Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Life

Five Things I Would Tell My Twenty Something Self

I am nearing 42 years old.  My hair is turning gray.  I feel older.  I am getting to that point in life where you start to ponder your past as well as your future.  Thankfully, I know that Christ has saved me (despite my ups and downs over the years) and while I am very far from perfect, I do long to be like Christ.  There is a hunger for sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) that I pray for (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I am thankful for the grace of God that brings salvation (Titus 2:11-12) and the grace of God that sustains me (Philippians 1:6).  Without the Lord Jesus, I would not be saved (Romans 8:38-39; Jude 24-25).

What would I say to my younger self if I could write to me back then?  I could write a book on this.  Five points is not enough but for the sake of brevity, I will only do five.

First, I would say get closer to God for He alone is the only one who will satisfy.  In my twenties, before marriage, I thought that a woman would satisfy me.  She did not.  I have had to learn the hard way that only God can fully satisfy the human heart.  No wonder the Lord rebukes those who trust in flesh and make flesh their strength (Jeremiah 17:5).  I use to quote that verse back when I was 18 years old and broke up with my first Christian girlfriend.  How I wish that verse would have sunk deep into my soul.  No person can satisfy like the Lord God.  No one.

Secondly, you will change your theology along the way and that is okay.  When I was a young man, I thought I had theology figured out.  I would preach sermons and be so “right” about issues whether it be theology or life.  I remember doing counseling (if you can call it that) in which I would just quote the Bible the entire time and not show any emotions or reactions.  I would tell people to just read their Bible and do it!  That was my advice.  I was so legalistic toward others but not toward myself.  I hated their sins but not nearly as much as I should have been hating my own (Romans 7:18).  I also was uncharitable toward those whom I disagreed.  How I wish I could go back and take back my theology debates with brothers and sisters.  I wish I could have been filled with love and not with pride.  I wish I could have been loving and kind instead of mean and bitter.

Thirdly, always remember that it is Jesus who keeps us and not we ourselves.  As a young man, I would have given an “amen” to this but the reality for me was that I didn’t think God loved me unless I did all that He wanted me to do which was: pray, read my Bible, give 10% of my gross, support missions, do evangelism, worship, go to church, read Christian books, listen only to Christian music, avoid worldliness in every shape or fashion, avoid all sin, daily repent, etc.  My entire Christian life was full of doing but inside I didn’t really believe God loved me.  In fact, for many years I thought God hated me or at least He was disappointed in me.  I would quote Romans 8:1 but it wasn’t in my heart.  I would quote 1 John 4:19 but I didn’t really believe God loved me despite what I knew about the cross.  I thought I had to prove my love for God but my actions (James 2:14-26) and thus I was caught in a “give and take” relationship in which God gave me His Son for my sins (John 3:16) but I had to give my all to Him (which mainly meant keeping the rules) to remain saved.  When I would fall into sin (and I did many, many times), I would run to God and confess my sins (1 John 1:9) but I would hold to a sort of Catholic view of penance where I had to pray more, read my Bible more, share my faith more, go to church more to prove that I truly was sorry for what I had done.  When I would fall again, I would do it all over again.  I wish I could go back and just say, “Stop.  Believe that you are loved by Christ and secure in Him.  Make Him your delight  and not your works.”  I have learned much from Arminius here about the assurance of my salvation: that my salvation is based on the work of Jesus Christ and not my works (Philippians 3:3-11 and yes read it!)

Fourthly, “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).  Proverbs 17:28 should drive you, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”  Proverbs 13:3 says, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”  Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

If I could go back right here and tell my younger self to avoid using that tongue, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.  How many have I hurt along the way?  How many would I go back and try to say the kind thing, the right thing, the loving thing?  When I was in my twenties, I remember taking my old faithful NIV and writing down countless references to the tongue from Proverbs.  I posted them on a sticky note that I kept for many years.  Why didn’t I abide by them?  The preachers I hurt.  The Christians I hurt.  You’ll be a better man if you’ll just shut up.

Lastly, Christians will hurt you.  A lot.  I know you and I know you’ll want to preach on holiness, on how the church should be unified and all.  But I promise you, Christians will hurt you and let you down a lot.  Preachers will fail.  Your own friends that you now have will turn away from Christ.  A few will come back but only nominally.  Every church you will attend will have people in it that will hurt you.  The only one who will not hurt you will be the Lord Jesus.  That is the good news.  Just as I said back at the first point, God alone will remain faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).  I’ve been an imperfect Christian now for over 20 years and I have had many, many Christians hurt me and I’ve hurt them (see the point above) but the Lord Jesus has remained the same (Hebrews 13:8).  Don’t place your faith in others.  They will fail you.  Your wife will fail you (yes you do get married).  You will fail your wife.  You will be a let down to your friends, family, and your own children.  But that is why you must point them to Christ.  He is our only hope.  He alone is the only one who is faithful and true.

But in the end, you will not listen to me.  You’ll learn this the hard way you old stubborn mule.

Your Friend Till You Die,

Roy

PS – No the South Carolina Gamecocks will not win the national championship in football but they do in baseball (twice back to back) and the Dodgers will spend billions of dollars but do nothing with it.  Oh and in 2004, place a large bet on the Red Sox to win it all!  You’ll see why.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/17/2016 at 1:18 PM

Why Did My Blog Slow Down?

There was a time when blogging was supreme to me.  I would go to work and think about blog posts.  I even kept notes on my iPhone to help me remember blog posts.  I would listen to a podcast of someone and I would always be thinking, “What can I do with this on my blog?”  Those days are gone.

These days I just work.  I still listen to lots of podcasts (mainly preaching and theology but sports are in there as well).  I read my Bible but try to just read it for me and for learning more about God then just looking for a post.  I still read lots of books (special thanks to a subscriber who recently sent me several good books to read) but I just read for me now and not for blogging.

I am thankful for the number of Arminian bloggers I see now.  When I first started this blog back in 2006-2007, there were few Arminian blogs.  In fact, I started my blog with the specific purpose of defining and defending Arminianism.  I saw a need and thought I would add my voice to it.  Having never been a Calvinist, I knew that many people really didn’t understand Arminianism and what we believe.  So I started blogging about theology from an Arminian perspective.  Along the way I have learned much and have made some great friends.  I am proud to see so many Arminians now out there blogging and spreading the gospel (and not just Arminianism).

I am not quitting.  I want to say that up front.  But I have slowed down.  Way down.  Between work (55-70 hours a week) and my family, I have little time to devote to blogging like I use to.  And to be honest, I don’t feel qualified to talk about theology like I use to.  I see so much sin in my heart and I hate it but its a reality.  That’s why I don’t blast guys who struggle, people who sin.  I sin.

Thats said, I still take theology serious.  I do still love Jesus.  I am not perfect (ask my wife and she’ll likely write a book for you).  I struggle.  I want to be godly.  I hate sin.  I long for Christ to return.  I believe we still need revival.  I still long to see people truly saved.  I am tired.

So I’ll still be blogging but that explains why the slowdown.  I pray you’ll forgive me.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/17/2016 at 12:44 PM

Just A Note

I wanted to write and say thank you to all who have been praying for me.  I know the Lord is faithful and He will bring me through.  I recently heard Paul Washer say that we should study the attributes of God so I have.  Studying God has been my anchor.

I ask for continued prayers.  Satan wants to destroy my faith and my life.  

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/21/2016 at 10:14 AM

Blog Update

Quickly wanted to let you know what is up with the blog.  Since my mama passed away, life has been turned upside down for me.  I was close to my mama and will miss her terribly.  I know I will see her again but I still miss her and still mourn her passing from this earth.  I am thankful that her suffering is over (Revelation 21:4).

That said, I have simply had little time to do much these days.  Last week was a blur for me.  This week is about the same.  I am doing well spiritually as the Lord continues to pour out His love and grace into my heart.  Yet I find that I just don’t want to blog about Arminianism or Calvinism much right now.  Forgive me for that.  I want to blog about the presence of God, the love of God, the comfort of the Holy Spirit, the power of God’s Word.  I want to blog about God’s amazing gift of salvation and the reality of His resurrection.  I just don’t want to blog about debating original sin right now or about apostasy.  I don’t want to debate the atonement or the writing of Arminius or Calvin.  I hope you will forgive me for that.

In time, I will get back to the controversy of Arminianism and Calvinism but please allow me to heal a bit first.  It is amazing to me how when you go through trials in this life, Arminianism or Calvinism doesn’t really matter.  Jesus does.  The Bible does.  Prayer does.  Being around the people of God (whether Arminians or Calvinists) does.  Longing for Jesus to return does.  Whether the Bible teaches unconditional or conditional election doesn’t help me right now.  Whether a believer is eternally secure or can commit apostasy just isn’t important to me right now.

I do promise to get back to allowing Dr. Jack Cottrell exegete passages that seem to teach total depravity but for now give me some time to just focus on Jesus and His comfort.  I need it.

In His service!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/15/2012 at 12:55 AM

Posted in Blogging

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A Rough Week

What a rough week it has been for me.  I have been battling a bad cold and working overnight doesn’t help.  This has kept me pretty tired.  I came home from work just today and slept nearly 12 hours.  This has been the reason for the slow down on the blog this week.  Spiritually, I am fine.  I am hungry for God.  Tough to pray out loud because my voice is nearly gone.  But the Lord sees my heart (Psalm 139:4) and He searches my heart with His Word (Hebrews 4:12).  It’s a times like this that I rejoice that we are not saved by what we do for God but rather we are saved by what He has done for us in His Son (John 6:29; Ephesians 2:8-9).  I don’t deserve His love but I praise Him that He does love me even when I am sick (Romans 5:8-9).  How great is the love of God (1 John 3:1-3)!

So pray for healing for me from this cold.  I really need rest more than anything.  A night off from work would be great for healing from this nasty thing.  God is my healer (Psalm 103:1-3) and I trust in Him. Thankfully, God does use His providential care to take care of His children such as giving us some wonderful drugs that help me sleep through this cold.

For those wanting me to write today about Arminianism and Calvinism, let me just say that Arminianism is the gospel.  🙂

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/28/2011 at 11:52 PM

Posted in Blogging

Tagged with , ,

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