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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A Morality Not Worth a Hill of Beans

  
If your society denies any influence of God upon its ethics, then your society has no firmer ground for its morality than something like personal preference or what the majority says.  And that kind of virtue doesn’t have a hill of beans’ chance of withstanding something like Naziism.  Virtue that weak will bend like a half-dead dandelion with whichever way the breeze blows.  “Oh that’s what we call ‘good’ now?  Got it, got it.”  It will be tolerant of whatever it’s told loudly enough it should now tolerate, and intolerant of whatever it’s told is passé or unpopular.  Its morality will be all be feeling and popular opinion, no bone or muscle of conviction about what’s true.

How would you have your culture decide what’s right and what’s wrong?  Personal opinion?  People disagree.  The majority?  What if the majority someday said it was good to murder indigent or weak to get them off the societal dole?  You see, if you don’t have an appeal court higher than people for your ethics, then the strongest guy or group gets to decide what’s right.  And the bad guys are often strong.

What’s your answer to someone who says, “I think human beings are a plague, and should be wiped out?”  How do you call that evil?  How do you decide what’s evil?

I want a culture of conscience.  I want a culture that knows the character of the Creator.  I want a culture that could look Hitler square in the eye and speak, “I don’t care if the whole world follows your asinine madness, I’ll fight it to the death because it’s wicked.  It is evil to murder and maim.  It’s not opinion.  It’s fact.  God despises what you’re doing, so I will, too.”

An ethic that has no higher appeal court than humans is a paper tiger.  I want a culture that knows what good is, a culture of wisdom and nerve.  

There is no real morality without acknowledgement of the Creator.  Just opinion and feeling passing themselves off as something more powerful than they really are.  

  

When You Play to the Wrong Audience

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“The Nazification of German culture showed up the fatal vulnerability of any form of Christianity that took its lead from contemporary cultural norms. Since liberal Protestantism mirrored the norms of contemporary culture, it had no adequate basis for critiquing that culture. Protestant writers such as Karl Barth and and Dietrich Bonhoeffer vigorously opposed this trend, arguing that Christianity and the churches should seek their norms and legitimation in Jesus Christ and the Bible, not in cultural norms. But they were a decided minority.”

Alister McGrath, writing on liberal Protestantism in Germany in the Nazi era, in Christianity’s Dangerous Idea. Emphasis mine.

*Note: I do not agree with the author at all points in this book, but found this particular paragraph (among many other parts) very helpful.