Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Higher Ground

The refrain of this hymn always comes to mind when I am struggling with fleshly thoughts and the trouble of sin. I can remember several times singing it in church with tears welling up in my eyes. It was in my mind on my walk today. It is really a great hymn.

Higher Ground
A Hymn by John­son Oat­man, Jr

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Funny Quote

Bob Dylan:
"You never know how the past is going to turn out."

(actually, I am not sure if he really said this or if it was fictional, but his character in the recent movie about him said this, funnily enough, played by a woman.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"as obedient children"

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:13-19)

I have been thinking about this passage this week. I am so thankful for my understanding that there are two different things that are spoken of in the Bible that sometimes become confused with eachother. We have been saved by Christ apart from our own merit... which is what verse 18 is talking about. However, we have to give account of what we do as Christians and that is what verse 17 is talking about... and what the context of the whole passage touches on. There is a difference between salvation (which is free) and discipleship (which requires work and vigilance). This is so clear to me now. I am thankful to see the separation. It has made passages like these less of a head scratcher.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Non-Calvinist Praying for a Friend

Dear Lord,
I pray that you would help SK. I pray that you would bring her the peace that only you could give, that you would take anything I said - my poor witnessing technique - I know I missed a lot of things - and use it to prick her heart. Please Lord, bring into rememberance the things she heard in the past from others about your mercy and love. I know you love SK and died for her. She is a fractured soul, but you can make her whole beyond any healing she has known. I hope she will hear your voice and listen to the testimony about you and that you will send others around to water the seeds that have been planted. No matter what Lord, I know that you are a good. I hope that SK can see this.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Toledo is in the National News

Here in my town we are shocked and amazed. A woman named Crystal Dixon, who worked for the University of Toledo wrote an article for the Toledo Free Press: The Toledo Free Press - A tradition for Toledo's future

The University fired her. They fired her for writing an editorial that says being gay is a choice. I can't believe it. What is the world coming to?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Three Passages that Teach the Same Thing to the People of God, not the Unregenerate

These are about how to put your faith to work so that the invisible (faith) will be visible. None of these passges is for the purpose of examining your works to see if you really have faith or if you really are regenerate. These passages are to believers who generally know they are saved because of Christ's work, not their own.

Matthew 5:
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 2
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

James 2
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Contrasts in the NT

I have been thinking lately about the contrast that Paul makes between faith and work. Faith could be trusting someone else to do something for you; work is doing it yourself. Faith is restful; works is vigorous. Faith is putting your future into someone else’s hands; work is making your own future. James interestingly brings together these two elements of faith and works in James 2. He shows a contrast very clearly in verse 14-21. James points out to us that faith is invisible, while work is visible. No one can see that I believe, but they can see if I do something about what I believe. Men are never going to say you are godly because you believe; they are going to notice your actions and that is what will make your reputation… and testify to the truth of that which you believe. In this way, two contrasting things fit together to give God glory! On the other hand, one can be a whitewashed tomb, full of outward deeds that seem good, but inwardly lacking any faith, any dependence of God for mercy and grace. (Luke 18:9-14) This is not a praiseworthy situation to find oneself in.

Recognizing these differences has really cleared up a lot of confusion for me. Receiving God’s gift is all of faith; discipleship is faith working. Eternal life is free. The language we see used to describe how someone enters eternal life, thus escaping the death that was their due… is “gift” (Rom. 6:23) “drink” (John 4:14) “free” (Romans 3:24). The language that we see describing the work that it takes to actually LIVE to submit and work for God is “grief” and “trials” (2 Thess. 1:4, James 1:2, 1 Peter 1:6) “labor” (1 Cor. 3:8; 15:58; Phil. 1:22) “work” (Matthew 20:1, 1 Cor. 3:13, Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:12, Col. 1:10, 1 Thess. 1:13, Romans 4:2 ) etc… It is not normative or natural to receive the gift of eternal life without following it into a life of discipleship, even though these are distinct and they contrast in relation to the effort required on the part of the recipient/participant.

Faith and Work
Running and Resting
Gift and Reward

Some other contrasting elements of the NT:

Condemnation and Justification
Law and Grace
Spirit and Flesh

Friday, May 02, 2008

I was going to close the blog....

Yesterday I was seriously considering closing my blog down, at least temporarily. I have become really busy. I post things and don't seem to have the time... or even worse, the mental energy to carry on the discussions that I bring up.

The other thing is, the last time I looked in my "sitemeter" I saw that certain people who have said some really disturbing things to and about me actually visit my blog almost every day. ... and sometimes more than once.

It is sickening to think someone is watching you who thinks you are a really bad person, and actually imagines all sorts of evil intentions FROM you towards others. Even more sickening is when you read their theories and gossip about you publicly on blogs where you participate. It happens, you forget about it after a while and then you read the person saying these bizarre things again and it all comes back. They yack and yack about their opinions about things that are none of their business. You could feel like they were looking for things to accuse you of. You might have a thought like "I posted on my blog today and commented on other blogs. I wonder if anything I said could be taken the wrong way and be interpreted to mean something bizarre. Will _____ read it and then spout off somewhere else about me..."

I was discouraged by all of this.

Then, when I woke up this morning, in my inbox was an email notification of a new comment on my blog. It was on an old post from my TULIP series. The last comment from someone other than me on this post has given me a renewed interest in staying afloat. :~)

Maybe ______ is disspointed that he wasn't able to discourage me permanently, but God sends affirmation when needed. My conscience is clear... regardless of what darts the Devil tries to throw at me.


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