GOD IS SOVEREIGN!

BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS 

SESSION 2

So last session we talked about the bad news–just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are immune to difficulties in this life. So today we’re moving forward with the good news–thought it may not seem that way at the beginning.

Do you know what sovereign means? According to Dictionary.com it means  to have supreme power or authority. Another one of the definitions I really loved is  being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc. Between those two definitions is a fairly accurate description of God.

supreme power-yes

supreme authority-yes

above all others in character-yes

above all others in importance-yes

above all others in excellence-yes

above all others in etc…..yes

Let me just fill in the etc. part just a bit–above all others in love; in goodness; in holiness. (NOTE: Help me fill in this list. What would be some other characteristics that describe God?)

Supreme–above all others. That means God makes the final decisions about….well everything. Only God decides the who, the what, the how, the when, the why, and the where of miracles. He can choose to give us a miracle or not, no matter what we do or don’t do.

It’s HIS decision and his decision alone.

And…and here’s some GOOD NEWS… because of HIS goodness, HIS wisdom, HIS love, it is ALWAYS the right decision.

Whether we like it or not!

Whether we agree or not!

Whether it breaks our heart or not!

It’s easy to have faith when life is good, but we honor God when we choose to love him, to trust him, and to continue to serve him no matter what circumstances come against us. And when we make that choice, we begin to mature spiritually.

In Mark 14:36, Jesus said in the Garden of Gesethmene the night before his crucifixion,  “Abba”, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

YOUR TURN:  Don’t forget  to help me fill in this list. What would be some other characteristics that describe God? Next time, I promise more good news!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

BELIEVERS IN THE WORD!

OK, so I’d hoped for a few more votes to get us going in our Bible study but…that didn’t happen. I almost decided not to give this Bible study group a try, but I just feel this is something God wants me to do. And if it only helps one person, then I’m OK with that. So we had one vote for BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS and one for TOPICS.

Both votes win! How’s that for a compromise? We’re going to do TOPICS and the first topic is…BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS. But it will be a much shorter study than I’d orginially planned, probably between 4-6 sessions. Hopefully, we’ll cover the topic well enough for us to learn something from it. So, let’s get started.

I got the suggestion of Sisters in the Word for the name of our group, but I didn’t want to leave out the men so I chose Believers in the Word. I think it’s a good name. It can mean believers (that’s us) studying the Word but it can also mean that we believe in the Word–which we do. So I like it!

BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS (Session 1)

Today’s session focuses on the BAD NEWS. I know–that’s not all that fun but reality is reality.

Many Christians feel that once they become Christians, they deserve a life with no problems. After all God loves us so why would he let anything bad happen to us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  In John 16:33 Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It can’t be more clear than that. Jesus said to expect troubles. So for those Christians who believe being a Christian means living a trouble-free life or at least a tragedy-free life, think again. It’s simply not true.

Bad things can happen for lots of reasons: our own actions; someone else’s actions (after all, they have free will too); or circumstances beyond our control, such as a tsunami. I think it’s a lot easier for us to accept difficult situations when we know our own actions contributed to it. Here’s a few examples and not from my life.

I have cancer, but I chose to smoke.

I had a heart attack but I’m the one who didn’t live a healthy lifestyle.

My marriage is over but I’m the one didn’t spend enough time with my spouse.

It’s much more difficult to accept a situation when we didn’t have a part in it or at least we can’t see our part, or worse yet when we are trying to be obedient to God and things still fall apart. But not to worry, we’re all in good company.

MARY & JOSEPH–if anyone should have had an easy time, it should have been Mary and Joseph. But they didn’t!

PAUL-Paul wrote more than half the New Testament and yet he spent a lot of time in prison as he wrote it!

THE ORIGINAL DISCIPLES-they were the first to believe and know that Jesus was the Son of God, but almost all of them died for their beliefs.

JESUS!!

None of these people were unloved by God. In fact, they were great women and men of God. And Jesus was the Son of God. But it didn’t keep them from really difficult situations–even death.

Here’s a few Bible Verses to think about:

Phillipians 2:5

Let this same attitude be in you that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 1:3, NIV

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life throughour knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

And my favorite…

 Romans 8:28

  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

What a wonderful promise that is!

QUESTIONS: Please answer one or more than one and leave the answer in the comments section. If you don’t see your answer right away, it means I have to approve it first, so be patient. Feel free to respond to others’ comments in a kind, loving way.

1. Share a difficult situation that you are going or did go through. Did you feel abandoned my God during that time? Angry at God? Unloved by God?

2. What did you learn from the situation?

3. Pick one of the Bible verses from today and tell what it means to you as as you go through a difficult situation.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Isaiah 43: 19

See, I am doing a new thing…

God isn’t just about the same old–same old.

And we shouldn’t be either! We need to try new things. Sometimes, they’ll work and other times not so much. But we won’t know unless we give it a try. So in the spirit of the new year, I’m going to try something new here at Power Up With God’s Word. Instead of doing devotions as I’ve been doing, I thought it might be interesting to do an online Bible study group TOGETHER.

Did you see that word–TOGETHER?

TOGETHER meaning me and all of you. And the all of you part means I need to see some feedback. That means participating by making comments. I’d love to see some good discussion happening between all of us. Don’t be afraid to give your thoughts and opinions–even if they’re different from mine or other people.

We can learn from each other!

Anyway to get started, I’ve got three different ideas. Vote for the one you’d like–remember we’re in this TOGETHER! If I don’t get a sense that some of you are going to join me in this Bible study group…well then I won’t move forward with it.

Here’s my ideas:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM GOD! This study focuses on the amazing gifts God gives each of his children when we join his family.

BAD NEWS–GOOD NEWS! The bad news is that life can be really difficult. The good news God doesn’t leave us defenseless in the battles we have to fight.

TOPIC BY TOPIC–Instead of doing a long-term study like the first two, we’ll simply pick some topics and learn more about them, such as prayer or faith or love. These lessons will probably be 3-4 lessons in length.

OK–now it’s your turn. Vote for the one you’d like us to do.

And by the way if you’ve got a good idea for a name for our study group, share that with us as well!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Any Grinches Out There?

Proverbs 23:7:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, but I know that not everyone did. Some because of circumstances out of their control and some because they chose not to.

WHAT???

Who would choose not to have a wonderful Christmas? Probably not many of us would choose to do that consciously. Though there might be a few. But just because we’re unaware doesn’t mean we didn’t make that choice just the same.

Count me among the unawares.

I’ve beein going around telling people that  I love the Christmas season but not necessarily Christmas Day. I mean really! Talk about a bad attitude. I’d already planned to not have a good Christmas.

And I didn’t mind talking about it either. Talk about being a Grinch. That was me! Just because I’d had not perfect Christmases the past few years, I’d decided I would never have another one.

Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My attitude and my words were ensuring that I wouldn’t have a good Christmas—this year or any other one.

But God is good!

God’s Spirit spoke to my spirit a week or so before the big day reminding me that everything’s not all about me. I know! Shocking as it was, it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I decided to smile and enjoy the day for the people around me—because it was their Christmas, too!

And…. I had a good Christmas! And everyone around me seem to have one as well.

It’s amazing how when you focus on making other people happy, you get a little more happy as well! Well, actually, it’s not all that amazing. That’s another one of God’s principles–you reap what you sow. If you sow grinchiness, then all you reap is more grinchiness. If you sow Christmas joy, then you’ll reap more Christmas joy.

And I’m already excited about next Christmas.

An interesting point is that Proverbs 23: 7 has been one of my anchor verses these past few years as I dealt with my brain tumors. I would remind myself over and over that my thoughts had power when it came to my health. But somehow I seemed to forget all about that principle when it came to Christmas, and especially my attitude about Christmas.

Mmmmm…. I wonder what other unaware attitudes of mine need adjusting….

So, what have you been grinchy about lately?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Guest Writer–Stephanie Prichard

 My guest writer today is Stephanie Prichard. She is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, and in retirement have turned to co-authoring novels now that their three children are busy raising a beautiful crop of grandchildren for them.
Stephanie and her husband have recently released a book, STRANDED. To learn more about the book and to enter a giveaway, hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes.

Bully Birds

 Proverbs 19:3

“The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the Lord.”

 

My husband barely dared to breathe. He sat immobile at the picnic table on our Aussie host’s deck, surrounded by thirteen wild Sulphur-crested Cockatoos perched at one-foot intervals along the railing. The size of barnyard chickens, snowy white except for their black beaks and the yellow feathers crowning their heads, they didn’t move either. Aloof, regal, their agenda clear, they stared at him and waited.

Finally, my husband oh-so-slowly extended his right arm across the tabletop and deposited one sunflower seed after another toward him. The Hansel-and-Gretel trail ended with his hand as the gingerbread house. He opened it wide to reveal a tantalizing, come-hither pile of seeds.

Within seconds, a volunteer hopped from the railing to the table. Step by step, the cockatoo followed the trail, gobbling up the seeds until he was within a neck’s stretch of the gingerbread-house cache. He halted. Looked up at my husband. Looked down at the cache. Ever so slowly, he stretched his neck toward the pile of seeds. My husband’s lips quirked into a smile of victory. Then, with lightning speed, the cockatoo nipped my husband’s index finger and scurried backwards.

My husband’s smile disappeared, but he didn’t move. He pressed his hand all the firmer onto the tabletop and tightened his mouth into a straight line.

The cockatoo crept cautiously forward. He stretched his neck again and latched onto the same finger. This time he bit so hard an electric current of pain shot through my husband’s body. Suddenly it wasn’t so cute that he was surrounded by thirteen combat-ready, sharp-beaked aggressors who coveted his sunflower seeds. He dumped the pile onto the table and left. Chagrined, he stood beside me at the sliding glass door and watched the other twelve cockatoos swoop to the table to join in the feast.

That wasn’t the end of it. A few days later, at a small zoo of native Australian animals, we stopped at a cage labeled Cockatoos. My husband clutched the wire fence and peered inside. Immediately, a Sulfur-crested Cockatoo flew straight over to him. “Well,” my husband said, “at least there’s one friendly cockatoo in Australia.” He grinned as the bird replied with what sounded like a mighty affable “Aaaark.”

And with that, the cockatoo promptly reached over and bit the same sore finger the other bird had chomped. “Aaaark,” he squawked, and with a distinct Aussie accent said, “Good boy, good boy.”

Aren’t we just like those cockatoos? Territorial: “Hands off, God. This is my space. My life. Just dump what’s good on the tabletop and leave me alone.”

…Until something bad happens. And then guess Who gets questioned for His lack of goodness?

If you’re like me, you recognize when you fret against God. But do you recognize the territory where you’ve drawn a line and said, “Hands off. This is mine”?

Thanks, Stephanie, for writing this devotion for us. Congratulations on your new book, STRANDED. Don’t forget to hop on over to Tiaras & Tennis Shoes to learn more about her book and to be entered in the giveaway.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

HOW’S THINGS GOING?

Hebrews 6: 12

We do not want you to become lazy but imitators of those through faith and patience inherit the promises.

So, how’s things going for you? Is life good or is your life an example of Murphy’s law? You know, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we won’t have problems. Sometimes, serious life-altering problems. Does that mean God doesn’t love you? Of course not.

God loves us and He wants us to have a good life here on earth.

The Bible is filled to the brim with advice and wisdom about anything and everything. Including how to have the best life possible–in spite of the circumstances we find ourselves in. And today’s verse is only one of many examples of that advice.

imitators of those through faith and patience inherit the promises.

There’s another verse in the Bible that tells us to be imitators of Christ. If we only follow that one bit of advice, it will take us far on our spiritual journey. But God always gives us more… and here it is. Find other Christians who have what you want–whatever that is. Then imitate their life.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

In other words, learn from other people’s experiences. We all know that we learn from our own mistakes but that can be quite a painful way to learn. Instead, find other Christians who have already inherited God’s promises and then imitate their life.

Having marital trouble or just want a happier marriage? Go talk with some long-married Christian couples. Find out their secets then put their advice into action and see what happens.

Having serious health issues? Go talk with someone who’s gone through it and discover what helped them.

Having trouble with your kids? With addictions? With your job? The list could go on and on, but the good news is that none of it’s new. Life has always been filled with problems. If you look around, you’ll find someone who’s aleady experienced it. And most Christians want to help make someone else’s journey in that area a little easier by sharing what they’ve already learned.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

THANKSGIVING

Psalm 100: 4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

Gratitude is focusing on what you have, not what you want.

Gratitude is a lifestyle.

Gratitude is a choice.

Gratitude is the key to a joy-filled life, no matter the circumstances.

 

I have brain tumors, but they aren’t malignant.

I’m partially deaf, but I can still hear my husband when he tells me that he loves me.

I had to retire from a job I loved, but I don’t have to worry about paying my bills.

I’m not a rich and famous author, but people read the stories I write—and like them.

I’m not as healthy as I used to be, but I’m healthier than I was last year.

I don’t live in a fancy new house, but my house is filled with love and laughter.

 

Life changes and not always for the better.

Some might be tempted to grumble and complain.

Some might be tempted to give up and give in.

I choose to give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his love endures forever.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

My list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

What’s on your list?