Are there some things that you know will happen before they happen? Did you make them happen? God knows way before we are born how we will use our limited freedom of will. Did He make us decide a certain way? All through Scripture, there are countless admonitions to choose, to accept, to trust, to obey, to come, etc. Many of these relate to salvation. Why tell us to do this, if God is going to choose some to salvation and not others? If He ordains people to be saved before they are even born without giving them a choice, why would He call on them to make a decision? To say that God’s will and man’s will are like two train tracks that will only harmonize on arrival at the final destination seems to be an excuse to protect a faulty theological system. God is not confined to systematic theology. There is truth and error in each system. Meanwhile: “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). If you have already done this, choose to submit to His will as revealed in Scripture and yield to His control, more and more. In her hymn, “Sweet Will of God,  Mrs. C. H. Morris testified: “My stubborn will at last hath yielded; I would be Thine, and Thine alone; and this the prayer my lips are bringing, Lord, let in me Thy will be done. I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary, the darksome path hath dreary grown; but now a light has ris’n to cheer me; I find in Thee my Star, my Sun. Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior, doth now embrace and compass me; all discords hushed, my peace a river, my soul, a prisoned bird set free. Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever, my wayward feet no more to roam; what pow’r from Thee my soul can sever? The center of God’s will my home. Sweet will of God, still fold me closer, till I am wholly lost in Thee.” Selah! Will we choose His will?   Ron

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Free? Will

  • Are our wills completely free? I hope not! If they were completely free, we could will to do some things that God would never allow us to do. Are our wills in bondage? That is, can we not exercise our wills to receive or reject salvation? Is our destiny so fixed that God alone will decide if we will or won’t be saved? Obviously, our wills cannot override God’s will. I see the only reasonable answer to be that God allows (He “wills” to allow) a measure of freedom of choice to be given us. This, however, is strictly within the boundaries of His Sovereign will. If this was not the reality, then God would determine our fate regardless of what we would choose, if we were allowed to choose. That would mean that God would choose to make some people “lost” even if they would receive Him, given the possibility. I don’t think so. Scripture tells us that He “is not willing that ANY should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (From II Peter 3:9). Think on these words from, “I Am Thine, O Lord,” by Fanny Crosby: “I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to Thee. Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, by the pow’r of grace divine; let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and my will be lost in Thine.” Selah! If we will to refuse His offer of salvation by trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, the consequences are ours. He offers pardon and forgiveness to whosoever will!  Ron

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Incidental or Intense?

We are being observed by unbelievers and believers. Some just give a casual look and how we look is of little concern to them. Others, perhaps including those who are searching, observe us more carefully. What do they see? Do we look bored with our faith in God or do we express an excitement or intensity about our relationship with Jesus? I don’t mean an artificial excitement that we display like an actor. I’m thinking of enthusiasm (“enthusiasm:”-from “en theos”-the god within) that overflows from the joy that fills our hearts, arising from a heart relationship with the Living Savior! In Romans 12:11, Paul includes this inspired description of a true disciple: “….fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” And then he adds in Verse 12: “rejoicing in hope….” The more we focus on Jesus and make Him the most important part of our lives, the sooner our excitement will be contagious. Mary D. James’ hymn, “All for Jesus,” expresses the dedication that will fill our lives with great joy: “All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my being’s ransom’d pow’rs; all my thoughts and words and doings, all my days and all my hours. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All my days and all my hours. Let my hands perform His bidding; let my feet run in His ways, let my eyes see Jesus only, let my lips speak forth His praise. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Let my lips speak forth His praise. Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, cling to gilded toys of dust, boast of wealth, and fame, and pleasure; only Jesus will I trust. Only Jesus! Only Jesus! Only Jesus will I trust. Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside,–  so enchained my spirit’s vision, looking at the Crucified. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All for Jesus, crucified! Oh, what wonder! How amazing! Jesus, glorious King of kings, deigns to call me His beloved, lets me rest beneath His wings. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Resting now beneath His wings.” Selah! We have so much to make us fervently excited!   Ron

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Dethroning the Usurper

We are born into this world and, even at a very young age, we soon discover that what we want, we try to get. It’s in our nature to claim our right to live the way we want to, “good” and/or “bad.” We don’t want anyone telling us what to do, unless we want to do it. Think of your life as a kingdom. Who rules? Unless there is a profound change, the wrong person is on the throne. The big “I” is in charge. In fact, the middle letter of sin is “I.” The problem with this is that we are in rebellion against the rightful claimant to the throne of our lives. As long as this continues, our lives are part of the kingdom of darkness. We are spiritually blind because we are spiritually dead! But hopefully the day comes (or has come) when we hear the gospel and light (understanding) reveals that we can be restored to Spiritual life. When we surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are freed from the kingdom of darkness. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated (us) into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). When we come to Jesus, “self” has to be dethroned! The Holy Spirit, using the Word of God, will undertake the eviction of “self” from the throne. Our old nature will intensely resist being removed. However, as we are being filled with the Holy Spirit, the old nature is being put to death, losing its grip on our lives and we experience more and more real freedom because God reigns! Let Jennie E. Hussey‘s hymn, “Lead Me to Calvary,” express our determination to yield to God’s reign in our lives! “King of my life I crown thee now – Thine shall the glory be; lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow, lead me to Calvary. Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary.” Selah! Real freedom comes when we escape the bondage of sin and self!   Ron

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Who Occupires the Throne?

Guest Article-By A. W. Tozer

Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, “I AM.” That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good. It is only when in the gospel the soul is brought before the face of the Most Holy One without the protective shield of ignorance that the frightful moral incongruity is brought home to the conscience. In the language of evangelism the man Who is Christ referred to this when He said of the Spirit Whom He would send to the world, “An when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

   The earliest fulfillment of these words of Christ was at Pentecost after Peter had preached the first great Christian sermon. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This “What shall we do? is the deep heart cry of every man who suddenly realizes that he is an usurper and sits on a stolen throne. However painful, it is precisely this acute moral consternation that produces true repentance and makes a robust Christian after the penitent has been dethroned and has found forgiveness and peace through the gospel.

   “Purity of heart is to will one thing,” said Kierkegaard, and we may with equal truth turn this about and declare, The essence of sin is to will one thing,” for to set our will against the will of God is to dethrone God and make ourselves supreme in the little kingdom of Mansoul. This is sin at its evil root. Sins may multiply like the sands by the seashore, but they are yet one. Sins are because sin is. This is the rationale behind the much maligned doctrine of natural depravity which holds that the impenitent man can do nothing but sin and that his good deeds are really not good at all. His best religious works God rejects as He rejected the offering of Cain. Only when he has restored his stolen throne to God are his works acceptable.

Article excerpted from “The Knowledge of the Holy” (Title is mine).

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Rights of Ownership

If you have turned to Jesus for salvation, you no longer are your own! You have been purchased at infinite cost: the precious blood of Jesus! You have yielded ownership rights to Him. He has the right to use you as He desires for His glory, but that will be for your blessing, as well. He is now your Lord and Savior; you are His loving slave. He loves you beyond your ability to fully grasp and desires you to know life abundantly (John 10:10). His title of ownership is found in I Corinthians 6:20 where Paul states the Divine claim of ownership: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” His grace brought you salvation; His grace has planned and designed a Godly life for His glory and your joy. If you are not accepting the wonder and thrill of being owned by God, it could indicate that you haven’t yet truly come to know Him. Those who have yielded and surrendered to His loving ownership can identify with the desire expressed in the hymn, “More like the Master”-by Charles H. Gabriel. “More like the Master I would ever be, more of His meekness, more humility, more zeal to labor, more courage to be true, more consecration for work He bids me do. Take Thou my heart, I would be Thine alone; take Thou my heart and make it all Thine own. Purge me from sin, O Lord, I now implore, wash me and keep me Thine forevermore.” Selah! A loving slave, adopted, made a son and heir, and guaranteed a glorious and perfect Home forever, with the One Who made it possible! Amazing Grace indeed!!    Ron

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God’s “Toolbox”

  • Imagine God’s Word to be His “toolbox.” In it is every tool needed to shape us into the likeness of His Son. “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 8:29). God’s tools include teaching, counsel, correction, rebuke, chastisement, discipline, learning from mistakes, Godly friends and mentors, sound reading and viewing, etc. However, all these tools, in order to be effective, must be used by the Holy Spirit. He will use these tools as they are in harmony with God’s Word. The finished “product” is when we see Jesus and become like Him, seeing Him as He is! (I John 3:2). God will sometimes even use a dull or broken tool, but He will make it work for good in the lives of His “called ones.” (See Romans 8:28). May our prayer be that of Charles Price Jones, in his hymn: “Deeper, Deeper in the Love of Jesus.” He prayed: “Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus, daily let me go; higher, higher in the school of wisdom, more of grace to know. Deeper, deeper! blessed Holy Spirit, take me deeper still, till my life is wholly lost in Jesus and His perfect will. O deeper yet, I pray, and higher ev’ry day,and wiser, blessed Lord, in Thy precious, holy Word.” Selah! Sometimes God uses the devil’s “grindstone” to sharpen His tools! (Source unknown).    Ron

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