Milestones

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I Have Something To Say – My first blog was August 12, 2017.  Since then, I have written 591 musings.  This weekend, I got my 10,000th hit.  While the U.S. has over 90% of the hits (naturally), my site has been visited by individuals in 57 countries covering six continents (still waiting for Antarctica).  Other than the U.S., my top viewers are (in order of frequency) from India, Ireland, Canada, Indonesia, United Kingdom, South Africa, China, South Korea, Nigeria and Hong Kong.  Most of the other countries (like Australia, Fiji, Iraq, Myanmar, Qatar, Vietnam,  and Zambia) had only one hit.  At any rate, people in countries from A to Z have been shared The Word at least once.  Trusting that I really did have something to say, and that it was God who really sent it, it will not return without accomplishment.  Maybe I’ll get to meet most of you on the “other side” one day.  Many of you I know already know, (like my mom who probably has 8.999 hits – just kidding, kind of).  Thanks to all of you, especially my “frequent flyers.”

While these stats might seem like a lot to some, they are pretty modest compared to many other blogs I’ve seen and are following (they are an inspiration). But, they are encouraging enough that I will keep blogging “for the Kingdom.” For a bit longer at any rate.  My biggest disappointment so far is the lack of comments from those that read my blogs.  I have had a few, but I was looking forward to a bit of “iron sharpening iron” as comments go back and forth.

Thanks again, and I leave you with a re-blog of the one that started it all.

You Are Free

Genesis 2:16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Freedom (“you are free”), responsibility (“you must not eat”), choice (“when you eat”) and consequences (“you will surely die“). A complete package, all present from the beginning.

Freedom is not a license to act outside the will of God. While we may choose to do so, there will inevitably be consequences if we do.

My Advice – Be responsible in how you exercise the freedom that God gives you. Make wise choices that are consistent with God’s moral laws. This way you can avoid the consequences of wrong choices.

The Devolution of Man (The Termination of the Species)

 

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Study 4 – All Christians Believe In God’s Drawing?

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John 6:65“This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled [granted, given] him.” (NIV 1984)

No One – Universal (absolute) negative. All inclusive, without exception.

Can – Often erroneously mistaken to mean the same as may. Can has to do with ability. No one (without exception) has the natural ability.

Come – Man, in and of Himself does not have the ability to come to Jesus. No exception.

Unless – Exceptive clause. Points to a necessary condition (prerequisite). Something that must happen first. It does not guarantee that it will happen. A sufficient condition would guarantee a result (suffices), but this verse is a only a necessary condition (not a sufficient condition).

Given, Granted, Enabled – The word itself is ambiguous. But what is clear is that it is something that God does that is a necessary condition (that must happen first).

The question is: what is the real meaning of this necessary condition?

This is why I told you” is a repetition of John 6:44 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (NIV 1984)

Draw – One cannot come to Jesus unless drawn by the Father. Both Calvinists and Arminians agree that this is a necessary condition. What they disagree on is what “draws” means.

Arminian – To draw means to entice, woo, attract. Through prevenient grace (divine enabling) God must entice before a human can make a decision to come to Jesus. This is a grace that exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done. But in the end, the “drawing” is still resistible.

Calvinist – To draw means to drag or coerce. Taken from other verses with same Greek word that is interpreted here as “draw.” It means to compel by irresistible superiority.

James 2:6Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? (NIV 1984)
Acts 16:19They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. (NIV 1984)

The question is: Why did translators use draw (resistible attraction) in the John 6:44 instead of drag (irresistibly compel)?

We do not know for sure. Maybe they felt it might be offensive to the reader (isn’t the Gospel offensive?). Greeks elsewhere used the word to man draw water out of a well. Water is still subjected to an irresistible (not enticed) force, not on its own.

Thus, the question becomes: which makes more sense?

Arminian – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me [entices] him.

Calvinist – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me [irresistibly compels] him.

Notes from: Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul

Terrible Times at the Last

2 Timothy 3:1There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is a bit sobering to go down this list and realize how descriptive it is of the times we live in today. It is also interesting that when describing how terrible the last days will be, he did not focus on war, pestilence, natural disaster, plagues, etc…. Rather he focused on the human condition.

My Advice – This is a laundry list of the ways not to be. The best way to avoid turning into any of these things is to focus on the last item and make sure that is what we are- a lover of God.

A Worker Approved, Not Ashamed

2 Timothy 2:15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.

My Musings – A great tragedy in life would be to live out our days in such a way that when we faced God on the other side, we felt ashamed because of the things that we had done that we should not have, or the things we did not do that we should have done. We can guard against that by learning the truth of His Word.

My Advice – Live your life in a manner that you do not need to feel ashamed. So as you face various situations in life, ask yourself if you would feel ashamed if God knew you had done this and shouldn’t have or that you did not do it and should have. Understand that it is not “if” He knows, He knows. That should be your best guide in decision-making.

Sound Patterns

2 Timothy 1:13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We need to pass teaching down to others that is solid, to keep the faith going.

My Advice – Hopefully you’ve found that the things of faith that your mother and I taught you over the years, whether by word or deed, were sound. Follow those teachings that were.

Godless Chatter, Opposing Ideas

1 Timothy 6:20-21Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from Godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Unfortunately, a lot of the so-called wisdom of this world does cause a lot of people to turn away from the truth of the Scriptures.

My Advice – A lot of worldly philosophies that you heard in college are likely in opposition to what you know to be true from your Christian upbringing. Make sure these “beliefs” do not invade your thinking. Weigh them carefully against the Word and discard those that are in opposition.

Root of Evil

1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Money is not the root of evil. There are many wealthy believers and servants of Christ, who have learned to control their lust and greed for more wealth. Rather it is not being able to control this (the love of money) that is the root of all evil.

My Advice – Make sure you keep money and the accumulation of wealth in the proper perspective. Uncontrolled it can destroy careers, relationships and lives. Good stewards, on the other hand, are generally blessed with more wealth because they possess and control it, rather than being possessed and controlled by it.