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Don’t you just love that picture above? My son took that when he was temporarily stationed at Ascension Island. He has given me tons of beautiful pictures from his travels. His hobby has morphed to professional-grade photography. He has such a wonderful gift. I can see other parts of the world through the lens of his camera. If you click on the picture, it’s linked to the Ascension Island web site. I’m not promoting anything. Just thought it would be kind of neat for you to see some of their beautiful island and know a little of their history. It’s kind of like taking a virtual trip to see the wonders of God’s hand; even if for a moment.
So here I am. I feel like I’ve just come out of a deep freeze — or the big black hole is more like it. I have a lot I could say regarding the last 18 or so months. But in short, exactly one week after I “preached” my last sermon on Tithes & Offerings, I went out on medical leave — and within two months of that, I lost my job. Right after that, I tried to take my quilting hobby and turn it into a viable business. I took the steps to become an LLC. The one thing I didn’t have was a business plan to approach the bank with. In desperation, I paid some company $1500 to put one together for me. They got my money and I got nothing. I have been unemployed ever since. And in that time, the stress of losing my job caused my health issues to get serious enough that I thought it would have been a relief for God to take me home. No job. No identity. All props gone, I completely shut down. Then a few months later, I lost my baby brother to the debilitating effects of chemicals from the Gulf War. Yes, that war was a long time ago, but the unfortunate effects took years to kill him. His sacrifice was not instant like some, but it was a sacrifice nonetheless. He left behind a wife and a grade-school-aged daughter. We laid him to rest at Dallas National Cemetery among the tens of thousands of those good Soldiers who have gone before him. He was 46. Then the dates of our divorce and our wedding anniversary comes and goes. It gets me every year. Then the blessed holidays with no job. Within three months of losing my youngest brother, I almost lost another brother. His kidneys shut down just like they had on our youngest a year prior. My brother is now on dialysis three times a week waiting for kidneys. For years he had been treated for high blood pressure when the reality was that his kidneys were causing his blood pressure to spiral out of control. But we praise God! He’s still alive. After that? I was molested by a married man who thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips too. I’ve known this man for years. He did not hurt me but he was seriously out of control. Who would have thought a job interview with his company could have turned to such disgusting evil! The last I heard from him, he was convinced I was going to give in and be a friend with benefits. Seriously. He’s that deluded. I don’t need any job that bad… But more than that? I LOVE MY HUSBAND! And then I had another birthday. Normally that would be a good thing but my focus has been a tad bit skewed and on my ever increasing years and no Husband to enjoy them with makes me think of how short time really is getting in my life . . . . Oh goodness, there’s more where this came from. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. And I know in my heart that a lot of you have even worse circumstances than I do. How my heart bleeds for you. Sometimes I think I must have really ticked the devil off — or something — because it just keeps piling on. Ahhh, but like Job, the devil can’t touch me apart from God having weighed the outcome from eternity past and allowing it — for no other reason than HE has a purpose and whatever I am going through will one day glorify His Name. I pray for that. I can’t bear that this would be for nothing. But neither can the devil touch you apart from what God allows. (cf Job 1:12; 2:6). In light of that, we must know the inspired words of David because this is such a crucial Truth to have in our hearts!
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:16 NKJV
I used to read that all the time. It always makes sense to me. But then one day it dawned on me –> All the days of my life were predetermined before I was ever conceived — and all those days were written in His Book before one of them came to be. He KNEW me before time — and certainly He knew me before I was formed in my Mother’s womb. And so it is true for you as well, my friend. So we take comfort in the knowledge that God has each and every one of us in His hand. There are no accidents. No randomness. Everything has a purpose. I hope even that this will speak to the wounded heart that believes that they are an unplanned accident. Not on your life! God does not make accidents. He does not make trash. Everything and everyone has a purpose. God is not finished with me yet. Neither is He finished with you. I hope you will allow Him to speak to you through the serious study of His Word and the seeking of His heart. These last many months have sent me into the depths of His Word. I know I can only go deeper should He lead me there. But I found I no longer searched His Word on Marriage, divorce and “re-marriage.” I have studied things so far out from my situation — and when I think of that alone, it amazes me. The difference is in seeking God for some thing versus seeking God for the purpose of knowing Him. Though I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t seeking God for the one thing that seems to be so close to me yet so very far away. It has been just shy of eight years of Standing. I try so hard not to count the days past — but I’m not going to lie. It’s very hard. But there is obviously something God wants to do within me first — so I wait.
I may not know who you are, but I think about you in prayer. How I hope your Prodigal has returned home and that you have continued to follow through on your standing by praying your Prodigal Mate right through the front doors of your home and into the Kingdom of God. What follows in this post might sound like a contradiction in terms compared to the statement I just made about praying your Mate into the Kingdom of God — but if you hang with me, I’m going to try to make all this fit together without giving an entire doctoral dissertation. But because this is so crucial to understand — and because I can never say anything in 25 words or less — I’ll get pretty close to that dissertation. 😉
For those of you who have read most of the posts on this site, you know I’m not into candy-coating things. I try hard to be loving and sensitive without sounding like a heartless and hateful person when speaking God’s Word. But the truth of the matter — no, the reality is that Truth in its very nature can be offensive and divisive at some point. Let’s face it, it’s not always what we want to hear. Listen to what Jesus says:
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 10:34-39 NKJV
Jesus IS Truth! (cf John 14:6) Jesus IS the Word! He IS God (cf John 1:1, 14) — and because of that, you must come to terms with whether He offends you or not. Yes, He. His Word divides people! Look at the world around you! Were there not historical wars fought over Truth — or humanistic versions of truth? Nations divided? Religions divided between what is false and what is True? Yet the false religions of the world seek to sow their version of Christ (or other deity) as the one truth. Families are divided when one in a family becomes born again. That Child of the Living King is ostracized and even disinherited. Yes. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS divisive. It is hard to take and to understand if you do not belong to Him. Let’s face it. The Truth is divisive more often than being unifying. And we tolerate untruths in the name of religion and unity. But this is the very antithesis of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I go through this strange opening because I realize that what I am getting ready to publish is controversial and divisive — even among some well-known “Evangelical” leaders. But they, too, are mere men. Because they are well-known and published, that does not make them 100% correct. They are more likely to be correct because they are well-versed in the languages, history and people in the Bible. On the other hand, even satan poses as an angel of light and blinds the hearts and minds of man. I do not pretend to know their hearts before God, but a carnal mind constantly wars with the Spirit of God within, if indeed He is truly within. I gotta follow that up by saying that I am never 100% right either (don’t tell my children that because they think I am); but I will tell you IF what someone says flagrantly disagrees with the Word of God — and they preach or teach something other than what God says in His Word, that person is a false teacher preaching a false gospel.
1 . . . .just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.
II Peter 2:1-2 NKJV
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.
9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.
Galatians 1:8-9 ASV
We know — or should know — that the Holy Spirit is the only infallible Teacher. But the aforementioned and purposely unnamed “Evangelical” leaders are not alone. There are multitudes of people that believe God is Love and He would never hurt anyone or send them to Hell simply because He understands how they “feel.” The misguided think Hell is for murderers and perverts only — not for someone close to them, especially if they are “good” people. I’ll talk about that a little bit later on in this post. But to those who would carnally deduce only that God is Love, I would say this: it’s dangerous to get stuck in the “love bubble.” Otherwise, there is a whole lot of the Bible that you will dismiss because it is uncomfortable and incomprehensible to you. The complete and rounded Truth is that God is also a God of Wrath and Judgment. And He has; He does now; and He will exercise His Sovereign right to Love and to Judge — both the righteous and the unrighteous according to His purposes. We have to talk about this! You cannot effectually take your Stand without it! As a matter of fact, you cannot plead with the Sovereign God of the universe without it. It is that crucial.
Whether you or I like it or not, are offended by it, want to remake or remold Him to fit what is comfortable for us to bear — or whether we flat out deny it — from everlasting to everlasting, God is still God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever… Amen.
Suffering of any kind is always meant for HIS purpose and HIS glory. And it is in our anguished suffering and heartache that we seek Him — not for what He can give us, but for Who He is. I sincerely Pray God opens your eyes, ears and heart to HIS Word — no matter how it hurts.
Grab a cup of your favorite coffee or tea and sit with me. We will cry together and pray together. . . .
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. . . . ” Isaiah 1:18 ESV
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:5-8 ESV
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” Such an odd thing to say, don’t you think? I mean, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about being born again and all of a sudden He’s talking about the wind! Nicodemus was already severely confused on the subject of being born again; I can only imagine what he thought when seemingly out of nowhere Jesus starts talking about the wind. I don’t know about you but for me, at least, verse 8 baffled me for many years so I left it alone. I totally understand the Doctrine of Eternal Salvation — but when Christ dragged the wind into it, He lost me.
Then suddenly about two months ago, the Light came on in my head — and my heart. It is something I’ve always comprehended, but only in pieces. Meaning I knew what the Scriptures said but putting it into one bigger and more comprehensible picture was truly a “light bulb over the skull” moment. God had to walk the stairs from my heart to my head and turn on the Light in the attic.
And this, my beloved fellow Standers, is something we need to face together. Those of you who are mature in the Word of God, who eat spiritual meat, will understand what I am getting ready to bring on. And if this is something you knew but didn’t connect the dots like me, here’s your “ah-ha” moment. For the new babes in Christ — for all of us really — this is something we need to be fervently praying for because we cannot deny the eternal possibilities. Please, oh please, I beg you to prayerfully read this with God’s Word open before you because we cannot afford to bring our carnal minds and feelings into our stand. Forgive me. While I don’t want to think about this, I have to assume that not everyone who reads my posts — especially the EphesianWarfare Prayers — is a True Christian. I have readers from over 150 countries around the world. Not all who light on my blog believe in Christ to be their personal Savior and Lord of their lives. But, that said, if they come here and find the Truth — if God is knocking on the doors of the hearts of many, then I am humbled at the glorious eternal possibilities for them and I praise God for His mercy.
So now, what’s the buzz about the wind blowing where it wishes? What am I talking about…?
God’s Sovereignty in ALL things; over ALL things. He does what HE wills in the lives of everyone — whether born again or unregenerate — from the beginning of time to its end. There are no exceptions.
You see, the huge paradox (something that appears to contradict itself) in Scripture is that the offer to come to God appears to be universal in its application — meaning most believe that the offer is meant for all people and for all time. Yet if you read the Scriptures more carefully, you will see that the power to come is limited to whom GOD wills. It is not up to man to decide.
I think one of the great deceptions of all of time is that we have come to believe that man has real freedom of choice; that the events in our daily lives are mostly random. Certainly this cannot be true because it leaves no room for the Sovereignty of God in all things — especially the affairs of man. Actually, the very notion that man has a freedom of choice will make the power of a Sovereign God limited and even impotent. Not to mention the pride factor involved. I mean, who in their right mind would say “No!” to God? Especially when it comes to salvation. That the “power” of man’s freedom of choice could ever nullify the power of the blood of Christ on the cross is unthinkable! If we truly have what we perceive as a real and true freedom of choice, we would never want to actually choose to be born again (saved)! Because the Truth is, men love darkness rather than light. (cf John 3:19) We wouldn’t. We couldn’t. We can’t. We won’t… We must understand, and know, that man cannot seek God of his own volition. It is absolutely impossible to do so. We, by nature, are depraved beings. All of us. But for The Chosen, we seek God ONLY because He sought us first. This means we love Him only and because He loved us first. (cf 1 John 4:19).
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.” The Holy Spirit, like the wind, goes where He wants and where He wills. He does what He wills in the lives of those whom He has chosen. “So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” God saves whom He wills. We hear the wind but we don’t know where it goes. It blows on those whom God has called. This, my dear Stander, is called The Doctrine of Election and is the meaning of verse 8. The cold, hard reality that we do not want to consider is that the wind might blow in your heart and mine –> but not the hearts of our friends or our family — or our Prodigal Spouse. And yes, I said what you should already be thinking by now.
Let me give you a visual. Have you ever tried to talk to a dead man? Literally. A dead man. Not a perceived dead man’s spirit. Those are demon spirits pretending to be the departed and that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about an actual dead body. Sounds awful, but stick with me. –> What kind of conversation would you have? Can he respond to you? Will he respond to you…? I’m not the brightest bulb in the lamp sometimes, but I can tell you that he most certainly will not respond to you. He can’t. He’s literally dead. He has no mental faculties or physical abilities to respond to anything… But then we read. . . .
43 When He [Jesus] had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”
44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
John 11:43-44 ESV
Listen closely. Jesus gave a literal command to a very literally-dead man. Folks must have thought He was crazy! Most probably only stayed around for the sideshow and the humiliation of Christ — but if you know the story of Lazarus, you know the triumph was for God’s glory — but most notable is that it was His will that Lazarus die. Some don’t know why Christ waited till the fourth day. I mean, why not day one? Why the fourth? The people of that time believed the spirit of a man completely departed from a person by day three. Day four the dead man was considered really dead. But here Jesus commands a really dead man to “come out.” And the dead man responded! He came out! Without the commandment of Christ to come forth, Lazarus would have remained really dead and his body left to decay. Christ had to give him the ability and the power to respond. You try that and see what happens. Preachers try it all the time in “faith healing” rituals — commanding the spiritually dead folk to rise in the Name of Christ. But it won’t work unless the wind of the Holy Spirit first blows in the dead man’s heart. These “faith healers” are among the best marketers on the planet. They can spin you into a frenzy and make you want to buy a brand new shiny Christ — a Christ Who will meet all your earthly material desires and whims; a Christ Whose only desire is to please you. A Preacher is only a man, yet we put them on pedestals and we let them sell us a bogus gospel. And then when Christ doesn’t perform like we think He should, we become disillusioned. But that preacher-man has absolutely no power over the will of the Living God. He cannot decide whom God will call…
7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.
Isaiah 64:7 NASB
No man will voluntarily, of his own cognitive abilities, call upon the Name of God to be saved. God hides His face from them and gives them over to the power of their own sins. (cf Romans 1). Since the fall of man in the Garden, we are all born spiritually dead. And most will spend their entire lives as the living dead. They are dead men walking. The spiritually d.e.a.d., dead. Please let me repeat myself: a man cannot respond or relate to God on any level if he is spiritually dead — understanding God’s Truth, His commands, His will, or His Person. Neither can the spiritually dead relate to God in prayer! Oh no. God will not allow it. Why? Because the spirit of the man is dead. The ONLY prayer God will hear from the living and spiritually dead is a prayer of repentance in acknowledgement of the total depravity of that man’s heart (cf Proverbs 15:29 & 1 Peter 3:12). And for any man to pray a prayer like that, he must first be drawn by the Spirit of God. “. . . . without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists . . . .” Hebrews 11:6. What that says is that the one who has no faith in the One True and Living God cannot please God. That person cannot approach God from the standpoint of faith in Him through His Son Who was and is the propitiation for the sins of those who would be The Chosen. His propitiation was not for all people throughout all of time. The one without that kind of faith does not believe that God exists. Sure a person can say they believe there is “a god” and they can say that “Jesus was a good man” but they do not possess the Living Spirit of God within. Therefore they cannot approach God through prayer or otherwise. Those who would come to God absolutely must come to God on HIS terms — not theirs. How many people have you heard say “I’ll say a prayer for you.” or “We’ll be thinking about you.” Well wishes are nice but I do not want someone who does not serve the God of the Bible trying to pray for me! We have different fathers! Does that make sense? Let me put it this way: the ONLY people that can approach God in faith are those that KNOW He exists — and one can truly only KNOW that God Himself exists within them because they have been called out. The wind of the Spirit has blown upon their hearts.
We are all dead. Dead to what? Dead to the Truth. That is, until Christ gives the command for us to rise. As Jesus chose Lazarus to rise to a physical life when He called him forth from the grave, so His Holy Spirit chooses The Chosen to rise to spiritual and eternal life. Lazarus didn’t come out all by himself. Neither can a man voluntarily call on the Name of God to save him without God first calling his name. Without that command and call to come forth, the living dead cannot rise to eternal life.
Remember these Scriptures? Probably some of the most quoted of the entire Bible — but do you really comprehend what they are saying?
43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
John 6:43-45 NKJV
60 When many of his *disciples* heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
61 But Jesus, knowing in Himself that His disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
65 And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66 After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.
67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray Him.
John 6:60-71 ESV (asterisks on *disciples* are my emphasis for note in the following paragraph)
Are you murmuring in your heart? Are you taking offense at this? Or is this Truth starting to dawn upon your heart? If you are taking offense, it’s time to stop right now and pray. You cannot let your carnal mind and heart determine what is and is not True in the Bible! You can’t! You have no right to! It is the prideful heart that does so.
Did anyone especially notice verse 65? Jesus Christ Himself said that for a man to come to salvation by grace through faith, it must first be GRANTED TO HIM BY THE FATHER! Verse 63 is clear; it is by the power of the Spirit. The flesh can do nothing! As a side note: a *disciple* is a student — or more appropriately a follower of a particular doctrine or belief. Within the above set of Scriptures, you see a perfect example of disciples who claimed to be followers of Christ but they walk away. It is because what Jesus has just said is too hard for them to comprehend. It was foolishness to them. For those who walk away, it is too incredulous for their blind eyes to see; foolishness to their darkened hearts.
And Judas…? He followed Christ for His entire ministry! Yet he remained a devil! He never accepted Christ as the Son of God. Those who walk away cannot believe. They are not among the called-out ones; The Chosen. What does the Bible say about those who walk away? Make no mistake precious people! The disciples, or followers, who walked away were not “of us.” There are very definitely those who are physically alive today who are not “of us.”
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:19-22 ESV
Look. Please do not confuse this with back-slidden Christian folks. Backsliding and apostasy are two completely different things. If someone is a True Christian, they will NOT completely and finally walk away — or apostatize — because they don’t like something God says! They may not like it, but they know that God is Sovereign in ALL He does and He sees the end from the beginning. So we trust Him with what He says. We continue to walk in that faithful trust knowing that when the time is right, God WILL reveal His Truth to our hearts. Some of you still might be holdouts. You say, “but what about the “good people” who don’t murder or steal or aren’t perverts? What about the people who follow the law to a T; who have and live responsible lives; who give to charities and help the poor? Surely God wouldn’t leave them out. Surely God can see that they’re good and trying to do the right things! Surely God couldn’t…!” Oh but He does. I would be doing a severe disservice if I didn’t tell you that. And to say anything else is a lie. . . .
Christ here makes reference to the “good” people of the earth. Notice that He calls them sinners.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
Luke 6:32-34 NKJV
The bottom line there is that the sinners do the same “good” things here that the righteous do; i.e., loving those who love you; doing good to those who do good to you; and even lending to others. But the point here is obvious. Their moral goodness is not credited to them as righteousness! And it will not save them. Period. Man does not want to believe that in his heart he carries only evil intent, that he is capable of all gross conduct (cf Genesis 6:5). But the reality of the Truth is they are blind! Spiritually blind. They cannot comprehend because they have been blinded. Blind people cannot see in the darkness. What you cannot see, you cannot know. According to Romans, Chapter One, their foolish hearts have been darkened. And because they are blind to their dark hearts, they cannot know that they are among the unregenerate without God revealing this to them; calling them; and then drawing them to Himself. The psychology behind the moral goodness of man is deadly. There is human good but it is a “dead” good. It has absolutely nothing to do with God’s good. Why! Because human works, the deeds of the flesh are not born out of faith in the Son of God — and that makes them dead works. Dead works cannot save the soul. The works of a man do not save a man nor do they keep a man saved. (cf James 2:26 “For as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead…” and Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, . . . .“) This was the entire meaning of the Reformation: Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The works/deeds of a saved man are the byproduct of his faith — not his moral compass. The sad Truth; the hard Truth; the real Truth –> not everybody is saved. Not everybody is going to heaven. There are a whole lot of souls going to hell. . . .
Listen: God will NEVER give faith to ANYone apart from giving them the Life found only in His Son. In other words, you cannot have any type of faith in God without having been granted Life. No matter how strong you think your belief in God may be; no matter how much you talk about God; no matter how spiritual you think you are; no matter how much you think you know in your head; if you do not have the Spirit of the Living God residing within your heart, you are unregenerate.
9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?
Proverbs 20:9 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Titus 1:15-16 ESV
The thought of this scares me. No. It terrifies me. You absolutely need to comprehend that there is no relief for the unregenerate in eternity to come. There is no in-between time to get it right. Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (obviously meant only for the saved).
What about “the others?” We like to say things like, “Well, they had a bad start or they lived in a bad and impoverished neighborhood or they were bullied or they didn’t have a father or their Mother didn’t potty train them soon enough or she dropped him on his head or she weighs a little more than she should or he’s scared of math. . . . ” — and on and on. Guess what? Psychiatry has literally TONS of diagnostic excuses for what is wrong with all kinds of people from every walk and manner of life and social experience. And if they haven’t heard of what’s ailing you yet, then they’ll make something up and vote on it at the next conference to see if it makes it into the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (By the way, that is really true how they do that.) Anyway, if you listen to them, EVERYbody is ill and in need of some form of psychotropic medication. And if you don’t believe me, just take a casual afternoon trip through their made-up Manual of Mental Disorders. They are trying to justify the existence of sin in the world! The Truth? You will find NOwhere in the Bible where GOD excuses the spiritually depraved and dead spirit in man. He doesn’t give a socially maladjusted individual a pat on the behind with the sincere quip, “Well, better luck next time, Joe.” or, “You’ve given it a real good shot, Miss Sally…” And He certainly doesn’t label the varied and depraved minds of mankind with a diagnostic code of reference for a specific debauchery. Come on! God does NOT understand your sin and He does NOT excuse away your sin! And if you think He has a prescription pill that numbs the mind to the sin in one’s life…? NO! God diagnoses it as the unregenerate condition of a man’s heart, mind and spirit. It is S.I.N. Sin. And man does not want to hear that! The carnal mind is enmity against God! (cf Romans 8:5-8). The unregenerate mind is outright HOSTILE to God — no matter how disadvantaged, or law-abiding and respectable they may be.
How about another visual for good measure. Let’s say there are two separate fathers and two separate children, each of which belong to one father. Know that one Father is good and righteous and holy. The other father is continually wicked and full of all types of uncleanness. What of the children? The child who belongs to the righteous Father is the Father’s child — and the child of that Father has His spirit — that child will emulate his Father’s righteousness and holiness and mercy and love and Truth –> and because the child loves his Father so much, what he does for his Father is evidence of his righteousness and his Father’s will. He desires to do his Father’s will! Why? Because he knows and loves his Father! The other child? Read this:
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44 ESV
Basically, the father of the child imputes his spirit to that child. To the righteous child is the spirit of the Father. To the unregenerate and unrighteous child, the spirit of the devil. A child will do what his father wills — NOT what he wills, but what his father wills. So, too, the man with a spiritually dead heart and mind cannot do the will of God because God is not his father. The devil is. For those of you who have children, you understand this relationship with either father through your own parent/child relationship. Mark it: For those who are among the called-out ones, their “freedom of choice” has been made to match that of their Father! Any perceived “free will” is in accordance with the divine call of their Father and is really His will, not theirs.
I can hear someone somewhere balking at the very thought that God might actually violate their blessed free will!! So I have to ask… Why on earth would a saved person cry out against a merciful God violating their “will” to save them? How foolish! I would rather think you would be most happy that God saved you from being eternally damned! What of the others of you who are right now crying out, “None of this is fair! How can God save some and not others?” Well… Do you really want what is fair? The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! (cf Romans 3:23) If you want fair, then realize that no man deserves to be saved! Not you. Not me. Not anyone.
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. . . .”
Isaiah 64:6 NKJV
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called . . . .
Romans 9:14-23 NKJV
The bottom line is we don’t deserve anything but the wages of our sin — and that is death. (cf Romans 6:23).
God does not have to explain Himself. In fact, He doesn’t. He didn’t to Job and He won’t to us. Whatever He does, He does for HIS purpose. I was in the Book of Job recently. I don’t get there much because of Job’s three friends. What they say sounds good, but it’s not — at least not in Job’s case. But what I can tell you from the book is this: when Job questions God as to the “why’s” of his miserable condition and tells God that he’s a righteous man and has done nothing to deserve what’s happened, God’s reply was not the answer Job was looking for. The gist of God’s answer to Job was this: “Who are you to question Me? Where were you when I did what I did? Did you have a part in the decision to create things the way I have created them?” Dear Stander, the clay pot never questions his Maker. (cf Isaiah 29:16; 45:9). But rather we should say: “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NKJV.
I could continue on reasoning from the Scriptures. I may in another post but for now, I want to tell you what prompted this — more than anything — was the terrifying realization that my Beloved Husband may not be saved. I have always wanted to believe he is but it would be foolish of me to think so. It would be carnally minded to blithely and merrily go about my way not praying for his salvation apart from our restoration! My heart breaks at the thought of his eternal destiny not being in Heaven with the Father of all mercy. So should yours for your spouse. This shouldn’t drive us to despair but rather to our knees. The possibility is one we cannot ignore just because we would rather allow our carnal feelings to get in the way of Truth and the reality of what is or could be. And Truth and reality are what GOD says they are. We cannot change that any more than we can change the universal physics and laws of the universe. But. . . . and we know there’s always one of those. . . .
Remember in the fourth paragraph of this post I mentioned something about praying your Prodigal Mate through? Well, we already know that God has a Sovereign will over all things. What we don’t know is whether or not our Prodigal Mate is among The Chosen. We don’t know that God hasn’t predestined them to eternal glory.
And because we don’t know that, we faithfully pray them through, hoping. . . .
25 . . . . . if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
II Timothy 2:25-26 NKJV
Let us pray:
15 “And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land . . . . with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked.
16 O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your [people], . . . . for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, . . . . Your people have become a reproach to all those around us.
17 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant[s] and to [our] supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.
18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the [temple] which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.
19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your . . . . people are called by Your name.”
Daniel 9:15-19 NASB
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