Practice: Study Philippians With Us

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:3  (NASB). image1.jpeg

I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey this Spring through Practices and Praise. They were all great reminders of ways we can refocus and serve our God. Meditation, fasting, worship, confession, service, submission each require hard work, but simplicity surprised me.

I just had the rare privilege to put Simplicity into practice when I was tested far beyond expectation. 

My sister has always been the outdoorsy type. She jumps out of perfectly good airplanes and scuba dives, while I take business and relational risks at sea level.  Joining her on a hike presented a great opportunity to practice simplicity.

1st simplicity challenge: pack everything you need for 4 days below the rim of the Grand Canyon in one awkwardly fitting pack that would soon become an extension of my being. 

2nd simplicity challenge: Choose one book to read at camp. Does your nightstand look anything like mine? Piles of devotions so high, your Bible is not recognizable. I found it. 

3rd simplicity challenge: Focus on your foot placement. One misstep could ruin the trip for everyone. 

Focus grew more important as I fought overwhelming waves of fear as we traversed 3’ wide trails carved by cliff sides. Traversing rock formations in our way had me longing for the formerly terrorizing 3’ wide path. Blowing rain and lightening intensified the situation and my focus was refined to one thing, one gaze, on one person, Jesus Christ.

The setting sun and new waves of storms forced us to set up camp on a ledge miles from shelter, surrounded 330 degrees by 4000’ drop offs. We took shelter in a tent supported by a hiking pole now threatening to be a lightening rod. The storms blew fierce as my sister phoned in our coordinates in event of disaster. 

This was not what I planned. 

Is life surprising you with storms? Are waves of fear all consuming? Can you see your own knees shake as you tell your legs and feet to keep climbing?

What expert advice is helping you now, what resources bring you peace? In every storm, the purpose of the storm is to strip us down to simplicity of focus on the only one who saves. If the Word isn’t in you when lightening strikes, it’s too late to find it hidden in your backpack. 

For 2 days, I recited every verse I could recall, every characteristic and name of God and every hymn from my childhood. I wished I knew more.

We must consume the Word of God before the winds come. We must hide it in our hearts.

This Summer, I hope you’ll join us as we hike through the book of Philippians and take on one simple challenge. How much of Philippians can you hide in your heart through focused study including effort on memorizing the scripture?

Will you and your friends take the challenge with us starting June 4th? Take a look at Laura’s post about how to prepare for the hike.

Pack your Bible and undivided attention. You will never be the same. 

~brandi

Praise: God is Wise

Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from his and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-16

Come and praise the Lord for his infinite wisdom, power, and knowledge with me! What an awesome and holy God we serve, all together lovely, beautiful, and glorious. Today let’s find sustaining rest in a deeper understanding of his character as we long to live fully in his presence.

Wisdom is the characteristic of God which invites us to trust him in all circumstances. God always acts out of wisdom: our current circumstances are working towards a good that will lead to future glory. Romans 8:28 speaks to this, “and we know that in all things God work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This is God’s wisdom at play!  All of God’s acts are executed with flawless precision towards his divine goals. Better solutions to the world’s greatest problems and deepest questions could not be imagined. When wrestling with the deep questions and brokenness of this world, let us turn with trust to the God of all wisdom who we know is perfectly executing his redemption of this world.

The wisdom of God can be seen vibrantly in the tendons and sinews of Creation itself, while simultaneously in weaving its way through the fabric of the redemptive story of humanity- our sacred stories. When is a time in your life when you can see the wisdom of God? Are there circumstances where you can look back and see the Lord working for a deeper good?

Are you perhaps in the midst of a valley right now, in need of remembering the Lord is with you and is working for his greatest glory and your greatest good?

I was very encouraged reading Jennifer’s story about God’s redeeming work in addiction, and his unending love for his daughters.

Let us come to the Almighty, who has graciously revealed his character to us, and hear him say, “What I am is all that need matter to you, for there lie your hope and your peace. I will do what I will do, and it will all come to light at last, but how I do it is My secret. Trust Me, and be not afraid.” (Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy)

With Love, Emma

Practice: Study (News for the summer!)

“. . .like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,” I Peter 2:2

A dear friend of mine suffered a devastating stroke when her twin girls were ten days old. To hear her story, listen to my podcast conversation with Kelly. During one night, I stepped into the role of helping feed and thankfully had another person to assist. I didn’t have much experience with newborns at the time and yet when I heard her cry, I came to the rescue with a bottle of milk. At the youngest of ages, the human instinct longs for nourishment which ensures his or her survival.

In Peter’s letter he compares an infant’s longing for milk with a believer’s need for the Word of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Because the pure milk of the Word is God’s source of nourishment for His sons and daughters, it is essential to survive and thrive. When a baby is born, he or she has everything needed to become an adult. However, growth doesn’t happen automatically.

Just like a baby is dependent on milk to grow, we are dependent on the Word of God to know Him and become who He created us to be. No one in their right mind would feed a baby once a week and think “that’ll be enough to hold him/her” but instead feedings occur multiple times a day. Believers also need to consistently receive doses of the Word of God to be healthy spiritually.

Studying the Bible is a practice which is necessary to connect with God, grow in Christlikeness, and be available to His purposes. The word study in Merriam-Webster means a “state of contemplation.” At Sacred Story, our prayer is for all of us to carve out sacred space to contemplate the things of God so we can live our stories in light of His Word. To facilitate the practice of studying the Bible, we are inviting you and your girlfriends to enter into a journey through the book of Philippians this summer.

We are excited about the major themes in Philippians like living above circumstances and experiencing the joy of the Lord. Our blog team will post on Tuesdays to guide you and your group through passages of Philippians over twelve weeks, beginning June 4th through August 20th. We will use the inductive Bible study of observation, interpretation, and application in our study which helps to dig deeper and pull out practical application. We will also encourage you in Scripture memory.

Here are ways you can prepare before the launch of the study in a month:

*Read this article by Howard Hendricks on the Inductive Bible Study method for further insight

*Forward this post to a handful of girlfriends (church, work, neighborhood, etc.) and ask them if they’d like to meet to study together

*As friends indicate interest, ask them to sign up to receive the posts via email on the home page under “subscribe via email”

*Read through the book of Philippians over the next month in a couple of versions to get a feel for the book and/or listen through your phone on a Bible app like You Version. Here are two versions: English Standard Version and the New Living Translation.

*Read Brandi’s post about her tumultuous hike which reminded her of the simplicity of devotion to the Word

*Leave a comment below and let us know if you are able to join so we can pray for you and your group

Study on sisters. Your health in the Lord is at stake.

~Laura

 

Praise: God is Love

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16a).

Love makes the world go round.

All you need is love.

Love wins.

The world loves love. What is love? Who is the author of love? Where does love come from and why do we all desperately need it?

God is love because He embodied perfect, redemptive love in sending Jesus to die for sinners.

God is the source of all love. 1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love.” He is not simply loving. He is love. Our understanding of love is based in our human experience but humans cannot love perfectly because we are not perfect. We are sinners. The fullest expression of God’s love was His offer to  restore fellowship with Himself through the sacrifice of His only Son.  1 John 4:9-10 tells us, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” More simply stated, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16a).

Understanding God’s love is critical for us to receive it. We are all unworthy of His love. The only thing that makes us acceptable to Him is the fact that Jesus died in our place and took on the penalty we justly deserved. John 3:16 reminds us because God so loved the world, He gave His Son so we might have eternal life. God’s love is something we receive because of Christ. We don’t have to ask for it. If we had to ask for it, there would be something we would have to do in order to earn it. Because of this, we don’t ever have to prove we are worthy of His love. God never changes and therefore God’s love never changes.

Once we realize the grace of God that motivated Him to rescue us, the only right response is to love God in return. How do we do this?  We do this by accepting Christ as our Savior, living obediently, studying His Word and seeking to love others well. The Bible makes it clear: to love is to obey. 1 John 5:3a says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.”  Although our obedience does not earn God’s love, it is a demonstration of how God’s love has changed us. It is our good and right response to His grace.

Part of obedience is the intentional decision to love others well. 1 John 5:2-3a “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” Loving God, loving others and obedience all go hand in hand. Ephesian 5:1-2 tells us, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Another translation says to “be imitators of God.” We imitate God when we extend love to others especially when they don’t deserve it. When we realize we don’t deserve God’s love we are better able to live in a grace-oriented, sacrificial way. We cannot, however, do this without the Lord’s help. Loving others well is very difficult at times. The Holy Spirit indwelling us provides the ability for us to do all God commands us.

A few questions to ponder as you meditate on God’s love for you:

How has God’s love changed your life?

How can God’s love motivate you to live obediently? How can it motivate you to love others well?

When has it been difficult to receive God’s love? What Scriptures can you claim to help recall that God’s love cannot be earned?

I am really grateful for Terri who shares her story about living in shame and finding healing through God’s love.  May you receive and rest in God’s love for you today,

Courtney

 

Practice: Submission

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Lk 22:42)

Before Jesus’s crucifixion, his ultimate suffering that he did not deserve, Jesus asked for his suffering to be removed.  However, he ended with surrender to God and submission to God’s will for Him.

Starting in 2017, we entered some hard times.  We went through the grueling process of adopting our sweet baby boy, Yohan from Korea. Shortly after that Hurricane Harvey hit us covering half of our home outside with water.

We lived in four different homes with our 3 boys. One of my close friends suddenly passed away. Another was raped.  Both were bridesmaids in my wedding.

We poured a lot of money into house renovations related to Hurricane Harvey.  We could not sell our home that flooded.  One week after all of our Harvey related renovations were completed, my husband’s company merged with another company and as a result, he lost his job.

When my husband lost his job, we looked at each other and knew we only had one choice: to radically trust God as we submitted to His will for our lives. And so started a journey of God refining our faith under fire teaching us rest is not dependent on our circumstances but on submitting to God’s will for our lives.

God has lovingly taken our hearts and moved them to a position of worship. We are discovering a new way of living in the midst of hardship. We are experiencing great joy and peace that comes with submission to our loving and gracious Heavenly Father.

We cannot even begin to tell you the amazing things we have discovered about God during these times.  He is true to His Word and He is true to His character.  He does indeed go above and beyond all that we ask according to the power that works in us.  (Eph. 3:20)

There are many things we cannot control in our lives. However, we can submit to God’s will for our lives knowing faith delights Him. He will take care of you and He loves you.

~Edna Lee

Practice: Simplicity

 “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:3  (NASB)

We live complicated lives in a complex world where overcrowded schedules rule our days.  The temptation exists daily to focus on urgent temporary matters over and above what will matter for all eternity – a relationship with our heavenly Father.  Jesus told His disciples not to obsess and worry over what they were to eat or drink because “your Father knows that you need them.”  He instructed them to simply “seek His kingdom first” and God would supply the rest.  (Luke 12:29-31)

Simplicity according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the state of being simple, uncomplicated, and uncompounded.” Last week Laura focused on God being just and that we are blessed as we wait on Him to faithfully execute justice. We complicate things when we try to execute justice on our own. We are called to simply wait patiently before the Lord.

Martha was busy preparing dinner for Jesus and some of His followers. She was distracted with all the preparations, while Mary, her sister, devoted her time to sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to his every word.  Martha tried to step in and seek some justice of her own by demanding Jesus instruct Mary to come and help her.  But Jesus quickly gave her a lesson in simplicity.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)

Mary practiced the simple act of devotion.  She wasn’t stressing out over what she was going to wear or that special dish she was to prepare. Instead she seized the moment to simply be with Jesus – a moment that she would treasure for eternity.

I can make things complicated in a hurry!  Once I knew I was to write about the practice of simplicity I was excited because I have read books, taught lessons and even memorized verses on the subject.  However, I am now experiencing information overload and having difficulty simplifying my simplicity message!  In this moment I am reminded of this treasured truth: “This is all that I have learned:  God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.”  Ecclesiastes 7:29  (GNT) So I have decided to do the next right thing and share with you how I practice simplicity.

The one thing I consistently do to bring order and simplicity into my life is to start my day with a cup of coffee and God’s Word.  I guard this time like a momma bear guards her baby cub. I put my phone in my robe pocket so as not to be distracted and I have a special place set aside for my morning with the Lord. I sit in my comfortable overstuffed chair where my Bible, journal, pens, and others supplies are close. I spend time praying, reading and writing down my insights and prayers. The time with the Father is never wasted, as He is faithful to provide a word of encouragement, instruction, or even conviction. When I arise I know I have chosen the better and it will not be taken from me.

Have you made your life more complicated than God intends?  He made you to be plain and simple and gives you one responsibility and that is to seek Him first above all else.  He will work out the rest! Read Catherine’s story Hope in the Storm to seek how simple faith brings hope when life gets overwhelmingly complicated.

Keeping First Things First,

Nancy Taylor

 

Praise: God is Just

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18

It’s important to reflect on living in light of God’s greater story around the world when we think of living our personal stories. As Christ followers, we are not designed to live in isolation but in connection to God, people, and His mission. The accounts of men, women, and children finding faith in Jesus and growing in the knowledge of Him provide evidence that the Great Commission is being fulfilled (Matthew 28:18-20). We will worship around the throne of God with people from every tribe, people, and nation.

The middle east is an area of the world God placed in my heart a number of years ago. The scattering of people due to war, persecution, and hardship creates space for those from Muslim backgrounds with little or no access to the Gospel to hear about the Risen One. I travel each year to Athens, Greece to reach out to refugees and recently returned. I visited for a weekend with Ashlee a dear sister in Christ who labors in this part of the world; to hear her amazing story of how she followed the Lord, listen to our conversation on the Sacred Story podcast.

I can’t wrap my mind around the injustice accompanying the stories of refugees.

*Forced to decide which child to bring on the journey and which to leave in the care of others when fleeing

*Forced to flee because terrorists are demanding skills and expertise to be employed on their behalf

*Forced to entrust an 11-year-old son to a stranger so he can make it to a stable country in hopes of allowing the remainder of the family to join in the future

*A former lawyer, college student, doctor, having little prospect of employment, much less the ability to use or continue their training

*Forced from Iraq and unable to return because there’s nothing but rubble

*Unable to obtain medical care in Athens for a 12-year old daughter who suffers from a nerve condition which hinders her from walking correctly

*Untimely losses: a young man who lost his wife and 3-month old daughter in the war, a family whose father was murdered by the Taliban

*Forced to leave Iran because having an opinion about the lyrics of music threatens the government

*A woman who finds herself divorced in Iran and without the ability to see her children because women have no legal rights in such matters

Iran is one of the places where the underground church is growing the fastest; as history and the Bible describe, the injustice of persecution speeds the spread of the Gospel.

In the confusion of overwhelming heart break, where is the justice of God? How do we think about God being just? Merriam Webster defines just as “acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good.” God’s character remains just: He is acting and abiding by what is good and correct. He cannot do otherwise. When we live in a world of sin, decay, and evil, it feels like justice is not served. Yet God’s Word declares a long view of justice is needed. Isaiah 30:18 printed at the top says those who wait for God are blessed.

God set in motion His justice from the beginning of time. He could not allow people’s rebellion against Him known as sin and His perfection known as His holiness to coexist. His plan to take away mankind’s sin through the sacrifice of His Son manifested over centuries. The cross proved God’s commitment to being just. Jesus hung on the cross as punishment for our sin; as His blood poured out, the wrath of God was satisfied. He dealt justly with our sin by conforming to His perfect standard in judging sin and extending forgiveness through belief in Jesus. He invites you and me into a personal relationship through faith where there is no condemnation for sin. Hallelujah! We will celebrate His victory in the resurrection at Easter. If you have questions about faith and forgiveness, contact me.

Believing our God is a God of justice means the Greatest Story Ever Told isn’t over. We wait for ultimate justice to be carried out when evil is done away with and every tear is wiped away (Revelation 21-22). God’s greater story around the world reminds us that we live in the midst of a grand epic. Let’s call out to Him for justice, trusting He is answering.

People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Isaiah 30:19

~Laura

Praise: Faithfulness

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”     Hebrews 10:23

Anyone else feeling encouraged and convicted with me after reading Brandi’s incredible post on practicing service? I for one am still not over how accurately she articulated the lies of independence in the modern world and the encouragement to press on in service to the Lord because we have what it takes through grace!

This week let’s marvel together in the wonder of God’s faithfulness.

One of the resounding hymns of the twentieth century church is Great is Thy Faithfulness, written by Thomas Chisholm in the 1920s. Thomas Chisholm was a very ordinary man who lived an ordinary life. He did not receive a prestigious education, he did not accumulate substantial wealth or accolades, and he worked very normal, ordinary jobs. However, he clearly deeply understood the beauty of the daily presence of the Lord and his promises in our lives. He faithfully worshiped God by writing thousands of poems in his free time. He knew God is faithful in the ordinary day to day.

I can hardly think of God’s faithfulness without humming some of the beautifully simple lines of the refrain:

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy Faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

It is God’s faithfulness that allows us to trust he is who he says he is, and will do what he says he will do. It is his faithfulness that will not allow him to ever go back on his Word. It is in faithfulness that we see the eternal longevity of God’s goodness.

Hebrews 6:18-19 describes it this way: “God did this [in making a promise to Abraham] so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

This spring we covered how God is unchanging. God’s faithfulness flows from his unchanging character. What he says he will do, he must do, and cannot not do. Incredible, isn’t it? And incredibly different and set apart than you and me!

God’s words are the final standard of truth. They are the standard from which truth is created and endure the weight of eternity. Hebrews 6:18 is telling us it is impossible for God to lie, so his promises must hold true. We can trust God will always do what he says he will do!

With this in mind, we can hold unswervingly to the hope we have throughout all circumstances. True faith is trusting our reward is coming, that Christ is coming, the resurrection is coming, and one day this world will be set right in the light of God’s love and glory. We can live day in and day out steadfast and grounded that Christ will return and all will be well again in this broken world.

We live by faith in the light of God’s faithfulness when we rest in the promises of God, “looking forward to the city with foundations, who architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)

The lives we live we live by faith, rejoicing in all circumstances, “for now we see through a glass dimly, but then we shall see face to face: Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)  The time is coming when we will no longer need to live by faith. This life is our one chance to walk by faith and not by sight! We can do this by trusting in the faithfulness of God and by reflecting on ways we have seen him be faithful.

This week join me in asking God to reveal his faithfulness to you and to me. Think about how April’s story called  Releasing My Daughter points to our faithful God. Let’s worship him out of the delight in our souls!

Drenched in His Love,

Emma

Practice: Service

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”                         I Corinthians 3:9

The practice of service is an outflow, a giving to others, but there’s more. When you serve from the great supply of God’s love shed abroad in our hearts, you are part of something much bigger than you. You are a co-laborer in furthering the cause of Christ, one whom God employs as an assistant. You are employed, engaged, entrusted, engrafted into the body of Christ. There is a belonging and a sense of purpose that meets our deepest human needs. God created you and called you to be part of his body, his hands, his feet to advance the kingdom of heaven during a brief window of time called, your life. Without you, there would be something missing, a part of the plan that was allocated just for you to carry forward.

But the world says, be free, be independent, Christianity is a crutch for the weak and naïve. Why would you give without receiving, pour out your life to the undeserving, get up early to be a warm smile, give away your gifts without pay? You don’t belong to anyone but yourself. Live your life. It’s your life. Sound familiar?

Independence invites you to go it alone, but don’t be deceived. It leaves you there, alone. You were made to be part of the great adventure where dependence on God is required.

To serve is more authentically translated from the primitive root to serve, till, enslave, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, etc. Why does this definition bother us? It treads on my free will, my freedom…my life. Can you feel that?

Do you believe your plans for your life are better than God’s plans for your life? It’s a decision. He won’t force you to choose His best for your life. If you don’t, at some point you will run out of you and deeply long to be part of something greater.

What does it mean to be a co-worker in God’s service? Paul was explaining to the Corinthians that each person plays a part in advancing the kingdom. One may plant and the other may water but God gives the increase. Paul had some extraordinary gifts and so do you. When I compare myself to Paul, I’m paralyzed with inferiority. How could God use me?

“God expects us to get our own hands dirty just as he dirtied his own. God doesn’t save us so we can soak in religion but so that we can go out and spread his love to the masses.” Dirty God p. 172

Let’s refuse to let negative self talk keep us from being part of God’s field, building, and the great adventure He designed for our lives. Are you ready to get your hands dirty?  Start by taking this free survey to identify your gifts.

Once you’ve identified your gifts, “You’ve got to give your gifts or they may become your idols, your identify, and you become the walking dead. If your living is not about giving, then you’re already dying. You’ve got to use the life you’ve given to give others life.” The Broken Way, p. 197

Do I have what it takes to serve?  Here’s a great message regarding God’s supply.

How will you get your hands dirty for God today?

What fears stand between you and the great adventure He planned for your life? Read Erika’s story about how she overcame her fears of partnering with God in her business.

Who provides the strength you need to get started?

In His Unfailing Love,

brandi

Praise: God is Sovereign

“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” Ps. 103:19

Many people believe in fate, chance and karma. What goes around, comes around. Do enough good and good will come back to you. The good things that happen in life are merely coincidence or the stars aligning.

Christians look at life through a very different lens because we believe in a sovereign God. God’s sovereignty is one of the most comforting aspects of His character because it reflects His complete, perfect rule over all things at all times.

Because of His sovereignty, He rules supremely over all His creation. He is called the King of kings and Lord of lords. He “determines the course of world events; He removes kings and sets others on the throne” (Dan. 2:21). While earthly kings are given authority by other people, God’s reign is completely unique. Bill Bright says, “God does not derive His right to rule from anyone or anything. No title was bestowed on Him by another, and there is no higher authority anywhere than His. His reign is so magnificent that we cannot comprehend any part of it.” We serve a perfect King.

We find comfort in God’s sovereignty by trusting in His purposes and perfect will for our lives even when–especially when–we do not understand His ways. Scripture tells us His will is “good, perfect and pleasing” (Rom. 12:2). We must also remember His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:8-9). Charles Spurgeon says, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s 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.”

His will is always to make us more like Christ and for us to gain a deeper understanding of His love for us. So even when we do not understand His ways, we can trust His heart.

God has demonstrated His sovereignty clearly in my life, often in the midst of very difficult circumstances. God brought about our desire to adopt through the heartbreak of infertility. Anyone who has experienced deep, unmet longings can relate to the struggle and confusion that comes with a dream not fulfilled.

We often want to figure out the reason God allows pain in our life. Sometimes He reveals His reasons– He had something much better for us, He wanted us to grow in our dependence on Him, or maybe He allowed consequences from a sinful decision.  I do not know why the Lord allowed us to struggle with infertility, but I do know it would be unlikely we would have Camp in our lives had we not faced the struggle. He brought about something so very good in spite of the hurt. He is a God of redemption after all.

What situation are you facing right now where you are tempted to doubt God’s sovereignty? You may not know now how the Lord is going to work things for your good. Recognize this chapter of your life is not over. The Lord has not forgotten about you, even if you feel He has. Cry out to the Lord and ask Him for renewed hope. Trust in His goodness and rest in His sovereignty. Your story is still being written.

~Courtney