Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Peter Outline

Last Sunday we began a study through I Peter. Here's the outline of the letter, sort of the map we'll follow as we work our way through this epistle.

I Peter
Peter's first letter can be broken down into five major sections. Each of these sections point to a specific topic that we must properly understand if we are to rightly handle the suffering that is inevitable in the life of every follower of Jesus.
Theme of the letter: The greatness of our salvation and our Savior allows us to endure and overcome suffering. We do this by understanding the following truths
I. Our Salvation 1:1-1:12
Section Theme: Our salvation is of inestimable value and must be the focus of our lives
Our salvation is praiseworthy 1:3
Is due to God's mercy and sovereignty 1:3b
Offers living hope 1:3c
Is eternal and sure 1:4-5
Is greater than our suffering 1:6-7
Causes us to love Jesus 1:8-9
Was prophesied about 1:10-12
Amazes the angels 1:12b
II. Our Sanctification 1:13-2:12
Section Theme: God's work in sanctification is setting us aside for lives that bring Him glory. Our work in sanctification is to live lives that bring Him glory, i.e., living out the truths of our salvation's greatness.
Living the truth individually 1:13-21
Living the truth corporately 1:22-2:12
III. Our Submission 2:13-3:12
Section Theme: We demonstrate the truths of our salvation and our sanctification by walking in submission to others.
To government 2:13-17
In our jobs 2:18-25
In the home 3:1-7
In all of life 3:8-12
IV. Our Suffering 3:13-4:19
Section Theme: As followers of Christ we are called to suffer and are shown how we are to suffer to the glory of God.
Our conduct in suffering 3:13-17
Christ's example in suffering 3:18-4:6
The commands we follow while suffering 4:7-19
V. Our Service 5:1-14
Section Theme: Followers of Christ live within the context and framework of the local church.
For the elders 5:1-4
For others 5:5
For all 5:6-11

Let's pray for God's blessing on this study!

Because of Grace

In I Samuel 12 we see a spectacular reminder of the grace of God. Samuel is reminding the people that they asked for a king so they could be like the other nations. What's the problem with that? They already had a king. The Lord was their king but they rejected him and asked for a man to rule over them. The people realized their sin and asked Samuel to pray for them. Verse 19 says, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." Samuel replies in verse 20, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart." Samuel doesn't play down their sin; he acknowledges it and the sinfulness of it. At the same time he points them to God's grace. "Yes you've sinned. But keep serving God." Got me thinking about how grace daily impacts my life.
Because of God's grace, I don't die. If there's one result of grace that I rarely consider, it's this one. And to be honest it does sound a bit strange. But that's just evidence of my presuming on God's grace. Isn't God's word pretty clear about the results of our sin? Look at this verse. And this one. And of course Romans 6:23. We focus so much on the end of the verse that we ignore the first. Isn't scripture clear that sin is deserving of death? Isn't the focal point of our faith the cross and the empty tomb? Jesus was born to die for our sins. That's the whole deal. The people understood that. In verse 19 they asked Samuel to pray on their behalf, that God wouldn't strike them down. But how many times a day do I sin and never give it a second thought? The reality is that we've all committed, and continue to commit, capital crimes against the holy nature of God. But in His great grace and mercy we are not consumed. Rather, because Jesus bore the wrath of God on Himself we can walk in God's love.
Because of God's grace I can be honest before God. Isn't it exhausting to try and be something you're not? You try to be one person at work and another person at home. One person at school, another a church, another on the weekends-gets hard to keep track of which one you're supposed to be. And sometimes we even try this with God. We try to sort of mask our failures, put on a veneer of righteousness because we think, "What if He finds out who I really am?" We need to be reminded that He already knows. The people didn't try to run from their sin, they confessed it before God. Because of God's grace I can stop trying to fool Him (which is ridiculous anyway). I can come before Him bare and honest. I don't have to worry about God finding out who I really am because He already knows. Who I really am--sinful, wretched, unholy, selfish, etc.--is who Jesus died for.
Because of God's grace I can keep serving Him. Samuel acknowledged the people's sin. But then he told them to keep following the Lord, to serve Him with all their heart. Because of grace I can continue to serve. I don't have to get discouraged or overwhelmed by my failures. I confess them to God, forsake them, and then get back to serving Him. My sin doesn't disqualify me from serving Jesus. It doesn't mean I lose my place as a member of His family. It reminds me that I need a Savior and that in Jesus I have a perfect Savior. It pushes me back to my knees in repentance and towards the cross in thankfulness. I confess my sins and God is faithful and just to forgive me of sins. He picks me up, dusts me off and puts me back to serving Him.
God never ignores our sin. But in Jesus' death on the cross He has made provision for my sin--grace instead of wrath, mercy instead of condemnation. Let me encourage you today, and everyday, to rest in the grace of God. Glory in the grace of God. And never take God's grace for granted.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Of Shaving and Sin. Or, Why I Shouldn't Shave.

Look at that rugged brute in the photo above. Go ahead, look. Just drink it in. Looks like he's spent the morning chopping down trees using only his fists. This was me back in December. No shave November spilled over into the next month and I heartily embraced my Decem-beard. And for good reason. When I have no whiskers on my ugly mug I look like a fat-faced 12 year old (apologies to any fat-faced 12 year olds out there-you look fine, but I'm 34 and that makes it way less acceptable). But here's the strange thing-even though I much prefer facial hair, even though I'm a rugged brute with it and a kid whose voice still cracks without it (apologies to the boys who have voices that crack-I promise, nobody notices)-even though all these things are true I still sometimes shave. About once a year I decide, "Hey, you know what would be great? If I shaved off all my facial hair and went back to how I looked in middle school. Except with an older face and less hair on my head." And so I do it. And after the cutting is done I rinse my face off, look into the mirror and see this:

Go on, look. Let that image burn itself into your brain. Print it off and use it to keep the birds out of your garden. Post it on the bathroom mirror when you go to bed so the next morning, when your spouse stumbles into the bathroom, half asleep and still dreaming, you can scare the bejeebers out of them. Seriously, compare those two mugs. What was I thinking? The good thing is that it will in fact grow back. I'll only have to sport this look for about a week. So to those who have to deal with this for that time--my bad, guys. My bad.
Now what's the point of my self-deprecation? Glad you asked. As I watched the remnants of my face crown wash down the drain and was confronted with an older, "fuller" version of my middle school face I couldn't help but think about how often I allow sin into my life, with the exact same results.
Think about it, aren't we so stupid for continuing to chase after sins that we know won't satisfy, that we know won't fulfill, that we know are displeasing to Jesus? We know before we sin that it won't satisfy, we know while we are sinning that it won't satisfy and after the sin has been committed, in that moment of clear conviction we are confronted with the inescapable truth that what we've just done was wicked and vile in the sight of our Great King.
Proverbs 26:11 says, "Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." Pretty disgusting image isn't it? Yet this is what it looks like when we continue to return to our sin. It's just as disgusting, just as revolting to our holy God.
Now the good news is that God doesn't accept us on the basis of what we do. We're accepted on the basis of what Jesus has done. His perfect life, His substitutionary death, and His victorious resurrection are applied to us when we repent and believe in the great exchange we call salvation. He gets all our wickedness and we get all His goodness. We are clothed in His righteousness and stand faultless before the throne. So even when I sin I'm still His child. His grace covers my sin and doesn't separate me from Him.
That's the good news of the gospel. The lesson for me is to put legs on this good news, to apply it to my life. If this is the life I was saved for, called to, recreated to live--then by God's grace may I live that life. May I learn that sin never satisfies, may God stamp eternity on my eyes and help me see that only what's done for Jesus will last. And may I find my fulfillment, my joy and satisfaction not in the passing pleasures of sin but in the one in whose presence is fullness of joy, at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Theology Lessons from the Car Rider Line

Had a nice little experience dropping Lily off at school this morning. The kids all tend to congregate around the drop off spot (or LZ to my military friends). I'm not sure why they do this. Maybe to get a head start on greeting their friends for the day. Since, you know, they'll only get to spend the next 8 hours together. Maybe they're watching to see which moms and dads are still in their pajamas so they can giggle about that for a while. (don't judge me, kid. I'm a grown man and I can wear my pj's if I want. you're in the 5th grade and can't do algebra. so put a sock in it) But this morning as Lily climbed out of the car I heard one of the kids yell, "Hi Lily's dad!" As I smiled and waved I thought about how having children changes your identity. I'm no longer just Randy. Now I'm Lily's dad. And Emma's dad, and Owen's dad. The old Randy doesn't work here anymore. He's been replaced by Lily, Emma & Owen's dad. And Kelly's husband. And The Preacher. And whatever other titles I now proudly carry.
Point is, our identities are often wrapped up in our kids. Introduce yourself to a fellow parent at a TBall game and what do you say? "I'm Owen's dad." Go to parent-teacher conferences and what do you say? "I'm sorry for how my child behaves." Not really. Hopefully. You say, "I'm Emma's dad." Who we are, our identity is wrapped in our children.
As I pulled away from the school I thought about being Lily's dad and how happy that makes me. Then I began to think about how God is our Father, but how different that is from me being Lily's father. I thought about the immensity of God, the greatness of His name and frankly, how silly it would be for us to refer to Him as "Randy's God", or "The God of Beech Street Baptist Church". In my mind I started writing a blog post about the transcendence of God, how He is so much bigger and greater and more amazing than anything we can know and how ridiculous it would be for us to ever even think of Him in those terms.
And then a funny thing happened. I was gently reminded of when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Remember that story? Moses is tending his father-in-law's sheep in the middle of nowhere. He sees a bush that seems to be on fire but it isn't consumed. Curious about this strange sight he went over to investigate. Exodus 3:4-5 tells us what happened next: 

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  Then he said, “Do not come near;take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 

God has Moses' attention. Notice how He introduces Himself in verse 6:  

And he said,“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God." 

Now don't miss this. God introduces Himself not as the Great I Am, not as the eternal Lord of Glory, not as the Triune God, not as the Judge of the Universe-He introduces Himself as Abraham's God, Isaac's God, & Jacob's God. This is a staggering account of divine condescension. God is willing to be identified as the God of His followers rather than just as Himself. Don't miss what's happening here. Of all the titles He could have chosen of all the ways He could have identified Himself, I find it absolutely amazing that He was willing to identify Himself according to His followers.
Now the point of all this isn't so that we get all chummy with God, begin prayers with "Hey Buddy!", or any such nonsense. And we certainly mustn't think that God somehow needed to be identified according to His followers. God is absolutely independent and needs us for nothing. The point is that we fall down in wonder at the great distance that God has traveled in order to come and get us, to stand in trembling wonder at what God is willing to do to bring sinners to repentance. To Moses He revealed Himself as the God of Abraham, i.e., He wrapped His identity in His followers. In Christ He would reveal Himself as Immanuel, God with us, and wrap His identity in the veil of human flesh and be born as a helpless baby. The fact that He's willing to identify Himself to Moses in this way demonstrates how passionately He pursues sinners, and how committed He is to His sovereign plan of redemption. God will stop at nothing in order to bring us back to Him. Jesus laid down His divine rights, His dignity, His very life to secure salvation for all who would receive it. Jesus has broken down that which separates us from God, He has brought us near to the Father. And He brought us near to Him by coming near to us. 
The gospel shows us that God has gone to unspeakable lengths to bring sinners back to Himself. So today, spend some time in awe-inspired delight at the greatness of God, the greatness of your God. And just as He was willing to be identified according to His followers, be willing to be identified as one of His followers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Worst Trip Ever!

I read today about a guy who went on a mission trip that, while maybe not the worst trip ever, certainly had one of the worst beginnings ever. For starters, the trip began with dissension. This guy had recently completed a successful mission trip with a fellow missionary but when it came time for the new trip there was a huge disagreement about who should be on the mission team. Apparently the other missionary wanted to bring along a guy who hadn't yet proven himself. The disagreement was so sharp that they ended their ministry together and went separate directions, each with his own mission team.
Next, he was denied access to the areas that he wanted to go. There was no legal reason he couldn't go preach there but on two separate occasions, after praying and seeking God's will, he was denied entry into these regions.
Finally, sensing God's will to preach in another location, he arrives and begins to preach. After some initial success the locals get stirred up by his preaching and after falsely accusing and beating him they throw him in jail.
Put yourself in this situation for a moment. The trip starts badly. You're prevented from ministering where you want to, where you think God wants you. And then you end up in jail. How would you respond? The missionary in our story responded in a very strange way--with worship and prayers.
When I read this story I was struck by the dedication of this missionary. With all that had happened to him he didn't question God, he didn't say, "Why are you doing this me after all I've done for you?" Instead he worshipped. His response reminds us of something that's crucial for us to understand; worship has nothing to do with our circumstances. Worship is based on who God is rather than what's happening to me. We don't worship God for what He does, we worship God for who He is. He is worthy of worship. That means he deserves our worship. Not because of what he does but because of who he is. I want to be like this missionary. I want to be able to worship God, to glory in who he is, to drink deeply from Jesus and be satisfied in the greatness of who he is. And I want to be able to do this regardless of what is happening to me. Circumstances change. God doesn't. He is worthy no matter what we face.
By the way-the missionary in our story is Paul. Acts 16 records his second missionary journey and these are some of the highlights (or low lights) that he faced: a sharp disagreement with Barnabas that led to the end of their ministry relationship, being prevented by God from ministering in two specific areas, and being thrown in to jail on false charges. In the face of all this, Paul and Silas responded with praise and prayers. Jesus is worthy of my praise no matter what I face.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Morning Prayer

From time to time I like to post a quote from a particular author. This morning, though, as I read through a prayer from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, there wasn't one particular quote I could share. So I decided to post the whole thing. Read, pray and enjoy.

Most High God, the universe with all its myriad creatures is thine,
made by thy word, upheld by thy power, governed by thy will.
But thou art also the Father of mercies,
           the God of all grace,
           the bestower of all comfort,
          the protector of the saved.
Thou hast been mindful of us, hast visited us,
preserved us, given us a goodly heritage--
          the Holy Scriptures, 
          the joyful gospel,
          the Savior of souls,
We come to thee in Jesus' name,
     make mention of his righteousness only,
     plead his obedience and sufferings
       who magnified the law both in its precepts and penalty,
          and made it honourable.
May we be justifed by his blood,
          saved by his life
          joined to his Spirit.
Let us take up his cross and follow him.
May the agency of thy grace prepare us for thy dispensations.
Make us willing that thou shouldest choose our inheritance
  and determine what we shall retain or lose, suffer or enjoy;
If blessed with prosperity may we be free from its snares,
     and use, not abuse, its advantages;
May we patiently and cheerfully submit to those whose afflictions which are 
When we are tempted to wander, hedge up our way,
                                                          excite in us abhorrence of sin,
                                                          wean us from the present evil world,
Assure us that we shall at last enter Immanuel's land
     where none is ever sick,
          and the sun will always shine.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why God Allows Suffering

One of the great privileges of ministry is when people share their struggles with you. It's heartbreaking to see someone battling through a hard time but it's also an unspeakably high honor for them to ask you to help carry that burden. It also brings up the question of why God allows them (and anyone else) to go through hard times.
That's a tough one, and one that has been kicked around as long as people have been on the earth. Why does God allow suffering? Epicurus is credited with the following postulation: I
f God is unable to prevent evil, he is not omnipotent; if God is not willing to prevent evil, he is not good; God is willing and able to prevent evil, then why is there evil? The implied answer, which is stated by many, is that God is either not good or doesn't exist. Followers of Jesus wrestle with this question as well. Why does God, who loves us and wants to bless us, who has all power is able to do whatever pleases Himself, why does He allow evil? Why are we sometimes made to walk through the valley of the shadow of death? There are no easy answers to these questions, and to be perfectly frank, scripture doesn't give us a definitive answer. But the Bible does give us some insight into this difficult question.
1. Because of Sin. God allows suffering because of sin. I don't mean in a disciplinary way--although that's certainly a possibility, and we'll consider that in just a moment. But we have to understand that since we live in a sinful world, sinful things will happen. Or said another way, bad things happen in a bad place. And this world is a bad place. Sin has ruined everything. Death entered the world through sin. Disease entered the world through sin. Sadness entered the world through sin. Everything bad that happens is ultimately a result of sin. So living in a sinful, cursed world we must naturally expect sinful, cursed things to happen. God is gracious and restrains much of that from people, whether they follow Him or not. But He doesn't always restrain the effects of sin. Romans 8 tells us that creation is groaning for the revelation of the sons of God; the whole earth is cursed and as a result, suffering will sometimes result.
2. To Discipline. Hardship isn't always a sign of God's discipline. But it sometimes is. In I Corinthians 11 Paul is instructing the church regarding a proper observance of the Lord's Supper. And he say that because of their flippant observance and sinful behavior God was visiting that church with sickness and even death. I Jon 5:16 speaks of a sin unto death. Now we don't know what that sin is--and by the way, never assume you know why someone is facing a hard time. Don't tell them they must have some secret sin they need to repent of. You don't know that because God hasn't told you that. To make that claim is to align yourself with Job's friends. Remember those guys? "Job, you must have some wickedness because God won't allow bad things to happen to good people." That was bad theology then and it's bad theology now. God does sometimes allow suffering in our lives to discipline us.
3. To Grow Us. Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted his incredible statue of David. He said that he took a chisel and removed everything that didn't look like David. Scripture tells us that we are being conformed to the image of Christ; the point of your salvation is to make you like Jesus. What that means in very practical terms is that sometimes the suffering we face is God taking the chisel of suffering and removing everything that doesn't look like Jesus. 

4. For the sake of others. This is one that I've wrestled with because it just doesn't seem fair. Why would God allow me to go through hardship for the sake of others? An example of this is found in Ezekiel 24. God tells the prophet that He's going to take away his wife, who God calls 'the delight of your eyes'; even more, Ezekiel wasn't to mourn her. The reason? So that Ezekiel could model to the people of Israel how to deal with the coming judgment of God. Now why would God do that? Why would He use Ezekiel in this way? Why does He use me in this way? Scripture doesn't specify but I think part of it is to cause to look to Jesus who is the ultimate example of one who suffered for the sake of others. It's by His stripes that we are healed. So when I suffer for the sake of others I can glory in the fact that God is pleased to allow me to share in the image of His Son!
5. We Don't Know. Finally, we must remember that no matter what ideas we have, we ultimately don't know why God allows suffering. We don't know every reason and every possible explanation. The story of Job reminds us of this, in that he was never told why he suffered like he did. God never explained to him why he lost his wealth and his family. But Job's faith never wavered--he held steadfastly to God, affirming that even if God took his life, he would trust Him.
When we face hardship, may our faith be like that of Job. May we hold fast to our Great King, and rest in the promise that He can take everything we face, even the most intense suffering, and use it for His glory.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Sink Full of Bubbles

The other day I asked Emma, my precious 7 year old if she had washed her hands. She told me that she had. Being a professional father, though, I knew I'd better pry a little deeper. I asked had she washed her hands thoroughly and had she used soap. She said, "Oh yeah. The sink was full of bubbles." In her mind if the sink was full of bubbles then it followed that her hands just had to be clean.
Of course, a sink full of bubbles doesn't necessarily equal clean hands. You can do a lot of things that fill the sink with bubbles and never get around to cleaning your hands. The issue is not whether the soap got in the sink; the issue is whether the soap got on your hands.
I've noticed in my own life that spiritually speaking, it's easier to fill the sink with bubbles than it is to truly and honestly walk with Jesus. I can do lots of religious looking things. I can get on my knees when I pray. I can go to church. I can say the right words. But what do all these things have in common? They are all things I can do outwardly. And if the gospel shows us anything it's that Jesus is more concerned with who we are on the inside that with what we do on the outside. It's not that what we do doesn't matter, it's that what we do must flow out of who we are. Jesus hasn't come to give us greater willpower. He has come to recreate us into His image. He hasn't come to encourage us to obey, He had come to give us hearts that want to obey. If If my focus is only on the outside then I'm just filling the sink up with bubbles, i.e. it may look like I'm doing what Jesus wants of me but I'm just putting on a show.
My prayer is that God would continually break me of my religious habits and daily conform me to His image; that I wouldn't be content with the outward form of religion but that I would love Him--really love Him, not just talk about it--more and more each day; that I would continually be swept away by the greatness of King Jesus and follow hard after Him and fight viciously against everything that hinders that walk.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A couple weeks ago I was privileged to speak at chapel services at Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. I graduated from CBC in 2001 and I'm so grateful for the time I spent there. You can click the link to hear the sermon I preached, if you're so inclined.
Thanks again, CBC, for having me back!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Lessons from Job

As followers of Jesus we're often eager to give God credit for good things that happen in our lives. But when tragedy strikes we tend to view it differently. God is in control of the good things that happen but the bad things? Well, He just sort of allows those things. Or maybe we say that the devil did that instead of God.
Does God need us to make excuses for Him? Does He need us to try and defend Him, to give Him an out? Does God need to be let off the hook for the calamities and disasters that befall us?
In the book of Job we find an answer to that question. Job's story is familiar to us--wealthy man, large family, loved God--but in an instant he lost it all. Through the loss though he maintained his faith in God and continued to worship. But when he is struck with what the Bible calls loathsome sores, that was the final straw for his wife. In 2:9 she says, "Do you still hold fast you integrity? Curse God and die." It's as though she is telling Job, "If this is how God treats His servants, why serve Him?" Job answers her with a staggering question: vs10, "Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" In asking this question Job makes a statement about the source of the tragedies that have befallen he and his wife. He acknowledges that the good things they had--the riches, the family, his standing as greatest man of the east--all came from God. But he further acknowledges that the evil, the disaster that they now face--loss of his family, his wealth and health--are also from God. Job didn't try to make excuses for God or explain away what happened. He acknowledged the absolute sovereignty of God in every circumstance in his life. Good or bad, blessing or curse, joy or sorrow, God was ultimately behind it. What can we learn from Job's statement?
1, God Gives Good Things. We can all agree on this. We acknowledge God as the source of good things in our lives. And this is right to do. It's a scriptural understanding. James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." Got something good in your life? Blame God. He is ultimately responsible for it. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, "For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." The sun didn't rise this morning because you bid it do so. Rains do not fall at our whim. God is behind these blessings. Every grace in our lives, from the beauty of a sunset to the joy of a kiss from your child, comes from the gracious hand of God.
2, God Gives Bad Things. The 2nd lesson Job teaches us is by far the most difficult. His question about receiving from God underscores the truth that just as God gives what we call good things, God gives what we call bad things as well. And it's not just Job who says this. In 2:3 God says to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast His integrity, though you incited Me against Him to destroy Him without reason?" When we recount the story of Job we speak of the devil taking away all he had. But what does God say? That He destroyed Job, not the devil.
Sometimes God brings calamity into our lives. God will bless us, but there are times when God will break us as well. And that's not just something we're comfortable with. When a hurricane makes landfall it sounds bad to say, "God sent that." But scripture demonstrates that He did. Now we certainly must be careful about attributing a reason for why God sends what He does, simply because we don't know. Just as Job never knew why God struck him, we too don't know the reason why God does what He does. But the point is, God does indeed send calamity.
Now our understanding is usually something along the lines of  "Well God allows it but He doesn't cause it." We could say that about Job's situation couldn't we? But remember 2:3? God says He did it, not just that He allowed it. And that's precisely what Job. The challenge for us, then, is to come to the place where our faith is big enough to accept that God can and does send bad things. To recognize that it's not just the devil who brings hardship into our lives. Sometimes it is--but even then our enemy can not act apart from God's permission. Our theology must recognize that God has the right, as creator, to do whatever He wants.
So how do we respond? When disaster strikes, when calamity comes what's the proper response? Again, we look to Job. When Job first hears the news of the loss of his family and wealth he mourns and grieves. And then he worships. The only appropriate response to what God does--good or bad--is worship. If we can only worship God when good things happen then we're not really worshipping God. True worship acknowledges the worth of God and the greatness of His character. And those things do not change, regardless of our circumstances. The key is to learn to look at Christ rather than at what is happening around us. We trust in the promises of Romans 8, that our God is so great and good and glorious and powerful that He is able to take all things, even the things that don't make sense to us, and work them out for His good. God sends good, and God sends bad. But no matter what He sends, we worship.