Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Supreme over Everything Everywhere

2019 has been a year of great change and blessing for us which is a lot different than last year. 2018 was, without a doubt in my mind, a very troubling and trying year. My family and I were put through the wringer with my sudden, horrifying illness, financial woes and so many other problems that shook our faith to its foundation. Even as I write this message, we are within seven more days of another big change in our lives.

Although the new change is welcome, I cannot help but think about all of the other things that have gone on in our lives that got us to this point. Those events did not seem like they would lead to good. When I look back and reflect on those moments in a hospital room fighting for my life, I honestly could not see a blessing there. How could God allow all of these horrible things to happen to my family and myself?

I still, to this day, ask God for the wisdom to understand those moments of trial and trouble. It is only human to ask, “Why did this have to happen?” The best example of this can be found in the Old Testament story of Job.

Job, who is faithful and righteous, is put to the test in a wager between God and the devil. Satan bets that Job will turn away from God if He removes His hedge of protection from around Job. God tells Satan that he may test Job. Satan does not waste any time. Soon Job loses everything in his life and is reduced to sitting on an ash heap scraping his sore-covered skin with a piece of broken pottery. 

Job wonders why all this happened to him. Three of his friends drop by to talk to him and give him advice regarding his state of affairs. They tell him that he must have done something to be disobedient to God and all of the things that he is reaping are punishments from God. Job, being faithful and obedient, tells them that he has not sinned or done anything that would make God angry with him. Job stands firm on this point, but he does want to know why God has seemingly turned His back to him. Like all of us going through horrible circumstances, Job wants God to provide an answer.

God does appear to Job, but does not give him an answer. God, in chapters 38 through 41, appears to Job in a storm and makes it clear that He does not owe him an answer to his question of why. Job realizes the error of his questioning of God and His will in his life. Even after he had lost his health, wealth and family, Job did not waver in his faith and remained faithful, obedient and righteous. 

After Job realized that he should not question Him, God returned his health, wealth and family back to him and did so abundantly by giving him twice as much as he had before. Job, long before this moment, already had the answer to his question. 

In Job 1, after finding out that he had lost all of his livestock and his children, we read, “20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. 21 He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ 22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Job had really answered his own question. He realized that everything that he had came from God and all was God’s to give and take away. In verse 22, the author writes, “22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

Everything in our lives happens for a reason. Some would argue with me over this point and would tell me that life is just a random set of events and God is just along for the ride as things unfold. I happen to believe that God is in complete control of everything and is supreme over everything everywhere. It is not my place to question God. My place is to remain a humble, faithful servant no matter what the circumstances are. 

Another great example of faith is the story of Abraham. He and his wife leave the comfort and familiarity of his homeland to go to a land that God had promised him. As he travels, Abraham erects altars to God and continues to follow the path that He has laid out before him.

Our faith must be equal to that of Job and Abraham. We must remain faithful, obedient and His humble servants. We need to realize that we have come from God and that He does not owe us an answer when fortunes change and we, like Job, find ourselves sitting on an ash heap scraping our wounds and wondering why.

As my wife and I embark on a new leg of our journey with the Lord, we realize that all we had, have and will ever have comes directly from the Lord. All that we have comes from Him and can be taken back by Him. It is very difficult for us to think of our circumstances in those terms. We would like to have all the things that others have and have a life without struggle or pain, but we realize that those situations hone and refine our faith so that we can serve God in whatever capacity He needs us to serve. 

At times, my arrogance and pride get in the way and cause me to ask God, “Why do I have to live with this?” When I utter those words, I now find myself asking for forgiveness and repeating the words of Job, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” 

Even when I go through the darkest of valleys and face obstacles bigger and more formidable than the last one, I know two very important things. The first is that God loves me more than I could even possibly imagine. The second is that He would never leave or forsake me.

In his first epistle to the churches in Corinth, Paul writes in chapter 15 about the resurrection of Christ and the dead, “28 Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.

As I think about those words and apply them to my situation, like the dead rising up when called by God, my life will rise up and it will change. The one fact that will always remain is that God will be “supreme over everything and everywhere”.

My family and I do not know what the future will hold for us. As my body continues to mend and we take the next steps in our journey with the Lord, we continue to praise Him and believe, without question, that He is “supreme over everything everywhere.”

As we start a new week, I ask that each of you take a new approach to the problems and challenges that you face. When you find yourself asking why, just remember that you should be praising Him and knowing that He is supreme. When you do those things, your outlook on life will change for the better and you can stand firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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