Faith

What if God’s Love is NOT Enough (to save you)?

“Jesus loves me, this I know.” Did you read the words or sing them? Those of us who grew up in church are familiar with the song we learned a long time ago. It was probably the first thing we absorbed in church. Jesus loves me. God loves me.

God’s love is a one of the most central themes of Scripture. Some would say that without the love of God, He would not have created the universe or put humanity within it.

Another staple of early learning in Christianity is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” The path to true life is founded on Heaven’s love. Imagine what would not exist without the motivation of that love: forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, relationship, purpose, mission, spiritual gifts and fruit, hope, everlasting life.

But is it really enough that God loves us? Is this inexplicable connection which breaks through time and space enough to fill us with the “blessed assurance” that Jesus and His promises are mine? Will God’s love alone save me, or you?

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Faith

Our Free Will Choices and God’s Response

Have you ever heard God described as a “gentleman”? When painting this picture pastors and teachers generally refer to how God is unwilling to force Himself on anyone. He will always allow the individual to choose whether or not to accept Him.

The same is true of God’s hopes for our daily lives. There are ideals He wants us to live by and goals to fulfill. Yet if we choose a different path than what He would have us choose, He allows us to go as far as we dare.

In a previous post I wrote about how God saw all of time before time began, and He recorded, finalized, the outcome of history. We call this predestination. But what does it really mean when God allows us to be creatures of free will, allowing us to choose and then sealing our decisions?

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Faith

The Uncanny Partnership of Free Will and Predestination

Predestination is a theological term full of meaning. Unfortunately, it is often misunderstood, leading to a false representation, which ends up with most people choosing to ignore it or write it off.

Free will is considered the hero fighting against the evil of Predestination. We consider how we are thinking beings, making decisions all of the time. We are not preprogrammed or piloted by someone else, not even God.

But these two ideas are not enemies. Rather than battle or work against each other they work in tandem partnership. In fact, Predestination is the ultimate result of Free Will.

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Faith

Salvation Means a Changed Way of Thinking and Living

This is the last of three posts centered around how we depend on autopilot settings in heart and mind to help us get through the decisions required by everyday life.

The first post opened the possibility to these underlying settings. We rarely recognize them but without them we could paralyzed by the multitude of options we face daily.

The second post showed how we were made in God’s image but sin has warped the way He created us. Scripture tells us “the wages of sin is death”. Our hearts and minds are made faulty and operate contrary to how God made us.

God offers us a new way to live and it involves a change in our hearts and minds. We have the opportunity to walk away from the destructive programming leading us astray and instead return to God’s design for daily life.

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Faith

How Our Decision Making Processes Were Rewritten

It is a scary thing to realize you have driven on autopilot for an unknown length of time. I’m talking about starting at Point A, and you know you have to pass Points B, C, and D, before arriving at Point E. Autopilot is realizing you left Point A, saw Point B, but suddenly find yourself somewhere between Points D and E.

Yes, that has really happened to me. No, I wasn’t drinking or high. Sometimes I was tired. Other times my mind was occupied on other things and never noticed what was happening around me.

Life is busy and full of demands on our attention. There is so much we do not take the time to think about before doing or saying what the moment seems to require of us. We have preferences and tendencies programmed into our hearts and minds to keep is headed where they take us.

Where did those default settings come from? Is my life running on autopilot with those settings driving the car? Am I sure the default programming will take me where I want to go?

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Faith

The Advent Promise of Life-Changing Peace

This past Sunday I shared the Advent-themed call to worship. I thought it would be fun to share it here. This post is also a little longer, as some of the material was cut for the sake of time. Enjoy!

This is the second Sunday of Advent, the season leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ birth: Christmas. Last week we heard about Hope and Faith. This week focuses on the theme of Peace.

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