HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY?

COVID19 has introduced a new level of uncertainty into the everyday “norm” of life, so much so that the questions raised about this pandemic have revealed our startling lack of sure and certain knowledge. With all our academic brains and advanced technology, here we sit “churning in the ditch” trying to get traction. This uncertainty has divided friends, family, churches, businesses, schools, local, state, and of course our federal government. We have struggled with the uncertainties for so long that we have lost sight of the great certainties. The world has always presented us with uncertainty. It is just in these “abnormal” times that the uncertainties are highlighted and brought to the front more forcefully.


For a moment let’s turn away from the uncertainty and go back to what we know to be certain. It seems when we rely on the great certainties proclaimed in God’s Word that the uncertainties of this life hold less of a worrisome grip on us.
Let me list some of life’s great certainties:

# 1 – There is a God and He knows and ordains the course of life on this planet! Of that, we are certain! Divine comfort and assurance from a Sovereign God who is “driving the bus” gives us a settled peace and a sure message for an uncertain time! Listen to God’s Word: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7) “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29). “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). A steady and wise hand on the wheel—that is the certainty we have in this always good and ever-faithful God!

# 2 – The Word of God is absolute truth and will never fail! Of that, we can be certain. This life manual will never need revision. How sad that some men who claim to hold the faith struggle with the whole matter of certainty. It is either all truth or none of it can be trusted. There is no middle ground. John 17:17 declares “Your Word is Truth.” Ps. 119:89 says that “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” I Kings 8:56 states categorically the following certainty: “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He made through His servant Moses.” Matt. 24:35 says that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” We have an absolutely reliable voice in the Word of God! Its unchanging declarations hold us  fast in uncertain times.

# 3 – There will never be a change in Christ or His atoning sacrifice! Of these truths, we can be certain! “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). “Behold, I have come to do your will. He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:9-12). To know that Christ remains steadfastly the same person and character that He has always been and that his death on the cross stands forever as the only and ultimate sacrifice for our sins imparts strong confidence as we walk into the future with all its uncertainties. That is the message of our unchanging and certain Gospel…the good news! No wonder Paul could testify to Timothy with such assurance when he said: “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12). No wonder the Bible calls our Savior God  “my rock,” and “the rock of my salvation” (2 Sam. 22:47; Ps. 18:2; 62:2; 1 Cor. 10:4).

# 4 – Jesus will never leave His own! Of that, we can be certain. Jesus said in Heb. 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God affirms this certainty to his people in Deut. 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  One of the most heart-wrenching byproducts of the virus is the prohibition for loved ones to be with those who are critically ill and dying. As hard as that is, for the believer to know that our Savior is always in attendance with us and with those who know Him brings comfort and peace to our souls. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). What great certainty! Even more, Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18).

# 5 – Death will end in life for the believer in Christ! Of this, we can be certain. Paul said for the believer that when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:1, 8). We have a “new house” waiting for us and Jesus assured us if this were not true, He would have told us (John 14:2-3). We have the word of Christ as our certain hope and assurance. Eternal life is not a pipe dream for the one who knows Christ. It is an assured reality! Thank God there is not a black uncertain hole awaiting those who know Christ. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

There are many other certainties in God’s Word but these five should ground us to deal with the uncertainties we are now continuing to face. Praise God behind the uncertainties of this time, there arises God’s solid ground of certainty for those who know and follow Christ. Think it thru





SO WHAT’S NEW ABOUT THE NEW YEAR?

There is something exciting about getting something new. Maybe for Christmas you got that new book or tool or kitchen gadget or clothing item. You have already tried it out. Hopefully it did not tear, break or get soiled…but it will because new stuff gets old. That is just the way of life.

So what’s new about the new year?  Resolutions? How many really last? Fresh start with a new calendar? The days roll by and the check list grows, and it begins to feel like old hat, right?

Let’s think about this question about what’s new in the new year.

ANSWER: NOTHING.  Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  Well, that is a depressing note.  It sounds like we are doomed to go over the same ground…again this year as last year. Does history repeat itself?  Is there no hope of change? Is that what Solomon means? That there is nothing new under the sun does not mean that man does not invent, that he does not genuinely reflect his Creator by building and making wonderful new things. But think about this. Man does what he’s done since the dawn of time. He invents, works, builds, barters, eats, drinks, walks, sleeps, and dies. What leverage do these activities give mankind? One generation comes and another goes. Do we remember the greatest rage in entertainment in the early 1800’s in America? Can we recall the greatest athlete in the 1600’s? Does your young grandson even know the meaning of the phrase “like a broken record?” Can he even recall what a dial-tone is? Eventually everything is forgotten. That cycle keeps repeating. Solomon’s whole point in Ecclesiastes is this: Without God life is purposeless, vain, empty, doomed to many points of failure. The endless cycle.

ANSWER: SOME THINGS. Paul teaches us in II Cor. 5:17 that when a person is born again he becomes a new creature in Christ. Old things are passing away and all things are becoming new.  Paul also reminds us that God’s goal is to change us and bring us more into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). This transforming work is constantly going on in us and as we read God’s word and speak to God in prayer, the changes the Holy Spirit makes in our thinking and behavior make us look more like Jesus than the day before…and the year before! That is new stuff for us.

ANSWER: EVERYTHING.  I love Jeremiah’s take on what God is doing in the days to come in all of our lives as believers. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness.”  Imagine that. Every morning when I wake up and face the day something new from God is going to come down in the form of a mercy. Think of what was going on here. Jerusalem had fallen. A dark hour in history for Israel. Jeremiah the prophet is in pain and full of grief. Then he recalls the steadfast love of the Lord. It never goes away. In fact God’s mercies come to us new every morning, no matter what happened yesterday. That is what keeps us going. Today may be a mess, but tomorrow promises new mercies. It happens every day.

So what’s new about the new year? Nothing…Some Things…Everything. Never forget the words of Jesus in Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I make all things new.”  That is our hope.There is a new future. God is in the business of making us new. Are we living by faith banking on God’s new mercies? Are we resisting or complying to God’s new thing(s)?  Think it thru

HOW DO WE HANDLE “THE POST-ELECTION SYNDROME?”

day-after

Kevin DeYoung in a recent blog entitled A Prayer on Election Day concluded with these words:

Grant us the courage to stand up for what is right, the strength to try to make a difference, and the gospel-formed humility to accept that there are no Messiahs except for Jesus and no heaven on earth except the one awaiting us at the end of the age.”


Our new president is no Messiah and no elected official can deliver heaven on earth.   In fact according to Paul’s words to Timothy in II Timothy  3:1ff there will be a continued downward spiral in our world:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power….”

The challenge before us is not to put our hopes in Washington, but our confidence in the power of the Gospel to bring lasting change to the hearts of men and women.  That does not mean we are to abandon our prayers for our leaders. In fact…just the opposite. If we believe the Gospel is the answer for our culture then that very truth will drive us to our knees to pray for their salvation and that God would bring decisions from their hands that will further the Gospel in our land.  The story of the two eagles in Ezekiel 17 reminds us of the sovereign hand of God over the governmental affairs of nations [look it up and read it some time] where God brings change in spite of those who rule.

Our hope for the future is grounded in the triumph of the resurrection.  If God conquered death in Jesus Christ, then the rest is a “piece of cake.”  The darkness on the earthly horizon now  is always eclipsed by the glory of the future horizon yet to come! God isn’t done! The Spirit isn’t done! The Church isn’t done! Think it thru