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Camp on God’s Sovereignty

I have much to share regarding my sister’s wedding, but I was reading this article by Steve Camp and thought I’d share it as I will not be able to blog until the 1st of July.
Here is the link to the site if you wish to read more of his thoughts on topics.

http://www.a1m.org/

May God be glorified.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
…salvation is not your choice – it is His
October 29th 2009 –
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
-1 Corinthians 1:18

One of the damnable lies that has crept into evangelicalism over the last fifty years (via a return to Finneyism) is that salvation is the result of your free will enacted by your own volition to decide to follow Jesus Christ so that you can gain eternal life. Rubbish! Salvation is the result of His sovereign election of His own from all eternity past in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:1-2). Salvation is not the result of you mumbling some little sinners prayer, walking an aisle, raising a hand, or signing a decision card. “The only thing,” as Jonathan Edwards has said, “that you bring to your salvation is the sin that makes it necessary.”

So read the following words by brother C.H. Spurgeon and consider the greatness of your salvation – that it is all of grace, all of God, all of Christ Jesus the Lord, all of the regenerating ministry of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7). Any boasting in and of ourselves is excluded; any attribution in the smallest degree to man’s free will is a gospel worthy of the dung hill (Roms. 3:21-31; Phil. 3:1-12). All our boasting and glory is in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (1 Cor. 1:27-31)!

Amen?

We stand in grace,
Steve

“I feel persuaded that false doctrine, inasmuch as it touches God’s sovereignty, is always an object of divine jealousy. Let me indicate especially the doctrines of free-will. I know there are some good men who hold and preach them, but I am persuaded that the Lord must be grieved with their doctrine though he forgives them their sin of ignorance. Free-will doctrine—what does it? It magnifies man into God; it declares God’s purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God’s will a waiting servant to the will of man, and the whole covenant of grace dependent upon human action. Denying election on the ground of injustice it holds God to be a debtor to sinners, so that if he gives grace to one he is bound to do so to all. It teaches that the blood of Christ was shed equally for all men and since some are lost, this doctrine ascribes the difference to man’s own will, thus making the atonement itself a powerless thing until the will of man gives it efficacy. Those sentiments dilute the scriptural description of man’s depravity, and by imputing strength to fallen humanity, rob the Spirit of the glory of his effectual grace: this theory says in effect that it is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy.

Any doctrine, my brethren, which stands in opposition to this truth—”I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” provokes God’s jealousy. I often tremble in this pulpit lest I should utter anything which should oppose the sovereignty of my God; and though you know I am not ashamed to preach the responsibility of man to God—if God be a sovereign, man must be bound to obey him—on the other hand, I am equally bold to preach that God has a right to do what he wills with his own, that he giveth no account of his matters and none may stay his hand, or say unto him, “What doest thou?” I believe that the free-will heresy assails the sovereignty of God, and mars the glory of his dominion. In all faithfulness, mingled with sorrow, I persuade you who have been deluded by it, to see well to your ways and receive the truth which sets God on high, and lays the creature in the dust.” — C. H. Spurgeon

Covenants:

Today my sister said “I do” to the love of her life. (There’s a good chance my next few post might have somthing to do with the wedding, sorry in advance for those who are like “get off it already!”)

I had the priviledge of ushering in those attending as well as my Maw-Maw (Grandmother on my Mom’s side) and my own Mom. It was a great joy to see lots of my old friends, some I grew up with, some I watch grow up, and some who watched me grow up. I felt like I was getting more hugs than the bride and groom – it’s a blessing to be loved. But back to what I was saying… I would sit people and one of the questions I asked (aside from “would you like a fan?” it was stink’n hot!!) was “Bride or groom?” so I could sit them accordingly. Every wonder why? Ever wonder why we separate the witnesses like that? And then have the bride and groom walking between the two? Then when that part’s over we have a reception. These things make my mind hearken back to the whole covenantal theme. Mind if I explain? Good, ’cause I’m gonn’a! =)

Let’s go back “briefly” to Genesis, chapter 15. God makes a covenant with Abraham, and does a VERY significan thing in that He walks the covenant aisle without Abraham (but I won’t talk about that… for now.) Remember what The LORD was walking between? Halves of animals. That’s vital, for those halves had meaning. One of the things represented by them was the covenant curse. What was said at such a ceremony was something to the effect of “If I don’t uphold my covenant promise, my what happened to these animals be my lot!” Now the meaning of The LORD walking through alone takes on more form. Had God permitted Abraham to walk through, Abraham surley would have invoked the curse on himself. But God promised to make of Abraham a great nation, God promised to redeem all nations through Abraham’s Seed. God needed no help from Abraham. Had Abraham gotten involved, had it been contingent upon Abraham keeping some part of the deal, then it would not have come to fruition. He proves that later when he tries to help God out and just creates a problem with Hagar. Then he lies about who his wife is, claiming she is his sister, and “jeopardized” God’s promise by giving a king free reign to sleep with his own wife! God kept the king from doing so, but look at how the man that every Jew aspires to be like, and every Christian stands in awe of, was lacking faith right when it seemed to matter most!   

In the covenant ceremony, those halfed animal parts were reminders, helpers if you will, to spur the two parties that walk between them (humanly speaking, as God needs no incentive to keep covenant) of the seriousness of their vow and the curse for breaking it. So all those witnesses present have a responsiblity to help the newly married couple, and encourage them in their covenant keeping toward each other.

I’ve got nothing surprising to share really, other than that one of things the wedding did was take me back to Genesis and see God walking through the halves as He was making a covenant. That a covenant contains precious promises, witnesses, responsibilities, and curses for breaking it.

I will say this in closing, maybe you will see why I am so fascinated with covenants. God gave Adam what theologians call “The Covenant of Works” in the garden. Through Adam’s disobedience, he invoked the curse on all of humanity. But there is another covenant, one that was made among the persons of the Trinity. One where the Father covenanted with The Son to give Him a people, those for whom He would die for. The Son became flesh and was made a curse for men. The very covenantal curse that was on me, He took on Himself. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for me. He ransomed sinners by His death, and The Father is brining those sinners to His Son, Jesus Christ. There will be a day when all creation will witness the Son meeting His bride face to face. We will then enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb – a reception like no other!

Just something that went through my mind today as wedding stuff was taking place – Covenants.

Failures of “the drowning man”

I know posting a link to another page isn’t really considered blogging, but I wish to direct those who read the blog to this article as something to ponder.

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/drowningman2.html

A few KJV Facts:

– The KJV is based on the TR. The TR was compiled by Erasmus who died a faithful catholic priest, and dedicated his compilation to Pope Leo the X. He wrote of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as “my salvation” and “my refuge”; he even thought of salvation as “through Jesus, but not without His mother”. This is important for at least two reasons: 1. KJV-only advocates attempt to denigrate other versions based on the personal beliefs of those who are on the translation committee. It should also be noted that Richard Thompson, one of the translators of the 1611 KJV was a known drunkard, and was permitted to remain on the committee. and 2. when we understand the implications of what it means that Erasmus compiled it (meaning it didn’t exist in it’s fullness ever before that) and what he added to it.

– It was not received from the original NT churches. Contrary to what many claim, the TR was not passed down from Paul, to the NT church, to the next century church, and so on, all the way to us. (Yes, this is taught in some KJV-only circles.) It was compiled by Erasmus, a catholic priest. The name “Received Text” was first applied to a printed Greek text only as late as 1633, or almost 120 years after Erasmus’ first published Greek New Testament appeared in 1516. It wasIn 1633 a publication of a Greek text contained the publisher’s “blurb”: textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum, or, “therefore you have the text now received by all,” from which the term textus receptus, or received text was taken. This was retroactively applied to the published Greek New Testaments extending from 1516 to 1633 and beyond.

– The TR (the source of the KJV) contains verses, or changes to verses, that have absolutely no Greek manuscript support. One of these “altered” texts is the reading “book of life” in Revelation 22:19. All known Greek manuscripts here read “tree of life” instead of “book of life” as in the textus receptus. Where did Erasmus get the reading “book of life”? When Erasmus was compiling his text, he had access to only one manuscript of Revelation, and it lacked the last six verses, so he took the Latin Vulgate and back-translated from Latin to Greek. Unfortunately, the copy of the Vulgate he used read “book of life,” unlike any Greek manuscript of the passage, and so Erasmus introduced a “unique” Greek reading into his text. Another is I John 5:7, which Erasmus added even though he believed it was a forged verse, just because of a commitment he had made to someone who thought a verse of that nature should be included in the text.

– The Textus Receptus (TR or Received Test) and Majority Text (MT) are NOT the same. Although the terms textus receptus and majority text are frequently used as though they were synonymous, they by no means mean the same thing. The majority text was compiled by Hodges and Farstad, their text varies from the TR in 1,838 instances. (it is worthy of note that in many of these places, the text of Westcott and Hort agrees with the majority of manuscripts against the textus receptus. A list of some of these discrepancies between the majority text and the TR are: the majority text excludes Luke 17:36; Acts 8:37; and I John 5:7 from the New Testament, as well as concurring in numerous other readings (such as “tree of life” in Revelation 22:19).

– The KJV originally included the Apocrypha (which contained Heresies). For example, in Tobit 12:8,9, 1611 KJV we read:
“For almes doth deliuer from death, and shall purge away all sinne. Those that exercise almes, and righteousness, shall be filled with life.” If the translators produced THE BIBLE for the English speaking world (some would say for all the world), then why do the KJV-only people not still read and teach from the apocrypha? It was included in the original.

– The translators of the KJV did not claim to be inspired, nor did they believe themselves to be penning an “official” translation of God’s Word, never to be attempted again. They said their work was merely a translation, just as any other.

– The KJV was not the first English Bible, nor is it the same edition of KJV we have today.

– The KJV is not the only “Authorized” Version. It was the 3rd authorized Bible of the English church. The first was the Great Bible of 1539, second Bishop’s Bible of 1568, and thirdly the King James. “Authorized” doesn’t mean “God approved” it was simply a label used for those translations the church of England recognized as the norm for use in public worship.

Post Scripts – I am not advocating the KJV as a translation that should be thrown out. I state these things to show that the KJV is not a perfect translation, nor is it superior to all other translations. It was an effort of the English to produce a bible that could be understood in their common vernacular in their day and time. They encourage us to continue to do the same in our translation work as we use the manuscripts we have at our disposal. Fighting over which text is superior, or which text is authorized by satan in attempts to break apart the church is pure foolishness. It seems those in the KJV-only camp who are causing division (not every KJV-O advocate, but the devisive ones) are the instruments of satan.
May we stick to the facts and be used of God to build His church, not destroy it over Elizabethan English and intellectual slothfulness.

Pervert Hating Perverts

(Note: The Random House Dictionary give a definition of a pervert as “a person who has been perverted, esp. to a religious belief regarded as erroneous.” It is this definition I am using in this post, not one of sexual perversion.)

I was told a story of an elderly woman who was raised in a denomination that taught one could lose their salvation if they did not keep certain rules. She began attending a church where the pastor taught a biblical eternal security that was not based upon our works, but Christ’s work. The woman sat under the teaching for a while, examining it in light of Scripture. In time, she came to the pastor, and checking behind her as if she thought she may be followed or was being watch by some spy, whispered to the pastor “I believe what you’re teaching is true.” Then she added, “But don’t you think it’s dangerous?”

She’s correct! This is a real danger. There are some who realize this danger – they realize that people are prone to take a teaching, no matter how true it may be, and pervert it. To remedy this problem, they decide to pervert the truth in the other direction. An example is on the biblical doctrine of grace. Realizing that some could hear what Paul is really saying about grace and conclude that we can live however we want as long as we have confessed Jesus Christ, they attach a works based foundation to the “real Christian” life. They tell people that they must perform certain actions in order to be a good Christian. This is done to keep others out of immorality, or some other sin, that they may be prone to fall into if they twisted what Paul said about not being under the law but under grace. Rather than proclaim truth, as Paul did, and deal with those who would pervert it, they pervert it in order to beat the opposing pervert to the punch. This is the primary method that I have observed in legalism. Men will stand in the pulpit and use fear to control people, and get them to submit to their yoke of legalism. These men use fear as that is what motivate them. They are afraid that people will twist truth, so they pass this fear down to those who are under them. People are told they have to draw the line somewhere or their children will go wild. They’re not satisfied with the biblical lines, as they fear the children will cross them so they set extra-biblical laws in the name of protection and pass them off as biblical. If the Scripture says, “Don’t play in the road.”; they would say, “If you play in the front yard, you’re disobeying God!” These leaders have a fear that people may not read their Bible as they should, so they tell them a “5 star” Christian does that daily, and if they want to be a top notch Christian then they should do the same. The list is endless, anything from style of dress, to forms of entertainment, to “brand” of Bible. I’m not saying that these men do not have good intentions; but to quote something one of them told me “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

My question is this: If one man perverts truth in order to keep another man from perverting the truth, who is a pervert?

“I am Legend” & our need for Grace:

I Am Legend:

“I am Legend” came on TV last night and I caught the tail end of it. I’ve seen it before, so the end was no surprise, but this time, as I watched it I was reminded of a biblical truth. This truth many dislike, and many misunderstand, but it is truth none the less. I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up thinking about it.

Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is a survivor of a virus that degenerates those infected by it into pale, bald, aggressive beings called “Darkseeker” due to their aversion to light. Robert is attempting to find a cure for the virus, and at the end of the movie discovers he has. The anti-virus is in his blood. We have the perfect setting. Robert, with his blood, a room full of darkseekers, and plenty of medical equipment to administer the anti-virus to them, thus curing them. Robert stands there, arms outstretched, pleading with the darkseekers. He tells them that he can cure them, if they will let him. The response to this good news is total rejection. It’s as if they don’t even comprehend his compassionate offer to them. The lead darkseeker, charges the bullet proof glass that is between him and Robert with full force, using his own body as a battering ram (these darkseekers stop at nothing, even the destruction or their own bodies, to fulfill their pleasure). Robert sees that his please are not going to be heeded so he draws a vile of his own blood, and hands it to a woman and child who he is helping to escape. He stays behind so the dark seekers will not continue to pursue the woman and child, giving his life for theirs.

That’s an extremely brief, and pathetic, summation of the end; but I justify it as I have provided the clip for you to watch yourself (they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words). Before you do I want you to see what I saw as I watched it.

  1. Man, in his natural born condition, is dead to God; yet we are very much alive to sin, bound in it even. Just as these “zombie” creatures were dead, but not dead. We hate the light and will not come to the light because our deeds are evil; these living dead creatures were called “darkseekers” for their aversion to light – they hated it and lurked in the darkness. We destroy our own selves because we are enslaved in sin, and gladly obey our fleshly lust, regardless of the damage to ourselves and others; just as the darkseekers pursued Robert at all costs. So as you watch, and you see the darkseekers, may you see yourself in them.
  2. Robert had the cure to the darkseekers plight in his blood! The blood of Jesus Christ is the remedy for mankind’s sinful, condemned condition.
  3. Robert was pleading with the darkseekers to accept his offer of the cure, yet they rejected it – EVERY ONE OF THEM DID! They didn’t even stop to consider it, they just hated him and wanted his death.
  4. The darkseekers needed more than just an offer, as long as they were darkseekers they would reject Robert’s offer.

As you watch the clip I hope you see a picture of your own depravity. I meet so many people who deny that they are really dead in their sins. They fight for their right to control their destiny. They can’t stand the thought that the salvation of men is not ultimately up to the individual but up to God. They think that Jesus merely died for the possibility of saving every single living human being; that He died to try to save us, but the success of that also depends upon our letting Him save us by choosing to believe in Him. It’s as if dying was God’s job and deciding to believe is ours. They see the offers of Christ to lost men as a 1 to 1 illustration of Robert’s plea to the darkseekers. Robert wanted to save them, but couldn’t because the darkseekers wouldn’t let him. If this were the way Scripture presents the work of redemption then the end will be exactly like this movie – none of the darkseekers would be cured – they all just die. So as you watch the lead darkseeker filled with hate and longing to destroy Robert, see yourself and the attitude you naturally have toward God. As you see Robert offering salvation to these creatures and it falling on deaf ears, then know that this is exactly the condition of every lost man. And as you see how hopeless your situation is, remember Ephesians 2:1-7 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ”

Watch the clip paying special attention from about 1.29 min into it and on. (If it doesn’t stream then click the phrase in the viewing area to go to youtube and watch.)

By HIS grace, no longer a darkseeker!

Daniel

Wonderful truths in Wonderland:

I watched Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” with the family last night. My wife thought it didn’t make sense, my 4 year old was captivated by it (loving the Jabberwok, which concerns me a bit), my 2 year old was scared of it before I even hit play, my 7 month old could care less, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyone who knows me, knows that it’s not far into a story before connections begin to be made in my mind to illustrate truth. I think that’s one of the things I liked about the movie so much – the connections were plain as day. I’m not saying Tim intentionally made them that clear; but even with the cover of gnarled tree branches, a protagonist that looked like death warmed over, and a villain with a head to match her ego; theological connections were not masked much at all. Although there are various rabbit trails that we could follow, I will follow what I believe to be the white rabbit – the one, over arching theme of the entire film. I’m not trying to do any injustice to Burton’s or Carrol’s genius by being reductionistic; I simply want to let the trees fade a bit so we can more clearly see the forest.

There was one statement Alice made that summed it all up: “Since the moment I fell down the rabbit hole, I’ve been told who to be and how to act, but I’m going to make my own path!” Shortly after her entrance into Wonderland, she was shown a scroll of the history of Wonderland. Interestingly enough the history of the place had not all taken place as of yet. To whoever wrote it, it was history although it hadn’t happened yet. And here is where Alice’s struggle comes in. She says she couldn’t kill anything if her life depended on it, yet everyone (everyone good that is) is telling her that she has to. The villains of the movie also know about the historical scroll, and they are attempting to stop Alice, although Alice still doesn’t think she is the one to slay the Jabberwok.  So sure are Alice’s friends that the record of the scroll is correct that they are all anticipating “Frabjous Day” – a day yet to come that celebrates what is yet to occur (another glorious illustration I may elaborate on in another post). For the entire movie it looks as if all who believe this day will come are lunatics. And yet there’s another twist, one I think we all can identify with more closely. The White Queen tells Alice how to kill the beast, but that Alice must choose to do so. There is even a point where the queen asks for volunteers, waiting for Alice to step forward (which she doesn’t do at that time).

To make a short story even shorter… Frabjous Day comes, and Alice is there, voluntarily, decked out in full battle attire, just as the scroll recorded she would be. She voluntarily slays the Jabberwok, just as predetermined in the scroll and does so in the exact place as foretold by the scroll. What had always been history in the scroll became history to the inhabitants of Wonderland. Their anticipation of what was to happen was fulfilled. What appeared to be insanity was really faith in what had been promised ahead of time (again, something I’d love to blog about later).

But for now, I ask you… how did all this work out as it did? By mistake, or by design? How is it that Alice, seemingly forging her own path, actually fulfilled the path predetermined for her? How is it that the antagonists willingly played right into the hands of “destiny”? Although through the movie it seemed possible that the scroll could be wrong, that Frabjous Day may not take place, that Alice wouldn’t fight the Jabberwok or be victorious if she did – was that actually the case? Was someone in control of the entire situation? If so Who?
Now, I encourage you to climb back out of the rabbit hole and make application to your own life.

Determining Truth with Dead Fish and Downstream Directions:

I was brought up being told the quaint saying “Any dead fish can float downstream!” But I think this little fish story is misapplied all too often, for the current is not always bad, and it’s possible to “fight” against a current simply because we’re dead fish floating in a counter-current.

The problem is that either side can quote this to their prospective proselyte in opposition of the opposing side that currently has the loyalties of the desired recruit. For example: An atheist could tell an individual who was raised in a Christian home that the only reason they are Christians is because they were raised to be such. This may, or may not be true in reality; but the only one who really knows that is the one who professes Christianity. Yet the same could be said by the Christian to the atheist who was raised in a non-Christian home. Or, the one raised in a Christian home could determine to not be a dead fish, so he swims against his upbringing and becomes an atheist, or agnostic, or just plain apathetic toward God (practical atheism) just for the sake of it. The one raise atheist could do the same, and profess Christianity simply because he was raised without religion. So just because we’re going against the current doesn’t mean we’re right; and just because we may be floating in the right current doesn’t mean we’re right.

So how do you know? That’s the question I asked myself.
To float is wrong regardless of the stream! Just because you may be running with the right crowd doesn’t mean YOU are in the right. If you’re floating down stream you’re still in the dead fish category regardless of the direction of the stream; and if an opposing current that is strong enough comes by then you’ll float along with that one. This is the fault of parents depending on “positive peer pressure” in raising their children. All they’ve done is taken dead fish out of a stream flowing south and tossed them in a north bound stream – ‘problem is, is that the fish are still dead! Sure, it may keep them out of certain areas of immorality for a while, but they couldn’t swim upstream if their life depended on it. They don’t need a new stream to float in, they need life.

To go against the current, is not noble (or right) by default. Some people think that questioning the norm places them in a category above all the other “simpletons”. They refuse to be a dead fish and just float down stream. The problem with these fish is that they’re not fighting the current for the sake of truth, but for the sake of rebellion. In reality, they’re just as dead as the “floaters” because they’re simply floating in a stream that runs opposite to the one they’re “fighting”. One could liken it to being caught in an undercurrent. These fish can’t evaluate things on the basis of truth – they’re lifeless, and if the undercurrent gets weak enough, they’ll float the other direction just the same.

In both of the previous instances, each fish were dead because both were controlled by the stream it was in. A fish that is alive may swim upstream, or down stream depending on the alignment of the current with the direction he knows he needs to be traveling. The one thing he NEVER does is permit the stream to dictate his direction of travel. The stream doesn’t represent truth or falsehood; it is simply the direction of the majority in which he is living. This majority may be right or wrong, but never either by default. If he assumes the majority is always right then the majority will determine his direction. If he assumes the majority is always wrong then the majority still determines his direction. Truth, then, becomes relative to the current.

By now you’re probably wondering why I am messing around with these stupid fish/current analogies anyway. What’s all this about? Well, so often we let those around us determine what we believe about an issue. We do not examine things in light of God’s truth; rather we accept it as true if the “right people” commend it to us as such. Whether we are in the right stream or not is irrelevant since we don’t accept the issue based on God’s Word, but based on those who are in the current with us. I know one individual, whom I love dearly, that will not examine a theological position because it seems to be on the rise among young believers – it’s popular. Yet the current position they hold was popular not too many years ago (and is still popular in the denominational circles they lives in). Right or wrong, they are simply floating down stream. Yet, I have another good friend who is open to evaluating everything they have ever been taught, but it seems their rationale isn’t because they are seeking truth, but because they assume that EVERYTHING in the “stream” they were previously in is false. The past things are guilty by association. I would argue that this, too, is a dead fish. Both are floating in their respective streams, but looking at the other stream and foolishly thinking they are swimming against it. The only way to not be controlled by the current is to be controlled by something, or Someone rather, outside the current – JESUS.

Get your eyes off the current.

Something Jesus Asked Me:

Luke 6:46
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

I was driving into work this morning, listening to this past Sunday’s sermon. As the pastor quoted the verse above, Jesus asked it of me. I didn’t hear Jesus’ voice, I heard Phil’s; but right when Pastor Phil said it, Jesus asked it and demanded I answer it. Again, it wasn’t audible, but it might as well have been for it was just as clear. You can think I’m crazy, but if/when it happens to you then you’ll be just where I am – a loss for words to explain it.

So, my response to this question is, “LORD, You alone have the words of life. You are my God, and by Your grace, I will submit to whatever You require of me. Command what You will, and grant what You command.”

What this will result in, I don’t know; but I intend to follow my Jesus. There are a few things I do know because HE promises them:
1. It will be costly
2. It will be rewarding
3. Jesus will always be with me through it all

What’s your response?

A small glimpse into my soul:

“Give up everything you have, carry a cross, and hate your family. This sounds a lot different than “Admit, believe, confess, and pray a prayer after me.” ” (from chapter 1 of Radical by David Platt)

I’ve been thinking about what true discipleship really looks like. If I think about what I have given up to “follow” Jesus, up to this point, I can’t really think of anything. As I stated in a previous post, I feel like my heart has been put in a wood chipper and shredded to bits, yet it’s not as detestable a feeling as it may sound (the Christian life is full of “paradoxes” and this is one of them). I’m craving to be sold out, hating myself for making some of the decisions I have in the past and the effect that I see those decisions have on my family. They have been infected with my own materialism, and I don’t know what to do!
To completely candid with you, I even have a fear that if I sell out “too much” it may cost me my family, or my children may walk away from Jesus because their daddy was a fanatic. Yet, no sooner does these fiery darts enter my mind that The Holy Spirit reminds me of His Sovereignty over all things, of Jesus’ words that literally scared people off when He told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood, or to forsake all things and follow Him. The one thing the battle smoke cannot hide is the real issue – do I really believe Jesus is Who He claims to be? If I do, then my obedience to His words is a “no brainer”, for disobedience is not an option.

I’m not talking about taking a week off work for a missions trip where I can come back and tell people quaint stories about how blessed I am to live close to a McDonald’s and how everyone should go on at least one missions trip in their life. I’m talking about a total life renovation! What would my life look like if I were a radical Christian? What would have to change? How would I employ technology, money, home, food, spare time, family time, etc differently than I do now? These questions, and others in the same vein, are what is slicing my heart to pieces. It slices because as much as I would like to put myself in the “radical” category, I cannot do so and be honest. I am no where near the caliber of disciple as Peter, James, John, Matthew, Paul, or Stephen. Quite simply, and very ashamedly, I have offered to The LORD that which costs me NOTHING!

Oh, Father! Please forgive me for being comfortable in an “American Christianity”. Grant me grace, LORD! Work in me the desire to follow You in reckless abandonment, and the will to do it. Turn the hearts of my wife and children to Yourself. LORD, I want us to burn for You with passion. Don’t let this be a brief spark that dies out , but may it be a fire that is kept ablaze by Your Holy Spirit.