The word "anointing" is often confused with the "power of God. Anointing is is not the "power of God," but being chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God's Kingdom often with power.
According to Webster's Dictionary, to anoint means to "rub oil or ointment on," "to put oil on in a ceremony of consecration."
Anointing was a common ancient cultural practice. Shepherds often poured oil on the heads of their sheep in order to protect them from insects that would burrow in their ears and kill them. This contributed to anointing becoming symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment. Spiritually, anointing was related to the idea of strength or blessing.
God commanded the Israelites to anoint the tabernacle and altar..
Exodus 40:9-10 (NKJV)9 And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy.10 You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar. The altar shall be most holy.
In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God's blessing or call on that person's life.
Priests were anointed with oil.
Exodus 29:4-7 (NKJV)4 And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water.5 Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod.6 You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban.7 And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.
Samuel anointed Saul and later David as kings of Israel.
1 Samuel 9:27-10:1 (NKJV)27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell the servant to go on ahead of us." And he went on. "But you stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God." 1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: "Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?
Another meaning for the word anointed is "chosen one." God anointed Jesus.
Luke 4:18-21 (NKJV)18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Acts 10:37-38 (NKJV)37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Acts 4:26-28 (NKJV)26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.'27 "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
All Christians Are Anointed
In addition to Old Testament leaders and Jesus being anointed, the scriptures say that all believers (Christians) are anointed.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NKJV) 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
The Holy Spirit within every believer is associated with God's anointing. Every Christian is anointed or chosen by God as His children, set apart for Him. It means that you have been enabled, entrusted, and empowered to accomplish God's will.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
1 John 2:20, 27 (NKJV)20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
This anointing is permanent it never leaves you and can never be taken away
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NKJV)21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. Anointing Comes With God’s Power But Anointing Is Not Power
We often talk about being in church and we comment that the Praise and Worship, the message or entire service was “anointed” or the "anointing of the Holy Spirit flowed." I was just in one. However we all too often imply that anointing is the power of God. God does move powerfully at meetings, through individuals and songs, however, the power of God and anointing are different concepts.
There Are No Levels Of Anointing
As believers we are either anointed — consecrated and set aside — or we are not. We can’t be more set aside or less set aside — we are either set aside with our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or we are not.
Romans 10:12 (NKJV) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
Galatians 3:28-29 (NKJV)28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
I have one gift and another believer has another gift, that doesn’t mean that I am "more anointed" or have reached a "level" that someone else hasn’t. God blesses us with different gifts and ministries for His own designs. The fact that believers may have different gifts and ministries has nothing to do with anointing.
Romans 12:4-5 (NKJV)4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (NKJV)12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
Sometimes people try to use the scripture where Elisha wanted and received a “double portion” of Elijah’s anointing as evidence of levels of anointing.
When Elisha demonstrates the heart of a servant by nobly refusing to abandon Elijah. The word translated "double," can also mean "to repeat, or do again". What God did was to repeat the prophetic spirit or disposition with which He had blessed Elijah.
There Are Times We Are More Prepared Than Others
Sometimes, Christians are more prepared than at other times. Sometimes they may be able to spend time waiting on God more than other times. Times of prayer and fasting can heighten sensitivity to God’s voice. It is important to spend time in fellowship and intimacy with God in order to build up a preparedness to move when the Spirit moves. By being prepared, Christians are more able to tap into the full measure of the anointing upon their life.
For example my pastor went through a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for an annual healing and deliverance service. The power of the Holy Spirit was evident in the service as he anointed each person with oil and prayed with and for them. Other pastors, including me, also prayed with those the pastor anointed. None of us had a higher level of anointing than any other believer. Each of us was operating in the spiritual gift we received from God. Any blessings that come from that service are the result of the power of God not a special or higher level of anointing.
There is a price to pay in anointed ministry, such as waiting upon the Lord, praying, fasting, studying the Word and seeking the mind of the Spirit. There are sacrifices that have to be made in order to walk in God’s fullness. Preparedness affects the anointing of God upon an individual’s life.
All Christians are anointed equally. God uses His anointed ones (all Christians) to display His power in any way he chooses.
Like most of you in ministry I often run and run and run to exhaustion. My excuse is often "if I don't do it who will", or "I'm working for the Lord and this is more important than my comfort". However God has designed our bodies with some mechanisms that warn us when we are getting to the limits of our physical or emotional endurance. It's when we ignore those mechanisms (warnings) that we begin to breakdown physically , emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. We all know that at times Jesus rested and called for His disciples to rest.
Mark 6:31 (HCSB) He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
While we know that we should rest to keep from burning out, even when we are working in ministry, we don't do it. Today, in my quite time, I read a "Jesus Said Get Some Rest" by by Jeff Manion, from Dream Big, Think Small, Published by Zondervan.
The following is the complete text:
I settled in at a coffee shop to read and journal.
It was the perfect, peaceful setting to quiet my heart and reflect on life. But my tranquility was quickly disrupted by the onset of a throbbing headache. I’ve experienced this dull throb before, and as soon as it started I knew exactly what was happening and why.
Earlier in the morning I’d taken off on a long training run in damp air. The temperature was chilly and I overdressed. I warmed up during the run and overheated a bit. I wasn’t particularly thirsty and didn’t drink anything during the run, or when I reached my car, or when I got home. Big mistake.
Returning home, I showered, gathered my journal and laptop, and headed to the calm of the coffee shop. That’s when the dehydration-induced headache began to rob me of focus. I approached the counter and requested a glass of water, then another. But dehydration takes time to remedy, and the headache grew. The pain didn’t fully dissipate for hours.
I’ve made this mistake before and probably will again. The lesson is simple: Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Know what your system needs, and act accordingly. In a prolonged endeavor — a long hike, bike ride, or run — take in water before you grow thirsty. If you wait until you are parched, you’ve probably waited too long. Unfortunately, we usually discover what we should have done after we didn’t do it.
My coffee-shop headache serves as a parable for emotional depletion and the need to replenish ourselves. Serving a family, a company, or a ministry depletes your emotional reserves. If you are constantly pouring yourself out, you require a regimen of filling yourself up — rehydrating, if you will. Every “mile” of serving takes something out of you. If you want to live and love faithfully for decades — marathon distance — you had better know how to consistently restore depleted resources. And preferably before you are in desperate need.
The lesson is clear. Don’t wait until you feel a searing headache and then begin your search for water.
Drink before you are thirsty.
Let’s talk about ways to fill your spirit long before you grow emotionally, spiritually, or relationally dehydrated.
Don’t wait for the compounding symptoms of emotional burnout before you justify a vacation or build rest into your schedule. Plan time away long before you experience a crash. Once you’re totally depleted and drained, a week away isn’t enough to repair the frayed ends of your weary life.
During a complicated season in Jesus’s ministry, as enthusiastic crowds clamored for His attention and resentful enemies badgered Him, He chose to get away with his apostles.
Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. — Mark 6:31
Read His words again. Hear them as a personal invitation. We all have intense seasons when we need to get away to a quiet place and rest. And also, remember that some trips aren’t restful. You’re probably familiar with the type of getaway that causes you to need a vacation to rest up from your vacation. Years back we pulled the plug on a complicated road trip and instead rented a simple lake cottage not far from our home.
Don’t wait for a vacation to recharge your batteries. Nourish yourself daily.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. — Mark 1:35
Embrace the practice of the daily retreat. Seek quiet moments to reflect on Scripture, express gratitude for the blessings that surround you, and invite God into your challenging relationships and decisions.
Don’t wait until you find yourself in the middle of a spiritual desert to refill your tank. Create space to fill your thirsty spirit each and every day.
Make space for life-giving friendships. Who are your true friends, and how does your calendar reflect your devotion to them?
On occasion, Jesus taught thousands of people. But He also had an inner circle He limited to twelve disciples, and among those, had an even closer relationship with Peter, James, and John. Jesus also often visited the home of siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. Because their village was only a couple of miles from Jerusalem, Jesus could find refuge among trusted friends while encountering hostility in the capital.
Life can be lonely, but we make it lonelier than it needs to be by expending our life energy among a hundred shallow acquaintances while neglecting to connect deeply with any one individual. Don’t wait until you are relationally famished to invest in life-giving friendships.
All you have to do for family relationships to erode is nothing.
Relationships slide downhill by gravitational force in the routine wear and tear of life. How are family members prioritized in your busy life? Schedule downtime together, an occasional weekend away, a weekly date night with your spouse, or breakfast with one of your children. Create time to sit and eat and laugh. Invest in each other long before stress fractures are visible. Seek help early, before someone is ready to call it quits. Hydrate before a massive headache lets you know that you didn’t.
What energizes you? Walking, painting, sailing, time with grandkids? What activities recharge your batteries, and how do you give these activities priority in your schedule? It isn’t selfish to invest in your emotional health. When I am running on fumes, slogging through life in a perpetually depleted state, I am not leading, serving, or loving at my best. Life is draining. We need to discover ways to fill ourselves long before we crash.
Road races of any length have aid stations along the way. Volunteers fill thousands of cups with water or Gatorade. These tables are placed at predictable intervals along the course, with race maps letting you know exactly where you will find the aid stations. I think this is a great image of how to prepare for keeping ourselves hydrated in all parts of our lives.
Remember these words of Jesus to His disciples:
Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. — Mark 6:31
Know where the aid stations are. Drink before you are thirsty. Don’t wait for a meltdown or a breakdown before you refill your tank.
Before closing out today’s reading, pull up your calendar.
Look ahead four weeks to discern where the aid stations can be scheduled into your life. Over the course of the next month, where can you spend unrushed time with family or close friends?
Where can you capture quiet moments to sit, read, and reflect? Schedule these now. Write them into your calendar before every moment is claimed by draining activity.
Now look ahead three months. Where can you carve out significant time away? Schedule these times of rest long before routine commitments and demands stake a claim on every breathing moment.
I for one commit to trying to follow Jesus' example of taking time to rest and renew so that I can work toward the Commission that Jesus gave to His disciples:
Matthew 28:18-20 (HCSB) 18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We often hear people talk about “The Seven Deadly Sins” like there is a list in the Bible. Well guess what there is no list of seven deadly sins in the Bible. The movie Se7en, released in 1995, about a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as metaphors in his murders, shed light on what are thought of as the seven deadly sins. They are:
There is a scripture that lists seven sins in Proverbs that God hates, but they are not called deadly sins.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
The seven deadly sins were first compiled by Pope Gregory I around the year 600.
Gregory also compiled a list of the seven virtues:
It is probably true that they were used extensively to teach principles from God's Word, particularly in the centuries before the invention of the printing press when the Bible was not available for the common man to read and study.
The Bible does validate all of these concepts, but nowhere are they recorded in a list like this and nowhere in the Bible are they specifically referred to as the seven deadly sins or seven virtues.
There are several more sins listed in Galatians, but they are not identified as deadly sins either.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
These and the sins listed in Proverbs are clearly all sins and God despises sin.
Psalm 5:4 (NKJV) For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.
Isaiah 59:1-2 (NKJV)1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
However the Bible tells us that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is complete rejection of God’s grace which is outright rebellion against God, also known as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:31 (NKJV)31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. (Bold mine).
1 John 1:5-10 (NKJV)5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (Bold mine)
What Cures These “Deadly Sins”?
Salvation cures these deadly sins because with salvation comes the gift of a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NKJV)26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
God puts His Spirit in us along with this new heart.
Acts 2:38 (NKJV)38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
It is the Holy Spirit in you that enables you to develop the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-23 (NKJV)16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
As the fruit of the Spirit becomes real in your life the seven deadly sins of gluttony, envy, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and greed will lose their power in your life.
There are some people, in fact lots of people today, who say that God can and does change His mind. I was always taught that God never changed, and that included changing His mind. I was taught that God created everything and after He created it He said that it was very good. If the Creator said it was very good there is no reason for change, ever.
Genesis 1:31 (NKJV) Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The Bible says, in many places, that God never changes.
Numbers 23:19 (NKJV) "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
James 1:17 (NKJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Malachi 3:6 (NKJV) "For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
The people who say God does change His mind point to scripture too.
Genesis 6:6 (NKJV) And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NKJV)7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.
Jonah 3:10 (NKJV) Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
God is not one to cause confusion so I needed to make sense out of what appears, on the surface, to be very real contradictions in my perception and belief of God’s character.
God Is Immutable
It’s clear from scripture that God is immutable. The definition of immutable is; is unchanging over time or unable to be changed. We know that God has always existed and will exist forever. He has no beginning and no end.
Psalm 90:2 (NKJV) Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV) "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
Revelation 1:8 (NKJV) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Scripture also tells us that God is perfect and omniscient.
Psalm 18:30 (NKJV) As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Isaiah 40:13-14 (NKJV)13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him?14 With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, And taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?
Since God is immutable, omniscient, and perfect He has no reason to ever change. The fact is that God knows all things and he has known it all forever so He never needs to change His mind or anything else.
1 John 3:16-20 (NKJV)16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. (Bold mine)
To say that God would actually change his mind would imply that God, who is supposed to have already known everything, decided to act in a way that was different from what He always knew He would do. So, how is he really changing his mind if he decided to do something all along that only appears (to us) that He changed his mind?
How Is It That That God Never Changes But Also Changes His Mind?
Since God is really beyond our ability to fully comprehend the Holy Spirit enabled men to write in a manner that we can understand. The technical term for this way of talking about God is anthropomorphism, which is the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities.
Here is what Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says about anthropomorphism.
The use of human terminology to talk about God is necessary when we, in our limitations, wish to express truths about the Deity who by his very nature cannot be described or known. From biblical times to the present, people have felt compelled to explain what God is like, and no expressions other than human terms are able to convey any semblance of meaning to the indescribable. Thus, in Genesis alone God creates ( 1:1 ), moves ( 1:2 ), speaks ( 1:3 ), sees ( 1:4 ), divides ( 1:4 ), places ( 1:17 ), blesses ( 1:22 ), plants ( 2:8 ), walks ( 3:8 ), shuts ( 7:16 ), smells ( 8:21 ), descends ( 11:5 ), scatters ( 11:8 ), hears ( 21:17 ), tests ( 22:1 ), and judges ( 30:6 ). For example, the Bible speaks of the “arm of God” (Deuteronomy 5:15 (NKJV)15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day) with respect to His power while Psalm 50:10 says, “[God] owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” We know, however, that this is metaphorical language. The Bible isn’t trying to tell us that God is a cosmic cowboy who is in the cattle business. That God owns the cattle on a thousand hills is a human way of describing the vast riches that our Creator possesses. This language is perfectly useful to describe God’s activity among us;
When we understand that this is the only way we can begin to know what God is like we can then see how from our human viewpoint God seems to change His mind, but He is only presented to us that way so that we can relate to an omniscient God.
God's Declarations Are Conditional or Unconditional
In addition to knowing that scripture is written in a way for us to better understand God from our human perspective, we must make a distinction between conditional declarations and unconditional determinations of God.
The declaration to destroy Nineveh in forty days was conditional one.
Jonah 3:1-4 (NKJV)1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you."3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
The declaration was conditioned on Nineveh's repentance. We know this was the condition because they repented, and God didn’t destroy the city.
Jonah 3:10 (NKJV) Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
In this instance God was consistent. He was going to judge Nineveh but Nineveh repented. Since God is holy He had mercy on the city because of they repented. Consequently what appears, to us to be a change of mind is, on the other hand, entirely consistent with His character. God will never do anything out of character if He did He wouldn’t be God.
The declaration to David about his family was unconditional
2 Samuel 7:16 (NKJV) And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." ' "
There were no conditions expressed or implied in this declaration. No matter what David did or did not do, the word of the Lord would come to pass, and we know that David was far from perfect.
God also makes some declarations that He will act in accordance with our choices. Notice the conditional words but and if;
Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NKJV) The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.
Ezekiel 33:13-16 (NKJV)13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.14 Again, when I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right,15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
At one time we were all enemies of God due to our sin, and He warned us what would happen if there was no change
Romans 6:23 (NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we repented and trusted Christ for salvation it appears that God “changed His mind” about us, but He acted in accordance to our choice and, saved us. It would be contrary to God’s character to not punish us had we continued in sin, so it would be contrary to His character to punish us after we repent. Does our change of heart mean that God changes? No, if anything, our salvation points to the fact that God does not change, because had He not saved us for the sake of Christ, He would have acted contrary to His character.
When a person repents the relationship with God changes because of the person’s choice to accept the grace of God. Just as in the case of Nineveh, “I’m going to judge you,” and then (after they repent) refuse to judge them may look like God changed His mind. In reality, God was simply staying true to His character. He loves mercy and forgives.
So, what we’re seeing is God changing his mind from our perspective, but from the eternal perspective he did not change His mind about the penalty of sin. He already knows what we will choose so He’s not surprised by our choices. He does’t have to adapt to our mistakes or our plans.
Ephesians 1:11 (NKJV) In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
The discourse with Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah is not an example of God changing His mind either. Those who use the example of God saying that He would not destroy the cities if differing numbers of righteous people are found there is a very weak argument of God changing His mind. Abraham first asked God if He would destroy the cities if there were 50 righteous there and God said no. Abraham kept reducing the number of righteous until he reached 10 and at each iteration God said no, He would not destroy the cities. Abraham stopped at 10, and God said He would not destroy the cities if there were 10 righteous. We know the end of the story and that there were only 4 righteous people in Sodom (and one of those didn’t make it far) so He destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain. Does anybody really believe that God didn’t already know that there were not 10 righteous people in these cities? What we have is an example of God talking with a friend and engaging him in conversation not an example of God changing his mind.
Does Prayer Change God’s Mind?
People often ask whether prayer can change God’s mind. If God has determined something do you really think that He is going to change His mind? If you know that God has not answered a request do you really think you can talk Him into doing it without you doing something different? If when you change or make a different choice, and the prayer is answered it proves my point that you have made a different choice. God has not changed His mind you are the one that has changed and come into God’s will for you. God knows everything, and He has known it forever. He’s known the end from the beginning. He never changes and never changes His mind.
Isaiah 46:10 (NKJV) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'
Many Christians blame Satan for every unpleasant thing that happens in their lives including sickness and disease. The Bible does clearly indicate that sickness is often the result of actions by Satan and demons, but not every time.
When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before Him. “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers severely. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and rebellious generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and from that moment the boy was healed. Matthew 17:14-15, 17-18
As He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. But the Lord answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it to water? Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for 18 years — shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day? ” Luke 13:10-11, 15-16
So Satan left the Lord ’s presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. Job 2:7
Not All Sickness and Disease Comes From Satan
On the other hand there were times during, His ministry, that Jesus gives us some indication that not all sickness is the result of direct demonic activity. When a sickness was caused by a demon Jesus identified it as such, as were the examples I just gave of the young boy with seizures and the woman who could not stand straight. However there are other instances of Jesus healing people without the mention of casting out or rebuking of a demon(s). attacked by demons;
So Jesus and His disciples got up and followed him. Just then, a woman who had suffered from bleeding for 12 years approached from behind and touched the tassel on His robe, for she said to herself, “If I can just touch His robe, I’ll be made well! ” But Jesus turned and saw her. “Have courage, daughter,” He said. “Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that moment. Matthew 9:19-22
After He left the synagogue, He entered Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him about her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and began to serve them.
Some Sickness and Disease Comes From God
We don’t like to admit it, but there are even examples in scripture where God sometimes intentionally allows, or even causes sickness for His sovereign purposes.
Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? Exodus 4:11
The Lord afflicted the king, and he had a serious skin disease until the day of his death. He lived in a separate house, while Jotham, the king’s son, was over the household governing the people of the land. 2 Kings 15:5
The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now listen! You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” Luke 1:19-20
The Greatest Source of Sickness and Disease is Sin
There is also another reason, perhaps the greatest one or all, for sickness and disease, and that is sin. We are fallen beings because of Adam and Eve with physical bodies prone to disease and illness. Some sickness is simply a result of the natural course of things in this world. When Adam and Eve sinned their punishment, which was passed down to all of mankind, was death which is a form or sickness..
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:17
Death, as well as sickness, are part of the effect of Adam's sin. When Adam sinned, he died. His death was not an immediate physical death, but spiritual death, a separation from God.
But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen. Isaiah 59:2
Sin, with its impact, entered the creation through Adam who was to have dominion over it.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
Adam’s actions did not only affect mankind, but the entire creation. Man was now subject to diseases, sickness, illnesses and deterioration. Sin which is separation from God, was the source of disease. Just as every person is born in sin and subject to it and the consequences and punishment for it, every person is subject to the disease, sickness, illnesses and deterioration that came as the result of sins effect on the entire creation.
For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Romans 8:20-22
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. Romans 5:12
Nobody is Immune
The entrance of sin, at the urging of Satan, is the primary cause of sickness. As we get older we get wrinkles, some of us need glasses, our muscles get shorter, and eventually we all die. Both the righteous and the unrighteous are subject to sickness and disease.
According to Scripture, the cause of man’s psychological and physical problems always has its origin in the fall of Adam. There would be no psychological problem or physical disease if there had been no sin. The original sin of Adam resulted in our individual, personal sin, sins against us which are often not our fault, and the many diseases and eventual death which are not always the direct result of personal sin.
Non-spiritual causes of abnormality include genetic influences which have been documented to exist, and must not be confused with those causes which are the result of personal behavior and personal sin. Genetic influences are shown to cause a predisposition toward certain physical and psychological ailments. These include the fact that gender influences many mood disorders. Women are known to experience more frequent depression than their male counterparts. In identical twin studies, the bipolar and schizophrenic disorders have been shown to have a very decided genetic influence.
Additionally, the victims of organic disorders (such as brain tumors and disorders resulting from physical trauma, as in the case of accident victims) are not to be held personally responsible for their inability to function at the level expected by society. It goes without saying that a child with down syndrome would not be personally responsible for this condition and should have limited social and spiritual expectations of responsibility. Unfortunately many who do not exhibit physical manifestations of their psychological problem are shown little respect for their non-physical, psychological disability. - A Christian Perspective on Medication by Dr. Scott Hadden and Theron Messer
The Apostle Paul preached to the Galatians the first time because he was sick.
you know that previously I preached the gospel to you because of a physical illness. You did not despise or reject me though my physical condition was a trial for you. On the contrary, you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. Galatians 4:13-14
Timothy has stomach problems;
Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. 1 Timothy 5:23
The prophet Elisha died from an illness;
When Elisha became sick with the illness that he died from, Jehoash king of Israel went down and wept over him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel! ” 2 Kings 13:14
We all know very devout believers, including my late wife, who is now with the Lord, who suffered and died the result of sickness and disease.
No Matter the Source God is Still in Control
The point is this that no matter the source, Satan, demons, the fallen state of creation, or God Himself, this world remains under His sovereign control.. For the believer, that means that God even works sickness together for their good.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
When we are suffering with a sickness, disease, or injury, we usually focus solely on our own suffering. The key is remembering that God's ways are higher than our ways. Sickness can even be be a means of God's loving discipline.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes. I know, Lord , that Your judgments are just and that You have afflicted me fairly. Psalms 119:67, 71-71, 75
It’s hard for us to understand why God would work in this way but remember what I said earlier about him working everything together for good.
Sickness and suffering is never an easy thing to deal with, but sickness should not cause us to lose faith in God. God is good, even when we are suffering. Even the ultimate of suffering—death—is an act of God's goodness. Think of loved ones, who were believers and are now with the Lord as a result of sickness or suffering regrets and what they went through in this life.
One word of caution when people are suffering, it is our responsibility to minister to them, care for them, pray for them, and comfort them. When a person is suffering, it is not always appropriate to emphasize that God will bring good out of the suffering. Yes, that is the truth. However, in the midst of suffering, it is not always the best time to share that truth. Suffering people need our love and encouragement, not necessarily a reminder of sound biblical theology.
For the child of God, the hope is not perfect health in this lifetime but a resurrected body in the life to come.
Brothers, I tell you this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:50-55
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
** All scriptures are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise noted
Today the word evangelical is used to describe everybody and everything from mega-churches to voting blocs. It appears that nobody really knows what or who is an evangelical. Depending on how you define the term, evangelicals comprise between 7 and 47 percent of the United States population.
There is no doubt that the term is applied to Christians however the dominant view today seems to be that an evangelical is a politically conservative Christian and in particular a Protestant, politically conservative Christian. There is also the view that a politically liberal Christian is somehow not evangelical.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary - evangelical
1: of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels
3: emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual
4 a capitalized : of or relating to the Evangelical Church in Germany
b often capitalized : of, adhering to, or marked by fundamentalism : fundamentalist
c often capitalized : low church
5: marked by militant or crusading zeal
National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) (the NAE is is a fellowship of member denominations, churches, organizations, and individuals. Its stated goal is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelicals in the United States. Today it works in four main areas: Church & Faith Partners, Government Relations, Chaplains Commission, and World Relief. The NAE is a member of the World Evangelical Alliance. The NAE represents more than 45,000 local churches from nearly 40 different denominations, in addition to nondenominational churches. The mission statement of the association is "to honor God by connecting and representing evangelical Christians.)
The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “the good news” or the “gospel.” Thus, the evangelical faith focuses on the “good news” of salvation brought to sinners by Jesus Christ.
According to the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College, Martin Luther first used the Latinized form of the word evangelium to describe the non-Catholic churches formed during the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.
The term took hold more than a century later during the Great Awakening, a series of revivals in Britain and the American colonies. Because of the influence of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, evangelicalism became a synonym for revivalism. By the early 1800s, it was “by far the dominant expression of Christianity” in the United States.
The term really went mainstream when Jimmy Carter became the nominee of the Democratic Party for, and was elected President of the United States. He was the first U.S. President to call himself a “born again” evangelical Christian. Not to be left out, conservative evangelicals who who differed from President Carter created and mobilized under new organizations like the Christian Coalition and the Moral Majority. These politically conservative groups were labeled the religious right. The pollsters then lumped religious right with evangelicalism.
Because of this the term evangelical Christian became is equivalent to “right-wing, fundamentalist Republican.” For others, "evangelical Christian" is a title used to differentiate between Catholic and Protestant Christians, with Protestant being evangelical. Others use the term to indicate adherence to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity like the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone.
These definitions span a range of denominations, churches, and organizations, there is no single membership statement to delineate identity. To the pollster, it is a sociological term. To the pastor, it is a denominational or doctrinal term. And to the politician, it is a synonym for a white Christian Republican.
The most widely accepted definition of evangelical is probably the one put forward by historian David Bebbington in 1989. It’s called the “Bebbington quadrilateral” because it identifies evangelicals as Christians who share four main qualities:
The NAE/LifeWay Research method includes four statements to which a person must agree to be categorized as evangelical:
These things define evangelicals, not political, social or cultural trends. In fact, many evangelicals rarely use the term “evangelical” to describe themselves. They focus on the convictions of the triune God, the Bible, faith, Jesus, salvation, evangelism and discipleship.
Because political polls often focus on white evangelical voters, white evangelicals that means they end up being portrayed as the face of evangelicalism, period. You never hear them talk about African American evangelicals. However consider this there are two evangelicals, as defined by NAE, one African American, one white who sit next to each other every Sunday. They could have the same religious beliefs, but they're likely to have vastly different political beliefs. The African American is s more likely to vote Democratic, while the white one will lean Republican.
I consider myself an evangelical. I'm not white or politically conservative. I’m more moderate in my political views. I typically vote for Democrats and not for Republicans or other politically conservative candidates.
I have been born again, I am saved and know, without a doubt, that I’m saved. I live my life according to the principles of the Bible. I write blog that disagree at times with the views of, who some call, liberal Christians, and at other times with who, same call, conservative, “Word of Faith” or “Prosperity Gospel” Christians.
In reality, all Christians should be evangelical Christians. The Bible is consistently instructing us to be witnesses of the good news
Matthew 28:18-20 (HCSB)18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
1 Peter 3:13-15 (HCSB)13 And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good?14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
Holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview and, yes, political belief. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation.
An evangelical Christian is called to share the good news, to preach God's Word, and to set an example of purity and integrity. That is an evangelical!
Ruth was becoming more and more listless, not eating, calling things like scrambled eggs noodles, not remembering very important things, and finally not remembering how to put on her pantyhose when getting dressed. We were able to get an appointment with her Primary Care Doctor on December 30th at which time he immediately set her to the Emergency Room. After the triage nurse spoke with her for just a few minutes she was quickly taken back and given a CT scan of her head. The Emergency Room Doctor saw a mass on her brain and quickly transferred her to another facility with an excellent Neurosurgery team. After examination of the Emergency Room CT scan and a more in depth scan the Neurosurgery Department Head scheduled emergency surgery for New Year’s Day. The surgery to remove the brain tumor was successful with the entire tumor being removed however the biopsy of the tumor was sent to pathology for analysis. The analysis found that the tumor was metastasized, meaning that the origin of the tumor was not the brain but from another organ. I learned that most brain tumors do not originate in the brain but from cancer cells from other parts of the body. After analysis the diagnosis was that Ruth had stage 4 (there are only 4 stages of cancer) lung cancer.
After her diagnosis Ruth and I together decided to share her journey with cancer on Facebook and on the Faith The Evidence Blog that I write. Our decision to share was not to elicit pity or to express fear and remorse but to exhibit our trust and faith in God. Our prayer was for Ruth’s complete healing, and that’s what we asked in our prayer, but we also told God that we wanted His will to be done in Ruth’s life. Ruth wanted to share her story to help others who were going through trying times so that they would know that God is in control even when things don’t look great. It may be an illness, a financial crisis, trouble in a marriage, a breakup of a personal relationship, loss of a job, any situation that causes stress and anxiety. Ruth went to be with the Lord on January 24, 2015 leaving hundreds of friends and family whose lives she impacted with the love of God that He placed in her.
This post, which is all of the Facebook status updates from the time of Ruth’s diagnosis until her Memorial and Celebration of Life, is the first post in the blog series Ruth’s Journey. The status updates are exactly as they appeared on Facebook including any typos and poor grammar. Ruth and I pray that you are blessed by it.
To my FB friends and family I ask your prayers for my wife Ruth who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. We don't know a whole lot yet but we do know that we need you to join with us in prayer that God's will be done. I ask that you pray for her healing but only in accordance with God's will. I ask that you pray that God will give her medical team wisdom and that He place the most expert physicians on that team. I also ask that you pray for me so that I can be the caregiver that God has ordained me to be. In all this and most of all pray that God get the glory for all of this. As I have been teaching and preaching for the past year " And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." God's purpose is that we become conformed to the image of His Son so all these things He is working so that we look more like Jesus. You have to either believe God or not and I choose to believe Him. God bless you and thank you for your prayers. I'll keep you posted.
Ruth continues to improve from the brain surgery and is becoming more alert and able to comprehend a little better. Continue praying that she recovers quickly so that treatment can start for the lung cancer. That is if God doesn't miraculous heal her first and you know that he can. Her medical team is fantastic. Continue to pray for them too. God is really good.
Ruth continues to improve. In a great deal of pain because they want her more aware so that they follow improvement. I see a great deal of improvement daily. Tomorrow she will probably be transferred to a rehab facility so today I ask that you agree with me that the transfer is to the 5 star facilty in the Kaiser network that is near the hospital and not far from our home.
Another day of marked improvement for Ruth. Less disoriented, less confused, more aware. Still in lots of pain but they are able to give her a little something so that she can get some rest which is so important in the healing process. It looks like they will transfer her tomorrow to a nursing home for a few days. Thank you for all the prayers we know that God hears and answers them. Keep praying for her and her medical team. God bless you.
Great improvement today. Ruth is very aware and able to respond quickly and appropriatly to most things today. The big deal today is pain. Most of you know that Ruth has a chronic back issue. It's so bad that she has an medical device implanted in her hip that provides relief when she needs it. Well she has been in a bed flat on her back since last Wednesday and the device has discharged and when completly discharged it takes hours to recharge even under optimal conditions abd a hospital is not optimal. I told you that so that you will have an idea of what is happening now. Ruth is in tremendous pain. Most of it from the back add to that head pain from the surgery and she has a bladder infection. So have to get the pain under control. So that 5 star nursing home looks like it is the hospital and I say that is the answer to that prayer. I have already started negotiating with the doctors to send her home rather than a nursing home especially now that she is no longer confused or disoriented so join me in prayer for this. God is moving. One other thing she already has appointments with Radiation Therapy and Oncology. Praise God with us.
Here with Ruth. She continues to improve. Doing little things that she couldn't or wouldn't do a day or two ago. In my post yesterday I told you that she was in lots of pain. She is much more comfortable today. She needs to be able to rest to help in the healing process. God contniues to show His grace, mercy, love and power in and through Ruth. She still has a ways to go but I can see improvement everyday, some days big progress, other days little progress but still progress. I'm praying that whenever the doctors say she is ready to leave the acute care hospital it is home. Thank you for continuing to pray for God's will to be done. Remember that God is great and greatly to be praised.
Here with Ruth. This is the best day yet since her surgery. She is bright eyed and alert, watching the Broncos and Colts and asking for a pizza :) She can't have the pizza of course since they are giving her steroids and they have to watch the carbs. Maybe in a couple of days. The mittens are off her hands so they are not worried about her pulling at stuff. I saw her Neurosurgeon's PA when I got here and she says that Ruth is fine neurologically. She has a little abdominal discomfort so she had an ultrasound. No results yet. She has a bladder infection so it could be from that. She thinks that they will still recommend a few days in a rehab facility (that is their code word for a convalescent hospital). I feel a little better about that now that medically she is stable and what she needs is someone to get her up and moving. We may also have connections at places where there is someone in corporate who can be an advocate. I'll know tomorrow. All in all it is a great day. Keep praying!!!!!
Another good day for Ruth. Contuining to improve. I think she is starting to remember things that she was suppose to do earlier. A few minutes ago she told me that she needed to get up to make a phone call. Maybe it was because she spoke with a couple of people on the phone today. She also asked me if she can go home today. I had to tell her no but that we are working on it. Her case manager says that there are no beds available at the rehab facilities that Kaizer uses. Let's continue to pray that God's will be done. It will anyway but I want us to be in agreement with it.
I had planned to write the second post in "When the Faith Rubber Meets the Road" today but I'm beat. It's been a stress filled past 13 days. I'm going to try to get a full nights sleep tonight. I've said that before but I'm going to really try tonight. I'll write and post it tomorrow. If you see it early tomorrow you'll know I failed in my quest for 8 hours of zzzzzzzz's
Today was not a good day. I have already spoken to some of you. We learned today that the cancer has now involved Ruth's liver so her lung cancer metastasized in both the brain (that tumor was removed) but she has a mass in her lungs and now her liver. So as it was explained to me what is happening is the cancer is in Ruth's blood system and tumor can occur throughout her body. At this point there are no surgical options and the doctors told us that there is no medical cure. Well we know that God can heal and nothing is impossible for Him but remember that we asked that as you pray for Ruth's healing you pray that God's will be done in her life. She wants to fight this and we will. We are now on war footing and we know whose army we are in. Meanwhile pray that she is comfortable as we get her ready for whatever treatment that are planned probably starting with chemo when she is strong enough from her recent brain surgery. When I started these post I promised to tell it all. We want Ruth's experience and life to be a testimony and example of the goodness of God. We love you. I'll keep the posts going until victory is achieved. I'll post the link to the next "When the Faith Rubber Meets the Road" in the next couple of days.
Today was a better day even though Ruth was more than little agitated and tired. I say that because she was more able to articulate these feelings than she has been. It was apparent that she has not been resting well. Some if it is pain but I think there is another reason. Since her surgery on the 1st Ruth has not been given medication that she has taken for years to control her moods swings. Given the tragedies that she has endured throughout her life she has need them to keep herself on an even keel and be able to rest. They had to stop them after the brain surgery in order to monitor her progress. I spoke with her medical team about this today and the fact that she was really complaining that she needs to rest. She also exhibited some anxiety when there were several people in the room today and they did take notice. They are starting those meds tonight and we'll see how she is in the morning. If all goes well they may try transferring her to a skilled rehab facility to start more intense PT. That's important because as we prepare for this war she needs to get stronger before they start any treatments. When I kept reminding her that she needs to eat and work with PT, after about the 3rd time today she said DON PLEASE (in other words please stop reminding me over and over and over). She didn't do that the past couple of days which shows me that she is more aware of what's going on. She was tired of me reminding her and she was agitated because of little rest. Those were good signs for me. Continue to pray that she gets stronger quicker so that whatever treatments that the docs recommend, or that God wants her to have, can start sooner. She already has appointments in place so pray that we can keep them. Also thank God for the daily progress even in the face of what may appear to be bad news. As I said yesterday don't focus on the situation or circumstance focus on God because He is bigger that they are.
Today was a mixed day. Some good some not so good. Good things first. Yesterday I said that the medical team was going to gradually start giving Ruth the medications that she has taken for years to control her anxiety and depression. They did start them last night by giving a much reduced amount of one medication. The result was that Ruth slept through the night for the first time since surgery. I thought is was great and she looked well rested and great to me. Problem was the it was too restful for her neurosurgeon. She was still sleep when he saw her this morning. His concern is that to continue healing from the brain surgery she doesn't need the deep sleep she got last night. So he ordered it stopped and ordered one benadryl tonight to relax her so she can sleep. She is more alert and aware and can follow everything that you say to her and can respond appropriately, if she want to. She talked a little bit more though not a lot. When I asked how to spell pineapple today (because I didn't remember how) she was able to do it. The other day I asked her how to spell neurosurgery and she was able to do that too. A couple of people from PT came by today and were able to get her to do a couple of exercises, sit up on the side of the bed and get up and stand with the walker. She did not walk today because she is still too weak and unstable but that's progress that must continue if she is to get strong enough for treatment. She knows this and is trying. They are still trying to find a bed at a skilled rehab facility but it's not happening. I believe that it's not because God has her exactly where he wants her and until He says that it is time to transfer her she will be in the acute care hospital and she will go where He wants her to go. If she had been transferred at the time that they wanted to do it last week it is very likely that they would not have discovered the liver involvement as soon as the did and at this stage time is critical. Now the bad. Just before I left today Ruth was in a lot of pain in her abdomen. She had not complained of pain from the time that I got there early this morning until this afternoon. The nurse gave her some pain medication (still no narcotics thank God the pain is not that bad) and after a while she settled down and I was able to leave and come home. I called back later and she was sleep so the medication worked. That was the worst part of the day for me. Seeing her in great pain and being unable to do anything about it other than to pray for her. It was very difficult for me to sit through that. Ruth and I thank you for your prayers and concern. We love you and we will continue to share with you. As I promised we will share the victories and the setbacks so that we can all rejoice when we see the manifestation of God's will.
Good day today and a day to really see God working. Ruth told me that she slept well and was not in any pain this morning. I noticed that she hadn't eaten her breakfast yet so I tried to get her to eat. She has not been eating as much as she needs to in order to regain her strength and I keep telling her that but it's a chore getting her to eat. In doing so I find that she continues to improve in awareness and becoming more like her old self. Those of you that know Ruth know that she is not a morning person and that she is very stubborn so just imagine me trying to get her to eat before 9 am when she doesn't want to eat that hospital food. You guessed it :). But we have to keep pushing and as I told her today everybody there wants to help her but she needs to help us help her. She says that she understands and I know that she does. She was able to speak with a couple of people by phone today and they both can see improvement. She even worked with PT today more than yesterday without as much pain. That may mean that they are doing a better job pain management. As we know God is always in control and what is going on with Ruth is a perfect example. The hospital has been trying to find a bed at one of their contracted skilled rehab facilities for at least 10 days. There have been none for various reasons. If she had been transferred when the initially wanted it to happen it is very likely we would not have know that the cancer has moved to the liver so God kept her there and it was discovered. I have mentioned that to members of the medical staff. Now there were all ready to transfer her today so that she can start rehab outside the acute care hospital. Well God has other plans. The discharge coordinator left work early today so there was nobody there to work the transfer. So let's just let God do His thing. It is obvious that He wants her where she is for the time being. When God wants her moved He will decide when and where so let's let Him do it. God is great and greatly be praised.
Quite day today. Ruth continues to improve getting more and more alert. We talked more about her recovery and what she needs to do to get stronger before more intensive treatments can start. She understands. She still is not eating enough and it is like pulling teeth to get her to eat more than a couple of bites. It was a struggle to get her to eat more today. I got her to promise to eat more tonight we'll see. She did talk with one of her nieces and one of her nephews today. My prayer request today for her is that she starts to eat more so that she gets stronger. Let's pray that God makes her hungry :) Oh one last thing she wants to watch the football games tomorrow. No perdictions from her.
Watched the second half of the Packers, Seahawks game with Ruth. She slept through most of it. She is looking better everyday. Her nurse told me that she ate better today and that her sugar was still a little low but better than yesterday. I again reminded her that she needs to eat so that she gets stronger and again I could see that she was getting ready to get agitated so I had to remind her again of her decision to fight. No complants of pain today while I was there. She asked me if she was going home today and she was very disappointed when I said no. I did tell her that she may be going to a skilled rehab facility or home tomorrow but it is really the Lord who is orchestrating this. She did tell me that she is tired. Not tired of the pain but of being in the same room and bed. I asked if she would rather go to a rehab facility or home and she said a rehab facility, which I think was the really best answer, at the time, which shows the improvement in her ability to reason. I was chastised, by friends today, for not getting enough rest. The told me that I look tired so I only stayed at the hospital about 1 1/2 hours. Tomorrow should be a very interesting day. I plan on spending a lot of time getting more specific information about Ruth's cancer and in talking to others who have waged this same war.
Happy MLK Day. Well today the Lord placed Ruth in a skilled nursing facility for a period of rehabilitation. He did it in His time and His way. I took a tour of the place before she was transferred and I'm pleased. There is no nursing home smell (you know what I mean) anywhere in the facility. It is super clean and has a patio for when Ruth is able to get outside and get some of that California sun. She is happy to be out of the acute care hospital and I pray that a change of scenery will increase her appetite and encourage her to get up and move. The goal of this time is for her to get stronger so she needs to get some physical therapy. The facility has a nice PT room with some very nice equipment. One other thing that I think is a little unusual for a nursing home is that the medical director is actually in the hospital 3 times a week. In fact she will be there tomorrow and I will be there bright and early to meet her. The staff seems very nice and even told me that they need my help in helping Ruth. I told them that they will see a lot of me :) Ruth did eat a little more tonight and tonight I did not feed her. I put the food on the spoon and gave it to her and she did the rest. That's the first time that's happened since her surgery. I told her that I was not going to feed her or force her to eat she needed to do it herself and she did. Not enough but she fed herself. So continue to pray with us that God increases her appetite and gives her energy for PT. She and I asked that in our prayer tonight and we ask that you agree with us.
As with most days on this journey there is some good and some bad. First the bad news and then the good which should mitigate the bad. Because Ruth was in bed most of the time at the acute care hospital with their PT group unable to really get her up and moving Ruth now has pneumonia, which was discovered when she arrived at the skilled nursing facility. They have started treatment for it. She is not coughing or having any breathing problems. The good is that this place aggressively moving on putting a Occupational and Physical Therapy plan together. Both groups did assessments today and should start their programs tomorrow. We met one of the doctors today, who are there at least three times each week, and she is very thorough and concerned with all of her patients. She is easy to talk to and very forthcoming. I also was able to convince, along with the speech therapist to change her diet to something other than the bland pureed stuff that she was getting and refusing to eat. She is now getting a more blended diet and with much coaxing (I told her that if she didn't eat more tonight that we were going to have a fight in her room) she ate pretty good including almost all of her cup of orange sherbet. I am going to take her a hamburger tomorrow (shhhhh). The doc says that the stay should be at most two weeks and if Ruth shows improvement in her ability to function physically she may get discharged sooner. I am also pushing to get her started back, safely, on the medications that she was taking before surgery that will help with her mental state. She has lots of appointments coming up and needs to be stronger both physically and psychologically. So all in all the good outweighed the bad today. God is still in control.
Early post because it's going to be an early night. We have 2 appointments tomorrow, one of them planned as the first radiation therapy treatment. Then we have a neurosurgery follow up on Friday and an oncology consult on Monday. Today was and is a very good day. I was at the rehab facility mid-morning and Ruth looked the best she has looked since surgery. That tells me that she was able to rest well last night. She talked more today, even initiating conversation. She had what I thought was the best telephone conversation that she has been able to have. I no longer need to hold the phone for her. I was not there for breakfast but I was told by the person that helped and encouraged her to eat that she ate 40 to 60 percent of the meal including a ll the oatmeal. I wasn't there for lunch and won't be for dinner but I'm believing that she continues to eat more. She is back to a more normal diet with no sugar restrictions. I spoke with PT and they said that they were able to work with her today. She still needs maximum assistance but she is slowly improving. I have not talked to Occupational Therapy today. She wanted me to help her sit up on the side of the bed this morning but after helping her up for a few seconds, we thought better about it deciding to let the experts do it :) We are going to try to get her in our car from a wheelchair then out into the wheelchair for her appointments. They are reserving transportation just in case :). Pray that all goes well tomorrow. God is great and greatly to be praised.
Exhausting day for both of us, in fact Ruth fell asleep less than an hour after getting back to the rehab facility after only one appointment today. She was just too tired and weak to hang around and wait for 2 hours before the next appointment which would have lasted another couple of hours. So we rescheduled for next week. We did have the consult for radiation therapy which will start next Wednesday. The procedures will be to the brain to make sure there are no residual cancer cells left from the tumor. There will be five of them on consecutive days broken up only by the weekend so she will have sessions Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday. She also has a neurosurgery follow up tomorrow and another oncology appointment on Monday so she needs to somehow get stronger. Not for the radiation but just the physical activity which is more than she has had in a very long time. The good thing about today, even though she was too tired to do both appointments, is that she was up and out of the bed from about 9 am until 1 pm that is longer than she has been out of the bed in all the days since her surgery combined so I guess she has a reason to be tired. The rehab facility is going to train me on getting Ruth from a wheelchair into the car and back. We tried this morning but she was just too weak and tired so they had to call for non-emergency medical transport. That is a story in itself to make it very brief it cost $75 for a 3 block trip to her appointment and when we were finished we had to wait for an hour after calling them. When I got back to the facility I told them that somehow we are going to get Ruth to her appointment tomorrow without using their contracted transportation group if I have to start early and push Ruth in a wheelchair to the appointment or put her over my shoulder and carry her. I think that $75 for a 3 block trip in a specially equipped van (meaning they had a lift) is a rip off but to pay $75 and still wait for an hour is too much. Well so much for my rant. I'm tired. I'll talk to you tomorrow.
As usual God has worked it out. There is no appointment for tomorrow because what they would have done in the nuro follow up they have already done. I also remembered that Ruth had CityRide which is a program to provide transportation at a significantly reduced rate for seniors and the disabled. They provide the kind of transportation that we had to pay $75 for today. Ruth has a balance of $182 and that's what we will use for her future appointments until I'm trained in the wheelchair to car procedure. God is awesome.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. The last 10 days have been a whirlwind with a lot of good and some not so good but there is progress everyday and we are capturing ground everyday in this war against cancer. I'm encouraged by every little thing and can find some good even in things that look like setbacks. Here is Mile 3 of our journey. Come with us on this journey and pray that God's will be done in Ruth. Please share with your friends.
I just posted the link to my blog post "When the Faith Rubber Meets the Road - Mile 3". In it you will learn that Ruth is back in the hospital with pneumonia. It sounds like a downer and it is but as always with God there is a blessing. I just spoke with the ER nurse and they are going to admit her but she is much better than when she was taken to the ER this morning. She is at the hospital where she was for surgery on the 1st until this past Monday. She is alert and still getting better in terms of communicating. One last thing. I believe that it's God's plan to have her discharged home rather than back to a rehab facility. Let's just wait and see what the Lord has in store for His daughter.
I'm with Ruth right now and I just had to post something that just happened. The respiratory therapist came in and introduced himself "I'm Mark from respiratory" Ruth's response "Hi Mark from respiratory :). She's back lol.
Here with Ruth now. Her condition worsened last night and she is in critical condtion. She does hane pneumonia and with lungs compromised by cancer it is very serious. She is having a great deal breathing and they are giving her oxygen? Rapid breathing also increases the heart rate so they are concerned about the heart as well but no heart attack. The doctors are working very hard tweaking the antibiotics for the pneumonia. We have decided not to put her on a respirator, if it comes to that, because with the condition of her lungs because of the cancer she will never come off of it. What I ask that you pray for is that she becomes stable with treatment for the pneumonia and she can come home under palliative care. Palliative care is is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. As I have said all along during this journey, and it's not over yet, God's will is what we want and pray for in Ruth's life.
God's will has been done in Ruth's life. My wife of 43 years transitioned today at about 3:50 pm today. She is now with the Lord. Thank all of you for your prayers. Please know that Ruth and I love all of you. Rejoice with me that Ruth is now with the Lord and is a peace, no pain, no worries, no cares. I was with her when she transitioned. It was peaceful, there was no pain or struggle, she just stopped breathing. I was able to tell her that I love her and she was able, through the oxygen mask, to tell me that she loves me. We had some great times together and that is what I will remember and I want you to remember the times that she made you laugh, or got on your case. God bless you.
I haven't posted before now because I could not think of the words to express how much I appreciate your comments of encouragement, and condolences on Ruth's transition. I still can't think of the words so I'm going to do the best that I can. Ruth would be so very humbled as am I for the show of love for her. It was her hope that our sharing would help someone else. I can't express how much I loved her but I also know that you love her too and God wanted me to share her and her story. Those of you who had the opportunity to meet and spend any time at all with Ruth know how much she loved you. The love that she had for people was instant and you knew it right away and I know that God used her to show His love for you through her. That kind of love never ends you will always feel it. I always knew that I would miss her but I you have no idea how much. God is able to and is comforting me but I do miss her and I'm not ashamed to say it here. There is a void that will never be filled. I will be able to grieve and get through all of that and I'll be able to move on but the Ruth hole will always be there.
Many years ago Ruth made me promise her that when she transitioned that I would not put her in a coffin and put her in the ground. She didn't like to be closed up anywhere. I am going to keep that promise. We will have a Memorial Service in the next few weeks and I'll announce it. For those of you who are not able to attend I will figure out a way to get you a copy of the program if you want one. I'll keep you posted. I will close with this same scripture that I used for my blog post a couple of weeks ago Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
God Bless you
It's been one week now since Ruth went to be with the Lord. I've cried several times, most often when I think of those last minutes with her and when I tell others about it. It's not because it was a sad time but because it was such a beautiful time and one that I'll always remember. It's amazing how much I miss her and I can't come close to describing it. Only those who have lost a very close friend, parent, child, or spouse can really understand. When you spend everyday with someone, or if not physically there with them, talking to them everyday it's hard not to be able to see or talk to them. So I do talk to Ruth and I ask her to help me figure out things like what to with this program for her memorial service which will be on Valentines Day :) I thought about stopping my posts about Ruth and me and going back the stuff I posted before she got really ill but I can't do it so bear with me until I get it all out and that may be a long time. I hope to get back to writing my regular blog in a few days and I'll post the links here. As I said before I can't find the words to express how much I appreciate your comments of encouragement. I love you.
Thank you for the encouraging words Laura but I do not have any pain. I have sorrow and I am grieving but there is no pain. It's hard to explain but there is a scripture in Philippians "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. I now know what Paul was saying." Although I miss Ruth more than I could every describe I have the peace of God along with the memories of my time with Ruth, the love of my life.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday. Good game so far, let's hope it continues. A friend reached out to check on me a little while ago and since today is Super Bowl Sunday assumed that I am watching the game. It gave me an opportunity to tell her about Ruth's and my Super Bowl Sunday tradition. I want to share it with you.
Ruth was a big NFL fan so our Super Bowl tradition was for just the two of us to watch the game at home so we could concentrate on the game. So that's what I'm doing today. Ruth is not here physically and I know where she is but it's still like watching with her.
By the way she was not a Patriots fan, and I am, so she would be up and cheering in my face after the Seattle interception and touchdown. :)
The past few days some very good friends and I have been working on the program for Ruth's Memorial Service. We've almost got it together and ready for the printer. The hardest part for me is picking out and deciding what pictures to put in it. I found a beautiful baby picture, a black and white picture from I don't know when or where, but you would know her anywhere by those big dimples, there's one of two skinny people that looked like us when we married (I included it in one of my blog posts), there are some with family members, and several with Ruth alone. Ruth had stunning beauty and it was very hard selecting just a few. As I am cleaning up gathering all her things I am finding pictures everywhere. In the bottom of drawers, photo albums that I didn't know existed. Lots of pictures of Ruth but many many more of family members throughout the years. One of the projects that I will take on later is to put them all together in some kind of keepsake. Don't worry guys I haven't found any that are too embarrassing........yet :). I said it before and I'll say it again Ruth was an amazing woman with tremendous strength. She taught me a lot about living with physical and emotional pain and praising God while doing it. It wasn't easy but she did it. Now that battle is over and I say she won because she has done what Paul wrote to Timothy "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. "
I can not think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day than celebrating the life of a woman that I loved very much.
The Homegoing Memorial Services for our beloved Deaconess Ruth Jacobs, will be held at CDG on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 11am. The repast will immediately follow in CDG's Fellowship Hall. The address is 1518 S. Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Please contact Donald E. Jacobs Jr. with any questions.
Yucky day today. Not a bad day or a sad day just a yucky day. It was hard to get motivated. I'm guessing that I will go through these kinds of days for a while. There were some noteworthy things in the last couple of days though. A friend of mine wants to write a book about how Ruth's journey this past month has impacted her and probably many many others. It will not be what you expect and I won't talk anymore about it you will just have to wait. I won't tell you who the friend is either :)Another noteworthy thing, my brother and his partner bought Ruth's urn. Remember I told you that Ruth made me promise to not put her in a coffin or put her in the ground. Well the urn came yesterday. I'll post pictures later. I'll just tell you that it is beautiful. I took the urn to the mortuary today and they placed Ruth's remains in it and I have them with me. Ruth and I never got the opportunity to talk about what to do with them other than to have them with me. I do know that she would not want them spread out over water, land, or anywhere. I do know that much. I will pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to lead me in that decision but for now and for the foreseeable future Ruth's remains will be with me. Like with a lot of things that I have been thinking about and decisions that need to be made I stop and think about what Ruth would do or what she would suggest. She was the one behind most of the family decisions anyway, although I wouldn't tell her that :) I would ask her opinion, and then later on suggest that we do what she said in the first place :)
The final draft, at least I hope it's the final draft, of the Memorial Service Program is done and being proof read again tonight. My plan is to get it to the printer tomorrow. Wow I didn't mean to tell you guys all this tonight but I promised to tell you everything until the Holy Spirit tells me to stop.
Great day today. Relaxed most of the day but did get the final draft to the printer and just got the proof back. It looks great. I will give it a good read tomorrow and I have asked some friends to proof it for me as well. I think you are going to really like it when it's finished. Those of you that attend the Memorial Service will get one of course. There are a few people who have asked that I send one to them. After the Service I will post a link on my website and you will be able to download a copy. Just a few more things to do and we'll be ready for next Saturday's celebration.
I waited to post this because every time I think about it I would tear up. I have written about the impact that Ruth had on the lives of so many people. I was talking about adults. I wasn't thinking about all the children, many of whom are now adults, Ruth loved and who loved her. That was brought home to me big time today. We have a Children's Church that is led by two wonderful women with help from a couple of great young women. Today after service one of the young men gave me something that was tied with the ties you sometime find on loaves of bread and he said we all want to give you this. On top was what you see at the top of this picture. When I took the ties off and opened it the tears started to flow. The next things that I saw were these 6 hearts to Ruth. I don't even know how to describe how much this means. It is just another testament how Ruth allowed the love of God to flow through her to everyone she touched.
This is the cover of the program for Ruth's Memorial Service today. It was an awesome and beautiful service, a true celebration of the life of a beautiful woman full of the love of God which she poured out on all that she met. The church was full of family and friends and the word of God was proclaimed. Although there was sadness there was no sorrow because we know that Ruth is with the Lord and we will always remember the depth of her love for all people. We sang , we shed some tears, we laughed, we rejoiced, we celebrated. Ruth would be so pleased. I can see that big beautiful smile and that twinkle in her eyes right now. This was our Valentine's Day gift. I'm sure that you will be seeing lots of pictures over the next few days. It was a wonderful day!!!
One of the sayings that often causes debate in the Church is “Once Saved, Always Saved”. I believe that it is true that once we are saved we are always saved, but that exact statement is not in the Bible. There are those who argue that to believe that once a person is saved they are always saved is to give Christians a license to sin. They assume that those who believe in eternal security intend to accept salvation, and then continue to willingly sin. That doesn’t make any sense, because anyone who has been truly saved is a new creature, has been convicted by the Holy Spirit, and wants to live for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
John 14:26 (HCSB)26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
1 Thessalonians 4:8 (HCSB)8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.
Galatians 2:19-20 (HCSB)19 For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
If a person continues to willingly sin that person has probably not truly accepted Christ with saving faith (see my post Saving Faith)
1 John 2:19 (HCSB)19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
1 John 3:6 (HCSB)6 Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.
James 1:26 (HCSB)26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.
Here is what the Apostle Paul said about those people who claim that those of us who believe in eternal salvation want to continue to willfully sin.
Romans 3:5-8 (HCSB)5 But if our unrighteousness highlights God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I use a human argument: Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath?6 Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?7 But if by my lie God’s truth is amplified to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?8 And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!
I do agree that just saying "once saved,always saved", in a vacuum, without any other comment is regrettable because it results in it being supported or denounced not on the basis of truth, but only as a slogan. I will provide evidence for the truth of the statement in this post.
It’s likely that this statement like many others that I have written about in this series was created for a very particular purpose, but has outgrown that purpose. “Once Saved , Always Saved” is based upon the doctrine of the eternally secure salvation but distorts it by only representing part of it. The saying, by itself, doesn't give enough information to make a real judgement to its truth.
When I talk about eternally secure salvation, I’m not talking about any power or ability of a human being, but about the power of God's redemptive work through Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace not by anything that we do or don’t do.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift--9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
Since what we do has no bearing on our salvation it is God’s decision and His alone to save us and recreate us into the image of His Son. Eternally secure salvation is based on God's faithfulness not ours.
Romans 8:28-29 (HCSB)28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, ⌊he is⌋ a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
While the Bible calls for our confession, salvation is not based on that confession it is based on God's grace and obtained by faith.
Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB)9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
Salvation is the result of God's work of grace
Anyone can make a profession of faith and live for a while with external evidence of the work of redemption in their lives and yet not have acted in “Saving Faith”. They may appear to have been saved but the evidence of their fruit, over time, is that they are anything but saved. As the old folks use to say, “it will all come out in the wash”.
Matthew 7:16-20 (HCSB)16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.
Scriptural Evidence of Eternally Secure Salvation
From the moment God chooses us, it is as if we are glorified in His presence in heaven. There is nothing that can prevent a believer from one day being glorified because God has already decided it in heaven. Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed - he is as secure as if he is already glorified in heaven.
Romans 8:30 (HCSB)30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.
It is God who justifies. Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life, and is interceding for us. Who will bring a charge against God's elect? No one can bring a charge against a believer, and make it stick, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns. The believer has both the advocate and judge on their side.
Romans 8:33-34 (HCSB)33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.
Being “born again” means being made brand new. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away.
John 3:3 (HCSB)3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Titus 3:5 (HCSB)5 He saved us— not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit indwells all believers. If the Holy Spirit leaves a believer then that person would become unsaved. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Holy Spirit will ever leave a believer. (Yes I know that there are Old Testament examples of the Spirit leaving people but that was before the New Covenant ratified by the blood of Jesus Hebrews 8:7-10, which guarantees salvation. I'll address the Old and New Covenants in a future post)
Acts 2:38 (HCSB)38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:17 (HCSB)17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (HCSB)13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.
2 Corinthians 5:5 (HCSB)5 And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.
The Logical Evidence of Eternally Secure Salvation
If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but can lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. If you can lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be an error or a lie. Eternal security is consistent with everything else the Bible teaches about mankind, and God. The idea of losing our salvation is not only unscriptural, but it creates problems with other doctrines, including salvation by faith, the sin nature of man, and the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice.
If we could do anything to undo what God did by grace that would mean that our salvation required more than just our faith but must include works. That is completely contrary to scripture which says that we are saved by grace through faith and only faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift--9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
The doctrines of “eternal security” and “saved by faith alone” work together. To deny eternal security is to say that to be saved you must have works in addition to faith.
Man’s Sin Nature
The Bible teaches that man is inherently sinful. This means that even after being saved, every single believer is going to sin from time to time. Thinking that we can live a perfect, sinless life after our salvation is not only unscriptural, but arrogant.
Romans 3:10 (HCSB)10 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.
1 John 1:8-10 (HCSB)8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, ⌊hostile⌋ powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
The same God who saved you is the same God who will keep you. Once we are saved we are always saved. Our salvation is most definitely eternally secure!
Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 1:5 (HCSB) 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Jude 1:24-25 (HCSB) 24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy,25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
Christ only died once and that was enough to take care of all sin past, present, and future.
Hebrews 9:28 (HCSB)28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
1 Peter 3:18 (HCSB)18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm.
Hebrews 7:27 (HCSB)27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself.
If we are not eternally secure, this sinning will cause us to lose our salvation, but how much sin is too much? There is no scriptural “yardstick” given to tell us how many or what kind of sins are enough to void our salvation. Without eternal security, the Bible would describe a situation where Christianity is a perpetual game of Russian Roulette; a life in which condemnation and salvation alternate every time we sin and confess, and we never know if we’re saved or not. Got Questions Ministries
If we could lose our salvation, then it would be lost forever. The following is a much misunderstood scripture and one which the opponents os eternally secure salvation use to try to make their point.
Hebrews 6:4-6 (HCSB)4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit,5 tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age,6 and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
This passage actually supports eternal security in two ways. It implies that Christ’s sacrifice must be sufficient for all sins, and states that if it were possible for a person to lose their salvation, it would be forever lost. According to this passage, if a person could do something that cost them their salvation (which they cannot), then it would be “impossible” for them to be redeemed again.
No, “once saved, always saved” is not in the Bible, but it is true. Salvation really does result in eternal life. When a person willingly, humbly, repents of sin and turns towards the cross, trusting Christ as their Savior, they will be eternally saved.
Matthew 5:14 (HCSB)14 “You are the light of the world. ….
In my devotion time New Year’s Eve I read something written by Kris Valloton for Devotions Daily, from Destined to Win. I was blown away by its truth, encouragement, and challenge to Christians for 2017. It blessed me so much that I decided that it would be my first post of 2017.
This is the complete devotion;
Greatness and fame are terms often confused or even used inter-changeably. Fame is usually the result of some popular act: a ball is caught, a song is sung, a book is written, or a character is played. But greatness cannot be reduced to an action or an event. Kingdom greatness is measured long after the crowds have dispersed, the applause has silenced, and the stage lights have cooled, because true greatness lies deep in the heart of every person. In fact, genuine greatness is most often exposed in the dark times, in the secret places, and in the alone hours of a believer’s existence. It is in these desert seasons that the seedbeds of God’s greatness, the attributes we need to cultivate, are conceived. It is later — often much later — that the results are revealed to the world.
Humility and greatness walk hand-in hand. That’s right, true humility is fully connected to being rewarded. Most of us know Matthew 23:12 says that,
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
So, the act of humility is the very pathway to promotion! Greatness is planted in the seedbed of humility, it’s watered by the deeds of servant hood and it’s cultivated by the hands of perseverance until it finally yields the harvest of royalty.
Being a World Changer
The Scriptures describe men and women of God who cultivated these qualities and took hold of their positions of divine influence to shift the destinies of nations. Their prominence was not for their own benefit, but for the purpose of shaping society toward God’s original intent. They created catalytic cultures that maximized the godly influence of their constituents on the rest of creation. Believers throughout the book of Acts are great examples of noble people who catalyzed culture. They had such deep impacts on their societies that when Paul and his friends arrived in Thessalonica, the people said,
These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. — Acts 17:6 NKJV
The world is crying out for people like Paul, Esther, Deborah and Joseph who will become fathers and mothers to the pharaohs of the world (see Genesis 45) and see whole nations fall into the hands of the Lord. God is summoning the Daniels of the earth who can stand as he did in the courts of four worldly kings and bring the most powerful nations into the Kingdom. God is gathering the Nehemiahs of our day to rebuild our ruined cities and restore hope to the planet. He is awakening the Davids of our generation and commissioning them to defeat the giants of racism, crime, immorality, and corruption that seem to roam the earth wreaking havoc on our children.
Positioned for Success
This is our moment, our time, our Jordan River crossing, and our season for epic transition. We are God’s X factor, His secret weapon, His ace in the hole, His divine strategy for global reformation. That’s right. We are the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). We preserve the planet and are vital to life in the Kingdom. We are the light rising in the darkness that is longing for a new day to dawn. It’s you and me, and it’s people like us all over the world who are taking hold of this mandate to stand firm in our stations at the height of every city and shine against the back-drop of doom. Together we are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), illuminating breathtaking solutions to people in desperate, despairing, and destructive circumstances. - Original post by Kris Valloton for Devotionals Daily.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.