We are nearing the end of our series on the attributes of God. My prayer is by now, you are beginning to see God differently than before we entered this series. Today our focus is on the “Sovereignty of God.” What does Sovereign mean? And what does it mean for God to be Sovereign? How does that impact your life, your prayers, your salvation, and yes your future? I am confident as we focus our attention on this incredible attribute of God, the pieces of this overwhelming puzzle will begin to fall into place before your very eyes; and I assure you the majesty and power of God will manifest itself in ways you never fathomed. I want to add one important thought, it concerns our worthiness. We are so unworthy to approach the subject of the sovereignty of God, because it cannot be comprehended by limited human intelligence. At best, we can only glimpse his revealed glory, according to what has been written in the bible. My prayer is that we spiritually digest what we can know about him, and allow it to draw us into a deeper relationship with our God, the creator of the universe. Our God is worthy of all glory and honor, may his praise be on our lips continually. Blessings.
Peter mentioned it in 1 Peter, reminding his readers they were no different than those long ago who made the same mistake. What is that mistake? It is the great mistake. The great gaffe. When human beings are told something is going to happen, and when it doesn’t in the timing in which they believe it should- doubt enters. When doubt enters, it grows to unbelief; reasoning the whole idea was fabricated and untrue. This is where mockery begins to rule, and what once was great concern, now is displayed as mockery. The danger of this mockery is it leads those who have embraced it, to take on the attitude of lets eat, and drink because tomorrow we are not dying. It was just a fabricated hoax. This is what happened to Noah as he was building the Ark. He warned the people, and since he had been warning for such a long period of time, the people finally grew to the point where they began to taunt Noah, and write him off as crazy- that was until the rain began to fall. Peter offers the same warning to his hearers. Telling them the patience of God should be looked upon as grace because of God’s great love for humanity. They like those in Noah’s day took it that God was merely bluffing, and nothing is going to happen.
We are still in our series “The Joy of Fearing God.” And this morning we will contemplate as our subject “The Patience of God.” The worse thing humanity can do is to take the grace of God and play with it. The question is “how?” How can we convince those around us that God is not playing, and that he means what he says. As we look into his word this morning, I pray it will inspire us to warn those in danger. Blessings.
Within our lives as humans, people come and go all the time- its a part of life. Sometimes their leaving is temporary, other times it is something more significant, and ultimately, it can be permanent. Separation is usually accompanied by a degree of emotional pain. The pain of missing that person, and what they add to our lives. The love we have for them, and then there are the memories, let’s not forget them. The memories; thousands of little individual moments all strung together that create one big smile. All of this makes goodbyes very difficult.
I recall in Acts 20, the scene of Paul and the Ephesian elders. The bible said after Paul finished telling them of his fate that awaited him, what grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. That moment. That realization was so emotional, it brought them to tears. Only God in his infinite wisdom could bind his children together in such a beautiful perfect way that departures from one another are accompanied with ”great” tears. Only God can take a room full of strangers and through one incredible act on a cross bind those strangers into a family that would go to the ends of the earth for each other; and yes, even die for one another. That is the family of God. And that, is a part of what makes us so special. Although the world doesn’t understand us, it is the heart of God that binds us together so perfectly, so beautifully that we are not the same when one of us is missing.
As I think about the touching scene in Acts 20, there is one thought that always overcomes me. One thought that shines through like the intense brightness of the sun through a crack in the clouds. There are no goodbyes in Christ Jesus, only farewells, I’ll see you later. It is right there in that moment, we realize God fixed everything, and didn’t leave any experience uncovered. He covered it all. Although for the world it is goodbye, for us in Christ it is always- see you later. If not here, I’ll see you eternally in heaven. What an exciting thought. We are never fully separated from one another, it’s only temporary at best, and then it grows into something beyond our ability to fully comprehend- eternity!
So when we come to that place- the hard part of leaving, we do so with a heart full of grateful tears. Not only because of our separation, and the realization we won’t see each other; no, it is overwhelming tears of joy, because God fixed it so never are we separated forever- only for a time. Only for a season. Only until like the sun through the clouds- eternity shows up and we are united again forever. I imagine when this thought gripped the Ephesian Elders it was great comfort for them to know regardless what happened to Paul in Rome, they WOULD see him again. And when they did, it lasted throughout all eternity. Praise God!!
So, Dan and Anne, we don’t know what fate awaits you or us. Today our hearts are filled with tears every time we envision you saying goodbye on your way to Tennessee, but we know it is never the end, only a pause in time, until we get to the great eternity, where we will endure one pun after another from Dan. We love you both, and will miss you beyond words. God be with you- until eternity. Blessings.
Today is the first Sunday of the New Year. This is a uniquely special time of year for many, because we begin the year with a “clean slate.” Today is a day to dream of great possibilities for the year. A day to establish new habits, and to leave old counterproductive habits in 2017. An opportunity to chart a new course to reach an even greater destiny in Christ Jesus. Today is also a day of “resolution.” Making a New Years resolution is a time honored American tradition. It’s a time of change. For some it is the prospect of a new job, a better job, a more exciting job, a less stressful job, a more fulfilling job. For others it is a time of scenery change, by leaving the mundane of work-life, for the greener pastures of retirement- and all the ammenities that accompany it. For still others, it’s more personal. To be a better person, mate, parent, employee, etc., Yours may be health focused; a better diet, more exercise, a few less pounds, more rest, greater attention to that which preserves the physical body. The resolution possibilities are vast. In making your resolution, did you consider making one that impacts your spiritual life? In particular your relationship with God? Did you challenge yourself to serve more, to give more, to do more, to care more, to love more, to be useable to God, to work more to look like Jesus? In all the resolutions we make, only those which include God and his will, are everlasting. Unfortunately, the others usually reveal themselves to be self-centered and temporary. Resolve this year to include God in a greater way. Resolve this year to focus on being who God wants you to be, and I assure you it will be a great year. Let’s get excited about what God has in store for those who love and serve him! Blessings.