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Summary: THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT - It’s been said that, “With God, our lives are an open book.” Sometimes, however, we may find ourselves in the middle of the book and still asking, “Whose bright idea was this anyway? It sure wasn’t mine!”

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WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?

Isaiah 55:1-9; 54:10 John 14:1-7 Luke 1:36-37; 13:1-9 Ps 63:1-8 1 Jn. 5:4 Rom. 8:28; 12:2 1 Cor. 2:9; 10:1-13

It’s been said that, “With God, our lives are an open book.” Sometimes, however, we may find ourselves in the middle of the book and still asking, “Whose bright idea was this anyway? It sure wasn’t mine!”

We like to think of ourselves as the authors of our own lives, and in many ways we are. But what we often fail to consider are all the variables which we have no control over. They can be minor inconveniences or absolute train wrecks, but we’re certain they weren’t our idea. Unfortunately, though, they can play havoc with all our other plans. You can be half-way through writing your own book, certain that it’s going to be a best-seller, when suddenly the whole plot changes … and YOU weren’t even asked! What’s with that? Not really a surprising response from an ambitious author.

No doubt most of us can relate to this scenario. We plan; we plot; we aspire, but we don’t get to write the final chapter … or do we?

READ JOHN 14:1-7

At a Rotary Club meeting, a minister once introduced himself as belonging to “a global enterprise with branches in every country in the world.” He said, “We specialize in motivation and behavior alteration. We’re also into life insurance and fire insurance, and our clients range from birth to death. You might say that our specialty is in spiritual heart transplants, and our product is free for the asking.’’

“Our CEO owns all the real estate on earth plus a wide assortment of galaxies and constellations. He grew up in a small town, apprenticed as a carpenter, but never owned his own house, was misunderstood by his family and hated by his enemies, walked on water, applied medicine without a license, was condemned to death and arose from the dead. And he’s never too busy to talk with you. Jesus Christ is our CEO, and even though he lets us make some of our own decisions, chart some of our courses, and occasionally have a say in things, He’s still in charge. Yet, He still leaves the most important decision of our entire life entirely to us … to make Jesus Christ our CEO … or not.”

Yes, God is in charge, and frankly, I find that reassuring, but I haven’t always felt that way. Maybe you know the feeling? It’s the one where your best plans meet the train-wreck you didn’t see coming. That’s when we’re reminded who’s really writing our story – and no matter what we may think or others may say – God’s love and His plans trump everything.

In Isaiah 55:3, God invites us, “Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

Today, I’d like to reflect on How God is in Control, and how His ways are so different and so much better than our own. For one thing,

I. God is always positive, and never negative. In Isaiah 55:11, God says, “My word will never return to me empty.” His Word is His love, and ultimately, it always works. He doesn’t make mistakes. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he says, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior … especially of those who believe.” (4:9-10)

You may not like the way your story is going at the moment, but don’t lose faith in who’s writing it. Only, • God knows the whole story… how it began and how it’s going to end. He has, however, given us some assurances. For one thing, Paul has told us, “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our hope is not in our ability to write, but in God’s promise to publish our story for our peace and His glory.

Even from the cross, Jesus reminds us, • God never says never — nothing is impossible with God. The angel who appeared to the Virgin Mary told her, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age . . . for nothing is impossible with God.” Faith sustains us throughout the story – especially when things seem darkest. But our current circumstances don’t have to control our lives if we let go and trust God.

• One of the problems in our lives is lack of application. If we don’t apply sunscreen we’ll get burned. If we don’t apply faith, we’ll see only the sorrow and not the hope. …. And something else we should keep in mind,

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