This Rejoice & Praise God Sunday Open Thread, with full respect to those who worship God on the Sabbath, is a place to reaffirm our worship of our Creator, our Father, our King Eternal.
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In The Q Tree, we’re compatriots, sitting around the campfire, roasting hot dogs, making s’mores, and discussing, agreeing, and disagreeing about whatever interests us. This board will remain a home for those who seek respectful conversations.
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On this day and every day –
God is in Control
. . . and His Grace is Sufficient, so . . .
Keep Looking Up
God is in charge
God is in complete control of the universe. A belief in God’s control is distinct from fatalism, which denies human free will. Humans are able to make genuine choices that have real consequences. God does not directly cause everything to happen, yet He does allow all that occurs to happen. And, ultimately, God’s will is going to be accomplished. At first, these statements may seem unimportant to our daily lives and better suited for an esoteric theological discussion. However, God’s control is practical and has a significant impact on our daily lives.
God’s plan and will impacts everyday life in that they remove all cause for worry. We can trust that what the Bible claims about God’s character is backed up by His ability. Not only does God love us, but He has the ability to care for us. Those who are part of the family of God can claim the promise in 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.” We can rest in the fact that our God is actually able to work all things for our good, even when we cannot readily see how that may happen.
God’s control impacts everyday life in that we can trust God’s sanctifying work in us. Many times Christians feel that maturing in the faith is completely up to them, as if God saves us and then expects us to do the rest. We Christians do play a role in our own maturity. We are certainly called to obedience, and what we do matters and has consequences. However, in recognizing that God is sovereign, we also trust Him to bring us to maturity (see Galatians 3:3 and Philippians 1:6).
Looking to Romans 8 again, we read, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:29–34).
Our salvation has been God’s sovereign plan from eternity past. Rather than focus on our own performance, we can rest in the character of God and focus instead on actually getting to know Him.
God’s control also affects how we make decisions. We recognize that God is in control, so we don’t need to be paralyzed by decision-making. If we make the wrong decision, all is not lost. We can trust in God’s faithfulness and His ability to set us back on the right course.
We can and should make decisions. God’s control doesn’t mean that we sit idly by and allow life to happen. It means we can go bravely into life, trusting that our loving Father sees the larger picture and is faithfully working everything for His glory.
God’s control impacts our sense of identity. When we understand how powerful God is and how much He loves us, we can know we are secure in Him. As the objects of God’s sovereign love, we allow God to define us and give us our worth rather than look to the changing ideals of the world. When we understand that God is in complete control, we are freed to live our lives. We don’t need to fear ultimate failure or final destruction (Romans 8:1).
We don’t need to fear worthlessness. We can be confident that God will have His way and that it will be good. We can trust that the One who says He loves us is fully able to act on that love in all ways. We can trust that, even when the world seems completely out of control, God is in control. We know He has the big picture covered, so we can trust Him with our daily details.
I hold a simple view of God being in control.
God has the power . . . He spoke the whole universe into existence.
God has the knowledge . . . He knows the number of hairs on our heads and declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.
God has the will to act . . . His counsel shall stand, and He will accomplish all His purpose, and not even a sparrow will fall to earth outside His will.
God has our best interest in mind . . . His plans for us are for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope, and God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For what more could we ask?
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
Sing to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together [b]as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He understands all their works.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a false hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.