Circumstance

Circumstances; we all have them and we must sort them out every day. This sorting of circumstances is a type of prayer.

Definitions include:

  • A condition or fact attending an event and have some bearing on it;
  • A determining or modifying factor.
  • A condition or fact that determines or must be considered in the determining of a course of action.
  • The sum of determining factors beyond willful control.

The omnipresence of circumstances yields a bevy of clichés in our speech:

  • “Circumstances permitting,”
  • “Under the circumstances,”
  • “Pomp and circumstance,”
  • “A victim of circumstance,” and
  • “Face the circumstances.”

Things We Can Control
Our ability to live through each day with any degree of self-determination depends on our ability to sort out the conditions and facts we will face. As free will agents, there are many things we can control, enough of them to count and to count on to give us courage to get out of bed, cleanup and dress for the day, and even to go out the door and start the car. Free will is a gift from God and He enables those who worship Him to do this regularly and with great redeeming effect upon the world.

Things We Cannot Control
However, some of the circumstances we face are well beyond our ability to control. The person without Christ must file these things safely away from the conscious mind in order to function. If the unbeliever cannot do this, the burden of life becomes too great to bear. That person must find relief in an altered state of consciousness, using anything from alcohol to drugs to soul-numbing addictions, to suicide.

God Is in Control
The Christ-follower is never left alone to face the circumstances of his/her life. The worshiper of Jesus does not stand in awe at a distance, but is held close in a secure embrace. There are no circumstances beyond the Lord’s control.

In prayer this morning, sort out the circumstances you will face today. Renew your vows. Rely on discipline to fully engage the fruit of the Spirit called self-control. Look for opportunities throughout the day to change the circumstances others may face. Look squarely, fearlessly into the circumstances beyond your control and place them in the hands of your Lord.

He can handle anything.

Scriptures:
Psalm 61 NKJV
Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name … So I will sing praise to Your name forever, That I may daily perform my vows.
Ephesians 1:21-23
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Romans 8:28-29
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I am so grateful for Your lovingkindness; it is better than life! Your Spirit enables me to prevail through this day regardless of the circumstances I will face. You were tempted in all points that I could ever be tempted yet you did not sin. Help me walk in Your victory today. By Your grace I can hear Your tender voice deep in my spirit, comforting me, challenging me, changing me. Let me say in every circumstance, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” Amen.

Song:
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Words and Music: Ira Stamphill

1. I don’t know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future, For I know what Jesus said,
And today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what is ahead.

Refrain:
Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.

2. Ev’ry step is getting brighter, As the golden stairs I climb;
E’vry burdens’ getting lighter; Ev’ry cloud is silver lined.
There the sun is always shining. There no tear will dim the eye.
At the ending of the rainbow, Where the mountains touch the sky.

Refrain

3. I don’t know about tomorrow, It may bring me poverty;
But the One who feeds the sparrow, Is the One who stands by me.
And the path that be my portion, May be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me, And I’ve covered with His blood.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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