Predestination v Free-Will

By Alan Smith
For centuries theologians have debated Predestination v Free-Will. It can be a hotly debated topic and one that can be very divisive. I don’t mind the debate, but I DO NOT want to be divisive.
The Beginning Point

To unravel this question, I believe you must begin with God.

One of the incommunicable attributes of God is His omnipresence. This means that God is at all places in all time at the same time. In other words, God is.

Yahweh is God’s name. It is how God referred to Himself with talking to Moses in the burning bush. The name means “I am.” (Exodus 3:14)

This doctrine is described for us in several places through out Scripture. My favorite passage related to His omnipresence is Psalms 139. In verses 7 – 8, the Psalmists ask where one can go to get away from God. He recognizes that no matter where he goes, God is there.

The omnipresence of God is a critical component in understand the relationship between Predestination and Free-Will.
Which came first?

The abbreviated version of the debate is based on the idea of it being EITHER we were either predestined and our salvation was determined by a game of pick by God in eternity past OR we pick God if he wins the contest of religious systems.

It is almost always defined as either . . . or. Which came first, the predestined or the free will?
Opposite Sides of the Same Door

I believe that we are actually dealing with a BOTH . . . AND . . . scenario. Here’s how.

If God is omnipresent, this means that ALL of time exist as the present with God. When the Holy Spirit pulled at my heart to accept Christ as my Savior, that was the eternal moment of election. It was that moment. It wasn’t something that took place in eternity past that has finally arrived 10,000 years after the election. The invitation from the Spirit of God was the election.

God choosing me and my choosing God are the same event. I view the event as a linear progression through time, but with God it simply is. My past and future are present with God.
I Am Elected So I Choose

This is why God can declare things to be. It’s not because He is looking into the future and therefore knows what will happen. It is happening. Everything is happening. The creation, the crucifixion, my Salvation and the resurrection of the saints are events that are happening. With God, these are not past or future events.

My Election was not an event in the past. My election by the sovereignty of God and my choice to accept his gift on my own free-will are the same event, just a different perspective.
The Scriptures Agree

Look at the progression in Romans 8:29-30. Those who He predestined, he called, and those who He called, he justified; those he justified, he glorified. Paul is communicating the fact that the event of being predestined (election) is also the event of justification (salvation) and the event of glorification (sanctification). This is a singular event from the perspective of God.

In Ephesians 1, Paul communicates the same story. We are predestined according to the purpose of His will. We are predestined and completed according to His will at the same event.

We were not chosen in the past and offered salvation in the present to be glorified in the future. That is a linear perspective limited by our humanity. From God’s perspective, we are chosen and offered salvation and glorified NOW.

Wade’s Wednesday

Life is full of tough decisions.

from ourdailybread:  How do I know if he/she is “the one”? Which college should I go to? What should I major in? Which job should I take? Which church should we attend? Should I change careers? Now that the kids are grown, should we downsize? Is now the right time to retire?

People hate making decisions. Mostly because we’re terrified of making the wrong one.

Choosing thrills us. Choosing scares us. Choosing comes from the core of who we are. When we truly choose, we have no one to blame and nowhere to hide. And that can be downright terrifying.

My wife, Nancy, and I were at a restaurant once, and the waiter responded to every choice we made by saying, “Brilliant,” “Perfect” or “Excellent decision.” This happened so steadily throughout the meal that I finally asked him if he ever told anyone they made a lousy choice. He told us that the restaurant managers had discovered diners are so afraid of choosing the wrong thing, they actually print a list of “affirmation words” that the wait staff is required to say in response to everyone’s order.

Think about that. Even a question as simple as, “Soup or salad?” renders us so vulnerable that restaurants have to turn their wait staff into therapists!

In a way, we do the same thing with God. Terrified of making a bad decision, we lay all of our choices at God’s feet and ask Him, “What is Your will for my life?”

But, what if God’s will for us is that we develop the wisdom and discernment to make our own decisions in light of His Word, and the faith and confidence to know He will be there guiding us regardless of which path we choose?

Doesn’t that sound freeing?

God wants us to learn how to choose well. That may be why, when we look at the Bible, there is no chapter devoted to ’How to know God’s will for your life.” Paul doesn’t write about “6 Steps to Determine If He’s the One” or “5 Ways to Discern God’s Best Career Path for You.”

What we do see are statements like this: If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God.

So the next time you face a difficult decision, instead of asking God what His will is for your life, begin by asking for wisdom. And don’t live in fear of making the wrong decision. Even if you walk through the wrong door, as long as you walk through it with the right heart, God’s will will be done.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

God’s Ears Hear Our Cries

God’s ears hear our cries, no matter where we are,

He knows exactly what’s inside our hurting heart;

Even if we become like the prodigal son,

He still hears our prayer, amidst all we’ve done!

God ‘s ears hear our cries, understanding about us,

He knows our frame, remembers we’re but dust;

His thoughts are much wiser & higher than ours,

But we can ask for His cleansing, glorious power!

God’s ears hear our cries, anytime of the day or night,

It pleases Him so greatly to make our heart right;

Regardless of how many things we’ve done wrong,

God is always listening, making our spirit strong!

God’s ears hear our cries, & always lovingly will,

He never turns away, but helps us be fulfilled;

So when troubles, trials, or storms come in our life,

Keep on talking to God, His ears hear all our cries!

Precious Things

An old preacher had preached a series of sermons on the things the Bible calls “precious!”  He titled his book THE PRECIOUS THINGS OF GOD!

Deuteronomy 33:13-14 — “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land,FOR THE PRECIOUS THINGS OF HEAVEN, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And FOR THE PRECIOUS FRUITS BROUGHT FORTH BY THE SUN.”

The word for “precious” means (Hebrew = “meged”) to be “distinguised” or to be “eminent”.”  Eminent means “to stand out from!”  It is the Hebrew word for “excellence!”

Would you agree with me that there are some “precious” things in Heaven?  I know of absolutely no believer who would doubt that statement.  Of course here Moses is thinking of such things as the rain and the dew and the clouds, etc.  But I am thinking of the heaven of heavens today.  (The abode of God Himself!)  Think of the things of heaven:  Our Almighty God!  The very Throne of Grace!  An innumerable company of angels!  The body of now departed believers (including your loved ones)! Mansions prepared and waiting!  The atmosphere of eternal worship!

Then Moses says something so significant.  He mentions the “precious fruits brought forth by the sun.”  Here Moses envisions the bountiful crops with which God blessed Israel again and again.

BUT I am thinking of another sun (SON).  You well know that in Psalm 19 the created sun is a type of the eternal SON of God!

Would you agree with me that there are also “some precious things brought forth” by the SON as well?

Jesus has surely brought forth some precious things in all our lives!

“Put forth” is a verb that means “to yield or to produce.”  (This is a forceful verb!  It literally has the idea of causing to burst forth!  To explode!)

If you get around JESUS enough … some precious things will BURST FORTH from your lives!

For a few days I think we shall notice some of these PRECIOUS THINGS  of God!

We shall begin (Lord willing) tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, I’ve got my “nugget” for today.  I sure trust that you have too.

                                                                                  — Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Perspective

Perspective From The Clouds

In 1927 the silent film Wings, a World War I film about two American aviators, won the first Academy Award for Best Picture. When it was being filmed, production stopped for several days. Frustrated producers asked the director why. He responded: “All we have is blue sky. The conflict in the air will not be as visible without clouds. Clouds bring perspective.” He was right. Only by seeing aerial combat with clouds as a backdrop could the viewer see what was really going on.

We often wish for blue skies instead of storm clouds. But cloudy skies may reveal God’s faithfulness. We gain perspective on how God has been faithful in our trials as we look back on the clouds.

At the beginning of his terrible suffering, Job lamented: “Let the day perish on which I was born . . . . let a cloud dwell upon on it” (Job 3:3-5). His experience of despair continued for a long time until God spoke. Then Job exclaimed, “I have heard of You . . . but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). Job had encountered the sovereign Creator, and that changed his perspective on God’s purposes.

Do clouds of trouble fill your skies today? Sooner than you think, God may use these clouds to help you gain perspective on His faithfulness.                                    —Dennis Fisher

God, give us wings to rise above
The clouds of trial that block the sun,
To soar above gray skies and see
The love and goodness of Your Son
.
—Sper

Often the clouds of sorrow reveal the sunshine of His face. —Jasper

Our Daily Bread Mar 17, 2014  ©2015 

 

It’s the Little Things

by Meagan Davis

Best Day Ever!

“Did you have the best day of your life?”

The text pops up on my iPhone.
Ha. Today, the best day? I think not. There are so many days that could be better than this one.
This is my attitude over and over again, every single time she asks me.
But it’s not the attitude that I should have.
The mental image that pops up whenever I see that text is Rapunzel in Tangled. “Best Day Ever!” She screams as she flies around the tree. But the next second, she is crying like it’s the worst day of her life.
Aren’t we like that sometimes? One moment is phenomenal! And the next, you just want to crawl in bed and stay there forever.
Each day is different. Some days are good. Some days are not so good. Some days are just ordinary and boring. So how do you go about making today the best day of your life? Here are a couple ideas that make any day better.
1. Spend time with God. I’m convinced that this is the best way to start your day. Just get your Bible out. Read it. Talk to God, and let God talk to you. I promise it won’t be wasted time.
2. Invest in someone else. Talk to them. Get to know them. What makes them tick? Show them love. Reach out. Smile. There are simple ways to invest.
3. Coffee. Okay, with coffee, you just can’t go wrong. Drink a cup. Preferrably during your God and I time.
4. Smile/Laugh. Smiling brightens anyone’s day, including your own. Laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds. Laughing with someone you love: it doesn’t get much better than that.
5.  Be organized. Make that to do list. Get it done. But…
6. Be flexible. Even with your to do list, your day probably isn’t going to go the way you think it will. Roll with it. If you’re plans are messed up, that’s okay!
7. Love life. Psalms tells us, “This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Do you love life today? I hope so. God gave you another sunrise. Another chance to make a difference. Just enjoy the day that God has given you.
This list is not all-inclusive. I’m sure you could add any number of things to make today the best day ever. What would it be for you? Do it. Have the best day ever!
Comment: New best day April 05,2020; 6:45 pm, becoming a Mom.

Friday Funnies

COLLATERAL

An old Native American wanted a loan for $500.  

The banker pulled out the loan application.
“What are you going to do with the money?” he asks the Indian.

“Buy Silver, make jewelry, and sell it,” was the response.

“What have you got for collateral?”

“Don’t know collateral,” replied the Indian

“Well that’s something of value that would cover the cost of the loan.
“Have you got any vehicles?”

“Yes.  1949 Chevy pickup,” replied the Indian

The banker shook his head, “How about livestock?”

“Yes, I have a horse,” replied the Indian

“How old is it?” the banker asks.

“Don’t know, has no teeth,” replies the Indian

Finally the banker decided to make the $500 loan.

Several weeks later the old man was back in the bank.
He pulled out a roll of bills, “Here to pay.” he said.
He then handed the banker the money to pay his loan off.

“What are you going to do with the rest of that money?” the banker asks.

“Put in hogan”, replied the Indian

“Why don’t you deposit it in my bank,” the banker asked.

“Don’t know deposit,” replied the Indian

“You put the money in our bank and we take care of it for you.
Whenever you want to use it, you can withdraw it.”

The old Indian leaned across the desk and asks the banker…
“What you got for collateral?”

 

DEAF WIFE A man feared his wife wasn’t hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid.  

Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem.

The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the  doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here’s what you do,” said the Doctor, “stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.”  

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.” Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?”  

No response. So, the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Still no response.  

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”  

Again he gets no response. 

So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

Again, there is no response.

So, he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

“Clyde, for the fifth time… CHICKEN!”

Betrayed

Emotional Betrayals

By Randy Kilgore

Some years back, another man and I were reading together Matthew 26 about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “I know this much,” he told me as we read along, “if I’d been with Jesus in Gethsemane, I’d have had His back. No way would I have fallen asleep!” Indignant, he continued, “How could anyone fall asleep after hearing Jesus tell them how troubled He was? He was practically begging!

Knowing that our families struggled with our long work hours, I wondered out loud to my friend: “How many times have our children looked for us in the crowd at their school activities, hoping to see us? Do our kids face troubles alone because we are away or busy? Our families and friends have an intense need for personal attention from us. Even Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray with Him” (see Matt 26:40-45).

It is not a simple thing to balance life’s demands against the needs of those we love and serve, but failing to do so is emotional betrayal. As we think about the disciples disappointing Jesus in the Garden, we might want to consider the ways we can today show our care for our loved ones and their interests. Help us, Lord, to love others well.

Open my eyes, Lord, to people around me,
Help me to see them as You do above;
Give me the wisdom and
strength to take action,
So others may see the depth of Your love
. —K. DeHaan

Too Short

Things to Ponder….

A wise person once said—There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.

Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t.

Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.—Author unknown

Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Thoughts become words. Words become actions.
Actions become habits. Habits become character.

If someone is going down the wrong road he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up.
What he needs is education to turn him around. ~ Jim Rohn