His Story or Yours?

What is your view of history? Do you see it as a chain of random events brought about by the desires of men or do you see the hand of God guiding and orchestrating?

In Acts chapter 13 Paul preaches a stirring message to the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch. In his sermon, Paul reminds these Jewish worshipers of their history placing God at the center of everything. God, not man, is the major player in history.

According to Paul, God chose the Jews, exalted them in the land of Egypt, brought them out of Egypt, destroyed seven nations in Canaan, distributed Canaan to the children of Israel, gave them judges, gave them Saul and David as kings and raised up a Savior for Israel.

Far too often when I look at history I see the works of men and miss the hand of God. God is not distant. He is involved in history. Throughout all of history to this very day and hour, God is working.

As Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional Convention on July 28, 1787, “God governs in the affairs of men.”

If asked, most Christians would certainly agree but how often do we actually think this way? When we look at the history of the world, do we see the hand of God? What about when we look at the history of our own lives? Do we see God at work throughout our lives or do we give coincidence credit for much of what happens to us?

Throughout his epistles, Paul constantly exhorts believers to give thanks. According to Paul, we ought to be giving thanks always, in everything and for everything. Paul’s prayers throughout scripture overflow with thanksgiving to God. Could it be that Paul was so quick to thank God because he had learned to see God’s hand in history?

When we see our lives as the accumulation of random coincidences, we have little for which to thank God. When instead we recognize the hand of God guiding and providing for us throughout our lives, our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving.

When we view history as a chain of random events brought about by human beings, we have little for which to thank God. When, however, we recognize the hand of God throughout history, we can praise Him for all that He has done in the past.

When we fail to see God’s hand at work in the past we will most likely struggle to trust Him with the future. If God has not been involved in history up until now, why would He suddenly get involved in our lives? If God’s hand is absent from the past we have little hope for the future.

If, however, God has been at work throughout all of human history, we can trust Him with today and tomorrow. We can rest upon the fact that the God who has walked with his people all throughout history and to the present hour will continue to do so in the future.

What about you? Do you see the hand of God working throughout history and your own life? Consider how the Lord had been faithful to you over the years and rest upon the fact that the same God who guided and directed your past holds your future.

Our God is Able

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Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

Do you believe that our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think? If I listened to your prayers would I know that you believed it?

Often we pray very small prayers and if we are honest we do not expect God to answer them. Too many Christians pray because it is a good thing to do rather than because they expect God to respond.

Is our God too small?

Have we forgotten that we serve the God who parted the Red Sea, supplied bread and water in the wilderness and drove out nations before His people?

Do our prayers demonstrate faith in the power of our God or do they demonstrate a lack of faith?

Mark 4:35-41 says, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. Why? They did the right thing. They ran to Jesus. Doesn’t that show that their faith was in Him? Why did Jesus respond to them this way?

The disciples came to Jesus but what was it they were asking Him to do? I do not believe that they asked Him to calm the storm. Judging from their reaction it does not seem like the thought that Jesus might calm the storm ever crossed their mind.

Why then did they come to Jesus? Is it possible that they were asking Him to bail water with them?

The disciples went to the right place. They ran to the One who could save them but it seems that their request was too small.

What about us?

We go to the right place. But are we asking Jesus to calm the storm or are we asking Him to bail water? Do we have faith in our miracle-working God? He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. Do we believe it?

Audacious Living for the Glory of God

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Throughout History, the great men and women of God have been marked by one thing—audacity. From the prophets, judges, and kings of the Old Testament to our heroes of the faith who lived more recently, those who really made a mark for the Lord were audacious.

They were willing to risk everything to bring glory to their God. They were willing to step out in faith and do impossible things because they trusted their God.

One of my favorite examples of this is David.

We all know the story. Israel was fighting against the Philistines who had a champion named Goliath. Not only had Goliath been trained for war from his youth but he was also a giant.

Only a little shepherd boy, David was not a trained warrior. Regardless when he heard that Goliath was challenging the Israelite army to send a champion to fight against him David volunteered. David took his shepherds sling and headed off to fight Goliath. Before he faced his enemy David picked up five smooth stones from a brook.

Wait! Stop the story right there.

Why did David choose five stones? Why didn’t he just pick up one?

Immediately most people would jump to the conclusion that David picked up the four extra stones as backup in case his first stone missed Goliath. I would argue however that that cannot be the case.

We are told in 1 Samuel 17:48 that David hurried and ran toward the Philistine. The Hebrew word that is translated hurried means to sprint. If David had any inclination of missing Goliath when he threw that first stone he would not have been sprinting toward him.

David did not gather four extra stones in case he missed. Instead as if going against Goliath was not audacious enough, David picked up four extra stones, one for each of Goliath’s four brothers.

David knew that his God could save by many or by few. Unconcerned that the odds were stacked against him, David’s only desire was the glory of his God.

Goliath defied the army of Israel, the very people through whom God had chosen to display His might and glorify His name.

David’s was not concerned about the size or strength of his enemy rather he was concerned about the glory of his God.

This is what audacity is born out of. We are audacious when our focus is not upon the obstacle to be overcome but rather upon the great God that we serve.

It is this focus on God that turns mere shepherd boys into giant slaying kings.

How about you? Are you audaciously going after the glory of God in your life? If you are a Christian you are God’s chosen instrument to reveal His glory and power on this earth.

Is your God too small to overcome the giants in your life or do you recognize like David did that not only can God overpower the giant standing directly in front of you, He can also overcome the four brothers of that giant?

We serve a mighty God! Do you believe it?

 

Authors note:  Scripture does not say that the four extra stones that David picked up were intended for Goliath’s brothers, however, it seems probable that this was his purpose in picking them up.