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Showing items filed under “Brent Cochran”

GOD'S PROVISION

I love the Psalms. In fact, a few years back I was encouraged to study the Psalms after reading a quote by Athanasius. In it he says, “Elsewhere in the Bible you read only the Law commands this or that to be done, you listen to the Prophets to learn about the Savior’s coming or you turn to the historical books to learn the doings of the kings and holy men; but in the Psalter, besides all these things, you learn about yourself. You find depicted in it all the movements of your soul, all its changes, its ups and downs, its failures and recoveries. Moreover, whatever your particular need or trouble, from this same book you can select a form of words to fit it, so that you do not merely hear and then pass on, but learn the way to remedy your ill…In the other books of Scripture we read or hear the words of holy men as belonging only to those who spoke them, not at all as though they were our own…With this book, however, though one does read the prophecies about the Savior in that way, with reverence and with awe, in the case of all the other Psalms it is as though it were one’s own words that one read; and any one who hears them is moved at heart, as though they voiced for him his deepest thoughts.”

With that thought in mind I read this Psalm and two things stood out to me. The first is that God leads us and guides us for His name’s sake. This should both challenge and encourage us. Just as we cannot earn Salvation, so we cannot earn the right to receive God’s daily goodness, grace, and provision. He leads us and sustains us so that we can bring glory to His name. It is always about Him. The second thing I saw was the cry of David (and eventually the cry of Jesus on the cross), “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” To cry that out to God takes such immense faith because it means giving up everything and relinquishing all control. Perhaps that’s a scary thought for some, but I know that as a child of the Almighty God there is no better place to be than in his swift, sure hand.

 

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THE POTTER AND THE CLAY (JEREMIAH 18:1-11)

I love this passage in Jeremiah, where God uses the example of a potter and his clay to describe how He responds to the hearts of His creation, as He sets up and tears down kingdoms based on how they respond to His call for repentance. As I read this passage, though, two other related scriptures came to mind that caused me to dwell specifically on God's authority and His mercy. I thought about Romans 9 when Paul uses the same analogy of the potter and clay to remind the Romans that they serve a sovereign God. Who, by the way, is the same God we serve! A God who serves no one and who controls everything, a God who should not be trifled with, a God who loves us and has called us according to His good purposes, a God whom we can trust. And this God has every right to mold our lives and circumstances however He wishes. That any of us should experience good from God or be considered a vessel of mercy is incredible! We know ourselves better than anyone and we know how desperate our need is for God's grace and yet how little we deserve it. Also, what better cure for worry and anxiety can we have than to be reminded of the greatness, power, and authority of our God (take a moment to read Job 38-42 if you need a refresher) who has promised to provide us with everything we need to live and serve Him. Things may happen that are outside our control, but they are never outside of His. Our God’s power is ABSOLUTE!

I also thought about the story of Jonah and how the Lord relented of his wrath towards the Ninevites and rebuked Jonah for his lack of compassion towards the people. When God tells Jeremiah that He will spare those who turn from sin and turn to Him, He is not merely speaking hypothetically; He is making a promise. God could have easily decided to call down destruction on Ninevah but He was patient with them. Peter describes this very thing in 2 Peter 3:9 when he says, “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” And not only was God patient, but He actively pursued the Ninevites as He pursues us and calls us back from our sin even in the midst of our rebellion. Our God’s mercy is UNENDING!

            What a GREAT God we serve!

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