To Be Set Free

I was walking our dog when thoughts of fish came to mind.  We were walking around a little lake near my home.  It’s filled with fish in the water and birds nesting on the banks.  I love this little lake with trees overhanging and a variety of flowers in all colors.

As I continued to contemplate fish, thoughts suddenly went to the sea and fishermen casting their nets, catching cod and haddock and plaice.  Once caught, these larger fish rarely escape; however, the smaller ones often slip through the net and back to freedom.

My next thoughts were of us humans.  We can so easily get caught up in the snares, traps, and nets of this world that would lure us into false peace and hope.  We only have to turn on the television news to see reports of robberies, murders, crimes committed under drug and alcohol influence, stories of loneliness.  All of these people who find themselves on such dark paths got caught in nets of destruction.  They swam too close to traps that promised riches but instead sent them spiraling into despair.

None of us are beyond getting caught in such traps.  We all like the allure of riches or an easy way out of some dilemma.  If we are promised that we can forget our troubles even for a short time, the temptation to follow that path is strong; we don’t even suspect that a net is set to catch us at the end.  This snare seeks to rob us of inner peace, kill all hopes of joy, and imprison us forever, making it impossible to know true happiness and freedom again.

Good news — no one has to get caught, and if already entrapped, there is a way for anyone to slip through the net.  A path of peace and joy, offering hope to all, awaits.  God has a way that is literally out of this world.  It’s a plan He has already made for every person.  The blueprints for our lives are kept safe in the heavenly places.  Paths to led us to hope and peace is ours for the asking, and God will not refuse anyone.

Are you caught in a net?  Call out for God to reach down and pull you to safety.  He gives everyone free choice.  He won’t force you to get on the path of His wonderful and perfect design.  No one has to take the peace that passes all earthly understanding, but it’s freely available to all.  It’s a unique path full of adventure but not exempt from trials and temptations.  Even so, it’s a path that promises to give us everything needed to keep well away from the snares of this world that seeks to destroy us.  God loves us so very much that He promises to be our everything to get us through anything — always.

“We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.  The trap is broken, and we are free!  Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  Psalm124:7-8

 

The Joy Of God’s Sovereignty

Like many, I love the Psalms. It is a treasure chest of comfort and encouragement. This week I was reading in Psalm 115. When I came to verse 3 my heart quickened in excitement. I read the words, “For our God is in the heavens, and He does as He wishes.” Why did that make me excited? Because it reminded me of the sovereignty of God.

The dictionary definition of sovereignty is: one that exercises supreme, permanent authority.

I’ve heard it said by some, that to think of God as supreme, makes them feel afraid. They mistakingly see God as a huge thunderbolt in the sky, looking for some reason to strike in anger. This is a misconstrued view of our Holy God who loves so perfectly and deeply, that He sent His only Son to pay a price that sets us free from our sins; a price that you and I could have never paid. That’s love in its purity.

You see, when we accept God’s undeserved love, and when we understand that indeed, “our God is in the heavens, and He does as He wishes,” then we grow to realize the joy of what that entails. Since our God is supreme and has permanent authority, then our God has authority over all that comes into our lives, and over all that crosses our paths. Since He is a God of perfect love, then His authority over us is always, without exception, exercised in perfect love toward us. When we realize that our perfect, loving God, is making plans for our lives, taking what was meant for bad and turning it into our good (Romans 8:28) then — that’s reason for great joy.

When our joy grows because we live under the authority of the one and only, perfect, loving God, then our confidence in Him becomes steadfast. When our confidence is steadfast, nothing wavering, then peace that passes all understanding floods our souls, easing away the anxieties that beset us, and gently fills us instead with a holy joy. Why? Because our Sovereign God is in control and He does as He wishes, and He wishes to change our quivering hearts into courageous determination, undaunted by the troubles of this world.

One of my all time favorite hymns, It Is Well With My Soul was written by Horatio G Spafford in 1873. Here is the first verse:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

How truly wonderful and loving, that the one and only, supreme God in the heavens, does exactly as He wishes — and He wishes to bless us with everything we need to face anything at all — always.