Sunday, October 28, 2012

God's "Unconditional" Love

"I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. " Proverbs 8:17

I have been thinking a lot about the "unconditional love" of God.  This is commonly asserted by many Christians, and most often in relation to sin, "God loves us unconditionally in spite of our sin."  However, is this sentiment really biblical and what is meant when people say this? I ask you to think honestly about this question.

Increasingly people are being lulled into a false standing with God which seems to hinge on some perversion of God's love.  The purpose of this article is not to attempt to divorce man from God's great love, but to ensure that we are truly abiding in His abounding love.

For a doctrine that has become so central to the contemporary church, Scripture is relatively silent on this issue.  That is why many asserting that "God's love is unconditional" must deduce that it is so.  They seek to appeal to what might be called your sense of reason saying, "God's love must be unconditional because...[fill in the blank]"  Yet, there is not one Scripture which states that all have God's love unconditionally.  Is God's love undeserved by all?  Yes!  Yet, undeserved does not mean unconditional. At the very least this concept should be supported by God's word if it is to be believed.  Otherwise, it is likely false - no matter how warm & fuzzy it makes us feel.

So, what does it mean biblically to say that God's love is unconditional?
unconditional: not limited by conditions; asserting that the existence or occurrence of one thing or event does not depend on the existence or occurrence of another thing or event.
God's love simply exists, for He is love (I John 4:8).  It is not dependent upon anything else for - like His very nature - He (and it) just is.  Yet, the fact that God's love exists unconditionally does not mean it is received by man unconditionally. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Even So, Lord Jesus Come

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul

The following article is an excerpt from a post on the "For His Glory Alone" blog and I wanted to share it here as an encouragement for you.

Have we truly grabbed hold of the peace which the world has not given and the world cannot take away?  Are we truly living in the joy of the Lord, even in the midst of our tribulations?  Do we believe that it is even possible to do so?  The Lord assures us that it is; that we can rejoice even in our sufferings.

This is only a portion of the article, which speaks about how to be encouraged in the Lord.  The article may be read in its entirety by clicking on the link above.

The History of a Man of Faith

In the late 1860s, life was good for Horatio G. Spafford and his wife Anna. They were living in a north side suburb of Chicago with their five children, Annie, Maggie, Bessie, Tanetta and Horatio, Jr.

He had a successful law practice in Chicago. The doors of the Spaffords' home were always open as a place for activists to meet during the reform movements of the time.

Horatio G. Spafford was quite active in the abolitionist movement. Frances E. Willard, president of the National Women's Christian Temperance Union, as well as evangelical leaders like Dwight L. Moody, were often guests in their home. Spafford was a Presbyterian church elder and a dedicated Christian.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Need of Prayer?

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:16-18

We have shared this info before, but the need for corporate prayer with the saints of God is more of a necessity each day as the times grow ever darker.  It is not about religious rituals, church affiliation, or doctrine, but about encouraging one another and grabbing hold unto the promises of God. 

If you have not already, take time to listen to the following sermon from Min. David Pawson on the topic: Prayer with the Saints.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wake Up Church!

A video compilation from Holy Desperation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Most UNPREACHED Message in the Church

The Severity of God

"To not major on the same truths that Jesus and His Apostles emphasized, is to preach a completely different Gospel altogether..." 

Today, many Christians are majoring in the minors.  What I mean by that is they are taking selective aspects of Jesus' life and expounding upon that, but ignore what they do not like.  They are forsaking the weightier matters of what Jesus taught in order to depict an idol called Jesus who will tickle their ears with smooth things.  Today's contemporary Christians rejoice that God loves us unconditionally in spite of our sin (which I have never found supported anywhere in Scripture), yet they never stop to think whether such "love" is enough to keep them from eternal damnation.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Lord, one thing I know is, "All I have needed, Your hand has provided."  What more can I say?

In various times when things seemed hopeless...and even when no one else seemed to understand, You have never let me down.

Whether it was a mess I created or the result of suffering for well doing, You were there offering me a way out and the reassurance to keep moving on. 

Even when I couldn't find the words to pray, You answered.  It may not always have been the answer I wanted, but it was always the answer I needed.

And when I was going astray, Your rod was there to chasten me and nudge me back on the narrow path, so that I would not wind up lost in Hell.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Heavenly Vision

Oftentimes, it is not our circumstances which limit us, but our perspectives.  It has really been on my heart lately how much God's people need a Heavenly vision.  In these days, it is critical for us to see things from God's perspective and not man's.

In a recent conversation, someone said, "I question how such a beautiful God could have created so many enemies that will end up in Hell."

I responded, "God doesn't create enemies. He creates individuals whom He takes time to uniquely design & bestow with talents. Perhaps a better question is how such a beautiful God can continue to selflessly give & sustain life - and even have given His own life - for the benefit of those who continually and will ultimately reject His love in ingratitude."

Do you see how the wrong perspective can pervert the image of God...even for those who seek to serve Him?  From an earthly view (man's vision), it seems unloving and cruel for God to send people to Hell.  Yet from a Heavenly view (God's vision), He is the author and sustainer of of life, even for those who despise Him and curse His name.  He gives air to breathe and allows the sun to shine even on His enemies, for whom He suffered a tortuous death just to offer them the hope of eternal life.  Who would make such sacrifices??  Only our God.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ishmael Shall Be Cast Out

While in high school (many years ago, LOL), I was assigned to do a paper on the Middle East crisis.  As an ardent researcher, I enjoyed examining the history of the region and was intrigued.  Why was the whole world in an uproar about this little piece of land?  I even visited a few embassies in order to interview Middle East officials and get their perspective.

As a result of my studies, I concluded that Israel had no legitimate claim to that land.  The Palestinians had every much a right as the Jewish people to reside there.  After all, the Jewish justification that God gave them that land was absurd.  Did God favor one people over another?  Of course not!  Further, Arabs also pointed to their own religious beliefs as a justification for the land and claimed an inheritance from the same patriarch as the Jewish people (Abraham).  Should we favor the beliefs of one religious system over another?  Even if accepted as fact, that promise of land to the Jewish people was made thousands of years ago.  Surely such was no longer relevant.

To that extent, I found the very existence of the nation of Israel to be nothing short of amazing. Although Israel had been an ancient homeland for the Jewish people as early as 1300 BC, it had ceased to be around 636 AD when Arabs took over the land.  Then in 1948, the United Nations determined to once again set aside that land as a Jewish state.  My question was, "Why?"

Surely the world - which had just sat quietly by as millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust - wasn't motivated by a new found compassion for the Jewish people?  Was it that the nations of the world recognized the supremacy of this God above all others?  Indeed, at the time of my school report, the U.S. was giving more monies annually in support of Israel than it gave to all other nations combined.  What was so special about this one section of land and this one people which would warrant such extraordinary support?  It just didn't make any the natural man.

What I did not understand was that what God decrees is not up for human debate or input.  This was not simply some world event, but the fulfillment of biblical prophecy (Exodus 32:13; Matthew 24:32-34).  God is not concerned with humanistic perspectives of "fairness".  He does exactly what He wants to do, for He is sovereign.  Further, even His enemies can only do what He allows and likewise serve to fulfill His purposes.

I did not understand the historical reality of what had created this "crisis"; a rivalry between two brothers: Ishmael (the son of disbelief) and Isaac (the son of promise).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Giving Myself Away

I want to be used, but I want to tell YOU how to use me.

I want to belong to You, as long as I can still do some of what I want to do.

I want You to be Lord, as long as there are still some areas that I control.

I want You to increase without me having to decrease.

I want You to move, but go where I want You to go.

I want to be purified as gold, but without the Refiner's furnace of pain, tribulation, and affliction.

I want to follow You, but only within my comfort zone.