In God’s Good Hands

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.”               Ephesians 2:13

I caught myself the other day thinking, “If I could change one thing about my past…”  I’ll bet you can finish that sentence with a few thoughts of your own.  Who hasn’t lamented something in their past.  For some, the choices were huge and life altering.  For others, they were moments, that while not quite as monumental, we wish we could do over.  I have spent so much time living with regrets, living in the “if onlys,” and wishing I had made wiser decisions, or that circumstances had turned out differently.   I have discovered that when I live in constant regret I set myself up for a very sad life.

But I am learning to trust in the sovereign providence of God.  That is a really old-fashioned term, but in the original Hebrew, the word combination has a rich and significant meaning.  The word “sovereign” speaks to God’s rightful authority that extends over nature, nations, mankind, and individual lives.  Likewise, the word “providence” is speaking to God’s charge over you; the root word means “to pay attention, to care for, to be in charge of.”  Here is God’s tender, loving care that shows Him as “the Good Shepherd” and as our Heavenly Father.  God has pledged to pay attention to you, to care for you, and to be in charge of your life – not as a dictator – but as One who seeks always and only what is best for you.  Job 10:12 expresses this beautifully. “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit.”

The combination of terms tells us that God is always looking out on your behalf, knows what you need and He has the authority to move heaven and earth to accomplish all things for you – because He loves you.

Beloved, if you have grieved choices in your past, know that Your sovereign, providential Father has been watching over and caring for you all along.  In His hands the very thing that caused you the most pain can be the growing point for a whole new future.  Dear friend, God loves you too much to waste the struggles of your life.  He has a plan.  He has a purpose. And He has you in the palm of His great hand. 

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Why the World Doesn’t Believe

577a5-157991596“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Why do people reject the love and grace of God? Why do they refuse to receive the beautiful message of the Gospel? I’ve often wondered why people don’t want Jesus. I mean, who doesn’t want joy, peace, hope, and eternal life.
Then I read in Exodus, about the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt. When Moses and Aaron delivered the Lord’s message: “Let my people go” (Ex 5:1), Pharaoh instead made their work even harder. Moses tried to encourage the Israelites, telling them that God would set them free from their bondage, give them their own land, and most importantly, He would be their God. The Scripture says, “They did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Ex 6:9).


Why does the world reject the love and grace of God? Because they are under bondage to Satan. They have no hope because they are over-burdened by a cruel taskmaster. They don’t understand the beauty of God’s offer because their minds are numbed by discouragement from the devil. Our key verse notes that Jesus saw the hopeless people and He felt deep compassion. Not hate, not disgust, not judgement. He felt the weight of their bondage and it broke His heart.


Maybe – just a thought here – but maybe Jesus is showing us the better way to reach the lost world. Maybe compassion rather than pointing fingers is the way to lead people to Christ. I’m not talking about the world’s humanitarian efforts to ease suffering. I talking about the love of God that cares about the body and the eternal soul. The lost world is under bondage. Christian compassion can loosen their chains so God’s mercy can set them free. Will you be the conduit of His love to someone today?

Holy Father, the world is in bondage to Your enemy and they cannot even envision freedom.  Satan continually tells them how helpless they are and how hopeless their situation is.  Let me be Your hand and voice of compassion.  Use me to open hearts to the possibility of a life without chains.  It was Your compassion that saved me, let me share that compassion so others might be saved too.  Amen.

The Intercessor

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“Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth.”
Oswald Chambers
I was intrigued by this quote and as I meditated on it the thought came to me – Jesus is interceding on our behalf before God, reminding His Father continually that, as believers, we are covered by His blood. The Holy Spirit is interceding on God’s behalf in us, reminding us continually that, as believers, we are set free from the bondage and power of sin. Jesus declares before His Father that you are made right with God and are no longer under condemnation. The Holy Spirit declares to you that you are made right with God and are no longer bound to obey your sinful nature. Every time I fail Jesus tells the Father, “I died for her.” Every time I fail the Holy Spirit tells me, “This is not who you are – there is a better way to live.” Jesus asks the Father to send you strength for your daily struggles. The Holy Spirit is the conduit of that strength to you. Jesus stands before the Father on our behalf and the Holy Spirit dwells in us on the Father’s behalf. Maybe that’s not news to you, but I sure rocked my finite mind!  I believe this showes the perfect work of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit. And it is a work all on our behalf, to perfect that which began when the Spirit drew us to the Father by the cross of the Son.

From creation to salvation to intercession, the Trinity works in perfect harmony to accomplish the plan of the ages. That plan includes you and me. How astounding, how utterly marvelous!

God, thank You for the mystery of the Trinity – and for brief glimpses of understanding of who You are. Thank you for the work You are completing in me through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Give me ears to hear the Spirit interceding, calling me into holiness and truth. Amen

 

 

That They May Be One

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Kings and kingdoms have been destroyed more often from within rather than without. It’s no less true in the United States today. Just look at the dissension in the current administration – no one can agree on anything, everyone has their own agenda, and the nation is in constant turmoil. 

The situation is even more evident and even more critical in the church.  And for a sinister and evil reason. Satan is on a rampage against the Name of Jesus Christ.

Jesus prayed that all who would believe in Him “May they be brought to complete unity” – for one reason – “to let the world know that You sent Me.”

Jesus said that the complete unity of His church would be the witness to the world that He is the Son of God. His reputation rides on the the ability of the church to maintain oneness.  Is it any wonder that Satan has launched his heaviest attacks within her own walls?

But in what are we to be unified? Not social issues, not humanitarian efforts, not programs or projects and certainly not approval of sin. We are to be one in our testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We are to be one in our proclamation of His death and resurrection.  One message, one voice, one heart. This is the unity that declares to the world that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  This is the unity for which our Lord and Savior prayed. This is the unity that brings salvation to the lost.

What is your church saying to the world?