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The video below is about the Kimyal people,  a tribe in Papua, receiving the bible in their language for the very first time.

Before this day they could only memorize sections of the bible and then recite it to one another.

But on this day they are going to be receiving God’s word in their own language.

May I realize anew how precious it is to have the bible in my own language. I have the very heart and passion of God so readily available to me! Let me treasure such a gift by using it.

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Does God’s sovereignty remove the need to work hard. Take the last post as an example, if God fulfills His promises whether we are on board or not why do anything? God is just going to stir our spirits and do what He intends to do, right? What can I say to such things?

Here are some of my thoughts on the question.

First, we are Biblical people and must let the Bible shape our thinking when we meet paradoxes in it. Just because we run up against mind benders in Scripture does not mean that we start preforming hermeneutical gymnastics to erase the verses. Yes, there are times the verse must be understood in the fuller context of the Bible and shaped accordingly. We can’t pick out one verse and have it run contrary to what is clearly revealed in the rest of Scripture. However, we should not also in turn construct a theology  from select verses and then deny the clear teaching of other verses because it relieves a tension. We go where the text leads us even though we have to say with the Psalmist, “such things are to wonderful for me, there are too high I cannot attain them.”  The Trinity is probably the best example of reading the Bible like this. We don’t have two camps: the three gods camp and one god camp. We see all that the bible teaches and hold it in tension, One God in three persons. And so, if the text leads us to a tension we must wrestle with it and not take an easy route in erasing it.

Second, the Bible reveals a compatiblism in regards to Divine sovereignty and human responsibility. One example can be found in Acts 13.  “And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:47). Paul new the command which he had to follow. He was called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ  He gave the gospel to the Jews first but after they rejected the good news He knew he had to take it to the Gentiles. this was the responsibility given to Him by Christ. Yet, everything rested on divine sovereignty. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48). And this is not a strange thing in the Bible; example upon example can be given. For starters, Gen. 50:15-21; Ex. 4:21, 8:15; Rom 9:16-18; Eph 1:11.

Thus, there is this compatibalism that exists in Scripture. God calls us to go, and says that everything rests on Him. Both truths are some how compatible with one another.

But how can we live in this tension?

I will say two things. 1. Being able to live in the tension rest on our trust in the Lord. 2. In the end, there is no better place to be then living in the tension.

1. When it comes to my understanding of God on this matter I believe it all boils down to this: trust. Do I trust completely in my Lord? Do I trust that He is good and just in commanding me to do that which He, Himself is the cause of its performance? Do I trust in the righteousness of my God when I proclaim the gospel to my co-worker when I know that he will only come to faith if God chooses to save him?

“But isn’t that pointless?” you ask. Isn’t that God just making a promise like the politicians make? Making a promise which he never intends to fulfill?

I can say with absolutely certainty, “no.” Why? Is it because I have understood the mind of the Lord and can completely discern His thoughts?  Absolutely not! Why can I say no then? Because I know my Jesus. Jesus, who looked upon a young rich man, who would not come to believe in Him, with compassion. Jesus, who could never be blamed for any wrong doing. He was completely righteous and just in everything He did. This is the Jesus I know. And I know what He has revealed, we are to proclaim the good news of the kingdom while knowing that no one comes to Him unless the Father draws them.

How can I reconcile these? I can’t. All I can do is trust in who my Lord is and enjoy His glory. I can’t give you a nice, neat little box which encapsulates the exact workings of God on this matter. All I can do is see what my Lord says on both sides of the tension, and then trust that He has everything worked out.

2. When it comes to my day to day life I find that there is no better place to be than in this tension. Crazy right? Wouldn’t it be a better life if it was a simple answer? Either I do the work or God does the work. With the first one I know that I need to be out their striving and sweating for the kingdom. With the latter one I could know that everything is going to work out and that I don’t need to worry about it.

Here is amazing thing about living in this tension: I get to experience both realties! Because I trust in the words of Christ I can hold both and experience the benefits of each side of the tension while letting each side hold in the other.

I simply trust in my Savior’s word that my choices matter and so I can press forward and strive for the kingdom. I have a call to preform and a purpose in life. I can’t just sit around, my Christ has summoned me to follow Him. I cannot give the pathetic excuse that “God will do it all so I can do nothing.” I don’t remember Jesus giving that option to excuse myself. Even while He is saying such things like, “Without me you can do nothing.”  Instead he calls me to follow Him with a cross in view.

Yet, what rest and peace is mine in knowing that the salvation of the world does not rest in my hands. My God is the one fighting this war, and nothing can stand up against His sovereign might. The fulfillments of the promises will happen, Christ will win! He will win in the relatively small battles like providing for me. And He will win the ultimate battle against sin and death. Nether the will of demons or men can stand against Him. All of history is being moved by His hand towards its final destination. Thus, I cannot say that my workings and striving are bring the kingdom to earth. I am not making the new creation take place in human hearts. I am not conquering the darkness of this world. It is my God alone who is achieving the victory.  All glory will be given to Him for this.

In the end, living in this tension is the best place to be. Even though I can’t figure out how it works it proves to be most satisfying to my soul. I don’t have all the answers. But He does. And I can trust Him with them as I follow the answers He has revealed to me. And in the end I find more joy and delight in Him.

I know that I have not kept up with these, sorry. But I needed to get back to it one day and today is as good as the next for doing it.

This sermon was preached by my pastor Ryan Fullerton of Immanuel Baptist. This is this intro to the message:

Sadly, it has been my experience that the world understands immodesty better than Christians understand immodesty. Non-Christian men know they like immodest women because they like to have appetizers even if they can’t have the main course. Non-Christian women like immodesty because they know that serving appetizers gets a guys attention, and there is a certain power that comes from serving appetizers but holding back on the main course. He gets a little peek, and a little pleasure. She gives a little peek, and gets a little power. That is nature of the game, and the world knows it very well.

Unfortunately Christians think that seeing how much flesh they can show isn’t about power and pleasure at all. Too often they believe immodesty is just an exercise in Christian liberty. “Some people like a sip of wine, some people like to show a little cleavage, we are all free in Christ.” We forget about wisdom, love, and scripture, and we exercise our ‘freedom in the Lord.’ We show the same flesh as the world, but with better motives. Obviously, we do not think clearly on this issue at all. In fact, if actions speak louder than words then I have to imagine many husbands think, “who cares that the Pastors office is full of men battling porn, I am gonna make sure all my buddies get a good peek at my wife.”

In a world infatuated with sex, addicted to pornography, and callous to shame, Christians exercise their liberty by serving one more round of appetizers to the world. Well beloved, I am not convinced that Jesus died so that his followers could serve the world another round of drinks to arouse their sexual intoxication. I believe he died so that Christian men could love and serve women as mothers, wives, and sisters in all purity (1 Tim. 5:1-2 ESV). And, I believe that Jesus died so that women could, “adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self control” (1 Tim. 2:9). Because I believe this, and because I love my brothers, my wife, my daughter, my sisters, and all of those sheep who need to escape the Shepherding of the fashion industry, because of all of this I offer this sermon for your prayerful consideration. It is my attempt to rid the world of both bikinis and berkas and to proclaim, ‘Modesty is Freedom’!

You can listen to the sermon here.

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah’…

Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites,  everyone whose spirit  God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.”  (Ezra 1:1-2, 5)

When it comes to fulfilling the promises, God takes all the initiative. Israel completed her time in exile; the time for the return of the people had come. Yet, God did not wait around for the people to decided when they wanted to come back. He had a promise to fulfill and a mission to complete. He was going to bless the nations through the seed of Abraham and make the Davidic king rule forever. Thus, the people of Israel had to come back from exile. And so God moved both king and people to come back to the land of Israel. God didn’t wait on Israel to fulfill the promises, He would fulfill them Himself.

How comforting to know that God is still completing His mission and fulfilling His promises today. He is not sitting around waiting for perfect churches full of perfect people that follow His leadings perfectly. That is because He is the one taking the initiative to fulfill the promises. He works with our weaknesses and is not bound by them. Even though we are not strong or focused enough to follow Christ perfectly, He shows Himself to be absolutely sufficient to do what He has promised.

“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” (Rom 1:21).

This is a list of the various means of abortion used today:

  1. Dilation and Curettage: During the first trimester the mother’s cervix is dilated, and the surgeon inserts an instrument to scrape the wall of the uterus, cutting the baby’s body to pieces and removing the placenta from its place in the uterine wall.
  2. Suction: during the first trimester the cervix is dilated and a suction tube is inserted into the womb. The suction tears both the baby and his or her placenta from the uterus, sucking them into a jar. With both methods mentioned so far, it is possible to identify human arms, hands, and legs.
  3. Saline Injection: During the second trimester A long needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen into the sac surrounding the baby, and some of the fluid is removed and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. The baby breathes in and swallows the salt and is poisoned by it. Often the outer layer of skin is burned off. With saline injection there are osmotic pressure changes in the fetus, causing brain hemorrhages. It takes about an hour for the solution to slowly kill the baby. About a day later the mother goes into labor and delivers a dead, shriveled baby.
  4. Hysterotomy: During the final trimester is a technique which is exactly like a C-section. The alive fetus is then either allowed to die of neglect or by deliberate action.
  5. Prostaglandin: during any stage of pregnancy the drug prostaglandin is taken in some form, and it induces labor. The result may be the delivery of a live infant who is allowed to die, or prostaglandin may be used in conjunction with a saline solution to assure the birth of a dead fetus.

From, Ethics For a Brave New World by John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, p. 51-52.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)

“And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire;” (Jude 22-23a)

Often God does not intend for us to know about the spiritual state of others, so that we can make pronouncement about their spiritual state. Warning passages are given so that we can admonish people to continue in faith, not so that we can discern who is truly part of the people of God. Most of us would like to know the future destiny of others, but God does not reveal such information to us when some are straying from the Lord. We are to help them in the most practical way possible, not by speculating on whether they will go to heaven, but by helping them to get back on the pathway to heaven.

Schreiner & Caneday, The Race Set Before Us, p. 257

Thanks to my father and to all fathers who sacrifice their own plans for the benefits and well being of their families. Your sacrifices do not go to waste.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age (Titus 2:11-12)

As one bought by the blood of Christ I am no longer of this world. I am called to renouce ungodliness, worldly passions, and to live a life which is self-controlled, upright and godly.

This happens by being trained. It does not come natural for me. I did not wake up one morning with the naturally ability to throw a football. I had to work at it, and work at it, until I learned the proper way to hold, move my hand over my head, and release. The same principle with renouncing the evilness of my former life and taking on the image of the new. I didn’t wake up one morning with the natural ability to live self-controlled, upright and godly. It takes working at it and working at it. I have to be trained.

But by what? What trains me? Is it by putting myself back under the law which stands over me as a judge? When I don’t attain the law it will come over me and yell in my face about how weak of a player I am and how I need to toughen up. The problem is, I can never be tough enough to attain the demands of the law. The verse, however, does not say that we are trained by the law.

We are trained by none other than the grace of God. It is grace which trains us under the new covenant. It is seeing that all our failings and faults have be forgiven by the death of Christ. And our right standing before God is not on how well we can attain the standard, how godly we can become, but by the righteousness of the one who kept the law perfectly. Who did not need any training to be godly because he was God Himself. We are trained by love that watches all the times we still fail to attain and says, “Keep working, keep pressing on in godliness. For you have no fear of being cast out, you are mine forever, bought by the blood of my Son.” It is under this voice we are trained to live a life worthy of call we have received.

The gospel cannot be preach and heard enough

for it cannot be grasped well enough

~Martin Luther

“who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).

God’s power, to be effective at all, must guard us from sin and unbelief. If his power plays no role in our faith, then it seems that his power accomplishes nothing in our making it to the end- since it is precisely unbelief and failure to hope in God that causes us to fall away from God. If God’s power does not protect us from unbelief, it is hard to see what it does. How is God protecting us until the end if his guarding plays no role in our continuing faith?

…God’s power protects us because his power is the means by which our faith is sustained.

~Schreiner & Caneday, The Race Set Before Us, 247,

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