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Free will, God’s will, and the importance of the Lord’s Prayer

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Free will Gods will and the importance of the Lords Prayer

Arguably the most challenging concepts for true believers in the Bible to reconcile in our minds is the seeming contradiction between God’s Will and the free will of humans. Some frame the debate as one between predestination and acceptance of salvation through our actions. Others believe that free will is an illusion. Still others believe in predestination through a prescient view. All of these concepts can take a diligent believer on a journey of the mind that spins around in our conscience like a roller coaster that never ends.

The problem is that we’re incapable of fully understanding it because of our physical constraints within the universe. Time is a physical property that is impossible for us to avoid. Even those who have studied and are able to see things theoretically from perspectives outside our dimensional constraints are incapable of acquiring real understanding. In short, it’s truly beyond our grasp.

Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), it’s a concept that compels many to strive to comprehend. Ephesians draws this question in with four very potent verses:

Ephesians 1:3-6 (KJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

When Christians see that we were “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” and that He “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,” it poses a question within many who wonder how free will comes into play for our salvation if we were chosen ahead of time. This is reiterated briefly in Revelation in reference to those worshiping the first beast.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. – Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

A good number of churches and pastors take the prescient view and draw from Arminianism. In essence, this perspective believes that the saved, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, believed in Yeshua as Lord and Savior and had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because God saw that they would choose to believe. It’s a powerful teaching because it reconciles the idea of predestination and free will into a convenient package that people can understand. It does not take away from our responsibility to accept Grace while maintaining that we were chosen beforehand based upon this acceptance.

The premise was created for the right reasons. It points us in the direction that allows for free will to coexist with God’s Will. The result in the minds of those striving to embrace the Word of God is mostly righteous because it attempts to prevent the concept of predestination from lulling people into a sense of hopelessness or impotence. It calls for us to remain diligent and is justified in the minds of those preaching it because otherwise people could fall away by believing that they have no say in their own salvation. If predestination exists without free will, Arminians would argue, then there’s no reason to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit because our fate is sealed regardless of our actions.

It’s a compelling argument, but it’s flawed. The prescient view unintentionally takes away from the sovereignty of God. It diminishes the power of His Will by declaring that predestination was actually precognition. In other words, the prescient view declares that God looked ahead to see which one of us would believe in Him and His Son and would follow the Holy Spirit, then He wrote the names of the people who believed in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That’s not predestination.

It isn’t just for the sake of free will that this concept is believed. It also has to do with our human perspective of fairness. If God chose who He would save and who He would not before they ever existed, it seems unfair to our human sensibilities. This is where things can be very confusing for believers because we cannot fathom a state outside of time. Time itself is a creation of God. Therefore, He exists outside of a physical rule that is unavoidably embedded within out conscience: the rule of cause and effect.

We are persistently constrained to the concept of cause and effect. It is impossible to comprehend the consistent state of God to the point that I hesitate to write about it. As he told Moses, the way that He was to be identified to the Hebrews was as “I Am.” Yeshua reiterated this in John.

John 5:56-58 (KJV)

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

It’s with this concept of existing that our understanding fails. We see the world as cause and effect: we’re born, we do things, we face challenges, we are born again, we do things differently, we die. Our perspective within the framework of a world constrained by time does not allow us to understand the state of simply being. This is most confounding unless we’re able to at least partially grasp that our names were written in the Book of Life before the foundations of the world because our names are written there. For the sake of comprehension it is worded in the Bible as being before, but that is only done for convenience to allow comprehension of a Book that exists outside of the time-space continuum within which we currently exist.

The imperfect way of looking at it is to know that our names weren’t written because of our actions but that our actions are guided by the writing of our names in the Book of Life. It’s imperfect because it once again forces a constraint within our own comprehension, but it’s as close as we can come to understanding it at this point of our existence.

This is why we must always pray the Lord’s Prayer as Yeshua instructed us. The key is within the portion of the Lord’s Prayer when we are to pray that our Father’s Will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. The Lord’s Prayer is extremely precise. It is a constant reminder of how we must live our lives. It is also a plea for our prayers to call for the Will of God to act on this world.

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

We are told in the Bible how to live our lives. It isn’t for us to understand how we were chosen or to debate the fairness of predestination. Rather, we are here for His pleasure and the fact that He gave His Son for our salvation is enough for us to be humbled and grateful. He isn’t compelled by anything we do. His Love alone for those who deserve nothing is the most wonderful gift that supersedes any sense of fairness we might try to inject.

 


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Culture and Religion

Speculation about ancient human skull in Israel points to unscientific method of modern science

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Speculation about ancient human skull in Israel points to unscientific method of modern science

What does an ancient human skull found in a cave in Israel tell us about the past? It all depends on which perspective you take and whether you want to follow sound scientific practices or manipulated conclusions from circular reasoning.

Modern science can give us a tremendous view of the past. With nearly every discovery, we can see God’s work at play in molding the planets and the stars, the oceans and the lands, the people and the other wonderful creatures. Unfortunately, scientists often distort the findings to fit in with their secular worldview. A clear case of this comes to us from a study published four years ago in the scientific journal, Nature, titled Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans, that is still being erroneously taught today.

First, watch the way that it is being reported. Then, let’s discuss the conclusions.

This is an important discovery, one that clearly points to a Biblical worldview of the roots of man from the garden of Eden working its way from what is now Africa into what is now the Middle East. It jibes with the story of the great flood, stories from the life of Adam through Joshua, and a centralized end point of ancient man in the region along the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa up through modern day Turkey.

Of course, that’s not what the scientists doing the research concluded.

“The is the first evidence that shows that, indeed, there was a large wave of African migrants coming out of East Africa and inhabiting the Eastern Mediterranean region,” said Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University.

One of the biggest problems with modern science is that our society blindly accepts their conclusions. They know, right?

Proper scientific method that we all learn in high school tells us the conclusions of the research are completely unscientific. We know a few things that are truly observable:

  • Humans very likely started in Africa and Neanderthals were in the Middle East.
  • Humans and Neanderthals interbred to form the basis for Europeans. Today, everyone other than purely African people have at least a little Neanderthal DNA.
  • A human skull fragment was found in Israel.

Given this information, it is obtuse to draw the conclusion that this represents a large wave of African migrants inhabiting the Eastern Mediterranean region. One skull fragment does not tell us that there was a large migration. One skull fragment does not tell us that it was a migration at all. Modern science must establish hypotheses based upon observable facts, but it almost always extrapolates too much.

This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it extrapolated based upon the Bible. We are told the general story of everything that happened from creation through the rise of the Greeks within the Old Testament. Every scientific and archaeological discovery in the region supports this general story, but a culture that utilizes far more distant time frames to explain the discoveries has generated the faulty conclusions that scientists present to us today.

The evidence tells two different stories depending on the observer’s worldview. It’s unfortunate that most have pushed aside the obvious and verifiable conclusions in order to perpetuate the paradigm of secularism.

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Seriously, ‘eat mor chikin’ at Chick-fil-A

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Seriously eat mor chikin at Chick-fil-A

A month doesn’t pass without some organization protesting Chick-fil-A to exclude them from participating in some program or even open restaurants in certain locations. This month’s version of Chick-fil-A hate was the last straw for Senator Ted Cruz (and me) as San Antonio’s city council has voted to prevent the fast food chain from operating at the airport.

Let’s call this what it is. Any individual, organization, or company that supports a Biblical worldview or donates to Judeo-Christian causes are considered to be anti-LGBTQ. The only ones who are not labeled as such are those who go out of their way to embrace the LGBTQ community and who promote such things as gay marriage. Faith-based institutions that prioritize modern day’s version of “tolerance” over the Bible’s teachings are often considered to be A-OK to the leaders of the LGBTQ community (as compared to the actual members of the community, most of whom are not involved in pushing the leadership’s agenda beyond believing marriage is not only between a man and a woman).

Chick-fil-A has done nothing to attack the LGBTQ community. They’ve always been stalwart defenders of equal rights and do not deserve the type of treatment they get from people like the six who voted against them in San Antonio’s city council. Yes, they donate to Christian causes. Yes, they let their employees off on Sunday except in those rare circumstances when they’re presence on Sunday is a blessing. Yes, ownership expresses a Biblical worldview. But such things shouldn’t earn them a place on the blacklist.

Nevertheless, they are, and it’s time for patriotic Americans to commit to a sustained campaign in support of this company which has become a symbol as a primary victim of the left’s contempt and discrimination.

Starting tomorrow (can’t start today since it’s Sunday), it’s time to eat out at Chick-fil-A whenever it makes sense. But don’t just do it once. Make it a regular thing. Thinking of other fast food joints for lunch? Whenever possible, don’t. We need to let them and everyone else know that if the left is going to continue to denigrate and block Chick-fil-A, that we’re going to counter their maneuvers by supporting them with our business.

It can’t stop there. We also need to let those who act against Chick-fil-A know, such as those discriminating against religious freedom at the San Antonio city council, that it’s unacceptable. Notice that I’m referring specifically to those who act against Chick-fil-A and not average citizens who protest Chick-fil-A. Protests are protected by the 1st Amendment, so anything beyond respectful discourse should be avoided with the people who have a conscientious difference of opinion. But those who act against Chick-fil-A, especially if they’re part of the government, must be dealt with at the ballot box. A strongly worded letter wouldn’t hurt, either.

Chick-fil-A doesn’t need our help. They’re doing just fine. But that doesn’t mean we can’t expand our support for them anyway. The best way to show or deny support is with our business. Give it to them. Withhold it from those who oppose American freedom.

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Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died?

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Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died

History doesn’t tell us exactly when Yeshua was born. Luke tells us that He was about 30 years old when He began His ministry and we know it lasted approximately three and a half years.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, – Luke 3:23 (KJV)

We know that King David died in 970 AD. The math might start sounding pretty cool at this point, but I’ll elaborate.

Scholars put Yeshua’s birth to likely fall in the 6-4 BC range. Experts place the range of His death (and resurrection) between 30-33 AD as a result of the data that they’ve worked out.

If He did die in 30 AD, that would mean that he died exactly 1000 years after his human ancestor King David.

Some will point out that the calendars were changed, going from 364 to 360 up to 365 at different points within this time range across the various regions, but using the accepted calendars, we can claim that it’s possible for it to be a 1000 year gap. Knowing the amazing order and precision with which our Father has established His creation, it wouldn’t shock me to find out some day that it was precisely 1000 years all the way down to the second.

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