An unusual request, but they let him do it — every day he cleaned the latrines.
Some official was using the Bible as toilet paper.
– Every day Hein found a Scripture, cleaned it, and read it in his devotions.
The day finally came for his release.
– He began making plans to escape from the country.
After several unsuccessful attempts he began building a boat in secret.
– 53 people planned to escape with him.
Everything was fine until 4 Viet Cong knocked on Hein’s door.
– When he opened it, they said they’d heard he was trying to escape. “Is it true?”
– Hein denied it, and made up a story about what he was doing.
They turned and left — Hein was relieved, but disappointed in himself.
He said, “Here I go again, Lord, trying to manipulate my own destiny, rather than letting You work all things out together for my good.”
He made a promise he hoped God wouldn’t make him keep — if the Viet Cong came back, he’d tell the truth.
– Hours before they were to leave, there was another knock.
– He opened the door and found the same 4 Viet Cong.
They said, “We have our sources, we know you’re trying to escape. Is it true?”
– He said, “Yes, I’m with 53 others. Are you going to imprison me?”
They said, “No, we want to go with you!”
– In an incredible escape plan, all 58 found themselves on the high seas engulfed by a violent storm.
Hein cried to God, “Did You bring us here to die?”
– Then he said, “Brother Ravi, those 4 Viet Cong said, ‘didn’t you know we were sailors?’”
– He said, “If it hadn’t been for their sailing ability we’d never have made it.”
When Peter Marshall was Chaplain of the U. S. Senate, he prayed some of the greatest prayers recorded.
– On June 6, 1947, he prayed before the United States Senate:
Oh God, our Heavenly Father, restore our faith in the ultimate triumph of Thy plan for the world Thou hast made. In spite of present difficulties, reassure us that Thou art still in control. When we become frustrated and give up, remind us that Thou art holding things together waiting, and working, and watching. When we make mistakes, help us to remember that Thou dost not give up on us. Forbid it, Lord that we should give up on Thee, and forget that all things work together for them that love Thee. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
David MacKenzie said: To act out the principle of turning prayers over to God, we took a paper bag, wrote “God” on it, and taped it up high on the back of our kitchen door. As I prayed about matters such as my career, my role as a father, my abilities to be a good husband, I would write down each concern on a piece of paper. Then those pieces of paper would go in the bag. The rule was that if you start worrying about a matter of prayer that you’ve turned over to God, you have to climb up on a chair and fish it out of the bag. I don’t want to admit how much time I spent sifting through those scraps of paper.
I read how you can tell when it’s going to be a rotten day:
You wake up face down on the pavement.
You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
You see a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office.
Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
You wake up and your braces are locked together.
You call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
Your income tax check bounces.
You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
Your wife says, “Good morning, Sam”, and your name is George.
We can joke about bad days, but when I’m having a bad day I want to rely on the fact that Jesus is there to help me through it.
And that He promises it will work out for my good.
He’s promised the same thing to you.
– Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?
IF NOT, WHY NOT? ACCEPT HIM NOW!
28 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.