Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salvation Forever?

Its a hot topic when you talk about the particulars of salvation though grace by faith. One one extreme, you have the folks that believe that if you, at any time in you life, called upon Jesus as Lord of your life and receive salvation then it is yours forever - no matter what. Even if you decide at some point you want to become a serial killer or take up an alternate religion. On the other extreme you have salvation as a free gift, but to redeem it, you must turn from your life of sin and love as God loves and if you fulfill these requirements to the day of judgement, then you will be saved from eternal punishment.

I will be posting scripture as I find it that I feel deals with this topic. Perhaps, one day, I will be able to make a firm conclusion from these findings.

Matt 18
32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

This is before Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Did He mean to say that this is how it is, or how it will be?

Friday, December 19, 2008


I was recently told that the condition of my wife's current state of health was due to a lack of faith (in short)

affliction (n)
A condition of pain, suffering, or distress. /syn trial
A cause of pain, suffering, or distress. /syn burden

infirmity (n)
A bodily ailment or weakness, especially one brought on by old age.
Frailty; feebleness.
A condition or disease producing weakness.
A failing or defect in a person's character.

A good friend of mine today spoke to me about the difference between an affliction and an infirmity. The definition of affliction (in this instance) will be a trail or burden (assume a divine purpose) where an infirmity is a physical plague to the earthly body. He shared that by the word of scripture, all infirmities are already healed and all we as Christians need to do is have faith and believe they are healed and the infirmities will be lifted. Affliclitions would be more like Paul's "thorn in the flesh" that he asked be healed but never was (that we know). Paul's "thorn" has divine purpose and being so, it was not God's will that it be healed. However, he was certain that people today do not have afflictions (? seemed to be what he was saying) but rather infirmities that they only have because they do not have the faith that it is already healed. I would admit that the picture painted many times in the new testament scripture is one of physical healing. You dont hear of too many Christians dying from old age, crones, cancer, etc. They were usually killed (not sure is killed would be considered an affliction or not). He told me that it is God's will that we (Christians) be healthy and prosperous. Now, i know for a fact that the picture of the new testament was not one of properity for our early pioneers; not if you measure prosperity by the size of ones bank account for sure. I got the phrase I love so much.. "what you need to do is." I love this phrase!(sarc). I love it because it automatically puts the person saying it in a position of some authority over me by knowing exactly what I NEED to do; and second I love it because it makes the assumption that I havent done whatever-it-is already. He also mentioned that infirmities are of the devil. I thought this gives the devil a little too much credit; that he created all infirmity? He was cast out of heaven for pride. He tricked or led created man into disobedience. From that time the creation changed. Man was destined to live forever, but with sin, was now destined to die. So the world, the creation, then, became a ticking time bomb counting down to the day that God would restore everthing. I would be quicker to conclude that infirmities are a result of the degradation of creation rather than a 'creation' of satan. To say that illness is a creation or work of satan would ultimately be to say that hell was a creation of satan, but we know that God has destined satan for hell has his eternal punishment and separation from Him. It would not make sense then that satan created the place of his own demise.

just some thoughts

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

enough is enough, amen?

the below text was/is my last comment to a post on the topic of the most recent buzz over Mike G from Australia not posted for discussion, but for anti-discussion. this is were i stand on this issue.

if i were mike reading this, im not sure how i'd feel right now. maybe cry, maybe want to throw my monitor down the hall. not really sure. if i were really sick, mentally, maybe suicide.

mike, if you ever do read this. we just want you to know what you already know.. that God loves you.. that Jesus loves you and always takes us back. i apologize that so many (myself included) have taken liberty to discuss your personal life amongst ourselves as if we were entitled to do so. forgive us. may peace be on you and your family. -tg

(to some of you others reading this.. you may disagree. you may think that because mike was so much in the public eye that we are entitled to discuss these things - or insert whatever reason you may have. i've read so many variations of this story already, that its only a matter of time before it comes out that he was an arms dealer in iraq. please, lets stop this. you may call me a hypocrite because here i am commenting on a post about mike. yes, i admit i was quickly caught up on all the buzz. and so from hence forth, this is my only further comment on subject.. "let’s not talk about mike")


Mike, i dont know you, you dont know me, but we both know Christ.. and that make us family. I wish you well and hope to see you back on your feet with Gods grace in Gods time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Feelin' a little Old School?

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

The thought that came to me is this.. how much of the old testament and its teaching do we wrongfully dismiss? I realize that with the new testament came a change in the receipt of salvation and it also gave us specific duties to fulfill, but what about the old school traditions?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dont Let The "Cute" Thing Fool Ya

This is common find on apparel for children and young ladies (even not so young ladies) today. The implication is this: cute implies innocence or goodness, I'm cute, but don't let that fool you, i can also be pretty naughty (or not such a good kid). Well, with kids (we aquired this as a hand-me-down for our 5 year old) I do see the humor (and truth) in this. Everyone always tells you (well, this was the case with us anyway) that your kid is so cute and well behaved. Then you think - yeah, you don't go home with her! Funny, right? But my girl is growing up now and I was struck with the thought of what else this might convey. This can't be the implication intended by the 13, 17, 20, even 30 somethings. No, this isn't a simple statement of, hey my parents bought me this shirt to convey that at home I'm really a holy terror. This is more along the lines of personal reputation. This says, "I know I look cute (innocent), but really I can be quite naughty. When you apply this kind of phrase to a toddler, its funny. When you do the same to some of the ages listed above, well, not so funny really - when you think about it. But that's the problem nowadays I believe. We don't really think about it. We wear what is on the shelves at the clothing stores. We wear what our friends are wearing. -sorry, topic for another time, back on track-

My point (initially) here is this - I have had the opportunity to hear from a young person who is not at all alone in what was shared. This person is a kind and decent person, fairly good student, not a trouble maker, but is alone - feels cast out of circles at school and the like - and all because of this persons reputation for being "good." No one wants to be good anymore. Its cool to be bad, naughty, a little crazy and wild. So the image above shows the desired statement to fit in. It says, "no, I'm am bad, really, please let me fit in." When there's two things wrong with that. Of course, we shouldn't want to be bad, and we shouldn't strive to fit in (conform to this world). And we certainly shouldn't be apologizing for our seemingly innocent appearance or behavior, but rather the opposite.

Friday, March 7, 2008

If Im not alive tomorrow...

War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.
Edwin Starr

Well... Let us suppose that if it were not for our willingness and our capability to kill and destroy (as an American nation), then we would simply fall victim to the ones who are. Maybe that is not entirely true, but mostly true. In some cases, small people groups may be of no significance to others and so therefore never become a target - but only time can tell, when their time is up, and suddenly they become significant for what ever reason. We are significant, we a target, and I presume that we only stand because we are not a nation to be trifled with.

All this to say that I believe that Christ would not want us to live a kill-or-be-killed life. I believe that Christ intended for us to love and only love, knowing that persecution would be our ultimate destiny (and per Revelation, it is). So how do I tell myself (let alone my American neighbor), comfortable, safe, and free to put away fighting, knowing that it will most likely mean laying down our lives - to fall victim to any one of our countless enemies. How then also do I tell the African villager who has seen so much suffering and has suffered so much himself at the hands of murderous gangs to put away hate, revenge, anger all to just love, knowing that it would laying down his life.

If Christ was asking us to love and not hate, to sow peace and not war, to heal and not kill, then would we? Would we lay down our lives for His sake? Would we forsake comfortable for His sake? Would we forsake taking our own justice for His sake? Could we? Should we?

This is pretty dark topic even for me. And I am in no way saying that I exemplify what I preach. I only mean to speak it, that it may resound further in me, and, perhaps, in you. It is the truth that we know, but do not wish to speak because it requires us to put so much on the line. It calls attention to our hypocrisy when we do not live these words.

I know many will say this is too extreme and why cant we just live in the here and now and share Jesus with our neighbor and reach out to the hurting? Well, by all means do that. That’s what we are supposed to be doing.

This post, this whole thought process, stems from this one thought I had while driving home today: So many Christians/Christian-Americans (as I like to refer) that I know would quickly join with me in saying, "Let us put away our hate and our killing and live as Jesus intended, to love our neighbor as ourselves" and yet would still cringe (perhaps even disassociate with me) if I said, "Let us put away our tanks and FA-18s and guided nuclear missiles; let us not retaliate to a terrorist attack like 911 with a deadly man hunt, but instead forgive and love." Yeah, that’s not going to fly...

I’m preaching a dangerous sermon here. How can I tell a country to stop going to war that is a country founded upon war (The Revolutionary War), that can't exist together without war (The Civil War), that has probably the most significant history marker of war (Hiroshima, Nagasaki), that seems to make sport of war - that when someone else is fighting, we politely ask, "may we cut in?" I am thankful to God that I am an American. I am proud to be a Christian (for what that term meant 2000 years ago).

If this post has caused anyone to say, "that’s un-American!" I will politely have you know that it was written by an American under the privileges of free speech - that’s pretty American.

If this post has caused you to hate me or what I have to say, then I’m sad. I am sad that you may miss the only really important message that I could possibly share.

So, if I’m not alive tomorrow...
...it was probably an angry reader with nuclear arms capabilities.

peace to you all

added 3-9-08 5:45pm :
I wondered if I had done a just service with this post; wondering if I had somehow led some Christians off the path of seeking a life of complete service to Christ by painting a rather grim picture of what that might be in the end. But then I recalled the very words of Christ as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14:28-33 where He implies that it is the smart (and logical) thing to do to count the cost before taking on a task. Consider this as merely counting the cost.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the church is full of humans

I may not be aged, but I’ve seen many things. I served in many churches in different capacities and this is what I know. Traditional, contemporary, city, or country.. church is church. People come together in the name of Jesus for the purpose of adoration to the King and to build each other up through encouragement and instruction. Every church (and by church, I mean every congregation) has one serious flaw, however. All churches are made up of people and I’m one of them - as flawed as anybody else.

I’ve been to churches where leaders actually tore people down. I pray daily for those (who will remain nameless) to turn back to the intentions of Christ and His church.

If you dig deep enough, you will find that every group of humans has failed someone somewhere somehow, but true love never fails

peace, -tg