God Is In Control

Deuteronomy 29:9

Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, the biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering. Because of the Bible, we can be certain:

God is in control (Psalm 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His rule and authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them to run their course. Although we cannot know for certain if He has sent a catastrophe or allowed it, we can trust in His goodness and wisdom.

The Lord loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of the world proves without a doubt that He loves each person. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior. He cares for us, even when we can’t feel it or won’t accept it.

God works circumstances for His good purpose (Isa. 46:10). Though we can’t fully comprehend what He’s doing in each incident, every disaster is a wake-up call for humanity. God is alerting us to the need for repentance—so the lost can be saved and the saved can be revived to live totally for Him. The Lord wants to get our attention, and catastrophes open our ears to hear from Him.

The One who loves us perfectly is in full control, working everything out according to His plan. Knowing this should fill us with hope, even in the midst of crisis situations. The Lord promises to turn disaster to good for those who “are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

The Power of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:26-27

God’s Spirit indwells believers at salvation, which means His power is available from that moment (Eph. 1:13). God created a simple way for us to access that strength every single day.

First, we must accept the truth that in and of ourselves, we are powerless to live out God’s will. No matter how capable we may be, our own strength and wisdom are insufficient. Sometimes Christians become prideful about the good they have done or the number of years they’ve been saved. Imagine how much more we could serve the Lord if we would humbly get out of God’s way and let Him work through us.

Second, we surrender our entire life to the guidance and governing of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we choose to conduct our spiritual walk—as well as our vocation, finances, family, and relationships—as God desires. His Spirit is not going to release supernatural power into a life that is continuing in rebellion.

Third, we exercise faith, which means demonstrating belief and trust in the Lord. Faith is the “switch” that releases the Spirit’s power. It’s like saying, “I believe You’ve got a plan, God, so I’m going to trust You to give me what I need in order to do Your will.” Then He will move heaven and earth to provide for your need, whatever it may be.

Merely memorizing and reviewing the steps isn’t enough. Instead, commit to these principles as a way of life. Get used to thinking, I can’t but God can— I’ll submit to His will because His plans are for my good and His glory. That’s the kind of life that overflows with the Holy Spirit’s power.

God’s Divine Timing

Galatians 4:4-5

In eternity past, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit planned and created heaven and earth. Yet even before Adam breathed his first breath, the Lord knew sin would enter the world, causing mankind to be separated from Him. However, a plan for our redemption was already in place, and in the fullness of time, the Son of God came as a baby and lived on the earth.

The Lord doesn’t do anything haphazardly. Every plan of His is predetermined and meticulously carried out at just the right time. And this truth doesn’t apply to just the big events in human history. Since He has a specific plan for every believer, He works to accomplish His goals in each Christian’s life. He ordained the day of our birth, has complete knowledge of what each day will hold, and knows how long we’ll live on this earth. And just as He did when Christ was born, God will, in the fullness of time, execute each part of His will for your life and mine.

However, although His plans for us are good, the only way we’ll see His purposes fulfilled in our life is by submitting to Him. He’s promised to work all things for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Are you letting the Lord have His way in your life? Even when the need seems urgent, a person with a spirit yielded to God waits patiently for the heavenly Father’s plans to unfold at just the right time. The One with complete knowledge and wisdom knows what He’s doing. Wait for the fullness of His time.

Peace in the Storms of Life

Peace In The Storms of Life

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul learned the secret of being an overcomer: Maintain God’s perspective on the ups and downs of life, and access His power. The apostle was firmly convinced that having the person of the Holy Spirit living in him meant that God’s power was available to him.

We, too, can learn to be at peace while the storms of life rage around us. The first step is to believe that the power of God is within us through the presence of His Spirit. We then must accept that God’s priority for us is transformation into Christ’s image, and not necessarily comfortable circumstances. Diligently seeking to maintain Jesus’ perspective on trials (John 16:33) is also important. Until we settle such matters of faith, true contentment will evade us.

Having embraced these truths, we can learn to use the divine power of the risen Christ. The key lies in submitting our will to His. Then, instead of reacting to life based on our own weaknesses and desires, we will switch to responding on the basis of God’s will and the fact that we belong to Christ. We will be able to consciously surrender ourselves to the Lord and His pattern for living. Yielding control to the Holy Spirit allows God’s will to be done and enables us to accept it. When we can say, “Lord, whatever You choose to send will be all right with me,” then we will experience the inner peace promised to us. (See John 14:27)

Divine perspective, surrender, and firm faith—these are the ingredients for the victorious life. Now you know the secret, too.

Seeking To Understand The Mind Of God

Seeking To Understand The Mind Of God
I woke up this morning to news that a bus carrying fourteen senior adults from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels collided with a pickup yesterday afternoon. Thirteen bus passengers were killed. One passenger was hospitalized in critical condition; the pickup driver was hospitalized in stable condition.

The senior adults were returning from a three-day retreat at a Baptist encampment.

So far this morning, authorities have not determined the cause of the crash. No matter who or what caused the crash, the passengers were not at fault. Yet all but one were killed.

Tragedies like this bring us to the most difficult challenge Christians face theologically. We believe that God is all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful. No other religion affirms these tenets about a personal God as fully as we do.

Since God is omniscient and not bound by time, he knew that the crash would happen before it did (Psalm 139:4; 1 John 3:20). Since he is love (1 John 4:8), he would seemingly not want such a tragedy to come to his children. Since he is omnipotent (Matthew 19:26), he could have prevented the crash from occurring. The Lord who stilled the storms and raised the dead could have stopped a bus and a pickup truck from colliding.

Yet he did not.

Today there are families grieving the sudden loss of their parents and grandparents. A pastor is trying to help his congregation come to terms with a tragedy their church will obviously never forget. The rest of us will watch with sorrow for those who are suffering.

Many wonder why the God these senior adults worshiped didn’t prevent their deaths. So do I.

I often note that God redeems all he forgives. I’m confident that our Father will redeem for greater good even this terrible tragedy (Romans 8:18). But future hope doesn’t explain present suffering. We grieve, and we should. We ask hard questions, and we should.

But here’s what we should not do.

We need not wonder if the Christians who died yesterday share our grief or our questions. We need not wonder if God was able to redeem their suffering. One moment after they died, they stepped into heaven. When they took their last breath here, they took their first breath there. They moved instantly from our fallen world into God’s perfect paradise. Now they are more alive than we are in a world where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

In the face of tragedy, we have two options.

We can decide that God is not who he says he is. We can let our questions keep us from experiencing his transforming love and sustaining grace. We can trust our doubts more than we trust our Creator.

Or we can decide to have faith in our Father even when we don’t understand him. The harder it is to trust God, the more we need to trust God.

Which option do you choose today?

God’s Calling is the Qualifier

God’s Calling is the Qualifier

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Think of a time when you were asked to handle a particular task but felt you didn’t have enough education, experience, or ability to do it. We all tend to feel like this on occasion and may even offer God excuses why we couldn’t possibly be the one to take on the project. But the Lord doesn’t always use strong, influential, or accomplished people to do His work.

In fact, God often chooses to have His work done through those whom the world regards as foolish, weak, unimpressive, or ordinary. He has two main purposes for doing this. First of all, by accomplishing great things through unexceptional people, He proves that the world’s wisdom is foolishness. And second, God’s people don’t have any reason to boast: They have no power to save themselves and no ability to serve Him apart from His strength and wisdom.

God isn’t interested in impressive human talent and natural ability. He’s looking for humble people who are totally dependent upon Him and willing to make themselves available for whatever He calls them to do. Moses didn’t feel the Lord could use him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt because he wasn’t eloquent, but he became one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history. David was young and had no experience as a warrior, but the Spirit of God empowered him to kill a giant with one small stone.

If you’re a believer, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are or how qualified you feel. If you’ll simply depend on Christ, make yourself available, and obey Him, He’ll use you for His glory.

Experiencing The Greatness Of God

No matter how great God is, if we don’t know Him personally through an intimate relationship and experience His power and glory in our lives, His greatness would not mean that much to us at all. By the way, His greatness can only be as relevant to us to the extent that we allow Him to unleash it in us. Since His greatness has already been revealed plainly to us, the thing that matters the most is how we choose to respond to it.

The ideal way to consider the greatness of God Almighty concerning responding to it in a meaningful and life changing fashion is through the lens of His love. God is love by nature (1 John 4:8). He has loved everybody unconditionally and sacrificially (John 3:16). That love is flowing mightily through the person of Christ Jesus.

But the big issue is that not everyone that He loves is enjoying the most important blessing that comes out of that love due to their sheer unwillingness to respond to that love provided to them through Christ Jesus. Moreover, what about His saving grace that is readily available to everyone who is willing to act out in faith in order to receive the gift of salvation?

In the light of the analogy being used earlier, it’s obvious that if we’re not willing to take our responsibilities to make His greatness become real or the top priority in our lives, we won’t be able to enjoy His greatness from a personal level. When it comes to responding to God’s greatness in order to make it significant to us, there are two vital things we can do that can sum up our responsibilities toward Him. First, we are to glorify Him. Second, we are to place our faith in Him.

1) Glorifying God

God has made man for His own glory; in other words, to further reveal His greatness to another type of conscious being after creating the angelic hosts (Isaiah 43:7). When it comes to our responsibilities toward Him, He made us with one unique purpose, which was to glorify Him. It’s an unimaginable privilege that the great Creator of this universe has granted us. It wasn’t because that He couldn’t live without being glorified by us. It wasn’t because He was obligated to bring mankind into existence. Furthermore, He wasn’t under some kind of pressure to do so.

But it was because He willingly chose to express how great He is to the human race. He made us in His own image and equipped us with the abilities to enjoy, contemplate, and admire His works and wonders, and glorify Him in return by serving Him, living for Him, carrying out His will, praising, and worshiping Him alone. Let’s examine this Scripture verse below that sums up God’s worthiness to receive glory.

You are worthy, our Lord and Our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because You have created all things, and by Your pleasure they exist and were created (Revelation 4:11).

You see, according to this Scripture, God’s worthiness to us is based solely on the fact that He has made us and the world around us. Since He has made us for Himself, He’s expecting us to give Him glory and honor due to Him alone. The question is how can we glorify God acceptably?

Within the greatness of God, you find His glory. And within His glory, the key element that you find is His holiness, which is the most exalted of His divine attributes (Isaiah 6:3Revelation 4:8). Holiness is the very nature of God Himself, and righteousness is His character. Holiness saturates His being. The glory of God is the manifest beauty of His holiness.

To glorify God means so many things since there are many ways He can be glorified. But the most important aspect about glorifying God relates to His holiness. To glorify Him means revering whom He is as a holy and righteous God. If He’s a holy and righteous God (1 Peter 1:16; Psalm 145:17), the only way we can glorify Him acceptably is by living in a way that is in line with whom He is. He has commanded us to be holy since He is holy. Let’s take a further look at these Scriptures below.

Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God (Romans 6:12-13).

Glorifying God starts with the kind of life we’re willing to lead before His sight for His glory through the means of committing ourselves fully to Him. Leading a holy and righteous life is literally what will enable us to do the very things that fall within glorifying Him such as worship, praise, honor, magnify His name, and so forth. We cannot glorify Him while continuing to live sinful lives before Him because living in sin is a matter of trying to satisfy self or living for self, which is in direct contradiction with how God wants us to live for His glory.

Sin goes against the very nature and character of God. You see, God hates sin because it injects in the sinner a spirit of hostility and irreverence toward Him who deserves eternal praise and glory. He hates sin because it builds a constant propensity in the sinner to continue to live in the same sinful condition that God already hated up to the core. God hates sin because it either destroys, hijacks, or defiles the very characteristics He has made us with that reflect whom He is by infusing us with the nature of the devil.

It destroys the spiritual appetite of the sinner by making him want nothing to do with God. And it also causes the sinner to find himself in situations where he’s constantly running away from God for the sake of trying to satisfy himself with things that are outside of God’s will for his life. It literally causes the sinner to become prideful, arrogant, irresponsible, negligent, and a liar. Sin separates people from God by placing them in situations where they can no longer have fellowship with a holy and righteous God.

As a result, if we’re serious about glorifying God, we have to make sure that we conform our lives to His will revealed to us through His Word. We must be willing to obey Him. Our obedience to Him is the essence of glorifying Him. We have to offer ourselves to Him without reservation, so that He can fill us up with His greatness. That’s in fact the starting point of true worship.

Glorifying God is the pillar of spiritual growth. As a believer focuses on the glory of God, he will change from one level of glory to the next by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The main purpose of that serie regarding the greatness of God is to enable you to live a transformed life filled with the fullness of God Almighty. In short, glorifying God is based on acknowledging His greatness revealed to us through the creation and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him.

2) Placing Our Faith In God

It’s always one thing to learn about the greatness of God either by reading His Word, through preaching, or through testimonies, but it’s something entirely different to make His greatness becoming the cornerstone of our lives. Placing our faith in God is predicated on making Him become as great and powerful He truly is in a personal level.

The truth is that we do believe that God is great since He is the creator of all things. The big problem is that belief isn’t sufficient at all when it comes to tapping into whom God truly is in a personal level. And this belief can be labeled as a passive type of belief since it doesn’t really involve us exercising faith in Him as He wants us to do so.

Our biggest problem is that we don’t always live in complete dependency on His greatness in every circumstance that we find ourselves in by allowing whom He is to shape our perspective concerning life’s struggles. We’re about to read this following verse, which will show us how to connect our lives to God’s greatness.

Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

The foundation of our Christian life is laid upon our faith in God through Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the ideal way to tap into His greatness is by spending quality time meditating on His greatness revealed to us all throughout His Word. Doing so will eventually strengthen our faith in Him since our faith is totally dependent on His ability to remain faithful to His promises.

We are to believe that He’s fully capable of bringing to pass the promises found in His Word in our lives. This will empower us to pray with confidence and boldness. When we allow whom God is to become the core foundation of how we live, we invite His power and might to strengthen and transform our lives day-by-day.

Prayer

Note: That is a prayer model that you can pray in order to better acknowledge the greatness of God Almighty in your life. You can customize it if you want to.

Father God, I glorify and honor Your holy name because of who You are. And I praise Your mighty name for what You’ve done and what You have in store for me. I want to make a great God like You look as great You really are by magnifying Your name. You are the source of my life. I thank You that my whole life has been sustained by Your greatness since the day You formed me in the womb of my mother.

You knew me before the foundation of this world way before You formed me. You knew me before time actually came into being, LORD God. Thus, my existence isn’t an accident. I acknowledge that every fiber of my being is held together by Your power. I thank You for the salvation that You’ve granted me through Christ Jesus, which is another massive manifestation of Your power in my life.

You’re infinitely greater than all my struggles. I give You praise, glory, and honor for Your limitless greatness and power. I may not like the current situation that I’m going through right now, but I will not let it keep me from depending or acknowledging Your greatness. You are worthy to receive honor, glory, and praise as the sole creator of all things and the sole sovereign Lord of all things.

LORD God, You are so great to the extent that the many great blessings that You’ve poured out in my life that have changed me are just a tiny fraction of what You’re able to do. I rejoice in the reality that nothing is too hard for You Lord. You’re not only the God of the impossible, but You’re the God operating far above that realm; therefore, the impossible has no hold on You.

Lord of heaven and earth, You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. I pray that You help me to better understand how great You are Lord. And I pray that You empower me by Your Spirit to live a life characterized by complete reliance on Your greatness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.