Showing posts from September, 2018

Prepared For Destruction/Hard Hearts? A look at Romans 9

Romans 9:22-23: “What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath – prepared for destruction?What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory . . .”

Ah, the big chapter!(Read it all if you want to.)The one that really does make it sound like God decides whom to make for heaven and whom to make for hell.But I don’t believe this passage is talking about individuals being specifically, deliberately created for destruction.

Predestined For Salvation? Or For Something Else?

1 Peter 1:1-2:“To God’s elect . . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.”

Let's look again at this verse (because it is a verse that predestination hinges on), but let’s dig even deeper.

As I sought to understand 1 Peter 1:1-2 more accurately, I learned that the Revised Standard Version of this verse says this:“. . . To the exiles of the dispersion . . . chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for the sprinkling of his blood . . .”
The NIV's "elect" is translated "exiles of the dispersion" in the RSV.

Maybe you won’t see it this way, but to me it sounds like Peter is not writing to the “elect,” as in “those predestined by God for salvation.”It sounds like he is writing to those Christians of the day who have been scattered under the persecution they were experiencing…

The Elect - Foreknown By God

1 Peter 1:1-2:“To God’s elect . . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.”

People who believe in predestination define the “elect” (the “chosen” ones) as those whom God has pre-chosen for salvation.And everyone else is destined for hell, with no chance of being saved.They would say that this verse confirms it.That we are chosen by God to be believers or unbelievers.

For starters, I don’t think the “elect” means that specific people are chosen by God to be saved.I think this verse means that God foreknows who will believe in Him and that He has planned to help them grow in obedience to Jesus Christ, through the work of the Spirit.

Simple "War Room" Daily Plan

There's a lot of different ideas out there for how to do a War Journal or War Room.  Here's an idea for a simplified daily plan (can be done in any order really):

1.  Quiet your mind.  Remind yourself that God is already there with you, that you are meeting with our great, holy, powerful, good God.  (You're in His presence all the time, but now you're consciously "meeting" with Him.)  Maybe start by playing a worship song that touches your heart, and singing along.  Worshipping God makes the devil crazy!  And it gets your heart and mind into the right place. 
2.  Pray that God speaks to you this morning.  Tell Him to open your ears to what He wants to tell you.
3.  Read the Bible, either following your normal daily reading plan, or praying about what God wants you to read that day.  Read until the Holy Spirit speaks to you about what you're reading or gives you some sort of insight.  Journal it.
4.  Write down verses you need to dwell on today, maybe related …

Are We Forced To Be Obedient or Disobedient?

Does God cause us to be obedient or disobedient?

If you believe in predestination – that God has predetermined that some people will go to heaven and that many people will go to hell and that there is nothing they can do to get to heaven – then you have to say that God ultimately causes us to either be obedient or disobedient.    
But I strongly believe that we have the responsibility to decide if we will obey or disobey.And I think the whole Bible attests to this, from the Fall . . . to the fact that God lays out “the blessings path” and “the curses path” for the Israelites to choose between . . . to the many calls to “obey” and “choose whom we will serve.”

Oh, the ways this could go wrong!

So apparently, China is starting a new program - a social scorecard , a rating system for all its citizens where your score determines what kind of things you have access to.  

Yeah ... I don't see how this could go wrong at all, do you!?!

Atheists like this ...

Atheists like this ought to be ashamed of themselves!

I mean, seriously, what's wrong with you!?!  

Prohibiting prayer for a sick 4-year-old is about as evil as evil gets!

And people need to stop giving in to these atheists.  Stop letting them get their way.  It's only makes them more powerful!  

People need to stop saying, "Oh, okay, we'll do whatever you want" ... and start telling them, "Yeah, well, you can't always get what you want, Cry-Babies.  So suck it up, stop whining, and learn to deal with it.  Not everything is about what you want, you intolerant monsters!"  (And we need to be praying against their agendas and for their salvation.  God can accomplish things we could never dream of.  And we need to be calling on Him more and more in this increasingly godless society.)

Can you tell I'm a little sick and tired of them crying "foul" about everything, demanding that everyone changes everything just for them, destroying any sense of …

How To Know God's Will

Since we're on the topic of God's Will, let’s look at Romans 12:1-2:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This verse says that we can “test and approve” what God’s will is.I have always wondered about this phrase, about what it means and what it means for us.The conclusion I have come to is that as the Holy Spirit renews our minds, we will come to better understand God’s goals - His desire to reach people, to save people, to pour out love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and compassion and truth on them.As we grow closer and closer to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit transform us, we will be able to grasp this concept and our responsibilities more a…

Why I Won't Believe In Predestination

Because I refuse to believe that anyone is beyond the reach of Jesus!  I refuse to believe that Jesus didn't die for everyone, that He didn't die for all sins, that there are people without hope!

And ... I simply don't think it's what the Bible teaches.

I believe Jesus died for all, that every person can find hope and healing and salvation in Him.  That He wants a relationship with all of us, but it's up to us to decide if we will accept Him or reject Him.

I was thinking about this as I watched Unbroken: Path to Redemption at the theater today.  (Go see it!  It's a great movie!)  I was watching this broken, hurting man struggling with his fears and anger and hopelessness.  And I was thinking, "How can anyone believe that there are hurting, broken souls who are beyond the reach of Jesus, that there are people who are created to never find eternal hope and healing!?!"

What a horrible, horrible thought!  That some people - most people - are created to be los…

Go See Unbroken: Path To Redemption!

If you haven't seen Unbroken: Path To Redemption yet, go see it!  It's really, really good.  

Real.  Raw.  Redemptive.  

Such a great true story about finding lasting hope and healing.  I've been aching for a story like that for a long time!

Really ... go see it!

Laughing At Ugly Babies

Laughing at ugly babies feels so wrong ... and so right at the same time!  

My 9-year-old and I were laughing so hard we were crying!  

Gotta love these little ones.  Too adorable!

(Yes, I know ... "I'm horrible!"  But, of course, I don't mean "ugly" babies.  It's just that it's a lot easier than saying "funny-looking babies or babies that look like tiny, angry, old people."  No babies are "ugly."  They're all so sweet and adorable.)

Do We Have An Effect On "God's Will"?

At some point, most Christians struggle with the idea of “God’s Will.”What is it?Can we know it?And what do we mean when we say “God’s Will”?Are we talking about what He wants for/from us (the path He wants us to take)?Or are we saying that He has pre-determined and set-in-stone plans, things that will happen regardless of what we do?Do we have to find His Will or do we have to do His Will?Do we have an effect on His Will or does His Will always happen, regardless of us?Can we miss out on His Will for our lives?

One Reason I Adore Chris Pratt

It's always great to see people who won't back down from their faith.  This is one reason I totally adore Chris Pratt.

Okay, make that two reasons.

Introverts Are Funny

As an introvert myself, I can totally appreciate these humorous things about introverts.  Especially the one about what we look like when the phone rings.  (FYI:  There is cussing.  It's not a Christian site.  So don't read it if you are sensitive to that.  I linked it here, though, so I could find it later to show my other introverted friends.  It's funny, but I seem to have almost all introverted friends.  Makes it hard to get together often.)

Let's Lighten It Up A Little!

The last post was a serious, heavy one.  It's time to lighten things up a little.  To have a little fun.

Watch and smile ...

Don't Worry, Be Happy  (Miss you, Robin Williams!)

You Are My Candy Girl (Sugar Sugar)  (I have always loved this song!)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight  (You know you'll be singing this one all night.)

500 Miles  (I've always enjoyed this movie!)

Dancin' In The Moonlight  (One of the best songs to dance to EVER!)

And what's probably one of the silliest, most fun songs around:  Safety Dance

Does God Cause Childhood Abuse?

In the last post called "What Does 'God is Sovereign' Mean?", I explored the issue of God’s sovereignty and what it means that He is in control.However, I want to address one issue in particular today: childhood abuse.
My pastor strongly believes that God controls everything (even when we sin or reject Him) and that everything that happens is because God caused it to happen.

He says that God has the right to ordain (by that he means “cause”) evil to happen in your life ... but that He is still good and that He does this for His purposes and for your good and because He knows what trials you need to humble you.  

And he even included childhood abuse in this list of “God-ordained evils.”  He says that the bad things that happened to you are God's "Plan A" for your life, and you just have to trust Him about it.  

What does "God is Sovereign" mean?

“God is all-wise and all-powerful, so He always does whatever He wants.And everything that happens is because He wanted it to happen and made it happen.Since God is in control, He controls everything.And we have no influence on Him and no ability to exercise our own free-will.”

I think this is how many of us view God’s sovereignty.We think that because He is all-powerful, He always uses His power and controls every detail.

And this view of “sovereignty” is used to support the idea of predestination, that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.If you end up in hell, it’s because He wanted you there . . . because He always does what He wants.We don’t have any real free-will because He is all-powerful.If we sin, it’s because God made us sin, because He wanted us to sin, for His purposes.

And this view is also used to support the idea that He controls every detail on earth.If there is a tornado, it is because He put it there.He decided the exact path and who would be destroyed a…

Altering God's Word Is Totally Acceptable If It Makes You Happier!

In this article, a Reverend (A woman reverend!  That right there should tell you something!) from the Church of England says that they need to stop calling God "He," that they should always consider what they are communicating when they always refer to God in male terms.
Okay, so let's look at what she's communicating ...
She's communicating that we should override what God has said in His Word whenever we feel like it with messages that are more popular and accepted by society!
Yep ... so much better than listening to what God says!
In fact, I don't see how altering the Word of God could lead to any problems for us!  Not when it makes us so happy! 

(Question:  Does that other Reverend - Sally - understand what "heretical" means?  Oh, I know ... she's just trying to demonstrate it for us, right!?!)

Religion is not the same thing as Christianity

Sorry, Chelsea, but being "deeply religious" is not the same thing as being "Christian."

In fact, I think religion is the greatest enemy to Christianity.  Because it appears so similar to it in some ways that no one realizes just how far from the truth it is.  It makes you feel like you have enough of God to get to heaven, but not too much that it infringes on your life.

Religion is about working your way to heaven, about following "the rules," earning your way, trying to be good enough that God lets you in.  It's about believing you have a right to eternal life because of what you do or think.  

Religion is the enemy of grace!

But Christianity is about God making the way for us to get to heaven when we couldn't do it ourselves.  It's about Him reaching down to pull us up, instead of us trying to work our way to Him.  It's about Him giving us a gift we could never earn - undeserved grace, forgiveness, love, salvation.  

Religion lets you turn G…

Is #MeToo Uniting Women?

Women say that the #MeToo movement is uniting women.

My question:  "Into what?"

Just because it's uniting women doesn't mean it's a good thing.  (Not that it hasn't helped some true victims finally be heard.)  I agree with Sean Penn who says that he thinks the movement is more about division - about dividing men and women.

Is "uniting women" worth the price of dividing men and women from each other?

Or is it just hurting us all?  

And have "women's movements" simply become "heartless, thoughtless, caution-less, demanding, common-sense-less, mud-slinging, megalomaniac movements"?  

(Also see What's Really Going On With The Sexual Harassment Movement? by Activist Mommy.  I couldn't agree more!)