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One in Every Crowd March 10, 2014

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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sheepMatthew 18:12 – How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

How great the Father’s love for us that He would send His only son to die.  This verse gives us a hint, or as much of one as our limited minds can conceive, of how much God loves each of us individually.  Had there been only one sheep gone astray, still the Shepherd would still have come to Earth seeking to save it.  A wise man wrote, “If I had been the only reason…he still would have died for only me.”  No Christian should ever become discouraged or think that God does not care.  God is actively interested in each of His servants, individually as well as collectively.  Do not become jealous of someone who seems to be constantly involved in serving God and winning battle after battle while you feel like you are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing of value.  This is far from the truth.  Each of God’s servants, if they are doing God’s will, is exactly where the Father expects them to be and each has the Father’s complete attention.  Anytime we feel separated from God or beneath His notice, it is only a short coming on our part.  Pray without ceasing.  Stay in the Word and seek the Will of God.  Separation from God is all one-sided.  He does not withdraw from us, we withdraw from Him.  If you cry out to Him he will find you, as a shepherd seeking a single sheep.  The wise Christian, however, will stay close to the shepherd and not be the one in every crowd that wanders astray.

NOW I remember what it was…. September 19, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, Religion, Science and Technology.
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I began a missive the other day concerning relativity and time dilation. I lost the thread about half way through and could NOT pull it together. While talking to our preacher earlier this week it dawned on me what exactly I was trying to say. I would like to first caveat my comments by saying that if you are of the Calvinist persuasion you will not like or agree with what I am about to say but I believe I can support my position with scripture.
There is a debate in Christian circles (hah! yeah like there is only ONE) concerning the doctrine of predestination versus the idea that all men are called to salvation. I can see both sides of the issue but I believe there is more scriptural basis for the idea that God calls all men and each has a right to choose, free of any destiny.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom
he justified, them he also glorified.

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will,
Most followers of the Hyper-Calvinist doctrine use at least one of the preceding verses as their justification for over applying the idea of predestination. The doctrine of predestination is generally accepted to mean ” the divine foreordaining of all that will happen, esp. with regard to the salvation of some and not others. It has been particularly associated with the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin.” (Merriam-Webster).

The trouble with that doctrine is that its purveyors mistake intention with foreknowledge. Once again, to define terms, foreknowledge is considered to mean “awareness of something before it happens or exists.” (Merriam-Webster). God is aware of the choices we will make but that does not mean He orchestrates them. The Bible is VERY clear about God’s intentions toward men concerning salvation.
1 Tim. 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
 
  2 Pet. 3:9  “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”

Salvation is open to “whosoever will”. We are instructed to believe and be saved. God would that all people should abide with him.

Does God have foreknowledge? Is He aware that some will not accept His gift? Yes but does that mean He ordered things to be that way in infinity past? NO. To say that would imply that all things are destined to be and that God’s will can never be thwarted. This is not the case. Our actions can hinder God’s will. It happens every Sunday in churches across America. Someone in the grip of making a decision looks down the aisle as they are preparing to step out during an invitation only to see some jaded, bored Christian texting or tweeting or playing Angry Birds during the invitation. Immediately the devil begins to whisper into the potential convert’s ear about how all these people are hypocrites and he or she should wait until they find a REAL church to be saved. The will of God is thwarted by simple human indifference. The mighty arm of God stopped dead still by some thoughtless child misbehaving.

Psalm 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

1.Matthew 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

It is not only possible but fairly easy to balk God’s will. It is, however, a very dangerous and foolish thing to do, and the consequences are nearly always disastrous.

Finally, We return to the very verse most often used as justification for absolute election to, in fact, justify the more Arminian view (even though we are NOT Arminian and categorically renounce the idea of falling from grace).

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren.

According to Romans 8:29 God predestined those whom He foreknew or had foreknowledge of that they might be brothers of His son Jesus Christ.  Who, if anyone, did God NOT foreknow.  He was aware of all of us from the beginning of time and so all of us are intended to be among the brethren of Christ.  He also knew that some would not accept that offer.  He still reaches out to those with all the power and sincerity that the conviction of the Holy Spirit can muster if for no other reason than to hope that they will change their minds.  Free will is a powerful force in the universe.  We may have no other power to call our own but we always have the power to choose.  God’s view is not limited to one destiny path for all humanity.  There are hundreds of millions of individual threads of possibility each leading inexorably to the same place but each taking a different route through the lives of believers and unbelievers alike.  All of these threads are possible.  All you have to do is choose.  Choose Jesus.

Stop Dragging that Dead Guy Around February 17, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Too often we as Christians find ourselves tied to the old man (or woman) we once were.  To be in Christ is to be a new creature and to be dead to our past.  This lesson was presented in Sunday School at the Central Baptist Church on February 17, 2013.

 

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Ain’t Skeer’d May 6, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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I think I will use the blog to post possible sermons and get a reaction on them before I preach them.  If you want to be a sermon “beta tester” then just comment below on what you think…

The Desires of Thine Heart

 

Turn in your bibles if you will to Psalms 37:4.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

On the surface the verse seems very straightforward and easy to interpret and yet this is far from true.  “Delight thyself also in the Lord”.  Everything about the Lord should be pleasing to you.  It should bring you delight.  We should delight in worship, delight in doing His will and delight in being the witness He wants us to be.  If we are not delighted in service we need to examine our motivation as well as our position with Him. 

In most people’s opinions,  the verse seems to present a simple action and reaction.  If we delight in the Lord then He will give us whatever we desire in our heart.  This is a faulty interpretation.  If we look deeper we find that God does not want to give us the selfish desires of our worldly hearts, He wants to change our hearts and make our desires fit into His will.  If we delight in Him, He will give us the right desires in our hearts.

It is in verses like this that real Christian commitment begins.  We want the things that we want.  They are not always bad but they are not always what God wants for us.  He wants for us the best things. 

King Hezekiah had reached his time upon this Earth.  He had done, for the most part, what was pleasing in God’s sight and yet he felt that he knew better than God.  His time was at an end and the King was about to cross over and receive his reward, yet he was not ready.  Rather than seek God’s will the king asked for healing and more time on Earth, not a bad thing , but not the best thing.  God’s permissive will can be changed by our prayer.  Sometimes it is not for the good.  The Lord added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life.  During the added 15 years he behaved foolishly and cost the kingdom of Judah nearly everything they had.  Surrender means TRUSTING GOD TO DO THE RIGHT THING EVERY TIME. 

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

If we are truly surrendered to the calling then our only prayer should be the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden…”never the less, not my will but THINE.”  A beloved family member becomes sick or injured and we are immediately beseeching God for a miracle.  A financial setback can bring us to our knees on the altar service after service.  Once again, a physical healing is not a bad thing, but is it the BEST thing.  For Hezekiah it most surely was not.  Better to pray “not my will but thine” and MEAN it.  That is the place where the truly surrendered and committed Christian lives.  No trial, no circumstance, no condition, physical, spiritual, or financial can touch us.  Each time we pray we know that we are heard and answered because we only pray God’s will be done.  We can spend more of our prayer time praising and thanking Him and less time telling Him about the troubles that He already knows about anyhow.  Believe me, it’s scary to let go and trust a sick family member or a potentially devastating financial setback to God’s will, given the possibility that going through the trial might BE his will but if we can develop that kind of faith then we will find freedom that few Christians dream of. 

Ain’t Skeer’d

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker?  Absolutely NO FEAR because we are 100% committed to the belief that God knows best and we are 100% committed to seeking His will in everything.  Too much of the average Christian’s prayer is motivated by fear.  We fear death, disease, financial trouble, persecution, and a myriad of other things.  How would you like to be completely free of all that.  The Bible tells us to “fear not”.  This is not a suggestion.  It is a commandment. 

  1. Luke 5:10
    And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
    Luke 5:9-11 (in Context) Luke 5 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Luke 8:50
    But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
    Luke 8:49-51 (in Context) Luke 8 (Whole Chapter)
  3. Luke 12:7
    But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
    Luke 12:6-8 (in Context) Luke 12 (Whole Chapter)
  4. Luke 12:32
    Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
    Luke 12:31-33 (in Context) Luke 12 (Whole Chapter)

Jesus spent a great deal of time telling his disciples not to fear.  His will for us is to be so committed that nothing disturbs our peace.  If we truly believe then there is no reason for us to fear anything that the devil or the world can do and no reason to fear any trial or challenge that God may send.  We are designed to be fearless.  Daniel and the three Hebrew children should be our models…

Daniel 6

20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

 

 

Daniel 3

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

That is the sort of faith we should have.  They were not even careful in their answer.  We don’t care, O king, what you do.  If you kill us then we are at home with God.  You have no power over us.

This sort of faith is not easy.  It does not come quickly.  The human condition is one of fear.  For the lost man there is NO alternative to make the fear go away.  If you have no relationship with God then you have no hope and you should be living in constant fear.  This is why the world fights so hard to reject Christianity.  They terrified not to.  If the world allows the least bit of credulity concerning the Gospel then the possibility of spending eternity in Hell becomes a reality.  For this reason, the Christian doctrine is attacked unreasonably.  Are you tired of living in fear?