Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday by the Sea

"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name." ~ Jeremiah 31:35

I urge you to read Jeremiah 31:31-37 (which is a bit long of a passage to put here in this post). God is so good and merciful, and He is also sovereign!

This week is going to be a very busy one, and I have a feeling that there's going to be a lot of emotional stress/turmoil for me in the coming days before Thanksgiving break. But in all that is to come (much of which is self-induced, to be honest, as I usually don't attempt to work ahead as I ought to), I can rest in the fact that God is in control. No matter what we do, God still fulfills His purposes in the world.

I've been reminded recently in my reading for my Christian Theology class that God, while completely loving and forgiving, is also completely just. In fact, His justice goes hand-in-hand with His wrath. He expresses wrath and righteous anger against sin, because as perfect God He must hate sin. That's why Jesus was the propitiation for us--God's wrath had to be fulfilled, through God Himself as Jesus (the perfect sacrifice), in order for us to be close to Him. In that way, His wrath was satisfied and His grace could be given.

Now, what does that have to do with God being in control? Well, as I was also reminded in my reading, we tend to downplay the wrath of God. But God's wrath is not "bad" at all, and should not be dismissed. It is good to have a holy fear of the power of God. We are supposed to be humble before Him. And in the truth of His strength and His justice, we can rest in the fact that He is above us all and worthy of our praise and trust. Whatever we go through in this life, He is powerful to work through us and through the hard times we face.

"For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished."
~ Jeremiah 30:11

(The ocean picture is from this site.)


Kav said...

When I think of God I think of a loving Heavenly Father and we all know that sometimes even the most loving father has to lay down the law!!!!

Amanda Stanley said...

Happy Sunday, Amber! Normally your Sunday By The Sea post is my dessert AFTER church, well, this morning it's my appetizer BEFORE church! Even though we set the clocks back I guess my body is still running on it's normal time, LOL!

Anyway, this post was fantastic, as usual :) Jeremiah is an incredible book- I have so many things highlighted in it! What you shared here brought to mind a couple scriptures in Hebrews- "For who the Lord loveth he chasteneth... Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:6,11).

Like Kav said, He IS a loving Father! But, He loves us too much to let us go unchecked. Hannah Hurnard said something really awesome about this in her book "Mountain of Spices", but I can't remember exactly what it was at the moment! When I get back from church I'll find it and post it for you :)

Amber, I'm praying for you my friend! "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus is our peace :)

Amanda Stanley

Amber Holcomb said...

KAV & AMANDA: Thank you both so much for commenting! I'm not really if what I said in the post makes complete sense, or fits completely with the "Sunday by the Sea" theme, but your comments really helped bring it back into focus! :)

I want to share a couple of quotes from John Piper's book Life as a Vapor. I think they fit really well:

"God is not like a firefighter who gets calls to show up at calamities when the damage is already happening. He is more like a surgeon who plans the cutting he must do and plans it for good purposes. Without the confidence that God rules over the beginning of our troubles, it is hard to believe that He could rule over their end. If we deny God His power and wisdom to govern the arrival of our pain, why should we think we can trust Him with its departure?" (p. 126)

And this next quote is a very hopeful one--that God can work through us and in spite of what we do at times:

"...He can take the worst detour and, for His wise and sometimes inscrutable purposes, make that route the most fruitful, even though we, in our folly, may be disciplined for taking it."

God is sovereign, and I'm so thankful for that! Thank you both for sharing, and I hope that in spite of my late-night, most likely confusing post, God can still use it to encourage others and remind them of His truth. :)


Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you for sharing those verses and for your prayers! :D

Looking forward to seeing that other quote you mentioned. :)


Amanda Stanley said...

Here is that quote by Hannah Hurnard from her book Mountain of Spices:

“Love is a consuming fire. It is the burning, unquenchable passion for the blessedness and happiness, and, above all, for the perfection of the beloved object. The greater the love, the less it can tolerate the presence of anything that can hurt the beloved, and the less it can tolerate in the beloved anything that is unworthy or less than the best, or injurious to the happiness of the loved one. Therefore it is perfectly true that love, which is the most beautiful and most gentle passion in the universe, can and must be at the same time the most terrible- terrible in what it is willing to endure itself in order to secure the blessing and happiness and perfection of the beloved, and, also, apparently terrible in what it is will allow the beloved to endure if suffering is the only means by which the perfection or restoration to health of the beloved can be secured.
It is love alone which can make all the agony and torment which men bring upon themselves and others explicable, for I see it is the means used by His inexorable will to save us and to make us so perfect that His love can be completely satisfied. Behold the beauty and the terror of the love of God!”

If you have read Hinds Feet On High Places, I HIGHLY recommend Mountain of Spices- it’s the continuation of Much Afraid’s story! And, on the off chance you haven’t yet read Hind’s Feet- oh, Amber, you simply MUST!!

Thank you for those great John Piper quotes! I really need to check out his stuff! Praying for you, my friend, and be watching for my email in a little while :)

Amanda Stanley

Amber Holcomb said...


Wow! That is a powerful quote! Thank you so much for sharing it! :D


I haven't actually read Hinds Feet on High Places or Mountain of Spices. :( I'll have to definitely keep those in mind, for sure!

I'm glad you enjoyed the John Piper quotes. :) Life as a Vapor is a very thought-provoking devotional!

I'll look forward to your e-mail, as I always do. :D


Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, great. And I love Amanda's quote, too.

This really spoke to me today. Our Bible study Friday was about trials and God's sovereignty. And how when gold is refined in the fire you can see a perfect reflection. The blessing of God using trials to kill our pride and cause us to fear God more.

Amber, unfortunately I always seem to read these "late" but at the right time for me (so I guess not late). Thank you for being obedient to post. I have so many things churning I need to carve out some time to post. Your posts always add more fuel to thought.

Amber Holcomb said...


Amanda definitely shared a great, thought-provoking quote! :)

I'm really glad that God could use this post to encourage you. :) Like I said to Kav and Amanda, I'm not really sure that this post fit with the theme of the sea completely, or if it made much sense in general. Sometimes I'm not always sure what to write, other times there is something I really want to share that has impacted me profoundly (like the previous week's "Sunday by the Sea" about Finding Nemo). So, I'm glad that God is in control and can still use my small attempts for His glory in some way. :)

Anyway, that's so sweet of you to come back and read these posts even if you don't have time when I first post them! That means so much to me. :) And thank you for thanking me--I spend so much time blogging that I'm glad to know it can have merit! ;)

I've been so blessed by your friendship, Julia. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and what you are learning, as well!