"The greatest foe we face is pride - pride which deceives us into thinking we are special, that we are capable, that we are able; pride that fools us into believing we can make it in this life without God."
"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave"
- Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 - May 10, 1863)
After the meeting at the quilt shop we all went to Mary K's underground home for lunch. We had a fun time with the ladies! We also enjoyed the tour from her husband of how he heats the house with wood heat and has special pipes that take the heat to the whole house giving them radiant "in floor" heating. It was fascinating!
The power went out the other night just as I finished making supper. So we enjoyed a candlelight dinner and then I read while Amy played the piano. There is something fitting about reading an adventure story by candlelight. :-)
I came across this post by Pastor John Piper and found it very encouraging as I think back on the past 365 days:
Where Was God in All the Goodness of 2012? by John Piper
As this year ends, the question I am asking is: Where was God when so many good things happened this past year?
How can God be a God of justice, yet allow so much good to happen to people who dishonor him by disbelieving in him, or giving lip service to his existence, or paying no more attention to him than the carpet in their den, or rejecting the kingship of his Son, or scorning his word, or preferring a hundred pleasures before him?
How can God be righteous and do so much good to us who are so unrighteous?
Where was God in 2012?
Where was God when nine million planes landed safely in the United States?
Where was God when the world revolved around the sun so accurately that it achieved the Winter solstice perfectly at 5:12 AM December 21 and headed back toward Spring?
Where was God when the President was not shot at a thousand public appearances?
Where was God when American farms produced ten million bushels of corn, and 2.8 million bushels of soybeans — enough food to sell $100 billions worth to other nations?
Where was God when no terrorist plot brought down a single American building or plane or industry?
Where was God when the sun maintained its heat and its gravitational pull precisely enough that we were not incinerated or frozen?
Where was God when three hundred million Americans drank water in homes and restaurants without getting sick?
Where was God when no new plague swept away a third of our race?
Where was God when Americans drove three trillion accident free miles?
Where was God when over three million healthy babies were born in America?
Here are a few of the answers given by God himself in his word.
1. God was reigning from his throne to do his sovereign will.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)
“He works all things according to the counsel of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
2. God was reigning from his throne to prevent much sin and harm in the world.
“God said to [Abimelech, the king of Gerar], it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)
“You know what is restraining [the man of lawlessness] now.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6)
3. God was reigning from his throne to give a witness to his goodness and his patience.
“God did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)
4. God was reigning from his throne to summon the world to repentance.
“Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
So as the year ends, I bow my head as an undeserving sinner, amazed that I have not been swept away. And even more, that because of Jesus, I am forgiven, adopted into God’s family, and destined for eternal life.
God has been good to us. And his best gift is the one that will be there when all the others fail. Jesus, crucified, risen, reigning.
Making Resolutions Is Good, But This Is Far Better byMARK ALTROGGE Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pe 5:6-7
God tells us to humble ourselves when we’re concerned about the future. To take the first step and acknowledge that we are not in control.
It’s not our mighty hand that directs our lives, but God’s mighty hand. It’s not our mighty hand that provides for us, but God’s mighty hand. To humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand means to acknowledge that he rules the universe and that we desire to submit to his will for our lives.
To humble ourselves means to acknowledge that we are powerless. That we don’t control our lives. To humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand is bow down before our Creator and say, “Lord you are infinitely great, sovereign and wise, and I am not.”
We humble ourselves by casting all our anxieties on God in prayer. By lifting our fears, needs, worries, and pressures to him.
Proud people don’t pray. When we don’t pray we are saying we can handle this. We don’t need any outside help, thanks. My mighty hand can take care of this.
Years ago I thought God was too busy running the universe to care about my pitiful little needs. But amazingly – the one who created the galaxies cares about every detail of our lives. He cares about our children. About whether we’re lonely or not. About that situation that tempts us to be anxious. He cares for “you” – individually. He knows us by name. He’s engraved us on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16). He’s moved by our suffering. Jesus is a sympathetic high priest, for he’s suffered too.
He’s numbered every hair on our heads. If he knows when a single sparrow falls, he knows exactly we need.
What happens when we humble ourselves? At the proper time God will exalt us. He’ll lift us up. He will lift us out of our pit, out of our anxiety. And he’ll do this “at the proper time” – it might not be when we would desire, but it will be at the very best time – the time that will give him maximum glory and bring us maximum joy.
What a great way to start the new year. Rather than making all kinds of resolutions about what WE will do, let’s bow down and acknowledge whose hand directs our lives. Resolutions and goals are good – but what is far better is to humble ourselves before God and pray. Pray constantly. This year lets keep casting all our cares on the one who cares for us.