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52 Weeks in the Word: A Journey Through Romans 8: Trillia Newbell

with Trillia Newbell | November 29, 2023
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Author and trusted Bible teacher Trillia Newbell pulls you through the rich themes of Romans 8—like suffering, perseverance, hope, and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as followers of Jesus.

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Author and trusted Bible teacher Trillia Newbell pulls you through the rich themes of Romans 8—like suffering, perseverance, hope, and the Holy Spirit’s role.

52 Weeks in the Word: A Journey Through Romans 8: Trillia Newbell

With Trillia Newbell
|
November 29, 2023
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Trillia: We will read something and then we will forget. We will forget the gospel. We will forget everything we read, so He repeats it again. We need a reminder that He is with us in suffering. You see it in Romans 5; you see it in Romans 8.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com.

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Alright, so I’m a little competitive with you.

Ann: Oh, really! Are you?

Dave: We’re not talking about sports now.

Ann: Oh!

Dave: No, I’m talking about [how] you always kick my butt in reading the Bible. [Laughter] I’m still mad about this. You’re always ahead of me, and you say, “Catch up!” I’m on day “whatever,” and I’m ten days behind.

Ann: That’s because I need Jesus more than you do.

Dave: No, that’s just because you’re more diligent.

Ann: No, you know what the secret is? This is what I’ve found—

Dave: —what is the secret?

Ann: —at least, for me, because I’ve been doing it for so long. I told Dave, when he started; I said, “Here’s the secret—because a lot of people start in the new year, that they’re going to read the entire Bible through the year—if you miss; if you’re on vacation, or kids come, or whatever is happening, and you’re in a one-year Bible plan, what you think is, ‘Oh! I missed a couple days! Maybe I missed five; maybe I missed two weeks.” Do not go back and try to catch up all those days. Start on the day that you’re on today, and then, if you have time, maybe catch up. That’s what you didn’t do.

Dave: I didn’t do that. I always feel like I need to go back. I don’t want to miss a single day.

Ann: And I said, “You’re going to read it for years, so you’ll hit that next year.”

Dave: Well, we’ve got somebody really smart in here today. [Laughter] Trillia Newbell wrote a year-long Bible study, and she didn’t put dates on it, so you don’t feel guilty if you miss.

Ann: See, she’s so smart.

Dave: She’s over there, laughing at us having this conversation.

Trillia: I think you’re adorable, both of you! [Laughter] It was really fun to watch. [Laughter]

Ann: Trillia Newbell is back. Welcome back. We love having you with us.

Trillia: Thank you. It’s been a joy and refreshing to be here.

Ann: Your book is called 52 Weeks in the Word. Here’s what it is—not just a devotional—it’s A Companion for Reading Through the Bible in a Year. What does it mean that it is a companion?

Trillia: It means you need your Bible. [Laughter] If you don’t have your Bible, you won’t be able to do 52 Weeks in the Word.

 

Dave: So literally, you have to have a Bible.

Trillia: You have to have a Bible, yes.

Dave: It’s not in your book.

Ann: This is not the Bible.

Trillia: It’s not the Bible, yes.

Dave: The plan is in your book, but the Bible has got to be your own—

Ann: —which is pretty great, because we all need to be in the Word.

Trillia: Absolutely! And it provides space for writing, so as you’re reading through the Scriptures in a year, you can reflect on what you’ve learned. It’s been fun to look at my own, because I’m doing it. It’s how full things get; so, it’s a joy to be able to provide the resource, but also to read the Word and to reflect immediately.

Ann: Trillia, share with our listeners what you do, because you’re an author; you’ve written a lot. What else do you do?

Trillia: I also work at Moody Publishers. I’m an Acquisitions Director, which doesn’t mean anything to you all. [Laughter] It means that I get to look for books and give people contracts. It’s a joy to get to serve in that way. And I write and speak, and am a mom to two lovely children, and a wife for 20 years—is that right?—yes! [Laughter]

Ann: Twenty years! Look at you go.

Trillia: Yes, yes. It’s pretty great.

Dave: Talk about how the Word has hit you in different times of your life. You’ve got highs, mountains; you’ve got valleys.

Trillia: Yes.

Dave: Does anything come to your mind when you think about this? Because as we walk through it over this next year, we’re going to be reading it on days when we’re on top of the world and days we’re struggling.

Trillia: Absolutely; absolutely. You know, when I became a Christian at the age of 22, one of the first things I did was start digging into the Word. I’d read, and read, and read, and read, and read, and read. The Lord was storing up treasure that I didn’t realize. I didn’t realize, at the time, that I was reading and storing up stuff that I would need later.

Six or seven years later, I was trying to have children. And I experienced four miscarriages; but after the second one, I was so despondent. I was very, very sad—dark night of the soul, whatever you want to call it; I was sad. I remember barely being able to get my head off the—I was just so—I was fuzzy. I couldn’t really read. I remember one time just in bed. I was crying out to the Lord, asking for help. One by one, He brought Scripture to mind—[emotional] I could cry—but I hadn’t been reading, because I felt fuzzy. I remembered, “He draws near to the brokenhearted,” “He will never leave nor forsake thee,” “He holds me up by His righteous right hand.” I’m hearing these things in my head. He’s recalling them—the Spirit is—because I’d been reading His Word. He was reminding me of His character, and His goodness, and His grace in a desperate time.

Ann: You had stored-up treasures.

Trillia: Storing up these treasures that I didn’t even know would come back!

It’s been an encouragement to me to keep reading, because it’s not just that we will need the Bible, but we need God! Does that make sense?

Ann: It’s one and the same.

Trillia: It’s one and the same! It’s His Word, yes.

For Him to be so kind as to remind myself of His character and of who He is, because I had been reading all those years; I thought, “What?! None of it is wasted; none of it is wasted.” For your listeners: “You will not waste a single moment in His Word. It will not be wasted.”

Ann: It never returns void.

Trillia: Yes, He will return it to you, and there will be riches, and wisdom, and comfort, and joy. So, that is a time and a season when I really needed the Lord, and He was so gracious.

Ann: This is why I need to be in the Word!

Trillia: This is why.

Ann: You probably felt, too: “I am desperate for You, God.”

Trillia: Desperate for the Lord. He was, again, faithful to meet me; and He would have been faithful, regardless, right?

Then, I had Weston. We were very content just to have our boy. What a blessing! And then: “Surprise! You’re pregnant!” [Laughter] It was kind of a gift that she, Sidney, was a surprise, because I didn’t have time to worry. I was just, all of a sudden, like, “Aww! I think I’m pregnant!” and I was.

Ann: Let me ask you, Trillia—I know that we’re talking about 52 Weeks in the Word; talk to the mom who’s either struggling with infertility or has just had miscarriages, and she’s lost. She’s just lost right now, like, “What do I do?” She knows Jesus, and she’s wondering, “Is He hearing [my] prayers?”

Trillia: Yes; well, I can affirm and tell you, “He hears your prayers.” The Scriptures say that Jesus is always interceding—He lives to make intercession for us. He is always interceding. In Romans 8, there is this Scripture that says, “When our groanings are too deep for words, the Holy Spirit prays what we can’t.” So, you are covered in prayer and intercession. He hears you. But know, also, that God is good and He is faithful. What I needed to hear was that God does draw near to the brokenhearted. What was good for me to hear was that I didn’t have to do anything.

Ann: See, that is good.

Trillia: He was drawing near to me, and He loves to care for us and to love us. I would encourage you [to] even camp out on Psalm 23, and read it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again.

Ann: And if you can’t read it, play it.

Trillia: Play it, yes.

Ann: Just listen to it.

Trillia: Yes, get into the Psalms. Those are some really helpful ways to help navigate lament, crying out, and understanding sorrow. “Thank You, Lord, for the Psalms and putting it in there.”

Ann: Yes!

Trillia: That might just be one way to get in the Word. If you can’t—as Ann said; if you can’t—read it, because your spirit’s too sad, listen; listen to it. But also, God provides worship. God moves in a mysterious way. There are just a lot of things, I think, that the Lord cares for you. I don’t have a word for fixing it, but I do believe that Jesus wept; He was sad; He was a man of sorrows. He understands, and that, I can tell you.

Ann: I think, even reading Scriptures, as you go into Samuel, and you read about Hannah not being able to get pregnant—

Trillia: —oh, yes!

Ann: —and just her yearning and her cry to God of, “Do You hear me?” Her lament was so real. I think so many of us can identify, maybe not exactly what she was experiencing, but just that cry and lament to God.

Trillia: Yes.

Ann: Every time, it says in Scripture, that a person cried out to God, it says, “…and He heard her;” “… He heard them.”

Dave: You mentioned Romans 8. One of the great verses is verse 1. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. As Paul, in Romans 7, writes this amazing testimony about his journey of struggle

Trillia: —yes!

Dave: —and so many of us, when we read it, are like, “That’s in the Bible? One of the most spiritual men, ever—the Apostle Paul—struggled like me?”—he wants to do the right thing but he constantly—

And then, at the end of that, in verse 24, he says, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”—talking about his own physical struggle, his body—“Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, so that I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.” We know that when this was written, there wasn’t a chapter break.

Trillia: Yes.

Dave: Paul just went on to say, which we now know [as] Chapter 8, “There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Bam! I don’t know, Trillia, what you want to say about that, but that truth there, of no condemnation for us in Christ—help us understand what that means. Bring that to life.

Trillia: Yes, absolutely; absolutely. Well, for us to really understand that there is no condemnation, we need to understand that we should be condemned; that we deserve wrath. We deserve the punishment that we don’t get, because there is no condemnation. We don’t have to stand condemned, or accused, or as if what we have done is full of guilt. We can be free because Jesus does not condemn us, but we deserve to be condemned; we deserve to be punished for our sin.

So, because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we can approach His throne of grace. We can cry out to Him. We can receive His grace. We can live and walk in the Spirit—which, actually,Romans 8; most of it is about the Spirit. [Laughter]

Dave and Ann: Yes, right.

Trillia: I think—I could have this statistic a little wrong, but I think it is [that] the Holy Spirit is mentioned more in Romans 8 than in all of the Scripture? Or all of, at least, the New Testament. It is wild.

Because there is no condemnation, we have freedom and grace, and we can walk in a manner that is worthy of the gospel. I think there is freedom—and I love this—because it says, “Because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit, who gives life, has set you free.”

Ann: I love that.

Trillia: Yes. We don’t have to be slaves to our sin. We are free because of what Jesus has done. When Paul is wrestling, he is wrestling with that sin that he has been [saying], “When I want to do good, sin is right there. Aah! What can free me? Christ!” It’s the same thing. “And when I fail, there is no condemnation. I can run and receive forgiveness, because Christ has set me free.”

Ann: I remember—I think I was young, I was still a teenager; I was 16 when I gave my life to Jesus, but I can remember—starting to read the Bible. I had never—I had no idea what was in the Bible; but I can remember reading Romans, and I remember thinking, “I’m not worthy to be before Him. There is nothing in me.” Just because of what I had done, and the sexual abuse that I’ve gone through, I felt so dirty. When I read, “I am free,” and “There is no condemnation in Christ,” that was mind boggling to me! I’ve shared this before, but I read—in your 52 Weeks in the Word, what it has is—I read this day; it’s Day 5. It says, “Read Romans 5-8,” and then your book gives us some ideas of things to think about:

Number 1: “What do you learn about God and His character in these verses?”

Number 2: These are things to think about as you’re reading: “Where is Jesus in these chapters?”

Which is interesting, because you say that even in the Old Testament.

Trillia: Oh, yes!

Ann: “Where is Jesus in these chapters, and where do you see the gospel?” (even in the Old Testament).

And then, Number 3 is: “How might you apply these verses to your life?”

I read Romans 5. It’s so funny, because I just highlighted everything. Here’s what I remember about what I’m going to read. Let me read it to you; it’s so much like

Romans 8. [Romans 5:1] says, “Therefore, since we have been justified”—how?—"through faith, we have”—listen to that word: instead of freedom, we have peace—"peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then you go down to verse 3. It says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and then character, hope.” I’m think about you with your miscarriages. I thought, “When times I’ve gone through times of suffering, that was reassuring to me.” And then, “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” I read through. Everything’s highlighted. [Laughter]

Dave: I’m looking at it. It’s all highlighted.

Trillia: I love that! [Laughter]

Ann: I’ll never forget, when I really started reading God’s Word, I was 17. I was reading Romans 5. If you’ve never read Romans, it is the most incredible book in Paul’s teaching.

Trillia: Oh, yes!

Ann: I took—I’ve shared this before; I took—this Bible, and this is what I had underlined; all these verses in Romans. I’m a brand-new Christian. I was like, “Are you kidding me?! This is what the Bible says?!”

I pushed it over—our listeners remember me, possibly, saying I pushed the Bible in class (this is during class) in high school. I pushed it to my friend, Caroline, and [said], “Read this!” I whispered it: “Read this!” I was so annoying. She takes my Bible—you’ve heard this—, and she rips out all the pages in Romans. I’m like, “Oh, my!”

Dave: She ripped it out!

Ann: “What are you—?” She rips it out! She says, “Don’t ever talk to me about this again.” I’m like, “Oh, I failed.” I went home, and I felt like such a failure. But then, what do I do? I get in the Word, and say, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I’m failing. I just need You to talk to me.”

Dave: He said, “There’s no condemnation.”

Ann: Yes! “There’s no condemnation.” But I also read, “If you are persecuted for My names’ sake, rejoice!”

Trillia: Yes! Yes! [Laughter] Yes! Yes!

Ann: I was just thinking, “Ahhh!”

Trillia: That is—and you know, there is something else. One of the things, as you were talking, that I thought was, you’ll see in the Scriptures repeated themes. So, it’s not a surprise to me that Romans 5 reflects so much of what is in Romans 8, which is like the culmination.

Ann: Yes, yes.

Trillia: Romans 8 starts out, “There is no condemnation.” Then, when you get to Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say in response to these things?”—all these glorious things that we know about the gospel and the implications of that—“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, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns?” There’s a reason for this: we forget.

Ann: Yes, yes.

Trillia: We will read something, and then we will forget. We will forget the gospel. We will forget everything we have read, so He repeats it again. We need a reminder that He is with us in suffering. You see it in Romans 5; you see it in Romans 8, that suffering is only temporary. God is really kind to do that, I believe. We’re—I call us “leaky vessels.” [Laughter]

Dave: Yes, we leak.

Trillia: We leak! We forget! We need a reminder of who God is, and what His Word says about who He is, so that we can apply it rightly to our lives and walk it out. I’m really grateful for that.

Ann: Me, too.

Dave: It’s also—as I’m sitting here, I’m thinking—the joy we’re experiencing right now from the Word of God. It’s our milk; it’s our meat; it’s our life. Jesus is the Living Word; but the written Word is life-giving. Just listening to you two talk about it, it’s like joy is filling the room. [Laughter] And it’s a book! But it isn’t a book—

Trillia: It’s God’s Word.

Dave: It’s the inspired breath of God (2 Timothy). It’s His Word.

Trillia: Living and active.

Dave: Yes, not inspired like a song is inspired. It is the Word of God.

Ann: Dave, share with our listeners—maybe, you shared this recently—about being with the missionaries; the men who lived in, and came to Christ, in Afghanistan.

Dave: Yes, we were doing—we went to Afghanistan; we were actually in Dubai.

Ann: Because Afghanistan was too dangerous, yes.

Dave: Our church supported a lot of missionaries that literally went into the Afghan mountains with Bibles.

Ann: And they were from that area.

Dave: Yes; and they would go in as soldiers, undercover, because if you gave a Bible or brought a Bible to the wrong person, you could be killed. We didn’t go into the mountains. We couldn’t go in. They came out of the mountains and met us at a private house, where we would shoot video to bring back to America to our church.

Ann: It’s all very secretive.

Dave: It was all undercover, and they had to come in at night. We were setting up this video in this living room, and lights, and our tripod, and our video team was there. I was going to interview a couple of these—I call them “soldiers,” because they are warriors for the kingdom. I had my Bible. I was going to use it, but I wasn’t going to use it in the video. I took it; and I was sitting near the floor, so I just put it on the carpet to get it out of the way so we could do this video.

I watched this guy walk over and pick up my Bible, and he kisses it, and He puts it on a table. I said, “Hey, what are you doing?” He said, “This is the Word of God. You do not put it on the ground.” I remember thinking, “Their reverence for something I just flippantly, “Oh, we got it on our phone.”

Trillia: We have it everywhere.

Dave: It’s beautiful that we do, but at times, we can become so comfortable. He just reminded me: “This is God’s Word.”

Trillia: The Word of life.

Dave: The amazing thing is, within 18 months, they were all killed—

Trillia: —for their faith, sharing the gospel.

Dave: —because they took it. Let me tell you. They had story after story of people they’d meet in the mountains, and they would slip the Word of God to them, and they’d baptize people, undercover the whole time. It was the Word of God come alive.

Trillia: Wow.

Dave: Your 52 Weeks in the Word is a gift. It really is.

Trillia: Thank you. That’s encouraging. But wow! They are part of the Hall of Faith; Hebrews 11. At the end of Hebrews 11, the writer basically says, “…and all the people we can’t reference,” because there’s so many people. That is: “Remember those who are persecuted in prison.”

I am really moved by that; but I also think there’s a bit of conviction when we think about those countries or people who are having to go undercover in order to read.

Dave: Yes.

Trillia: But we have them all over—I mean, like everywhere—we have such access. We just talked about, “There is no condemnation…” So, for those of you who have not read your Bible, “There is no condemnation.” Now, read it! [Laughter]

Ann: And I think this time of year—I know, if you are especially a woman, if you are like me, you’re thinking about Christmas; you’re thinking about gifts coming up. “Who’s getting what?” I want to encourage you: “Think about us at FamilyLifeToday and FamilyLife. If you donate to FamilyLife, and become a partner with us, we’re going to send you 52 Weeks in the Word by Trillia.

This could be a great present to give to kids, to your husband, to neighbors, to yourself. We’ll send this to you free. Maybe you want to get several. This could be a really, really great gift to give. But also, I want to remind you: “Think about yourself in terms of you, as a woman, as a mom, as a grandmother. We all need to be in the Word, and it is hard! I know it is for men, but it is for women. This could be a great New Year’s resolution; a life resolution of being in the Word.”

Shelby: I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Trillia Newbell on FamilyLife Today. As Ann mentioned, this is one of those perfect things that you can get at the end of the year by partnering financially with us in our ministry. You get to link arms with us and be a part of what God is doing in the ministry of FamilyLife, but the bonus is you get a copy of Trillia Newbell’s 52 Weeks in the Word.

When you partner with us, we’re going to send you a copy of her book. And thanks to the generosity of others, every gift you give between now and the end of the year, will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2.5 million. It’s incredible! You can go online to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page.

You know, as people have done that, they have gone to our website; they’ve gone to places where they get their podcasts, and every now and then, a listener, just like you, leaves us a review. I wanted to read to you one of those reviews, because I was super encouraged by it. This is what one listener said: “My marriage is better, and my family is better, and I am better as a person from listening to this show. The hosts are so real. That is what really sets this podcast apart. They are not trying to look perfect; they just show me how to live life in an authentic way without pretense, without stress, and without pressure. My family is more joyful, more forgiving, more loving just because I decided to listen and follow. Thank you.”

Well, thank you! I am certainly encouraged by that. I love to hear that kind of feedback and how people are listening to FamilyLife Today, and their lives are actually being changed. Again, if that’s you, and you want to help be part of what we’re doing here, at FamilyLife Today, you can go online to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page. Or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

Now, tomorrow, Kelly and Tabitha Kapic are going to be here to share their experiences with cancer, chronic pain, and caregiver roles, all while following their journey of faith. That’s tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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Episodes in this Series

FamilyLife Today
52 Weeks in the Word: Trillia Newbell
with Trillia Newbell November 28, 2023
Ever felt disappointed or frustrated with your inability to study the Bible consistently? Author Trillia Newbell inspires you with both the “why” and the “how.”
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