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When We Wish God Would Do Things Differently or Quicker

     “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Isaiah 45:9 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, even your “Woe’s” are gifts of grace, for they warn us of the foolishness of out reasoning, the limitations of our perspective, and the self-centeredness of our musings.

Some days we wish we could be you for fifteen minutes. That’d give us a chance to fix people that need fixing, bring judgment upon those who’ve got it coming, alleviate the sufferings of friends whose pain is overwhelming, get even with people who’ve hurt us the deepest and betrayed us the most, win the lottery, put an end to human trafficking and pornography; rid the world of annoying politicians, terror mongers, and fake-anything.

Alas, Father, we’re such a mix of good desires and broken agendas. We look at our lists and realize how much we need the gospel–every day and every hour. You, the quintessential Potter, have hands–big and loving, mighty and merciful ones. And not only that, you have a heart bigger than the universe, wisdom beyond all imaginings, and a timetable that makes Swiss precision seem like laissez-faire laziness.

There IS a Day coming when you will put all things right and make all things new. Give us patience, increase our gentleness; supersize our mercy; deepen our trust; fill us to overflowing with your grace and …

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Delighting in the Love and Faithfulness of Our Father

     I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations. Psalm 89:1-4 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, I have no clue who “Ethan the Ezrahite” was–the author of this Psalm is attributed, but I love his heart, words, and worship. I too, want to sing and make music in my heart to you today, Lord–for the steadfastness of your love, the daily-ness of your mercies, and the rock-steadiness of your faithfulness.

Because of what you’ve done for us in Jesus, you never use a scorecard, thermometer, or scale to measure our performance. There’s no chance we’ll inform, surprise, or shock you by anything we think, say or do today. You only relate to us according to Jesus’ righteousness–with which you have robed and righted us.

And when you discipline us, it’s never out of irritation or exasperation, but only with the engagement and wisdom of a perfect Father. Such kindness moves us to repentance like nothing else. Such love compels us to love and serve you with everything we have and are.

Equally, Father, I praise you today for your inviolate sovereignty and unwavering faithfulness. Nothing, and no one, can resist your will or alter …

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Sovereignty Happens All the Time

Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on itRev. 4:1-2 (NLT)

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasurePhil. 2:13 (ESV)

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good.” Jer. 29:11 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, thank you for the constant reminders of how little control we have over anything–over the number of our days or the quality of our health; over circumstances we don’t like and the people we do love; over the many blessings you give us and the challenging stories you write for us. You are God, and we are not. Hallelujah!

We don’t need a timeline of when Jesus will finish making all things new, or a detailed preview of life in the new heaven and new earth. All we need to know–in our heart of hearts, is that you are constantly at work for your glory in our lives, and that your plans for us are good… even in those seasons when it might seem otherwise.

You gave Jesus for our perfect and full salvation; surely we can trust you for everything else we really need. You promise sufficient grace, not the satisfaction of our agenda. You promise Christlikeness, not a hammock and …

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Your Father Is in Control

     Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Ps. 115:3 (ESV)

     Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. Isa. 46:9-10 (NLT)

    “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, though things often seem completely out of control–in our world, families, and hearts, nothing could be farther from the truth. We may not always see your hand, discern your heart, or like your ways, but you are God, and there is no other god.

In these Scriptures today, three of your children, in three different sets of difficult circumstances, all affirm the same glorious truth: You are a good, good Father–our sovereign God and reigning King.

You were sovereign over King David’s challenged rule, crazy family, and personal failures. You were sovereign over Isaiah’s difficult ministry, fractured world, and the outlandish promises you gave him to proclaim. You were sovereign over Job’s loses and betrayals, misery and waiting, health and faith struggles. Indeed, no purpose of yours can be (or will be) thwarted.

Father, help us, trust you with however you choose to work in our situations and write our stories. You give and you take away, but always to bring glory to yourself. You work in all things for your glory and our good–no exceptions. When you wound, ultimately it’s to heal. When you …

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President Trump, Me, Nebuchadnezzar and Our Sovereign God

     “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?‘ Daniel 4:34-35 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, I love this passage, and the truth it affirms. It gives me peace and hope, as I pray for (and vex about) our new President. But I too have much in common with Nebuchadnezzar. I’m in constant need of bowing my knees and acknowledging your sovereign rule over all things. I’m very thankful you are God, and I am not. Forgive me when I think less of you, and otherwise of me, or of anybody else.

Father, I’m glad you do as you please, and not as we beg you to do. I’ve lived long enough to praise you for some of the “No’s” I’ve received to prayers for which I desperately wanted a “Yes“. You do all things well, not easy; but in time, you will make all things beautiful. Give me grace in this day to wait for that Day.

Help me to trust your heart when I cannot see your hand at work. Forgive me for thinking I need to inform you about certain international crises and personal …

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Settled, Centered, and Refocused by God’s Sovereignty

     “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?‘ Daniel 4:34-35 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, this story and prayer center my heart as this particular Sunday begins. By your heart and hand, Nebuchadnezzar–a pagan king, was brought low that he might lift you up. Like the king of Babylon, I’m never saner than when I’m worshiping you and acknowledging your sovereignty, over all things–including this ever-maddening political season in which we find ourselves as Americans.

I’m grateful that you do as you please, and not as we often beg you to do; and I’m also thankful that you welcome us at your throne of grace, irrespective of our emotional frame of mind. Indeed, Father, I’ve lived long enough to praise you for some of the “No’s” I’ve received to prayers for which I desperately wanted a “Yes“. You do all things well, not easy; but in time, you will make all things beautiful. Give me grace in this day to wait for that Day, Father.

Help me to trust your heart when I cannot see your hand clearly at work. Forgive me for thinking I need to …

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Resting in God’s Rule Over All People, Circumstances, and Time

     Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 1 Chron. 29:11-12 (NLT)

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning from ancient times, what is still to come I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isa. 46:9-10 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, there are days when I, the clay, presume to tell you, the Potter, what to create. There are stories, in which I, a small-bit character, want to dictate to you, the perfect Author, what to write next. There are circumstances about which I, your subject, want to order you, my King, into action. Yet you remain so kind and patient with me. Thank you.

Father, I am so thankful you are God, and I’m your child. I am so thankful you are the Alpha and the Omega, and everything in between. I am so thankful you know the beginning and the ending, and every other moment as well. I am so thankful you don’t answer all my prayers with a resounding “Yes!” I am so thankful …

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He (Not Me) Has the Whole World in His Hands

The life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human beingJob 12:10 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, I’m so thankful that you, quite literally, have the whole world in your hands. That frees me to acknowledge the obvious: I don’t. I don’t have control over a lot of things. But as I come to you this morning with empty hands, I do so, not to grab what isn’t mine to control, but to raise my hands in praise and surrender to you.

Father, I don’t have control over the number of days I have left before you call me home; but fill the ones you’ve marked for me with as much of your grace, love, and wisdom as possible. I don’t have control over the “messy” feelings and disappointments others carry in their hearts; but free me to stay present with kindness, and not withdraw into a “safer” more controllable climate.

Father, I don’t have control over important decisions family and friends have to make; but constantly remind me you’re the Author of our stories, not merely the passive garbage man, who has to clean up our messes. I don’t have control over how much pain and suffering my loved ones will experience in life; but forgive me for the moments when I think you don’t care, and fear you will give them more heartache than grace.

Father, I don’t have control over people and circumstances that impact my next season of life; but you do, and you don’t need me as your consulting partner. I …

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Resting in the God-ness of God

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 1 Chron. 29:11-12 (NLT)

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning from ancient times, what is still to come I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isa. 46:9-10 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, forgive me. There are days when I, the clay, try to instruct you, the Potter; when I the subject, presume to direct you, my loving and sovereign King; why I, the child, complain about you–the most wonderful and wise Father ever.

As these Scripture sink into my heart, all I can say is I’m SO thankful that you are God, and that I am not. I am SO thankful that you are the Alpha and the Omega, and everything other Greek letter in between. I am SO thankful you know the beginning and the ending, and every other moment as well. I am SO thankful that you don’t answer all my prayers with a resounding “Yes!” I am SO thankful that you don’t cater to …

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Reaffirming and Resting in God’s Sovereignty

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.Ps. 115:3 (ESV)

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.Isa. 46:9-10 (NLT)

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, though I am quite capable of fretting, carping, and lamenting about how out of control things seem, the truth is, nothing could be farther from the truth. I may not always see your hand, discern your heart, or like your ways, but you are God and there is no other.

Italy has her three tenors, but your Word gives us these three magnificent voices today, all affirming the same glorious truth: You are God, and we are not. You were sovereign over King David’s challenged rule, crazy family, and personal failures. You were sovereign over Isaiah’s difficult ministry and the outlandish promises you gave him to proclaim. You were sovereign over Job’s loses and betrayals, misery and waiting. Indeed, no purpose of yours can be (or will be) thwarted.

Surely, therefore Father, we can trust you with however you choose to write our stories. You give and you take away–but always to bring glory to yourself. You work in all things for your glory and our good–no exceptions. When you wound, ultimately it’s to heal. When you enrich, it’s to make us generous. When you …

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