Friday, June 9, 2017

Hoping for redemption

I guess I've almost been writing a post a month over here, so I'll try to keep it up.

I'm just going to type out some scriptures next to each other.  I hope this is not an inappropriate use of scripture, picking portions and looking at them together.  In the process, I'm leaving some sections out, but not because I am am trying to ignore or subvert them, only because I want to focus attention on the parts I am putting down here.

Here we go:

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened . . .
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness . . .
slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.  God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

(From Romans 1:21, 28-29a, 30-31 and 2 Timothy 2:24-26, all from the ESV)

Highlights that I pray from the Lord's Prayer (I pray the whole prayer, but I linger on these):

Hallowed be Your Name 
May all of us, including the rebellious, recognize who You are and revere you -- Psalm 33:8, "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him." (NIV)

Your will be done.
Do your will.  Lead lost souls to repentance.  Illuminate truth.  Reveal the futility of sin and the wonder of Your grace and glory.  Tear down idols, and replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.  Subjugate the enemy.  Do whatever it takes to bring Your victory into the hearts of men.

Deliver us from evil.
You are the Great Deliverer.  Our battle is against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Deliver us, Lord, for You are our only hope, and our hope is in You alone.  May Your unfailing love triumph in the hearts of our lost loved ones.  You have told us to take heart, for You have overcome the world.  Oh, God of peace, crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).  Grant the repentance that leads to freedom from sin.  Oh please, deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Power.
Your power created the heavens and the earth.  Your power raised Jesus--after He was crushed by the cumulative sins of all humanity--raised Him from the dead and seated Him in heaven on the throne.  Your power is at work in believers through your gift of the Holy Spirit.  Your power purifies.  It can undo the effects of sin and death.  You are the only one who was able to touch a leper and heal him, instead of being infected by him. Your power can do all things, and Your power can raise a sinner up from the miry clay, set him on a solid rock, and give him a new song to sing.  You are Lord.  You are God.  You are in me.  Give me courage and confidence to go forth in Your power, without fear, and bring Your light to dark places, Your truth to the deceived, and Your salvation to the perishing.

Thank you that You forgive.  Thank you that You are patient to wait for people to come to repentance.
Thank you for Your goodness and faithfulness.  Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The flaw in amillennialism

Amillennialism makes sense on a whole lot of levels.

The idea that the church age, the age of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to send, is the Millennium during which the Lord reigns in victory . . . this idea works.  It's simple, it follows, it's cohesive on nearly every level.  Jesus came, triumphed at the cross, and now reigns in victory with the saints who are seated with Him in the heavenlies--this is all perfectly in accord with scripture.  Believers who die in this present age are immediately with Jesus, reigning until the coming of the New Heaven and the New Earth.  The Holy Spirit is loosed in the world, illuminating truth, convicting and teaching in ways unprecedented throughout history.  The church has access to the full power of God through His Spirit.  The age of the church is the age of the Holy Spirit, which is a triumphant time of God's power going out.  It makes so much sense.

Except for Revelation 20:3 --
"He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended . . ." (NIV)

As far as I can tell, Satan is still effectively deceiving lots of people.

Is "deceiving the nations" any different from deceiving individuals?

Is there any way we could think that nations are not deceived in this present age?

I'm thinking about this because I am so sick of the way the enemy lies, and people believe the lies.  I'm sick to death of truth being hidden.  Yet, the truth is hidden.  People have to seek it.  People have to want it.

It is a cold, rainy May day, and these are not my favorite thoughts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Gospel in the Epistles

I've had it on my heart for a long time to do a particular homework assignment.  I want to find where the gospel is explained in each of the epistles.   This will not be an exhaustive list.

Here we go:

*Romans 5:1-11

1 Corinthians 6:11, 14, 19-20 
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
*1 Corinthians 15:1-8

*2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Galatians 1:3-5
*Galatians 4:4-7

*Ephesians 1:4-8
(and pretty much all of Ephesians 2)

*Philippians 2:5-11

*Colossians 1:13-23

*1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
1 Thessalonians 4:14

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17  ?

1 Timothy 1:12-17

2 Timothy 1:8-11

*Titus 3:3-7

Philemon ?

Hebrews (so many!)
9:11-15, *24-28

James 1:18 ?

1 Peter 1:18-21
1 Peter 2:24
1 Peter 3:18

2 Peter 1:3-4 (slightly more clear in other translations)

1 John 4:10 (there are more in this book--quite a few, really--I think this one is clearest)

2 John ?

3 John ?

Jude 21 ?

Some of these proclaim the full gospel more clearly than others.
It would be interesting to consider what aspects of the gospel each of these scriptures highlight and emphasize, and then synthesize an understanding of how they work together in stereo.

That would make a long blog series, or maybe even a book.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The three sixteens

This is a compilation of verses with a positive message that stands alone without heavy dependence on context, with the reference numbers 3:16. (James 3:16 and Revelation 3:16 can also stand alone, except that their message is not positive and thus lacks balance, although I guess you could say that I lack balance in choosing only the positive verses.  That's fair.  Consider yourself apprised.)

--All quotes are from the NIV--

Matthew 3:16
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him.

Luke 3:16
John answered them all, "I baptize you with water.  But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple, and that God's Spirit lives in you?

Galatians 3:16
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.  The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.

Ephesians 3:16
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing songs, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you.

1 Timothy 3:16
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An explanation

I almost never write here anymore.

This may be indicative of a change in me.  Used to be, I kept my faith over here, and my life on my Memoirs blog.  These days, my faith and my life are inextricably bound up together, and I think that is a good thing.

It's not that my faith and my life weren't joined before.  It's just that I tried to keep this blog more for devotional and teaching purposes, and the Memoirs blog was more of a personal divulgence.  But just as reading the Bible developed a taste in me for the Bible as vastly superior to any other book, so it has come to pass that there isn't much of anything worth writing about in life apart from how God is working.  At any rate, I see God in every aspect of my life more clearly now, and the scriptures keep flowing into my Memoirs, and when I am finished writing there, it doesn't seem that there is much more to be said here.

It is interesting to me that my faith writing has invaded my life writing, and not the other way around.  I choose to believe that this is a good thing, bequeathed by a good source.

I will keep this blog, because there are some things that I consider resources here, writing I would like to preserve for my own reference.  I hope and pray that a person who happened upon this blog could explore it and find the way to salvation.  So I will leave it, in hopes that it might bear fruit someday, like a stunted apple tree, a late bloomer.

If the Lord wills, I will be back.