Archive for the ‘Open Mind’ Category

No Legitimate Reason


There are those who insist on no other course but to despise those who are not in agreement with their own narrow and corrupted views.

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Body Building


Preparation for Work!

Our good friend Ray. S. has yet another thought from the ‘Ephesus Protocol’.

[Edited by: Phil. D.]

Passage:  Ephesians 4:1-16

Focus:  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”  Ephesians 4:12

No—I won’t presume to settle here the debate over the practical relationship between grace, faith, and works that has been active within the Christian community for centuries.

But I do want to offer a few thoughts and observations that flow out of this passage that I believe speak to the extreme position of what I’m inclined to call extreme grace’.

There are those who choose to believe there is basically nothing they can do in or of themselves to receive and/or maintain their salvation.  For them it is totally accomplished by the grace of God.  license

I have beheld far too many cases where I think this spin becomes a form of ‘theological license’ for one to live the way he wants to live and still get in on all the benefits of salvation.  This view holds that once the gift of God’s grace is received there is nothing that can be done to revoke it.

In support of this persuasion, Ephesians 2:8-9 is often quoted.  Let me quote it here for our review.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by WORKS, so that no one can boast.”  They would say, “See…there it is.  Works have nothing to do with our salvation.”

Well, I think it is important to point out the technicality that the main idea of that statement has to do with the origin of the gift—pointing to the fact that works could never pay for it, win it, or deserve it.

Rules & regulations2It is not earned or realized by following a bunch of rules, memorizing a bunch of scriptures, or performing a bunch of good deeds.  While it is true that the gift of salvation is made available by God’s love and grace to which we respond in faith, this saving faith is much more than so much mental activity.

In fact, this faith is declared by James (James 2:14-26) to be dead and worthless without works—without practical responses and actions of obedience to the core purposes of the gift.

Furthermore, I think it’s helpful to give heed to the next verse following Ephesians 2:8-9—that is, verse 10.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  That seems to put things into a balanced perspective.

Our salvation is a gift of God’s grace that is specifically designed by God to equip and program the receiver to do good works.  So there may be some good works without salvation, but I can’t see valid support for a salvation without good works.

 Today’s reading carries some of the same emphasis.

  • Why has God instituted the ministry gifts within the Church? To prepare God’s people for WORKS OF SERVICE.”
  • And the purpose of it all?  So that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Even the last word of the last verse of today’s reading is the word WORKFrom him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its WORK.”

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“The word EASY’ only appears once in the New Testament,

and then in connection with the YOKE’.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

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Frosted Mirror


…some kind of cosmic wager going on in high places?

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What’re the Chances??


 

Is it really  “Heads, you’re in… Tails, you’re out.”?

Difficult subject, I suppose…

Written by Ray S.   Edited by Phil D.

Passage: Romans 9:1-29

Focus: Therefore, God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”  Romans 9:18.

This topic they call ‘ELECTION’ can present some major difficulties, and some seem to struggle over it to the point of coin flipstumbling—even falling.

However we choose to slice it, I cannot accept that God arbitrarily selects (predestines) some to be saved and some to be lost—some for eternal life and some for destruction—as though He were flipping a coin over every individual—“Heads, you’re in.  Tails, you’re out.”

As I sort through the data and information we have before us, the matter of being ‘called’ is huge.  But it doesn’t need to be complicated.  The ‘call’ is general and universal (Romans 1:18-20).

We can say that ALL ARE CALLED.  The Kingdom of God is a standing invitation.  But ‘being called’ is certainly not equated with a required or desired response to that call.  If I’m called to supper, but don’t respond, I don’t eat.  Duh.  And if I call my dog when he is all preoccupied with his dog stuff of sniffing out a rat under a pile of lumber, he simply will not come.  Duh.  For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14, KJV).  Why?  Because only a few are willing to choose His choice—with a will to make their own pursuits subservient to His.

Over and over the Bible confirms that God wants to have mercy toward those who respond to His love call, those who will repent and believe in His Son, Jesus, as their personal Savior and Lord.  And He wants to confirm the value of this amazing LOVE GIFT by allowing quite the opposite in behalf of those who respond opposite—an automatic hardening effect in those who persistently refuse to repent, those who choose their SINFUL NATURE over His provision and opportunity to participate in the DIVINE NATURE (2 Peter 1:4).

May I also recommend that you review Romans 2:4-11. Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?  … because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 

God will give to each person according to what he has done.  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 

But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil; …  for Jew and for Gentile … but glory honor and peace for everyone who does good: …  for  Jew and for Gentile.  For God does not show favouritism.”

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Rejecting God’s way is simply asking for trouble.”

 


A most incredible, mind-boggling, glorious statement

This is powerful stuff…

Written by: Ray S.   Edited by: Phil D.

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Confused in Our Chaotic World?


inescapable accountability

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Who Opened Yours??


Who holds the key….?

 

Passage: Luke 24:36-53

Inspirational thought for today.

[Written by: Ray.S.  Edited by Phil.D.]

Focus:Then HE opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”  Luke 24:45.

Here is another key principle of the Kingdom that is worth remembering:

UNLESS JESUS, BY MEANS OF HIS open-minded-2HOLY SPIRIT, LENDS SPECIAL INFLUENCE SO AS TO OPEN MY MIND TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES, I’M NEVER GOING TO GET IT. 

I can read and read and read, but NEVER GET IT!  Without this special, divine touch of His hand on the key, the Bible is just a bunch of black print on white paper.  It’s like reading someone else’s mail.  It just doesn’t make sense.  And even with this touch of His Spirit, there is no guarantee that I will get it all at once.

open-minded2-342x263Look at Jesus’ own disciples.  The fact is, it is a constant ongoing revelation—an unfolding adventure in a “wonderland” of discovery and relationship with my Maker.

 I want to quote from 2 Corinthians 3:16-18: But whenever anyone turns to the Lord (activates A HEART AFTER GOD), the veil (non-understanding, confusion) is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (freedom from sin, self, and Satan—freedom to know things not otherwise known).  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory (from one glorious revelation after another), which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

For anyone not thus activated, this doesn’t make a lick of sense…I may as well be talking Martian.  But anyone so activated will find their insides resonating with the words of Jesus in John 8:31-32: If you hold to my teaching (with A HEART AFTER GOD), you are really my disciples (as opposed to part-time visitors or Christian religionists).  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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 “We cannot really be for something we don’t understand.”