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Monday, December 13, 2010

"How To Get A Better Pastor"

This is an article from a friend who writes a daily devotional. I found it to be quite an accurate account of a pastor's daily life & also I loved his last 4 points.

Blessings,
Al

How to Get a Better Pastor

November 29, 2010
Sometimes I feel a little like the Wizard of Oz, a man who lives behind a curtain of misperceptions. One little girl saw me in the grocery store and said, "Mommy, God left the church." That's not good! Yet, even many adults do not really understand the reality of the daily life of ministers. Many perceive that pastors enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. In fact, a pastor is always a pastor wherever he goes. It's not a job, it's a way of life. He (Could well be a 'she' too, but I'm writing from my point of view.) awakens in the middle of the night with people's hurts on his mind, and lifts them to God in prayer. He must negotiate rapid shifts from emotional highs to lows; visiting a nursery and a funeral home on the same day, congratulating someone's achievement and sharing another grief on the same Sunday morning. Pastors provide the equivalent of spiritual and emotional Emergency Room care for their congregants. He must remain a student of Scripture and his world throughout his lifetime so that when he stands before the congregation to preach he is able to provide spiritual nourishment that connects with the people of God. And, he must deliver a message every Sunday - regardless of his personal state of mind or circumstances. And, he loves every minute of this life to which God has called him!



Yet, he is susceptible to becoming ineffective for many and various reasons.
So, how can you help to make your Pastor's better in his work?

1. Pray for him, everyday. - Spiritual leaders are front-line targets in the battle with evil, as they encourage people to stand with God. If a pastor falls, there is devastating fall-out suffered in many lives. Some even lose faith. Others conclude that Christianity is a fraud. Many lose their trust in pastors because they think all preachers are like the one whose sin was exposed. And even where there is no moral compromise, pastors know the attack of the Enemy through discouragement. So, pray for your Pastor - not for an easy life, but rather that God will keep and protect him, that he will be disciplined and courageous, and that he will finish the race well.

2. Readily accept his ministry with the spiritual gifts God has given to him. - Pastors are not equally adept at all kinds of ministry service. You bless your pastor if you appreciate and encourage him in his unique strengths. Understand that God has equipped him to minister in a way that will not be exactly like the ministry of your favorite preacher or that father-figure pastor who introduced you to Christ. He knows the gaps in his skills and gifts better than you do, but it will be a waste of his strengths if he is constantly pressed to 'fix' his perceived deficits rather than being encouraged in what he does best in God's service.

3. If you must criticize him, and no pastor is above correction or criticism, do it honestly, directly, and person to person. - Every pastor deals with "Mr. They Say" in his church. This mystery man whom few know, but everyone quotes, is ubiquitous! A good pastor will never respond to anonymous criticism because he has no context for it. Still, he wonders, "Does it mean that a majority feels this way, or is this just the opinion of the same two people who are never satisfied with anything I attempt?"



If you have an issue with your pastor, be mature about it. Don't play games, hinting at the difficulty. Know what you really want and be courageous to state it. If you think he's missed the mark, tell him first; not after you have told a dozen of your best friends. If he's wise, he'll listen and evaluate. He may have an explanation for the decision with which you disagree or he may have a higher priority than making you happy due to his principles, convictions, or demands of leadership of Christ's church.



Many people get angry with the pastor and fail to understand that they are actually angry at God! If you're mad at the Lord and admit it, your pastor can help you with your doubt or confusion but it will be doubly difficult for you both, if you're misdirecting your anger at him.

4. Don't idolize or idealize him. - Pastors are disciples of Christ, who are human. They are raising kids who don't always do what they're taught, just like you. Their marriage hit rough spots, just like yours. They have real emotions and fight temptation - just like you. Yes, you should expect him to live what he teaches, but not flawlessly because, like you, he's a sinner who is working out the implications of God's grace each day. If you make him into idol, you sin because only God is worthy of your worship and devotion. If you idealize him, thinking he's more or better than he is really is, you set yourself up for disappointment. You may then mistakenly transfer your disappointment to Christ which would be doubly tragic. When you put a minister on a pedestal, remember that you make his ability to serve you faithfully all the more difficult. He teaches you best, not from some lofty place far removed from your life, but as he is allowed to demonstrate, in ordinary circumstances, a living faith in a loving Lord.

Here's a word from the Word. "Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all.... Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?" (Hebrews 13:7, 17 The Message) "Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!" Do not listen to complaints against an elder unless there are two or three witnesses to accuse him." (1 Timothy 5:17-19, NLT)

Until Next Time,
Al

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For God so Loved the World…that He Couldn’t Stay away: A Brief Arminian Advent Meditation

Article by:Roger E. Olsen

For God so loved the world…that He couldn’t stay away. Yes, to academics and scholars it sounds simplistic and even smacks of folk religion. But if you strip from it any connotation of God being “lonely” or absent it’s an apt statement of the gospel itself. And it nicely expresses the essence of Arminian theology: that God’s love for the whole world demonstrated in the incarnation and cross stands at the center of theology as its critical principle.

We are now in the midst of the annual Advent season of the church year. Many of us are too busy rushing around trying to find that “just right” gift for someone to stop and think about the “reason for the season” which is the incarnation which is because of God’s love.

What Advent is all about is God’s love–for the whole world–shown in the event in which the Creator God of the universe humbled himself and became vulnerable and even our servant. Some theologies like to dwell endlessly on God’s power and sovereign control and find God’s glory in those attributes. Arminianism sees God’s glory in his self-sacrificing love that drove him to enter into our human condition and suffer along with us and die for us.

What love is this? Well, if it’s possible to describe it must have some analogy with the very best of what we know as love. And the incarnation and cross demonstrate it best. God’s love is higher and better than ours but not absolutely and completely different. The Apostle Paul connects God’s love and ours in Philippians 2. We are to imitate that love by emptying ourselves for others.

Arminianism is first and foremost (above all other distinctions) a theology of God’s unbounded love for his creatures–especially those made in his image and likeness. It is the overflow of God’s own inner trinitarian love–unconditional and limitless.

John 3 tells us that God’s purpose in the incarnation and cross had nothing to do with condemning anyone. Rather they had to do with saving everyone (insofar as possible). Other theologies quibble about the precise meaning of “world” and some try to limit it to “people of every tribe and nation” in order to escape its universality. Others say God does love everyone but not in the same way. All of this is alien to the text and contrary to the simple and straightforward biblical message that “God is love” (1 John).

Arminian theology begins and ends and remains constantly centered on the good news that God is a God of universal, unconditional, self-sacrificing love shown in the incarnation and cross. Everything else in Scripture must be seen in that light and never elevated above it or pitted against it. To be sure God also has wrath, but that cannot be contrary to his love. It is God’s love spurned and rejected.

My favorite hymn was written in 1917 by a fellow Arminian Fred Lehman who founded the Nazaren Publishing House. It’s called simply “The Love of God”:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"My Mirage"

Friends,

my all time favorite song is Iron Butterfly's 1968 "My Mirage". When I was only around 9 years old I heard this song & album for the 1st time. And throughout the years this song has stayed with me & as is the case with many songs, our interpretation may not be the writer's one, but this song spoke to me of taking our vision and spreading it around so that it touches the lives of others! So I am naming my blog now "My Mirage", for the musings of my mind can be found within. I don't think I'll ever hear another secular song that has 'spoken" to me quite like this one, yes even with it's keyboard drenched tone and Doug Ingle's quasi-falsetto voice. Here are the words for you to enjoy & spread around :)


In my mind I see a mirage on the wall,
But unfortunately it's not there at all.
So I guess I'll draw my mirage on the wall,
Then it can be here to see and enjoyed by all.

My mirage, I'll be drawing you soon.
Then all of the beautiful people that come to our home,
They'll be seeing you too.
My mirage,
I'll be drawing you soon,
My mirage, I'll be seeing you soon.

In my mind I see a mirage on the wall,
But unfortunately it's not there at all.
So I guess I'll draw my mirage on the wall,
Then it can be here to see and enjoyed by all.

My mirage, I'll be drawing you soon.
Then all of the beautiful people that come to our home,
They'll be seeing you too.
My mirage,
I'll be drawing you soon,
My mirage, They'll be seeing you soon
.

Words and Music By Doug Ingle
© 1968 (unp) Cotillion Music, Inc., Ten East Music & Itasca Music
© 1969 Cotillion Music, Inc., Ten East Music & Itasca Music
All Rights Reserved Including Public Performance For Profit

Until Next Time,
Al

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red Sox Breakdown 2010

“Our best Effort”


My beloved Boston Red Sox last week finally ran out of gas after what has been a disastrous injury plagued season. Almost from the outset though you could see that management had made a decision early on that this would be an “in between” season. The Sox made hardly any huge additions, signing Mike Cameron & Jeremy Hermeda (who is already gone) were minor signings & the only major addition was John Lackey. So it was clear that the owners were not willing to compete with our down the coast rivals the dreaded Yankees.
The fact that baseball needs badly a salary cap is for another post, along with I might add a REAL Commissioner, not a “rooster watching the hen house!”. But these Sox fought through a ton of injuries. Just about everyone has been on the dl this year: Veritek, Ellsbury, (for the year) Cameron, (also forever) Beckett, Wakefield, Buchholtz, Youk (out for the year) & Pedroia (also for the year) & more! It’s been a nitemare, but they stayed in contention way beyond my wildest dreams.
If Pap’s didn’t have 7 blown saves, like giving up 4 runs in the 9th vs. the White Sox, who knows where we would be? The Sox lost a lot of games in the last 2 innings this year & also gave up a lot of runs in the early innings having to play “catch up” way to many times. But I was deeply impressed with 2 players especially, 3b acquisition, Adrian Beltre & if/of utility man, Bill Hall. Hall has hit like 18 homers & has been playing maybe “over his head” as some have said, but this is a good ball player & I would be fine to see the Sox keep him around.
Beltre is a throwback from all I can see. He is a player form another time, he reminds me of the gritty give it all you got always type of player we rarely see anymore. He played through pain, is a great teammate they say & just gives it his all. He reminds me of the old Spoke Owens type, Pedroia is exactly the same way too! On a really sad note, it look like this will be Mike Lowell’s final season. What a class act this guy has been, he came in the Beckett deal & no one expected him to do much, especially coming off a .207 batting avg. w/ the marlins, but he rose to World Series Mvp in 2007 & I for one (and my wife who is crazy about him) will be sad to see him go, but it is time. We do have some good young players though as the Sox have gone to great pains to take care of their farm teams & we’ve seen some great moments from players like Kalish, Bowden, Reddick & others. So now it is time for me to root for my 2nd favorite team, the Minnesota Twins & I’ll also root for the Rays!

Here’s to hoping that one of these teams will topple that “evil empire” in 2010!


stay tuned,
Al

Random Thoughts about John Adams

John Adams was our nation’s 2nd president & it seems in everything he get’s little to no credit. He was also our nation’s 1st Vice-President & he was, in my opinion the 1st president to steer us out of a war. (with the French) He is also considered to be perhaps the strongest voice in the Continental Congress for Independence & gave an impassioned speech & worked behind the scenes in those last hours before the vote to secure that Independence. In his keeping us out of war in 1799, he did so at his own peril, something we rarely if ever see today from our Politicians. A quick search reveals little in the way’s of memorials to this man who as I stated above was a “pillar” to our Revolution. Yes there is a Library of Congress building named after him, but not much else sadly….. On a website, someone recently wrote this about him:

“There would be no United States of America if not for the efforts and sacrifice of this great patriot! .. John Adams made two CRUCIAL decisions. It was he who nominated Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence and it was he who nominated George Washington to lead our new continental Army“.

So, it seems to me that we could be recognizing this great contributor to our Nation in more ways then we do now.

Oh well more to come,

stay tuned,
Al

Monday, August 16, 2010

Outstanding article from Theologian Roger E. Olson

The problem with Calvinism is…
Posted on August 6, 2010 by Roger
People often ask me what is my single most serious problem with Calvinism. Why am I not a Calvinist? First, I like to point out that nobody is obligated to be one. Some evangelicals are under the mistaken impression that Calvinism is the norm for all evangelicalism and that if you’re not a Calvinist you’re somehow defectively evangelical. It is wrongly believed to be the default theology of authentic evangelicalism.

I grew up in the thick of evangelicalism–spiritually nurtured by mentors and peers in Youth for Christ where I rubbed shoulders with evangelicals of many different denominations. We used to debate Calvinism versus Arminianism all the time and we generally agreed to disagree and nevertheless worship and witness together. I don’t remember anyone then telling me I had to be a Calvinist to be a faithful Christian or an evangelical. I grew up in a Pentecostal denomination that was thoroughly Arminian (although no doubt some folks were really semi-Pelagian because they didn’t know any better and took songs like “The Savior is Waiting [to Enter Your Heart]” too literally. My uncle was president of our little denomination for 25 years–including the years I was growing up and becoming a theologian-wannabe. He and I talked endlessly about these issues and he told me that in the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) of which he was a national officer Calvinists and Arminians got along wonderfully and nobody made anyone else feel second class for holding either view. Point of trivia: One of the first presidents of the NAE who held office for many years was Billy Melvin, a minister of the Free Will Baptist denomination.

Then, something new began to come onto my radar screen. I’ll never forget the day in about 1985 when a student came to my office and said “Professor Olson, I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re not a Christian.” When I asked him why he said “Because you’re not a Calvinist.” He claimed that his pastor, a well-known Calvinist speaker and author, taught him that only Calvinists can be authentically Christian.

Later I had opportunity to talk with that pastor and he denied ever teaching that, but he did say to me that “Arminianism is on the precipice of heresy.” Over the intervening years something called the “young, restless, Reformed” movement has grown and many people associated with it do talk and act as if Calvinism and evangelical Christianity, if not simply Christianity itself, are necessarily linked such that non-Calvinists cannot really be authentically evangelical.

I invite representatives of the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) to speak to my classes every year. One leader of the local chapter told my class “Oh, Arminianism–that’s just Pelagianism.” Of course, I corrected him, but I suspect he and many others like him still think that.

Calvinist and Arminian evangelicals share much common ground as I wrote in my book Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. But, there are also deep differences. And that brings me back to the question why I am not a Calvinist.

As I implied above, first, I never was one and have never seen compelling reason to become one. It’s the same reason I am not an amillennialist (in spite of the fact that many of my evangelical peers in the theological guild are)–I grew up premillennial and I’ve never seen sufficient biblical evidence or heard or read sufficient arguments to make me change my mind. My premillennialism has evolved; it’s no longer of the dispensational variety. But I cherish the belief in a future, earthly messianic reign of peace, justice and prosperity. The German theologian Juergen Moltmann has become my main guide in this area of eschatology. He is a premillennialist with a difference (from, say, dispensational premillennialism of the Tim LaHaye variety).

Second, I am not a Calvinist because (hold on!) IF I WERE A CALVINIST I would have trouble distinguishing between God and the devil. Some Calvinists have misinterpreted this saying. They think I’m accusing them of worshiping the devil. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All I am saying is, if I were a Calvinist, being of the bent of mind that I am (striving for logical consistency as much as possible), I would have trouble clearly distinguishing between God and the devil in my own mind.

To my Calvinist acquaintances who take umbrage at this, all I can say is–please just consider it my own intellectual failure if you wish. I am not aiming this saying at you. I am admitting my own failure (from your point of view, I’m sure). But it does hold me back from joining the ranks of the “young, restless, Reformed” (not all of who are young, by the way).

The point is–God’s character. IF God elects people to salvation unconditionally and IF God IS love (1 John) why doesn’t he save everybody? IF I could be a universalist, I could be a Calvinist. I don’t care about free will for its own sake or for any humanist reasons. Hell is the sticky issue. The Calvinist God could save everyone because his election to salvation is unconditional and his grace is irresistible. Apparently, he purposefully chooses to “pass over” some (which is in effect the same as foreordaining them to hell). Why? For his glory? Some Calvinists say hell is necessary for the full manifestation of God’s attribute of justice. I ask what that says about the cross-was it not a sufficient manifestation of God’s justice?

The devil wants everyone to go to hell. The God of Calvinism wants many to go to hell. Is that enough of a difference of character? Not to me. The God of Jesus Christ is absolutely, unconditionally good. The God of Calvinism, from my perspective, is not absolutely, uncondtionally good and, in fact, has a dark side that includes willing that people perish eternally (contrary to 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4).

Next year Zondervan will publish my book-length explanation of what I see wrong with Calvinism. This is just a hint at that. But let me say here and now that, in spite of my serious qualms about Calvinism, I do consider Calvinists my fellow evangelicals. I would never say or suggest that someone is defectively evangelical because he or she is a Calvinist. What I think is that Calvinists are confused insofar as they believe God is love (as Scripture clearly says) and yet hold onto their belief in unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace.

What really bothers me at a personal as well as professional level is the present, on-going attitude of superiority and even exclusiveness being fostered among many of the young, restless, Reformed Christians. It reminds me of the attitude displayed by many of the followers of Bill Gothard in the 1970s–they believed they had found the magical key that unlocked the secrets of true spirituality to the exclusion of those poor, ignorant folks who had not yet attended a Basic Youth Conflicts seminar.

I do NOT claim that Arminianism is the be-all and end-all of biblical, evangelical faith. It is one way of interpreting Scripture and, for now at least, I believe it is the most accurate way among all the known options. (One reason I believe that is that it is the closest Protestant theology to the soteriology–doctrine of salvation–among the Christians of the first four to five centuries. I don’t find anything like Calvinism appearing until Augustine in the early 5th century.) But I suspect “When we all get to heaven” (the title of a good old gospel song) we will all find out that our “little systems” fell short of the fullness of truth. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote: “Our little systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, o God, art more than they.” We would all do well to take that to heart.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Associating God with Evil (Part 3)

Hello Friends,

In this portion I would like to look at how God "turns the tide" if you will on evil & ends up using it for His glory as He does all things eventually. I am reminded right away of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. It was truly a wicked and evil thing that they did to him, but when a famine had hit & his brothers showed up looking for goods & Joseph saw them, after awhile he made a remarkable statement to them about who our God is! In Gen.50:20 Joseph said to his brothers about what they had done: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Wow! He really is the God who turns the tide friends! I also think of the women Dorcas in Joppa in the book of Acts who died & then God used Peter to raise her back to life (I firmly believe we are capable of doing these same things today & I point the finger at me why they don't happen as they did then!) and the Scripture states when she arose again, many believed so God used her death & resurrection to bring many to Him, so God used the circumstance of death! May we have the faith of Peter for this day to, as the Scriptures clearly state "perform signs & wonders for they will follow them (us!) that believe, amen! And of course the ultimate use of evil by satan for God's glory was the Cross! Satan surely thought he had defeated Christ on that sad afternoon when Jesus was put to death, but 3 days later God took the pain & torture that Christ endured & totally tuned the tide on all the host of hell when Christ arose! So friends the Bible shows us that God can indeed use the evil in our lives and the sad & bad circumstances that happen to accomplish some good thing in us which is why James is able to say in Chapter 1 & verse 2 right out of the box "count it all joy my brothers when you fall into various trials". James knew that God can work in us that which he desires even through such things!
And James goes further to say this in verses 13-15 of Chapter 1: Jas 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death". This makes it pretty clear that it is WE and not God who fall into sin & who create problems in our lives. Let it be known loud and clear that God is a good God! That he always wants the best for us & always has our best at heart & should he allow evil to befall us, He will in some way ultimately "turn that tide" friends if we allow Him too.

Associating God with Evil (Part 2)




Hi Friends,

Okay, in picking up where I left off, I would like to share with you why I believe that there is a "flow" throughout the Scriptures that tell us that God should not be associated with evil, or be blamed as the cause, etc." One passage that leaps out in this regard is John 10:10a where Jesus states this concerning satan...."for the thief comes only to steal, kill & destroy". This clearly tells us friends that it is the enemy (satan) & not God who comes to steal from us, who comes to destroy us & who intimately seeks to kill us! Yet, so many times we hear people say that God is the cause of their problems....perhaps the reason behind that is this...."well if God is really that powerful & loving, then why doesn't He put an end to my problems".
Well I believe that is a fair question from a person who knows little or nothing about the Bible, don't you? It makes a lot of sense that if God is who He said He is, that He can take care of anything that befalls us. So this leads me to another point in this discussion....."why then does God allow evil?" Now there is a question for the ages! After all, at the end of all this, this is really the "heavy" question isn't it? Because most people I think realize & understand that God is good & that He always wants the best for us, but the best doesn't always happen, so clearly God is allowing some bad things to happen & so there lies that deep question of simply "why". I promise we will come back to that friends, but let's continue to look at why I believe God should not be associated as the cause or source of evil.
If we now go back to John 10 & read Jesus words right after 10:10a, He states "but I have come that you might have life & have it to the full". We also read this in 1 John 1:5: "that God is light & in Him there is NO darkness!" Now that is a pretty clear statement from John friends. In God there is NO darkness, is it a stretch to also say that in Him he can not produce darkness & thus would not have produced the fall of Man in Genesis? I think not! We are further told this by James in chapter 1:16-17: "that every good & perfect gift comes down from the Father of LIGHTS in whom there is no shadow of turning! V.16 tells us not to be deceived, so we must ask, not to be deceived of what? The very next verse tells us, that all that is good is from God, not evil! James is making the point clear that God is a God of light, not of darkness! This goes hand in hand with what we have also read from John friends. Today, we often hear these 2 mutually exclusive words together "God - dam". How did that happen? How did God get blamed for all this, how does He still get blamed for the bad things in life that happen? Now we will visit soon that God can & does use evil for good, this is clear & true, but because He uses something, does not make Him the author of it friends! Here is a statement made by a popular Reformed writer: "If God's chief end is to bring glory to His name and God does whatsoever He desires to do, then the existence of evil must be allowed and decreed by God ultimately bringing glory to his name" This continued phrase by Reformers "God does nothing, but for His glory, or similar statements like "God is all about His glory" must leave some who are examining the claims of Christianity to ponder if God is egotistical no? Scriptures like John 3:16-17 & Phil. 2:5-8 teach us that God is all about us & that we are to bring glory to His name, not the other way around friends! yes, I do believe that God does indeed seek His glory in all circumstances, but not the way some of these Reformers make it sound. For instance a passage like Isa. 43:7 which states: "Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made." is taken to mean that God is only about His glory and yes He created us to have fellowship with Him and for us to glorify His Holy name, but I think this idea of God ONLY being about His glory is a bit out of context.....Now it is also a Biblical truth that God doesn't "share space", just as Jesus doesn't (Isa. 42:8, 48:11, Jn. 14:6) but I think this phrase can be dangerous........and other similar statements like "God is most glorified when".....the fact of the matter is this: The Bible does not clearly state exactly when God is most glorified! That is an assumption, but it is being stated as a fact & that my friends is also dangerous! Just my thoughts here. Okay, we can pick up talking about how God has used evil for good & does, while keeping in mind that satan is the author of death & evil. Satan, not God tempted Eve in the garden & caused mankind to fall! Jesus stated this in His heated discourse with the Pharisee's in John 8:44a "but you are of your father the devil, for he was a murderer from the beginning"
showing us that satan is indeed death's author by bringing sin into the world & we know that sin leads to death. (Rom. 6:23)
Until Next Time,
Al

Associating God with Evil (part 1)



Hi Friends,

It has been awhile since I have written anything so I am glad to be back sharing here. My topic for the next few posts will be how for Centuries we have associated evil somehow with or to God. I am not sure how this all came about to be quite honest, but I think there is more than enough proof in God's Word to show us that God is not the author or purveyor of evil. Now that is not to say that God cannot or has not used evil to bring about some good in our lives, I think we'd all agree that He has & that He does! But the question I ask is this: "is God the cause of the evil, is He the source?" Some people I respectfully disagree with teach that God in some way "pre-ordained or set up" the Fall of Man in Genesis, but then in the same breath will state that God is also not the "author of sin", I say "how can both of those things be true?" You simply can't have it both ways! We know from the Genesis account that sin entered the world through the disobedience of BOTH Adam & Eve, so now we must ask, "what part if any, did God play in that?". When God created man, did He make us free moral agents, or are we able to exhibit choice, or maybe yet are we a sort of quasi-free moral agent having choice at certain times, etc? At least for me, this has never been a hard question based on the passages of Scripture we'll be looking at in my next post, but I would be interested in any thoughts anyone reading this may have? Last, I would also mention the tree in the midst of the garden of Eden, what did that tree represent? Could it of represented choice, was God giving mankind a freedom to choose by placing that tree there? Please give that some thought friends.

Until Next Time,
Al