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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Unconditional Surrender)

When you come right down to it, isn’t that a great explanation of the gospel? UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER? We have no claim on God’s grace — and should have no expectation that we somehow deserve His mercy. We are enemies of God until we trust Christ! And GOD is the last One we should ever have as an ENEMY! Any ideas how we help others unconditionally surrender to Christ?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Ten Habits That Have Helped Me in My Christian Life (Habit #8)

My paternal grandmother had a nasty habit. She chewed tobacco and had a real spittoon! We grandkids would go to hug her and she would turn her head and have to spit into her spittoon. Disgusting habit.

I’m sure I have some disgusting habits too! If we are asking the question, what holy habits should I incorporate into my life?, we could also ask, what disgusting habits should be replaced by those holy habits?

Let’s review briefly. If I’m spending serious time reading the Word of God, that is replacing the habit of not paying attention to what He has given in the Scriptures. If I am praying as I ought, that replaces the disgusting habit of trusting myself to meet my own needs. If I am seeking to develop a continual thankfulness for all the Lord is doing in my life, that certainly replaces any sense of self-accomplishment and ungodly independence. If I am pursuing a healthy habit of solitude, that means I’m replacing the habit of simply being by myself as an introvert. If I am intentionally looking for opportunities to share Jesus with others, that replaces the habit of putting my own interests before His. If I am trying to be a better friend to others, that means I am working hard at being a friend of sinners like Jesus was. That replaces a long-standing practice by Christians of only being with the redeemed, Beloved! If I am trying to be quick to forgive, that certainly replaces my natural tendency to keep score of offenses done against me!

An eight habit that I’m working on a spirit of submission. What I mean is best illustrated by the picture of my two hands, palms up, lifted to heaven. This expresses my willingness to do whatever the Lord calls me to do.

This habit differs greatly from the WHATEVER of our culture that doesn’t care what happens or has no interest in doing the will of God. When a teen sneers, “Whatever!”, we older adults cringe at the apparent lack of concern for what is important. My WHATEVER ought to flow from a heart that says, “Lord, I’m yours and I will do what You want me to do. I’ll go where you want me to go. You’re in charge. What’s my assignment today?” (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2018 in holy habits

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) (Part 3)

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-9-05-43-amImagine being the parent of the man born blind.  In Jewish culture physical disabilities were often thought of as God’s punishment for personal sin (see the book of Job).  Even though the Jews did not believe in the preexistence of the soul, some might have even blamed the man himself for his blindness.screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-19-21-am

Physical challenges are hard: verbal attacks are often more painful.  And it may be that some said painful and injurious words to the man born blind as he begged for help.  They might have said, “Why should we help you?  You’re obviously under God’s judgment!  Or at least your parents are!”

Imagine how refreshing it must have been for this blind man to hear Jesus’ response to the question, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  The text doesn’t specifically tell us that the man born blind heard these words from Jesus, but it seems reasonable to assume so.

How could another human being make such a categorical declaration about someone else?!  “Neither this man nor his parents sinned . . .”  Who is qualified to say something like this?  ONLY GOD!  And God knows us and our sins and why we experience the tragedies that we do in life.  Jesus not only declared what was screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-6-10-39-amNOT true (“Neither this man nor his parents sinned”) but also what WAS true (“but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him”) (or COULD BE true).  Isn’t it the case that when we are suffering the real question we need an answer to is not “Why has this happened to me?”, but “FOR WHAT PURPOSE am I gong through this trial?”  And they are not the same question.  To ask WHY assumes we might challenge God’s wisdom in sending or at least allowing such and such to come into our lives.  To ask FOR WHAT PURPOSE indicates a willingness to honor God with this trial.  We need to know that our challenges are not purposeless!  And this blind man’s wasn’t!

As the great preacher Steve Brown put it, “Sometimes we serve God better with our wounds than with our wellness!” (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in tragedy

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (Unconditional Surrender!)

Screenshot 2016-01-05 19.19.36

“Unconditional surrender” — A great description of what ought to mark the Christian’s life.

Why ought the believer unconditionally surrender to the Lord?
(1) If He is Lord, He deserves our obedience, our worship, our service.
(2) Because He is Lord, He knows better than we do. Following His Word makes perfect sense IF it is true (which it is).
(3) We need to recognize that our sinfulness gets in the way of our listening to and following the Lord.

May I ask you, where are you unconditionally surrendering to the Lord?

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in surrender

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (unconditional surrender)

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 5.41.11 AMUnconditional surrender.  The expression itself conjures up images of defeat and failure.  However, what if the One to whom we give unconditional surrender is the Very Best Master of the Universe, One who loves us with an everlasting love?  What does unconditional surrender look like then?

I’ve been teaching my four-year-old grandson the meaning of the word “UNCLE!”  We wrestle on Grammy’s freshly-made bed, tickling, poking, thumping, and grabbing each other amidst screams and laughter.  When I get exhausted, I cry “UNCLE!”, and he knows he’s defeated me.

"Ready to surrender?"

“Ready to surrender?”

All of us need to cry not “UNCLE!”, but “FATHER!”, giving in to the God who lovesus.  But we sometimes keep wrestling against Him, refusing to surrender.

The Christian life is a constant challenge to unconditionally surrender to the God who loves us and wants the best for us.  Surrendered recently?

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in surrender

 

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