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Sing it Sister!

April 14, 2008 1 comment

Oh to have the faith of a little child!

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Categories: God

Putting On a Show

April 3, 2008 3 comments

Lord I gather together each Sunday with other believers and spend time in worship of you. Although I come with the best of intentions there are times when I am overwhelmingly fake. I can speak of my week as if it was the best in the world.  I don’t share my problems, pains, or worries.  I am afraid to do this because others would realize that I am messed up just like them. It is easier to put on the face of “having it together” than to be authentic and admit my faults.

For this reason I ask your forgiveness

I am tempted to share my shortcomings with others, but not sure how to do it because of the fear of rejection.  The role of minister is extremely public and many have unrealistic expectations of me.  It seems many want me to live up to standards that they lack themselves. If I have a bad day then I am being “defensive.”  If I disagree with someone then I am being “stubborn.”  If I want to try something new then that makes me “liberal.”  I feel that I do not have the freedom to speak my heart and that is really killing me.
Lord I pray that from this day forward I will not be concerned about what others think of me. Help me to be only concerned about how you view me and my actions because really that is all that matters in the long run.  Help me to be authentic in all my relationships regardless of the cost or discomfort it may bring me.  I know that this is the only path that will bring me the freedom that I truly desire.  
I also pray for the wisdom to make the right decisions and discern where you are leading me spiritually.  I know that if I follow you then I will never go wrong.
Thank you so much for the wife you have sent me.  She is my greatest encourager and friend.  I thank you also for my children who remind me of the love you have for me and my need for patience.  I thank you also for the friends and family who you have put into my life.  They have been there as I have fallen, encouraged me to get up, and hold me accountable in my responsibility of following you.
It is in the blessed name of Jesus that I send this prayer to you.
Categories: God, prayer

Free Man or a Sovereign God?

In order to approach this topic it is necessary to first define freedom. Freedom is the “exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.” When it comes to man’s freedom in relation to God power and sovereignty, we have the right to choose our actions with the knowledge that God will allow us to carry out our desires. The writer uses the term ‘allow’ because God is in control of everything.

Proverbs 16:9 says that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Although God has the power to control our actions He gives us the ability to act on our own behalf or choose to have Him be our guide. These two ideas, man’s free will and God’s sovereignty, are not opposing viewpoints. They are meant to work together. God proclaims that He can use a bad situation created by man and convert it into something that glorifies Him. This action is seen repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Pelagius and Augustine approach the topics of original sin, freedom of choice, and other issues from competing points of view. Let’s look at these issues in the chart below to gain some clarity and discuss if they line up with Scripture.

Pelagius

Augustine

Creation of Adam:

Adam was created free of sin, in a mortal body, and having a free will.

Creation of Adam:
Adam was created free of sin, in an immortal body, and having a free will.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it affected him and no one else. It brought spiritual death not physical.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it brought physical and spiritual death to all.

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
Men come in like Adam before the Fall (innocent, mortal, free will)
They enter into sin by free choice

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
We are like Adam after the Fall. No longer innocent, become mortal, and with a corrupt nature. We don’t have a choice but to sin. Our sin begins at conception.

Scripture seems to agree with Augustine in the areas of the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Man. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Man then had the choice of following after God or doing whatever pleased them. This remains true even to this day. There was no sin in the Garden of Eden until Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit. It appears that it was God’s intention for man to live forever because there was a tree in the Garden that gave eternal life. He gave them permission to eat of every tree, but eventually bans them from the Garden so that they could not access this tree. This supports Augstine’s view of man’s immortal body, without sin, and having a free will.

The wages of sin is death. Once sin was committed it changed everything in the world that God designed. Man would now have to work instead of God providing for them. Man would now die because they did not access the tree of life. Man would now experience pain and suffering. Man would also be affected by their own sin and the sins of others. Man would also experience war and violence even though God created us to live in peace with one another. These among many other reasons are how sin has caused us to have a disconnected relationship with God. Two questions still remain: How does man become holy? At what point does our sin affect our relationship with God?

In reference to the two above questions, Pelagius and Augustine both understood part of the truth. Man is born innocent with a bent towards sin. This means that initially we do not sin because we do not have the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. We conduct ourselves according to the rules and regulations that we have been taught. Depending on the culture we come from our actions can vary significantly. There is a point, however, when we have the ability to choose to do either the right or wrong thing. When we purposely choose to do what is wrong instead of what is right we then take on the sin of Adam. “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” The Scripture seems to support Pelagius’ view that we sin by free choice, but as Augustine thought, we have a corrupt nature. These two views are not necessarily exclusive of each other.

The thoughts of Pelagius and Augustine are still debated today. Regardless of which one you tend to follow it is important to remember that no one has the ability to be holy without the love of our Father God, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the active work of the Holy Spirit in our lives everyday.

freedom. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom (accessed: February 13, 2008).

2 Romans 8:28.

3 Genesis 1:31.

4 Genesis 3:22
5 Romans 6:23.

6 I John 3:4

Categories: God, man