If by sovereign you mean that God is above everything else, with no one having authority over Him, then yes.
If by sovereign you mean that God decrees, or decides, everything that happens, then NO. God is not to blame for murders, rapes, human trafficking. He is not to blame for bribery or lies or extortion or a multitude of other sins. The Bible clearly says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:13-14). Man is the problem. None of us can say, “God made me do it.” God is NEVER an accomplice to our sin.
Some would ask, “If God is at the top of the heap, then how can anything happen without His permission?” Giving permission and causing something to happen are two different things. God has sovereignly made the decision to give people the freedom to make their own choices. From grabbing someone else’s toy to grabbing a package off someone’s porch, people are accountable for their wrongs. God is not to blame. Just because God KNOWS everything that will happen, it doesn’t mean that He DECREES or FORCES it to happen. Continue reading
“Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me.” —Bohemian Rhapsody
Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble. It seems as if nearly every waking moment my mind is racing as I struggle to figure out what we can do to stop the onslaught of evil that is enveloping this land.
It is not the evil that troubles my sleep. It is the apathy. It reminds me of the old saw about the high school social studies teacher who asked his students what was the most pressing need facing the nation. To his despair, the most common response was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Any way the wind blows….
But my frustration doesn’t come from a gaggle of high school students who couldn’t tell the difference between a paper dollar and a solid Gold Eagle coin, but from the frumpy, sports focused men who attend the regular men’s “prayer breakfast” at your average evan-jellyfish assembly.
This really hit home last Monday night as I watched a stadium full of grown men paint their faces and jump up and down in hopes of cheering the LSU Tigers to victory in the National Championship game in The Big Easy. Continue reading
Most of us remember the Christmas story in which a Grinch’s heart grew three sizes in one day, all the result of seeing how the townspeople deep down in their hearts valued love and fellowship above that of Christmas presents. But what really is behind changing one’s heart? In the Holy Bible, Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?” And so the challenge begins …
Interestingly, science recently discovered that the heart has its own brain. There also is evidence that the heart receives and responds to stimuli before the mind processes it. This suggests that this internal organ is much more than a muscle that pumps our blood. Mark 7:21-23 enlightens us further: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Perhaps a good place to begin in purifying our insides is to reflect on how God measures our hearts. Even though King David killed to gain Bathsheba, thus making him an adulterer and a murderer – God called David “a man after My own heart” – David continually had a heart for seeking and knowing God. He never made excuses for his sins and always went to God with his problems, pouring out his heart to him. Continue reading
Can a person who doesn’t know Christ capture God’s interest? Does God consider anything they do to be good, or are all their actions sinful in His sight? An interesting event takes place in Acts 10 that answers those questions. Before a supernatural encounter with God, the Apostle Peter considered non-Jews (Gentiles) to be so sinful that he wouldn’t even set foot in a Gentile’s house, let alone hold a conversation and share the Gospel with them. But after his experience with God, it changed how he regarded people of other cultures and ethnicity.
“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’” (Acts 10:1-5; 11:14) Continue reading
This is to introduce my “Faith Studies” series and offer a thank you to Northwest Connection Publisher JoLinn Kampstra for your invitation. These studies are based on the belief that the only truth about the true standing of men and women before Creator God is found in Scripture, that is, the 66 books of the Bible, all written by Jews, Romans 3:2 who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16. References will be from the King James Version (KJV) because that’s what I’ve used for almost 70 years. Of course, the reader is invited to reference the translation with which they are comfortable.
The Bible is a commentary on itself. In order to understand it, Scripture must be compared with Scripture, consideration given to the immediate context in which a word or passage occurs, all while depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:14 – 15. In these studies, I rely heavily on J. B. Smith’s Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament (NT), which uses numbers assigned to each Greek word in the Greek manuscript/s from which the English NT is drawn. This concordance lists the various English words translated from each Greek word. For instance, Continue reading
The anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, is upon us again. And here we are, 61 million abortions later.
Some of the most powerful spokespersons against Roe are those who survived an attempted abortion. At least 300 Americans alive today are in that category. Here we will highlight three such survivors.
A couple of months ago, I heard a dramatic talk from Gianna Jessen of Tennessee. Born in 1977, Gianna survived a saline abortion, and her story has been told in a Focus on the Family book, Gianna: Aborted, and Lived to Tell about It.
Gianna has even run two marathons, despite the cerebral palsy caused by the abortion-attempt. It took her several hours longer than the average runner to complete the 26.2 miles. But she made it. Twice.
Some say she lacks a “quality of life,” but she asks (as I recall), “Who are you to judge my ‘quality of life’?” Thanks to the faithfulness of the Lord, she has a high “quality of life,” thank you very much.
Another survivor is Melissa Ohden of Missouri. I had the privilege to interview her for Christian TV recently. As a child she knew she had been adopted. But not until she was 14 did she learn the back story. Continue reading
One of the most common complaints is, “I don’t like my job.” The person complaining may not like their boss or their hours. Their complaint may be about the pay or the office politics. Such complaining is not new. The Bible is filled with such incidents. I’ll point out two that took place shortly after the Jewish people were delivered from bondage in Egypt, about 1500 BC. At the time, Moses was God’s leader of these freed slaves.
Shortly after they left Egypt, God designated a small group to be priests and another group to be assistants to the priests. One of those assistants, Korah, wasn’t satisfied with his job, so he organized a protest. He gathered 250 community leaders and they took their demands to Moses. Numbers 16:3 records their accusations, “You [Moses] have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” In today’s language Korah’s complaint would sound like this: “Hey, who made you boss? We’re just as good as you are. What makes you think you’re so special to be in charge?” Continue reading
Thank you Lord for Governor Pete Ricketts and his stand for life. We pray that more Governors will stand with him and declare January 22 as a day of prayer.
Governor Pete Ricketts issued a proclamation declaring January 22, 2020 as a Statewide Day of Prayer. January 22nd is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a U.S. Supreme Court decision which struck down Nebraska’s laws protecting unborn babies. Governor Ricketts’ proclamation encourages Nebraskans to pray for an end to abortion and a deepening in respect for the humanity of unborn children.
“Nebraska state law states that it is ‘the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible,’” reads Governor Ricketts’ proclamation. “Nebraskans Continue reading
Thank you Lord for glimpses of heaven here on earth.
Pastor Tony Evans says something supernatural was happening during his wife Lois’ final moments on earth, and the family was there to witness it.
Lois Evans had been battling a rare form of cancer and the family had gathered around her in late December to say goodbye. At some point during their farewell moments, he says she began to speak about seeing “something outside earth’s realm”.
It seems she was catching a glimpse of family members in heaven, perhaps like the “cloud of witnesses” described in Hebrews 12:1.
During the recently held memorial service, Tony Evans, who is the senior pastor at the Oak Cliff Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas, recalled what happened during Lois’ final days. Continue reading
When you go back to the moment our first parents, Adam & Eve, disobeyed God and sinned, Genesis 3:21 records God’s gracious response. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Did you notice? The animal had to give up its life in order for its skin to be used as a garment for them. This was the first time an innocent animal gave its life to cover man’s sin. Later, the Mosaic Law allowed innocent animals to be substituted and sacrificed for sin in place of a human being giving their life. These were to illustrate for us that God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus, would sacrifice His life as the innocent substitute for sinners. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous [Jesus] for the unrighteous [you and me], to bring you to God.”
There is complete agreement that His one sacrifice was sufficient to pay for sins. But not everyone agrees on whose sins He died for. Some pastors teach what’s called limited atonement, meaning that Jesus only intended to pay for the sins of a select group, or limited number of people. I don’t agree; neither does the Bible. 1 John 2:1-2 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and NOT ONLY FOR OURS but also FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.” This clearly tells us that He died for everyone’s sins. Continue reading