Bummed about the elections?  Then take a second to remember that God's hand is in all of life's affairs.  This issue examines God's providence!

Not a Chance in the World!

As my friend Greg observes, all of the following occurred in the last week,

"States vote to nullify federal laws.  Stock market plummets.  Gun sales sky rocket.  Secession petitions submitted.  Fiscal cliff looms.  Benghazi cover-up continues.  CIA director resigns. Hurricane victims still without power, gasoline, food, water.  Many still living in federal emergency tent city.  The Cincinnati Bengals beat the New York Giants 31-13."

It would seem that all hell is breaking loose.

In such a time as this it is good to pause for a second and remember that God is still on the throne. Even better, He is not sitting idly by on that throne watching history unfold like an episode of "As the World Turns."  

Scripture tells us that our God is an active God.  Though we cannot see it, His invisible hand continually upholds the universe and directs the course of history.

In this issue of the Providence Newsletter we are going to examine this sovereign & mysterious activity of God, otherwise known as providence.  

It is our hope that this study of the vast extent of God's omnipotence will provide a deep sense of peace for your soul, knowing you rest in His loving care.

In Him All Things Hold Together

A coworker once expressed a deep concern of his.  He said, "If everything began with a big bang, what's keeping everything from going bang again?"

What insight!  This fellow understood that the evolutionary worldview offered no solace whatsoever.  Theoretically speaking, things could cease to exist at any moment.

In contrast to this unhappy thought stands the doctrine of God's preservation.  By preservation we mean that aspect of His providence where He daily sustains and upholds His creation.

The verse quoted in the headline shows us this.  Everything is guaranteed to remain in its proper state because God's sovereign hand always holds it there.  

Think about it like this:  A jar will hold marbles in place.  Without the jar, the marbles scatter.

Christ is sort of like the jar that holds everything together.  The only difference is that without His will we wouldn't scatter; we would completely cease to exist!

God is in Control!

I will say at the outset:  this article will probably scramble your brain!

When it comes to God's providence, the Bible is clear:  God is sovereign over everything.  So, if a sparrow should fall to the ground, it is because God wills it. Even whole nations are at his disposal. They rise and fall at His will.

At the very same time (and sometimes even in the very same verse!) the Scripture affirms that we are the active agents of our lives.  So, if a king makes a decision about the direction of his nation, that was his decision.  Those plans were his plans, created by his own free will and intention.

So, it is Scripturally accurate to say that any given event is 100% caused by God and 100% caused by the creature too.

This crazy doctrine is what we call "concurrence."  

Concurrence literally means "to run together."  For instance, if you concur with someone's idea, your opinions "run together."

When we talk about concurrence we are saying that there is a sense where the activity of God and the activity of all His creation "runs together."  

Technically speaking, concurance is that aspect of God's providence where "God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do" (Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine).

Think of it like this:  You make choices everyday, right?  But who  created your mind?  And who gave you the will to make those choices?  And who prompts your will to act?  It certainly can't act on its own, no more than a lawn mower can start itself.

There is no doubt though that the choice was yours.  But somehow, in a mysterious way, God was upholding and guiding our ability to make that choice.

(Is your brain scrambled yet?  Great! Now you can see something of how big God really is!  Now go ahead and read the next article.)

All For Our Good!

Why do we make a fuss about all this theological mumbo jumbo?  Well, it is so that we can rest in this fact!  God causes "all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

Sure, we cannot understand the intricate details of it all, and Scripture doesn't even attempt to iron it out for us.  

Nevertheless, we are constantly assured us that God directs the course of history so as to accomplish His purposes in the world!

This is the final aspect of God's providence.  We call it His government.  

When we talk about His government, we are talking about the goal(s) God has. He always achieves His goals because He governs and directs all things.

So, contrary to popular opinion, history is not "running amuck." Our Lord is ordering it exactly how he wants it.

Neither was this past election a fluke. You might be a little miffed at the outcome, but your emotions should be tempered by the knowledge that God has something much more grand in mind.

As William Cowper mentioned earlier, "Behind a frowning providence, there hides a smiling face."  

That is to say, even though our present circumstances may seem dreary to us, we should not be discouraged.  We can trust that our God is good and He has a glorious reason for what is happening.

Sometimes you will hear it said that history is "His story."  That's true.  But did you know that history is "His story of the church and its redemption?"  

All the events of time are ordered the way they are because God has His eye on His people.  The Indians, the Eskemos, the acts of Genghis Khan, were all so that you might experience His salvation.  It is all rolling together and will come to a head in the Last Great Day!

In sum, we work through this weighty doctrine because it allows us the comfort of knowing God is moving heaven and earth for us.  

God Moves in A Mysterious Way

William Cow­per, whose poems appear in most collections of great English literature, was beset with emotional problems throughout his life.  

They called it melancholy back then. Today we would call it clinical depression.  However you diagnose it, the truth was that he oft­en strug­gled with serious bouts of de­press­ion and terrible fits of doubt.

On one unusually low night he de­cid­ed to com­mit su­i­cide by drown­ing him­self. He called a cab and told the driv­er to take him to the Thames Riv­er.

While London is known for frequently having thick fog, this night it was unusually dense.  It was so think that the cabby could not find the river!  After driv­ing around for over an hour, the carriage fin­al­ly stopped and let Cow­per out.  To Cowper’s sur­prise, he found him­self right back on his own door­step.

Cowper could only attribute this to divine intervention.  God, in His providence, had sent the fog to keep him from kill­ing him­self.  Immediately, Cowper went inside and penned the words to his most famous hymn:

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.


Dig the Pics!

You can review some of the events that have occurred this past month through the pictures at our website.  

There are a number of shots of our membership taking shots during our gun safety day.

We also have some pics of the kids putting together their Operation Christmas Child boxes.  

We want to give a special thanks to Anthony and Rachel for organizing these great events!  We appreciate your taking the time and energy to put these together!

Like us on Facebook!


Thanksgiving &  Providence!

The Thanksgiving season has always been a time to reflect on God's good dealings with man.  The providence of God even serves as the basis of any thanksgiving.

Why not take some time and reflect upon how the hand of God has dealt generously with you.  

Or take a second to read our nation's very first Thanksgiving proclamation and see how it magnifies the workings of God in the world.

Speaking of Providence!

Providence Church meets each Sunday at 10:30 am in the Mifflin Community Center, which is located on ST RT 603 across from the Mifflin Trading Post.  

Feel free to visit our website for more information regarding our beliefs, practices, and services:

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