Wow, it’s dark in the morning, isn’t it! It’s simply amazing how quickly things change. I’m nearly set for winter, so I have nothing to fear. Speaking of nothing to fear, I want to share Susie Larson’s Facebook post from last night:
Evening Blessing: If you’re in a season of hardship and life feels like an uphill climb, may you stay the course until Jesus tells you otherwise. May you determine NOT to make any rash decisions that you’ll later regret. May you instead, fix your eyes on Jesus and take your cues from Him. May you trust Jesus to carry your burden so you can hold fast to His promises. May you exhale frustration and inhale God’s peace and provision. This season will pass. And you’ll come through it with strength, clarity, and conviction. Don’t take the enemy’s bait. Follow the Savior’s lead. You’ll be glad you did. Blessings on your night tonight!
I don’t know if you know who Susie Larson is, but she’s the real deal. She hosts a radio show on KTIS AM900 from 3-5 daily. She does a ton of events and is our local ball of fire. Check her out. She has several great books, including one on prayer that I am almost done with. If you want to get charged up in your faith, she’s the ticket.
Last night’s grabbed my attention, particularly this line: “Don’t take the enemy’s bait.” For some reason, I was in a funk of a mood yesterday. It was a ball of frustration and apathy – a particularly dangerous combination for me. It is times like these that I am likely to say screw it and indulge in sin. It’s a spot I really don’t enjoy. It’s a spot I need to be proactive with and change my environment. So, I threw firewood. The physical activity changed my mood. It was then I saw Susie’s post. “Don’t take the enemy’s bait.” For sure, he dangles it in front of us. Like a fish, we can ignore bait only so long. The quicker I recognize this and change my focus, the sooner my overall situation changes. Fix your eyes on Jesus!
Let’s look at a couple more verses regarding election:
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
2 Timothy 1:9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Ephesians 1:4-5, 11 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,…In him we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5. 8-10 And you were dead in the trespass and sins…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – …For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Romans 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
One of the most often used argument revolves around the word “foreknew” in Romans 8:29. The opposing argument to predestination would be that God looked down the corridor of time and could see who would “decide” to accept Jesus; therefore, God ‘predestined’ him/her before the age of time. Given the weight of other scripture, this argument seems weak, at best. No, there is a lot of scripture that simply has to make us consider that it indeed is possible that God actually did predestine believers before they ever were born. Remember what God said about Jacob and Esau? “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:13). Quick note, ‘hate’ in this context does not refer to malice as is typical with how we humans hate. Instead, “they” say this word would have better been translated to something that would mean that Esau was not given the blessing.
Anyway, predestination is a very important piece if we are to answer the question about those who have never heard of Jesus. Why? Because predestination does not allow for a human initiative at all. God is the one who decides. Yes, the bible says plenty about us calling to him, but do we call on our own or is the desire behind it actually the gift of God? Is Ephesians 2:8 correct in that our faith is a gift of God or is it not? Is saving faith a result of my own intelligence and reason or is it something apart from us? Could all this be like the following encounter?
Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Is this where God the Father “dragged” Peter? I think it is!
Father, all this stuff ties together in such an amazing way! It’s simply astounding! Father, it is humbling to understand that you are the one who reveals all things good to us. Apart from you, we are blind and forever lost. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers