Friday, February 20, 2015

We often think of O.T. Prophets as showing a God who is mean and vengeful, and  against  his own chosen people.  What we too easily forget is that God, when rejected by his people, who didn't just go their own way, but deliberately broke his commands and worshiped other gods.  All God did, was let them have their own way, but without his hedge of protection keeping them protected from   enemies that they were already flirting with.  Moreover, they felt their security lay in their own strength - declaring to the world their self-sufficiency.   Even when God warned them by his prophets that  they were in danger and needed to turn back to him, they responded with a resounding NO.

Go forward  around 2,500 years to the USA today, we are a nation who has come more and more to see our strength and safety lies in our "self sufficiency: We feel that our 'might" makes all we do or desire our right.  Our culture has moved steadily away from God's ways.  In fact we say our choices are our right.  And God's ways are obsolete and irrelevant.  Are we walking into a life where God withdraws his hedge  of protection over America?  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Psalm 32:8-9   I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

When God created us he created us in his image.  I always thought that was yes, how we were formed and yes, that we had speech and abilities to think. But as I read the verse above it came to my mind that the greatest way we were made most like him in that he created in us the option of choice.  Not just a choice of one good over another good, but choice based on the freedom he gave us to chose his way or our own way.   And with that 'option' he made a definite choice - the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The verse above indicates to me he wanted a created being who chose him out of an inner desire for him, a desire created by our coming to know him and love him as our creator.  And of course, on his death and resurrection he made a way for us to have eternal life in Him - to be eternally in his presence.  He didn't want us constrained to love or serve him, but he wanted us to come because we love him.  

Our salvation came in the OT in the same way as in the NT - by our faith in him and love for him.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

Two phrases stand out  in the passage above:
                 "separated from the life of God because....."
                 "ignorance that is in them due to..  "

A focus on the heart of the passage leads to the very heart of the problem  the Gentiles have:    "the hardening of their hearts...

So tracing it backwards a hardened heart begins before we get to the hardened part.   A definite progression is in action here.

You must no longer live as the Gentile do

4)  in the futility of their thinking
3)  They are darkened in their understanding
2)  and separated from the life of God
1)  because of the ignorance that in in them

4-1 the process how their hearts became hardened.  It started seemingly small as step one, but each step opened the door for the next step leading to the futility of their thinking.

The end of futility of their thinking leads from step 1-4:

1) Having lost all sensitivity
2) They have given themselves over to sensuality
3) So as to indulge in every kind of impurity
4) With a continual lust for more.

So that, having lost our conscience, and increasing sensuality and impurity the lust grows 'til, without Christ we are lost, unable to stop a life of sin.