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 having 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.”

Sorting it all out.
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, 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.

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.

The Christ-follower is never left alone to face the circumstances of his/her life. The worshiper of Jesus does not stand in awe of the Lord from 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 of 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 1:22-23
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.
Philippains 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank You for seeing what I cannot see, hearing what I cannot hear, and knowing what is beyond my capacity to know. You already know what circumstances will come my way today. Nothing that happens will surprise or alarm You. Lord, sometimes circumstances rush at me so fast and in such numbers that my heart is overwhelmed, like a dry gully in a sudden, violent rain. But in such times, You are my Rock, Lord Jesus, my high tower of safety and you always welcome me, fears and all. “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” From the vantage point of Your towering greatness, I can see that the storms and floods are no real threat to me, because I am in You. Lord, Jesus, my all-in-all. Amen.

Song:
Living by Faith
Words: James Wells; Music: R.E. Winsett

1. I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

Refrain:
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.

2. Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.

Refrain

3. I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.

Refrain

4. Our Lord will return for His loved ones some day,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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