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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!

 

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!

I Don’t Understand!

Proverbs 3: 5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart not on your own understanding.

 

Why am I sick, Lord? Why did I lose my loved one? Why did I lose the job I loved?

When bad things happen to us, we want to understand why the bad thing happened to us. But do we really need to know that? In most cases, we don’t. Will understanding the why make a difference? You’ll still be sick, your loved one will still be gone, or you still won’t have that job you loved so much.

I think when we ask why, we are really asking is why me? Why did this happen to me? Are you mad at me? Don’t you care about what happens to me? Don’t you love me?

This is where studying the Bible and, especially, passages relating to God’s love for us will get you through the bad times. Once you understand the depth of God’s love for each of us, then you can trust Him which will lead you to accept His sovereignty.

This is when you have to go back to His Word—His promises. The Bible assures us that God loves us. It says so in so many different ways. If you think of God as your father, then you know that He loves you and wants the best for you.

When you ask why again and again, it will rob you of your peace and joy.

Trusting God means forgetting about the why.

Trusting God means moving forward.

Trusting God means giving the problem to God.

Trusting God means that you believe His promises.

Trusting God will restore your peace and joy.

We don’t need to understand why each bad thing happens to us–unless it’s of our own making. If bad things happen as a result of our own actions, then it’s good to know that and learn from it. But when bad things happen for no reason that we can understand, that’s when it’s time to trust God and His promises.

So today when that why word rears its ugly head. Banish it from your thoughts. Instead, tell yourself and God over and over—I trust you. I know you love me.

It will do wonders!

 

Need Some Encouragement?

I had a few setbacks this week in my ongoing journey with my brain tumors so I was needing some encouragement. I went to my stack of index cards of  Bible verses. I don’t have a good memory so I write verses that are special to me on them so I can read them again and again. And thus renew my mind and put God’s truth in me.

Anyway, here are a few verses that spoke to me and I want to share them with you, in case you’re needing some encouragement as well.

 

Proverbs 24: 16: For though the righteous fall seven times they rise again.

Psalm 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.

Psalm 91: 2: I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress: My God in him I trust.

Psalm 31: 15:  My times are in Your hands.

1st John 5: 4:  for everyone born of God overcomes this world.

 Luke 18: 1: One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

 

So whatever you are facing today, pray about it; trust in God’s love for you; and never give up!

 

Jumping Off The Roller Coaster!

Psalm 31:15

My times are in your hands.

I hate roller coasters! Not only rollercoasters, but most any amusement park rides. I don’t have the time to tell you how many times I ALMOST got hurt on various amusement park rides, but that is neither here nor there.

Real life has ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. If we aren’t careful we can get  caught up in the cycle of all those exhilarating highs and those desperate lows. Some people may enjoy that ride, but I’m not one of them. I am not a drama queen. I don’t like drama any more than I like roller coasters.

Unfortunately, my life has been more like a roller coaster lately. As the two-year anniversary of diagnosing my bilateral brain tumors approaches, it seems as if those hills and curves are coming even more quickly. One day–good news. The next–bad. The next–worse and then back to good news. And at this point, it seems as if it’s never going to be done.  It just keeps going on and on and on and…..

The thing about roller coasters (and life) is that control is an illusion. The best we can do is buckle up, hold on tight, and go along for the ride. Life can get that way as well if we let it. We can start worrying about every little detail, not just in our lives but in the lives of the people we love. As if worrying about it can change the outcome. NEWS FLASH–IT CAN’T!

 I’m done with the roller coaster.  In fact, I’m jumping off the roller coaster! I am not  in control, but God is. All those emotional highs and lows are too exhausting and stressful. Certainly, not good for me or for you. Instead, I’m claiming God’s promises of peace and joy, no matter what the circumstances.

He promises me my times are in his hands.

I believe Him!  

Are You A Quitter?

Proverbs 24: 16

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.

Are you a quitter? As children, we knew being called  a quitter was bad. Right up there with being a chicken or having cooties. But as adults we know there are times when it’s right to quit, but when?

Certainly, we aren’t called to quit just because things get rough. Or when it takes longer than expected. Or when our feelings get hurt. Or when we’re just plain tired.

I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to quit. That’s between you and God, but I can tell you when to rise up again because the Bible tells me the answer. When you fall! Seven times? Maybe, but it could be even more. Just as Jesus answered Peter when he asked how many times he had to forgive someone–seventy-seven came the answer.

Giving up is easy. Rising up again and again and again isn’t so easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult, but we learn so much when we rise again after the fall. Rising up again strengthens us and matures us as Christians. Each time we rise again that mustard seed of faith grows a bit more as does our dependence on God.  And never forget someone somewhere is watching you. Each time you rise, you show the power of God.

I’m struggling now–physically, but not spiritually. In spite of all my health issues, I’m at peace. At least most of the time. I won’t say I don’t get discouraged because I do. But when I am discouraged I remind myself of  two different verses.

First, Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Second, 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.

As I remind myself of these two wonderful promises, God gives me the strength to rise up and face the day once again.

I pray the same for you.

 

A BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Luke 2: 10-12

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

 

A baby changes everything, there is no arguing that point. Ask any parent, new or experienced, young or old, tired or rested. A baby changes everything for their family.  And that’s even more true for the baby we celebrate during this Christmas season.  Let’s take a look at the reason for the season.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Atheists–agnostics–and some who just aren’t sure often give Jesus his “due.”  Oh, he was a great teacher, they say, but He wasn’t GOD.

Let’s take a practical look at that for a moment, shall we?

What’s the year? Oh–it’s 2013 A.D   A.D. does not mean “after death,” as a lot of people believe, but it stands  for a Latin phrase: anno domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born.  B.C stands for Before Christ, though now people have changed it in an attempt to downplay the religious aspect.

Wow!  Time is measured by Jesus’s birth and death. I’m impressed!

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’s life for a moment and those who knew him best–his disciples.

Without going into the gory details, ten of the original twelve apostles chose death rather than renounce Jesus’s divinity. Why? Because they experienced life with the Messiah. Some were with him the day he was baptised and they heard God’s voice come down from the heavens saying,  “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  They experienced the darkness the day he died.

They knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the Son of God and they were willing to die rather than renounce His divinity.  Because of that certainty, they spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

But even better, Jesus changed my world. Christianity isn’t about rules and religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His only begotten son, Jesus. And that has made all the difference in my world!

Indeed, a  baby changes everything!