Month: September 2012

The Blame Game

We’ve all played it before. If you grew up with a sibling you probably played it a lot.

Sometimes we “won,” sometimes we “lost” – but at no time did any excuse or reason we gave change the responsibility.

Taking credit when things go right is easy; taking credit when things go wrong takes maturity.

There are times when an honest admission of guilt is enough to take care of the consequences. There are times when a denial of guilt worsens the consequences.

The fear of consequences can compel a person to take his or her shot at playing the blame game, but spiritually speaking, we will all lose the blame game every time.

God is looking for people to admit the wrong before we can be right with Him. EA

for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“…“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”” (James 4:6)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

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Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election, Part 2 – Biblical Election by Faith Wins!

The concept of election is a biblically true and wonderful concept. The woeful concept of Calvinism’s “Unconditional Election” is biblically false. Calvinism takes biblical predestination which means God had a plan to pay the price of man’s sin from the beginning, and turns it into God buying everyone a one way plane ticket with no chance of cancelling the destination. According to Calvinism’s “unconditional election,” once you get on the plane…make that, once you’re forced onto the plane headed toward Heaven or Hell there’s no way off because your ticket is already punched!

Calvinism takes predestination through and turns it into predestination to. It has God throwing people into prison, throwing away the key and then saying we’ll be punished if we can’t get out!

Without a doubt, throughout Bible history, God chose to use certain individuals and nations over others – but the question is why did God choose to use them? Is it because God indiscriminately predestined some individuals to salvation and others to condemnation regardless of individual reaction like Calvinism teaches or is it because God knew exactly how those individuals would respond to His call?

Scripturally speaking the answer to this is clear! Doctrinally speaking, Calvinism muddies the water.

Where Calvinism falls short in its understanding is seen in the fact that God knowing what everyone will choose to do in their own heart when it comes to His commands is not the same as God making (irresistibly forcing) them do it.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’” Isaiah 46:9-10

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.1 Chronicles 28:9

Combine the clear language of God’s attributes from these two verses and what we get is God’s ability to make His will come to pass, not by overriding the free will of men and women, but by using that free will in our hearts to make His plans complete.

With this biblical principle firmly established we can now objectively look at one of the most, if not the most, “controversial” books in the Bible when it comes to predestination and whether God simply chooses His elect’s salvation for them based on nothing they have done or on something they will do.

In Romans 8:28-30 Paul says the avenue to Heaven has been predestined, but those who walk in it must decide for themselves! It’s all about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we as individuals choose to do with it.

Now, what is the purpose Paul mentions in verse 28? The purpose is salvation in Jesus! This is the same purpose Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 1:9: “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,.

Verse 29 follows up by saying God foreknew individuals, not for-chose!!! The verse does not say ‘those He predestinated He predestinated’ does it? Why not? Because the truth of Biblical election revolves around God foreknowing those who would be His elect by their willingness to conform to the image of Jesus. (more…)

The Eventual Left

It’s happened to the majority of us all, at least to the majority of us who live out in the country. You’re driving along on the road and all of a sudden it happens. You get stuck behind a vehicle that has their turn signal on…blinkblinkblink. And after a mile or ten you realize they’re not actually interested in turning any time soon.

I have a name for this situation. It’s called the eventual left. They’re turning you know…that is eventually I think they are. Sound familiar?

One vehicle I got stuck behind drove for about ten miles with their left turn signal proudly blinking on and off before they finally went around a curve that was sharp enough for them to turn their steering wheel just enough to the left to automatically cut it off. Small pleasures sometimes bring big smiles and laughs. But my “ordeal” wasn’t over. Less than a quarter-mile later that left blinker returned. They had come to a stop sign, and I didn’t know whether or not to believe them by now. They had just driven ten miles with it on and now I’m supposed to just take them at their “word?”

Now, that was only a vehicle, but does this sound like anyone you know? How about yourself?

What I mean is that sometimes we can get stuck pulling an “eventual left” in our life. We keep saying that we’re going to do a certain something for our self or others but we never seem to keep our word. We keep “blinking” but we never act! I think the technical term is procrastination.

Some examples may be becoming more faithful in the services of the church, reading your own Bible more often or inviting a friend or family member to worship and Bible study.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily what we need to do but what we need to stop doing. We keep telling our self or someone we care about that we’re going stop doing some particular thing (drinking, smoking, cussing, loosing our temper, you fill in the blank) but that someday never seems to come anytime between Monday and Sunday. Soon enough people will quit believing us if we keep “blinking” but never seem to make the “turn.”

James said our life is “like a vapor that appears for a little time, then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We are only given so much time to do what we’ve said we would do. We need to make our “lefts” right before we hit the stop sign of life (Hebrews 9:27, John 9:4, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Don’t eventually do something for others or God, do it today. Think about it, then act on it. EA

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”” (2 Kings 20:1)

A Million Good Deeds And We’d Still Be In The Hole!

Some are of the mindset that they can live a “good” life and do a few good deeds along the way and everything between them and God will be okay.

Now there’s nothing wrong at all with being a “good” person or doing good works, the world needs more of both; but to rely on these two things to ensure a right relationship between a person and his or her Creator is to fail to take into account the problem and reality of sin.

If good works saved a person then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die upon the cross. The fact that He had to shed His blood proves that we could do a million good deeds and we’d still be in the hole spiritually with our sins!  Rely upon good works for our salvation and we’re admitting we believe Jesus is optional.

This is not to say that God doesn’t expect good works from His people (read Titus 3:8 if you think He doesn’t), but this is to say that if your relationship with Jesus isn’t right, then your relationship with God is wrong (John 5:23).

The price of sin owed to God is above and beyond the value that any good deed holds (Romans 6:23). God’s word warns that in the end good deeds leave us in the hole while the blood of Jesus leaves us whole! EA

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

A Rock-Solid Faith According to Jesus

The late and longtime newscaster David Brinkley said, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” Chew on that for a second. Brinkley understood that we don’t get anywhere unless we learn to overcome our weaknesses by endeavoring to make them our strengths.

As a Christian our devotion to God will be challenged in various ways (Matthew 4:1-11). Bricks will be thrown!

Although we may love and want the best for our family, friends and co-workers, they can all become stumbling blocks that create weaknesses in our relationship with God (Matthew 10:37; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

False doctrine, evil aspirations and a lack of self-control can also cause our spiritual house to crumble and fall into disrepair; possibly even putting our entire foundation into peril (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 1:1-10).

These situations are not the desire of God. He desires a relationship (a house) that is “framed” on Earth and “finished” in Heaven. But for that to happen we must desire His desires, we must trust His grace, and we must have a rock solid faith to build our house on (Hebrews 11).

The foundation of our faith is vital to our spiritual survival. Contrary to the ideas of some, one foundation is not as good as another (1 Corinthians 3:10-11). A solid foundation is essential! A faulty foundation can be deadly!

Our faith’s foundation must have depth. Jesus used a parable to describe a spiritually wise person by saying, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep. . .” (Luke 6:48, NKJV).

Pleasant weather brings easy care in our relationship with God, but the storms will eventually come. Troubles and temptations are going try our faith according to James 1:3. But according to James 1:12, standing strong in the storm will be worth it.

If our foundation has no depth, our house will have no strength. When storms strike a house sitting on shallow foundation, the house loses. A fickle, effortless or non-existent foundational faith will get the same result every time. 

Our faith’s foundation must also be made of the right material. Jesus said not every house would fall. The house that lasted would do so because the wise man “. . . dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48).

Our foundational faith must not be built upon family traditions, opinions, church creeds or what we “feel in our heart” (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 16:18; James 1:26). These can be bad building materials. Yes, we must have a foundation built in our heart (Romans 10:9-10), but the foundation must come from God’s word (Acts 20:32; Psalm 40:8).

Jesus had this idea in mind when he said the wise man was the person that heard his words, followed their blueprint and then built a house that could provide shelter through the coming storms (Luke 6:47). Remember, when it comes to the spiritual storms, Jesus said “when” and not “if” in his parable. We must build wisely.

A strong foundation of faith does not just happen overnight; worthy foundations take work, time, patience, humility, knowledge and confidence (Hebrews 11:6).

Trials will come and they will go, but we must not allow our faith to do the same. If we expect our spiritual house to last through the spiritual storms, then the only foundation worth building on is one that is “rock solid” according to Jesus. EA