Friday, September 30, 2011

Excerpt from "Our Lord Prays for His Own"

Now, as our Lord Jesus Christ's motive in the sanctification of Himself was in order that believers might be sanctified, His [purpose] must be accomplished and attained; and therefore, as believers in Him, our sin is entirely put away as if it had never existed-- "Removed as far as the east is from the west" from us (Ps 103:12)in every sense of the word from us; for either our sin was laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ, or it was not. Which is true?
Either the Lord Jesus Christ made His soul an offering for our sin, that He might make an end of sin, or He did not. Which is true?
Either the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead--God, in this way, publicly acknowledging that His offering was accepted, that justice was satisfied, the sin atoned for, and blotted out in the precious blood of Christ--or it was not so. Which is true? And if the sin was laid on Jesus, it cannot be laid on the believer, who is identified with Him in God's sight; if justice was satisfied by the sacrifice of Christ, justice will never demand the sacrifice of the sinner; if Jesus was raised from the dead because of our justification, who is to condemn us?

Marcus Rainsford "Our Lord Prays for His Own" Page 340

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Excerpt from "Our Lord Prays for His Own"

In this excerpt, the author is dealing with the topic of sanctification. Sanctification is God's action of setting us apart as holy and dedicated to his special use.

Rainsford writes:
It follows therefore that, according to the purpose and will of Him with whom we have to do, the "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty," we, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be more sanctified than we are.
Oh! that we might drink into this great fact. The reason is a very simple one, it is because the ground of our sanctification is not anything that we are, anything we have attained unto, or can possibly attain unto even by faith; the entire ground of our sanctification in the sight of God consists in what the Lord Jesus Christ is, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us.
Neither can we be more dearly loved; not even in glory shall we be more dear to our heavenly Father than we are now here below, tempest-tossed as we are, and tried and troubled with "fightings without, and fears within."
Neither can we be more "perfect" or "accepted" even in glory; for it is written, "Ye are complete in him which is the head of all principalities and power."
Neither can we be made more [fit] for glory than His grace has already made us; the moment we came as poor sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ and received Him, He "was made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," in the fullest and in the divinest sense thereof, and in the fullest and divinest measure thereof.

"Our Lord Prays for His Own" by Marcus Rainsford, pp 339-340

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hymn of the Week - Blessed Redeemer

  1. Up Calv’ry’s mountain, one dreadful morn,
    Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn;
    Facing for sinners death on the cross,
    That He might save them from endless loss.
    • Refrain:
      Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
      Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree;
      Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
      Blind and unheeding—dying for me!
  2. “Father forgive them!” thus did He pray,
    E’en while His lifeblood flowed fast away;
    Praying for sinners while in such woe—
    No one but Jesus ever loved so.
  3. Oh, how I love Him, Savior and Friend,
    How can my praises ever find end!
    Through years unnumbered on heaven’s shore,
    My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why you should be concerned about moralistic therapeutic deism?

What is moralistic therapeutic deism?
Moralistic therapeutic deism is a term coined by Christian Smith in his book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. Smith followed up with another book called Souls in Transition, in which he went back and interviewed the same people during their early twenties. I'll provide some links with more details below, but I would like to take a small amount of your time to summarize what I have learned from what Smith and others discovered.
Moralistic therapeutic deism has become the predominate religion among teens and twenty-somethings. By extension we can presume it is the message they are getting from their parents and churches. Let's take each of the three words separately to get a handle on what this means.
Moralistic--We need to learn to be good, nice and polite and not hurt others.
Therapeutic--God wants us to feel good about ourselves and our circumstances. He wants us happy.
Deism--There is a God out there. He doesn't have much to do with me as long as I'm nice and doing good. He pretty much is not involved in day-to-day events in my life or in the world. I don't bother him and he doesn't bother me.

The point I want to make in this short article is to say that the findings are that this belief system is by far the most predominant in our society. There is very little understanding of the Gospel, sin and salvation. Hopefully this can change if those of us who claim to be Faithful Christian Men teach the truth faithfully to our families and in our churches. We need to talk often with our children to see what message they are picking up from us. We might mean well, but they might be hearing something totally different from what we are trying to say by our words and examples.

Here are some resources for understanding this phenomenon better:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Lord Sanctified Himself for Us

In John 17 Jesus said that He sanctified Himself for our sakes.
Rainsford in "Our Lord Prays for His Own" puts it this way:
"So here our Lord saith, 'for their sakes,' to supply all their need out of My own fullness, to make My strength perfect in their weakness, to be the fountain-head of their life, to be their light, and their joy, to be 'Made unto them wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption' (1 Cor 1:30)
"To be a wall of fire round about them, so that no evil may befall them,
to be the glory in the midst of them, so that every blessing may be with them,
that they may be kept from falling, and presented faultless before the presence of My glory with exceeding joy,
that they may lack nothing that is good for time or for eternity, the life or in death,
That they may evermore be filled with all the fullness of God, and kept for Me and the Father forever, 'I sanctify Myself.'"
"For their sakes," and for their sins: we read in Galatians 1:4, He "gave himself for our sins," that we might be forgiven' and not only forgiven, but that we might be "justified from all things"; and not only justified, but that we might be adopted, made sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty; and not only adopted but "sanctified"; not only delivered from destruction, but exalted to holiness; not only saved from hell, but brought to heaven; that His glory might not only be "seen on us," but that it might be "revealed in us."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Excerpt from "Our Lord Prays for His Own"

In John 17:19 Jesus prayed, "I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified."

Rainsford goes on to point out that:

In all of God's dealings with His people, God generally begins with the Lord Jesus and do unto Him, and with Him, what in His purpose in grace and love He intends to do with us.

"Thus, God in the first instance unites Christ to Himself, and then in Christ unites Himself to His people."
"Christ is 'the first begotten among many brethren,' and then we are begotten in Him;
Christ is the 'most blessed for evermore,' and we 'blessed in Him with all spiritual blessings.'
First, the Father gave to Christ ' to have life in Himself,' and then He gave us life in Him;
Christ is first filled with 'all the fullness' of God, and then we out 'of his fullness have received, and grace for grace';
Christ was first manifested and declared to be the Son of the Father, then we in Him;
Christ crucified for sin, and we 'crucified with Him';
Christ risen, we 'raised up together with him';
Christ more than conqueror, we 'more than conquerors through him';
Christ set down at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, we 'sitting at God's right hand in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus';
the Holy Spirit descending without measure upon Him, so we might, through the anointing of our High Priest, enjoy His power and share His blessing."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here's What I Think

Would God allow a repentant mass murderer into heaven and send millions of good moral people to hell? This is the kind of question that troubles many people when they consider Christianity. I certainly cannot solve all of the issues related to this in one short post, but let me explain how I understand the Bible and the God it presents to us.
First there is the question as to how we come to a conclusion of what is fair and just and what is not. Is this something that we as human beings come to individually or even collectively, or is it something outside of ourselves? If the question of fairness and justice is something we each come to individually, it is then true that all of us reach the same conclusions on every single issue that confronts us? I don't think so. So is justice a matter of collective agreement? We take a majority vote on whether it is just or fair to treat someone in a certain way? Was slavery right and just because at that time there was a consensus that it was right and good? Should we have left Hitler alone because he and a good number of other Germans thought Jews were inferior and should be exterminated? Are these things a matter of public opinion or do they transcend our human decision making process? I think you know the answer to that question.
If we have to look beyond ourselves to find out what is just and fair, where do we look? Many people, including myself, have concluded that the God presented to us in the Bible is the one who determines how things are and what is just and fair and moral. Obviously not everyone agrees with that, but that is where I'm coming from.
If we accept the Bible as the definitive presentation of the God who is actually out there, we have to accept God as he is presented. If we don't like the God of the Bible, we'll need to look elsewhere. In other words, we can't call ourselves Christians and then at the same time reject the God that the Bible presents. If we do that, we are not truly Christians; we are something else.
Does the Bible teach that if a man like Hitler were to repent at the end of his life and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he would be forgiven and enter heaven? The answer is yes. How is that fair when millions of others who are morally upright may be sent to hell?
I think that the problem is that we don't understand God's assessment of all of us. This may not make more people like the God of the Bible, but the Bible teaches that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of God's standard. (Romans 3:23) It teaches that there is no one who is righteous and no one who truly seeks after the real God. (Romans 3:10-18) It teaches that committing one sin makes us guilty of breaking the whole law and subjects us to God's curse. (Galatians 3:10)
The problem in the scenario that we are discussing is that we are assuming that the great multitude of people are good, upstanding, moral individuals. The Bible does not describe us that way. It's interesting the way people tend to view Jesus. He is painted as a meek and mild person who wouldn't condemn or judge anyone but just be loving and kind. One day some people came to him and told him about some Jewish people who had been murdered by Pilate and had their blood mixed in with the blood of the sacrifices. Jesus' response to this was interesting. He said, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
He then went on to say this, "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 15-1-5)
The whole Bible and Jesus included presents the fact that all of us have committed crimes against the ruler of the universe and that all of us stand as condemned men and women before God. That includes me and it includes you and it included Hitler and it included Mother Teresa.
But, and it's a big "but", the good news is that Jesus, God in human form, came here and lived the perfect life we should have lived, and he died the death and separation from God that sin required. Jesus' claim is that if we would accept the free gift of God's forgiveness and accept Christ's life and death as applicable to us, God will look at Christ's life as being ours and will proclaim us righteous and forgiven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me." (John 14:6) According to the Bible and to Jesus, there are no actual alternative solutions to our dilemma.
The question is not why God would send innocent people to hell. The question is, "Why would God allow anyone at all into heaven?" He does so because he is merciful and gracious.
The God of the Bible is not the wrathful, vindictive, vacillating being that he is sometimes pictured to be. Neither is he the wishy-washy, weak being who overlooks wrongs right and left and lets injustices slide through unnoticed. He hates sin and injustice so much that he came and took the punishment for the world's injustices upon himself so that in love he could justly pardon anyone who humbly comes to him for forgiveness whether it be one of the most "morally upright" people in the world or one of the most despicable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What would you say?

How would you answer this scenario? Hitler repents of his sins and trusts Christ moments before he dies at the end of WWII. According to Christian teaching, God would save him and he would enter heaven a forgiven man. All of the while millions of people whose deaths he caused would be in hell because they had not trusted Christ. An atheist debating a Christian raised this point as the kind of problem many people have with the "Christian" God. How can God be any sort of God we would want to worship if he would send potentially millions of innocent people to hell and allow a brutal mass murderer into heaven?
I'll let you think about how you would respond to that situation and I'll share my thoughts on it tomorrow. The debate where this was raised came from a British website which features a weekly broadcast and podcast in which discussions and debate are featured. The website is http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable The debate was between atheist Paul Baird and Christian Sye Ten Bruggencate. Ten Bruggencate has an interesting website based on presuppositional apologetics called http://www.proofthatgodexists.org
Tomorrow I'll share what I think is the biblical answer in this situation. It might not make atheists any more inclined to believe in the God of the Bible, but I think it will at least help us understand more accurately what the Bible teaches.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Memorization Monday - Expected Fruit - Love

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S. -- Keep it Simple Stupid

I like it when complicated things are reduced to simple, easy-to-understand concepts. Sometimes the Christian life can seem complicated. But there are three or four passages in the Bible that come to mind that list sort of a summary of what God wants from us.

The first one is Acts 16:31. It tells us what we must do to be saved. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."

Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Solomon sums up the conclusion of everything, "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

Finally from 1 Thessalonians 4:9 & 11 "Love one another ... and aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.

Simple to understand, isn't it? It's not always that easy to practice, but at least it's understandable. Now let's do it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jesus prayed - For their sake I sanctify myself

Today I'd like to share a little bit from the book "Our Lord Prays for His Own" by Marcus Rainsford. In this section which I am about to quote, the author is discussing Jesus' prayer for His own in John 17. The phrase under consideration is "I sanctify myself." Usually the idea of sanctification is that of "making holy." But Jesus was already holy. What did he mean by this phrase?
Here is what the author writes (I'm modernizing some phrases and picking and choosing from the text on pages 330 and 331):

What does He mean? He was "The Holy One of God...Holiness unto the Lord...the Most Holy"; it is utterly inconceivable that He could become more holy or more sanctified than He was, yet He says, "I sanctify myself."
The meaning here evidently is, I dedicate, I consecrate, I set apart My whole self, --My Person, Godhead and Manhood, Soul and Body. I consecrate all my offices--if I be a Priest, if I be a Prophet, if I be a King-- I set them apart, I wholly dedicate and consecrate all My fullness of grace and glory, all My righteousness, all My interest, My very existence, I sanctify for the purpose and object for which I plead.
I lay down all upon the altar of divine and unchangeable love that I may be all, do all, suffer all, merit all My people need, and, that I may pay all My people owe."
Oh! what did He hold back? Nothing! His was a complete surrender; it was an absolute devoting of Himself, all that He was as Son of God, all that He was as Son of Man, all that He was as Mediator, all His fullness, and all His service, His time, His care, His thought, His very life itself He consecrated and set apart, that He might be the sanctification of His people.
The blood of Christ has a double efficacy: it is the atonement for sin, and it is the sanctification of the sinner on whose heart it is sprinkled. "We are justified by his blood (Romans 5:9) and we are sanctified by the blood (Hebrews 13:12). This one offering of Himself includes sin-offering, burnt-offering, meat-offering, peace-offering, all in one. His blood cleanses "from all sin," both from the guilt of sin, and from the filth of sin, from every kind and degree of sin, and everything contained in sin, its pollution, its demerit, and its consequences; where the blood of the Lamb is applied by faith the Holy Spirit descends and dwells there forever.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fear of the Lord - Part 3

In this last part of our series on the “fear of God”, I want to look at some of the promises and admonitions that the Bible puts forward related to the “fear of the Lord”. It is interesting to note that God's promise of protection to those that fear him is counter-intuitive. God is the one who hates evil and has set himself against those who do evil and yet his promise is this to those who fear him: “Run to me and be safe.” We fear God and we fear his wrath on sin, and yet if that fear drives us to him, he promises safety and forgiveness. Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

Here are some promises and other statements from the Bible related to the fear of God:

Luke 1:50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
Psalm 111:5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 22:4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Psalm 25:14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Psalm 103:17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
Psalm 34:9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
Psalm 85:9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Psalm 103:13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalm 145:19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
Psalm 147:11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Acts 10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.



Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Fear of God - Part 2

I'm continuing a discussion that started yesterday concerning what it means to “fear God”. I described it as respect, awe or profound reverence for God. But I explained that that has different meanings depending on what you know or believe about God. If you believe that God is basically nice and is going to stay out of your business and just sort of love you and pour blessings on you, then your respect or reverence for God will mean one thing. But if you really believe that God hates evil and is intent on judging those who persist in evil, then you will look at it differently.

Yesterday I described how the fear of God applies to those who have not trusted him and believed in his promise of forgiveness and salvation. To those in that camp, God's justice has threatened wrath.

But there is another group of people who have admitted their failure to live up to God's standards and have trusted in his promise to save them and grant them forgiveness. Who are these people? Are they like the teacher's pet? Didn't you hate it in school when there were people who seemed to be able to get away with anything because the teacher seemed to like them better? Is God that way? The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. If that is so, why are some people let off the hook even though everyone obviously falls short of the perfect life that God requires?

Jesus Christ, God's son, a co-equal part of God, became a human being. He lived a perfect life and then even though he lived such a life, he died. Death and separation from God is the penalty for sin. But he had not sinned. The great news of the Christian faith is that God is willing to count Jesus' perfect fulfillment of the law as though it were your perfect obedience. And he is willing to count Jesus' death as the death and separation from God that you owe because of your sinfulness and disobedience. Anyone who believes that and accepts God's offer is forgiven of every sin he has ever done. He is declared righteous once and for all by God and God promises never to bring up the issue of sin in any future judgment. This offer is made freely to anyone who would like to receive it. There is no favoritism with God.

So, for those who have accepted this offer, what does the fear of God mean? First, I think there is fear, awe, reverence for God because of the wrath we know we deserve but have escaped. Psalm 130:4 “But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” When we see that God's wrath was upon us, but in his mercy he has forgiven us, it produces a certain kind of fear as seen in this verse.

Secondly it produces the kind of fear that induces obedience. It's not a fear of judgment, but a fear and respect for the fact that God hates sin. In so doing, why would I, a person who had been under judgment but is now under forgiveness, why would I want to keep doing those things that the one who rescued me hates? Why would I scoff at the forgiveness he has given and practically spit in his face and dare him to do something to me?

2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Deuteronomy 8:6 So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.

Finally I think it produces a kind of awe and respect that promotes true worship. God is the one who made me, who gave me breath. He provides the food, water, air, strength and all other things I need on a daily basis. He allows me, a criminal against his reign, to live and have freedom. This kind of being deserves every ounce of my worship and praise and adoration. Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! Revelation 19:5 “And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.”

So, what does the “fear of God” mean to you?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Fear of God

What does the phrase, “Fear of God” mean? I'm preparing to teach on that subject in the next couple of weeks, and thought it might be an interesting topic for an article here on the Faithful Men Blog.

The “fear of God” is often described as an awe, respect or profound reverence for God. But how that description is understood depends on what you know about God. People have all kinds of ideas about what God is like, but it's important to know what God is like based on statements in his Word, the Bible.

There are basically two classifications of people: those who have believed on Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their sins and have accepted his free gift of eternal life and there are those who have not. The implications of “the fear of God” depends on which of those two groups you are in.

God has a holy and righteous hatred of sin. Sins are those things that we do that don't meet God's standards of behavior and perfection in thought and deed. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” This is from the lips of the one everyone says is so meek and mild and loving. It is wise to fear someone who has the power to throw us into hell. Why would God do that? Because he hates sin and has determined to judge all of those who sin against his rule.

Read what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:26 – 31:

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Psalm 7:11 tells us “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

You might be saying, “I thought God was a God of love.” He is, but he is angry with those who have not admitted their failure to meet God's standards and that they are in the need of God's grace. He would not be a just king and judge if he just let everyone do what they wanted without any punishment and justice.

So what does “fearing God” mean. To those who are outside of God's grace, it should mean a fear and dread that God means what he says. He will by no means clear the guilty (Numbers 14:18) and he will in fact cast the wicked into hell and all the nations that forget God (Psalms 9:17). I say “should mean” because most people don't seem the least bit concerned about any of this. Maybe it's because they don't believe this is true? Personally, I don't think it's a gamble worth risking.

Next time we'll look at what it means to fear God for those who have accepted God's offer of forgiveness. Do they still need to fear God?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Month Verse - Part 3

Continuing our thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12.

In the second verse of this prayer, Paul lets us know the reason and purpose for praying like this. It is that the name of the Lord Jesus would be glorified in them and they in him, according to God's grace.

Now that's an amazing statement. The first part of it we might expect. It is our purpose as Christians to live life in such a way that the name of the Lord Jesus would be made to look great. That God would be honored and esteemed among those who know us because of our desire for goodness and our works of faith.

But the second part seems amazing to me. Not only is he praying that God would be glorified in his people, but that they would be glorified in them. Really? There is a sense in which being a Christian and living life for the glory of God also demonstrates what it is to be truly human. To be and act in a way that is consistent with the way God originally designed for us. And in so doing there is a sense in which we are glorified by being a part of this whole plan that God is working on. It's not a proud and self-centered glory, it is a glory that centers in all that God can do in a man when he is at work in him.

All of this is related to the grace of God at work. Grace is God's blessing and favor given to those who don't deserve it. So as God pours out this blessing in our lives, they demonstrate more and more the character of God and the character of mankind acting and responding the way God originally intended for human beings to act.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Month Verse - Part 2

I'm continuing to share some thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12 which is our focus verse for this month.

Part of Paul's prayer for these people is that God would fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power. A person who has truly been redeemed and saved by God has a new nature that consists of new desires and motivations. Such people have the desire to do good and to accomplish good. They may not perfect at it, but they certainly have that desire. What Paul is praying for here is that God would honor that desire and fulfill every (notice the word every) desire for goodness that they might have.

He also included a prayer for the fulfillment of every work of faith in the person's life so that there would be power in those works of faith.

Now I'm thinking to myself how my prayers for people compare to this one. I am usually focused on a lot more physical and immediate needs, not so much the spiritual issues that God is really more concerned about. How about your prayers? Do we need to make some adjustments?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

New Month Verse

I've taken it kind of easy over the last couple of months with respect to writing and sharing my thoughts here on the Faithful Men Blog. I'm trying to get back into gear on this because it helps me focus and hopefully gives food for thought for the many men who are trying to live a faithful life before God.

Let me just share a couple of meditation thoughts related to these verses (2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2) which are really the content of a prayer. The Apostle Paul is sharing his concern for these people by letting them know the content of his prayers for them. I noticed first the word 'always'. This gives us an indication of how faithful Paul was in his prayers for these people. How honestly could we use the word 'always' in our description of our praying?

Next I see him asking that God would count them worthy of his calling in their lives. There is too much here to cover in a short article, but it makes me wonder how God could count them worthy. These were plain ordinary people. And yet God has called them into his family and service and in that awesome position, how could they be counted worthy of that honor? The answer here is just like it is in all aspects of the Christian life. God is able to declare us worthy even when we aren't because of the worthiness of Christ who came and lived the lives we should have lived and died to forgive us of our failures. All of that is counted as ours if we trust Christ personally.

Perhaps I'll have the opportunity to share some more thoughts on this passage tomorrow.