Predestined

Is God in Control?

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Is God in Control? Many of us are convinced from Scripture that God is absolutely sovereign. He can do whatever he wants to, and he can do it whenever he wants to. He has that kind of power.

He's got the whole world in his hands, in control, God, World , earth
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Romans 8: 28-39 tells us:

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. 29 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. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

More than Conquerors 

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But does that mean God controls all things all the time?

That’s the question I will try to answer today. One other question has always nagged me when sharing the truth of God’s sovereignty to others. I know from multiple examples in the Bible that God can control man and the weather and everything. But how do we know that God always controls everything?”

How do we know that God always controls everything? My answer is that we know this because the Bible teaches it. It teaches it by direct statements and by clear and sufficient implications. I’ll give you five clusters of texts or kinds of texts.

How God Works

First, God works all things according to His will. Here’s Ephesians 1:11: “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Let me say it again. He works all things according to the counsel of His will. I think that means he always controls everything. There’s my answer.

I could just stop writing now. Enough said. Question answered. There’s no reason to assume any exceptions here (I don’t believe). Sometimes people say, “Well, no, no, no. He’s talking about the predestination of Christians.” Now when somebody says that, you need to pause and think about the words “he’s just talking about.” They are so vague. They can’t support the point the person is trying to make without more careful attention.

“The Bible sweepingly says that everything human beings do is, in the end, the will of God.”

When you give more careful attention, what you realise is that Paul is using a general statement about God’s working everything according to the counsel of his will as a support for a specific statement about predestination. We all know that a specific application of a general statement doesn’t nullify or limit the truth of the general statement.

For example, if I say my friend (who knows how to drive every kind of car) drove an electric car without instruction the first time he got into it, you wouldn’t think he knows how to only drive electric cars. The fact that we’re talking about an electric car is simply pointing out that it’s an illustration of his ability to drive every kind of car. That illustration doesn’t nullify the fact that he can drive every kind of car. My point was to say he can drive every kind of car, and here’s an illustration of it.

When Paul says, “God, who works all things according to the counsel of his will, specifically predestined us,” it doesn’t mean “He really doesn’t work all things according to the counsel of his will; he only predestined us.” That’s exactly the opposite of the way Paul is arguing. When people make vague statements, we need to think carefully, trying to limit a context when the context is clearly expansive.

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He’s Over All

Secondly, God governs all human plans and acts.

  • Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Just a general statement.
  • Proverbs 20:24 reads, “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” A general statement about all his steps.
  • Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Human beings decide all kinds of ways to make a decision. They try rolling dice, and they draw lots, and they put out pieces of cloth on the ground — whatever. The point here is whatever means they use, it’s going to be God’s will in the end. Every decision is from the Lord.
  • Proverbs 19:21:Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Whatever humans anywhere in the world are planning and doing, what stands is God’s will.
  • Jeremiah 10:23: “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.

All of those passages sweepingly say that everything that human beings do is, in the end, the will of God.

The Causer

Third, behind human acts, the biblical writers assume God. This is amazing. Here’s Amos 3:6: “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?”

“It’s arrogant to think you’re in control. God is in control.”

Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? The answer is no. Well, what’s the implication? The implication is the biblical writer assumes every kind of event that comes to a city is ultimately from the Lord. He raises it with a rhetorical question that can’t be explained any other way. That’s his mindset.

This same thing happens in Lamentations 3:37: “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?” In other words, the only explanation the biblical writer sees behind anything being commanded is that the Lord ultimately brought it to pass.

If the Lord Wills

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Fourth, this one is sweeping like the first one. God’s sovereign will governs all daily events. Here is James 4:13–15: 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

What’s the point of that? That means “this or that” — anything you do — you should go into it saying, “I’m not in control here.” It’s arrogant, he says, to think you’re in control. God is in control.

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Permitting or Controlling?

Lastly, God’s permission for Satan or man to act is nevertheless part of God’s ultimate design and final control. I’m trying to respond here to someone who says, “Well, God doesn’t control everything, but he permits lots of things.” I’m saying that’s right. He certainly does permit lots of things. How should we understand an all-knowing God with perfect foreknowledge permitting something in his infinite wisdom?

Here’s what Jesus says in Luke 22:31-32: 31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”. Notice he does not say, “If you have turned again,” but “when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

“Every kind of event that comes to a city is ultimately from the Lord.”

In other words, “Yes, I’m going to permit Satan to sift you like wheat, and I know it’s going to involve three denials. I know you’re going to turn, and I know that the purpose of bringing you back according to my prayer is that you might strengthen your brothers.”

Even in situations where God is permitting, he is permitting by design. When you permit something and you know what it’s going to do and you know all of its outcomes and you go ahead and permit it, you permit it wisely if you’re God — and then it wisely fits into the overall pattern of what you are planning and doing.

Let me end with a statement and a question. The statement is that human beings are responsible, accountable, praiseworthy, or blameworthy for what they do. God’s sovereignty does not diminish human accountability.

Which world would you rather live in? One where humans or Satan or chance govern what happens to you? Or one where an infinitely good, infinitely wise, infinitely powerful God works everything together for the good of those who trust him and for his glory?

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Work Cited.

Piper, J. 2017. “Does God Control All Things All the Time?. Online article. Accessed from https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/does-god-control-all-things-all-the-time on 2021-07-13.

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Psalm 23 – The Great Shepherd

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Worship Is My Weapon!

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In times of extreme stress and hardship, we have one key weapon that will allow us to defeat all opposition: worship! Join me to discuss how we can use this weapon effectively! Worship is our weapon!

24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

Photo by Shelagh Murphy on Pexels.com

OUR WORSHIP INVITES GOD INTO THE SCENARIO!

When we worship God, it will build our spirits and will lift our focus from the daily trials we face.

When we are spiraling in anxiety, and the circumstances surrounding us are seemingly insurmountable, we have a choice to shift our minds back to God trusting in His good and sovereign purposes. We do this through worship, and when we begin to worship Him the Holy Spirit helps us refocus . . .

  • On His word.
  • On His promises.
  • On His plan for our lives.

This is how I fight my battles.

Worship is my weapon of choice. When we worship, we stop looking at the fight in front of us and start looking at the God in us!

  • Worship through your worry.
  • Worship through your fear.
  • Worship through your stress.
  • Worship through your exhaustion.

OUR WORSHIP BRINGS BREAKTHROUGH!

The enemy does not want you to get this! He does not want you MOVING INTO WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU!

The fuel for your breakthrough is the air in your lungs—worship Jesus!

  • Worship breaks down walls.
  • Worships draws us near to the Father.
  • Worship reminds us of our reason for living.
  • Worship brings down heaven.

OUR WORSHIP CHANGES THE ATMOSPHERE!

God has already given you the key to change the atmosphere around you. There is a sound in your spirit, that when released, will shake the foundations, and bring forth peace and joy. As you discover this you will begin worshiping Him in the midst of any circumstance or situation.

The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. Where real worship is, there God is.

It is impossible to overestimate the power, victory, blessing, healing, encouragement, and inspiration embodied in this wonderful secret of worshiping the Lord.

Restful Worship

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

What does “be still” mean? The Hebrew for “be still” translates to let go of your grip, to make oneself weak. What a freeing idea! In our complete dependence on a God who will not ever fail us, we find freedom.

  • Your God is in control!
  • Do not stress—worship!
  • Do not complain—worship!
  • Do not gossip—worship!
  • Do not get angry—worship!
  • Do not quit—worship!

Your Worship Is Your Weapon!


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You are Blessed!

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Introduction

In the last post in this series, I demonstrated how scripture reveals you are CHOSEN and PREDESTINED in Christ. Now, let’s look at how you are made a SAINT in Christ Jesus. Now lets find out how we are made FAITHFUL in Christ Jesus and can have His peace and His grace. You are blessed!

Sing with me!

Blessed!

Come with me to Ephesians 1: 3Spiritual Blessings in ChristBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

You are blessed by God in a major way. It doesn’t matter what you see, or what you feel, the Bible tells you that you’re blessed, so you need to begin to believe it and see yourself that way.

Whenever you start to feel like you don’t have enough, or that you just aren’t enough, remember that you’re blessed in a big way. So start to see yourself as having all you need – all that God has put on your heart to do. Remind yourself that you are blessed!

The blessing belongs to God

Paul opens with “Blessed be” in order to establish a clear emphasis on God. In the next few verses he will address predestination, adoption, God’s will, grace, redemption, and God’s glory, all themes connected to God Himself and worthy of blessing.

After blessing the Father and Son, Paul notes God has “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” This all-encompassing statement indicates that every blessing we could possibly need has been given in Christ. Christ came from heaven to earth from the Father to bring us every blessing we need. Paul will go on to describe these blessings in detail. Here, he emphasizes the fact that “every” spiritual blessing has been given.

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Praise God for All Spiritual Blessings! – Ephesians 1:4-14

 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Paul was so amazed at the sheer magnitude of these blessings from God that he kept on writing and writing, and did not stop until he reached the end of verse 14 – this makes it the longest sentence in the Bible. And if we really take time to consider what these blessings are, we will be absolutely amazed as well. They will make us realise what an immense privilege we have to be God’s people.

The spiritual blessings that Paul wrote about in these verses include being chosen before the foundation of the world (v.4), predestined unto the adoption of children (v.5), accepted in the Beloved (v.6), redeemed and all our sins forgiven (v.7), initiated into the Divine Mystery (vv.8-10), obtaining an inheritance (v.11) and being sealed with the Holy Spirit (vv.13,14).

Added to them are many other significant blessings that Paul mentioned in the rest of his epistle to the Ephesians: They are blessings of hope (1:18), power (1:19), peace (2:14), boldness of access to God (3:12), strength (3:16), spiritual gifts for service (4:7), and the whole armour of God (6:11).

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And here is the best part: They are all ours – every one of them! What a great treasure trove of precious spiritual blessings we have! 

I don’t know about you, but I would never trade these spiritual blessings for all the riches in the world, because they are absolutely priceless. To put it another way, these spiritual blessings are ‘out of this world’. That is probably the reason why Paul used the phrase ‘in heavenly places’ to describe them. The spiritual blessings that God has blessed us with are truly ‘out of this world’. They give us a wonderful foretaste of heaven, so that we will choose to set our affection on things above rather than on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).

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Why settle for earthly blessings?

This is totally opposite to the Health-wealth-prosperity Gospel that is being preached so widely today and makes everyone set their affection on things of the earth. This false gospel teaches that God wants all believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy. It has gained a very large following by endorsing materialism and promoting greed. Prosperity Gospel Preachers encourage their followers to pray for and even demand miracles and material prosperity from God. The books they write have titles like ‘Its Your Time’, ‘This is Your Day for a Miracle’ and ‘8 Steps to Create the Life You Want’.

The truth is that the Health-wealth-prosperity Gospel actually short-changes people drastically. It distracts us from our true eternal riches by turning our attention instead to the transient material riches of the world. But what are all these worldly treasures? They are reduced to nothing at all when compared to the vast spiritual riches that God has bestowed on us freely.

So, what relevance does all this have to you? It will give you the right perspective you need to have as you live in this world. Whenever you feel weary or disheartened, take time to review all the spiritual blessings that God has blessed you with. Whenever you suffer any loss or feel unjustly deprived of anything, just focus your thoughts on the spiritual blessings you have from God.

And then you will be able to rejoice again.

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