God’s sovereignty and our responsibility
We are totally, individually responsible for what we think, say, and do with the freedom God has given us.
Our almighty God is totally sovereign over everybody and everything all the time. He has infinite freedom.
We cannot understand how both things are true. But they are. Our responsibility and God’s sovereignty are all over scripture.
So how does that truth help us when (not if) we are offended?
First, we are totally responsible for how we react when we are offended. As a side note, here, it is possible we are offended when we shouldn’t be.
Second, God is sovereign over people and He could have stopped that person from doing what he/she did or said. For His children, those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God brings good out of that situation.
What to do when we are offended
First, check yourself. Was it really an offense? Sometimes we can misinterpret an innocent word or action, or one that was careless but the person didn’t mean to hurt.
Second, do NOT respond with a sinful action (or word or thought). Do NOT engage in road rage (!). We are human and there are lots of automatic reactions to being offended, both at the time and then later as well. But we are not to become furious, retaliate verbally (or physically!), seek revenge, slander the person, etc. etc. etc. There are lots of ways to mess up!
Third, respond to the person in a godly manner. You may be led to talk with him or her about the offense. The worse it was, the more you’ll have to lean on your Lord. And, yes, forgive. (This is a topic for another time, but reconciliation is different than forgiveness.)
AND. Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks to God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Maintain an attitude of gratitude.
We must not only resolve to rejoice, pray, and give thanks, but practice doing so. Rejoice, pray, and give thanks throughout the day, during both times of blessing and times of challenge. If we can solidify rejoicing, pray without ceasing, and giving thanks in everything, we can sail through offenses.
Since we will be offended at some point, think now about how to respond in a godly manner.
Thank You , Father
There have been, are, and will be storms in your life. So there.
Past storms may still affect you.
Current storms may feel overwhelming.
The idea of future storms may frighten.
Christians must remember that God is in control of ALL of it. He was in control of past storms, and is in control of how past storms affect you now. We are responsible for our actions (and thoughts and words). Not all mistakes are sin (we are human beings with limited knowledge and abilities), but we definitely sinned and affected our circumstances.
For Christians, God is in control of the storms you are going through right now. He uses these storms to make you better, to make you more like Christ. Through prayer, His word, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you are guided to sail through your storm in a godly manner.
The present is a sort of hinge. We have to deal with the past and present by confessing sin, repenting and not repeating our sins. We have to learn from our mistakes (not all errors are sin!). But then we have to press on, learn not to fear the storms to come.
One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
The present is the time to prepare for future storms.
Knowing who God is, and what we are to Him, and developing rock-solid trust in Him is the key. There are no short cuts. We have to study God’s word, pray without ceasing, and learn to see His hand in everything. As we obey, we learn He is true and that He is trustworthy.
For Christians, we should not fear future storms.
He [the man who fears the Lord] will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)
I know storms are coming, but I don’t know what or when. To be ready, to not fear the coming storm, focus on God, and learn to rely on His loving faithfulness. Trust Him!
To explore this in depth, see my book When Storms Come. The book is now out of print, but there are some used copies, and Kindle is still available. I do have a few left, so you also can contact me.
Secular hope and Biblical hope are not the same.
Secular hope is human-based. A person sets his/her goals, has a plan to achieve those goals, and the motivation to strive for them. At every point, reaching those goals depends on the person. The goal may or may not be realistic. The person may or may not have a good strategy to achieve the goal. The person might lose focus or give up or become distracted. Human-set goals always have a degree of uncertainty.
Hope in the Bible is God-centered. Hope is a sure thing, because it depends totally on God. It is God who promises; it is His “goal!” It is God who is working in us to achieve His purposes. It is God who is all-powerful! And God, of course, never gets tired or distracted or changes His mind.
Our role is to wait expectantly; to look with eager anticipation. Our responsibility is to fix our hope on Christ.
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:25)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Have you ever reprimanded a stranger? How did it go?
A little boy was fingering the loose strawberries in the grocery store. I expressed my concern to the mother who became FURIOUS!
How do you think it would go if you criticized a looter? Or …. ?
Throughout the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New, prophets, apostles, others, and Jesus lost their lives for pointing out sin.
This is not to prevent you from doing so, because sometimes we are called to speak out. But we do need to be aware that some people love their sin (and approve of the sins of others.)
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
… although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
We are living in dark days.
Praise God, though. He told us what would be happening, and we know the glorious end.
Paul says he learned the secret of contentment (Philippians 4:11). Since he did, we can also.
I am definitely not there, and I am continuing to study contentment, but here is what is helping me now.
These suggestions apply to those who are the beloved children of God, who have put their trust in Christ Jesus and have received Him as Lord and Savior.
Remind yourself who God is. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and loves you with an everlasting love.
Remember who you are to God. God is in total control of what enters your life and He promises to bring good out of it for you.
Remember that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and that you have within you the resources of God.
These truths have to be a settled part of our being.
When “it” strikes, we need to be settled on who He is and who we are to Him. But, I think, having one quick reminder can change how we view our situation and how we react to it.
“God is at work in me.” Right now. In this.
God is at work in you to will and work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)
God is at work in you during this very stressful situation. Right now God is at work in you.
Thank Him! We are commanded in everything to give thanks. Whatever situation you are in, God is with you, God is for you, and God promises to bring good out of it. You probably cannot see it, or feel it, but believe Him. Thank Him.
Thank You, God, that You love me so much that You are working in me. Thank You that You are using this situation to make me more mature in Christ, that this circumstances will make me more patient, develop my character, and increase my hope.
I’m writing this a few days after the wildfire disaster in Lahaina, Maui, that killed many people and destroyed numerous homes and businesses. Videos showed numerous destroyed cars, many of which appeared to be trying to get out of danger. There was little or no warning for people to protect themselves.
In Colorado, there have been several significant fires the past few years. Once a neighbor evacuating an area saw a couple sitting by their garage watching the oncoming fire. He stopped to warn them, but they didn’t quickly evacuate. Their bodies were found beside open doors of their car.
Of course, there are many times of unexpected death, not just fires. Any of those can be too late!
Spiritually, we have been warned of the coming wrath of God. Some people, when told about Jesus Christ, say “later.” “Fun now, Christ later.”
But it can be too late.
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts … (Hebrews 3:7–8)
Spiritually, there is a last chance. If you hear His voice, pay attention! Repent! Confess! Believe in Jesus Christ. Put your trust in Him!
NOW is the time of salvation.
Don’t be too late!
testing schedule post
Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs shows a series of necessary jobs where the workers get dirty. Honestly, I have yet to see a job I would like to have! (!)
One job was at a chicken/egg farm. Mike asked a series of workers whether the chicken or the egg came first. Until the last worker, they all said the chicken same first.
The last worker Mike asked said (basically), that the answer depended on whether or not you believed in God. If you believed God who created the living creatures, the swarms in the waters, birds, and creatures of the land, then the chicken came first. If you didn’t believe God, but believed in anti-God evolution, then the egg came first.
To the point!
The Long War Against God, by Henry Morris, discusses the very long history of evolution (it started way before Darwin), the impacts of belief in evolution, and the unsuccessful search for the proof of evolution. I highly recommend the book.
Thank You, God, that You are who You say You are. Help us study Your word and rejoice in You.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
God’s word tell us what to do when we are anxious: pray with thanksgiving.
I have been thinking about the thanksgiving part of this.
Certainly, we are to thank God that He invites us to make requests of Him, knowing that He hears us, that He is our loving sovereign, and that nothing is impossible for Him.
But here is a deeper part of thanksgiving. We are to thank Him, in advance, for His answer. Whatever His answer is. Even if He chooses to give us something other than what we want.
We are called to thank Him, at the time we make our requests, for the results of our prayer. We are to trust Him, confident that He loves us, and knowing He knows best. We are to determine to praise Him for His loving answer, whatever that may be.
And then we have peace. And, maybe, only then will we have peace.
Thank You, Father!
Bagatelle: An unimportant or insignificant thing.
Trivial: Of little significance or importance.
Blip: A temporary or insignificant phenomenon.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
When our focus is on the trivial, the bagatelle, the blip, ourselves, our suffering is even harder.
Instead, we are commanded to consider our trials, our suffering, all joy.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. (James 1:2)
We can have a joyful attitude as we go through trials.
James and Paul give near term reasons why trials can be considered joy.
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:3–4)
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. (Romans 5:3–4)
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6–7)
Near and eternal
[Persecution] will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. (Luke 21:13)
Be glad in that day [when persecuted] and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. (Luke 6:23)
Hebrews 11 gives many examples , both near term and eternal for considering trials as joy.
In order joyfully consider trials, we have to look beyond the trial for the results, both near term and eternal. We have to determine in advance that we will look at the Lord and not ourselves, not our suffering (see The Big Picture).
And… we have to determine, in advance, that we will trust God and do what He says in our difficult situation. (See Mad Enough to Die and Point of View) Remember that, for Christians, God is our loving sovereign. God is in control and promises to bring good out of all things (Romans 8:28).
Obedience always, ALWAYS, brings blessing.
Father, help me, help us, continually look to You in love and trust. Help us honor You through whatever comes our way.
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When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?
When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? helps Christians not fear bad news, shows them how to handle current trouble, and helps them emerge stronger on the other side.
I'm a Christian, wife, retiree, and author.
I love studying and putting knowledge into action. I'll share what I'm learning, encourage you, and urge all of us to press on to become more like Christ.