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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 35)

My friend Mike — who has not yet trusted Christ as his Savior — reminds me of a number of blessings which I enjoy — or should enjoy — as a believer. “Enjoy” might be the wrong word for our next blessing, but I am thankful for God’s grace. And I don’t believe most of my friends —

35. THEY DON’T HAVE AN OPENNESS TO CHANGE!

I am not overlooking the human potential to recognize a habit or a sin that needs to change — and changing it! Alcoholics are sometimes successful in attaining sobriety. Poor fathers may realize their failures and become dads who really care. Rebellious teenagers occasionally come to their senses and become respectful and grateful young adults.

I’m talking about a fundamental, soul-deep conformity to the Person of Jesus Christ! Moral changes may take place in lost people because they have been made in the image of God, but a substantial re-ordering of one’s priorities and values can only happen to one who has surrendered his or her life to Christ. Theologians — who get paid by the big word — call this sanctification.

We read in Malachi 3 about the Lord where He says, “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (v. 6). The Psalmist speaks of the Lord in Psalm 55- “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.” (v. 19). We are told clearly in I Samuel 15, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (v. 29). Our God is absolutely perfect. And what is perfect does not need to change. James tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (1:17)

But we’re not. Perfect, that is. And we need to change in so many ways. For the believer, a large part of change involves repentance. We acknowledge our wrongness in an attitude or behavior or priority, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and covenant with Him to change. Saying one is sorry is not the same as a soul-deep conviction that leads to significant conformity to Christ.

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I show by my life some changes which Jesus is making in me — and I give Him the credit! And I pray for my friend, not that he would try to be “better”, but that he would come to repentance and trust the Savior who does not change. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Virtuous Behavior)

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Happy New Year!)

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Change)

“This is the way God made me!”, my mother-in-law once said to me. The discussion, if I remember correctly, was about her worrying about her finances. My wife and I tried to encourage her to trust God, but that would have required CHANGE on her part. It’s always dangerous to argue with one’s mother-in-law, but we have a great relationship.

Isn’t it true that we change whether we want to or not? The question is — Is my life changing in ways that honor God?  Just a thought.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Change)

“This is the way God made me,” I once heard a relative say. Do people change? We certainly can choose not to change. But for the believer in Jesus, there is the process of sanctification in which God changes us to become more like Christ! Are you and I co-operating with God the Holy Spirit in that process?

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Getting to Know . . . I Samuel (10:1-8)

The prophet Samuel prophesies three events that will happen to Saul when he leaves Samuel. After anointing Saul and kissing him, Samuel says that the Lord has anointed him as ruler over His inheritance (v. 1). Samuel then says Saul will have three encounters: (1) one will be that he will meet two men who turn over the lost donkeys to him, even using the words that Saul’s father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about Saul! (v. 2)

(2) The second encounter will involve three men going to worship at Bethel. Samuel specifies what they will be carrying! Saul is to accept two loaves of bread from them (v. 4).

(3) The third encounter will happen close to a Philistine outpost! There he will meet a procession of prophets coming from the high place and prophesying. Samuel says, “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

Samuel then promises to meet Saul in Gilgal and to wait seven days for him to arrive and to give him further instructions (v. 8).

Please notice:  Samuel is a real prophet!  He is given information by God that can only be explained as supernatural revelation!  He knows the number of the men in each of the two first encounters.  He knows the words the first men will use about Saul’s father worrying about him.  He knows exactly what each man will be carrying in the second encounter.  He knows what the procession of the prophets will be doing in the third encounter and how it will impact Saul himself.  Such knowledge can only be God-given.  Perhaps Saul needed these concrete evidences of Samuel’s prophetic gift.

What a great statement Samuel gives after prophesying the third encounter: “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7 Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”  Oh, that each of us would changed into different people because of the presence of the Spirit of the Lord!   And that each of us would have the freedom to do whatever our hands find to do because God is with us!

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2018 in I Samuel 10

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 15

screen-shot-2017-03-02-at-6-05-20-amThe expression “we know” is quite dangerous, isn’t it?  Especially if evidence arises that disproves the knowledge that one claims to possess.

The Pharisees “knew” that Jesus was a sinner, but they have one problem:  before them stands a man who, from all the evidence they can gather, was BORN BLIND!  And now he is looking at them!  The Pharisees’ logic was rather simple:   GOD DOESN’T DO MIRACLES THROUGH SINNERS >>> JESUS IS A SINNER >>> THEREFORE, GOD COULD NOT HAVE DONE A MIRACLE THROUGH JESUS.  But there the man is.

And he can TALK!  He gives his own testimony: “I was blind but now I see!”  A verbal, visible witness.  What can one do about that?!

How do we counteract wrong views about Jesus?  We let them look at our lives.  They won’t see perfection (obviously), but they ought to see authenticity.  Genuineness.  A change or changes for the better!

One of the many benefits of being ascreen-shot-2017-03-04-at-5-14-42-am “friend of sinners” (like Jesus was — Mt. 11) is that they become a kind of audience to observe what God is doing in our lives.  What good is a light if one hides it under a bushel?  What good is a LIFE if one hangs out only with other Christians?  Living our lives before unbelievers motivates us to follow hard after Jesus — and to let Him change us!

Years ago there was a saying that is still helpful today:  If you were arrested on charges of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Great question.  What evidence is in your life today that Jesus has changed you? (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2017 in change

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (New Year’s Resolutions)!

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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in New Year's Resolutions

 

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Time for a Great Quote: Tozer on Change

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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in change

 

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Change comes from within (time for a good joke!)

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in change

 

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