Archive for February, 2010

2010 NCAA Prediction Bracket – Feb. 26

A Simplified Explanation of 3 Big Bible Words

Are you one of those people that likes to throw out big words to make yourself seem smarter? I definitely am, but I still get frustrated if someone throws one out that I don’t completely understand. Sometimes this happens to pastors, too. Often there are views on doctrine that require certain belief systems, and often those systems get big words. So here I’m going to attempt to give a simple explanation of three key Bible buzzwords.

1) Sanctification – There are many different ways to describe this, but the simplest way I can think to describe it is the process of being set apart by God through His grace. It is the way by which God has cleansed us of sin, so that we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). It seems evident that among Evangelical Christians that there is nothing we can do (i.e. works) that can make us sanctified. That power resides with God alone. However, among many people this is deemed as a process, as sanctification is seen as making us more and more holy over time.

2) Justification – According to Wikipedia, justification is God’s act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God. I heard a John Piper sermon on this topic, and at a root level it made sense to me. When Adam sinned (remember from my earlier post that sin was the fault of the man, not the woman), the only way we could be made righteous and worthy of heaven was to have someone pay the price for that sin we are born with. So Jesus’ death and resurrection justified us in the eyes of God, so when we have faith (Ephesians 2:8) and believe in Jesus as God, we are justified. This is different from sanctification in that we have to act on faith (or more commonly, give your heart to Christ) in order to receive justification.

3) Glorification – Again referencing Wikipedia, glorification is the completion, consummation, perfection, the full realization of salvation. This one seems to me to mean that before we actually enter heaven, God makes us perfect, for only can a perfect being be fit for heaven. It does seem that Romans 8:30 allows for glorification to be placed on us while we are still here on the earth, so there is probably some kind of a placement of His glory on us, so as we go about our lives others can see His glory as part of that. (Interesting aside: maybe this is why even if some Christians aren’t living an “on-fire” life for God, they can still cause non-believers to seek God – that’s my own personal thought and there is no factual basis for it).

I hope these explanations helped to make sense of these big words. I hope one day to lay out the arguments for Calvinism and Arminianism here, simply because I don’t know what they are. I was told once that I’m a 4-point Calvinist, so I’m curious to see where I fall in that sliding scale.

Anyway, have a blessed day everyone, and may God either justify you through new faith or sanctify you by the grace you have already received!

2010 NCAA Prediction Bracket – Feb. 24

Had some time, so I did another version of the bracket this morning. What do you all think?

God’s Amazing – Especially When You’re Faithful

So my wife and I have been struggling with a decision recently. She has been feeling like God has told her that she needs to quit her job. The obvious reason we’ve been holding back from doing it is the financial one. We’ve been afraid that with our new mortgage and a new baby that we couldn’t survive on one income.

However, it seems like recently there have been more and more circumstances recently have been re-affirming God’s position. We bought a new computer and new software so that my wife could do her job from home once the baby was born, and in order to do that she needed to be able to use Windows and connect to a VPN. Well, the Windows has been slow and the VPN is broken, so it seems like God has been putting obstacles in the way.

This past week we prayed about it and made the decision that with her pending meeting with her boss, that she should tell him that she wanted to quit. I mentioned that I felt that if he said something specifically, then that meant that God was right and it was time for her to get out of the job.

Doing a proposed new budget was scary. We have to cut out a lot of things, such as spending money, a lot of the dining out we’ve been doing, and my personal demon, cable TV. Eliminating all of these things, we’re pretty sure we can do just fine, but still it’s been sort of a compromising process with God, trying to hang on to things and realizing that they need to go.

Well, in short, my wife’s boss said the thing that I referenced specifically, and we typed up a formal resignation letter and she submitted that last week. They, of course, tried to get her to stay, but we stood firm and she’s completing her two weeks and then shifting her energies to taking care of our daughter and trying to be more active in getting involved in Bible studies, both individual and (possibly) church-led.

All of that information brings me to this. I’ve been worried all week about the money, and when we actually need to put these budget cuts into effect. Besides the mortgage, we still owe on some credit cards, and we both feel like it’s imperative for us to get out of debt as soon as we can. We have a tax refund coming, but we’ve started to speak for a lot of that money in terms of paying off debt. Not a whole lot left to pad the account if we slip up.

This is where God stepped in. I’m positive it was because we were faithful to His command to leave the job behind. I got an E-mail from my dad yesterday saying that he was going through his safety-deposit box and he had a bunch of savings bonds for me that I had gotten as gifts from grandparents for years as a kid. He said the face value totals up to over $3,000! I just know that God is taking care of us, and I’ve never been more sure of being obedient to God.

My prayer for myself is that I won’t forget this special thing He’s done for us, and that it will teach me that obedience to God yields fruit, not necessarily financially but in some type of provision for us as His children. My prayer for any of you reading this is that this will cause you to call into question your own obedience to God and make a decision today to start doing your due diligence in following God’s will to every dotted I and crossed T.

2010 NCAA Prediction Bracket – Feb. 22

So this blog is supposed to be my place for pretty much anything and everything I’m thinking, feeling or doing at the time. I’m a member of The Lobo Lair, being a huge UNM basketball fan now, and something I’ve done for my own fun as well as to try to spread the love on that forum is to create an NCAA prediction bracket. This is round 2. I apologize for the small font, but if you click on the picture, you can see a blown-up version. Enjoy!

Hate To Say It, Guys, But It’s the Man’s Fault

I was doing my study yesterday morning when I came across something that both discouraged and encouraged me. For reference sake, I am currently reading through “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” by Stu Weber, and I’m really enjoying it without even having gotten to the first pillar. I’m sure I’m being set up for some rewarding and convicting stuff, if the first few introductory chapters are any indication.

In his third chapter, titled “The Four Pillars in Eden,” he outlines that God gave commands to Adam before He even created Eve, and that these commands could be construed as part of each of the pillars in the book. These pillars are: 1) Servant-King, 2) Tender Warrior, 3) Wise Mentor and 4) Faithful Friend. The book further illustrates that though Eve may have committed the first sin, the responsibility for this fell on Adam, for when Adam and Eve were hiding to due to their shame, the Bible says “God said to the man (emphasis mine), ‘Where are you?'” This can easily be thought of as God saying “Where were you?”

Adam was either not around or not strong enough to step between Eve and the serpent, failing as Tender Warrior, he did not give her enough counsel on God’s command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus failing as Wise Mentor, and was aloof enough to not stop Eve from eating of the tree, thus failing as Faithful Friend. These were the responsibilities of Adam as the man in the relationship, and this failure is why in both the Old and New Testaments, the authors of the Bible refer to sin entering the world as “the sin of Adam,” for he was charged with these commands and failed to live up to the task.

For all male readers, pretty convicting stuff, no? Isn’t it wild to think that the sins of your spouse, girlfriend, etc. can be attributed to you as well, because it is your responsibility to care for her? This is why it says in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, (exactly) as Christ loved the church,” because if we wholly devote ourselves to loving and caring for the women in our lives, we can help to fulfill and uphold God’s commands for us and our families.

Whew! I’m excited to learn more, and as I do, I’ll post it on here for any readers, so hopefully you can glean something from this too.

Tight Trite Night – Don Ross & Andy McKee

This is one of my favorite songs currently. Both of these guys play so effortlessly, what’s not to like? Enjoy!

Introductory Statements

Hello to anyone who might be reading this!

It seems like in the ever-present Internet world, pretty much everyone has some sort of a blog with which they can share feelings, messages or even recipes. I figure it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Putting your heart on a sleeve can be therapeutic, and yes, even necessary at times for redemption.

So during the life of this blog I may share things about my Christian walk, my stumbling blocks, music, sports, pretty much anything that might be going on in my life. I hope that nothing I talk about comes across as mindless or shallow, but I have been accused of being both at times.

That said, I start off on a rough note. Today I got hit hard in the face by past sins of mine. There was a time in my life that I am not proud of at all, and while I know God can use even our biggest sins for His glory, it’s a period that I would rather not keep re-living over and over again. Yet the skeletons in my closet keep deciding to pop up at the most inopportune (or perhaps most opportune) moments.

The Bible verse of the day (which I get in my work E-mail from is Psalm 100:2-3, which reads “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” This verse hit me square in the gut, because it forced me to look at my own lack of humility recently. When life seems to be going well, it’s easy for me to take all of the credit. I’ve never been short on confidence, even when I don’t have anything to be confident about. But I always straddle that fine line between confident/optimistic and prideful/arrogant.

So I guess my prayer for today is that God would grant me humility however He deems necessary, so that I would realize that He gives me all the wonderful things I have and to not take them for granted. The skeletons in my closet take for granted all of the joys and wonderful things I have in my open world, and I pray that those are the desires of my heart. In seeking God, I think I will find those things as well.