Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

FREE TO BE - an excerpt

Chapter 4: The Grace of God
The Sovereignty of God:   Sometime in childhood a cloud crossed over my life and remained above me. Sometime in adulthood I became aware of this cloud. That was the beginning of change, because when we know there is a cloud, we also know the sun is somewhere above it. Awareness is the key to moving out from under the cloud and learning to live in the glory of direct sunlight. My discovery of the cloud and understanding of the sovereignty of God did not come about at the same time, but both were necessary in my healing process.
   About eight years ago, I was sitting in a church pew, in the front row as it happens, one Sunday morning. A loving and sound pastor was preaching. I don't remember precisely what he was preaching about--it was not about sovereignty-- but as I listened a thought came to me: God is sovereign. I'd known in my head the truth of this. But it was about to hit my heart and so change my perspective of life that it would be the key, at last, to setting my mind free.
   The sovereignty of God implies that He rules the universe and that nothing occurs on earth outside of God's permission or awareness. No event happens with out His foreknowledge and His assent to it happening. Everything that takes place occurs in His wisdom and for His ultimate purpose, for His glory and His goodness. If not, then God would not be God.
   What comfort I take from that, and oh, how it hit me that day!
   The revelation of this made me realize that the cloud over me had existed for good purpose and that God was in charge of every event of my life to bring me to the realization, not only of Him, but also of His authority over my life. The application of this in my life meant that I did not need to fear rejection but rather could embrace every event, every relationship, as coming directly from the Master Builder, who knew how to build my life into a strong and mighty force for right.
   "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Inc (c)1979, Romans 8:28) I realized as I sat in that church pew on that particular Sunday morning that no circumstance could come my way that was not under God's umbrella of protection. I would need to learn how to surrender decisions to His will and His Word, in a consistent and faithful way.
   As I deepened my understanding of the significance of God's sovereignty in my life, fear left me. I realized that people did not have authority over my life, but God did. God knew about all the relationships and experiences that would arise in my life, and I could trust the outcome to Him. Another of God's promises is "For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, CollinsBible, HarperCollins Publishers, Glasgow, (c) 1952, 1971,Jeremiah 29:11)
   Logically speaking, as God is sovereign, then anything that happens happens for God's purpose, and I can learn from it. As God is most interested in His relationship with each of us and the development of our character, ("But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virture knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (NKJV 2 Peter 1:5-8)) He allows circumstances to be presented to us for our good and for our development as followers of Jesus. Recognizing His sovereignty in my life implies that whatever circumstance might arise, God is (and has been) aware of it; therefore I need not fear or worry about the future or other people"s opinions or attitudes toward me interfering with that future.God will always lead me to a positive resolution as I surrender to Him.
   Not all circumstances will be easy. That isn't in His promises. But rarely does anything worthwhile come without effort, pain or struggle. "More than that, we rejoice inur sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." (RSV Romans 5:3-4)
   Since my revelation and application of God's sovereignty in my life, I have experienced magnificent release. I have faced fear of man and my own fallibility in relationship and have found challenge, growth and peace. Beginning that day while sitting in that church pew, I took a giant leap toward emotional security and have aimed to do the following: "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal." (NKJV Philippians 3:13b-14a)
   The revelation that God is sovereign, and that in His sovereignty lies our opportunity for growth, chases away the fear of failure and fear of rejection that embody emotional insecurity. It does not promise that everything will always go our way or that all our relationships will be trouble-free. That is fantasy. But it does ensure that when we know and trust God's authority and power we can choose to rest, confident that all circumstances are for our benefit. Nothing can isolate us or harm us.
   A positive attitude based in this truth will yield the sense of security you seek, because you know the Creator of the universe is watching over and guiding your steps. You have given up control, that imaginary self-protective strategy, and yielded that illusion of control to the one and only who has ultimate power and authority over the universe that He created.
   Tragedy and disappointment are inevitable in life, and events do occur that seem cruel or beyond our understanding. But as He foreknew us, so He also knows what will perfect us. "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength." (IBID Isaiah 40:31a) By choosing to trust God and to recognize His ultimate triumph in our lives, we are protected by Him and will ultimately triumph over every adversity we face.
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