Quick – pop quiz: what is the Gospel? It seems a simple enough question, right? We hear about the Gospel in every Sunday sermon. We learned about Jesus’ virgin birth, perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection to save us through faith and repentance since we were little. Ok then, next question: do you know how the Gospel relates to whatever you’re going through right now? Or, have we become like many people today who are suffering from “gospel amnesia” – we’ve got the facts, but we’ve forgotten its immediate relevancy?
One of my former professors, Dr. David Powlison (CCEF), is a licensed and practicing counselor. He had undergone heart surgery in his fifties, and though the surgery was successful, it took over five years for him to return to full strength. There were numerous losses to his personal, social and professional life due to his recovery. He found that he would go to important counseling meetings and mediation sessions, and was horrified to find that there would be times when he could not complete his thoughts. He was paralyzed by the thought that his life as professor and counselor might be at an end – who would ever go to a counselor that couldn’t complete his own thoughts, much less help the patient? Who would hire him as a professor to teach young minds, when his own mind was clouded? Continue reading →
There’s no use denying it any longer: 2012 is here! As we enter into this “New Year,” all sorts of new experiences come with it: new hopes and new fears for what the new year may bring; new possibilities – as well as the feelings of regret and loss that can come as time marches on. With all of the unknowns in the future, feelings of anxiety, fear, curiosity, or hope can settle into all of our hearts. But no matter what 2012 brings with it for good or for bad, Christians have a rock-solid confidence in two important doctrines: God’s sovereignty over 2012, and God’s providence for 2012.
The Sovereignty of God over 2012
No matter what the new year brings, we can be sure of this: God is in control of 2012. All times are in His hand, and since He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (Revelation 1:8), we know that He makes the ends known from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Every day that we live in 2012 has already been written in His book (Psalm 139:16), and nothing that happens to us can happen apart from His will. Life and death, health and sickness are in His hands (Deuteronomy 32:39). Neither a sparrow (Matthew 10:29 – 31) nor a hair from your head (Luke 21:16 – 18) can fall apart from God’s will. So for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, the future of the new year doesn’t need to be a scary thing, because He has promised that all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). As we make our plans for 2012, we should recognize God’s absolute power and control over all the decisions we make, and ultimately entrust ourselves and our plans to Him (James 4:13 – 17).