Archives For freewill

Each one of us gets to decide whether or not we will follow Jesus. But none of us get to decide how we will follow Him. Our freewill ends when we choose to be a disciple. If that is indeed our choice, from that point forward, the way we live is determined by Jesus and not ourselves. It is the pledge we make to Him. Our freewill isn’t taken from us, it I surrendered by us. It’s your choice to follow Jesus.

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You get to decide. However once that decision is made, you are obligated to live life the way Jesus commanded you live it. Freewill is an amazing gift and should not be lightly given away. You must understand the cost. For those willing to count such a cost, the rewards of living life wholly surrendered to Christ are beyond words and incalculable. It’s your choice.

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Each of us is exactly who we want to be in our relationship with God. We know Him exactly as much as we choose to know Him. We love Him exactly as much as we choose to love Him. It’s far easier and more convenient to blame circumstances, surroundings, and our own backgrounds as being limitations for our walk with Christ.

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The truth is we are exactly the kind of disciple we have chosen to be. The only person responsible for how close our walk is to that of Jesus is the person we see in the mirror every day. We are responsible. We make the choices. We choose how close or how far away we are from God.

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Central to living life as a fully devoted follower of Jesus is the act of dying to self. It is only when we lose ourselves we are able to then find Jesus (Luke 9:23-24). Paul said in dying to himself he would gain everything (Philippians 1:21). A true follower of Jesus surrenders everything to Him. Whatever we knew before Jesus, we now cast aside in favor of living a life that looks just like His.

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Few can do this all at once, though I wish it were so easy. In reality, we must all die constantly, in every hour. No matter how well or poorly things may be going, we must make a conscious effort in each moment to die to ourselves and live for Jesus. It gets easier, I promise, but it is a choice we will have to make from this moment until our last breath. I can think of no higher aspiration for a life.

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Much of our life is ruled (and ruined) by fear. We don’t take a risk for the Kingdom because we are afraid. We cower in fear over a medical diagnosis. We’re afraid to help a stranger because we fear for our own safety. We stay frozen and never move forward because we are afraid of what it might require of us or it might disrupt our comfortable pattern of life. When we strip away the pride and braggadocio, we are a fearful people.

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I have good news! For those who are followers of Jesus, fear is optional. We need not fear anything. God is the embodiment of love, and the Bible tells us perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). In other words, whenever we are fearful, it is because we have chosen to be afraid.
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I recently heard a story about a man who worried he was wasting his life and not spending enough time with his family. He calculated he had about a thousand Saturday’s left in his life span, so he bought a thousand marbles and put them in a jar. Each Saturday morning he would take a marble out and throw it away.

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This served to help him visualize how finite time is and how it was ever dwindling. The story resonated with me as I am always looking for reminders to keep me focused on my purpose and mission in life. It’s too easy to let our days quickly pass without focusing on Jesus and building His Kingdom.
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Having been created with free will, we are free to choose, free to love, and free to serve. It was for these things we were created in the very image of God Himself. Free will has a dark side as well. Since we are free to choose we are also free to hate, to be selfish, and to reject the God who gave us life. We can – and usually do – pursue whatever we desire.

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There is no master blueprint for your life; that would violate the very notion of free will. God created you with everything you would need to live the incredible life He envisioned for you. It is us – you and me – who make the choices that send our lives off the rails.
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There are a lot of phrases that Christians tend to throw around that sound great but often leave you scratching your head as to what it really means. If you’ve attended a church or read a few books on Christianity, you no doubt have heard that we should be in relationship with God. It sounds like a no-brainer. Of course we should, and who wouldn’t want that anyway?

WhatDoesItMeanToBeInRelationshipWithGod

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The very thought of being in relationship with God gives you a warm feeling inside; you know that it is something that you want. But what does being in relationship with God really look like?
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We’ve discussed similar topics on this site before, but it seems that every couple of months I start hearing this question repeated over and over again. Perhaps the evil that occurs so frequently in our world prompts the question. Perhaps it comes from years of being given no or unsatisfactory answers to the question. Regardless of the reason, I am repeatedly frustrated and amazed that so many otherwise learned and respected Theologians and Pastors continue to struggle and give out such bad teaching when it comes to the question of why bad things happen to good people.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people who tell me, “Well, all religions are basically the same.” When I hear that, I know that the individual has either never explored becoming a follower of Jesus or they have been subjected to some very misleading teaching. I would grant, that at their core, most religions are the same. They all involve a deity who set some standard or demands certain rules to be obeyed and then humans are left to pursue living up to that standard or following those rules. But Christianity is different.  It is the only religion that has a God that pursues humans instead of the other way around.

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In the book, “Servant God”, the author writes “God’s Kingdom is not defined by conquering our enemies in battlefields or courts of law but rather through our service and love for them. God’s Kingdom spreads by persuasion and truth, not force and coercion.” How often have we gotten this wrong throughout history? How often are we still getting it wrong in our everyday lives? We confuse politics with religion, and action with faith. Our job is to love and serve others, just like Jesus did. People are won for the Kingdom of God when they recognize the futility of their own efforts and their need for something outside of themselves to save them. They turn to God when they come to understand what He sacrificed on our behalf.

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