God’s Sovereignty

A friend of mine has invited me to take part in the 2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team. Essentially, it’s a challenge by Beth Moore from Living Proof Ministries to commit to memorizing 24 Scripture verses during 2013. If you are interested, you can still participate in the challenge – see the instructions on Beth’s blog links below:

Siesta Scripture Memory Team 2013 Instructions 

2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 1

At the suggestion of my friend, I came up with a “theme” for the memory verses – “God’s Sovereignty.” The last few months have found me in a darker place than usual. There has been so much hurt, sickness, and death placed in front of me over the last few months. From the headline media stories (Sandy Hook, the gang rape/death of the 23 year old in India, etc) to situations that have impacted people I personally know (the unexpected death of a friend’s infant, the unexpected death of my uncle on New Year’s Day), I have found myself struggling with sadness, anger, and frustration a lot more than usual.

Enter the “Siesta Scripture Memory Team” challenge, and the Holy Spirit prompting me to focus on hiding passages in my heart to remind me of His Sovereignty…

It struck me that a lot of the “dark thoughts” I have been struggling with recently stem from either a lack of confidence in God’s Sovereignty or a lack of awareness of God’s Sovereignty. For instance, anger or frustration about how events unfold is typically a result of me either unconsciously thinking that I know better than God how things should transpire, or unconsciously thinking that any of us are “owed” His mercy. Let’s use the Sandy Hook tragedy as an example – as a mother of a young child, I was particularly angered/saddened/affected by the news. Of all people brutally murdered – 6 and 7 year olds???? It’s just hard to wrap my head around it and puts me in such a dark place….

Yet, I had a friend tell me that a sermon her pastor gave after the incident helped her work through the tragedy a little bit…the pastor reminded the congregation that our “cute little nativity scenes” shown at Christmas time are not altogether accurate. In reality, while the manger scene alone may have been picturesque of a silent night – the truth is that many young babies/toddlers (2 and under) were being murdered at Herod’s decree during the time of Jesus’s birth. The world is and has always been an ugly mess since the fall, and Jesus was born right into the middle of our hateful world.

The truth is, God has been working on me through this dark place and humbled me to reflect on His Sovereignty. He IS Sovereign – which means, He is totally in control, totally in authority, and totally able to do WHATEVER He pleases with whomever He pleases in order to fulfill His purpose without providing us an explanation. Failure to truly believe in/subject ourselves to God’s Sovereignty is one of (if not the primary) cause of all sin, in my opinion. Let’s take it back to the Garden of Eden…what was the serpent’s remark to Eve? – “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Adam and Eve questioned God’s Sovereignty. Is God really in control? And so they “played God….”

We are all essentially “playing God” when we sin. Anytime we sin, we are “choosing” to “control” some area of our lives because we don’t trust that God knows best, that God is ultimately in control and working towards our best interests. God has really laid this on my heart for 2013….in order to thrive as His child, I have to come to grips with God’s Sovereignty – not just “in my head”, but “in my heart.”

Therefore, for 2013 I am committing to memorize 26 Scripture verses related to God’s Sovereignty. I chose 26 (as opposed to 24), because I am also going to pray for the families/friends of the victims of Sandy Hook as I am memorizing these Scriptures. Each verse correlates to one victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy. In addition to praying for healing, peace, and comfort for these families/friends, I am going to pray that they are able to come to terms with God’s Sovereignty through all of this and that they can see His Sovereign hand in the midst of the hurt. If any of you want to join me for 2013, here are my verses:

1.  “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all.” – Psalm 103:19 (NASB) {Pray for the family/friends of Charlotte Bacon, 6)

2. “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Daniel Barden, 7}

3. “Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good?” – Lamentations 3:37-38 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Rachel D’Avino, 29}

4. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” – Psalm 33:8-9 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Olivia Engel, 6}

5. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Josephine Gay, 7}

6. “I know that You can do all things, no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:2 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Dylan Hockley, 6}

7. “Jesus looked at them and said. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47}

8. “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.” – Psalm 115:3 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Madeleine Hsu, 6}

9.  “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.” – John 15:16 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Catherine Hubbard, 6}

10. “But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.” – Jonah 2:9 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Chase Kowalski, 7}

11. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Jesse Lewis, 6}

12. “All the peoples of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as He pleases among the angels of heaven and among the peoples of the earth. No one can stop Him or say to Him, “What do you mean by these things?”” – Daniel 4:35 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Ana Marquez-Greene, 6}

13. “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” – Romans 8:20-12 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of James Mattioli, 6}

14. “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.” – Daniel 7:27 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Grace McDonnell, 7}

15. “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!” – Romans 11:33 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Anne Marie Murphy, 52}

16. “Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself?” – Job 15:8 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Emilie Parker, 6}

17. “No one can know a person’s thoughts except a person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 2:11 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Jack Pinto, 6}

18. “You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this?” will it?” – Romans 9:19-20 (NASB) {Pray for the family/friends of Noah Pozner, 6}

19. “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” – Job 40:2 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Caroline Previdi, 6}

20. “For you have given Him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given Him.” – John 17:2 (NLT) {Pray for the family/friends of Jessica Rekos, 6}

21. “Therefore say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.” – Ezekiel 12:28 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Avielle Richman, 6}

22. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of deer, He enables me to go to the heights…” – Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Lauren Rousseau, 30}

23. “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” – Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Mary Sherlach, 56}

24. “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:7 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Victoria Soto, 27}

25. “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Hm and for Him.” – Colossians 1:16 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Benjamin Wheeler, 6}

26. “You alone are Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.” – Nehemiah 9:6 (NIV) {Pray for the family/friends of Allison Wyatt, 6}

I pray that during 2013 we can all see and meditate on the amazing Sovereignty of the Lord God. I pray that we can continually teach our children to revere, awe, and worship our God who is “El Elyon,” or Most High God (Sovereign Over All). I’d like to close with the following quote by C.H. Spurgeon (from “Divine Sovereignty”):

“Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust.”

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