His Hand Prescribes

by Mary Beth on June 8, 2021

“Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned;
Each drop that fills my daily cup Thy Hand Prescribes,
for ills none else can understand:
All, all is known to Thee.”
~A. L. NEWTON.
*

 We often struggle to understand and receive all

from the hand of God.

God has revealed within His Creation and within His powerful Word,

to understand and to know Him-

that He is abundantly generous

and wise with His goodness,

rhythm and order in all things.

 His sovereignty and divine attributes

of goodness, immutability, eternity,

and holiness speak into our ordinary lives day by day.

For underneath are the everlasting arms of God;

His abundant steadfast love greets us each day.

Yet, many in our decadent society demand foolish entitlements to live in their preferred individualistic, grade school mentality, of branding and renaming anything or everything that threatens their idolatry or false freedoms of sexual lifestyles, identity, or feelings.

Thomas Schreiner writes,

“Human beings must recognize that they are not

masters of the universe.

They cannot supplement what God has done or reverse

what he has ordained.

They are to acknowledge his greatness and fear him.

Human beings do not manage their lives; life manages them.  

Vanity and futility and absurdity characterize human life.

Life is unpredictable and unfair.

The famous poem on time, in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

emphasizes that human beings must respond to life as it occurs.”

*

An earlier blog post,

reflects on this very point.

There’s a time for every season.

As Scripture encourages us to walk in the fear of the LORD,

let us remember God our Creator,

and to enjoy life to the glory of God.

Find joy in God’s daily gifts,
receiving from his hand the
new mercies He graciously gives us
each resurrected day.

*

“Qohelet argues that God keeps us ignorant about the future

in order to convince us that we cannot manipulate God in that way.

That is the essence of what it means to ‘fear’ God:

to recognize that God’s favor cannot be controlled

by anything we humans do.”

Is this not grace, to stand in His great hand?

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Pester & Taunt

by Mary Beth on March 31, 2021

Pester: to annoy, badger, demand.

Taunt: to scoff, ridicule, deride.

 Lent is a season of mercy, often blowing into our lives like the forceful winds and cold rain storms in March and April.

Lent season like Springtime, offers an opportunity for spiritual renewal to engage with genuine faith and repentance. A season for listening. A season for biblical understanding and wisdom.

A season to remember Jesus, to savor His presence.

Yet we often face subtle opposition without and acute struggles within, as we press on to know the Lord.

From Scripture we know

Nehemiah had circumstances filled with ridicule,

constant scoffing, and he was badgered by enemies

in his calling and work for the Lord.

He remained loyal in prayer and wise

in his astute leadership to the Judeans.

The Judeans had returned from exile

to reestablish their community.

Within his leadership,

Nehemiah held a commitment of steadfast prayer,

and strategic leadership skills to remain faithful.

 Jesus faced evil taunts, pestering and mockery from Satan,

despite ongoing opposition he faithfully

surrendered to the call of God.

As Christians, we too will face similar opposition

of being mocked, taunted and pestered

especially as we follow God’s call to make disciples of all nations.

Likewise, we are not unfamiliar with opposition,

be it subtle or blatant.

In our devotion to Jesus Christ,

walking with other believers or encouraging

our family and friends,

 we will and do face opposition in the world,

against ourselves and with others.

As Nehemiah was confronted with mockery, taunting and ridicule,

he continued to be faithful to his calling

trusting the providential hand of God

in constant prayer and practical wisdom.

Satan aims to tempt us towards

compromise and complacency

in our obedience to God’s will, His timing and ways.

Our minds, souls and hearts are tempted to short-circuit,

to live our lives for pure pleasure and self-gratification.

All to aim and separate us from our heavenly Father,

by disloyalty, distrust, disobedience, etc.

 Until the Lord sheds light into our darkness,

we often don’t see opposition with spiritual eyes.

In the moments of vulnerability,

we need to stand firm against the ongoing whispers

and resist the temptation to compromise with darkness.

Light reveals darkness in its aim to taunt, pester or to mock.

*

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,

but against the rulers,

against the authorities,

against the powers of this dark world

and against the spiritual forces of evil

in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

{ 83 comments }

Confession and Repentance: Out of Darkness

by Mary Beth on March 31, 2021

IMG_3181

 “In our human nature, we’re masters of self-deceit.” R. C. Sproul

It is not natural for us as human beings
to be open with our struggles and sufferings.
We have an innate propensity to hide.

A healthy and mature gospel community,

walks in open, godly confession and repentance.

Such attitudes and acts continue throughout our lives as Christians.

We have the charge and honor to bear each other’s burdens in the darkest of times.

~Confession and repentance are never out of season.

In struggling with sin,

an invisible veil of confusion can cover our hearts and minds.

But through faith and persistence,

our hearts can break through barriers of shame to the beginning stages

of confession and repentance, towards healing and restoration.

We are all in need of the Spirit’s provision to renounce individual sin.

~Confession is a grace aided by guidance.

Genuine repentance involves a godly sorrow for specific and general sins.

In Rosaria Butterfield’s successful book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,

she communicates a powerful and bold witness to the Spirit’s fruit from her unbelieving heart and lifestyle of sexual sin.

From a prominent professor teaching a secular worldview-

to a believer growing in Christ, Butterfield articulates the process of the

“hard edges and dark valleys” in her painful confessions and changed lifestyle.

The process of freedom she “experienced in coming face-to-face with the living God”  led her to say,

How our lives bear the fruit of Christ’s spilled blood is important.” 

Wow, I absolutely love this statement!

Rosaria’s honesty and vulnerability,

will challenge all Christ followers to such ruthless trust in God.

In a self-centered society of worldly priorities and shallow success,

it is refreshing to see a sincere confession,

accompanied by godly sorrow and genuine repentance.

~Repentance, like faith, is beyond an intellectual understanding.

We need the holy Scriptures to show us sin is wrong,

as well our need to God’s direction and guidance.

 
“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~Hebrews 4

We turn to Christ for salvation from our sin, yet we also turn from our sin.

The gospel of grace helps us do this.

In our repenting, we must ask ourselves

if we are making a genuine commitment to forsake sin.

To be open with our struggles and suffering,
is a call to come out of the darkness.
Out of hiding and into the light.
“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with ne another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:5-9 & John 1:9-11 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }