A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. I ask that You forgive us for our sins. Our nation has ignored Your ways and has chased after corrupt things. As a nation we have rebelled against You and chosen evil rather than good. According to Your great loving kindness and mercy, I pray for Your forgiveness. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia before the 2016 Federal Election

A Prayer for Australia Before our Federal Election

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Our Father, the Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign of all things. Blessed be Your Name forever and ever, to You belong wisdom and might. You alone are the Lord, the great, the mighty, and awesome God. By Your power You change times and seasons; and remove kings and set up kings. You are the One who gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. Continue reading A Prayer for Australia Before our Federal Election

The Master of Prayer

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Listening to a fellow brother or sister in the Lord pray with sincerity and adoration to the Lord is a tremendous blessing. That is one of the things I love about being a part of prayer meetings. To hear the prayer of a recent convert or someone that has walked with the Lord for many years is a wonderful experience.  As wonderful as that can be, no prayer can even begin to be compared to the prayers of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Master of Prayer.

Prayer was a constant part of His earthly ministry () and even now as He is seated at the right hand of the Father (; Heb.7:25; ).

In we read a prayer by the Lord Jesus Christ, which took place before His betrayal and arrest. It has been given various titles like, “The High Priestly Prayer” or “the True Lord’s Prayer”. The prayer consists of three parts: prayer for Himself (), prayer for His disciples () and prayer for all who will ever believe (). In this post I want to make a four observations concerning this prayer and what we can learn from it. Continue reading The Master of Prayer

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,

Luke 5:15

15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities.

Luke 6:12-13

12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:

Luke 9:18

18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

Luke 9:28-29

28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.

Luke 10:21

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Luke 22:31-32

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 23:34

34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Luke 24:30

30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.

Luke 24:50-51

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

34 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.

2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

How can you believe in Free Will and Predestination?

How can you believe in Free Will and Predestination?

A common objection to Reformed and Calvinist theology is that it is fatalist, doesn’t allow for man to have free will. If God predestines man “before the foundation of the world” to salvation or damnation (e.g. ), then how can man have free will?

A good question. Calvin’s answer is somewhat counter intuitive. Man is not free when they are in sin. They are slaves to sin (, ). Or, as Luther would say, sinful man’s will is in bondage. Calvin says that “without the Spirit man’s will is not free, since it has been laid under by shackling and conquering desires.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.2.8) Calvin likewise affirms that only the regenerate man is truly free. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit makes man free, as his will is no longer in bondage and slavery to sin.

Continue reading How can you believe in Free Will and Predestination?

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Who are You? Chosen by the Father

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Who are you?

That is an interesting question and will have all sorts of answers depending on the individual and context. But if I was to ask the more precise question, who are you in the sight of God, this reduces the variety of answers. tells us who the Christian is in the sight of God. Consider what these verses say.

The purpose of this post isn’t to provide a thorough exegetical treatment of this profound passage (though that would be valuable!), but to simply observe three blessings every believer enjoys. These three blessings reveal who the Christian is in the sight of God. The blessings are: chosen, redeemed, and sealed. let us consider the first one.

Chosen
In Paul tells his readers that they are chosen. This act of selection is by God the Father and is the actual choosing of certain individuals to be saved. What a high and humbling thought, that God would choose from among fallen men some to be saved. Unlike the belief that says that God’s looks into the future and chooses those who choose Him, the Scripture teaches that took place before the foundation of the world” (). God’s act of choosing us was not influenced by our works, but was based on His love, mercy and purpose (cf. ). Continue reading Who are You? Chosen by the Father

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 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 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, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 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, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—

The Mystery of God

In an earlier blog I spoke of some of the qualities and characteristics of God as depicted in the Bible. However as we learn more about God so that we may grow in our relationship, appreciation and adoration of Him, there is one fact that seems to always raise its head – there are some aspects of Him and His plan/work/nature that we in our finite thinking and understanding will never fully grasp.

We shouldn’t be surprised at this. Although humans are made in God’s image (), and thus have the privilege of representing God on Earth, we are not God ourselves. We are not all knowing (Omniscient). We are not the creators and sustainers of all creation. We are not eternal in our existence. Yet despite these obvious limitations, it’s not uncommon for people to fill in the blanks based on our own perception of what we think God should be like and how He should operate. Rather, we should accept there are some aspects of God we will never fully understand.

Two examples of the mystery of God at work, both in His nature and how He operates are as follows:

Continue reading The Mystery of God

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”