Sunday, October 26, 2008

Letters of Grace: On Predestination

Rita, a born again Christian not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead, to E. my brother in the faith and the brethren who follow suit:
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."1

Brethren I will never tire of reminding you that
"Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." (Psalms 115:3)
"those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."2

Oh Beloved I speak to you the truth in Christ concerning this teaching, once there was anguish in my heart until the Lord brought forth light and discernment through the Holy Spirit, who now dwells in me, and in His Holy word showed me this:

"As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God.'" And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay." And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah." What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."3

Brethren listen now,
"Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned them all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on them all."4
Be not mistaken though, God has consigned them all as in both gentile and Jews that are to be saved, not all of mankind. 5
Oh but beloved of mine rest assured in this,
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." 6

I appeal to all who are struggling with this doctrine, the doctrine of Predestination, forsake now what you've heard from men, and "words of the Lord" and dreams IF what you've heard contradicts what is clearly stated in the word of God. Brethren God has given us His word, what we have come to know and love and cherish and dwell upon as the Holy Scriptures the 66 books comprising the Old and New Testament, read His word, meditate on it, be like the Bereans. Remember also to pray without ceasing.
"Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved."

All emphasis are mine, books I cited:
1. Ephesians 1
2. Romans 8
3. Romans 9
4,6. Romans 11
5. Commentary: See Galatians 3:22

When I survey the Wondrous Cross

What privilege have we to be called sons and daughters of the Almighty God by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. Take this moment to thank such a merciful, loving and amazing God!

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." Gal 1:3-5

Commemorating the Reformation

In my church every year all throughout the month of October we commemorate the protestant Reformation which began after Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg.
"October 31, one week from today, will mark the 491st anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenburg. In so doing he struck a match, beginning a fire that quickly spread throughout Europe and throughout the world. Having become increasingly disillusioned with the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, and in particular the sale of indulgences, Luther wrote his Theses to try to begin the process of reform. While he was unable to bring reform to the church, he did trigger the Protestant Reformation by rediscovering the Gospel—the good news of salvation by grace through faith. The Reformation had profound influence in politics, art, literature and theology—while it was at its heart a Christian movement, it impacted all areas of society. That seemingly insignificant act is, in reality, one of the defining points of history."1

For the past 4 weeks different pastors from both my church and the IBSJ (Biblical Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, Iglesia Biblica del Señor Jesucristo) have preached on the Five Solas of the reformation: Solo Christo (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Colossians 1:13-18), Sola Gratia (Ephesians 1:3-8), Sola Fide (Galatians 3:6-11), Sola Scritura (Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; 2 Timothy 3:14-17), Soli Deo Gloria (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 1:6; 2 Peter 3:1; Ephesians 3:21; Revelation 7:12; Romans 11:36). The celebration culminates this week with various activities that will be going on: this Wednesday there will be a play depicting what occurred over 400 years ago, on Friday the youth group for professionals will continue a debate on the reformation they began the first Friday of this month, Saturday the youth group for University students will have a sort of debate on the reformation and finally on Sunday our senior Pastor Miguel Nuñez will end the Five Solas series with the last sola: Soli Deo Gloria.
It has been quite an eventful month and a delight to be reminded of what our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith went through and how far they went to contend for the faith, Christ truly was their all in all and they like Paul took a stand and counted everything as a loss for Christ. To them truly death was gain and life Christ, my hope and prayer is that we may live a life worthy of the gospel as they did in our day to day, in the little things (like obedience to mom and dad) as well as in the big ones whatever those may be.

"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."

Friday, October 24, 2008

When Dealing with a Critical Spirit

I was listening to Revive our Hearts today and Nancy said this quote by Spurgeon which convicted me so much because I often struggle with a critical Spirit, but time and time again the Lord reminds me that it is by His grace (unmerited favor) that I am who I am.

"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. When our virtues become more mature, we shall not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms." - C.H. Spurgeon

Recommended Audio: God's Beautiful Design for Women: Living Out Titus 2:1-5 Part 24

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grace Gems: Worldly Losses

Worldly losses

(J. R. Miller, "Living Without Worry")

If we have God--no other loss is irreparable! There is surely enough in God's love, to compensate a thousand times for every earthly deprivation! Our lives may be stripped bare--home, friends, riches, comforts, every sweet voice of love, every note of joy--and we may be driven out from brightness and music and tenderness and shelter--into the cold ways of sorrow. Yet if we have God Himself left--ought it not to suffice? Yes, is not He Himself infinitely more than all His gifts?

Often we do not learn the depth and riches of God's love, and the sweetness of His presence--until earthly joys vanish out of our hands, and beloved ones fade away out of sight. The loss of temporal things empties our hearts--to receive spiritual and eternal things! The
sweeping away of earthly hopes--reveals the glory of our heart's refuge in God. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have
called you by name; you are Mine! When you go
through deep waters and great trouble, I will be
with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown! When you walk through the
fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the
flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord,
your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!"
Isaiah 43:1-3

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God's Faithfulness

This morning I woke up at my friend Mabel's home. I sat in front of her computer as I waited for her to come out of her parents room where she spent the night. As I waited I found myself staring at a framed drawing of her as a little girl and her mom who was drawn with a glowing and joy-filled face. I could only think of Psalm 113 v.9 which says:
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!

Hallelujah indeed! After having tried everything for 7 years Mabel's mom was ready to give up but the Lord blessed her with a child and made her the joyous mother of a daughter. The Lord is faithful and it fills my heart with joy to know that His faithfulness is everlasting (Psalm 117:2) and humbles me to know that even when we are not faithful to Him he remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
So I join David in his psalm when he proclaims:

"Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!" Psalm 113:2-4

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thanksgiving in Miami

I need help! I'll be spending thanksgiving day and weekend in Miami with my cousin and her husband's family and there are three items I'd like to buy but have no clue, and I'm sure they'll have no clue as well, where to buy them so ATTENTION all Christians (or anyone who might know) in Miami where can I get the following:

1. An Electronics Store where I can buy this item (if it has the shape of a microphone even better :D i.e. ) ?
2. A MUSIC STORE where I can buy CD's by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Sovereign Grace Music?
3. A Christian Book Store where I can buy the ESV Bible study?

This post will be up up until a few days before my trip, I leave november 26th. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Six Lessons

So I was tagged by Stephanie owner of the lovely and wisdom-filled blog Thirsty Soul, yay! I love these thingies so feel free to tag me any time, this time I'm asked to list 6 things I have learned this year:
1. One important lesson I learned this year is found in the lines of a certain song and it goes like this: "In my uncertainty your word is all I need, to know you're with me every day."
2. I've learned the importance of being obedient to my parents at all times, even more so if I want to be a faithful witness to them of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in my life.
3. I learned that to be satisfied in Christ alone and again Here.
4. To be thankful of the blessings the Lord has showered me with, meditate on this: His mercies are new everyday. (Lam 3:22-23)
5. To put to death by the Holy Spirit the sin of murmuring against others, Philippians 2:14-16 in the ESV says: "Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."
6. I also learned or at least have been learning since the day He saved me that: "for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Friday, October 17, 2008

Making a Covenant with God

Sweet providence? I was reading some posts at Dan Phillips' blog which caught my attention, one of them was THE least-heard marriage truth And then I click on my e-sword software to look for some scripture and today's devotional is the following:


"We make a sure covenant, and write it."-- Neh_9:38.
"He is the Mediator of a better covenant."-- Heb_8:6.

IT IS good for a soul to make a covenant with God. On his twenty-third birthday Milton wrote these memorable words:

"Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me and the will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye."

This was his covenant with God; and through all the years, now in his prime under Cromwell, and again in his lovely old age under Charles II, he never swerved from the path he had selected.
Who can forget those magnificent lines of Wordsworth, which tell how he was returning from a village merry-making, which had lasted through the night, and lo, the glory of a summer-dawn was breaking over the hills! He describes its beauty, and adds:

"Vows were made for me,
That I should be, else sinning greatly,
A dedicated spirit."

There are certain principles outlined in these chapters in Nehemiah, which may well be included in our covenant with God:
(1) Never to allow anything in private or business life which is not in keeping with the high ideals of the Bible.
(2) To set aside a certain proportion of our income and time for the maintenance of the Work and House of God.
(3) To observe the Rest-Day.
But a covenant is between two. No resolution of ours is strong enough to keep us true. The most fervent protestations and vows may fail us in the day of trial, and our covenants are permanent only so far as God is party to them. But if Jesus is our Co-Signatory, there will be a safe-guard and certainty which all the powers of evil will not be able to overthrow.
Livingstone's covenant with God was that he might heal the open plague-spot of the Arab slave-trade. A covenant like this, in some cases, has been signed with blood. This was D. L. Moody's prayer, as a young man: "Great God, let the world learn, through my life, what Thou canst do by a man wholly devoted to Thee!"

We present to Thee, O God, ourselves to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, our reasonable service. Fulfil through us the good pleasure of Thy goodness, and the work of faith with power. AMEN.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Lesson of the day:
Obedience is not only doing what you are told when you are told, it is doing things before you're even told to do them, not only because it will please the other person, but because obedience is pleasing to God.

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." - Col. 3:20

Just so everyone understands where I'm coming from, if you know your parents like to see your room all neat and tidy, for example, don't wait for them to tell you "son/daughter please go clean your room", have it clean and tidy before they even come home from work or wherever.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Hurting Body and a Brother's Enduring Love

I always love getting these stories from GFA they are an encouragement to me and I'm posting this one in hopes it'll encourage others. If there is one thing I have learned as a Christian is to be patient, and to continue in my prayers for the salvation of those near and far. There are times when we witness to someone and pray for their salvation but the hardness of heart continues and this can be quite discouraging. There is a lesson that we need to learn first: that God is who saves and the Holy Spirit who regenerates the soul not us, our duty is to proclaim the Good News.

A Hurting Body and a Brother's Enduring Love

Through the persevering prayers of His people, God is transforming lives in India every day.

It took excruciating physical pain for Baskar to consider the Gospel. But when he did, it changed the course of his life.

The young man in his late 20s had grown up in a very poor family in Karnataka, India. His parents passed away when he was only a child. Baskar's family's financial condition did not allow him to continue school past the seventh grade.

Like others who lived in their village, Baskar, his brother and sister worshipped created elements: cows, trees, monkeys and snakes. They also believed in witchcraft.

Baskar's brother, Chinnam, later married a woman named Sarita and settled in neighboring Goa. One day, he brought Baskar to live there, too, so he could find a job. Baskar came reluctantly because he knew Chinnam and his family had become Christians. He made it very clear up front that he had no interest in leaving his ways and embracing the Christian faith.

During family prayer times, Baskar would get angry and walk out.

But strengthened in their faith by their times with the Lord and by attending their church, where Gospel for Asia missionary Emmanuel was pastor, Chinnam and Sarita reached out to Baskar and prayed fervently for his salvation.

They also invited Baskar to church with them, but he did not want to go. Baskar's heart seemed hard. But his brother and sister-in-law refused to let him go on without Jesus.

Then one day, Baskar suddenly experienced pain on one side of his body. The pain was especially severe in his leg. Baskar's condition only grew worse each day, and his brother spent a considerable amount of money on his treatment. Yet it did no good. The doctors were baffled: They had been able to help others with the same symptoms, but for some reason, the same treatment wasn't helping Baskar.

Baskar finally hit the point of desperation. He asked his brother to pray for him. Chimman had his pastor, Emmanuel, and some other Christians from the church over to pray for Baskar. He also encouraged his brother to believe in Jesus. After they prayed, Baskar discovered that his health was improving.

After a week, Baskar could sit up and stand. Slowly, he began to get better until he was completely healed!

Baskar's heart softened as he saw that God had done what none of his doctors could. He chose to trust in Jesus as Savior.

Baskar attends church regularly and thanks the Lord for His healing touch—both physical and spiritual. His life has taken on new meaning as he has found hope. He desires to complete studies at a GFA Bible college to be better equipped to serve the Lord.

Pray that Baskar will continue to grow in his faith and that God will use him to proclaim to many the hope he has found.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Grace Gems: The World's Theology

The world's theology

(by James Montgomery Boice)

The world's theology is easy to define.
It is the view . . .
that human beings are basically good,
that no one is really lost,
that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation.

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
Romans 1:22

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This is so true I have asked quite a number of people if they would consider themselves to be good people and I'd say 98% consider themselves to be good. Ask one person today and take that chance to take the person through the ten commandments and in a gracious manner let them see the truth that God sees us as sinners and unless we repent and put our faith in Christ, if we die as sinners counting on our own righteousness hell is what awaits us.