Many plans are in a man’s mind,
but it is the will of the Lord
that will be carried out.
This Superlative Sanctuary Sunday Open Thread, with full respect to those who worship God on the Sabbath, is a place to reaffirm our worship of our Creator, our Father, our King Eternal.
It’s also a place to read, post and discuss news that’s worth knowing and sharing. Please post links to any news stories that you use as sources or quote from.
In the QTree, we’re a friendly and civil lot, unencumbered by political correctness. We encourage free speech and the open exchange and civil discussion of different ideas. Topics aren’t constrained, and sound logic is highly encouraged, all built on a solid foundation of truth and established facts.
We have a policy of mutual respect, shown by civility. Civility encourages discussions, promotes objectivity and rational thought in discourse, and camaraderie in the participants – characteristics we strive toward in our Q Tree community.
Please show respect and consideration for your fellow QTreepers.
Before hitting the “post” button, please proofread your post and make sure you’re addressing the issue only, and not trying to confront another poster.
If you feel the need to bare your fangs, we have a companion site – called The U Tree – where all legal speech is allowed and where you can run wild and free with the Wolfpack.
But NOT HERE in The Q Tree. Personal attacks, name calling, ridicule, insults, baiting and other conduct for which a penalty flag would be thrown are VERBOTEN.
In The Q Tree, we’re compatriots, sitting around the campfire, roasting hot dogs, making s’mores and discussing, agreeing, and disagreeing about whatever interests us. This board will remain a home for those who seek respectful conversations.
Please also consider the Important Guidelines, outlined here. Let’s not give the Internet Censors a reason to shut down this precious haven that Wolf has created for us.
The Storm is upon us.
Please remember to Pray for our President.
AND WHAT TIME IS IT?
TIME TO DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!
Our movement is about replacing a failed and CORRUPT political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American People.
Candidate Donald J. Trump
Also remember Wheatie’s Rules:
- No food fights.
- No running with scissors.
- If you bring snacks, bring enough for everyone.
On this day and every day –
God is in Control
. . . and His Grace is Sufficient, so . . .
Keep Looking Up
Hopefully, every Sunday, you can find something here that will build you up a little . . . give you a smile . . . and add some joy or peace, very much needed in all our lives.
“This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” . . . “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Sovereignty of God
‘I Will Accomplish All My Purpose’
In Isaiah 46:9, God says “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” God is unique among all the beings of the universe. He is in a class by himself. No one is like him. When something is happening, or something is being said or thought, and God responds, “I am God!” , he is saying: You’re acting like you don’t know what it means for me to be God.
So he tells them what it means to be the one and only God. He tells them what’s at the heart of his God-ness. Verse 10: What it means for me to be God is that “I declare the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.” Two statements:
- I declare how things turn out long before they ever happen.
- I declare not just natural events but human events — doings, things that are not yet done.
Verse 10: “I declare from ancient times things not yet done.” I know what these doings will be long before they are done.
Now at this point you might say, “What we have here is God’s foreknowledge, not his sovereignty.” And that is right, so far. But in the next half of the verse, God tells us how he foreknows the end and how he foreknows the things not yet done. Verse 10b: “I declare the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” When he “declares” ahead of time what will be, here’s how he “declares” it, or “says” it: “saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”
In other words, the way he declares his foreknowledge is by declaring his fore-counsel and his fore-purposing. When God declares the end long before it happens, what he says is, “My counsel shall stand.” And when God declares things not yet done long before they are done, what he says is, “I will accomplish all my purpose.”
Which means that the reason God knows the future is because he plans the future and accomplishes it. The future is the counsel of God being established. The future is the purpose of God being accomplished by God. Then, the next verse, verse 11b, gives a clear confirmation that this is what he means: “I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” In other words, the reason my predictions come true is because they are my purposes, and because I myself perform them.
God knows what’s coming because he plans what’s coming, and he performs what he plans. Verse 10b: ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ He does not form purposes and wonder if someone else will take responsibility to make them happen. “I will accomplish all my purpose.”
So, based on this text: God has the rightful authority, the freedom, the wisdom, and the power to bring about everything that he intends to happen. And therefore, everything he intends to come about does come about. Which means, God plans and governs all things.
When he says, “I will accomplish all my purpose,” he means, “Nothing happens except what is my purpose.” What God means in Isaiah 46:10 is that nothing has ever happened, or will ever happen, that God did not purpose to happen. Or to put it positively: Everything that happened or will happen is purposed by God to happen.
Will we turn from our objections and praise his power and grace, and bow with glad submission to the absolute sovereignty of God? Or, will we stiffen our neck and resist him? Will we see in the sovereignty of God our only hope for life in our deadness, our only hope for answers to our prayers, our only hope for success in our evangelism, our only hope for meaning in our suffering? Or, will we insist that there is a better hope, or no hope?
However, nothing contradicts the real moral responsibility that humans, and angels, and demons have to do what God commands. God has given us a will. How we use it makes our eternal difference.
God is sovereign over what appears the most random acts in the world. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” There are no events so small that he does not rule for his purposes. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” Jesus said, “And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29–30).
From worms in the ground to stars in the galaxies, God governs the natural world. In the book of Jonah, God commands a fish to swallow (1:17), God commands a plant to grow (4:6), and commands a worm to kill it (4:7). And far above the life of worms, the stars take their place and hold their place at God’s command. Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.”
How much more, then, the natural events of this world — from weather, to disasters, to disease, to disability, to death.
Psalm 147:15–18 says, “He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.” Job 37:11–13 says, “He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.”
So snow and rain, and cold, and heat, and wind are all the work of God. When Jesus finds himself in the middle of a raging storm, he merely speaks, “Peace! Be still!” And as the text says, “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). There is no wind, no storm, no hurricane, no cyclone, no typhoon, no monsoon, no tornado over which Jesus can say “Be still,” and it will not obey. Which means, that if it blows, he intends for it to blow. “Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” (Amos 3:6). All Jesus had to do with Hurricane Sandy was say, “Be still,” and there would have been no damage and no loss of life.
And what about the other sufferings of this life? “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’” (Exodus 4:11). And Peter said to the suffering saints in Asia Minor, “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19). “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).
Whether we suffer from disability, or from the evil of others, God is the one who ultimately decides — and whether we live or die. Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “There is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” Or consider James 4:13–15: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” Or, as Job says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
And when we turn from the natural world to the world of human actions and human choice, God’s sovereignty is just as extensive. “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; . . . the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 2:21; 4:17).
And whoever the president is, he is not sovereign. We should pray for him that he would know this: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). And when he engages in foreign affairs he will not be decisive. God will. “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10–11).
When nations came to do their absolute worst, namely the murder of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, they had not slipped out of God’s control, but were doing his sweetest bidding at their worst moment: “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27–28). The worst sin that ever happened was in God’s plan, and by that sin, sin died.
And so our salvation was secured on Calvary under the sovereign hand of God. And, if you are a believer in Jesus, if you love him, you are a walking miracle. God granted you repentance (2 Timothy 2:24–25). God drew you to Christ (John 6:44). God revealed himself to you (Matthew 11:27). God gave you the gift of faith. “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). The sovereignty of God in our salvation excludes boasting.
There may have been a hundred horrible things in your life. But if today you are moved to treasure Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can write over every one of those horrors the words of Genesis 50:20: Satan, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
I conclude with the words of Paul in Ephesians 1:11, “God works all things according to the counsel of his will.” All things — from the roll of the dice, to the circuits of stars, to the rise of presidents, to the death of Jesus, to the gift of repentance and faith.
What then does this mean for us? Why is this precious to us?
- Let us stand in awe of the sovereign authority and freedom and wisdom and power of God.
- Let us never trifle with life as though it were a small or light affair.
- Let us marvel at our own salvation — that God bought it, and wrought it, with sovereign power, and we are not our own.
- Let us groan over the God-belittling, man-centeredness of our culture and much of the church.
- Let us be bold at the throne of grace knowing that our prayers for the most difficult things can be answered. Nothing is too hard for God.
- Let us rejoice that our evangelism will not be in vain because there is no sinner so hard that the sovereign grace of God cannot break through.
- Let us be thrilled and calm in these days of great upheaval because victory belongs to God, and no purposes that he wills to accomplish can be stopped.