psalm 33

There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.  An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.  Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;  To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.  Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.  For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.  Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

psalm 33:16-22 kjv

My hope is not in our military strength. My hope is not in the wisdom of our leaders. My hope is not in our economy. My hope is not in the justness of our laws. My hope is in Jesus alone. His strength. His wisdom. His provision. His justice.

No nation can stand that turns their back on Jesus. Racism and abortion are enough for God to end this experiment in self-government. Schools teach fables as fact and revise history to achieve their political ends. The rich don’t share their food with the poor and the poor don’t share their faith with the rich. Self-interested electorate produce self-interested congress-people who give their people what they want while digging a debt-grave for the nation and voting themselves long-term financial security.

But…

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways I will hear from heaven and will heal their land. – Jesus

Jesus will do what only He can do, but I have to be able to receive it from Him. So I need to humble, seek and turn. And He will save us. Sound too good to be true? Try it.

A disputable matter…

There is something basic and fundamental and foundational about my unrelenting desire to know I am secure in my relationship with Jesus.  You could explain it as a part of my mental illness.  You could reason that it is a flaw in my character.  You could say it is from my ignorance of Scripture.  Regardless of how you explain it, I seek to know, right now, what my eternal relationship with Jesus is.

The Wesleyan church says that I can be “saved,” i.e., have a relationship with Jesus right now, … and be able to reject Christ in the future and “not be able to enjoy heaven” and be separated from Jesus forever.

Therefore Wesleyan’s don’t know that they will spend eternity with Jesus because they don’t know if they will reject Jesus in the future.  They only wish to make it to death or rapture as a Christian and then they will be secure.

That is not a rock I can build my life on.

But…

I have been sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption, who is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.

I have Jesus’ nature.  I am a new creation in Christ, the old has gone, the new keeps coming.

My life is hidden with God.

I am in Jesus, He is in me, we are in God.  If I can reject Jesus, then Jesus can reject Jesus, because Jesus is a part of me.  But, if Jesus cannot reject Jesus then I cannot reject Jesus, because I cannot reject myself.

I have eternal life.  “Have” is past tense, I already have it.  “Eternal” means it is without respect to time, that is, the time (past or future) doesn’t matter, I always have it.

If the Wesleyan Church is right, and I can “reject Jesus” after choosing to have a relationship with him I would expect the teaching of Scripture to be strong and clear and explicit in it’s warning of losing your salvation, in its description of the process of losing your salvation, and what to do to get right with Jesus after losing your salvation.

It is not.

I originally thought after being saved that I had to prove to Jesus that I could last and live for him until death or rapture.  But this thought is actually a variation on “earning” my salvation – only after salvation.  There are other problems.  If God knows I will reject him later and be lost, and I love him now and he loves me and wants the best for me, he would take me right now right?  If he doesn’t and I am lost he has lost a trophy of his grace unnecessarily.

If I have a belief I will look for things to support that belief and reject what does not support that belief.  The Wesleyan Church might do this too.  They may start with the teachings of John Wesley and then interpret the Bible through that lens; focusing only on what they think supports John Wesley’s teaching.  But if we start with the Bible we find verses that suggest both interpretations: eternal security and losing salvation.  This means it is a disputable matter.

My judgment is that Scriptural evidence most strongly supports the view that once we accept Jesus he makes his home in us forever, regardless of our behavior.  Though Calvinism denies we have choice, John Wesley correctly supports the view that we have a choice in accepting Jesus or not; but inaccurately extends that concept to deny Jesus’ ability to keep us once he has won our hearts.  He does not keep us against our will, he does not suppress our feelings.  He disciplines us, he satisfies us, he draws us with cords of lovingkindness.  If Jesus died for us when we were his enemies, what won’t he do for us now that we are his children?

DON’T QUOTE the verse

I am trying to invent a different kind of Bible game.  I am frustrated by Bible games that focus on memorizing facts instead of dealing with life.  The following is an idea for a game I’m considering naming “DON’T QUOTE the verse.”  Instead of rote memorization, I like to put Bible principles into my own words and apply them to real life situations.  I would appreciate your help in developing this idea.

 

Real Life Example #1

Someone has hurt you by accusing you of harassment.   They see you and your truth telling as a threat to their selfish ambition.  They fabricate a lie about you to get you out of the organization and out of their way.  What do you need to feel in order to forgive them?  What do you need to do to forgive them even if you don’t feel it?

(Think about the pain, insecurity and fear they are daily living in that would cause them to justify to themselves to hurt you to get their needs met).

What in the Bible helps with this question?  How do you apply what is in the Bible to this?  Remember, use your own words, DON’T QUOTE the verse.

Real Life Example #2

Women in the New Testament were elevated by Jesus back to their rightful place at creation as equal to men (“In the Image of God he created THEM”).  Women are seen doing ministry in the New Testament (funding Jesus’ ministry, being the first to carry the news of His resurrection).  How should we interpret the clear restrictions Paul gives women in the church?  If we judge Paul’s instruction as not applicable to us what stops us from saying that other clear instructions don’t apply to us?  Who decides what applies and what doesn’t apply?  And what if those who decide change their mind, do we change our mind too?

Real Life Example #3

Women’s brains are structurally and functionally different from men’s brains.  (For example, women generally (not all) see life as a continuous flow.  Men generally (not all) see life as compartmentalized.  Generally (not all) women are better at dealing with multiple things at once and generally (not all) men are better at concentrating on a single problem more deeply.  Men need respect primarily, women need love primarily).  Does the differences with which God created us dictate a difference in the value and worth of men over women, or women over men?  Do the differences explain a difference in the strengths of men and women?  Are we to compete with each other with our strengths or are these strengths complementary, designed for teamwork?  Do the differences suggest aptitude for different roles or are all roles equally filled by either men or women?

Real Life Example #4

An unmarried man and woman are living together.  They start to attend your church.  They hear of the need and offer to open up their home for a small group Bible Study.  How should your church respond?

Real Life Example #5

For thousands of years accepted science stated that the universe existed in a steady state.  For thousands of years the Bible said the universe had a beginning and will have an end.  Throughout history the Bible has always been proved right when accepted science has caught up to it.  What do you know about the Creation account that conflicts with the Theory of Evolution?  Since by definition they can’t both be right, which do you side with and why?

Real Life Example #6

Psalm 15:1-5 KJV

Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.  In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD.  He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.   He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 15 above talks about things, that if you do them, “you will not be moved.”  What does that mean?

One of those things to do is “speak truth in my heart.”  Consistently keeping my thoughts truthful is difficult for me.  My mind is constantly being bombarded with thoughts of slight compromise to the truth I am going after.  What is going on in my mind when I believe my own lies?

Have you ever sweareth to your own hurt?   That is, have you ever kept your promise even though things changed after you made your promise and it cost you much more than you expected?

One thing not to do is to “put out your money for usury.”  What is God’s motive for saying this?  Does God not want the practice of requiring interest for the use of money?  Why or why not?

Real Life Example #6

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy states, “There is no absolute truth.”  Is that statement self-contradictory?  Why or Why not?  Why is the answer “sometimes” an inadequate answer?

Jesus made an absolute truth claim that “He is Truth and no one comes to the Father but by Him.”  Why is that claim not exclusive even though Jesus excludes all other deities and religions?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace; against which there is no law.

 

He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
Psalm 7:15 KJV

 

When my “righteous” anger devises a way do “justice” to someone that will negatively affect them: Beware! I am not righteous, it is not justice and the negative I plan for them will fall on me. I will be ashamed when my true motives are exposed.

I am to bless my “enemies”, I am to do good to all; including those I feel don’t deserve it. This is what God wants and He will bless me for obeying Him, for loving others.

When someone lies to me with great consistency and reliability…  When they silently defy me on a regular basis…  Lord, let my response be YOUR LOVE flowing through me to them. My friends will approve of that.  My confidant will be glad.  And my “enemy” will respond.

The above was written in my Bible four years ago.  Sadly, I have made little progress.  Our Pastor confessed bitterness.  I need to too.  Lord, I have tried to change my self.  I cannot.  Would you please forgive me of bitterness, and delivery me from it.  Amen.