Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Faithfulness of God

Preparing to Leave the Ministry

I wanted to write toward traditional pastors who perhaps are considering leaving the full-time ministry.  How do you begin to do this?

I read a statistic today that 80% of traditional pastors are discouraged and 50% would leave the ministry if they could.  I am one of those who has left the ministry.  I have not left Jesus.  I have not left true ministry (and I am actually doing more now for the kingdom of God than when I was a full-time traditional minister).  I strongly believe in the fundamentals of the gospel and I would stand with my traditional pastor friends in defending orthodoxy.  I believe that we all need to be biblical disciples who love the Word of God and test all things (including our traditions) by the Word of God (1 John 4:1-2).

For now, let me state some basics for leaving the ministry.  Let me begin by pointing out that I am not talking about walking away from Jesus nor from the Church.  I am talking about moving out of dependence on the money of the church toward a “secular” job and away from working in a traditional church.  Let me offer my own insights.

1.  Be Willing To Work

I was not afraid of “getting my hands dirty” when I left the traditional ministry.  I was ready and willing to work any job to provide for my family.  I am the type of man who will do whatever it takes to provide for my wife and children.  Obviously, I am not saying that a man should be sinful in work to provide (selling drugs for example or compromising the gospel to earn money) but I am advocating willing to do any job to provide.  Don’t be so smug as to think that because you went to Bible college or seminary, you shouldn’t have to work at a fast food restaurant or drive a truck for a living.  Be willing to do all things to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17) including dirty jobs.

2.  Be Willing To Wait

My first job out of the ministry was with Coca-Cola.  I had no clue when I got that job that it would open the door for other truck driving jobs.  I left Coke to work for Pepsi (I know they are competitors but it cut my personal vehicle driving in half!).  I left Pepsi to work for US Foodservice.  I left US Foodservice to work for Golden State Foods (GSF).  Along that way was years of waiting.  I would work my jobs (and some with pain more than pleasure) and wait on the Lord to open the next door.  In each case He faithfully guided me and led me every step of the way.  I struggled at times to know His plan or His ways but I trusted Him.  Several times along the way I tried to make jobs work out on my own but the Lord closed those doors each time (I tried to buy a Fed Ex Ground truck route and tried to get a Little Debbie route but failed at both).  I praise God for His faithfulness and for His providence in leading us.

3.  Be Willing To Worship.

No matter where you find yourself after leaving the traditional ministry, be willing to worship God.  We are not saved by going to Bible college or by preaching or by reading theology books or blogs.  We are saved through a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; James 2:14-26).  I have found that my prayer life is now stronger because I don’t carry the burdens of the church.  My Bible study is stronger because I am reading and studying the Bible with an eye on the Lord and not on me or the people.  My witnessing is better because I am not always surrounded by disciples but now with unbelievers.  I feel I am a better man, a better husband, a better father, and a stronger disciple of Christ after leaving the ministry.  I like to say that I left the ministry for the true ministry of the Lord.

However, wherever you find yourself in life, be willing to worship God.  Be willing to worship Him when you have no money and times are hard.  Be willing to worship Him when you get that job promotion and the Lord opens the door for success.  Be willing to worship God in whatever state you find yourself (Philippians 4:11-13).  Worship Him when you feel discouraged.  Worship Him when others doubt your decisions to leave the ministry.  Worship Him when others ridicule your faith in God.  Worship Him when you are struggling to just make ends meet.

4.  Be Willing To Wrestle.

By wrestle I don’t mean physical but spiritual.  Be willing to wrestle in prayer.  Leaving the ministry was the best decision I ever made.  But at first I had to pray a lot.  I had to just pray for food (Matthew 6:11) which was a good thing as I look back.  I had to pray for the Lord to open doors for jobs.  I had to pray for money to come through.  Yet I rejoice that the Lord was using my struggles to help me learn to pray (Luke 11:1).

So often when leaving the ministry, men try to make things work on their own.  Don’t do that.  Depend on the Lord.  Show this in prayer.  Praise Him for the small victories and for His leading.  Pray to Him who knows what you have need of before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8).  I prayed for many things after leaving the ministry including Him moving us away from the area we were in.  He did this and more.  I prayed for Him to open doors for us and close doors for us and He did.  It was not always as I dreamed it would be but He was faithful every step of the way.  Don’t be afraid to pray to our sovereign God and trust Him through it all (Matthew 7:7-11).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/27/2014 at 11:11 AM

Eight Steps to Glory from Jack Cottrell

The following comes from Dr. Jack Cottrell’s text, The Faith Once For Allon which he briefly speaks on the God’s faithfulness in regard to our salvation.  He mentions the “eight steps to glory” from Romans 5:1-11.  I truly enjoy Romans 5:1-11 much and have often sat meditating on these precious verses.

Dr. Cottrell’s eight steps to glory are:

  1. The eternal, infinite love of God, which provides –
  2. The saving work of Jesus Christ, which is the object of –
  3. Our faith, through which we have access to –
  4. The grace of God, which includes –
  5. Justification (forgiveness), which gives us –
  6. Peace with God (reconciliation), which results in –
  7. Hope (assurance of salvation), which results in –
  8. Joy, in anticipation of the glory of God!

Amen!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/20/2014 at 11:34 AM

Jesus is My Hope

I have thought hard about why a person would want to end their life.  I know that great men of God in the Bible often prayed for God to take their life (Numbers 11:15; Job 3:20-23; Jonah 4:3) and even Paul the Apostle understood that it was better to depart to be with Christ (Philippians 1:20-23) but none of these men committed suicide to obtain that goal.  I too have wanted to die before.  Not from pain but mainly just to be with Jesus.  This world can be so full of despair and agony as you watch sin abound, as you watch the devil attack those you love, and as you watch people reject the gospel.  The church here in the United States often can a place of misery as well as the church can be bent on money and success instead of caring for the saints and building each other up (1 Corinthians 14:26).  I personally have been attacked by pastors who were all about business instead of helping.  These men did what was best for them and their needs and not the saints.

Life can be hard.  Life can be depressing.

But what keeps me going, what keeps me lifting my head is the knowledge that Jesus is my hope.  I have faith in the sovereignty of God.  I have faith that Romans 8:18 is true.  I have faith that Romans 8:28 is true.  I have faith that Romans 8:24-25 is true.  I have faith that Jesus keeps me and He sustains me.  I am able to worship because  of Him.  I am able to keep breathing, keep working, keep praying, keep reading my Bible all because of Jesus.  Jesus gives me hope.

Job found encouragement in his God.  Job longed for death to come to him after all that he had gone through (Job 1:13-20; 2:7-8).  Yet the Bible is clear that Job did not give up hope in God (Job 1:22; 2:10).  Job’s faith remained despite all that he went through.  Job lost everything yet he was confident in the Lord his God.  Job drew closer to the Lord in the midst of his trails.  So should we.  As we suffer through life, draw close to the Lord and He will sustain us.  He will uphold us by His power (Psalm 55:22).

Speaking of Psalm 55.  David trusted God through it all.  Unlike King Saul, who committed suicide in 1 Samuel 31:4, David grew closer to the Lord and increased in strength (1 Samuel 30:6).  In Psalm 55:23, David prays to God:

But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction;  men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days.  But I will trust in you.

The unusual deaths of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:9-15) and the suicide of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) were perhaps what David had in mind as he wrote Psalm 55:23 under the inspiration of the Spirit.  Absalom was dead.  Ahithophel was dead.  But David would trust in the Lord.  David’s faith was that God would see him through all his days.  And God did (1 Kings 2:10).

I pray that while many around me abandon faith in Christ and live lives of compromise, I pray that I would trust in the Lord like David.  Like Job.  James 5:11 even calls us to imitate Job’s perseverance.  We need not grow in despair but we need to draw closer to Jesus and realize that He will keep us.  He will never forsake us (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).  If we will draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).  The reluctance is not on God’s part but our own.

Hope exists in Jesus.  He is the keeper and sustainer of my soul (Psalm 121:7-8).  As Jude 24-25 reads:

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Or as Romans 8:38-39 reads:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is faithful and He gives me a reason to live.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/11/2013 at 11:58 AM

To Keep Them Alive in Famine

Psalm 33:18-19 jumped off the page from my Bible as I was reading this text.  It reads in the NKJV:

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Let us briefly work through the text.

1.  The Eye of the LORD Is On Those Who Fear Him.

Our text says that God’s eye is upon those who fear Him.  Proverbs 1:7 reminds us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  We fear God for who He is.  He is a holy God.  He is a transcendent God.  He is a God who does not delight in sin but rejoices in the truth.  He is a loving and good God but He is a God who is to be feared (Hebrews 12:29).  As we fear God, we grow in wisdom because we hunger to obey His Word and follow His ways.

2.  Those Who Hope In His Mercy.

It was mercy that saved us (Titus 3:5-7).  God has shown Himself merciful to us all.  Consider Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. God could have wiped them out and either started over or He could have just ended it and been content with Himself.  Yet God was rich in mercy toward Adam and Eve despite their sins and He not only provided a covering for them from the animal’s skins (Genesis 3:21) but He also promised a Messiah to come Who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14-15).

In Exodus 34:6 the Lord passes before Moses and we read in the NKJV:

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.

Notice that the first thing God says about Himself as He passed before Moses was that He is merciful.  And praise God that He is!  I live because of His mercy and I was saved because of His mercy.

3.  To Deliver Their Soul From Death.

Praise God that Jesus has delivered us from death.  I just went to pray with a man who is dying from cancer.  Three weeks ago this man was fine.  Now he is dying in his bed.  I asked him, “Sir, are you born again?”  He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said yes.  I rejoiced with that brother who has this rotten cancer because I know that Jesus has already overcome.  We don’t have to fear death.  Jesus has already fought that battle for us and He has won (1 Corinthians 15:50-57).  We have the assurance of Psalm 23:4 that even though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will not fear for He is with us.  Charles Spurgeon said that it is ironic that David viewed death as but a shadow.  For the child of God, death is simply leading us to glory (Romans 8:18).

4.  To Keep Them Alive in Famine.

This last verse from Psalm 33:18-19 is what captured my attention the most.  We live in dark times (2 Timothy 3:1-5).  But praise God that God has promised that He will keep us even through famine.  I am not worried about a food famine.  Nor am I worried about a money famine.  I am worried more about a spiritual famine I see in our day.  Preachers are not preaching the truth of God to the lost nor to the saved.  This famine is wreaking havoc on the spiritual condition of our world.  But God has promised that He will always have His people (Matthew 16:18).  Romans 11:5 promises us that there will always be a remnant of grace.  God will preserve His saints who fear Him and obey His gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8). As we abide in Christ by faith (2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 1:5), we have the blessing of knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).  Our God is greater (1 John 4:4) and He is more than able (Ephesians 3:20-21) to keep His remnant of grace.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/16/2013 at 12:04 PM

Finally Back!

I am finally back.  Alive and better than ever.  My family and I moved to our new home and in the process our Internet was off so I could not blog. But I am back and I look forward to getting back into blogging.

I want to thank you all who have been praying for me and my mother.  My mom continues to battle stage 4 cancer.  Slowly it is killing her.  I hate cancer and hate to watch her struggle.  Just last week I went to her house after my aunt called me to come and I thought she was near death.  We called 9-1-1 and the ambulance came and took her to the hospital.  It turned out that she had a severe UTI that had made her blood cells low and nearly killed her.  She is currently at a hospice house and seems to be doing somewhat better despite her cancer.  A tumor has developed on her lower tailbone and is causing pain forcing her to remain laying in a bed most of the time.  Please pray for my mama.  She is ready for heaven but I hurt watching her fight with cancer.

Yet Jesus remains faithful!  He is good to us!  I heard a brother recently say that sinners who come under the judgment of God get what they deserve because God each and everyday does not get what He deserves which is worship of Himself.  God alone is worthy of worship (John 4:23-24).  My passion has been to be a better worshiper.  To love God more than life itself.  To long for Him more than for food (Deuteronomy 8:3).  To obey Him completely (1 John 2:3-6).  To not just confess that Jesus is my Savior but that He also is my Lord (Luke 6:46-49; Romans 10:9).  That no matter what I face in life, He is with me through it all (Romans 8:37-39).

It’s good to be back!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/27/2012 at 11:46 AM

How Do You End A Year?

As I look back over the past year the one thing that stands out to me is the incredible faithfulness of God.  I have been finishing out the year in the book of Revelation and I saw this wonderful verse in Revelation 19:11 that simply is my heart’s cry.

Revelation 19:11 says, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!  The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.”
Notice what John says about the Lord Jesus: that He is named Faithful and True.  And that truly is what I have found Jesus to be in 2009.  He has been Faithful and True to me.  Despite my sins and my faults and my weaknesses and my flesh, Jesus has been Faithful and True.  Despite my ignorance, the Pharisee within me, and my pride; Jesus has been Faithful and True.

As I look back at 2009 and forward to 2010 I rejoice that Jesus is Faithful and True.  I rejoice that Jesus has saved me by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and He has cleansed me from my sins by His own blood that He shed on Calvary (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:27-28; 10:4; Revelation 1:5-6).  I rejoice that it is Jesus who keeps me through faith (1 Peter 1:5) and I rejoice that He ever lives to make intercession for me (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).  I praise God for His Son, for the gift of eternal life that I have in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23) who bestows on me His perfect righteousness through His grace (Philippians 3:8-9).  I thank Jesus that He has saved me not because I have earned His favor or His grace but He freely loves me and has saved me by His own sovereign choice (John 1:12-13; Romans 4:5; Titus 3:5-7).

Surely, Jesus is Faithful and True!  Surely, I have found a wonderful Savior in Christ Jesus my Lord!

I pray that as we enter 2010 that you too will ring in the New Year by rejoicing that Jesus is Lord.  Praise His name forever!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/01/2010 at 12:13 AM

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