Six degrees of separation and consequences to actions/decisions

Ever wonder about why life is so hard? Why does God allow bad things to happen? I’ve been pondering this lately….

Posit: God CAN cause people to make the choice He wants, but that would be a supernatural intervention and while possible, has only rarely been documented to have happened. In most cases, God lets us make choices.

Now, have you considered that there are six degrees of separation between you and anyone else on the planet?

What if that also applies to effect of actions/decisions? What if your action could affect someone on the other side planet because of six degrees of separation?

What if you eat something that gives you gas, and you fart out loud and someone laughs and he is on the phone with someone who didnt know why he laughed and took it personally and told her girlfriend and was convinced by her girlfriend that the guy laughed at her and she cried to her boyfriend who decided to beat the guy up – just because you ate something that gave you gas….

I think we could come up with a scenario where someone on the other side of the world who is within six degrees of separation would be affected by your actions/decision, if we tried hard enough…

My only point is, God uses our choices and actions to move the universe forward in His plan and since we affect those around us, God probably very rarely has to cause a decision to be made, He usually just orchestrates the choices we freely make to bring out His goal…

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Why Christians tell people the Gospel….

There are many who want to know why Christians share the Gospel with others. Its really simple. No one other than God knows who will be saved, so we share with everyone.

We need to hear the Word of God to be saved and to grow in respect to salvation (to be sanctified).

Romans 10:8-11
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

Will we recognize our loved ones in heaven?

Someone asked me if her mother would recognize her in heaven, since she was ten when her mother passed away. My immediate response was to ask whether her mother trusted Jesus as her Savior, and she replied, “Yes…”

So I replied, “There is no question that if your mother trusted Christ as her savior, if she trusted that God the Father sent the Son of God to earth to be born, and live a sinless life and suffer and die to pay for our sins and was raised again on the third day, then she is with God the Father in heaven.”

She responded, “If it’s there she is for sure. Will she know me?

This is my response to her question:

Will your mother know you? People definitely know others in heaven.

In 1 Samuel 28:8-17, Certainly King Saul recognized the prophet Samuel when the witch raised him from the dead.

2 Samuel 12:19-23 tells us that King David expected that when he died, he would go to heaven to be with his recently dead infant child.

Luke 9:28-33 and Matthew 17:3-4 tells us of when Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah and they knew each other, and were recognized by Peter.

In the parable of when the Rich man and the poor man died, Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man all recognized each other (Luke 16:19-31).

Jesus was recognized, by many people, in His glorified body after His resurrection (John 20:16, 20; 21:12; 1 Corinthians 15:4-7). We too will be recognized in ours.

So yes, we will recognize those we know/love – even if its been years since we saw them.

Also, we will not be in pain in heaven – even emotional pain. We know this because we are told in Revelation 21:3-4 that God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.

We are told that Jesus will give eternal life (and a place in heaven) to those who desire it. But those who do not believe, who do not have a changed heart, will not be in heaven with God (Revelation 21:5-8).

[In fact, we are told that while eternal life is for those who believe, those who do not believe still have the wrath of God upon them (John 3:16-18). But this belief is more than mere intellectual assent, it must include a changed heart to the point where you obey God (john 3:36; James 2:14-20).]

The Apostle Paul taught that we need to repent, turn to God, and have evidence of repentance (Acts 26:20).

So the question you need to ask yourself is – will YOU be in heaven? Will you repent and turn to God through trust in Christ? Will you call Jesus Lord?

If you have done this, or will do this, then yes, you will see your loved one in heaven and you both will recognize each other.

If you suffer, God comforts

I know a lot of people dealing with depression or grief. We need to remember that scripture is full of people dealing with difficult times.

Remember that Jesus’s soul was deeply grieved to the point of death and he asked for his disciples/friends to keep watch with Him (Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34).

Jesus did not like the idea of having to suffer as He knew He would and ask His Father if there was any way to let the cup pass from Him, even though He was willing to suffer as He knew He would (Matthew 26:39).

Sometimes we are even torn between going to be with Jesus and remaining here (Philippians 1:21-25), but like the Apostle Paul, our job is to remain in the flesh.

Sometimes a thorn in our flesh is to keep us humble, like with Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

But we know God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and as I am sure you know, that is what the enemy wants us to forget.

God offers comfort so we can comfort others, which we see in 2 Corinthians 1:2-5

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Hang in there – you aren’t alone.

God still speaks

Does God still speak today?
I hear many very disdainfully dismissive of anyone who claims to have had a vision or have heard God speak to them. The naysayers claim the one who had the vision or heard God speak are arrogant or need special revelation from God, or that they believe in an open canon of scripture.
 
But God spoke to a child in a time when word from the Lord was rare. GOD decides who receives the gift of prophecy and who receives faith. All true prophecy is from God, but we must test them.
 
Paul wrote that we are to earnestly desire to have the gift of prophecy. He even said we should not forbid the speaking in tongues, but that it was to all be done in an orderly fashion.
 
I have seen people try to use 1 Corinthians 13 to say that we have the Bible and so have no need for prophecy. But that speaks of when we will know in full. None us knows in full and wont until we are with God, which is when we will not need prophecy because we will be with God.
Here is the scripture in question:
1 Samuel 3:1-4
1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”
 
Amos 3:7-8
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
 
Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
 
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
 
1 Corinthians 14:1-6
1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. 6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?
 
1 Corinthians 14:29-33
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
 
1 Corinthians 14:39-40
39 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. 40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
 
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
 
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
 
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
I think God does still speak today. Not to everyone, and not all the time, sometimes just once to someone, sometimes repeatedly. God ALWAYS speaks though scripture. But  sometimes God speaks through others. Sometimes God speaks in our hearts. Sometimes God speaks with a still small voice. And sometimes God speaks through circumstances. But I see no reason to try to put God in a box which says He cant speak today.

Feeling bad when speaking about God

I have heard folks that like to talk with me about God, until they start to feel bad, then they dont want to talk to me any more.

Feeling bad because of who God is or what God wants from us and for us, or what God will do, is not a bad thing. It is one tool God uses to move us closer to being who He wants us to be. It is one tool God uses to give us faith. It is one tool God uses to change us. It is one tool God uses save us.

Look folks, I am not perfect. I was and am a sinner. The difference between before I became a Christian and afterwards is that I now have faith in Christ and so I have the righteousness of Christ. Before I was simply a sinner. Now I am a sinner saved by grace through faith. Before I became a Christian, I had the wrath of God upon me. Now, I have the grace of God upon me and am forgiven – not because of anything I have or will do, but because of what Christ has done.

Look at the worst of sinners you can imagine and there but for the grace of God go I.

Before I had faith in Christ, I could not please God. Now I work out my salvation and try to think and act like Christ would have me and when I fail, because I do and will fail, I feel conviction and contrition. And I change, and I confess and I ask forgiveness. God is faithful to His own nature. Should I walk away from God and stay away, that will prove I did not have saving faith to begin with – regardless of what I thought and did. It is God who saved me, who saves me, who will save me, who gave me faith, and who sealed me and who empowers me and who guides me and who protects me and and keeps me – not me. Yet I have my responsibility to live as God would have me live.

There but for the grace of God go I; I am not facing the condemnation of God, nor am I facing the wrath of God. Because of the grace of God, because of His love for His creation, I was chosen and given faith and saved – not because I am who I am, or I did what I have done, or I will do what I will do, and certainly not because God knew I would choose Christ (for then my salvation would depend upon me and my actions), but because God would give me faith to be able to choose Him and ensured I would and did choose to trust in Christ and follow and obey Christ.

So be glad and grateful and rejoice when you feel bad when you think or speak about God – and change and turn to God in repentance and faith and be saved.

Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God

Have you listened to “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” by the preeminent theologian Jonathan Edwards? Wow. What a message.

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