True Christianity is a religion of constant vigilance in a conscious endeavor—striving, struggling, and making choices—to do what is right to please God.
David Grabbe, unraveling several apparently contradictory scriptures, exposes a fundamental flaw in western thinking—namely the binary (that is, either-or) thinking that leads us to construct false dilemmas. Perhaps the best example of this is the on. . .
Richard Ritenbaugh reminds us that God commands that we choose between life and death. History can take a drastically different turn if a critical choice is made or not made. King Josiah, who was designated as potentially one of the most righteous kings, m. . .
Gideon began his life as a coward, became a conqueror, and ended a compromiser, all the while needing assurances from God to bolster his flagging faith.
God demonstrated to Gideon, through His systematically whittling his army from 30,000 to 300, that His providence, and not Gideon's might, would bring victory.
What does Scripture say about free-moral agency? Are we human puppets on a string, manipulated from above? How does free will relate to God's sovereignty?
Richard Ritenbaugh explores the dynamics of choosing sides. The Feast of Trumpets is a Day of Decision, a time to determine whether we are on the Lord's side. This feast is a memorial of shouting or blowing the shofar, and trumpets were used in several way. . .
In Part One, we saw that true Christians must learn to control the momentary gap between stimulus and response. We need to recognize its existence and learn to utilize this time properly. ...
Mark Schindler, reflecting on Michael Abraschoff's book, It's Your Ship, suggests that just as a captain of a ship wants decision-makers, not just order takers, God expects members of His family to be decision-makers. We cannot follow the example of Satan,. . .
Though fasting deprives the physical body of nutrition and strength, a proper, biblical fast adds conviction and depth to the inner, spiritual man.
Human will is not sovereign in the body, but is just another servant, functioning according to the information it receives. We choose according to desires.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the recent untimely death of Amanda Allen , focuses on some lyrics of a popular song recorded in 1975 by Matt Monro, titled "Yesterday When I Was Young." Sadly, wisdom is not a trait valued or acquired by youth, but. . .
Mark Schindler, establishing some foundational principles that God does not create chaos and confusion, but has re-established order after Satan's rebellion, points out the danger and folly of presumptuously choosing standards of right and wrong rather tha. . .
Have you ever tried to jump across the Mississippi River? I have done this several times. ...
John Ritenbaugh clarifies that, in terms of salvation, grace and works are mutually exclusive (Ephesians 2:8-10), but good works are the result (or the fruits) of God's creative efforts. Grace frees one; works prove that one has been freed. Grace (or the g. . .
In this message on the subject of planning and God's sovereignty, John Ritenbaugh stresses that we are obliged to respond to God because He has interfered in our lives, causing us to repent, giving us His Holy Spirit, and limiting our options. We should pl. . .
John Ritenbaugh explores several nuances of the term grace, describing a generous, thoughtful action of God, accompanied by love, which accomplishes His will, equipping us with everything we will need to be transformed into the Bride. Even though we, like . . .
This earth is a prison, and Satan is its jailer. The inmates—mankind—do not realize that there is no free will! A prison takes away freedom.
One aspect of sovereignty that causes some confusion is predestination. God's sovereignty does not remove a person's free moral agency — we must still choose.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the multiple nuances of the Hebrew words translated into the English word "wisdom," suggests that an acquired skill for living represents the common denominator in all of these definitions. Godly wisdom is only atta. . .
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the writings of the wisest mortal man who ever lived, admonishes us that we must use our faith to follow what God says, acquiring wisdom and understanding with all the energy and resources we have. There is a vital linkage be. . .
In many places in Scripture, God promises to guide us along the godly path. Also within the pages of the Bible—our main source of information about spiritual matters—are the details about the way we are to conduct our lives. Mike Ford shows the. . .
In the example of a child summoned by a parent to clean up his room, the child's dawdling and complaining are not predestined nor are they part of God's will.
Most professing Christians agree that God is sovereign, but there is a wide range of beliefs with regard to just how involved God is in their lives.
Ecclesiastes 7 contains a paradox: wickedness appears to be rewarded and righteousness seems to bring trouble. We must be careful in how we respond to this.
Progressives tend to believe that human nature is perfectible and evolving. Conservatives tend to believe that human nature is evil and must be controlled.
John Ritenbaugh reflects that God, through His sovereignty, has personally placed each of us in the organization in which we can grow the most. We have a solemn responsibility to exercise our free moral agency, having authority and dominion over animals, a. . .
Misguided theologians have tried to create a false dichotomy between grace and works. We do works of obedience to build character, not to earn salvation.
John Ritenbaugh suggests that carnal hostility to God's law may be one contributory factor for the extreme difficulty that people have responding to government. The key to a positive attitude toward government seems to be the learning of self-government or. . .
John Ritenbaugh contends that those who believe in the "once saved always saved" doctrine foolishly fail to see that God has a more extensive and creative plan for mankind than merely saving them. One can fail to bring forth fruits of repentance . . .
John Ritenbaugh stresses that the day-to-day choices we make have far-reaching spiritual consequences. When we incrementally learn to fear God, we make a choice to preserve our eternal life. God initiated our calling as an expression of His love and grace.. . .
John Ritenbaugh, explaining that an individual's worldview is shaped by his past experiences, family values, and the culture into which he were born, warns us that a person's worldview influences every decision he makes. If we do not give God the prominent. . .
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that God is a working God, creating holy, righteous, divine character with the goal of recreating man in His image. From the time of our justification until our glorification in God's Kingdom, it almost seems 'downhill,' with san. . .
It can be encouraging to us that our patriarchs and the prophets had serious doubts, but God overrode all their fears in accomplishing His purpose.
Here is the story of a young man's momentous choice regarding his keeping of the Sabbath, a decision he had to make all on his own.
Justification does not 'do away' with the law; it brings us into alignment with it, imputing the righteousness of Christ and giving access to God for sanctification.
God proclaims a cause-effect relationship between sin and madness, blindness, and confusion of heart. Sin causes blindness, and blindness begets more sin.
We must put our lives, treasure, and honor on the line, picking up our cross daily, declaring our independence from carnality, evil and bondage to sin.
God's hand was definitely involved in the scattering of the church. We should respond by growing and preparing ourselves for His Kingdom.
John Ritenbaugh teaches that biblical liberty consists of choosing to whom we will submit and by whom we will be constrained. Making wrong choices, largely in ignorance, has placed us in bondage to sin and destruction. God's truth indeed limits our choices. . .
Ecclesiastes is perhaps the most practical, as well as profitable, book in the Old Testament, providing overviews of life-guiding advice, essentially a roadmap through the labyrinth, which constitutes the Christian's life journey. Ecclesiastes could be con. . .
Ecclesiastes is full of frustration, bluntness, and even a little hopeless. However, its themes are realistic and necessary for us to grasp.
We are not individually sovereign, but we are taught to give ourselves over completely to God's sovereignty. If we do, we will reap unfathomable blessings.
Bill Onisick, warning us that we are continually in danger of being deceived by our hearts and carnal nature, a nature which distracts us from following God, though we go through the motions, cautions us to not practice hypocrisy before Almighty God. Most . . .
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the book of Ecclesiastes, a document which provides an overview of the consequences of life's frustrating activities, gives us directions for making it through the labyrinth of life. This treatise prepares us with helpful, p. . .
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon Deuteronomy 30:15-20, stresses that the choices we make on the day-to-day basis have long-term spiritual consequences. Only the immature think their behaviors will not catch up with them (Numbers 32:23). If we learn to fear a. . .
The signs that accompanied Peter's Pentecost sermon attracted attention, confirmed God's Word, and provided meaning to the effects of the Holy Spirit.
Even though Joseph was born into a highly dysfunctional family, he nevertheless had a "high batting average" when it came to making the right moral choices, even when the consequences appeared initially to his own detriment. Joseph stayed the cou. . .
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