Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘sovereignty’

From a Hospital Window

Our hospital room has a stupendous view!  (My husband is having surgery and I stay as his “watcher” as is customary in the country where we live.) From the 11th floor of this one skyscraper, we can see a whole sky-full of other skyscrapers, plus at least 15 cranes visible from our window that are busy building more.  And between them all move streams of cars, vans, and pedestrians. 

It reminds me of Psalm 33 which I’ve been memorizing recently, where God is the one looking down on us all.  For some, this may (and should be) scary.  But for me it’s incredibly comforting.

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
     from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—
           he who forms the hearts of all,
           who considers everything they do.
.1the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
      on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
            to deliver them from death
            and keep them alive in famine.

And then the glorious finale to this Psalm, which echoes the cry of my heart.  Notice the theme of hope.

We wait in hope for the LORD;
     he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,    Note
     for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
     even as we put our hope in you.   Rainbow

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Too Many Kings

We used to sing about “We three kings of Ori ‘n’ Tar” traveling far to see Jesus.  Where did we get the idea that these guys were kings?  The only king on the scene there was the Baby!  Even Herod was a wannabe, not recognized by the Jews as their legitimate king.

Jesus as King is arguably the main theme of the gospel of Matthew.  Interestingly, however, the only ones in this book who refer to Him by that title are Gentiles:  the magi at His birth, and Pontius Pilate at His death, who was responsible for the sign on the cross, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”  (Matthew 27:37) 

But another title used in Matthew carries the same meaning:  “Son of David.”  The legitimate and promised successor to the throne of Israel’s most beloved king centuries before.  Who used this title for Jesus? 

Matthew, the author (1:1)

Two pairs of blind men, presumably Jewish (9:27 & 20:30-31).

A Canaanite woman seeking help for her demonized daughter (15:22)

Triumphant crowds cheering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem a week before He was crucified (29:9)

The general population wasn’t so sure.  “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.”  (John 1:10-11)

I wonder—if I had been alive in that day, how would I have received the King?  More importantly, is He truly King of every area of my life today?  What areas have I usurped?

Wrestling with Fear

After Jacob met God face to face, he could face his worst fear. 

For 20 years he had been living as a fugitive from his brother Esau whom he had cheated out of what was most precious to him.  And now Jacob’s welcome with his father-in-law Laban was wearing out.  What drama!  Now let’s see how God turns this messy plot into His master plan:

–God tells Jacob to pack up and go home (31:3).

–God warns Laban not to harm Jacob (31:29).

–God sends “some angels” to meet Jacob as he travels on the next day (32:1).  Wow, what was that about?  We aren’t told that they said or did anything.

–When Jacob hears that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men, Jacob tells God how terrified he is, reminds God of His promises, and begs for protection.

–God comes to Jacob as an adversary (as if he needed another one!)—a “man” who wrestled with him—and then blessed him (Genesis 32:24-31)! 

The next morning, those worst fears evaporated as God changed the heart of Esau and the two brothers were reunited in a tearful embrace. 

What does this say to me about facing my fears?

A Wild Week

I look at my calendar and laugh.  Last week was an amazing drama as the Lord has changed our plans more times than I can count, and yet keeping one step ahead of us the whole way. 

On Monday morning, we were returning from a visit with friends two hours from home.  On the way, a phone call directed us to go straight to the hospital where my father-in-law had been taken.

On Tuesday, elderly relatives we’d been planning to visit on Wednesday called to say they weren’t up to it.  So that was crossed off our calendar.  But we were needed to help with Dad for those two days.

On Wednesday, friends from over an hour away whom we’d invited for Thursday supper called to say they had been called to our town that day to attend to a dying relative, and could we get together Wednesday evening instead of Thursday?  Sure!  And we had a great time together.

On Thursday, we were to meet friends for lunch before taking Dad from the hospital to a nursing home for recuperation.  But early that morning our friends cancelled due to a busy schedule, leaving us with a clean slate for the day.  And what a wild day it was!   For fun, trace our adventure that day (a comedy compounded by the complexity of loading and unloading wheel chairs and a walker into and out of the car at each stage).

–Dad’s discharge from the hospital gets changed from afternoon to morning.  The next step will be a nursing home for a few days of therapy.  We stop at their apartment to pick up my mother-in-law (in a wheel chair) and head for the hospital.

–Nursing Home #1 (nearer home) has no vacancies, so we take him to Nursing Home #2.  Put his things in the drawers, answer questions and fill out papers for 45 minutes.  After they serve us lunch, we return to his new room. 

–Cellphone rings.  We are informed that there is now an opening at Nursing Home #1!  So we try to gather all the pieces and head for the door.

–On our way out the door, cellphone rings again and informs us that Nursing Home #1 can’t take us for another hour or so due to an activity in progress.

–We load up anyway and head for town and get an ice cream cone (in the car) Smile

–Finally we get to the nursing home and get settled without further ado!  Everyone is tired and yet tickled at the way that day unfolded. 

God, what do you have planned for me today?  Another lesson in flexibility?  I hope I’m learning!

Playing with a Purpose

Every evening my husband and I enjoy a few rounds of the Internet game, Wordsplay.  It’s on the order of Boggle.  We compete with people around the world—maybe 50-100 of them at a time, depending on how many are playing.  Each player chooses a “name”—usually not their real one.  We are delighted when we see someone who calls themself “Phil 4:19” or “God is love.”  We’d love to know who they are,  where they live, and all the details of their lives.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are anonymous to us for this time.

Winner

It’s been even more fun recently since we figured out how to join a team called “Jesus is Sovereign.”  Some of the others on this team are “Truth” and “Way” and “Thankful” as well as “Alex” and “Barbie.”   We call ourselves “Blest.”   Sometimes our team even comes out on top when our scores are all added together! 

Why do I love this game?

–Word games are a lot of fun, and maybe it will help prevent Alzheimer’s Smile.

–It’s a reminder that we’re part of God’s family spread all around the world. We look forward to meeting our teammates someday in heaven.  (If you’re one of them, please let me know!)

–We hope that the team name, “Jesus is Sovereign,” will be a witness to people who haven’t yet joined God’s Worldwide Team!

Puny Humans vs. Sovereign God

I think God has a great sense of humor and has included lots more of it in the Bible than we ever see.  After reading Psalm 2 this morning, where God is laughing at those puny kings and leaders who shake their fist at him, I turned to Genesis 11.

Human leaders get together saying, “Come, let’s build a tower up to heaven and make a great name for ourselves—or else we might be scattered over the earth” (which is what God had commanded Noah’s descendants to do in Genesis 9:1). 

God says, “Come, let’s go down and see what those people are doing and confuse their language.” 

Man’s rebellions ambitions and God’s sovereign plans—which wins out?  God’s, of course!  I’m glad I’m on his side.

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