Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God's Promises and the Mystery of His Providence

Do you, like me, find the purpose of God's promises, providence, and our prayers to be PERPLEXING? (If you read this out loud, you may want to cover your mouth...with all these "P's". We don't want anyone spitting.- LOL) Often, questions start bombarding my mind, left and right...questions, like
- If God is sovereign and His plans fixed, why pray? 

- Does prayer change what God has purposed to do?

- If not, what is the point in praying?

-On the other hand, if prayer has any effect on what happens, then wouldn't it seem that God’s  plans are not fixed?




First, let's define providence:
Providence is the act of seeing and providing or preparing for the future. Biblically, it refers to God’s foresight and power to watch over and protect and provide for His creatures 
Other definitions have been presented, as well:
  • Providence is the care of God over created being; divine superintendence. (Johnson)
  • Providence is the divine superintendence over all created beings; the care of God over his creatures. (Worcester) 
  • The doctrine of divine Providence is that all things are sustained, directed, and controlled by God. (Leonard Woods) 


 Providence is God bringing to pass in time (sovereignly, absolutely, and perfectly) what he purposed in eternity. 
Predestination is God's purpose. 
Providence is God's execution of his purpose.

To better understand providence:

“Nothing in the universe happens by luck, chance, fortune, or accident, or by blind fate. Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by our God in eternity, and is brought to pass by his wise, adorable, good Providence.

“God's Providence is as 'minute' as it is 'mysterious' (Matt. 10:30). Our God has ordained the number of hairs on the heads of all. Not even a worthless sparrow falls to the ground without his decree.”

 “His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good! Let him therefore send and do what he will. By his grace, if we are his, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it.” 

“God's Providence is always executed in the 'wisest manner' possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God. We bow to his will, which is evident in his works of Providence, and say, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" 


God’s providence is really a combination of four attributes:
  • Sovereignty—He is in control.
  • Predestination—He is in charge of how everything turns out.
  • Wisdom—He makes no mistakes.
  • Goodness—He has our best interests at heart.

“PROVIDENCE MAKES ALL OF LIFE A MIRACLE!
In all the setbacks of your life as a believer,
God is plotting for your joy.

·         -The prophet Jeremiah sang of it: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

      - Paul gave it this cherished expression: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28-note).


  - Because of God’s providence we can keep believing in God even in the face of many unanswered questions. He can bear the burden of all our unanswered questions.

In every event of Providence, God has a purpose. The calamities of earthquake, the devastations of storm, the destructions of war, and all the terrible catastrophes of plague

"In 1937 Walt Disney released the first full-length animated movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Producing an animated movie was a gargantuan task. Disney artists drew over one million pictures. Each picture flashed onto the screen for a mere one-twenty-fourth of a second. As we watch the movie run at regular speed, it seems so simple. We have no idea all that goes into it. Our lives are like that movie. God puts infinite thought, skill, and careful attention into every detail. Yet as our lives run at “regular speed,” we have no idea how much God’s providence fills every single second." - Craig Brian Larson -

So, how does prayer work, if all this is true about God's providence? 

What we know about God will affect how we pray.

While God’s ultimate purposes are unchangeable, His immediate will is flexible and open to change through the prayers of His people. A personal God, who loves and cares, can be reached in prayer. When God wills the end, He also wills the means. God makes Himself available to be reached, which allows Him to work miracles. Therefore, prayer does not change what God has purposed to do; it is simply the means by which He carries out His final objective. 

But, if He wants something done for which no one  prays, He will do them without anyone praying. If we pray for things contrary to His will, He refuses to grant them. 

Thus, there is a perfect harmony between His purpose and providence, and man’s freedom. If we truly understand providence, then we will be desperate and unrelenting in our prayer. 

Revelation 8 says that the prayers of the saints are being stored up and fueling the fire of inscence. So do not ever underestimate the power of your prayers. Plead! Plead! Plead! and Plead some more until the day when we see his glory and his face and all of his unchanging perfections.
We also must realize that the end of prayer is to know Him and to to see His glory.

source


"Things don't just happen to those who love God,
They're planned by His own dear hand,
Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
Things don't just happen--
they're planned."
--Fields


"I know who holds the future,
And I know who holds my hand;
With God things don’t just happen—
Everything by Him is planned. "
—Smith

If our circumstances find us in God, we shall find God in our circumstances. - George Muller



I used to listen to Twila Paris' music when I was in 

college...yes, I'm getting older! This song that she sings 

speaks of how God is in control and that He can be 

trusted.


Another song touched my heart deeply, as I have always loved looking at stained glass windows. I love how this musician compares each unique experience of our lives to a piece of broken glass...that put together by God forms a beautiful window! (the story of why singer, Daniel Doss, wrote this  song, on video can be watched by clicking on the  words below)

Stained Glass Windows: A Story of God’s Providence from Daniel Doss


You can listen to the song here.

Trust God today to provide all your needs and to answer 

your prayer, according to His will. 

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 

that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears 

us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—

we know that we have what we asked of him."

(1 John 5:14,15)




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Honey for the Heart: Joy In the Shadow

Well, so far, it's been one of "those" weeks.
Work has been stressful and I've been feeling quite melancholy. Time seems to have gone by, without me feeling like I've accomplished a whole lot. I had intentions of having another post ready for my blog by Tuesday, but that came and went. I think I'm having one of those "writers blocks" that bloggers often talk about.

So, I thought that it would be nice to post another "Honey for the Heart"....because honey is soothing and sweet. Sometimes that's what we need in our lives, especially when life gets tough.  So, won't you try some honey for your heart?
...where I share different verses from the Psalms!
 May you find truths about God, yourselves, and living life in the images and word pictures shared here! 
I love Psalm 63:7! The image of being in the shadow of His wings is so comforting. It also gives me reason to keep singing for joy, for I know He protects me under His shadow. If you have had one of "those" weeks, remember that you can find joy in the shadow of His wings.
 I love singing along to this Chris Tomlin song...a great reminder that we need to keep singing, no matter what!!

In spite of having a difficult week, God still has blessed me in so many ways. Sharing some of those blessings here: 
at "Multitudes on Mondays", as I  Dare to Share the gifts He gives!
1,740 - Getting to talk on the phone with my son! Always great to hear his voice!
1,742 - Watching my dogs tease each other and play like kids do!
1,743 - Having several days of gorgeous weather - no humidity, no bugs, not too hot, not too much rain.
1,744 - Having a pleasant conversation with my neighbor lady and friend!
1,745 - Another great weekend of fishing...finding an awesome spot on the lake!
1,746 - Heating pads...for an achy back this morning.
1,747 - Having the opportunity to work with some amazing people, who are supportive, when things get overwhelming at the office.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

God's Promises - Let Hope Rise

As Christians, our lives are built around promise...
promise of: 
- salvation
 - eternal life
 - heaven
 - forgiveness
and the list goes on...
In everything, I have learned that - 
God's Promises

"For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world ..." 2 Peter 1:4
What is Divine Promise ?
An assurance given by God that He will or will not perform a certain act. God has made 2 kinds of promises: 
1.    Conditional (when He's willing to do something under certain circumstances - Romans 10:9-10) 
and 
2.    Unconditional.(Genesis 12:1- there many unconditional promises in the Bible)

God’s Precious Promises

How wonderful it is that in these unsettled times we have a promise that is far more sure than anything we’ve ever had our hands on. Here are some of God's "Divine" promises to us! 
  1. That God is with me wherever I go – Joshua 1:9
  2. If I keep my mind on Him, I’ll have that perfect peace – Isaiah 26:3
  3. He’ll never leave us or forsakes us!  - Hebrews 13:5
  4. His peace will pass all understanding – Philippians 4:7
  5. He cares for me – I Peter 5:7
  6. All things work together for my good – Romans 8:28
  7. In this world I’ll have trouble, but in Christ we have victory over it or through it– John 16:33
  8. I can escape temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  9. God will supply all my needs – Philippians 4:19
  10. If I ask for wisdom God will supply it – James 1:6
  11. I’m forgiven of all – 1 John 1:9
  12. I will have eternal life – I John 5:11
source

I may not always feel it, but I know it!

Why I can know that God will keep His promises:
  • because He is truthful, faithful(1 Cor. 1:9), immutable(doesn't change-Malachi 3:6), and loving.
  • He has the 2 things that are important to trust someone who makes a promise...His:
  1. Charactor, which He has proven to be pure and noble throughout the Bible and in our lives.
  2. Abiliby to carry His promises out.
SO...

"Remember your word to your servant,
    for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:

    Your promise preserves my life.Psalm 119:49-50


"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— the LORD, who remains faithful forever.”
Psalm 146:5-6

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 
Romans 15:13

"...in the HOPE of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested... "Titus 1:2-3

A message from Sheila Walsh and a book I want to get for my personal library...




God has been SO gracious and kind! I continue in my pursuit of grateful sharing at "Multitudes on Mondays", as I  Dare to Share the gifts He gives!
1,733 - Attending a beautiful Christian wedding (a second cousin of my hubby's) and seeing God's love in their lives.
1,734 - Getting to spend the weekend with our good friends from Ohio.
1,735 - The freedom to worship together on Sunday morning!
1,736 - The sad ending of an awesome weekend...but the assurance of seeing one another again, soon! (Our friend's daughter is attending our local Christian college in the fall.)
1,737 - Blueberry picking season!
1,738 - Having a few days of cooler weather.(60s and 70s)
1,739 - God's promises, that give us all hope!!
1,740 - Singing this song in worship and praise, with hope, because I know He keeps His promises!



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