Friday, March 2, 2012

Omniscient -- All Knowing God

This past week has been a rough one.  I have been struggling every day for the past two weeks with the fact that my sister is so very close and I can't see her, her husband + adorable children (who I haven't seen in a year).  Add to that I have felt so sick since Saturday that I couldn't physically drive myself and the kids there even though we desperately wanted to visit.  Sometimes life just stinks.  Plans change.  Hopes feel dashed.  And yet, I'm reminded again and again of God's sovereignty.  Though I'm disappointed, I'm not defeated. 

You know how you teach something or testify and then God tests you on that very thing?  Two and a half weeks ago I was asked to give a devotion at our church's Upward basketball half time.  God had been laying on my heart for weeks that if I was asked I was to do an umbrella demonstration about authority.  Well, I wasn't sure how it would come together, and with only about 3 weeks left of games I thought I was in the clear and wouldn't have to share after all.  Ha, then Jamey cornered me and well, I'm a sucker and couldn't say no.  That and I knew God wanted me to share.  Well, you know what, I'll just share the whole devotion on here.  It's a little long, but it's what God put on my heart and maybe it's something someone else needs to hear, too.

Upward Devotion

1Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Rom 13:1-5

God has instituted authority to protect us. It seems to be our natural tendency to dislike boundaries, rules + regulations placed on us by our authorities, whether that be our boss, our parents, the law. The Bible states that when we rebel against these authorities in reality we rebel directly against God.

God created His law and authority to protect us from danger. I have trained my children to put one hand on the car or on my leg when in a parking lot if I’m putting their sibling in or out of the car or unloading groceries. To them this appears restrictive on their freedom and desire to run and explore. However, being the parent I see the bigger picture and know that in reality I train them to respect my authority in this situation and others so that I can protect them from danger they are unaware of as a child.

We have earthly authorities in our life. The boss. The law. Children—your parents. Ultimately we all live under the authority of God—whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not. Now God doesn’t force Himself upon us acting as a domineering commander forcing us always to submit. However, He does tell us very clearly in His Word how He desires for us to act. Just like a good parent creates rules that may not make sense to the child, some of what God tells us to do doesn’t make sense or may seem to infringe on our freedom or desire to experience life. But, just like a good parent doesn’t make rules just to restrict their children, rather to protect, God gives us His Law to protect us.

Picture God’s Law like an umbrella. We use an umbrella to protect us from rain. Like the umbrella protects us from rain God’s Law protects us from danger.

I need a volunteer. I need you to come sit under the umbrella. [call a child up]

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Let’s say your Mom or Dad has told you and your brother they don’t want you to play in this certain area in the woods. Your brother decided that he wants to play in that area anyways. Well, the next day he gets poison ivy. You are protected because you chose to obey your parents even when it didn’t make sense. [while telling this story pour shredded paper over the umbrella (authorities) to illustrate danger]

Thank you for your help. Now I need another volunteer to come sit under my umbrella. [prepped volunteer, teenager/adult]

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16 Basically, don’t lie.

You’re at work. You see a fellow employee stealing from the company and he asks you to keep quiet about it. Your boss approaches you asking if you know how some products your company sells have turned up missing. You lie to your boss to cover your fellow employee. What you didn’t realize is that your boss was testing your honesty and because you stepped out from under the protection of God’s law you lost your job because your employer realizes he cannot trust you. [Volunteer lays down the umbrella during this illustration to demonstrate stepping out from under your protective covering. Pour water over volunteer.]

You learn from your mistake, and you find another job committing to be honest. At this job your employer asks you to do dishonestly sell merchandise. You tell your boss you are unable to break God’s law. This employer was not testing you and he fires you. Wait. What happened to God’s protection? Sometimes God’s protection is not what it appears. You wait on God’s timing and in time He provides you an even better job with an honest employer. Only 2 months later your previous employer goes to jail for fraud and all of his employees are now under investigation. [Pour water over top of the umbrella; this time the volunteer stays dry and safe under the umbrella of protection]

Sometimes God’s plan doesn’t make sense right now. Just like the rules we make for our children don’t always make sense to them. But God sees the past, present, and future. His plan is perfect and we must choose to submit to His plan whether it makes sense to us or not.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

(Ivory was my capable assistant pouring paper + water--she did great!)


The devotion went great--very in tune audience, especially when my volunteer, John, got wet!  He didn't even know he'd get wet, so it was especially entertaining--he's a great sport.  Brother Mike liked it so much he asked me to do it again the following night.  I don't enjoy public speaking, but I like to see God's truth proclaimed and when He calls on me to do it, unlike Moses I don't want to argue about being His spokesperson.

If you don't have time to read the whole devotion just check out the part in bold.  (Side note: this is by no means an all inclusive definition of my view of authorities and how we are to obey + submit to them, I recocgnize not all authorities give godly instructions and it can be dangerous to obey.  I do not believe in blind obedience.  To get a full picture of godly authority submission check out the whole of God's Word.)

I realized over these past two weeks that maybe, just maybe that message was for someone else, but most definitely it was for me.

The last few lines of my devotion has run over and over in my head every time I want to doubt God's plan.  He's God.  He sees the past, present, and future.  His plan is perfect.  I don't know why I couldn't see my sister + her family as well as all my other family I love dearly these past two weeks.  I don't know why I had to just sit and look at pictures longing to be with them.  I don't know why He blessed us instead with a trip to see other family.  I don't know why I couldn't have both!  I don't know why Micah got an ear infection that kept us up at night.  I don't know why I have been miserably sick for a week only to find out my sinuses are severely infected leading to red, bulging ear drums + a perpetual headache as well as bronchitis.  I don't understand it and I don't like all of it.  But, I do trust that His plan is perfect for me, just like it was for the people of Israel thousands of years ago.  I serve a perfect God who makes no mistakes, so I submit to His plan trusting that the one who died for me has my best interests at heart.
While I'm trying to follow doctor's orders (take antibiotics, rest, and stay away from your kids as much as possible (while I have 2 kids in tow as Jason's taking Micah to the pediatrician for his ears + congestion)--does 1 out of 3 work?) my husband is having to take up a lot of slack, the kids are having to play a lot on their own, and there's been entirely too much movie watching. What can I say? I'm trying to get better asap so I can get back to being the mom + wife I want/need to be and so I don't have to go on steroids and stop nursing baby.  The sweet baby who daily becomes more playful, giggly, smiley, and all around well as more high maintenace in the attention department.

And we're trying to doctor Micah man back to health with antibiotics + allergy meds hoping his congestion + ear infections will disappear.  This sweet boy has had an awful lot of joy for having such a nasty ear infection.  He also becomes more daddy's boy with each passing day.  Know who he cries for at bedtime?  Daddy.  Wakes up asking for?  Daddy.  Cries out for in the middle of the night?  Daddy.  Wants when he falls?  Daddy.  Asks about constantly?  You guessed it--Daddy.  While I'm terribly jealous, I'm also very happy he adores his daddy so and he does still give mommy a lot of cuddles + affection.
And lest you think I'm disregarding the doctor's instructions, I am resting.  I'm in a recliner with my feet up.  The kids are sleeping (well, Ivory's in her room squealing in protest of sleep).  There's only so much sleeping you can do when your head feels so tight you think it might actually feel better if it exploded and when you lay down you feel as though your congestion might drown you.  Any allergy sympathizers out there with me?

When sick I'm always reminded of how blessed I am when healthy.  I'm grateful for seasons of sickness that make me more grateful for longer seasons of good health.  I pray harder for those whose experience is more often the reverse.  Know someone who's suffering with illness?  Say a prayer for them, won't you?  If you're close, maybe see if you can do anything to help them?  I can't tell you how much that means to us when people are kind and generous when we're sick--we're blessed with many who are, thanks!

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