He Doesn’t Control Some Things

  
That’s right.  He controls all things.  

Is a trumpet blown in a city,and the people are not afraid?  Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? 

Amos 3:6

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 

Lamentations 3:37-39

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Acts 4:27-28

And this is very, very Good News.  

The greatest comfort I can give a child of God, and I can only give it to a child of God (meaning someone who has been adopted by God through faith in Jesus Christ), is that God is in total, absolute control of your pain.   And the reason why that’s comforting for the Christian is that God promises to work all things together for the good of His elect.  

This is a God whose hand predestined the worst sin in history for His people’s rescue.  

He does no evil, but neither is He perplexed or surprised by any evil.  And He will work all things together for His good purposes.  

From the other side of Christ’s return, there will not be one moment of history, from Eden’s tree to Calvary’s Cross to Hitler’s Holocaust to Hell’s shut doors, where Satan will be able to say, “Well, at least He didn’t get to work that one out for His purposes.”  When all is said and done, God’s glory and beauty and His people’s good will be pulled from every page of history, even the bloody and awful and scary ones.  And the greatest proof of that is Christ’s bloody and awful Cross.  

Some of you who are born again and in chaos or agony need to internalize this.  

What is frustrating to the unbelieving heart is peace to believing one:  There is no sovereign but God.  

I am telling you to pray to the God who will roll up the sky like a blanket, who set the Milky Way spinning as though it were a top, who fashioned all our souls from His own creative heart.  This is not a God who will win at the last second on a Hail Mary.  I am here to tell you there is a King in the Heavens.  A King.  God is not a powerful figure with good intentions who can only do so much.  This is the King of all creation, and He is taking audiences with all who will call upon Him in faith.  

There is nothing that befalls us that is not ordained by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Keep all your gods, America.  I have met the only One who can save a man like me.  

This God is in control.

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30 Seconds On Idols

  
One of the duties of a child of God is to call the people of his day, of his nation, to stop worshiping their idols.  
Their idols, mind you.  Not somebody else’s.  It wouldn’t do any good for me to tell 21st century Cincinnatians to stop falling down before a golden calf, and it wouldn’t do any good for me to have told Moses’ brothers and sisters to stop worshiping their smartphones and square footage.  

But to stand here, in this day and place, and to magnify Jesus for the people around me who put their identity and emotional weight into gadgets or political battles or job successes or social media following, that is a Christian calling on my life.  

We have idolatry in America.  We worship many false gods.  We seek meaning and ultimate hope in many, many things which we were not made to seek them in.  

And no idol, Egyptian or American, can do what God can do.  

The Republican or Democratic party cannot bear the weight of your soul.  

Your Facebook likes cannot truly and throughly satisfy you.  

Success at work cannot give you deep, abiding peace.  

All of the things of Eden that we seek, restored relationships and contentment and perfect love, can only be had through the Cross of Jesus Christ.  

And so, if you have never come to Jesus empty handed, looking for what only He can give, my word to you is this:  His Father is seeking worshippers.  He is adopting many sons and daughters.  He has much to give away.  

Come to His altar.  

He can deliver on all of His promises.  

Way Down Deep

  
One of the things my wife has illustrated for me is that mere talk about love isn’t love. If I FaceBook about how people need to be more loving but spend all my time and money and energy on myself, I’m not really a loving man.  I’m a talking man.  

Better to be both. 

And so one of the greatest blessings of my life is that the woman God gave me is a living example of fuller, more layered love.  The sort of love our Savior modeled.  Love that costs you things.  Sleep, free time, hobbies:  When you love well, it all gets put on the table for the good of another.  Prayers and thoughts and affections are spent on the souls of the ones you’re loving. 

Love is measured in personal sacrifice.  

But motherhood isn’t mere martyrdom.  Something I’ve never though to articulate until now is that Christlike motherhood both costs a woman herself and restores to her herself.  My wife has given of her hours, her energy, her heart, and her mind for several years to our three children, but rather than the well of her self being drained, it has actually been dug deeper.  It’s tapped larger springs.  My wife is more herself after 5 years of Christlike motherly sacrifice, not less.  

Our Savior doesn’t just kill our flesh, He brings it back to life. He doesn’t just rescue us, He re-makes us.  

God-ordained callings make a Christian more Christian, but they also make her more human.  More the human she was made to be, anyway.  

Parenthood, like work and church and all of the Creator’s mandates, makes us bear out more fully the Imago Dei.  In Eden, God designed marriage and parenthood and work and the people of God, and while creation is groaning under the weight of sin and death these things are still powerfully beautiful, Godly, and human.  

God can use any number of His instruments to sanctify a soul.  His Son, His Spirit, and His Word are necessary, but beyond them He may use creation, vocation, marriage, singleness, Christian brothers and sisters, education.  But in our lives, I’ve seen parenthood profoundly widen our hearts.  And for me, watching a woman who loves Jesus more than her family and so who is then able to come back to them with a full and generous heart, has helped me love others better.  It’s helped me live life better.  Her Christ-generated sacrifice has spurred me on towards better, more self-forgetful love.  And together, as we slowly (too slowly) become more like our Jesus, we both become more like the selves we were created by Him to be.  

I’m grateful on Mother’s Day for a Christian wife who loves her children and adores her Savior.  

And each day the well is dug deeper, our family is blessed by what God brings out.