Thursday, June 30, 2016

Singing in Bed

Here we go......another article on the subject of suffering and the child of God.  How many have we already read?  How many more can we plan on hearing?  I am going to back away with my thoughts on suffering and focus on the things God has to say about it.  Read from Psalm 149:

For the Lord takes delight in his people;    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
    and sing for joy on their beds.
May the praise of God be in their mouths
    and a double-edged sword in their hands.

The word "humble"  in the 2nd line of scripture is better translated "afflicted" in other versions.  The picture here is one of love from God, and actual delight for his people.  He longs to crown the afflicted with victory. But not many afflicted people feel victorious..  Reading in context from the above scripture, the psalm is about God being praised and taking delight that even the humble and afflicted can celebrate a life of victory. 

I especially like verse 5 where God's faithful express joy for the honor of being God's people and they sing and rejoice from their beds.  Again, here are those of God's people who are afflicted.  And again, for those who suffer affliction are not generally the ones so ready to rejoice.

The picture we have of those people in the latter part of verse 5 is its direction to people who are afflicted, yet still singing for joy from the bed of affliction.  I admire this picture of folks with some sickness or abnormality still in love with their Lord.  And the praise continues to be sent forth to God from their sick beds.

Now, get this picture of verse 6. The praise of God shall be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands. Remember, these are people afflicted with some physical malady, and yet God is crowning them with victory.  Rather than retreating into a wimpy, do-nothing-but-feel-sorry-for-yourself attitude, God wants to crown you with victory!

We easily harbor a "can't do" attitude which evolves from our history of affliction, while God continues to show us how useful we can be when we are equipped with the praise of God in our mouths and the double-edged sword (the Word of God) in our hands.  God wants you to know that victory is yours.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No Longer the Same

It was a routine day at the "Big House."  In one of the units, the huge central area was surrounded by rows and rows of cells.  The tiny cell units provided the housing for the inmates, but on schedule, the cell doors would open and they had access to the central area. During this time they could play cards or dominoes with others. Some counted this as special time because they could read or watch TV.

Someone entering this area for the first time would be moved by the massiveness of the structure. The space was open and those who called this place home were allowed to experience the "freedom" of moving around in their assigned unit. 

On this day, some noise was coming from three stories up......the third level which contained the cells for their housing, but today the noise was like a panic.  Something was happening and it drew attention from the guards and prison staff, as much as from all those who were housed in that area. One inmate had climbed over the railing of the third floor and was threatening to jump.  If he were to jump, he would probably end his life as he would be landing on the concrete floor 30 feet below.

The guards and other prison workers were converging on the area. Medical personnel and higher ranking prison officials were on the way.  As they arrived they noticed the guards were backing away from the man who was hanging on from the third floor railing. Perhaps if they gave him some space he would come back over the rails to safety.  He did not.  To add to this tense situation, other prisoners began to chant, "Jump, jump, JUMP!"

Arriving with the Medical Team was the staff chaplain, who walked directly to the distressed man, reached out his hand and touched his shoulder, and simply said, "Lets talk."  Witnesses to this event were amazed at how calm the man became.  A stressful situation was suddenly drained with just one touch.  This inmate will be undergoing physical and mental evaluation because of the incident, but for a brief moment, someone cared......someone showed concern......someone touched him.

As I heard about this incident today I began to think of the words to my favorite Gaither song, "He Touched Me."  Remember the words?  "Shackled by a heavy burden, 'Neath a load of guilt and shame. Then the hand of Jesus touched me, And now I am no longer the same."

The significance of a touch is underrated. All of us need the touch sometimes.  It let's us know we are loved and appreciated. It notifies us someone really cares. Handshakes and hugs are always good medicine.

Has Jesus touched you?  We are blessed to know we are not the same, all because our Savior has touched us in a special way. His presence is known to us. He cares. He loves.

It is because of Jesus and all he has done for me, I can reach with a gentle touch and be a blessing to someone else.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hauling a Refrigerator

This is an old joke. Where does a 400 pound gorilla sleep?  And the answer is, "anywhere he wants to."  Few of us would try to stop a gorilla from sleeping where he wants to. We exercise our "smarts" and quickly decide we wouldn't attempt it.

The 1985 NFL draft brought a player named William Perry to the Chicago Bears. He stood 6' 2" and weighed 382 pounds. It is not surprising he was nicknamed "The Refrigerator."  He was a very successful defensive lineman for the Bears, except on special occasions when they were near their opponent's goal line, William Perry would either carry the ball as a fullback, or would lead the way in blocking for another running back, leading him into the end zone.

A more contemporary joke might be, "Who wants to tackle William Perry?"  The answer comes back, "nobody wants to try!"  Even for a football player, an opponent can become too big to handle.

Do you ever face problems or difficulties in life that you would compare to a 400 pound gorilla, or an attempt at tackling William Perry? If we are human and honest with ourselves, we all have. We deal with such difficulties in our work, our schools, our marriage, in raising our children, in dealing with our neighbors.....and you can add to the list.  We may be successful in coming away from our problems without physical injury, but our spirits are bruised, and our emotions are tattered, and we often don't know which way to turn.

For the Christian who deals with the issues we have described, there is hope. From 1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you."  There is great comfort in knowing that we have the assistance of the Divine when it comes to dealing with our problems.

While the above scriptural verse offers an answer to our cares and anxieties, we are usually unwilling to give them to the Lord. We think we are strong enough or rich enough to handle our own affairs and any move in the direction of seeking help, even from God, is a sign of weakness.  The truth of the matter is that our God, in preparing the way for our sinful lives to be brought back to him, provides the remedy for all our anxieties, and offers to shoulder the weight of our burdens.

The one who extends his forgiveness for our sins through the blood of his Son, wants us to know that we have the very power of heaven within us to be our Comforter, our Strength and our Provider.  Peter  refers to God's power and his promises by saying "he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature."   God does not want us to be weighted down by the things and situations of this life, so his promise to us to be our helper, and keep us from cares and anxieties, is actually God inviting us to be a participant in his divine nature.

Yes, we still have our troubles and calamities, but our helper is with us and in us to guarantee our success and victory.  And here is the part that is difficult to understand.  The only explanation to God doing this for us is he loves us.  Rather than face our troubles with our own strength or intellect or success, God promises us a share in his very own divine nature.  Those are the promises upon which we can stand.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Fill Me, Lord!

One of the most refreshing things to the spirit of man is the description the Apostle Paul makes concerning the Holy Spirit actually living in us.  As I have studied this over the years, I have been reluctant at times to enter into discussions on this topic.  Yes, I believed what the Bible said and I even accepted the truth of the Spirit living in me.  However, this was something difficult for me to discuss.  Maybe it was Paul's encouragement for me to be "filled with the Spirit" that caused me to shy away, but further study and prayer has taught me being filled with the Spirit doesn't mean I can get a small version of the Holy Spirit to begin with, then at some later time I could get the larger version, and maybe some day, the ultimate version.  Being filled with the Spirit, as Paul was teaching. didn't mean I had more of the Spirit as I matured in the faith, it meant and still means the Spirit has ALL of me!

I invite you to look at a couple of scriptures with me as we dig a little deeper into this important relationship for our spiritual lives.

1 Corinthians 1:21-22
 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Notice where you fit in these two verses.  It's God who makes us stand firm in Christ.  We are anointed. He puts a seal of ownership on us.  He puts his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, which guarantees what is to come.

Those who try to be a Christian in today's world, without the truth of these verses from Paul, should not be surprised when frustration and failure set in.  We really are his, and some of us have a difficult time accepting that. God puts his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, a down payment of all that is to come.

Ephesians 1:13-14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Oh, I like this!  Believers are marked in him with a seal.  That seal is the Spirit himself, guaranteeing our spiritual inheritance.  It's time we learned in the here and now, God's Holy Spirit is alive and living in us, to nudge us, guide us, help us, comfort us, and more.  His presence inside us is the best thing we have going for us. 

All this leads me to encourage you, "Be filled with the Spirit!"  That can only happen when we lead the life of total surrender. He longs to fill you today.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Letter from Peter

We have written before concerning Peter's first and second letters near the end of your New Testament. If you recall, Peter begins his second letter with words of encouragement about our personal growth in the new life we have in Jesus.  Today, open your Bible to 2 Peter 1, and see this chapter as divided in half, each half with three interesting points pertaining to your Christian life. 

  Notice, following his greetings, Peter encourages us to confirm our calling. 

1.  Reading verses 3-4, recognize the divine power of God that gives us everything we need to live for him.  God gives his promises for us to actually become a participant in his divine nature.

2.  Now read verses 5-9, having been reminded we have escaped the world's corruption, and are participating in God's divine nature, we are now encouraged to spiritual growth by adding to our faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, etc.  These are the very things necessary if we are to be successful in living for Jesus. These things keep us from falling. If we do not develop these attributes in our lives, it's as though we have forgotten we are a forgiven people. 

3.  When we read verses 10-11, Peter makes the encouragement for us to confirm our call and election. In so doing, we will never stumble, and we are granted a place in the Kingdom of God.

The second half of 2 Peter 1 has to do with the subject of prophecy, and especially the knowledge of prophecy as proof of God's workings. 

1.  Read verses 12-15, as Peter reminds his readers of things they already know, mainly because he knows he will not always be with them.  He wants to make sure when he departs, Christians will not forget the things he has taught. 

2.  Verses 16-18 provide some serious discussion about the authenticity of prophecy.  Peter says their teachings about the gospel were not man-made stories, but were actual events which Peter saw as an eyewitness.

3.  Ending with verses 19-21, Peter emphatically expresses that the prophetic messages are reliable and dependable.  They demand our attention and our faith.  Especially see what he has to say in the last two verses, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Do you see the completeness with which Peter addresses believers?  Beginning with a reminder of who God is, followed by the method for us grow in our spirituality, we have the challenge before us to become the people of God, prepared for his Kingdom.  We have the proof of the eyewitnesses, and the prophets of old whose prophecies were fulfilled. 

Peter's message to you is simple. God did all of this because he loves you, and he desires to be in relationship with you.  Our prayer is also simple. "God you have done it before, continue to do it in us."


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Confidence to Approach God

1 John 5:13-15
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

I like the boldness of John's declaration in these verses. It is addressed to YOU if you are among those who believe in the name of the Son of God.  That belief is constantly leading us to know that we have eternal life. 

If you knew you had eternal life, do you suppose that would give you the confidence to approach God? I used the word "boldness" in describing John's declaration, now he comes using the word "confidence," describing our assurance that we can approach God. No one can speak with that boldness nor posses that confidence without a strong faith in Jesus Christ. 

John then continues to proclaim if we have the confidence to approach God, we may ask anything according to his will, and he hears us. We may also know since he hears us, whatever we ask, we will have.  The world is going to be quick to inform us that isn't true. Those who are not believers will name instances where we prayed and did not receive what we asked. 

Our previous studies on prayer have taught us prayer is a vital part of the Christian life. As those who have loved, trusted, and obeyed the Lord, it should be natural for us to talk to our Heavenly Father. The one thing John points out in his declaration is the key. "If we ask anything according to his will."  

Sometimes even we Christians start thinking these verses can be the "gimmie, gimmie" kind of conversation where we give God a list of everything we want, and he supplies it.  That attitude toward prayer is not according to the will of God. The "name it and claim it" prayers become centered around our wishes, our wants, and even our will instead of God's. 

If it is so important to pray according to the will of God, then our primary objective in approaching God to ask for anything, must not be like our birthday wish list. How do we know what the will of God is?  One way is for us to stay close to the word of God. Regular Bible study and the application of biblical truth to our lives will lead us to better know God's will. 

Another way, and perhaps a way which will make his will more meaningful to us, is in the quiet silence of dwelling on who God is. Think of his infinite presence, his unending love, his willingness to forgive, his desire for us to be in relationship with him. In our silent meditations, God will make his will known to us. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Victory for David

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.
2  Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah
3  But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4  I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
5  I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah                   
Psalm 3:1-8

Recently we visited with you about the struggles we sometimes face as Christians.  The verses we saw from the writings of Paul seemed to identify struggle and adversity as being common to life itself.  For Paul, a New Testament writer, writing about difficulties seemed normal, probably because of all the things he had suffered in his ministry.

The verses above bring us to see King David, distressed because of his enemies.  Apparently he had a lot of them as he tells us, "Many are they who rise up against me."   David further states there are many of those enemies who are saying things like, "Even God cannot help him now."
There is a tendency in the human experience to think, when troubles surround us, nothing can help me now. There is nowhere to turn because even my enemies are declaring God will not be supplying help. We usually have those thoughts right before we have the thought, "Nobody has a bigger stack of problems and struggles than me."

I'm glad David kept his focus on God.  He confessed his faith in God through his declaration, "You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head."  (That verse is verse 3 and it needs to be underlined and highlighted in the Bible of every Christian.)

David then leads us through the events of his victory.  Look at them closely.  Read them several times.

I cried to the Lord.......and he heard me.
I lay down and slept.....then I awoke because the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid, no matter how many rise against me......God has struck them down.

David closes with the assuring words, "Salvation belongs to the Lord, Your blessing is upon your people."

Similar are the words which Paul used in his closing concerning all the troubles we face,  "And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Sweetness

Psalm 119:97-104

97 Oh, how I love your law!    I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders,
    for I obey your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
    so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
    for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

What goes through your mind when you are thinking of God's law, or perhaps we should ask, God's way as compared to your own way?  We like to think we are capable of making decisions for ourselves and often display the pride that accompanies our right choices.

For me, decision making is always better when I pause to consider the magnitude of God's will.  He is the great Creator and in making us, is the one we should lean on for our direction and guidance.   The section of scripture above describes one who is proclaiming his love for God's law.

Notice:  He meditates on it.  God's commands are with him constantly, making him wiser than his enemies. He gains more insight than his teachers as he meditates on God's statutes.   Take a moment and finish personalizing these verses in your mind and heart and you will see how important it is for you to consider God's way above your way.

The message from these verses rings loud and clear for every seeker like you and me.  And we will never succeed in our search for the right way until we learn the sweetness of God's word.  It is only through the understanding of God's precepts and his desire for us to make correct choices that we make his way our way.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Dusty Road

It may be difficult for the younger generation to understand, but we haven't always had freeways and Interstate Highway systems.  When I was young, the main roads were paved, but lots of the city streets and most of the country roads were dirt and gravel. 

My memories of dirt roads take me back to visiting with grandparents on the farms where my mom and dad grew up. The two sets of my grandparents lived a little over a mile apart, and the country roads connecting them were all dirt.  The main road was paved some years later, but I remember it primarily as being dirt, and there was little or no traffic. 

The farm on which mom grew up was less than a mile from the small town. It was a treat to be allowed to walk that road into town and buy something from the store.  Of course the streets in the town were not paved and it was common to see people walking on the dusty roads.

We could always entertain ourselves by throwing rocks to see who could hit a power pole.  Even for a young boy, there could be some times of thinking and learning while walking down a dirt road.
It probably goes without saying, but all the roads in Bible times were unpaved.  Not only that, we can surmise those roads were probably much like the trails in the old Western movies on TV.  I tell you this to help you understand that life itself was slower then, but it was also a time devoid of the hurrying and rushing.  It's a walk down a country road that can bring quality to life, more observation of nature, and the walk itself can be quite relaxing. 

On one dirt road in Bible times, a man named Saul of Tarsus had an encounter with Jesus.  In fact, Saul was on his trip for the purpose to making things difficult for Christians, and he was just the man to put a stop to the spread of Christianity by putting Christians in jail.  His life was dedicated to bringing a halt to all the talk and excitement about Jesus.  Yet there were changes in Saul's life that day.  While traveling down that dirt road, he had an encounter with Jesus.  Bear in mind all this was happening AFTER the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord.  Through his encounter with Jesus, Saul was baptized and his heart was changed.  We know him as Paul, the writer of New Testament books, the missionary that brought advancement to the spread of the gospel, the man who considered himself the chief of sinners, but we consider him among the giants of faith. 

What would you like to happen on your dirt road?  Would you be one to walk by on the other side of the road if you had found a man beaten and left for dead, like on the road to Jericho?  Would you be one to contemplate, during your dusty walk, the changes in your life which would bring about a deeper, more intimate relationship with your Lord?   Let's take a walk......and see. 


Friday, June 17, 2016

Before we even ask.....

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."    Matthew 6:7-8

Jesus was giving some teaching on prayer.  During this part of the Sermon on the Mount, the two verses above contain the words he spoke immediately before teaching them what we have come to call "The Lord's Prayer."  His warning to not babble like the pagans is interesting in that mentioning pagans normally would not be associated with praying.  But Jesus wanted his listeners to know the folly of rambling on with many words, just so they could feel more spiritual.  Look again at what he says.  "Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

I wanted to introduce you to another section of scripture that involves prayer, this time from the Old Testament book of Daniel.  If you are familiar with the Book of Daniel and all the prophecies it includes, it is no wonder to us to see Daniel praying so often.  The part of his prayer life which I want you to examine is in chapter 9, when Daniel is praying a prayer of confession because of the disobedience and unfaithfulness of God's people.  I would suggest that you read Daniel 9:1-19, so we can understand the dilemma of these folks. .  After reading the verses, look at what happens starting in verse 20.  Daniel's prayer continues"

"While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed."

Daniel's prayer life obviously took on a boost. While he was still praying, God is already supplying Daniel's needs. Through Gabriel the message is given, "I have now come to give you insight and understanding." 

We need to know and understand God knows what we need before we ask.  Scripture tells us about that.  Daniel comes along with his prayer life and is praying and confessing the wrongdoing of his people and before he could finish his prayer, God has a solution on the way. 

I'm thinking that's the type of prayer life we all need.  Imagine being so close to God that our conversation with him brought insight and understanding while we are still praying!  I'm also thinking that's the relationship God longs to have with each of his children.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

A New Creation

The verse says it like this. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come."   Recorded by the Apostle Paul in one of his letters to the Corinthian church, this is the verse from Scripture that gives us the hope to keep on keeping on, in our journey to eternal life. 

By virtue of creation, we are a part of Adam's race, human form created by God, in his likeness.  It didn't take man long to mess things up as sin enters the picture and man finds himself separated from God. In case you haven't been told, that is the real tragedy of every sin you commit.  It builds a separation between you and God. 

The mission of Jesus coming into the world was given by Jesus himself, in reading from the Prophets, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free"  Matthew 4:18.  His mission found you and me when he gave his life on the cross and paid our sin-debt with his blood. Through that sacrificial event, we have the chance to be created again, starting all over, clean slate, fresh and new. We sing, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"   But it doesn't stop there. 

The love and grace of God, involved in everything since the beginning, continues to be extended to cover the sins we commit as Christians.  Yes, Christians are sinners, too.  As we continue to seek the face of God we live under his grace, loved and forgiven.

We, like everyone else, think of changes we could make in our lives which would make us a better person, more caring for those in need, closer in our relationships, more loving toward others, resolving to be what God wants us to be. He offers newness of life. We should be willing to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How Much More

We have looked at Romans 5 before, and have seen in the first part of that Bible chapter, the themes of peace and hope for the people of God.  It is vitally important that we see the relation between those themes and God because as we saw in earlier studies, He is the source of our peace and hope.

Another look at the remaining portion of the chapter gives us so much more.  If you follow repetitions and know the repeated use of a word or a term in Scripture sheds light on the importance of the subject matter, then look what Paul does with the term, "much more."

Verse 9, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!"  The verse identifies the Christian as one who has been justified by the blood of Jesus.  Yes, we are sinners, but have been made clean by Jesus' blood.  But much more we have been delivered from the wrath of God. 

Now, in verse 10, "For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Paul uses logic here.  If, while living lives as enemies of God, we were reconciled through the death of Jesus on the cross.  Then he says, much more, since we are reconciled, we will be saved through his life.

Paul then starts talking about Adam's sin, which brought the pronouncement of a death sentence for all mankind.  Verse 15. "For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"  Did you catch all of that?  By Adam's sin, we have inherited the death sentence because we are all sinners.  So if many died because of the sin of one(Adam,) much more did God's grace overflow to many. 

Look in verse 17, "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!"   Paul's repetition makes this easy to see.  Again, death reigned through Adam, much more shall we receive God's provision of grace and the gift of righteousness through Jesus.

There are four times Paul uses the term, much more.  His repetition drives home the truth of the message of our standing with God.  Using terms like "justified, reconciled, grace overflowing, and gift of righteousness" Paul describes US!  The source of these applied terms is God himself, through his Son Jesus. 

You would think Paul had used or overused the "much more," and that would be the entire picture. However, I think Paul is just getting started, and wants us to become as excited about our lives in Jesus as Paul is about his own life.  The longer I am involved in the Christian walk, I come to know God is not finished.  Like Paul, I will use the term "much more."  Past accomplishments behind us, let us get so involved with God that we can experience the "much more" he still has in store for us.

Paul gives us a hint in the 8th chapter when he says nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, because we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through God who loves us.