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  • New transMission CD - Marty's Journal; Entry #4: You Alone (or A Lesson On The 2nd Doctrine of The Salvation Army)

    Doctrine # 2:

    We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.

    I waited a long time to start writing this.  A long time.  I wanted to make sure I could confidently approach this with biblical accuracy.  And it's not too difficult to do, to see God's sovereignty through scripture, if you're willing to look for it. 

    There are many elements to this doctrine, many facets to who God is: Perfect Creator.  Preserver.  Governor.  And my favorite: The ONLY proper object of religious worship.  I think it would be easy to tackle this last one, because we're caught up in worship.  There's a lot of worship happening all over the world… mostly idol worship, mis-guided and mis-directed worship.  But we, as humans, have been wired to worship.  This is something that I've spent a lot of time over the last 7 years trying to figure out.  And I'd love to share all of these findings. 

    But I'm not going to do that here.  Instead, I've decided to approach this one from a different angle.  


    There aren't a lot of situations where we might use this word.  There aren't many instances where we'd say that something was sovereign, above all else in power and authority.  Perhaps government, depending on our nationality.  In earlier eras, kings and emperors would exercise power and authority, sovereign above their kingdoms and empires.  Many times, however, history proves that this power and authority turns corrupt those who were considered to be, at one point or another, fair, just, and righteous.  Power has a way of clouding vision.  

    To say that God is sovereign, however, is another thing altogether.  An OTHER thing.  An ABOVE ALL thing.  My dictionary defines "Sovereign" as "possessing supreme or ultimate power."  David cries out in a moving prayer, as recorded in 2nd Samuel 7, "How great you are, Sovereign LORD!  There is no one like you, and there is no God but you…" (v. 22)

    David knew it.  Millions of others before and since have known it.  Simply put, God is above all else.  He has no equal.  No rival.  No peer.  No similarity.  No parallel.  No match.  

    So when we're dealing with trying to understand certain things in life, it will confuse us when we try to make God fit into our idea of who we think He is.  We have no frame of reference.  We have nothing to compare Him to.  Even when we read of His Son, Jesus, telling his audiences about the Kingdom of Heaven, many onlookers are left perplexed, scratching their heads.  Nowhere is this more frustrating than when we face the painful times in life.  

    Especially tragedy.  

    Helen Hunt and Bette Midler star in a movie called "Then She Found Me."  I'm not sure I understand the entire plot, other than it's a telling depiction of how someone handles life as curve balls are thrown at them.  Hunt's character, April, after enduring several heartbreaking events, is unsuccessfully consoled by her new-found birth mother, Bernice, as she is about to face yet another potentially life-changing situation.  Bernice, noticing that her daughter, a devout Jew, is about to face this situation without praying, says "Aren't you going to pray?  You always pray.  You pray before eating a bowl of spaghetti… and now, before you do the most important thing you'll ever do in your life, suddenly you're not interested?"  April simply concludes that because of all she's been through, she's tired of being disappointed by God.  "What's the use?  I had faith" she says.  "I thought God was good."  And upon breaking down (notably the first time in the storyline), April is offered these entirely profound words from Bernice: "Maybe God is… difficult… awful… complicated…"  

    April begins to pray a traditional Hebrew prayer, the Sh'ma Yisrael.  Bernice asks, "What does that mean?"  "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one."  "Listen O Israel, the God of love and the God of fear are ONE."  (Deut. 6:4)

    He is higher-than.  He is wider-than.  And He is other-than… We will never fully understand why God is seemingly so hard to find in life's darkest hours.  And days, months, even years…

    Another reason I waited so long to write this was because of what happened on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.  Like so many other tragedies, the events from that Friday morning left countless numbers of people pleading and clawing for an answer: God, how could you let this happen?  Where are you?  If you were really in control… why didn't you stop this evil???  

    I don't pretend to understand all of this.  I won't try to explain how such a loving God would allow for so much pain and destruction.  And I'm certainly not comfortable claiming to be God's spokesperson, though I am charged with being His hands and feet... 

    But I do know that God is still in control.  He is still sovereign.  He is still on the throne of it all.  He's still got the whole world in His hands.  And He is still above all else.  He is greater than evil.  He is stronger than death.  He is higher and wider, deeper and deeper still, than anything else we can imagine.  He alone is INFINITELY PERFECT.  He alone is CREATOR, PRESERVER, and GOVERNOR of ALL THINGS.

    One day, this will all be clear.  And until that day, may I offer a voice to those who would join me in declaring the unrivaled, infinitely perfect ways of God… 

    "You Alone"

    You hold all things together, You speak and life begins
    You say the word and winds obey Your commands
    You are the Sovereign King, You, who made everything
    You hold the whole world in the palm of your hand
    And now we sing to You, for You have made us new
    Yours is the name above all

    You alone do we honor, You alone do we love
    You alone are the author of life and ruler of all

    We stand in awe of You, God, and of Your majesty
    Even when we don't understand Your ways
    You breathe new life within us, You draw us to Yourself
    Forever lead us through the end of our days
    For You we only sing, Creator, Lord and King
    Yours is the name above all

    Perfect in all Your ways, You are the same
    Yesterday, today, forever
    O God, You reign
    You'll never leave us, ever to lead us 

    Persevering through the cloudy, let us continue running the race set before us.  Life is full of obstacles and hurdles, but God perpetually gives the grace and strength to overcome them.  Hallelujah.