Pastor Ray Barnett has served in the Amsterdam, NY area for over 30 years. As the founding pastor of the Time For Truth Ministries, his desire is to see a true Biblical New Testament church in our modern days, founded on the love of the brethren, and has labored to that end through times of blessing and adversity.
INTERESTING FACTS : "...there is no foundation for comfort in the enjoyments of this life, but in the assurance that a wise and good God governeth the world..." - William Law
DAILY READING : Isaiah 45-58
TEXT : Isaiah 45:5-12 "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it. 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? 11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."
THEME : The Sovereignty of God
The Sovereignty of God for many can be a scary proposition. We like control. We like being in control and struggle with the idea that there are things out of our control. It's why children and teenagers struggle with their parents divorce thinking there was something they could do to prevent it. It's why godly parents struggle with their children walking away from God thinking they could have done more to keep them in the faith. And it's why, I think, the so called "serenity prayer" resounds with so many.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
We have a hard time accepting that there are some things we cannot change, and that those things are in God's hands. But God's Sovereignty should be for us a great source of strength and hope. Once we recognize that there are things out of our control we should be comforted by the fact that those things are in God's control. Once we understand this and we that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose", then we find great hope to bring us through the storms of life.
TRUTH FOR TODAY : God is NOT Your Co-Pilot
We've all seen the bumper stickers meant to convey that the person driving is someone who relies and depends upon God. "God is my co-pilot".
Though I understand the sentiment being conveyed, God in not our co-pilot. Proverbs 21:1 tells is that "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." God is sovereign over kings, God is sovereign over presidents, and God is sovereign over us.
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things."
Sometimes God brings darkness into our lives, and sometimes evil (not the evil as of sin, but evil as in judgment or punishment). We may at times question the decision God had made. Job did so, and God was very patient with him, and then finally God answered Job.
"Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?[Job 38:3-7]"
God answered Job by setting His power and His sovereignty before him. He is the Lord and He will exercise His good pleasure, but the good news is that He always has our best interests in mind. It may be hard for us to find purpose in the midst of pain, especially when the pain is acute and feels at time unbearable. But when we have a firm grasp on God's sovereignty, then we know that all things happen to us according to His plan.
A proper view of the Sovereignty of God will also embolden us under the toughest of circumstances. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, I believe, held this proper view. When asked by one of his General's how he could stay so calm in the midst of raging battles, Stonewall Jackson replied :
"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. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
Let's pray that God would give us a proper understanding of His Sovereignty, and that through that understanding we could live our lives boldly and with a confidence that all things will work together for our good.