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Archive for the ‘Andrew Groves’ Category

October 22, 2012

A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

Proverbs 20:24

 

Protection draws allegiance.

(source: Matthew Henry)

I feel dependent. Helplessly, desperately, breathlessly, clingingly dependent.

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The Lord turned the captivity of Job.

(source: Job 42)

I asked the Lord to take it out of my heart and he did.

(source: Someone struggling with a hurt in their heart)

Lead us not into testing that confirms in sin but deliver us from Satan.

(source: Recent study on Matthew 6:13)

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When God decrees that I be permitted to do some sinful action, he does so without coerision and for his own glory and with an interest in my ultimate good.

When I voluntarily act out what is within my heart, in opposition to God’s glory and to my own harm, then what I do is sin.

God does not sin in his decree but I sin in my act.

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In John 18 both Judas and Peter are said to have been "standing among" the servants and officers of the high priest who arrested Jesus. Both have aligned themselves with those who are opposed to Jesus. Both Judas and Peter turn from Jesus – Judas betrays and Peter denies.

Despite appearances there is a great difference between these men – one is called ‘a son of destruction’ (17:12) who dies to go to ‘his place’ in hell while the other is restored to his apostolic office.

Why the different outcomes? John’s gospel indicates that the difference between Judas and Peter is that Peter belonged to Jesus in a way that Judas did not. Peter is a sheep whom the Father has given to Jesus (John 10:26-27). Jesus loses none of those who are given to him.

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat (the idea is one of being ruined and left in pieces), but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)

Satan must ask God’s permission to tempt and test us. If granted permission he may only tempt to the degrees that God has permitted him (as seen in the life of Job also).

Peter is not lost because he belongs to Jesus who has prayed that his faith not fail. Although Peter’s faith seemed to fail momentarily around the charcoal fire, his faith does not ultimately fail due to Jesus’ prayer and initiative. Jesus never loses any of his sheep.

"We can, like Job and Peter, find the sifting painful and bewildering. … When the sifting was over, Job and Peter were humbler and stood closer to God. It was good for them that they had been afflicted (Psa 119:771). A conversation in heaven between Job and Peter would be interesting to hear. (Leahy, The Victory of the Lamb, 68-69).

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 17, Of the Perseverance of the Saints

They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved (Joh_10:28, Joh_10:29; Phi_1:6; 1Pe_1:5, 1Pe_1:9; 2Pe_1:10; 1Jo_3:9).

This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father (Jer_31:3; 2Ti_2:18, 2Ti_2:19); upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ (Luk_22:32; Joh_17:11, Joh_17:24; Rom_8:33-39; Heb_7:25; Heb_9:12-15; Heb_10:10, Heb_10:14; Heb_13:20, Heb_13:21); the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them (Joh_14:16, Joh_14:17; 1Jo_2:27; 1Jo_3:9); and the nature of the covenant of grace (Jer_32:40): from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof (Joh_10:28; 2Th_3:3; 1Jo_2:19).

Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins (Mat_26:70, Mat_26:72, Mat_26:74); and, for a time, continue therein (Psa_51:14 and title): whereby they incur Godìs displeasure (2Sa_11:27; Isa_64:5, Isa_64:7, Isa_64:9), and grieve His Holy Spirit (Eph_4:30), come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts (Psa_51:8, Psa_51:10, Psa_51:12; Son_5:2-4, Son_5:6; Rev_2:4), have their hearts hardened (Isa_36:17; Mar_6:52; Mar_16:14), and their consciences wounded (Psa_32:3, Psa_32:4; Psa_51:8), hurt and scandalize others (2Sa_12:14), and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Psa_89:31, Psa_89:32; 1Co_11:32).

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Needs

(4)    food-exercise-sleep

(3)    relationships

(2)    spiritual direction

(1)    worship

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The woman who wept and washed Jesus’ feet – just raw genuine heart felt emotion.

The woman caught in adultery – expecting judgment but receiving loving compassion.

Somehow I think these two stories uniquely capture what it truly is to be in relationship with Jesus from the human side of things. I think these stories have the capacity to humble us, break us and evoke a sense of love.

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