It is God alone who judges; He decides who will rise and who will fall.
~Psalms 75:7, NLT
“Providence is like a curious piece of tapestry made of a thousand shreds, which, single, appear useless, but put together, they represent a beautiful history to the eye.”
Louis Berkhof defined providence as that continued exercise of the divine energy whereby the Creator preserves all His creatures, is operative in all that comes to pass in the world, and directs all things to their appointed end. I like Vance Havner’s definition of providence: “God either makes it happen or He allows it to happen but nothing just happens.” Providence is the Christian doctrine which teaches us that God is active in all things. He did not create the universe and then leave it to itself but sustains and directs what He has created and He is bringing it to a desired end. In spite of the many and gross injustices that fill the earth, God has not abdicated His sovereign rule and judgment. He is orchestrating everything to a desired end, the glorification of Jesus. God is the One who raises up [exalts] and the One who brings down [abases]. He is the one who makes some men great and others of low degree. The fact that greatness may never be associated with your name does not mean that God does not love you. I have the utmost respect for Billy Graham but I understand that he is just a man. By that I mean he is human but he is a great man and it is God who made him great. Billy Graham is not a super intellect, he is not Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, or C.S. Lewis. He is a country boy from North Carolina who is anointed of God. He is great because God made him great.
In my younger days, I compared myself to others which is a horrible habit. A preacher can get depressed in a hurry when he compares himself to Adrian Rogers. Then one day the truth hit me like a bolt of lightning: God made Adrian Rogers great. He could have made me great or greater had He chose to do so but providentially, this was not in His plan. You may not believe that but I do. You are thinking, he couldn’t make you great, you can’t even speak good English. He made Dwight L. Moody great and he could barely read. I feel the same way about riches. I have enough invested that God could make me rich if He wanted to but I am convinced that He doesn’t want me to be rich. Wealth is hard to manage and most wealthy people are horrible stewards. It is not God’s will for everyone to be rich, just as it is not God’s will for every pastor to be like Adrian Rogers.
As Christians, we do not believe is fate or luck. Nothing is outside God’s control, nothing is without purpose. When Joe David was child he asked his mother, “Why did God create flies because all you do is kill them.” I have the same question when it comes to mosquitoes, snakes, and rats. What on earth is their purpose? I am about to tell you, “I don’t know but there is a reason for their existence.” Many people hate thunderstorms but they are absolutely necessary. Lightening breaks down the nitrogen in the upper atmosphere and reduces its composition until is is suitable for the plants here on earth. We get this needed nitrogen through the rain and snow, especially snow which is laden with nitrogen. Pure nitrogen from the upper atmosphere would destroy all the plants on earth: it has to be diluted. I’m not sure how long we have had access to this knowledge. I didn’t discover the purpose of lightning until I was over 40. Someday we may know why God created flies.
Providence means that God has foreknowledge but it does not negate free will. God has created us to worship Him, to relate to Him, not is some mechanical way but in a personal way. Robots do not worship; neither do puppets. God could eradicate sin and injustice at this very moment if He chose to do so but He would have to take away our free will and He chooses not to do so because He wants us to love and worship Him of our own free will. The mystery of mysteries is…He will bring everything to His desired end without taking away our free will. No one will be in heaven against their will. We will all love and adore Jesus because that is what we want to do.
Using Paul’s analogy in I Corinthians 13 as a spring-board…For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known…. let me expand his thought. Tinted glass is very popular in automobiles and it prevents me from seeing who is inside. People pass the house while I am mowing and I am in a dilemma–do I wave or do I not wave, do I know this person or do I not, is this person female or male, it this person young or old? The tinted windows create a mystery I can not unravel but I do know someone is in the vehicle. Right now, we are looking through tinted or stained glass. We can’t see the details but we do know that God is in the driver’s seat.
Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the bright sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.
Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
- Chloe Bug was at the house yesterday. I was in my office until lunch and then I walked over: she was waiting on me. Big Mama set me up. She wanted to go to Chucky Cheese. I began negotiating with her and got her to agree on Target for one prize. Then I said to her, “You are one spoiled brat.” She said, “No I’m not grand daddy, I am one excited brat.” She was jumping up and down.
- What about this weather: I don’t remember an August like it, not ever.
A Changing World
[Bobby from Grand Bay sends me stuff for the DIGEST but this is more suitable to our blog readers.]
Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza? No sir, it’s Google’s Pizza. Did I dial the wrong number? No sir, Google bought the pizza store. Oh, alright – then I’d like to place an order please. Do you want the usual? The usual? You know what my usual is? According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust. Okay – that’s what I want this time too. May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta,arugula, and tomato instead? No, I hate vegetables. But your cholesterol is not good. How do you know? Through the subscribers guide. We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years. Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol. But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. Four months ago you purchased a box of only 30 tablets from Drug sale network. Well, I bought more from another drugstore. It’s not showing on your credit card sir. I paid in cash. But according to your bank statement you did not withdraw that much cash. I have another source of cash.This is not showing on your last tax form, unless you got it from an undeclared income source.
WHAT THE Hades? ENOUGH! I’m sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I’m going to an island without internet, where there’s no cellphone line, and no one to spy on me …I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your passport … it expired 5 weeks ago.