“God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility”

I highly recommend this book!

I highly recommend this book!

Last week, Maffrine and I had a serious talk about the direction of our business and our responsibilities as partners.  I was convicted of the fact that I was not doing all that I could for Intwine Paperie.  It was a very humbling conversation, and I felt, frankly, quite inadequate and extremely sad afterwards.  I felt that I was not up for the task of doing this greeting card business; and given that we consider our business as a ministry, I realized that I was not only disappointing my business partner but my God as well.

Thankfully, God already knew what I needed to hear after that conversation.  That very same night, my church’s women’s Bible study met in my living room.  We have been studying Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts.  Our chapter for that night was titled “God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility”.

God was showing me (in more than one area in my life) that I have been using my knowledge of God’s sovereignty as an excuse in one degree or another to not always be responsible.  He was also showing me that I was lacking trust in His power to prosper our business despite my inadequacies.  Do you ever do either or both of these things?

In his book, Jerry Bridges provides two ways that we, as Christians, are to practically combine God’s sovereignty and our responsibility in our lives.  He writes:

“Knowledge of His sovereignty is meant to be an encouragement to pray, not an excuse to lapse into a sort of pious fatalism.  Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God.  If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers.  God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him; prayer is the expression of that trust.  God’s sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to pray, but rather makes it possible to pray with confidence.

God’s sovereignty also does not negate our responsibility to act prudently. To act prudently means to use all legitimate, biblical means at our disposal to avoid harm to ourselves or others and to bring about what we believe to be the right course of events.”

In other words, trusting in God’s sovereignty while being responsible looks like prayer and prudence.

One of the study questions involved reading Psalm 127:1.  It says,

“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.”

That study question then asked,

“Are you currently building anything? 

If so, what is it? 

How is the Lord involved in your building? 

In what area of your life are you like a watchman guarding a city?”.

The first thing that came to my mind was Intwine Paperie.  I thank God that He has been providing us with new and different opportunities for our business.  Without His blessing, all our work would be for naught.  Therefore, I need to seek that blessing through prayer.  However, like the builder and the watchman, Maffrine and I are still responsible to work hard and to do all that prudence calls us to do.

What are you building in your life?  Are you manifesting trust in God’s sovereignty through prayer?  And are you, simultaneously, acting prudently to bring about God’s will in this endeavor?

Many tears and a few days later, I was finally able to have peace about that conversation I had with Maffrine.  I am grateful for my sister in Christ and business partner who so lovingly pointed out where I can grow, specifically in my trust in God’s sovereignty and in my responsibility.

Please pray for us as we seek to build Intwine Paperie for the glory of God.  Please pray for faithfulness to express our trust through prayer and wisdom in all that we do.

Please also let us know what you are building in your own life that we may pray for you as well.  We consider you as part of our Intwine Paperie family, so it would be a blessing for us to be able to serve you in this way.

– Ophelia


May I Grow in Thy Love and Manifest It to Mankind

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.  It has been a great source of encouragement, strength, and even conviction for me and Maffrine as well.  However, it has been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust up till now.  It wasn’t until Maffrine brought this book up in a recent conversation that I was reminded of what a rich resource this is for Christians.

The Puritans who wrote these prayers and devotions had a humility and love for Christ such that is not often seen today.  So, for this post, I am simply quoting one of these prayers that we may learn from its author and seek to imitate his Christlike attitude.

I chose the following prayer because of how it aligns with Intwine Paperie’s own mission to spread the love of Christ.  May we pray this prayer and seek to grow in God’s love and manifest it to mankind.

– Ophelia


Christian Love

O Lover of the loveless,

It is thy will that I should love thee with heart, soul, mind, strength, and my neighbour as myself.

But I am not sufficient for these things.

There is by nature no pure love in my soul;

Every affection in me is turned from thee;

I am bound, as slave to lust,

I cannot love thee, lovely as thou art, until thou dost set me free.

By grace I am thy freeman and would serve thee, for I believe thou art my God in Jesus, and that through him I am redeemed, and my sins are forgiven.

With this freedom I would always obey thee, but I cannot walk in liberty, any more than I could first attain it, of myself.

May thy Spirit draw me nearer to thee and thy ways.

Thou art the end of all means, for if they lead me not to thee, I go away empty.

Order all my ways by thy holy Word and make thy commandments the joy of my heart, that by them I may have happy converse with thee.

May I grow in thy love and manifest it to mankind.

Spirit of love, make me like the loving Jesus; give me his benevolent temper, his beneficent actions, that I may shine before men to thy glory.

The more thou doest in love in me and by me, humble me the more; keep me meek, lowly, and always ready to give thee honour.

(Emphasis added)