Thursday, May 7, 2015, 3:25 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “When in The Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8 (quoting vv. 18-39ESV). The Bones I woke out of a dream which relates to this passage of scripture, so I will share the dream: We knew something really bad was coming. Christians were now being persecuted on a massive scale. I was among the persecuted. The persecution was not physical, at first, but it was about to be. They were getting ready to break all our bones. Christians were now the enemy worldwide, I believe. We were being rounded up like cattle ready to be slaughtered. There were two men who were put in charge of having the responsibility of breaking our bones. I think both met with some kind of fate. One of them was in a serious automobile accident. Yet, this did not stop the persecution. The day came when someone came with some kind of tool (instrument) to be used to break all of our bones. So, he began to break all my bones, and that is when I woke up. End of dream. Dreams are often not to be taken literally, but figuratively, so I looked up “bones” in the dictionary and in the Bible. In the Bible, I learned, bones (plural) were often figurative of one’s whole (entire) being. Bones are also symbolic of strength. I also noted that many idioms in the English language use the term “bone(s)” in relation to our minds and emotions, and to the words which we speak, which fits with bones being used to describe our whole being, which includes our minds, soul, emotions, and strength, etc. The goal of persecution, I believe, is to break (stop, discourage, dishearten) us. To wake up from this is to be stirred or “to become cognizant or aware of something; and/or to rouse from lethargy, apathy, ignorance, etc.” (dictionary.com). There are many ways in which our enemy will try or might be successful for a time in “breaking” us (our bones). The instruments he uses to try to break us are not always physical hammer and chisel, though, but are the people he uses in our lives to try to beat us down, to strike us, and who attempt to defeat (slaughter) us, not just physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally, too. They do this with words. And, the goal is to destroy us and/or to try to get us to conform to their ways and to stop sharing the truth of the gospel of our salvation. So, we need to be aware of (awakened to) their tactics so that they don’t break us and so we are able to use the armor of God with which to defeat Satan’s evil attacks against us (See: Eph. 6:10-20). Our Sufferings For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Jesus said that his true followers will be hated and persecuted just like he was hated and persecuted, and then was hung on a cross to die, though not because of anything he had done wrong. We who are his followers are called to suffer for the sake of Christ and for the sake of his gospel, so it should not take us by surprise or undo us when it happens. We should become aware of Satan’s tactics he uses to break us so that we can use the armor of God against him and so that we remain strong in our faith and in our determination to continue to preach the truth of the gospel, in spite of all opposition. Yet, we don’t do this in our own human strength or willpower, which is subject to weakness and failure, but we rely upon the strength of the Lord and the power of his Word within us to keep going. Since we live in flesh bodies we are subject to weakness, yet the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. Paul said that he delighted in his weaknesses (not sins), because God’s grace was sufficient for him in that God’s power was made perfect in his weakness. Therefore Paul concluded that “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Co. 12:10). That is a good attitude to have when we are being mistreated and spoken evil against falsely. And, it is encouraging to know that we have a comforter who is there to help us, and to intercede for us when we don’t know what to pray, and that he does so in accordance with God’s will. Amen! More Than Conquerors What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I find these words so encouraging, don’t you? Even though many of us are facing persecution at the hands of those who oppose the full gospel message, and whose goal it is to “break our bones,” i.e. to defeat us, we are more than conquerors through him (God/Jesus) who loved (loves) us. It doesn’t mean we won’t have enemies or that the persecution will cease, or that God will deliver us physically out of our persecutors’ hands, but none of this can separate us from God’s love, and it does not have to defeat us. Jesus won the victory over Satan, and so the victory is ours because of what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins. We just have to rely upon the strength of the Spirit within us and allow God’s power to be perfected in our weakness. Satan means the breaking of us for evil, but God allows this mistreatment for our good, and for the good of others whose lives we touch with the love of Jesus and with his message of hope and healing for the penitent sinner who trusts in God’s grace. When in The Stillness / An Original Work / September 26, 2011 When in the stillness Of this moment, Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray. Be my desire, Set me on fire, Teach me to love always. Help me to walk in Fellowship with You, Listening to You; Sit at Your feet. Whisper Your words to me, Oh, how gently, Guiding me in Your truth. While we are waiting For Your blessing, Lord, in our hearts Be King today. Help us to live for You ev’ry moment, List’ning to what You say. May we not stray from Your word within us, Help us obey You, Lord, in all things, Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence, Our off’rings to You bring. Help us to love You, Lord, our master; Be an example Of Your love, Helping the hurting, Lift up the fallen, Showing them Your great love. Teach them to love You, Follow You always, Bearing their cross and Turning from sin; Walking in daily Fellowship with You, Making You Lord and King.