Archive for the ‘Sovereignty of God’ Category


True Thanksgiving

In 1983 I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC. It was a government sponsored trip to seek investment opportunities in Turkey. My last night I spent in Izmir having dinner with my interpreter and a business owner interested in doing business in America. They ordered for me and out came this huge Black Sea Bass (whole) sitting upright on a potato concoction. I ate the fish, but that night I got deathly sick, so sick I missed my early morning flight to Istanbul.

That fish gave me nightmares for several months, because it meant that I had to rent a car and drive 600 kilometers through at least three military check points, in unfamiliar towns and then into Istanbul late at night trying to find a place to stay. It was an exciting and terrifying experience to say the least. That is why I don’t like eating whole fish to this day.

Jonah Eats Fish at Thanksgiving

The book of Jonah relates a story that you are all familiar with, of a man who tried to run away from God’s will, and ended up being swallowed by a giant fish. Now if I had problems eating fish after my experience, I can just see Jonah being afraid to get on a ship or even go near the ocean or a lake. Every time he would hear a splash I can just see him running for cover.

But when I read what he wrote in chapter 2, I know that isn’t the case. In fact from the Psalm he wrote, I know that every Thanksgiving, Jonah would eat the biggest fish he could get.

Jonah 2:1-10 (ESV)

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ 5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head 6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

How did Jonah come to experience True Thanksgiving in the belly of the Great Fish?

1. Remember God (even when your life stinks)

Jonah:

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever;

Jonah sunk to the bottom of the sea. He saw where the mountains started. He was being choked by seaweed, he was losing consciousness.

He remembered God and cried out.

He thought he could run away from God, but Jonah realized that God was there, even when he was rescued by the fish.

Prodigal Son

He was lying down in pig slop, which if you ever smell will cause you to quit eating bacon for a long while.

Even there he realized he needed his Father. Even in that stench he remembered the love his father had even for servants.

2. Realize God is your only hope of steadfast love.

Remember the song “Looking for Love in all the wrong places?” It is so true for most people. Adam and Eve had all the love they could want, and it wasn’t good enough.

King David had all the women, all the wealth, all the power he could ever want, and it wasn’t good enough. He got into a mess of trouble because he committed adultery with another man’s wife, and then had him killed to cover it up.

We see this today…people making stupid decisions for the hope of love. People’s lives ruined because of choices, choices they think will bring them love, excitement, acceptance.

Jonah made a decision to run away from God rather than witness to some terrible enemies. He put himself and his selfish desires before God. He hoped he could get away from God.

What are you hoping in? Are you running away from God? Are you avoiding Him and hoping He goes away? Are you facing difficulties in your life today because of poor choices in the past?

Let me assure you, even though you are trapped in a stinky mess, being tossed to and fro, facing hardship after hardship, there is a Creator God who made you, knew every one of your poor choices, knew every one of your sins, and yet He desires to take you in his arms and cover you with His steadfast love.

Jonah discovered that God still loved him when he was at the bottom of the sea, breating his last breath. He discovered God’s love when he was in the belly of the great fish. Seaweed and fish guts were all over him. I can’t imagine the stink. Yet God’s steadfast love was there.

What is the secret to discovering God’s steadfast love even though you are covered in rotten seaweed and stinky fish guts? Jonah discovered it, but Paul reveals how we get there, covered in guts and stench:

Romans 1:21-23 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

NOT EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE?

So if you are wondering why you are not experiencing God’s steadfast love in the midst of your trials and hardships, understand what is preventing you from experiencing God’s steadfast love:

A.You have a problem honoring God.

Whatever you believe about the great men who founded this nation, it is super evident in 95% of their writings that they lived their lives with a principle that is missing in our leaders today. Our founding Fathers honored God as Sovereign God over the affairs of men. They realized God has the final say so in our lives.

B.You have a problem allowing God into your life.

Not only do we not honor God’s sovereignty, but we fail to give thanks to him in every aspect of our lives. We thank him for the rain, we thank him for winning the lottery, we thank him for food. Do we thank him when we lose our job. Do we thank him when we lose a loved one? Do we thank him when our friends turn against us?

Paul says that when we fail to honor God and allow Him ownership of all that happens in our lives (by giving thanks) our hearts become darkened and our minds become futile (or wasted or stupid) in our thinking. We exchange the glory of God for something stupid like a woman, a car, a job, a house, anything we put before God and say this is mine!

On November 11, 1620, Governor William Bradford and the leaders on the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact before setting foot on land. They wanted to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in their lives and their need to obey Him. The Mayflower Compact was America’s first great constitutional document and is often called “The American Covenant.”

Life was hard in the New World. Out of 103 Pilgrims, 51 of these died in the first terrible winter. After the first harvest was completed, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. By 1623, a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during their prayers. The custom prevailed in New England and eventually became a national holiday.

3. Return your life to God

Have you given God ownership of your life?

It is one thing to say God is sovereign, but it is quite another to allow Him to be sovereign over all of your life, family and possessions. Can you honestly say that God is in control of everything in your life? Is there anything in your life that you are trying to keep control of, apart from what God may want to do? If you found yourself in the belly of a fish, covered with fish guts and seaweed, would you worship God’s sovereignty over your life, or would you be screaming “Get me out of here!”

From (AW PINK, SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD)

  • „ The sovereignty of God! What do we mean by the expression of the Sovereignty of God?
  • „ We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the Godhood of God.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? (Daniel 4:35).
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes, or resist His will (Psalms 115:3).
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psalms 22:28), setting up kingdoms, over-throwing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best.
  • „ To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords” (1Timothy 6:15).

How do you return your life to Sovereign God?

A. Confess and declare that GOD is SOVEREIGN OWNER OF YOUR LIFE.

  • When you declare that God is sovereign over your life, you affirm His right to govern your life, your world, your family just as He pleases, because you were made for His Glory.
  • You affirm that He is the potter and you are the clay: that He may mould you into whatever form He chooses.
  • You affirm that God is under no rule or law outside His own will and nature, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His decisions to you are anyone else.

Jonah discovered he could not get away from the sovereignty of God. So Job made a decision to accept the Sovereignty of God over his life. When he did, when Jonah prayed with thanksgiving in his heart, Jonah experienced the most amazing miracle. He experienced the love of God in the most horrible of circumstances.

B. Sacrifice with Thanksgiving (todah)

Jonah 2:9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

Discovered the power of tôdah Thanksgiving![1]

Psalm 42:4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

There are two pictures presented by “TODAH”

1. ADMIT

Tôdah has a deeper meaning than simply thanksgiving or gratitude:

At its core, todah is to admit.What a concept! The gist of thanks is to admit – but what are we admitting to? When we say tôdah, we are admitting that we are lacking and that someone else is giving to us. We are admitting that we could not do something alone. We are admitting that you helped us accomplish something. We are admitting, that we have been given “more than [our] rightful share” thanks to God![2]

This is why Joshua told Achan to confess to what he had done by admitting and confessing the Glory of God over his life.„

Joshua 7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise (todah) to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

The psalmist pictures the need to confession in proclaiming thanksgiving unto God:„

Psalm 26:6-7 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

To give “todah” to God always involves a sacrifice or offering on your part. You give your life to God. You allow Him to own your life. Admit it to Him!

2 Chronicles 29:31 Then Hezekiah said, Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings, and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

Jonah had to sacrifice his will, his pride, his prejudices against the Ninevites, and admit that he needed to follow God, he needed the provision of God and yes, he needed the sovereignty of God over his life!

2. WORSHIP LOUD!

“Todah” pictures thanksgiving to God so great that you start shouting and singing at the top of your voice!

Picture a huge Choir Singing thundering Songs of Praise, accompanied by a huge orchestra. Can you hear the SHOUTS of thanksgiving! When Nehemiah dedicated the wall he had all the leaders get on the wall and had a huge assembly of Levites playing instruments and singing praises to God.

Nehemiah 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

Nehemiah 12:31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate.

Two great choirs were on opposite sides, with the rest of the people in the middle. It was like the battle of the choirs, each one trying to praise God louder than the other. It was the ultimate thanksgiving celebration!

Are you experiencing true Thanksgiving this year? I am not speaking of “blessings” or anything you can attribute to what you have done. Millions of families celebrate a thanksgiving based upon how fortunate they have been, or how much they have because of good luck and hard work.

I want you to experience True TODAH Thanksgiving.

Todah Thanksgiving happens no matter how messed up your life is!

Remember…Realize…Return…Admit and Worship.

Believers

If you have already been born again, take this time to examine your life, and remember God and His sovereignty. If you have gotten away from Him by putting other things first, Realize that He is the only source of genuine love. Return your life to Him, Admit your need for him and lay your life on the altar and say God do as you wish with my life. Then Worship Him Loud. Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid your friends will hear. WORSHIP LOUD!

Lost in sin

Remember, life is a journey, and no matter where you are in your journey, God is there. Realize that He loves you even with all of your rebellion and ugliness and stench.

Run to your creator God, just like the Prodigal Son ran home.

Admit you need God, that you have made a mess of your life through your pride and sin and rebellion. Admit you need Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Worship God by believing that He has your life, that the blood of Jesus has cleansed you and made you right with God.

Allow your Worship to be with you whole life, with your whole voice, Constantly give thanks and praise to God out LOUD! Allow the light of Jesus Christ to break through the darkness over your heart.

John 3:17-19 (NKJV) 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Do you love darkness rather than God’s light? Have you accepted the stink of your sinful, rebellious life? Wake up and take a good sniff! It is time for you to cry out with Jonah: Salvation is of the Lord.”


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “tôdāh”


My daughter Lindsey shooting

I shot myself. It wasn’t deliberate. It was an accident. I was at my son-in-law’s place near Ft Scott, Kansas.

Having fun shooting at targets

It was the first and probably last time I was invited. Several of our grand kids were there. My other son-in-law had set up targets at various ranges, and we were very carefully taking turns shooting our various weapons at the targets. We had AR-15’s, a Remington .270, several pistols of various calibers. I had brought my AR-15, two other rifles, five pistols and even my compound bow. It was very hot, but we had fun practicing our marksmanship skills. I’ve always believed that the family that shoots together stays together.

Putting Guns away moments before shooting myself-notice all the grandkids

It was close to 4pm and we had spent most of our ammo. I had discharged all of mine, I thought. So everyone goes down to pick up the brass and pack away the firearms and bring them up to the cars. I started putting away my various weapons.

I was putting my Ruger P89c 9mm into the hard plastic case. The hammer was back which is common when all the rounds have been discharged. I made my first mistake at that point. You always assume the pistol is loaded. I did not check the chamber. If I had, I would have discovered a round. The next lesson I learned is the need to know each weapon you have, for they are all different. What I thought was a decocking safety, was in reality a decocking lever. Instead of safely withdrawing the firing pin and closing the hammer, it engaged the hammer and drove the firing pin into the live round in the chamber.

Engaging the Decocking Lever

The result is noted in the pictures. The bullet discharged and went through the hard plastic case, and then through my hand, which had been holding the case.

Bullet fires through the case

All I remember was the horriffic explosion, and dropping the case at the very same time. I did not immediately feel a pain in my hand. My wife started yelling, “You’re bleeding!” and that is when in a cloud of smoke I noticed my hand, blood streaming from a hole on top, near my thumb. I was in a daze!

My son-in-law, Ben, ran toward me, taking his shirt off as he ran. He tore a strip of the shirt off, and tied it directly over the wound, stopping the blood flow.

He said the closest hospital was in Ft Scott, 20 plus miles away. I was surprisingly calm. The only pain I felt was the discomfort of the tourniquet and the pressure slowly building in my hand. The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever, but I never grew queasy or lightheaded. I used my phone to track down the location of Mercy Hospital in Ft Scott.

Exit wound. Big John is holding the tourniquet tight!

I found out that when you walk into the Hospital and announce, “I shot myself,” they react very quickly. No “Have a chair”, no “please fill this out”. I walked right back to the ER room and laid on a bed. Next thing I know a big EMT named John is taking the tourniquet off and saying, “Yep, you shot yourself”. He then moved the tourniquet up my wrist and for the next 45 minutes twisted it tight. I really enjoyed talking with John. He is quite the hunter and fisherman. He didn’t make me feel stupid for shooting myself. The pictures tell the story. When they first dismissed me, we went to Walmart to get the pain pills and antibiotic. While I was at the window blood started gushing all over. The lady got me a couple Walmart bags to catch the blood.

Blood-soaked bandage. Notice the Walmart bags.

They felt there may have been an artery nicked, and told were not equipped to operate on my hand, so they contacted a Doctor at Olathe Medical Center who agreed to take me as a transfer patient. He was a Plastic Surgeon evidently skilled in hand surgery. So we drove for an hour or so to the Emergency Room at Olathe Medical Center. They had wrapped my hand in a pressure bandage, and even with pain medication, it was very uncomfortable.

The service there was quite slow. I would see someone every 45 minutes or so. As it turned out, I never saw the Plastice Surgeon, only Dr Roberts, an ER Doctor. Since the bleeding had stopped, and the X-Rays showed no bone damage, and the paper clip test (yes-paper clip) showed no nerve damage, he saw no need for exploratory surgery.

He did cleanse the would with a 18 gauge – no make that a 16 gauge (his exact words to the nurse) catheter. So some more shots in the wound. Finally about midnight I could begin the 40 minute journey home. We had some good friends, the Carrin’s and the Shelton’s come and visit us there. What do you say to someone who shot them self? “At least now you can Praise God with Holy Hands?” I really appreciated their encouragement.

More Lessons:

John keeping the tourniquet tight

Wrapped, drugged and ready to go

What else did I learn, besides the need for better gun safety? I learned that God is present, even in the dumb moments of our life. My heart was filled with such a joy, such an awareness of His presence. I found myself thinking of what it must have been like for Jesus Christ, a Roman spike tearing through his hand, and how he had to support himself for hours, all the time feeling the searing pain of that spike against his bones and his nerves. My experience was nothing compared to His, yet I could pray with Paul in Phil 3:10 that I was thankful I could share in the “fellowship of His sufferings”.

Most of all, I was thankful that I was the one hurt, and not my grandchildren.  God is Sovereign, and He could have led that bullet anywhere. I would much rather be the one who suffers. 

I am also thankful that the injury will not result in any permanent damage. I have already ridden my bike to see how it did, and it was OK. I plan to swing a golf club this week. I still plan on hiking Mt Whitney in August with my long-time friend Don Porter. God is truly wonderful, and His mercies are new every morning. We can praise Him in the good times, but most of all we can praise Him even when we shoot ourselves!

Entrance Wound

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Jonahs family eats fish at ThanksgivingIn 1983 I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC. It was a government sponsored trip to seek investment opportunities in Turkey. My last night I spent in Izmir having dinner with my interpreter and a business owner interested in doing business in America. They ordered for me and out came this huge Black Sea Bass (whole) sitting upright on a potato concoction. I ate the fish, but that night I got deathly sick, so sick I missed my early morning flight to Istanbul. That fish gave me nightmares for several months, because it meant that I had to rent a car and drive 600 kilometers through at least three military check points, in unfamiliar towns and then into Istanbul late at night trying to find a place to stay. It was an exciting and terrifying experience to say the least. Mudpreachers experience with fishThat is why I don’t like eating whole fish to this day. The book of Jonah relates a story that you are all familiar with, of a man who tried to run away from God’s will, and ended up being swallowed by a giant fish. Now if I had problems eating fish after my experience, I can just see Jonah being afraid to get on a ship or even go near the ocean or a lake. Every time he would hear a splash I can just see him running for cover. But when I read what he wrote in chapter 2, I know that isn’t the case. In fact from the Psalm he wrote, I know that every Thanksgiving, Jonah would eat the biggest fish he could get.

Jonah eats the biggest fish he can catch

Jonah eats the biggest fish he can catch

Jonah says in his Psalm recorded in chapter 2: “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will I sacrifice to you” This he prayed while still in the fishes belly.

The Hebrew word for Thanksgiving has in view a Choir Singing Tremendous Songs of Praise, accompanied by a huge orchestra. People with SHOUTS of Jubilation!

The word depicts worship by the presentation of songs of thanksgiving and praise that extolled the mighty wonders of the Lord (Neh. 12:27; Ps. 26:7; Isa. 51:3). It refers to shouts of jubilation and thanksgiving (Ps. 42:4[5]; Jon. 2:9[10]). It describes the purpose of the choirs used by Nehemiah, i.e., they were choirs of praise (Neh. 12:31, 38).—Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Walldedicated with todaWhen Nehemiah dedicated the wall he had all the leaders get on the wall and had a huge assembly of Levites playing instruments and singing praises to God. This is the picture Jonah presented in his prayer while lodged deep in the stinking stomach of a huge fish! Now how was Jonah able to praise God while he was deep in the belly of a stinking fish? Because Jonah had a firsthand lesson in something which many of us are not familiar with.

Would that our Thanksgivings featured such spontaneous expressions of Joy and Rejoicing over what God has done in our lives.

Face it, most of our Thanksgiving meals consist of a few arguments over such and such, a short prayer of blessing, then maybe a forced “What are You Thankful For?’ and then the guys go and watch football or go to a movie or such like that. Even in my family I can’t recall spontaneous shouts of Joy over what God has been doing.

Festival of BoothsGod wanted His people to have festivals and feasts where there was spontaneous rejoicing! One Such Event was the Festival of Booths held once a year in the Fall:

Leviticus 23:39-43 (KJV) Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Sovereignty vs. Thanksgiving

Sovereignty of God vs ThanksgivingThe story of Jonah is so appropriate at the time of Thanksgiving, because it addresses the conflict that most of us experience at this holiday time. This is the conflict we have between our experiences with the Sovereignty of God and the Joy (or lack of it) we feel in our Soul!

We used to know what the Sovereignty of God is. The Pilgrims who settled in America had a profound sense of the Sovereignty of God…

On November 11, 1620, Governor William Bradford and the leaders on the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact before setting foot on land. They wanted to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in their lives and their need to obey Him. The Mayflower Compact was America’s first great constitutional document and is often called “The American Covenant.”

Life was hard in the New World. Out of 103 Pilgrims, 51 of these died in the first terrible winter. After the first harvest was completed, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. By 1623, a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during their prayers. The custom prevailed in New England and eventually became a national holiday.

Because they understood the Sovereignty of God they could rejoice regardless of whether there was rain or drought, death or life. We have lost our concept of what the Sovereignty of God is. Let me share just a bit from AW Pink:

From (AW PINK, SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD)

The sovereignty of God! What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the Godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? (Daniel 4:35). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes, or resist His will (Psalms 115:3). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psalms 22:28), setting up kingdoms, over-throwing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords” (1Timothy 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible. The sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we declare that God is sovereign, we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay: that He may mould that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.”

The Exercise of His Supremacy

The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” ( Isaiah 46:10); “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand” ( Daniel 4:35).

Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things “after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

We affirm that He is Sovereign in the exercise of His power. His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills.

  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His mercy
  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love
  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His grace.

God’s Throne is Supreme

  • To declare that God is frustrated by sin, is to dethrone God.
  • To say that God has no control over the evil of this world is to dethrone God
  • To say that God has no control over the bad things that happen in our lives is to dethrone God.

Sovereignty speaks of God’s divine control over everything that happens. There is nothing outside the control of his loving hand. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of God’s children and verses 38- 39 implies that there is nothing beyond the control of God’s sovereign hand. God’s sovereignty reminds Christians to fear nothing as God is always in charge, no matter how dreadful the situation.—AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts

We have lost our sense of God and His Sovereignty in our churches, our preaching, our Thanksgivings!

Man-Centered vs God-Centered

A recent survey found the number one question people would ask God is “Why do you allow suffering?”

Instead of focusing on God and His Sovereign Right to Act as His Nature Dictates, we focus on ourselves and we go “boo-hoo”, why did you do this why did you allow that. We are so man-centered, that every time something doesn’t go our way we shake our fist at God!

When you learn to focus on the Sovereign Will of God, you trust in an all powerful God who works His Glory in whatever happens in your life! You know that nothing is by accident, that He is working all to accomplish what please Him, in accordance with His Word and His Nature!

The whole issue is whether we live lives that are man-centered or God-centered.

In the Book of Jonah we see an obstinate, self-centered man who runs headlong into the mighty Sovereignty of God.jonah centered

Jonah-Centered

  • Jonah centered world results in captivity
    • Jonah wanted to do what he wanted when he wanted
    • He was swallowed by the fish, held captive.
  • Jonah centered world results in damnation.
    • Jonah experienced Hell.
    • The people of Nineveh were doomed.
  • Jonah centered world results in anger and hatred.
    • Jonah was mad that Nineveh was saved.
    • Mad at what God had done.
    • Dependent on Circumstances

God-Centered

  • God-centered world results in deliverance from the storms of life
    • Sailor saved
    • Jonah rescued
  • God-centered world results in deliverance from the hell of life
    • Jonah deleverd from the Hell of the fish.
  • God-centered world results in deliverance from sin
    • Nineveh repented and was saved
  • God-centered world results in Rejoicing and Thanksgiving
    • The people of Nineveh rejoiced because God spared them
  • Jonah learned to shut up and started eating Big Fish

Why Does a God Centered World result in Repentance, Deliverance, Mercy and Salvation?

  1. The Sovereignty of God means that God seeks to Deliver Repentant man.God seeks to deliver repentant man
  2. The Sovereignty of God means that God’s Mercy is for Repentant manGods Mercy is upon repentant man
  3. Gods Salvation is for repentant manThe Sovereignty of God means Salvation for Repentant man.

We have so much to rejoice in. If you have turned from you sin and embraced Jesus as your Savior, Rejoice, you have been delivered, you are wrapped in the Mercy of God, You are being saved. Rejoice and tell your relatives – make em think you are crazy. Jonah was stinking like a fish when he told the people of God’s coming judgment. Rejoice because God is sovereign. Why don’t you put God on His Throne in Your Life!!! He is on His throne. Whatever you are going through, all you need to do is repent of your sins and rejoice in God’s Mercy. He will do all according to His Will.

YOUR CHOICE

You can live this Thanksgiving Man-centered or God centered.

You Can Brood and Burn in Pain!

You can be on your own throne or you can submit to God on His throne. Jonah go upset at God for bringing revival to Nineveh. God asked him: “Do You Do Well to be Angry?”(Jonah 4:4)

That little word angry is “hara” which means to cause fire to burn- pictures a “burning sensation in your throat.” This is a kindling or simmering of anger. When you put your self on the throne you set in motion the kindling of your soul as you react to what God does in your life. Instead of praise and spontaneous rejoicing, your throat is burning, your are mad and resentful because God has not done as YOU wanted.

You can Seek God and BURN BRIGHT with Joy!

Psalms 105:3 (ESV) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

You can realize God is Sovereign and is actively governing as He pleases upon His throne. You can repent of your selfishness and sin and seek after Almighty God and His reign over your life.

Then you will know SAMAH!

  • SAMAH means to burn bright, to make joyful, merry. This joy comes from within your heart and lights up your eyes! (TWOT)
  • SAMAH results in spontaneous emotion and extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible manner.
  • When David killed Goliath, the women danced in the streets and shouted with JOY! (! Sam 18:6)

Psalms 32:11 (ESV) Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The True Shining City on the HillPresident Ronald Reagan gave a famous farewell speech on Jan 11, 1989. He talked about the “shining city on the Hill”:

The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the ‘shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

America may no longer be that shining City on the Hill, but God still Reigns. He still seeks men to repent and come to Him. All the financial and political travail that is going on is the Throne of God giving us one last chance to Repent and Honor Him as Sovereign God!

One day He will place His Son on that Shining City on the Hill, Jerusalem. All nations will come to Him there. He will reign.

Do you know King Jesus as your Savior. Is His Father your Sovereign Lord? Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. He paid the price for your freedom with His precious sinless blood. Will you come to Him?  Will you repent of your sins and say “Jesus I need you to be my Savior!” Will you come and make Him your Lord, so that He can shine bright in your life?

God Still Reigns. God is Sovereign.

Samah - Jumping for JoyWhat will be your visible expression of joy before God this thanksgiving!!!!

Will You allow God to be on His throne in your life? Will you jump for joy because of his deliverance, his mercy, his salvation for you?

That which you think has most injured your life, God can enable you to rejoice in it, even eat it! Never fear it! Even if it swallows you!