The Weekly Epistle 4/29/20

God is in control!  Sound trite?  Is it simply a cliché to talk ourselves off the ledge?  Is it just part of the language we adopt as a Christian?  What does it mean that God is in control?  
When we speak of God being in control, we are referring to God providentially superintending all of life situations and events.  In other words, God knows where he is going and knows how to get there.  He is in control of all situations in such a way that he can use whatever material he has to work with to accomplish his good and perfect purposes.  Nothing is powerful enough to get in the way of where He is going.  
Does this mean that God disregards human responsibility and choices?  Does he coerce human will?  Do we really have a choice?  The Bible does not teach determinism that God controls our choices.  The Bible teaches God’s sovereign control of the consequences and outcomes of our choices, not His control of those choices.  
So, Joseph can say, “You intended to harm me, but God will use it for his good.”  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego can say, “God will deliver us, but even if he doesn’t, we will not bow down to other gods.”  In other words, they trusted God with the outcome of their choice and with their situation.  
This becomes very practical.  Trusting that God is in control is liberating.  How so?  First of all, I may not know why God allows certain things to happen, but I am certain of His loving guiding hand in the process.  I have an imaginary file that is labelled, “Things I don’t understand.”  I may wonder why or how or what is going to be the outcome, all the evidence will not be in until the curtain is closed upon history, but I know this- God is always up to something. And whatever He is up to comes from a heart that is good! 
Secondly, my choices mean something.   God not only knows how to fit my choice into where He is going, he also has the power to use that choice in whatever way he so chooses.  I do not need to know how God will use a choice of mine, I just need to do what is right, trusting that God will use it.  
One of the best books written on the subject of God’s sovereign control of life events is the book of Esther.  I get to preach on this in a couple of weeks (Mother’s Day).  In a book in which God isn’t mentioned at all, God is everywhere in that book.  God used Esther’s choice to accomplish His purposes though at the time she didn’t know the impact of that one choice.  What a privilege to participate and partner with him as we walk by faith each day with the particulars.  
Faith is my responsibility in every circumstance regardless of the possible outcome.  We are all responsible to God for every action and attitude.  We can leave the outcome, the consequences, of our actions to God.  These present circumstances?  We need to leave with Him.  We can speculate, we may wonder, we can go out on a limb and predict, but we do not need all the answers in order to move on in our faith.  
We will look at this some more this week in our Wednesdays in the Word as we unpack Romans 8:28.  Here is the bottom line:  Knowing the whys and the what ifs of the past or the what will be of the future are not necessary for me to exercise faith in the present.  
The true story is told of Ivan Denisovich when he was enduring all the horrors of a Soviet prison camp. One day he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answers, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.”
Blessings to you, Pastor Brian

Looking Forward

Sermon Direction

The Return

Psalms 126 & Books of Ezra and Nehemiah

Last Sunday’s Sermon

Wednesdays In The Word
What We Can Know
Romans 8:28-30

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