Tuesday, November 14, 2017

So WHO really will be saved?

There could not be a more controversial topic, when discussing theology, than the topic of the width and breadth of salvation. I will admit, right here, reader, that I do NOT have than answer, but I do have some thoughts. I will bet that you do, too.

The determiner: GOD. He is, after all, sovereign over creation which includes the events that occur within His domain. It's all His. He can do with it what He desires. That immediately bothers some folks. It used to bother me, a bit, but not anymore.

Because God is in charge, He can play by whatever rules He determines. When we read the Bible, we are faced with the concept of election or predestination. It is there in the Scriptures. God has, it seems, chosen those who will populate His Church, before the beginning of time. He is in possession of the Book of Life, and names will appear there that determine salvation.

Since we are called to go out into a darkened world and seek disciples, it would therefore make sense that those folks we encounter are ones that God has placed before us. He, not we, brings faith and eventual transformation to these people, but He uses you and me to make a connection. We get the ball rolling, as it were. We start the ripple. He then works out salvation through His saving Grace.

Will everyone who calls on the name of the Lord be saved? Not, it seems to me, according to Jesus, Himself. He says that many will say, "Lord, Lord..." There will be many of those who He fails to recognize because He reads their hearts. They, it seems, were not meant to be among those destined to be in God's royal family.

There must be an acceptance on our parts; we must want to be saved, but getting back to God's overarching foreknowledge, He already knew what our response would be. 

Unfair? Only by man's standards. These are God's standards, and He is free to do His will. That child who is still born, that infant who dies before the age of accountability? God has that covered.

IF we have been regenerated, transformed in the heart, made alive in Christ... how wonderful is that? Lucky? No. Fortunate? Yes. Blessed beyond words by a grace that is bigger than any of our sins.

Praise God!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Expect to be heard!

Prayer. It's a very interesting phenomenon. Hopefully you pray often and from the heart.
When one thinks about the very nature of a God who, despite being totally above and different from His creatures, asks that they talk with Him, it boggles the mind a bit.

How can He listen to all those prayers simultaneously? 
How and when will He respond to our prayers?
Do our prayers have an impact on His sovereign plan?
Do prayers have to be spoken?

I could go on, but Spurgeon, in one of his many quotes, suggests an important reality. He basically says that unless we expect God to listen, He will not. According to Spurgeon, God responds to out faith.

I don't know about you, reader, but I struggled for a long time with praying. For the longest time I didn't really feel like there was a Listener. I wasn't really comfortable with what I should pray, what my expectations should be and how I could establish a pattern that would encourage daily communication with our Father. I haven't successfully gotten through all of that, but I no longer have any doubt that my prayers, in whatever form and length, are heard and valued.

So in many ways, we have to depend on the faith that God instills in us to come to a place where, at least in Spurgeon's view, God really does listen. For me, it was a sudden realization that He was there, which, of course, led to more frequent and personal prayers. Like so many things, God provides what we need to accomplish glorifying Him. 

Lately, I have been 'thinking' prayers. I don't even speak them in my head; I just think to Him and know that He can hear those thoughts. For whatever reason, I tend to not get distracted as much a mentally wander off during the prayer.

Okay, enough of me. How about you? Where are you in your prayer life? Trust in the fact that our God seeks your communications. Just talk with Him, you don't even have to be asking for anything. Praise Him and worship Him through your words and thoughts. Just consider how amazing it is that you and He can talk!

Praise our God!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

God knows!

The pastor at the Sutherland Springs Church where the worst church massacre in US history took place was asked, "Why?"

His answer, paraphrased: "I do not have the answer. But God does."

That is so very difficult to wrap our brains around when we are mourning the senseless deaths in such a situation, coming so close to the unbelievable mess in Las Vegas. We want to cry out and ask God how such things could possibly happen of He is, indeed, sovereign.

It's a bit like the question, "How can bad things happen to good people?" R C Sproul's classic answer: It only happened once, and He volunteered!

This world is upside down. It is wrong. Stained. Evil. The people in it are all sinners because people have a sin nature from conception. The more people, the more evil. It IS difficult to understand that nothing that happens takes God by surprise. Everything, in ways that we areunequipped to understand, is as it is planned and everything, in one way or another, brings glory to the God of all creation.

I just invite you to imagine a world where God wasn't sovereign. Can you imagine uncontrolled chaos? Anarchy abounding? No ethical behavior, whatsoever? Man's ability to be cruel and self-centered is written in the very pages of history, and we are adding pages each day.

I believe the Holy Bible is full of predictions that suggest that things will get Very Bad before Jesus Christ returns to judge the entire creation. Depending on one's eschatology, that could look different ways but He will arrive at the perfect, most needed time to shepherd home His church.

In the meantime, we have to place out trust in God. We have to know that He is good, righteous, light, loving. He IS in control, even if there are times when it is hard to accept.

Praise our God. Trust Him completely!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Ten things!

What if someone challenged you to pick the ten things you most wanted to thank God for? (Can't believe I ended that sentence in a preposition!)

It IS an interesting challenge, isn't it. It is especially interesting in light of the fact that a lot of folks thank God for nothing! Yep. They feel entitled and in charge of a life that actually doesn't even belong to them. If you are still reading this, I would wager that you do not fall into that camp.

So where would we begin? I would start with LIFE. Life is totally amazing. Being alive is a true gift that represents the fact that God placed you and me here for a purpose. Life is precious and fleeting. It has happiness and sadness. So easy, isn't it, to just expect to wake up each day, place those feet on the floor and proceed. Yet, not only did God give us life, He sustains every part of it.

I would thank God for Jesus, His son, our Savior. Only through His thirty-three some years of walking this earth at all times toward a death that would break the curse of sin could those who believe have the chance to be eternally in God's family. Oh how can we thank Him enough?

I could go on, but you know what? This is your challenge. What would start and end YOUR list of thankfulness? I'd love to know.

Praise our Loving Magnificent God!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Just as if I- cation

I'm sure you have heard that little play on words before. It really DOES proclaim a wonderful reality, that God, and God only, has reached out to cleanse each of us destined to be a part of His church. (We have been healed, justified, made alive in the life of Christ, righteous blood covers every sin... Lyrics from: 'We Have Been Healed' from Risen by Sovereign Grace Music) At some wonderful moment in time, an instant that remains forever, we suddenly have faith, belief, in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through this faith, God looks upon us as righteous because He sees the righteousness of His Son. We, it turns out, really had no chance to make atonement for the sins that divided us from a God who cannot forgive any sin. None of us, not one, is righteous on our own. We, therefore, cannot earn God's grace; He has to provide it for us. We can only be righteous when God substitutes the righteousness of Christ. (All our Sins, for His grace, What a glorious exchange!) The faith that brings on justification can only be given by God. We are saved, then, because He allows us to believe, and it is on the basis of this belief that we are made clean. At this glorious moment, the process turns to the life-long journey to sanctification, led by the Holy Spirit of God within us. What a wonderful, unearned gift! By faith alone, through grace alone. Did you notice that God did it all because He gave it all. He IS a wonderful, loving awesome God and we are His children Praise our God!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

LORD of your life!

It's amazing how many times I hear it said, "Are you ready to make Jesus the Lord of your life? Well, of course, I hope that is the case, but it's a moot point. He IS Lord of your life. The most ardent Muslim jihadist also has Jesus as Lord of his life The Hindu who sees God in everything has one Lord, Jesus Christ. I could go on. You see, the Lord of every person ever created is Jesus Christ for He was given that distinction for the work He did while on this earth with us. Do people realize that He is their Lord. Some do, many don't. Yet, and here it comes... Every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. Count on it. You can take it to the bank. He is God. He created and sustains you. He loves you. He IS LORD OF ALL!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

knowing God

We are challenged to learn about, know and enjoy our God. Yet scriptures abound with the feeling that this is an impossible task. He is Holy, Holy, Holy, spirit, totally unlike us, despite the fact that we are 'made in His image.' We are told that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. He is eternal, pre-existent, all knowing, totally righteous and above all things. So how then are we to know Him? His creation certainly is a starting point. When we open our eyes and take in the beauty of a world that is damaged and unlike the one He created, we are struck by the absolute wonder of what we see. All creation shouts His existence and Glory. We have His word and His Word broke into our time-space in the form of a baby to succeed where we could not in forgiving sin and defeating the forces of darkness that broke our relationship with God and ruined this world. He walked this world as the perfect reflection of the Father, like Him in every God-like way. The Bible, through prophets and writers, brings us a picture of God's words and His ways. It is a living book designed for us to read and be read by. It is God speaking to us through the story of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you want to find a beginning point for really understanding in your heart who God is and what He is like? The Gospel. The wonderful undeserved gift offered up to humanity because of His love for us. He gave His beloved Son as payment for the sins we have all committed. That, is God. If you know Him in your heart, if you trust and love Him for what He has done, you DO know God. You CAN enjoy Him, always and forever. The veil has been removed. All you have to do is say, Yes, God! Praise Him!!