Category Archives: sovereignty

perfect peace

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my soul this week has not been characterized by peace, let alone perfect peace.  many times, for many reasons, i have struggled with worry…  worry over health, worry over seeing friends walking through very hard situations, worry over the future…  i could write a long list of the things i’ve worried about over the past few days.  but i know I should focus on where I know God wants me to focus… on His care for me, His power over my life and His goodness…

He has blessed me lavishly.  I don’t deserve His kidness.  I am overwhelmed at His patience with me.  I so often am tempted to see my sin as greater than Christ, but then He reminds me that its not.  What hope that gives to me when all seems dark. 

A friend of mine reminded me about a year ago that it is when life seems the darkest that the stars shine the brightest… and don’t forget to look up.  As I was reading through my journal last night, I came across that reminder again.  So, though my heart feels overwhelmingly dark right now and each step is clouded by confusion, here are a few of the “stars…”

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  Psalm 27:13-14

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Has he said, and will he not do it?  Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  Numbers 23:19

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.  I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me…Psalm 57:1-3

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  Psalm 103:2-8

Unexpected Answers

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So, I’m sitting here (in my favorite spot on the floor leaning up against my recliner) with a melancholy rejoicing in my heart. Melancholy is not always a bad thing – sometimes rejocing just doesn’t look like “yippee – jumping up and down and squealing with overwhelming joy” – sometimes its a calm contentedness or a quiet peace in the rain.

I believe that just like God works in different means in our lives drawing our hearts to Him, our sacrifices of praise can and should look different at varied times throughout our lives.
Today the song in my heart is a minor key. If I had to pick a soundtrack, it would either be The Chronicles of Narnia or Amazing Grace – both are ominious and melancholy with undeniable themes of hope throughout. But enough about music and on to the real reason for this post…
I “stumbled” across a verse today. A verse that God used to deeply encourage me and to build my faith in Him as my Provider. Psalm 68:6a says “God sets the solitary in a home (the lonely in families)”
This was encouraging to me because at a time when I’ve been struggling with “limbo” (aka – singleness, job, family and health questions, etc), God brought this reminder across my path.
He lovingly reminded me through those Living Words that He has sovereignly placed me with a family from my church, with 3 young kids who often by mistake call me “mom.” He has allowed me to “practice” parenting on them and has allowed me to view daily a stellar example of a a faithful patient husband and dad as well as a submissive, caring, loving wife and mother.
What a work of grace God has given me. He’s not only given me a place to stay, He’s set me in a place that is my home. He’s placed me in a family. Me – a solitary stupid little sheep that continually goes astray – I have a “fold” to return to. I have people around me that care enough to run and catch me when I go astray. I belong to something so much greater than just myself.
It seems almost laughable that I would struggle with not having a family or a home. Look around, Emily! Your family and home is here. You are a part of the greatest place on earth!
How kind of God to open my eyes to the blessing right in front of my face. I so often miss those blessings as I look forward to future blessings. But as I’ve been reminded lately, God doesn’t provide grace for future worries. And in His lovingkindness, He doesn’t simply dangle a carrot in front of us, that we are always striving for but never attaining it. He currently provides grace upon grace. Mercy ever-abundant. Blessings and peace, not because of our worthiness, but because of His infinite worth.
It wasn’t quite the answer I was expecting. But its vastly richer than a new job that pays 25% more. This is part of my eternal inheritance – and its just a glimpse. Its a surprising and unexpected glimpse, but I’m grateful.
p.s. i’m still praying for the husband I’ll have one day, the new job I’ll hopefully get eventually and my own home that I’ll decorate and invite others into though! :)

A Real Inheritance

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So, God’s rather interesting. He promises to meet our needs. But I’m discovering that He often does not do that in ways that we think is best. Here’s my story…

As most of you know, I’m working to get out of debt. I have made good progress, but unfortunately, still have a ways to go. God’s given me much grace through this process and has lovingly allowed friends to surround me who are helping to encourage me, keep me accountable, working with me on budgeting, etc. Its been a long process and I’m ready for it to be over. I’ve managed to have some $ set aside in savings as an emergency fund. Well, as a result of the migraines, the $ has pretty much all been used for doctor’s bills. I was nervous about this (aka. not trusting God) because my appointment tomorrow will completely wipe my savings dry. Then what? Then how do I pay the unexpected bills? What if my car breaks down? What am I supposed to do then?

Needless to say, fear began welling up in my heart. I think that I’ve begun to find a small sense of security in that miniscule emergency fund. Strike out again. Trusting in created things rather than the Creator.

Well, my sister just came back from a visit with our grandparents and had a bag of goodies for me. In that bag was a $500 savings bond that my grandparents had purchased in 1990, that was now more than fully matured and that is part of my inheritance. They wanted me to have it early (completely unaware of the inner struggle I’ve been having lately regarding my finances).

My first repsponse was anger. I saw that God provided for my need but not in the way I would have planned or expected. I hated to have to spend this inheritance money on doctors visits.

And then it was as if God were asking me “Emily, where is your true inheritance? Its not in savings bonds. Its not in using that money to buy something nice that you will have here on this earth for the next 50 or 60 years. Your true inheritance is something that won’t ever be taken away. Its so much greater than a savings bond. And you’re mad because I’m providing your need? How foolish. Look at what I’ve given you. Look at how I’ve provided. I meet your needs. I care for you. I sovereignly provided this money exactly when you needed it. That should be reason to rejoice, not a cause for justified anger. I have lovingly and patiently and compassionately met every single financial need you have. Rest in my provision. Even when it doesn’t come in ways you expect. Rejoice in My soverignty. I intimately care for your needs. I orchestrate events so that your needs will be met. Rest there. Rest in my care. Rest in my love, though it is not in a way you would have chosen. Rejoice that I meet your needs. Rejoice that my ways are beyond your realm of understanding. Rest and rejoice in Me!”

Wow. Not the response I had planned on. What a reminder. What we have here is passing away, but what He provides will never be taken. The inheritance we have through Him is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. That one is kept in heaven for us. Nothing can remove that from me! What a God this is. What care and provision. I am so unworthy. I am painfully aware of my sin before Him and yet He lavishes grace upon grace. Though not the way I would have chosen, God has once again proven His kind providence in my life. He has once again lovingly and patiently reminded me of His care. He has once again reminded me that my unworthiness was paid for on that cross of Jesus, and that for me – the hope is a future for me because of the price my Jesus paid.

Sovereign and Supreme

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Sovereign, supreme disposal
(J. C. Philpot, “Daily Portions”)
“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything,” Ephesians 1:22

How vast, how numerous, how complicated are the various events and circumstances which attend the Christian here below, as he travels onward to his heavenly home! But if all things are put under Jesus’ feet, there cannot be a single circumstance over which He has not supreme control. Everything in providence and everything in grace are alike subject to His disposal.

There is not . . .
a trial,
a temptation,
an affliction of body or soul,
a loss,
a cross,
a painful bereavement,
a vexation,
a grief,
a disappointment,
a case, state or condition,
which is not put under Jesus’ feet.

He has sovereign, supreme disposal over all events and circumstances. As possessed of infinite knowledge He sees them; as possessed of infinite wisdom He can manage them; and as possessed of infinite power He can dispose and direct them for our good and His own glory.

How much trouble and anxiety would we save ourselves, could we firmly believe, realize, and act on this!

If we could see by the eye of faith that . . .
every foe and every fear,
every difficulty and perplexity,
every trying or painful circumstance,
every looked for or unlooked for event,
every source of care, whether at present or in prospect—
are all at His sovereign disposal, what a load of anxiety and care would be often taken off our shoulders!