Tag Archives: sovereign

“Weeping May Tarry for the Night, But Joy Comes With the Morning.” – Part 5 of My Reflections on the Death of Malawi’s Third President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika

The Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, Third President of the Republic of Malawi

In this last post of my reflections on the death of Malawi’s former President, His Excellency, the Late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, I simply want to encourage us all to trust the Lord and accept His sovereign providence.  I would like to do this by taking us to my first post which I entitled, “In the Year That King Uzziah Died, I Saw the Lord…”  While we may not understand such tragic events as the death of a President or the death of a King, one thing is true, the LORD is still on the Throne.  He remains sovereign over all things and is working all things towards His good and glorious purposes.

We cannot question His wisdom and purposes.  We are simply to yield to His providence and pray as the Lord Jesus Christ taught us, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  God has a plan for the bereaved family and for Malawi as a nation.  The LORD does all things well and He makes all things beautiful in His time.  “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5).  May the LORD comfort the bereaved family and bless the nation of Malawi with His love, mercy and grace during this time.

Even through the sins of his people or his enemies, the LORD can and He does plot all things for His glory.  This is true at a personal level; it is true at a family level and it is certainly true at a national level as well.  God is always at work even in the worst of times.  When we think that He is farthest from us; when we think that He has turned against us, we must always remind ourselves of the solid-rock truth that he is at the same time laying a foundation of greater joy and happiness in our lives.

William Cowper, an old English poet wrote in his poem entitled, God Moves in a Mysterious Way writes,

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

But trust Him for His grace.

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

Therefore, as we continue to mourn the death of our beloved President, let us remember the following:

God Remains Sovereign:  The Almighty God reigns in all the affairs of men.  Individuals, families and nations are all under His sovereign rule (Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:35).  He does whatsoever He pleases.  He gives rain and He takes brings draught.  He gives life and he takes life.       He says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).  Our times our in His hands (Psalm 31:15)!  All things, small and great are under His sovereign rule.  His providence is mysterious.  We will not always understand what He does.  But we can take confidence in the fact that He is a good God, He knows all things and He does all things well.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).

Please visit the Bible Answers blog for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of these reflections.

‘Why I want the right to die’ in Scotland

I was greatly shocked when my wife shared this article with me this afternoon.  Al Jazeera published this article on their website.  I encourage you to read it here.  Independent Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Margo MacDonald has launched a fresh attempt to give terminally ill people in Scotland the right to choose when to die – which in my mind is outrageous and grossly immoral, cruel and careless.  It totally degrades the intrinsic value of human life as given by God the Almighty, who is our Creator (Genesis 1:27) and the Creator of heavens and earth!  This “End of Life Assistance” Bill sets out that anyone over the age of 16 could request assistance to die if that person was diagnosed as terminally ill and that he/she finds life unbearable.  Ms. MacDonald tried to get this bill passed in December 2010 but it was defeated.  According to the Huffington Post (UK), “A series of scrutiny sessions were held at the Scottish Parliament, taking in evidence from doctors in countries where forms of assisted suicide are permitted.”

I find Ms. MacDonald’s arguments flawed and unconvincing – but that’s not all that disturbs me.  The bill that she is pushing is in direct violation of the Sixth Commandment:  “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).  This bill seeks to give man the legal freedom to take one’s life or that of another with impunity.

Here are some quotes from the article:

Assisted Suicide (“Mercy Killing”) – currently banned by law in Scotland & the UK:

In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, it is currently a crime to help someone end his or her own life. A doctor who injects a patient with lethal drugs in order to kill them could be prosecuted for culpable homicide or even murder.

Margo MacDonald wants that legal ban repealed:

“If it came to the worst and I was faced with a very bitter and protracted end, I should have the right to ask for help to end my life earlier than nature intended,” Macdonald told Al Jazeera.

She added: “I would like the insurance policy of knowing that if it gets near, and I would like to shorten it, I would not be putting my family at risk. It is not about pain, it is about making sure you are still yourself.”

Margo wants autonomy not dignity – She has a warped view of “dignity” according to what she says here:

She told Al Jazeera that the same debate is going on all over the world and if her bill is passed: “Scotland would be seen as a place where humanity, above all, and individual autonomy is respected. This legislation is really about the right of a person to see their life through and keep their dignity to the very end.”

Some church leaders are fighting against this:

When this issue was last debated, the Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, told a special Mass for Healthcare workers: “Laws need to be objective in their statement of principle. It is wrong in principle for someone to take their own life; it is wrong in principle for someone to help them to do so.”

Peter Kearney, Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, told Al Jazeera: “Nothing has changed. Deliberate killing, even when assisting someone who is in a state of despair, is always wrong.”

Many doctors are concerned:

Many doctors are also concerned that legalizing assisted suicide could lead to frail or elderly people being coerced into taking their lives.

My Thoughts:

I hope that this bill is defeated once again in the Scottish Parliament.  I also hope and pray that Christians in Scotland and around the world will continue to speak out against this and similar violations of God’s law and order for His people.  From a human stand-point, Ms. MacDonald seems “unstoppable.”  She probably thinks so.  She is quoted as saying:

Since the defeat of my original proposal in December 2010, the volume of correspondence I’ve received on the matter, coupled with the continuing public interest, stimulated in part by some high-profile statements in favour of the general principle of assisted suicide, indicates to me a consistent level of support for individuals suffering a terminal illness or condition, for whom life becomes intolerable, to have the legal right to request help to end their life before nature decrees.

But those of us who believe in the Sovereign LORD who rules over the universe, know that the LORD is ultimately in control and that He has the power to stop this and all ills that have plagued Scotland and the world (see Proverbs 21:1).

Why Am I So Concerned for Scotland?

Just for the same reasons that I would be concerned if this was happening in any other country primarily because it goes against the will – it goes against the Law of God clearly stated in Scripture.  That’s the main reason why this disturbs me.  But there is more:

As one who has not in the least sense benefited from what the Lord has done through Scotland over the years, I cringe when I read this kind of stuff about Scotland or coming out of Scotland.  I feel a special affinity to Scotland for various reasons.  Let me mention three:

1.  The first missionary to bring the gospel to my home country (Malawi) was Scottish.  His name was Dr. David Livingstone.  Malawi is replete with monuments in honor of Dr. Livingstone and his work there – not the least of which is Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital which was named after Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland where Dr. Livingstone was born.  I had the privilege of visiting Blantyre (Scotland) a few years ago and saw the house in which Dr. Livingstone was born and raised.  This house is now the home of the David Livingstone Center.

2.  As a Presbyterian and Reformed Christian and church minister, I owe a lot of that to what the Lord has done through Scottish men like John KnoxSamuel RutherfordRobert Murray McCheyne, Professor John Murray, from centuries gone by (just to name a few) – but also from contemporary theologians and preachers like Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, Dr. Alistair Begg, etc.

3.  I am now a gospel minister with a denomination that is rooted in Scotland, the Associated Presbyterians Church (APC) – and I feel for so many of my dear brothers and sisters in Scotland as I consider all the challenges and the spiritual battles that they face in their pursuit of Christ, His will and purposes.  I am concerned and this moves me to pray more fervently for the work of the gospel across Scotland and the UK.

Let’s Pray for Scotland, the UK and the World

Prayer is ultimately the answer – and our sure hope.  “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Please join me in praying that God’s will may triumph over evil and that Scotland may be turned back to the Lord.  He has done it before, He can do it again.  Even though it seems like a dark cloud is hanging over Scotland and much of the western world, the LORD God can change that.  May the Light of Christ once again shine in Scotland even from the “farthest” corners of the world (like Malawi and such places where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is now flourishing).  Perhaps it’s time to send missionaries back to Scotland!  Our God is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we can ever ask or imagine according to His power which is at work in us (see Ephesians 3:20-21).

Faith Beyond Circumstances!! Please Pray for This Brother in Christ & His Family!!

This morning, I got the following e-mail from a “prayer chain” that I am a part of.  The e-mail said:

Please begin praying for this dear sister in Christ- Carol Poston.  Carol is the wife of the pastor of Rainbow Community Church in Fallbrook, CA. (about a half hour north of Escondido).  One minute she’s the healthy wife of a pastor, the mother of 5 beautiful daughters… next minute attacked by bacterial meningitis to her brain.  To read about this tragic situation and the unwavering faith of her husband, go to: http://carolposton.blogspot.com/.

I immediately went to the blog to read more about this.  I was shocked and amazed.  I was shocked because of the gravity of the situation.  I was amazed by the strength and courage with which Craig (the pastor/husband) is handling this fragile situation.  This afternoon, another pastor friend and I prayed for Craig and his family and committed them to the Lord.

For me as a husband, father and also as a pastor, my heart goes out to my brother in Christ, Craig.  I was greatly touched by something from his most recent blog post.  This is what he wrote:

“I do not yet have emotional energy to read Scripture to Carol but still can only cry to the Lord, Please Have Mercy!  Those are the only words I can find to say to God.  But I trust Him.  God will be glorified through this whole horrible tragedy.”

What faith!  Faith beyond circumstances!  Faith in spite of circumstances!  Craig is so candid as to admit his weaknesses.  He is emotionally weak and yet spiritually strong at the same time.  This is because he is resting in the Lord and in His sovereign purposes.  I really can’t say much more about this, except to say that it moved me, challenged me and encouraged me in at least the following two ways: 1.  to pray for this brother in Christ (whom I have never met before), but mysteriously enough, I feel a special connection to him.  I will pray for him, his wife and kids.  I will pray for his congregation – it must be hard for the congregation to see their pastor, his wife and kids suffer so much, 2.  to exult in the sovereignty of God which Craig I am sure understands and is resting on.

If you are reading this, would you please take a moment to pray for Craig, Carol, their kids and congregation?  Thank you – may the Lord richly bless you through Jesus Christ!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).