Pristine Grace

God's Sovereignty
by Gary Shepard

     I have a sign by my study door that provides a daily reminder to me. It was given to me by a friend, but I do not know who the author was. It says, "I need constantly to remind myself that 'all things are of God.' Let me not preach sovereignty and then complain of my lot in life. Let me not talk of divine purpose and then spend my days murmuring about my trials and troubles. It is totally inconsistent with faith in the sovereign Christ for me to question His good providence. Paul called covetousness 'idolatry' and said 'I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content' (Philippians 4:11). I pray for submission, for with it comes peace and rest." Over the years as a preacher and pastor I have proved some things. First, God will provide all my "needs" if I am His servant and I shall not have to beg. Secondly, God will provide the resources to do the work that He would have us to do. If He does not provide for something to be done, then He does not want it done. You cannot shame the lost religionist into giving, and you do not have to do it to the child of God. Thirdly, God will accomplish His purpose at His own pace. I pray for grace to walk with Him, neither ahead nor behind. Fourthly, God will use the means that will glorify Him and not men. The vehicles of modern religious methodology will get many people fast but they shall then be twofold the children of hell. Fifthly, God does not "need" me, or anyone else. He may use me, but I am sure it will be in spite of me and not because of me. Sixthly, I have learned that I am weaker and more sinful than those to whom I preach. I can only say with the apostle, "I am what I am by the grace of God." Lastly, I have learned that I can only preach the preaching God has bidden me to preach. I cannot be or imitate someone else, and only make great blunders when I try.