A Prayer for a Heart of Evangelism

May I see the lost as You do and sacrifice as You do and mourn as You do. May I live so they may see You and not me. May my speech be your words. May I serve you with a daily burden for people who do not know the wonder of You and your salvation. Oh God, by your power and grace may we see untold numbers broken over sinning against You and drawn into Your presence with mourning over their sin and joy over Your grace.

I pray my lack of evangelism will decrease with every passing day, that my selfish, shortsighted flesh will be subdued. I look to the cross and see what it means to crucify the flesh, yet all too often I feed the flesh.

My Father, with wonder beyond words, holiness that I can feel when I pray, and power that the ages testify to, please forgive me for all too often loving things that are not the passion of the cross.

Thank you for permitting me to play even the smallest part in someone experiencing salvation by faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.

Is Reprobation Necessary for God to Demonstrate His Holiness and Wrath?

According to Calvinism, God voluntarily predetermined for some of the human race to experience salvation in order to display His mercy, while concomitantly and voluntarily predetermining to pass over most of the human race, thereby inviolably destining them to perish in hell. The former are known as the unconditionally elected and the latter are known as the reprobate. This predestination is said to be necessary in order to display both His grace and His wrath.

For example, commenting on Romans 9:11ff, John Calvin plainly says, “The reprobate are expressly raised up, in order that the glory of God may thereby be displayed. At last, he concludes [referring to Paul] that God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth (Rom. 9:18). You see how he refers both to the mere pleasure of God. Therefore, if we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit in mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will.”[1] Continue reading →

A Prayer of Contentment

May I hear all reports of what you do through others to advance the kingdom with a grateful heart. May I be predisposed to see Your mighty works and rejoice, and only be inclined toward doubting because of heresy and sin. Oh God, let me not be critical because You have not chosen to so use me; even if you have chosen to leave me in the hollows of obscurity as long as You are with me. Let me rejoice when righteousness advances according to Your power.

My loving Father, forgive me when I run to self pity and flee from thankfulness. Thank You for speaking from Your Word to jostle me from my pride so that I may walk with You anew. Each time I am saddened by my plight, feel underappreciated, or that my cross is too much for me to bear, I am but shortly, awakened by your grace to the peace that I have with You; I am rescued by my joy and gratefulness for even my next breath, much less the superabundance that I really have from Your mercy. Thank You for not allowing me to live in such a sinful state, and may my visits there become shorter and less frequent as I learn of You.

May I cherish Your withholding of blessings that expose my sinfulness. May I see the lust of my heart as the evil tyrant it is and flee to the rule of my Savior. May I do so more quickly today than yesterday. When I look to my thoughts of what I need, need to do, or future uncertainties I find  worry and anxiety, but when I trust in You, I find peace and fullness. May every anxious or discontent thought sound the trumpet of sin in my life, my own self-reliance, and be quickly banished by repentance and reliance on You.

Think About IT: How to Lose by Winning

I must ALWAYS be right

Such firmness whether witting or unwitting assures the loss of respect and love by others. This unspoken resolve leaves spouses and children deeply wounded, sometimes for life.

Although I cannot imagine a Christian actually uttering such words, one’s consistent arguing of his point until all objectors have given in painfully reveals such a mindset to those with whom he speaks. It is evident by the need to have all agree with you or have the last word.

Often those who disagree become silent and appear to have given in. Far too often, they have actually given up, and silence and emotional detachment become their hiding place.

This kind of winning with family and friends often results in everyone losing, especially the “winner.”

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” (Romans 12:10).

Prayer of Forgiveness and Repentance

Oh God, forgive me of thoughts so vile, and yet to You infinitely more so. Forgive me of even the slightest thoughts, aspirations, delights, or passions that do not have Your glory as preeminent. Expose my pride so that I will be ever mindful of my frailty, which makes me vulnerable to cast away everything that means anything in a weak second. I repent of selfishness, self-centeredness that would seek for me to justify that which You want me to repent of. Forgive me.

Thank You for grace a billion times unmerited, for protection from me, my greatest enemy, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit and Your Word, which You so lavishly bestow upon me. May I never lose the wonder and praise for Your conviction in me. Lord I repent today, and I pray, although in no way do I deserve it, that You will continue to convict me and call me to repent. I pray I will run to repentance and not from it so that I might not sin even more against You, or in some way show that I do not treasure grace. There is no doubt in my mind that I am the most evil, vile, sinful human being that You ever loved. Thank You for grace, mercy, patience unmerited, and of untold supply.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8–10).

Do Not Forget To Remember

It is not new knowledge that we reject, for we should always be growing in the knowledge of the Lord. Rejecting new knowledge is the failure of traditionalism. Nor do we reject what has been known for years, decades, or even centuries from what God has revealed in His Word because of some superficial changes in culture, for that is the failure of ‘new is better’ mentality. Rather we embrace knowledge that allows us to continually grow deeper in our understanding of God’s person, will, and ways so that we can honor Him with all of our being. This knowledge comes from learning the Scripture in order to live the Scripture. It is kept fresh by remembering. Continue reading →

A Prayer for Facing the Future

Oh my Lord Jesus, I confess that I am one who desires to know my future. Only you know how often I have been troubled beyond measure concerning the uncertainty and troubles that tomorrow may bring. Please forgive me for the thousandth time of saying, by my thoughts, worries, and plans, that I am God. The thought of saying those words make me quake. For I would never say them vocally or even in my heart, and yet, my thoughts about the future have at times declared those unthinkable words.

May I face the future with my trust in you and you alone. Oh, may I grow to despise my own surmising about what will, may, can, or cannot happen. For by now, I should be most humble of all in trusting you because you have often shown me the results of trusting your leadership through blessing me beyond what I could ever have dreamed to pray for. You have even shown your immeasurable grace and superior plans through temporary hurt, loss, and grief that latched onto me as one being dragged into the abyss.

May I not look to the future as Pollyanna or as one sitting beneath the sword of Damocles. Rather, may I do so as one who knows You, Your Word, and my experience of walking with You through the years, which all testify that the future is not mine to know.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”” (James 4:13–15).

Think About IT: Loving God and Not His Word

Many speak of loving God but exhibit minimal or no concern to know the Scripture. They may be disinterested or even caviler about learning the Scripture. Their reverence for the Scripture is romantic rather than actual. Their interest in being taught the Scripture is limited to whatever practical value it has as a How To book rather than a book calling them to a radical life of self-denial and submission to Christ. A life of serving.

Their claim of loving God does not include a love for God’s word. But a person cannot truly love the God of Scripture without loving the Scripture of God.

Seeking to love and follow God apart from loving to hear from Him through His Word is more characteristic of a lost person than a devoted follower of Christ.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” John 14:15

Extensivism’s View of the Origin of Sin and God’s Offer of Salvation

In a previous article I explored Calvinism’s view of the origin of sin and salvation through the lens of their belief in compatible freedom and the “mysteries” that such a view generates. To read it, just search “Calvinism’s View of the Origin of Sin and God’s Offer of Salvation” (posted on October 31, 2016).

This article looks at Extensivism’s view of the same issues. In this article I use Extensivism (broadly) as encompassing all soteriological perspectives that see God’s love and salvation plan as provisioning salvation by faith for everyone, and this in contrast with Calvinism’s exclusive plan, which only includes some people—the unconditionally elect.[1] Continue reading →

Think about IT: Christianity without Truth or Love

Christianity without truth is not Christianity, and Christianity without love misrepresents Christ to both Christians and the lost world.

Two of the greatest threats to Christianity are lies and loveless disciples. I am not referring to the lies told about Christianity by the enemies of Christ or the world, but rather the lies spoken by those who don the title Christian.

Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit guides us into truth by teaching us the Truth of Scripture (John 17:17). If we as Christians expect to walk with Christ, and influence the world for Christ, we must speak truth in the significant and public areas as well as the mundane and private areas (Eph 4:15). For reasons unique to each, I have found the challenge of each of these to be impossible apart from living in the presence of Christ (Eph 5: 1-2, 18).

The world’s hatred of the followers of Christ will never destroy the work or testimony of the church, for this was well predicted (John15:18-19). Rather, it is the spirit of hate, jealousy, bitterness, revenge, immoralities, and divisiveness, all of which emanate from the carnal mind and unrestrained flesh that destroys the work of the church (1 Cor 3:3; Gal 5: 19-21). For such prohibits the world from seeing Christ in His people (1 Pet 2: 21-23). The world not only needs to hear the truth about Christ; they desperately need to see the truth of Christ in changed lives.

Our enemy’s greatest endeavors to destroy the work of Christ in and through us is by God’s grace an extraordinary opportunity to show Christ most movingly.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44.