Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

  Beware! The world, both secular and religious, is seeking to destroy your individuality by conforming you to the mass of faceless ones. But our heritage and destiny in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be conformed to His image—not at the loss of our individual personality, but by the gain of His nature and character. “I in you”; “Christ liveth in me” (John 15:4; Gal. 2:20).

Something has got to be done in us as well as for us. We want to proceed on the line of having things done for us, heaven intervening for us, our difficulties removed for us, having a straight path made for us. Heaven may be ready to come in, the Lord may be prepared to work for us, but it is not sufficient for Him—and it would not prove good enough for us—if that were all. The very principle of spiritual growth and maturity demands that He keep the objective and the subjective balanced; that is, that something is done in us as well as for us.

  “We are apt to think that if and when the circumstances and conditions of our lives are changed and we are in another position than the one we now occupy, then something will happen, the purpose of God will begin to be fulfilled. But the Lord says, ‘No, it is not circumstances, not conditions, at all; it is you.’“

  “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for me, my right foot is twice its normal size and as red as a beet , very painful, it has been like this since Friday, went to the emergency room Saturday and the medicine they gave me spiked my blood pressure and some other problems; hopefully I’ll get in to see my doctor tomorrow.

 

DIRTY TOWELS AND JESUS

April 21, 2017

DIRTY BATH TOWELS AND JESUS

WARNING ADULT THEME, MATURE DISCUSSION, PLEASE DON’T READ IF YOU ARE EASILY SEXUALLY OFFENDED.

OK, THESE ARE JUST THE FACTS, NO BITTERNESS, NO FREUDIAN SLIPS JUST SOMETHING THAT CAME TO MIND.

MY WIFE CHANGES THE BATH TOWELS TWICE A WEEK (THAT I NOTICE, IT MIGHT BE MORE). I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON WHEN I CAME OUT OF THE SHOWER AND WAS DRYING OFF, I THOUGHT OF MY MOTHER’S WEIRD HABIT ABOUT WASHING TOWELS.

EVERY TIME YOU TOOK A BATH OR A SHOWER THE TOWELS HAD TO GO RIGHT INTO THE WASHING MACHINE AND BE IMMEDIATELY WASHED.

I ALWAYS CHALKED THIS UP TO MY MOTHER BEING A PROSTITUTE. NOT THE KIND THAT STOOD ON THE CORNER AND HAD A PIMP; BUT A RENT WHORE. SHE SLEPT WITH GUYS THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE BOOZE OR THE DRUGS OR THE RENT OR WHEN THINGS GOT BAD AND REALLY WENT TO HELL A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.

SOME MIGHT THINK THIS WAS AN ULTIMATE SACRIFICE AS OUR FATHER HAD LEFT US HIGH AND DRY. IT JUST PISSED ME OFF. SHE PUT MY LITTLE SISTER AT RISK AND IT MADE AN ALREADY VIOLENT SON EVEN MORE VIOLENT. ESPECIALLY WHEN I WOULD TAKE AN AXE HANDLE TO SOME CLOWN TRYING TO GO INTO MY SISTER’S BEDROOM.

AND THEN I WOULD GET YELLED AT BY HER FOR RUINING THE NIGHT OR THE GUY LEAVING WITHOUT LEAVING A LITTLE CASH BEHIND.

SO HERE’S THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT.

MY MOTHER WAS CONSTANTLY CLEANING THE HOUSE OR HERSELF, SHE WOULD TAKE SEVERAL BATHS AFTER THE GUYS LEFT, IF SHE WASN’T PASSED OUT OR DOPED UP ON PILLS. AGAIN, I DON’T LOOK AT THIS AS THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE OF A MOTHER FOR HER CHILDREN. I WAS  14 AND ALREADY DRIVING TRACTOR TRAILERS OUT OF STATE AND MAKING GOOD MONEY. I COULDN’T GET HER TO STOP. I WOULD GET ESPECIALLY PISSED WHEN SHE SAID “THIS ONE IS GOING TO MARRY HER AND WOULD THE TWO OF US CALL HIM DAD.”

AGAIN THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, COMING FROM A PENTECOSTAL BACKGROUND AND THE ARMINIAN THEOLOGY OF BACKSLIDING AND ALWAYS COMING “BACK INTO THE FOLD”. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW LIFE CHANGING IT WAS TO REALIZE HOW GREAT THE SACRIFICE THAT GOD MADE AND THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND THE SECURITY OF A SALVATION I COULDN’T LOSE.

NO MORE 6 BATHS A DAY, NO MORE FEARING DYING IN SIN, NO MORE DIRTY TOWELS. JESUS’S BLOOD, TOTALLY CLEANING, WHOLLY, COMPLETELY SAVING.

SO, IN HEAVEN THERE’S A GIANT SUDS SAVING BATH, THAT WASHES ME WHITER THAN SNOW. IT’S QUITE AN IMAGE, THAT I HAVE TO BE COVERED IN BLOOD TO BE WHITER THAN SNOW.

JUST ONE TOWEL PLEASE

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

PLEASE NO PSYCHOANALYZING, JUST READ AND THINK.

PRAY FOR JOE R AND HIS SHOULDER

STEVE AND THE FAMILY LOSS

ROGER E. AND HIS BORDER COLLIE ANNIE PASSING

BE PREPARED

April 20, 2017

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  Let the same disposition be in you which was in Christ Jesus.” “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh is at rest from sin” (Phil. 2:5, Weymouth Translation; 1 Pet. 4:1m).

  Too late! Too late! If we seek to deal with sin by reckoning at the moment it becomes an issue. Our stand and attitude from the beginning of each day is to be a settled matter as we rest in our risen Lord Jesus: the death of the Cross separates me from the enslavement of sin and self, and I continually abide in my new life, Christ Jesus. My life is “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

  “The reckoning believer is to meet every proposal of self-gratification armed with the mind to suffer in the flesh. Sin is the gratification of self, but ‘he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from the domination of sin.’

If you allow yourself to entertain a suggestion of self-gratification—if you consider it, and give it a place in your mind—you are defeated. You have laid aside your armor, and will fall an easy prey to the foe. But there will be no response to the suggestion or temptation if you stand armed with the mind to suffer in the flesh. That which is proposed to you is exactly opposite to what you are set for. It is suggested that you should be pleased and gratified in the very thing in which you are fully minded to suffer. You are now in conflict with sin—not going along with it; you suffer in the flesh, and have ceased from the practice of sin.

  “So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires but [he lives] for what God wills” (1 Pet. 4:2, Amp.).

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

 

 

head case

April 19, 2017

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Ephesians 6:17 The helmet God provides is salvation (Isa. 59:17). No matter how hot the battle, the Christian is not daunted, since he knows that ultimate victory is sure. Assurance of eventual deliverance preserves him from retreat or surrender. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

I am always amazed at the Holy Scripture and its application and accuracy.

Salvation is all in our head, you have to know that you are a sinner, realize that there is a real hell, acknowledge you’re helpless, admit you need God and consent to the fact you need a Savior.

No emotions are needed, in fact feelings get in the way. Just as you factually accept the truth, knowledge and truth (the reckoning) is what helps you in your walk, not how you feel.

It is so very hard to counsel someone that bases their salvation on how they feel, what a rollercoaster of experiences and always feeling the need to get ‘saved’ over and over.

It’s all in your head, just make sure you keep it there and everything will be ok.

Quinton came through his surgery  just fine and appreciates the prayers

Pray for Becky and her upcoming brain surgery next Monday

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Truly, Truly

March 31, 2017

It doesn’t matter if TV or the movies paint them as funny, emotional, gifted, misunderstood, passionate. Homosexuality is a sin. I am grieved that major charities like the Salvation Army and other charities afraid of lawsuits and loss of funding have committed to the idea that homosexuality is not a sin. That is the official stance of the national office. There is hope that the majority officers still believe in the bible. The salvation army has declared over and over that it doesn’t matter what the bible says about poverty or homosexuality, or even insurance for “alternate spouses”.

Any decision based on fear is a wrong decision, I hope the following shows what the bible truly says and the grace and forgiveness God has for all people.

Lev 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.

This straightforward law prohibits all homosexual acts. It makes no distinctions as to whether or not they were consensual. It comes in the midst of a section of laws related to sexual relationships. No consequence is given here in each verse for the individual laws, but rather they are all listed as things that must not be done. All of the items in this chapter’s list are said to “defile” (Lev. 18:24) and are called “abominations” (Lev. 18:27, 30).

Rom 1:20-32 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

(26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

This text discusses homosexuality more extensively than any other New Testament passage. However, homosexuality is not the overarching theme of this section. Paul wants to clearly explain the gospel. To do that though, it is necessary to show that all people are under God’s judgment and condemnation—and thus in need of the gospel. He starts by declaring that because the testimony of God is visible in nature all are without excuse for their rebellion against Him. The just wrath of God is on all ungodliness (Rom. 1). Then he shows that in condemning the sin of others we actually condemn ourselves (Rom. 2). Likewise even the Jewish people with the law are still fully under God’s condemnation for their sin. Furthermore they are incapable of remedying the situation (Rom. 2-3). Thus it does not matter whether one is apart from the law or under it. All people stand condemned without partiality. This paves the way for explaining God’s grace in Jesus—which is the good news of the gospel. There is indeed one way of deliverance from this predicament.

So this section on homosexuality occurs in the portion showing why God’s wrath is upon humanity, and how humanity is inexcusable before Him. Before moving to the negative, Paul starts with the positive good news that he is intent on sharing. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel which is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). By contrast the wrath of God is revealed as being upon the ungodliness of mankind (Rom. 1:18). Where is this ungodliness seen? Where is this suppressing of the truth seen? It is seen in the inexcusable idolatry of humanity. All have seen in creation the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and nature (Rom. 1:19-20). However instead of worshipping the true creator, humanity moved to idolatry and worshipping creation (Rom. 1:23-25). The existence of nature demands that there be a designer. This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. One of God’s judgments for this behavior is the turning over of humanity to their own sinful desires (Rom. 1:24). This giving over to sinfulness and its consequences specifically includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28). It also includes a whole list of other sins more briefly mentioned (Rom. 1:29-32).

God has designed men and women with functional capabilities. According to this text these capabilities are rebelled against through homosexual acts.

From this text then, we see that homosexuality is an example of God having delivered people over to the consequences of having rebelled against Him. It is not the only sin listed, but is indeed the highlighted one. It seems that this example is given because homosexuality diametrically opposes the clear design of God. God made people in His image (Gen. 1:27) with a built in complementary design in the marriage of a male to a female (Gen. 2:22-25). To commit actions clearly opposite God’s plan at the nature level distinctly declare the reality of rebellion. It declares that God’s very design and plan were wrong and inadequate. As it is listed here, homosexuality and the rest of the sins listed, are a part of God’s immediate (though not final) judgment. Sin is a judgment upon itself—in that it reaps what it sows. Additionally, the willful exchange of the truth of God for a lie can result in God delivering people over to a depraved mind. One’s ability to reason or view things in an accurate moral way can be seriously impaired (Rom. 1:28).

However, lest any become self-righteous, Paul immediately moves on to showing that all are condemned under sin. Indeed, condemning the sin of others condemns oneself (Rom. 2:1-5). The only reason Paul can share any of this in a worthwhile way is because he is not relying on his own righteousness. He is relying on the righteousness of God. This has been given to him in Christ Jesus by the grace of God. He himself has been forgiven of his sin. The point was not to condemn others in order to justify himself. The point was to make clear the existence of sin for every individual so that the grace of God that had rescued him could be shared with fellow humans who needed deliverance just like he had needed it.

The same purpose and point that Paul had here in the book of Romans remains for Christians to share today. We too are fellow sinners. We too were under God’s full and immense wrath. I too am a sinner condemned by these truths. By God’s grace we may be forgiven. Yet even with that grace, in ourselves we are not any better than anyone else. We have nothing of which to boast. This shows God’s work to be that much more amazing. That He would love and redeem us while we were His enemies in such a deep rebellion against Him is almost incomprehensible. This same grace that has changed and is changing our lives and that will bring us eternity with God in a perfected existence is available to the whole world. No person, gender, race, nationality, ethnic group, class, or any other possible division is excluded from this offer of the gift of grace. This is the grace Christians should be offering, because it is the true grace of God.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, (10) thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Unequivocally then this is a strong and definitive statement about sin and its consequences as well as about the one way to be rescued from them. In this context Paul is powerfully reminding the Corinthian church that these kinds of behavior are not compatible with the kingdom of God. In this portion of the book Paul has been dealing with quite a number of behavioral and ethical problems that have been plaguing the church. Their former behaviors were influencing their lives presently in a completely inappropriate way. Apparently it had gotten so bad that Paul even challenged them in a following letter to examine themselves to see whether they had truly become believers (2 Cor. 13:5).

These sins in and of themselves were nothing that would keep them from truly accepting the grace of God and becoming children of God. However a continuation in them as a manner of life11 would be an indication that they were not truly believers and not going to inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 John 3). Quite helpfully for us today, this is a clear statement that some of the Corinthians had become believers out of that manner of life. This should lead us to at least two conclusions:

  1. Like other sins, homosexual behavior may be forgiven. God’s grace is not limited by this or any other sin. As Romans 5:20 states:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

  1. Since Christians have come out of such sins, they should be the ones most desirous to share God’s love with others. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states:

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, what is new has come! (18) And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (19) In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” (21) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Comfort from God

March 30, 2017

  “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us” (2 Cor. 7:6).

  All of us are going to have sorrow, and none of us should miss its spiritual benefits. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance…while the sorrow of the world worketh death (2 Cor. 7:10).

 God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus. God had one Son, without sin, but not without sorrow.

  “Sorrow reveals unknown depths in the soul, and unknown capabilities of experience and service. God never uses anybody to a large degree, until after He breaks that one. It takes sorrow to widen the soul.”

  “We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper must first be a sufferer. ‘Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God’ (2 Cor. 1:4). We cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which our Lord Jesus drank. The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.”

Well, it is but a little while and He will appear to answer all enquiries and to wipe away all tears. I would not wish, then, to be of those who had none to wipe away, would you?

  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Continue to pray for Lori

Pray for Dave I and prostate cancer 5th time

Pray for Joe R, his shoulder, pray the Ins company approves surgery

For Steve L, calmness and peace

 

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CHOICES

severely modified chorus from E40

Everybody get choices
I choose to get money, I’m stuck to this bread
Everybody got choices
These women is choosin’, I’m all in they head
Everybody got choices
Keep it 1 thou, I’da liked it, I chose
Everybody got choices
These brothers be hatin’, I already know
But I never go broke (no, no, no)
I’mma stay gettin’ money (yeah, yeah, yeah)
And I ain’t gotta sell my soul (no, no, no)
I’mma stay gettin’ money (yeah, yeah, yeah)
If you broke, you ain’t like me (no, no, no)
I’mma stay gettin’ money (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I give a darn if you don’t like me (no, no, no)
I’mma stay gettin’ money (yeah, yeah, yeah)

 

They say in prison you only get to make 3-4 choices a day, whereas on the outside we make between 300-400 choices a day. That’s why so many men and women have a hard time adjust to “public life” after serious time in prison.

Where ever we are at it is vital that our choices are godly choices, and bring honor to God and our fellow man.

Choices;

  1. WILL IT HELP MY WITNESS FOR CHRIST 1 COR 9:19-22
  2. AM I PROPERLY MOTIVATED TO HELP OTHERS KNOW CHRIST 9:23
  3. WILL HELP ME TO BE AND DO MY BEST 9: 25
  4. IS IT AGAINST A SPECIFIC COMMAND AND WOULD THIS CAUSE ME TO SIN 1 COR 10:12
  5. IS IT THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION 1 COR 10:23, 33
  6. AM I THINKING ONLY OF MYSELF 1 COR 10:24
  7. AM I ACT OUT OF TRUE GODLY LOVE OR FROM SELFISH MOTIVES 1COR:28-31
  8. DOES MY CHOICE GLORIFY GOD 1 COR 10:31
  9. WILL MY CHOICE CAUSE SOMEONE ELSE TO SIN 1 COR 10:32

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Have a good week and make the right choices

 

 

 

Senior Couple At Home

 

Here is a really great prayer it has humor, it has humility, and it is an age appropriate prayer for those of us that are either entering our senior years or are already there.

“Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will be someday old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody. Helpful, but not bossy with my vast store of wisdom; it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point swiftly. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tails of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience. I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that I occasionally may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a sour old person. Some of them are so hard to live with and each one a crowning work of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.”

From an anonymous author.

I hope you enjoy that prayer and actually feel led to pray it yourself.

Blessings from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

SIMPLE SIX

February 25, 2017

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Many of God’s commands are framed as positive statements (e.g., “Love your neighbor”). But numerous commands also tell us what we should not do. A prime example is the 6 “do not’s” included in Paul’s instructions for Christian living in Ephesians 4.

 Here are 6 things Christians should not do:

  1. Do not lie (v. 25)—Soon after we begin to talk we learn to practice deceit; lying is one of the first vices of children. But when we become “born again” we must be mature, speak truthfully and renounce the devil, the father of lies.

  2. Do not let anger cause you to sin (vv. 26–27)—Scripture doesn’t forbid anger, but it requires that we put two checks on it. Paul is quoting the Septuagint version of Psalm 4:4 in the first check on anger: Don’t let anger cause you to sin in thought or action. If we do we allow the “devil a foothold.”

 The second check is to not let our anger fester and carry on for long periods of time. Paul’s words about not letting the sun go down while we’re angry is not to be taken too literally (if they were, people in Greenland, where day lasts above a quarter of a year, could be angry for a long time). What he intends is that we should seek a quick resolution to our anger.

  1. Do not steal (v. 28)—While we might not have to be told not to steal—because we don’t engage in overt theft—we might still need to avoid stealing indirectly, as in cheating others in our business dealings.

  2. Do not engage in unwholesome talk (v. 29)—As Christians, we must refuse to allow our speech to be obscene, vulgar or profane.

  3. Do not obstruct the Holy Spirit (v. 30)—The Spirit is grieved when we obstruct his work in helping us to obey God.

  4. Do not hold on to emotions that cause you to be unloving (v. 31)—When we hold on to these emotions they cause us to sin. We should, instead, be “kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (v. 32).

You’d think it was simple, yet in these just 6 things how’d your week go with this report card.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

real desire

February 24, 2017

(1) When we think of God’s will we need to nuance the discussion. The Bible speaks of God’s will in essentially two ways: what he desires and what he decrees. These two must not be confused.

(2) God desires that we should not sin: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thess 4:3); “live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Pet 4:2); “understand what the will of the Lord is—namely, do not get drunk with wine but be filled by the Spirit” (Eph 5:17-18). And yet, we do sin. If this is all there is to God’s will, then he’s not very powerful.

(3) God has decreed all that has come to pass and all that will come to pass: He “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph 1:11); “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2); “For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur” (Acts 4:27-28). Cf. also Isaiah 40, Romans 9-11. Yet, not all that God has decreed is good (at least not in the short run). If this is all there is to God’s will, then he must not be good himself.

(4) These two aspects of God’s will can be stated simply: God desires some things that he does not decree, and God decrees some things that he does not desire.

(5) Now, before we jump to any conclusions about the illogic of it all, we need to consider another attribute of God: simplicity. God is one (Deut 6:4); his attributes cannot be compartmentalized. There is no contradiction in him. He is eternal in his love, omniscient in his justice, good in his sovereignty, and sovereign in his goodness. He is not good one day, then sovereign the next.

Nothing catches him by surprise; not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge. We must not think of him as sitting on the throne, trying to keep track of all the activities on this old sphere, but every once in a rare while missing a catastrophe that somehow slips under his heavenly radar! God is not sitting there thinking, “I should have seen the signs! I should have known this was going to happen!” He knows all things that ever have happened, are happening, or will happen. He also knows all the ‘could haves’, ‘would haves’ and ‘should haves.’ All contingencies and realities are perfectly known to God and always have been. God doesn’t learn, precisely because he already knows all. And if he never has to look down the corridors of time to see what’s going to happen, this must mean that everything happens according to his purpose.

And yet, his purpose is ultimately to glorify himself. He does this especially through his creation, particularly humanity. Ultimately, all that God does is good—perfectly, eternally, infinitely good. One of the reasons we can’t see it—or refuse to see it—is that our horizon is temporal. In modern America, we tend to interpret God’s blessings in dollars and cents, in quality of life, in conveniences and comfort. We think that what we have come to value must be what God values. But listen to the remarkable words of the apostle Paul as he sits imprisoned in Rome: “For it has been granted to you not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him” (Phil 1:29,). Paul says that suffering for Christ is a gift! In Paul’s mind, what these Christian kids in Fort Worth just went through was a privilege. If we can’t see that then perhaps our values have gotten really messed up somewhere along the road. But we also can’t see that because we tend to view this life as all there really is. But the reality is that this life—whether it lasts for two days or ninety years—is not even a speck on eternity’s time line. As one of my professors, used to say, “There is an ‘until’.” What all this means is that the full goodness of God cannot possibly be known in this life.

(6) That there are no contradictions in God does not mean that there are no apparent contradictions in God. That is because what the infinite God does appears to finite creatures as impossible and contradictory. Perhaps an analogy might help. It is as though we lived in a two-dimensional world, looking out at a three-dimensional world. If in our realm of existence we saw a man walk toward us, since our only frame of reference was two dimensional we would swear that the man was growing at an incredible pace! But then, just as quickly, he shrinks when he walks away. We know that that is impossible, but we have no explanation for what we just witnessed. And frankly, we don’t have the capacity to understand what we just witnessed. But if we decide never to look past our shallow plane of existence because we can’t understand what we see, our lives are thereby impoverished by our stubbornness and ignorance.

(7) All of this leads to a final point: How do we deal with the tension between the goodness of God and the sovereignty of God? And this is the real question we are asking in the midst of tragedy. Our response is to trust. And to know that there is no contradiction in God, to actually take comfort in the fact that he is infinite and we are but puny little creatures who often sin by presuming that we can tell God how to do his job. As he says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Or, as the apostle Paul put it, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to God that God needs to repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen” (Rom 11:33-36,). This crescendo of praise from Paul’s pen was not conceived in an ivory tower setting. Paul magnified his God in response to his own profound grief over the unresponsiveness of the Jews to their Messiah (cf. Rom 9:1-3). His words are just as relevant and just as comforting today as they were then.