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My Times Are in Your Hand

November 7th, 2018

My times are in your hand… (Psalm 31:15)

These are words of faith. There will come a moment in life when all signs of God’s providence are stripped away, when, due to events, circumstances, loneliness, or our mood, we feel forgotten and abandoned by God. We are not, but it may seem as if we are at some point in life. That is the moment that faith is essential – to simply rest in the reality of God.

This passage comes from the Old Testament Hebrew, and the word translated “times” may also be translated “seasons.” This word captures life with all of its ups and downs, its seasons of plenty and need, of sickness and health, of joy and sorrow, of success and failure. All of these times and seasons are in God’s hands, even those that are less pleasant.

In the Greek of the New Testament, there are the two words kronos and kairos, both of which are translated “time” but mean different things. Kronos means the steady passing of hours, days, and years. Kairos, however, means the opportune moment, the time written of by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar: 

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat.

These profound words, moving that they are, reveal the thinking of man, not the thinking of God. From God’s perspective we find that all of our times are in His hands, not just the days of opportunity. And even if the “voyage” seems missed from an earthly perspective, the Lord is still with us. It is, in fact, a secret of a joyous life in Christ to see His hand at work in circumstances that may place us in a disadvantage in human eyes, but in an opportune place in God’s eyes.

Remember, for Joseph slavery and imprisonment were pathways to greatness, “the saving of many lives.” For Stephen his stoning became the opportunity for witness to a young Pharisee named Saul. For Paul and Silas, beatings and stocks led them to see a prison guard converted. And for Christ, and for all of us, His cross because the instrument of intercession for our sins.

All the seasons of life are in God’s hands. Upon this truth, David could pray, “Save me for thy mercy’s sake” (Psalm 31:16). The mercy of God exists for a reason, and for its existence’s sake, we are well within proper bounds to ask for God’s mercy to be directed toward us. See your life and your times and your circumstances within the hands of God – pray that way to Him, for God answers prayer – and see that those hands are merciful hands, full of grace and undeserved kindnesses toward those who believe.

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Faith When We Feel Otherwise

November 9th, 2017

I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? (Psalm 42:9 ESV)

Does God forget His people?

Never. God says: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15). We may feel forgotten, but often our feelings are contrary to reality. If we will be strong in the Lord, we must learn to trust more in His Word than in our feelings. We need to learn to exercise faith when we feel otherwise.

God remembers us in times of temptation: We do not face temptation alone, nor are the circumstances of our temptations arranged without God being involved. The Bible says:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1Cor. 10:13)

The devil is a deceiver and one of the lies he often tells us when we are tempted is that God has forsaken us, that we are all alone and helpless. But this is just part of the deception and it is never the truth. God is with us when we experience temptation and will strengthen us if we will turn to Him in faith.

God remembers us in our troubles and sorrows: Another time we feel as if we are all alone is during times of grief and difficulty. In the midst of our trials, though, the Lord still looks down upon us and sees our challenges. We never face difficulty alone.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… (Psalm 23:4)

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2)

God remembers our good deeds: Our good deeds do not save us. We are only saved by the grace of God in Christ Jesus, through our faith in Him. Yet good works are rewarded and Jesus promised that God will never forget what we do for Him.

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Matt. 10:42)

Our good deeds are not done merely to receive some reward in heaven. They are to be done in humility out of genuine love for Christ and out of commitment to His purpose and goals for our lives. And whatever we do humbly, sincerely, wisely, in love for Christ, out of the compassion He has placed in our hearts for others, and for the sake of His glory will be rewarded in heaven. I believe the greatest reward we will ever receive is simply to hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

God forgets our sins and remembers them no more: There is one thing that God does forget, something we would like Him to forget, our sins.

I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isiah 43:25)

We may argue some philosophical point here, that a truly omniscient God cannot actually forget anything. But what this means is that God chooses not to bring the sins back up once they are confessed and forgiven. With people it is not uncommon that someone who says they have forgiven us may bring back up the sin again, in an attempt to embarrass us. We people say we forgive but often we just put the matter aside for a while, and do not erase it from our minds entirely.

But God forgives and takes sins away and separates them from us entirely.

How easy it is in this life to forget these truths. In times of difficulty we think God has forgotten us, that our sins have not been forgiven, or that what good we have done is also forgotten. But the Bible says just the opposite. We may FEEL forgotten and abandoned by God but we never are truly abandoned by Him.

When we feel He is silent toward us, that is a good time to stop and ask the Lord to bring to our minds any unconfessed sin. This is one prayer I have found that God always has answered in my life. But if we confess our sins to Him, agreeing with Him about sin, then He will forgive and cleanse and speak to us afresh. (See 1 John 1:9-10)

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