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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/24/11 God in control

1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give
Egypt for your ransom,  Cush[a] and Seba in your stead. 4 Since you are       
                  precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

Thoughts: Yesterday was bad news for our country's capital.  An earthquake hit our capital.  The Washington monument was damaged, the National Cathedral had a couple of spires damaged.  At the same time, it appeared that Hurricane Irene was headed right for Washington (though that could change, and hopefully will).  Certainly, we have had financial earthquakes on wall street, and high unemployment.  There does not appear to be a very safe place for investment now- not gold or oil or real estate or stocks, and our cds and savings are still producing low interest rates.  Even the church, which has been a beacon of morality and spirituality seems to be stuck in moral malaise and a dry secularism that expects little from God except continuing decay in number.  So what do we do?
     Perhaps we are being shown that "we are are only mortal" (Psalm 9:20).  Perhaps we are being shown, in God's providence, where our hope should lie (not in money, things, houses, cars, investments/ "securities"). 
     God is in control. We need that perspective (which is the prayer emphasis for Fellowship of Presbyterians today).  He has not removed Himself.  He wishes us to come back to Him with our whole heart.  For those who seek to be faithful- the good news is that when we pass through the fire we will not be burned.  Often God has used natural disasters as alarm clocks to wake us up to Him.  I remember when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, it seemed everyone in my state of South Carolina was praying, and very few lost their lives- though many lost their things.  Things can be replaced.  Our ultimate hope is in God.  It is not in planning or structures (though these are necessary).  Our hope lies in the solid rock.  Gathering together to worship and pray is not meaningless- even if no structures and great ideas come.  When the Holy Spirit comes, new life, strength, courage comes. 

Prayer: In your mercy gather us together as a mother hen would gather her chicks under her wings.  We come to you for refuge, for hope. 

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