3 Self-Examining Questions Every Christian Should Consider (Part 1)

Self-examination is uncomfortable. In our sinful nature we don’t want to see ourselves for who we are. We often want to dwell in this illusion that we are fine and nothing is wrong in our spiritual life. Truth really hurts. But examining ourselves is a necessity if we want to check who we really are and where we are going.

Let us now go to the Book of Job to see these questions. The Book of Job is not just about the patience, sufferings and faith of Job. Rather the main story is about God and His sovereignty. The crisis Satan brought to Job crush everything in him yet he remains steadfast for God. In the midst of his conversations with his friends, you can see that it’s theological in nature. Some do have the right understanding on God and some misrepresents Him. But there are penetrating questions we should consider that are scattered in the Book of Job. We collected three of them. Here’s the first one and next week we will see the rest.

  1. “Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?”—Job 13:9

 

This question shows the weight of how God searches us. I ask if it’s well or bearable for us if God checks us out.  Our unfaithfulness, our secret sins and our deception might come in mind and we don’t want it to be found out by God. But the reality is He already knows it! We can’t deny what we already have done. This will drive us to be humble and come to Him with a sorrowful heart. Will we start cleaning our mess knowing how heavy this question is? I hope and pray we will.

 

To be concluded next week. More articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

Book Review: Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

Missional and motherhood might the last two words you’ll put together. Missional is a task of engaging the world with the gospel either in Zimbabwe or your next door neighbor. Motherhood in the other hand might give you pictures of a homebound mother feeding her children. However in Gloria Furman’s latest book, “Missional Motherhood” these two words convey the plan of God to His elect, how Christ work uphold this nurturing and the important role of “mothering” to the church and the world.

Part 1 of the book is the story of God’s grand plan for us. It’s a re-telling of the Old Testament stories which God despite of what sin has done to us, He is there as a nurturer. Even if the image bearers rebels over and over, God’s redemptive plan is unhindered. It’s a long read that might make want to skip because you already know some of it. Then again for those who are not familiar with the story (it’s either a new believer or a non Christian) this is a thrilling read. Imagine reading the OT in one sitting and understanding the big picture.

Gloria gave the last part of the book the solution to what seems to us a foiled plan of God for us. She showed how Christ intercedes to us as we become “nurturer”.  We see here Christ as a creator, redeemer, prophet and more. It’s a well executed writing from Gloria Furman as she connects Christ roles to motherhood. It’s not a copy and paste thing then poof a book on missional. She knows what she’s writing.

Gloria Furman wrote not just another missional book but THE missional book about motherhood. She’s not jumping on the bandwagon but she sets something that everyone should give a second look. “Missional Motherhood” can set a bandwagon in itself because of its biblical and theological rich content that is engaging and accessible to everyone. Yes I said the word: EVERYONE. This book is not just written for “mothering” women but “mothering” men also. Men should not read this to understand women who are “mothering”but how men can be “mothering” too. Great book worth grabbing at Amazon or you local bookstore.

My verdict 4.5 out of 5

Review copy of the book was provided by the author.

My Goodreads review of the book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1653777109

More book reviews here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

Millenial Motherhood: Delighting Grace Interviews Gloria Furman

As the millenial or the connected generation slowly marches into marrying age, study shows that they have their own sets of views on having a family. So do want to consider having a full time focus on the family and some has the ideal number of kids which are distinct from previous generation. Being connected in mobile phones and Facebook has also some effects of what they value most. But as believers, no matter what is the trending paradigm, we need God as the center of our lives and reach people with the gospel.  Delighting Grace asked Gloria Furman, author of the new book ” Missional Motherhood” what she thinks of this unique generation and how to engage them with the message of the gospel:

Delighting Grace: What do you think are the challenges of millenials stepping in marriage and motherhood?

Gloria Furman: I think regardless where we live- from the Philippines to the US to the Emirates- the challenges of the millenial women stepping into marriage and motherhood will be to believe God’s timeless Word over the ever-changing culture. 

Delighting Grace: Does these challenges to grab hold on the Word of God differ from the other generations that came before them? I could say that other generations don’t have mobile or internet so it might have a different setting.

Gloria Furman: The challenge of believing God’s Word is a old as the garden of Eden. God created man and woman to be His image bearers and managers over His creations, so He gave them words to live by. They needed God’s word, and God’s story to guide their lives. But the Enemy schemed a way to make the story about him. Satan tricked the man and woman to bear his decrepit image, spread his kingdom of hell, and live by his poisonous words instead. This millenial generation will face they very same challenge of submitting to God’s Word and resisting temptation to try and stand in judgment over God and His Word.  

Delighting Grace: Wow that indeed is a challenge. One of the marks of being a millenial is being connected. How does this affect the lives of millenial mothers?

Gloria Furman: Millenials enjoy the privilege of being connected to one another virtually via the internet. The downside though, is the illusion that this virtual connection is indeed true. Living out the Scriptural “one another” commands is something we can try to do online, but is best done in personal relationships in our local church. Millenial mothers are affected by their desire and real need to be connected, but have to find creative ways to facilitate genuine connections with sisters in the body of Christ.  

Delighting Grace: Well said, Gloria How do we reach out these millenial mothers who are in need of the gospel?

Gloria Furman: We share Christ and his cross with joyful boldness. The situation of millenial moms may look complicated and foreign when you read the news from other places in the world, or meet someone on the streets in your neighborhood, but across the globe their deepest need is the same as everyone else’s. They need to be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There is no salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Share Christ confidently and with joyful boldness, knowing that Jesus is going to call His sheep and they will hear His voice. 

Delighting Grace: Yes we need that joyful boldness to preach Christ crucified. You came from the western culture and now ministering an different culture. Are there shifts or adjustments with this?

Gloria Furman: Absolutely. I’ve had to adjust in many ways and am thankful for everything I’ve learned from my Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ. One small way I have adjusted is to learn new words in order to communicate better with people. My vocabulary in English expanded, and certainly my vocabulary in other languages is growing. My Tagalog-speaking sister at Redeemer (church) have taught me to chat with their countrymen and as if they know the “magandang balita” (good news, the gospel). And tell them that “mahal ka ni Hesus” (Jesus loves you). 

Delighting Grace: Haha. Nice. Your learning some Tagalog words. So you have a latest book “Missional Motherhood”. Please tell us the process of writing it?

Gloria Furman: This book was written in the span of about three hours for forty days. This work beautifully to me, as a young woman named Katyln came to live with our family and help me care for my kids and physically disabled during the busy month. She took the kids to the playground and to lunch for a few hours a day so I can write this book and turn it in before we left  for an even busier summer. 

Delighting Grace: Please invite our readers to check you out in your social media and your new book “Missional Motherhood”

Gloria Furman: Yes please! I’m on Twitter: @gloriafurman, and you can find “Missional Motherhood” book over Amazon and The Book Depository. If you’d like to download the intro and the first chapter free, you can find the link on the Crossway page for the book: http://www.crossway.org/books/missional-motherhood-tpb/

Delighting Grace: Thank you Gloria for the sharing your time for this interview. So folks get her book “Missional Motherhood”. Gloria did an amazing job for this book. If you don’t believe me then try the freebie Gloria shared. Warning be ready to get biblically soaked with the excerpts. Please check back this blog for my review of the book. Till next time guys! God bless!

 

The Quotable Round-Up #30

Here are the quotes for the week featuring the book by R. C. Sproul “What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics”. Enjoy and God bless!

“The call referred to in effectual calling is not the outward call of the gospel that can be heard by anyone within range of the preaching. The call referred to here is the inward call, the call that penetrates to and pierces the heart, quickening it to spiritual life. Hearing the gospel enlightens the mind, yet it does not awaken the soul until the Holy Spirit illumines and regenerates it. The move from ear to soul is made by the Holy Spirit. This move is what accomplishes God’s purpose of applying the benefits of Christ’s work to the elect.”

“What the unregenerate person desperately needs in order to come to faith is regeneration. This is the necessary grace. It is the sine qua non of salvation. Unless God changes the disposition of my sinful heart, I will never choose to cooperate with grace or embrace Christ in faith. These are the very things to which the flesh is indisposed. If God merely offers to change my heart, what will that accomplish for me as long as my heart remains opposed to him? If he offers me grace while I am a slave to sin and still in the flesh, what good is the offer? Saving grace does not offer liberation, it liberates. Saving grace does not merely offer regeneration, it regenerates. This is what makes grace so gracious: God unilaterally and monergistically does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

“Once we grasp the doctrine of total depravity, we know that no person will incline himself to faith in the atoning work of Christ. If God does not supply the means of appropriating the atonement’s benefits, namely faith, then the potential redemption of all would result in the actual redemption of none.”

“The ultimate aim of God’s plan of redemption was to redeem his elect. To accomplish this end he ordained the means. One was the atonement made by his Son. Another was the Holy Spirit’s application of this atonement to the elect. God provides for his elect all that is necessary for their salvation, including the gift of faith.”

“Faith is not something we conjure up by our own effort, or the result of the willing of the flesh. Faith is a result of the Spirit’s sovereign work of regeneration.”

“God certainly has the power and authority to grant his saving grace to all mankind. Clearly he has not elected to do this. All men are not saved despite the fact that God has the power and right to save them all if that is his good pleasure. It is also clear that all are not lost. God could have chosen not to save anyone. He has the power and authority to execute his righteous justice by saving nobody. In reality he elects to save some, but not all. Those who are saved are beneficiaries of his sovereign grace and mercy. Those who are not saved are not victims of his cruelty or injustice; they are recipients of justice. No one receives punishment at the hands of God that they do not deserve. Some receive grace at his hands that they do not deserve. Because he is pleased to grant mercy to one does not mean that the rest “deserve” the same. If mercy is deserved, it is not really mercy, but justice.”

“By definition grace is not something God is required to have. It is his sovereign prerogative to grant or withhold it. God does not owe grace to anyone. Grace that is owed is not grace. Justice imposes obligation, but grace, in its essence, is voluntary and free.”

The Quotable Round-Up #29

Here are the quotes for the week featuring the book by R. C. Sproul “What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics”. Enjoy and God bless!

“The agent of predestination is God. In his sovereignty he predestinates. Human beings are the object of his predestination. In short, predestination refers to God’s sovereign plan for human beings, decreed by him in eternity. We must add, however, that the concept of predestination includes more than the future destiny of humans. It also includes whatever comes to pass in time and space.”

“For a person to be able to come to Christ, it must first be granted or “given” to that person to come to Christ. God must do something for us to overcome our moral inability to come to Christ. We cannot embrace Christ in the flesh. Without the aid of the Holy Spirit, we cannot come to Christ.”

“The humanistic and pagan view of free will is that the will acts from a posture of indifference. By indifference we mean that the will is inclined to neither good nor evil but exists in a state of moral neutrality. The mind of fallen man has no bias, no predisposition to evil. This view of free will is on a collision course with the biblical view of sin.”

”If we still have a will, why are we unable to convert ourselves or even prepare ourselves for conversion? The simple answer is this: because we do not want to. We have no desire for the righteousness of God, and free choice, by definition, involves choosing what we desire.”

To say that mankind is radically corrupt is to say that sin penetrates to the root or core of our being. Sin is not tangential or peripheral, but arises from the center of our being. It flows from what the Bible calls the “heart,” which does not refer to the muscle that pumps blood throughout our bodies but to the “core” of our being. Even the word core derives from the Latin word for “heart.”

“The covenant of redemption demonstrates the harmony within the Trinity. Over against theories that pit one member of the Godhead against the other two, the covenant of redemption stresses the total agreement between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the plan of salvation. This covenant defines the roles of the persons of the Trinity in redemption. The Father sends the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son enters the arena of this world by incarnation voluntarily. He is no reluctant Redeemer. The Holy Spirit applies the work of Christ to us for our salvation. The Spirit does not chafe at doing the Father’s bidding. The Father is pleased to send the Son and the Spirit into the world, and they are pleased to carry out their respective missions.”

“Every written document has a structure or format by which it is organized. Paragraphs have subjects and chapters have focal points. Reformed theology sees the primary structure of biblical revelation as that of covenant. This is the structure by which the entire history of redemption is worked out.”

“Jesus is enthroned at God’s right hand, and all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. It is a profound political reality that Christ now occupies the supreme seat of cosmic authority. The kings of this world and all secular governments may ignore this reality, but they cannot undo it. The universe is no democracy. It is a monarchy. God himself has appointed his beloved Son as the preeminent King. Jesus does not rule by referendum, but by divine right. In the future every knee will bow before him, either willingly or unwillingly. Those who refuse to do so will have their knees broken with a rod of iron.”

The Quotable Round-Up #28

Here are the quotes for the week featuring the book by R. C. Sproul “What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics”. Enjoy and God bless!

“The remission of sins is tied to the atoning work of Christ. In the atonement both propitiation and expiation are involved. Propitiation refers to Christ’s satisfaction of God’s justice, making it “propitious” for God to forgive us. Propitiation may be seen as a vertical act of Christ directed to the Father. At the same time, Christ is an expiation for our sins, removing or carrying away from us our sins.”

“True faith is never alone. It always manifests itself in works. Works that flow out of faith, however, are in no way the ground of our justification. They contribute nothing of merit before God. The only ground or basis of our justification is the merit of Christ. Nor is faith itself a meritorious work or the ground of our justification.”

“The dispute between justification by the infusion of Christ’s righteousness and the imputation of his righteousness is no tempest in a teapot. It makes all the difference in the world whether the ground of my justification rests within me or is accomplished for me. Christ fulfilled the law for me and gained the merit necessary for my justification. This is the ground not only of my justification, but also of my assurance of salvation. If I must wait until I cooperate with the righteousness of Christ infused within me, to the degree that I become inherently righteous, I despair of ever attaining salvation. This is not gospel or “good news”; it is bad news.”

“In our justification, faith is the means by which we are linked to Christ and receive the benefits of his saving work. By faith we receive the transfer or imputation of the righteousness of Christ. Faith is not only a necessary condition, it is a sufficient condition for Christ’s righteousness to be imputed to us. Faith, true faith, is all that is required to be justified by the righteousness of Christ. Faith trusts in and lays hold of a righteousness that is not our own.”

“Forensic justification means we are declared righteous by God in a legal sense. The ground of this legal declaration is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account.”

The doctrine of justification deals with what may be the deepest existential problem a human being can ever face: How can a sinner, an unjust person, ever withstand the judgment of a holy and just God?

5 Uncomfortable Situations That You Can Still Find God (Part 1)

Where has life lead you today? Are you walking in places that you feel that God is not there? We have all been there. We all know the heartaches it brings. It feels like God has abandoned us. The truth is God is there and doesn’t mind to be there for us. God is not always in place we are happy. He is also there in those times that we feel that He is not there to help us. As we read our passage for this lesson we can see that Jerusalem is besieged by the Babylonians. Some of them were carried to Babylon and some are left in the midst of the ruins. Judgment befalls the people of God because of their constant rebellion to God. But still in the midst of God’s righteous anger, He still extents His goodness to remnants as they seek for Him. These remnants came to the prophet Jeremiah to inquire for God. Let us look at our passage then go to our first point:
Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,
And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)—Jeremiah 42: 1-2

1.) When people around you are few
“pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)”—Jeremiah 42: 2
I can easily relate with this because of our small church. As our church goes to challenges that really shook us, we are few in numbers. Sometimes we get discourage of our number that we tend to look at how big churches do. We long for that quantity of members and also the quality of the leaders. We desire and pray of kind of ministry that is growing. Frustrations set in when some of our members left our already small church. For me this is one difficult time that really pulls our strength.
But this verse tells us that God is willing to meet these rebellious remnants (see verse 9). If God is reaching out for the welfare of these stubborn people, how much more to us that didn’t jump over board. Despite on what situation we are on whether it’s a small church, a minority in our place, or a leader with a handful of loyal follower God is willing to meet us there in that circumstances. Do we feel small, insignificant and unworthy because we keep seeing the stats and not God? Remember the people in the ark, Gideon’s army and the people at the foot of Christ’s cross. Remember this group of remnants. Remember God is there and willing to deal with us.
(To be continued next week…)

7 Things We Miss Out If We Reject the Gospel (Part 4)

Before we go to the last point on our list, I would like to thank you for giving your time to read this article for the pass weeks. I hope and pray that you have been edified with the topic. If you haven’t accepted Christ as Lord and personal Savior, prayer goes out with you. If you have questions please free to ask me by posting it on the comment section or just simple sending a personal message. I will try to answer your questions. And now for #7 which is no surprise if we neglect the gospel. Heaven is last on the list because I want to show you that what you gain with salvation is not just heaven.
7. Heaven
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3: 19-20

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. in my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, i would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. and if i go and prepare a place for you, i will come again, And receive you unto myself; that where i am, there ye may be also” John 14: 2-3 (KJV)
Heaven is not a reward. Reward has to be worked out. Jesus already did it for us. The promise of heaven is included with the gift of salvation. It is based upon the grace of God. Rejecting the gospel forfeits us for receiving heaven. The soul has two destinations. Its either Heaven or Hell. And what you do with the gospel will determine where you will spend eternity. Will you accept the gospel today?

Book Review: “The DNA of Relationships” by Gary Smalley

Dr. Smalley has been writing for decades now about relationship (a trip to Book Sale or any 2nd hand bookstore will affirm that) which it is a no surprise that he would release another one on that subject. You might think what else he could write about or this might contain the usual advice he gives in his previous books. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing that we have some tools that are up to date and can be use to improve our relationship.
In “The DNA of Relationships” Team Smalley delivers well crafted research on relationship that is distilled in this short book. We must remember that life is relationships. We build relationships and we are wired for relationships. Relationship does have a share of the good, the bad and the ugly. Every struggle will eventually hurt people and dishonors God. “The DNA of Relationships” brings upfront “self care” that is not centered with us but exalts God and uplifts others in the process. Self care according to the book is revolutionary and can be attained by having a healthy communication, finding a win-win solution and changing one’s self.
Some advice here are common but you can still find nuggets of wisdom in this book. This book is a good tool to aid us in fixing our relationships.

7 Things We Miss Out If We Reject the Gospel (Part 2)

I heard a preacher once said that the word “free gift” in Ephesians 2: 8-9 lost its meaning in our time. We are incline to pay or work to get what we want. That’s how the real world works. Receiving something free is beyond how we are wired. Also when pride sets in our heart it wouldn’t allow us to accept the gospel. Unless God makes the initiative, salvation won’t be possible. Will you accept the gospel today? Now let’s go on with #3 and #4 of our list of things we miss out if we don’t turn to the gospel:
3. Truth

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

“even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14: 17

Everyone doesn’t want to dwell in falsehood. We want to be in the good or right side. Even if culture suppresses having the concept of truth, there is truth. We don’t want to deceive or be deceived. We want to know if what we believe is the truth. Truth being subjective is a farce. There is objective truth. Jesus invites us to come to Him if we want to know the truth. Rejecting the gospel is rejecting the truth. What is left when we reject the truth is, by default, we accept falsehood.

4. Adoption

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Romans 8:15-17

“to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4: 5-7

“he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” Ephesians 1:5

There is a song that became the theme of Pope Francis visit here in the Philippines. The message of it is that “we are God’s children”. But biblically that is not true. Not all are God’s children. We are all made in the image of God but according to John 1: 12” But to all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”. There’s a difference between an image bearer to a legitimate son. Our physical birth enables us to be bearers of His image, being born again grants us to be God’s children. Believing in Jesus is our ticket to become sons of God. That is the very core of the gospel. Immediately, when we receive the gospel, we became God’s children. Rejecting this truth will keep us on bondage with sin and Satan. Salvation is not just rescuing us from our sin but giving us a new identity. Salvation will not just take us to heaven but most importantly it gives us rights on why we are to be there with God. Are you a child of God?

(to be continued next week…)