God’s Sovereignty

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 

a time to be born, and a time to die; 

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 

a time to kill, and a time to heal; 

a time to break down, and a time to build up; 

a time to weep, and a time to laugh; 

a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; 

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 

a time to seek, and a time to lose; 

a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

a time to tear, and a time to sew; 

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 

a time to love, and a time to hate; 

a time for war, and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV). 

Are you singing this in your head?! I know I did! I am SO glad my Bible reading plan had me read Ecclesiastes 3 today!

עֵ֥ת (time) is repeated 29 times in verses 1:8. Estes states, “The principle that lies behind the list of illustrations in 3:2–8 is that God has a plan that embraces all humans and all their actions at all times” (Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms, 2005, p. 309).

No book of the Bible is more applicable to our world today than Ecclesiastes. God’s sovereignty is being missed in the midst of all the chaos that is occurring in our world. To this point Estes states, “…despite appearances, God’s activity in the world is not arbitrary or haphazard; closer inspection reveals that there is divine order within the apparent chaos of life under the sun” (p. 309).

God’s plan encompasses the most mundane areas and activities of our lives; as well as the whole gamut of human emotions. Believers need to be confident that all of life is under God’s Sovereign and Providential control, not our human control. Our response is to obey God, trusting that He will equip us and see us through.

When I take my eyes off of God and His Sovereignty, I can have a very negative outlook. When Solomon (author) says, “everything is vanity/meaningless” (Ecc 1:2) and there is “nothing under the sun” (Ecc 1:9) he is saying that without God “everything is vanity/meaningless” with “nothing new under the sun.”

Now more than ever do we need to remind ourselves that God is in control. That He knows individuals and He knows and rules over this world. We know that God’s Word brings life and yet we consistently seem to be feeding ourselves with the things of this world. I am NOT suggesting that we should not be informed! God does not call us to bury our heads in the sand! He calls us to be in this world but not of this world.

May we take time today and this weekend to mediate on how God’s Presence has worked in the mundane times of our lives. May we start reading autobiographies or biographies of godly saints who went before us and how they endured persecution or stood for Jesus when it was costly.

Only in Jesus do we find value and meaning. Only in Jesus do we have peace and hope in a world gone mad. Only in Jesus do we know that regardless of what happens in this life, we will be with Him in the end. There is indeed a time and season for everything “under heaven” and the Lord Jesus Christ is in control of it all.

Father God, thank You that You are Sovereign over all. Thank You that there is NO moment this world has ever seen where You were not in control! Lord God, may we focus on You and the meaning and purpose You have for us. Lord God, may we preach Your Word to ourselves when we are discouraged and in despair and fearful. Now more than ever Lord is it essential for believers to be in community with other believers. What that looks like Lord for each person only You know, but may this reader know they have a friend in me! Lord God, thank You for all the times that You do not give us new insight but rather remind us of the insight You have already given us. Lord God, may we obey You. May we trust You walking by faith and not by sight or feeling. Lord God, thank You for this reader. Please Lord, fill this reader with the Peace of Your Presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

April 2021 Prayer

Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn

“And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Deut 8:2 ESV).

Father God, thank You for this new month. Lord God, as these days are rapidly getting darker and more evil, help us to remember the past. Help us to remember what You have done in Your Word, from delivering and leading Israel to the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Help us to remember and read Your Word this month!

Lord God, now more than ever may we share our testimonies of Your faithfulness in our lives. Help us to remember You. Help us to want to remember You. Help us this month to reflect on who You are, and who we were before You. Help us to remember the joy that lies ahead for those of us who are in Christ.

Lord God, prepare our hearts for Resurrection Sunday. Lord God, may You call more people to Yourself this Easter. May we reflect today how You washed Your disciples feet and gave them (and us) a new commandment to love one another. Help us to remember that for those who are in leadership positions, we cannot lead anyone unless we are first following Christ. Lord God, may we pause and reflect on Good Friday to remember the crucifixion of Christ. Lord God, cause us to reflect on Saturday the darkness that would be in the world if it were not for the Resurrection of Christ the next day! Lord God, thank You that we live on the Resurrection side of the cross and help us to remember those who lived faithfully before as is written in Hebrews 11.

Lord God, I do not know what any of us will face in this month, but what I do know is that You will strengthen Your people who are actively seeking to love and obey You. Thank You Lord that works based salvation is debunked in both the Old and New Testament. Thank You Lord that from Genesis to Revelation You teach us that we are saved by grace through faith. Lord God, may we respond to Your salvation with singing and obedience.

Lord, how taboo and repugnant obedience and submission are in today’s culture. Lord, may we be willing to be thought foolish and primitive for our singleminded love and devotion to Christ. Lord, in this new month, help us to live more focused on You than ever before.

Lord God, people everywhere, believers and unbelievers are restless. People want a return to normal. Lord help us to understand You are not calling us to normal or status quo. You are calling us to Yourself, to live for You, to imitate and look like You!

Lord God, thank You that like Israel, when we fail tests, You give us second chances. Lord God, may we be reminded of the one thing that we will NOT be doing in heaven: Evangelizing. Lord God, help us to share our faith more this month knowing there are no redos, no make ups for those who die without Christ. May we trust You to give us words to witness when You lead us to share but above and beyond, may our actions reflect Your heart. May our hands be quick to do Your Work. Not because we think our works will save us but because our works are a manifestation of the gift of salvation You have graciously given to us.

Lord God, thank You that no matter what happens, know matter where we are, You are with us. Strengthen Your people Lord. Help us to stand strong sharing our faith with the lost knowing that one day soon and very soon we will be with You in glory. Lord God, draw this reader closer to Yourself this month. In Jesus’s Awesome, Holy and Victorious Name I pray. Amen.

Happy New Year! January 2021 Prayer

Father God, thank You for this new year and month! Thank You for new beginnings, new mercies each and every day! Lord God, prepare us for 2021 and 2021 for us! Lord God, may we seek and desire to be prepared to live even more fully and authentically with and for You in 2021!

Lord God, thank You that You call us to keep moving forward! While we are to reflect and learn from the past, our past is not to be an anchor weighing us down but a propeller moving us on. Lord God, may we be reminded that we are living in the land of in between. Your Kingdom has come but it is not yet consummated. May we persevere and have even greater awareness that this world is not our home!

Lord God, thank You for this reader. Lord God, for those who are in Christ may they start this new year with the reminder of who they are in Christ and their position in You as well. Lord, for the reader who does not know you, may today be the day of salvation. May today, the start of 2021 be the day where they come to trust Christ by grace through faith. Lord God, thank You that You are still saving sinners, sanctifying believers. May we thank and praise You that You are sovereign, controlling world events!

Thank You Jesus there is NO moment where you are not seated on the Throne! Thank You that NOTHING in 2021 will catch You off guard or surprise You! May we be optimistic about our walk with You this year regardless of our circumstances! May we be better prepared to handle change, challenge and hardship because of what we learned in 2020.

Lord God, may we trust You more this year rather than longing for comfort. I know this is an area where You are convicting me. I pray that I will grow in love, trust and obedience this year! Lord God, may we strip off our clothes of mourning and put on clothes celebrating You, manifesting Your fruit.

Lord God, may You strengthen this reader to hold fast to You this year. May this new year and new month be a time of renewal and refreshment. Lord God, may this time be one of excitement in what You will do knowing that You have been faithful in the past.

Lord God, thank You that Your Good News will continue to spread and thrive even when Satan, the world and the flesh does everything they can to stop and suppress it. May believers be reminded more this year that praise and prayer have power and both connect us to You and focus us on You and not our situations and circumstances.

Lord God, thank You for the gift of this reader! Lord, lead this reader by still waters today, where they will know that You love them and so do I! Thank You again Holy Trinity for the gift of new mercies and beginnings. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen and Amen.