“Anyone can be saved If they will.”

Visitor: Any person can be saved, if they will.

Response: Don’t we all believe any person can come if they will? The problem is, are there any persons naturally willing to submit to the terms of the gospel? Does it come naturally for fallen sinners to come to the humbling realization that they have no righteousness of their own and so flee to Christ alone as their only hope? Can a person say “Jesus is Lord” apart from the Holy Spirit”? (1 Cor 12:3) The scripture reveals that men are so bent on wickedness (John 3:19, Rom 8:7) that unless the Spirit disarm the hostility of their hearts, turning their heart of stone to a heart of flesh, they would never believe.

Jesus declared, “the Spirit quickens, the flesh counts for nothing … that is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me grants it (John 6:63, 65)

Augustine said, “to will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace.”

Like you I believe the gospel must be preached indiscrimanately to all men. We are to get the gospel to men’s ears, but only God can get it to their hearts.

Mon, 05/22/2017 – 11:59 — john_hendryx

A Word From Monergism.com

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Standing Out, Making A Difference

Wendell Smith of The Pittsburgh Courier is reading aloud what he’s typing:

“1945, America’s greatest generation came back from war. ‘The flags of freedom fly over Europe,’ a voice comes over a radio. Nazi Germany had been defeated, and three months later, Imperial Japan surrendered as well. ‘And there’s jubilation around this earth…’ –again the radio announcer.

“Men returned home, among them some of Baseball’s most beloved names: Musial, DiMaggio, Williams. Life in the United States could return to normal, and baseball was proof-positive that democracy was real.

“A baseball box score, after all, is a democratic thing. It doesn’t say how big you are or what religion you follow. It does not know how you voted or the color of your skin. It simply states what kind of ballplayer you were on any particular day.

“African Americans had served their country gallantly. But they returned home from fighting to free the world from tyranny, only to find racism, segregation and Jim Crow law still waiting at home. ‘Segregation was the law and custom of the land, and no group was more scrupulous in its observance of custom than organized baseball,’ a newscaster voices over images of a ‘Whites Only’ placard on a public wall and a ‘Blacks Only’ sign in a restaurant window.

“There was a long road ahead. If African Americans dreamed of playing baseball, it was not for the New York Yankees but for the teams like the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, where the barnstorming style of play stood in contrast to the majors.

“In 1946, there were 16 major League baseball teams with a total of 400 players on their rosters. Every one of the 400 players were white. But when opening day came in 1947, that number dropped to 399, and one man stood apart.”

Recognize that opening scene from 42?

Great movie. From beginning to end…and did you catch all the spiritual parallels? Maybe it was just me. Or maybe they were intentional, or maybe God just had my ear. The bit about the baseball box score though, was clearly God’s ever-watchful eye to me, recording not what kind of ballplayer but kingdom player I’ve been ‘on any particular day.’

And then, “When opening day came…one man stood apart.” Man! those words bolted upright and pointed right at me. God was talking to me, challenging me to get about my Father’s business.

As a Christ-disciple, each morning really is opening day. And I want to stand apart in my own little piece of the world–inside the boundary lines that God defined for me since before the foundations of the earth. Lately, I been asking God to make a difference through me, even on the road in my car. Especially in my car. (I can road rage with the best of them.)

And though I’ve never been a Sunday Christian, I’ve wasted decades of pro-active seed planting, watering, introducing anyone to Jesus. But that was about to change come the beginning of fall last year.

Since then, I’ve been spending extra time around a whole new people group, thanks to my little grandson. It’s been years since I’ve mingled with unbelievers, because I’m usually teaching Bible studies or working with a Christian Writers Group. Stepping out into new territory with unbelievers now, I was depending on God to open doors to serve these new people, on their turf –that is, I know that they don’t have my worldview. I’ve had to pray that with any task I’d be given God would help me to do it with excellence and gentleness and politeness. (Yes, I do have to ask God to remind me of those things.)

No matter how I might feel on any given day or how shy I know I can be sometimes, I’ve been asking God to help me to initiate greetings with each person I run into in the halls, out on the walkway, in the classroom, in the parking lot. Some people don’t make it easy either. And some people…well, I can feel inferior and clam up and walk past them without acknowledging them. And isn’t that why God has me here? To let these people know that God loves them, sees them, hears them?

I would have to focus on drawing them out, not heap mounds of my life on top of them. And eventually, I trusted that God would open a door for me to talk about Jesus to them.

Wouldn’t you know it, this one morning, one of the gals there at the school rushes up to my car, and I roll down the window on the passenger side. “By the way,” she says, “people are asking ‘who is that lady, so ‘n so’s mom? Grandma? She is so nice.’ ” Then she says, “people here are noticing you. I wanted you to know that you’re making a difference.”

Did you catch that? ‘I’ was making a difference.

Now in my brain, I know it’s God making the difference through me. But in my flesh, in my glory-stealing flesh, I hear that people like me. And I gotta tell you, it felt pretty good. But it got even better.

She studies my face and says something about this glow about my face or my eyes or something…Stop! Stop! Stop everything right there. You gotta know this, I’m almost 60 years old. I’ve got graying hairs that are as rebellious as I used to be before I met Jesus. I’ve got crow’s feet. I’ve noticed my nose is getting bigger the older I get, and I can’t ignore the 30 pounds I haven’t set my mind to losing yet. And those are the things I’m thinking about while she’s talking about this ‘glow.’ But she never really came out and asked me, “What is it about you?” That certainly would have been my cue.

Instead, I got all embarrassed and told her I had my mom’s genes.

My mom’s genes?

Okay, okay, but it sounded like the right thing to say at the moment.

Days later, however, this thing is beginning finally to nibble at my conscience. Enough so that I mention it to my husband. “I wonder if I should have said something to her about Jesus. What do you think?” He tells me, “If you’re wondering if you should’ve said something, it’s probably the Holy Spirit telling you that you should’ve said something.” Yah.

I hate it when he’s right.

I could just hear God whispering from inside me, “Kiddo, you asked Me to make a difference through you. I gave you the perfect opportunity and you made it about you.”

Well, I’m grateful that God’s mercies are new every single morning. Because this ‘I’ve got my mom’s genes’ thing was really eating me up by now. And still, obviously, I hadn’t gotten to the bottom of it all. Because God ends up sending me, not one, but three metaphorical prophets.

Three of my friends, each at different times, had recent run-ins with unbelievers who were baffled by how nice or good they each were. And each of my friends, without batting an eyelash, responded identically: “It’s Jesus. It’s not me. I’m not nice. I’m not good.”

I gotta tell you, by the time the third friend told me her story, I’m feeling, not thinking, feeling two things: I’m almost turned off by how instantly confessional she was about not being nice or good. And, I’m mortified that I have not been seeing myself in the same dim light. But my conscience was so instantly pricked I couldn’t wait to get home and be alone with God, to make things right.

My friends really get it, that apart from Jesus they’re nasty people, mean, lawbreakers. (and these are women) Apparently, I didn’t want anyone knowing that just beneath my surface was an entirely different person, capable of a multitude of sins. That without Jesus ruling from inside me I’d be another complaining, judgmental, arrogant, so and so. I was still (and this goes all the way back to grade school) needing to be liked. That was at the bottom of my response.

Needing to be liked…It was so strong I hadn’t noticed that it had become my idol.

I’m Still Here, Folks…

Due to some 8,000 emails I received last week, dating back to 2009…that’s right, they were all mine. That is, I’d already received them and had since deleted them. It just goes to show you that nothing is REALLY gone, afterall. Kinda scary.

Also, due to more things than you’d want me to go into here, I’ve had to shelf my three blogs. It’s only temporary though, okay? I will be back. Thank you for your patience. Jennifer

Psalm 104:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.”

"SUNRISE" as viewed from "Mount...

“Sunrise” as viewed from Mount Sinai

It started on the morning of the

third day, just as God had told

Moses it would.

A cloud moved in—blistering dark—and swallowed the newly risen sun. An eerie sight made even more unsettling, once the first blade of white fire had flashed and struck the ground. On its heels, another strike. And another. Thunder shook the camp. The earth rumbled and moved.

Grown men dropped to the sand, curled, and shielded their heads. Children ran screaming into the folds of their mothers’ skirts. Women wailed while dragging their children back inside their tents. Then out of nowhere, an unrelenting, ear-piercing trumpet blast split the air. The Israelites covered their ears and begged it to stop.

The Promulgation of the Law in Mount Sinai (il...

The Promulgation of the Law in Mount Sinai (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was the Israelite’s reality that morning. Nothing else. Not breakfast. Not work. Not even an argument. Only what felt like the end of the world.

Moses gathered up God’s people—previously consecrated, clothes washed, and three days pure in body—and led them out of the camp to the foot of God’s Mountain to meet with the Instigator of such holy dread.

But the mount was burning. The presence of the Divine billowed up like smoke from a colossal furnace.

“Go for us!” They cried out to Moses. “Pray for us that we don’t die here.”

Oh, to have the gift of holy fear! To be shaken out of my apathy into grateful reverence and continually be a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God. This is my spiritual service of worship, after all. Each waking minute of each day. A living and obedient sacrifice. Taking every thought captive.

But it is not my clothes that need washing today, nor is it a ceremony of purification I must practice. It is my heart that needs to beat anew with love for Jesus; whose perfect death has torn the veil of separation and opened up heaven to me.

No more fear of death! Perfect, mature love for Jesus expels all fear. But if I am afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and shows that I have not fully experienced His perfect love (I Jon 4:18).

Because of Jesus, there is no more barrier to Eternal Life, for Christ has made my access secure. “And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure (I John 3:3).

Radiant splendor of God, bring me to my knees and make me tremble with gratitude. For I know You will not devour me but cleanse me with Your holy fire. My lips are unclean, and my thoughts are cruel, and my deeds are sometimes selfish or dispassionately withheld. 

Holy God, nothing separates us from Your intimate love for us. Your true children come with confidence then, to the throne of Your fearsome Majesty. We find there countless unexpected mercies and forgiveness incalculable. Our fear is a reverent fear; for perfect love is not afraid of You, Elohim.

Watched, As I Am Watching, by J.R. Hamilton

The sixth floor window, blocked off by a glass...

The sixth floor window, blocked off by a glass box from the inside, is the second from the top on the far right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the second floor, I see through the window a constant flow out on the street below.

Cell phone talkers and coffee toters and badge wearers scrubbed in purple and blue. Orange-shirted construction workers checking out the scrubs from under their dirty hardhats.

Wheelchair runner

Wheelchair runner (Photo credit: Deadly Tedly)

Two youngish men in electric wheelchairs roll up to the corner. One, his leg crossed high over the other leg like he’s sitting at a board meeting, zips through the intersection and down the sidewalk, weaving in and out of clumps of fast-footed and more leisurely walkers. Directly on his heels, his partner, who instantly slows, casts a sidelong glance at a cute coffee toter, gets her to laugh, then off he goes—it’s catch up time. These guys must play a lot of wheelchair basketball.

But mostly, this is a walking culture. The preferred means of travel in this part of the city.

Even drivers know to take it slow, yielding to the two-legged cross traffic. Not one motorist seems rushed. Well, except for the cowboys on their electric horses and a cartoonishly-dressed skater leaving a kaleidoscope of color in his wake, his psychedelic scarf trailing in the air behind him. He blows past the metal crawl while drivers cock their heads, wistfully eying his backside: “If only I had a skateboard.”

cirrocumulous?

cirrocumulous? (Photo credit: framboise)

Above me, strewn on a bed of baby blanket blue are yards of batting-looking clouds, being pulled slowly apart by a current of air, looking more and more like an overused blanket. Another current veers off and swings down between two well-endowed date-bearing palms, delicately lifting and dipping their coiffed fronds. They seem to be waving. Hello? Goodbye? Who knows?

Perched below those lusciously dated fronds, on a whitewashed boulder in the middle of a well-watered lawn, towers a bronze likeness of John Sutter in his knee-high boots, dungarees, short coat, scarf and cowboy hat, a thick-mustache, and his right leg bent determinedly at the knee. Like everything and everyone else, he seems to be going somewhere.

And here I am, sitting and wondering in the lobby of the second floor medical building, awaiting test results. Not mine. My daughter’s. Of course, my thoughts run here and there, until they weary themselves at last on the simple fact that God really is in control.

I sit back against the cushioned chair, rest my head against the wall, and close my eyes. Be still, I tell myself. And know that He is God.

Take A Look At Things From Up Here…

Numbers 13:27-28, 30

“…the land…it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

 

Has God given you a word,

a promise,

an assurance of something to come?

Perhaps of a career change,

new relationship,

new home,

or the strength to endure a recent or approaching void.

But as you survey the possibilities, something dark looms not too far into the prospects.                                                                                                    Its long finger reaches over and pokes at your peace. "Did God really tell you that?"

Are you afraid?

Do you feel a stranglehold on what little joy you had just a moment ago, when God first communicated this prospect?

Are you convinced now that you can’t do it afterall?

Or will you take a good look at the possibilities—what God will do through you—and tell Him, “Sure, I’ll trust you, Lord.”?

Be convinced! God never takes you where He hasn’t already prepared you for. He will lift you over each obstacle and carry you through every emotion. He’ll stretch you, but He won’t let you break. He’ll bend you without so much as a fracture to your spirit. God will compensate for whatever you lack. His grace is enough.

Experience his powerful arm as he moves you into new territory—physical, emotional, spiritual, or all three.       

Does public speaking make you nervous? “Who gave man his mouth? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11).

    Are you facing emotional challenges? “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10).

Are you troubled? “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).

Are you facing a new position? “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect…he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle…your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18:32-35).

Are you worried or confused about something? “The LORD…counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me” (Psalm 16:7).

 

You, O LORD, are my all in all. What am I afraid of or worried about? I can do whatever you ask, because you are the One who equips and enables me. Amen.