Begin The New Year By Tracing The Sweet Threads Of God’s Plans

It has been the pious and constant practice of the saints in all generations to preserve the memory of the more famous and remarkable providences that have befallen them in their times as a precious treasure. If thou be a Christian indeed, I know thou hast, if not in thy book, yet certainly in thy heart, a great many precious favours upon record; the very remembrance and rehearsal of them is sweet; how much more sweet was the actual enjoyment? –John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence

I love the topic of God’s Providence. God sustains and directs all things for our good and his glory. John Flavel tells us that recording and remembering God’ providences is a sweet and pleasurable activity.

Trace back the threads that God wove together to bring you to himself. I was raised a Catholic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although I left the Catholic church when I became a Christian, I learned much that was true about Jesus Christ as a child – that Jesus is God who became man, born of a virgin. That he never sinned, then died on a cross and rose from the dead. So I had some foundation laid for my later conversion.

In God’s providence, when I was 14, my father just “happened” to be transferred to Indiana, PA, where I would later go to college. There I “happened” to meet a young lady who one year later, on a plane from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, would “happen” to meet an evangelist, who “happened” to be wearing a Jesus t-shirt that day, which got her attention. A couple months later, my girlfriend, leafing through the paper “happened” to see the evangelist’s picture in the paper. He just “happened” to be speaking in a small rural retreat center near my home. She took me to the meeting, after which he led me in a prayer to receive Christ. He didn’t explain repentance to me, so I continued in a sinful lifestyle for a year until another friend just “happened” to invite me to a bible study. The speaker, who just “happened” to be a substitute for the regular speaker, spoke on, you guessed it, repentance, and I turned from my sins and began to follow Christ as a disciple that night.

At the beginning of the new year, recall the events God orchestrated to bring you to Christ. Savor the sweetness and give thanks.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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