I haven’t been blogging here much lately, but I am very busy worshiping and serving Jesus. I just wanted to say hi to anyone who still occasionally checks in here. Here’s an inspirational music video I ran across today that was a blessing.
May you all reflect on the Savior’s awesome love and mercy as you prepare to worship tomorrow.
…is now available!! Get your copy here.
I can’t wait to see it! I just learned from someone who has seen it that it’s the best one yet by Joel Kramer & Co. I have been impressed by the quality of their previous DVDs and am really excited to see this one!
Katie’s reflections at the end of her post on Romans 3 stirred me to work on a post on this topic. I can completely relate to her wrestlings on the doctrine of hell as I have long grappled with this doctrine myself.
The question is far deeper for me than “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” At first glance, this question appears difficult because God’s redemptive love has to be reconciled with His divine justice. But upon further reflection, it’s actually much harder to comprehend how a thrice-holy God could reward unrepentant, evil creatures with eternal pleasures. That makes Him seem more than a little bit evil and creepy Himself. My mind makes the human comparison to an earthly judge who would let a rapist or murderer off without requiring any consequences for their crime. I would consider that judge creepy and immoral in the extreme. In addition, it has also been pointed out that unrepentant persons would not enjoy heaven. In their unregenerate state they would have no desire to join with saints worshiping God forever and ever. That would be like hell for them.
No, the deeper question for me has been why He would have created eternal beings with free wills in the first place, knowing that some would eternally reject Him and end up suffering eternal separation from the Source of all that is holy, loving, and good. On its surface this question also seems to be fairly easily reconciled when one considers that God has made provision for all to be saved, everyone is given a free choice, some choose to perpetually rebel and so, as C. S. Lewis said, “all that are in hell choose it.”
But the problem goes a little deeper than that for me when (in my limited human comprehension) I ponder why, if He desires that all would be saved (2 Pet. 3:9), and if He is all-powerful, why would He not use His power to draw all to Himself? Is His omnipotence somehow limited by human freedom, and if so, why? Further, how is it ultimately more glorifying to God that sinners go on existing forever (albeit eternally quarantined from saints)? Would it not demonstrate His power better or bring Him more glory if sinful people were completely destroyed (Annihilation) or if everyone was brought to repentance (Universalism)?
In my devotions today I was pondering the relationship between Christ and His Church. By using the human illustration of how a man should love his wife, the scriptures intimately reveal the nature of the love that the Savior has for His Bride. The scriptures say that Christ
“loved the church”
“gave Himself for it”
so that He could
“sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”
so that He could
“present it to Himself a glorious church”
“not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”
“but that it should be holy and without blemish”
In speaking of the kind of love that a man should have for a woman the apostle Paul says, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Eph. 5:29). When a man is joined to his wife they become one flesh (Eph. 5:31). So it is between Christ and His Church. When He laid down His life to purchase His Bride He became forever intimately connected with her. “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30).
A question for LDS came to my mind as I was studying this passage. Is it possible that Christ could ever become disconnected from His own flesh and bones? Read more…
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)”-Heb. 10:19-23
I often kneel or lie prostrate on the floor when I pray, and in my mind I often picture myself kneeling or prostrating myself before God’s throne in heaven. Theologically, I know that I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:3) and my spirit is not limited to time and space. So, spiritually speaking, I have access at all times to heaven itself and the glories that are there in my Heavenly Father’s presence. God is of course not limited to time or space either and He is with me everywhere I go – comforting me when I’m sad, convicting me when I sin, and enlightening my mind to understand Him more clearly as I study and meditate on His Word and spend time with Him in prayer. But sometimes I take this all for granted. I seldom sit and reflect on what an awesome privilege I have to enjoy the healing presence of my Heavenly Father everywhere and at all times. I was recently reminded of what an amazing blessing God has given to His children that we can rest at all times in His comforting embrace. Like little chicks can hide in their mother’s wings, we can hide in the shelter of God’s presence, safe in His habitation (Ps. 91:5-10; Matt. 23:37).
My pastor has been recommending a book of the month at my church and so this month I am participating in reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. I have been challenged and inspired by reading this historical account of Hudson Taylor’s devotion to Christ and his life of sacrifice for the people of China. During his time of preparation for going to China, he moved away from his family to a very poor neighborhood where the solitude allowed him to set himself to prayer, studying God’s Word, visiting the poor, and evangelistic work. By living mainly on oatmeal and rice, he found that he was able to sufficiently pay for his own needs with a third of his income so he could use the rest to give to those in need. He experienced more blessing and happiness when he gave more and spent less on himself. When he set sail for China he fully believed he would never see his family again. Read more…
I ran across a curious article that was published last week in Deseret News. This article claimed to be reporting a change in how the Church History Department collects, preserves, and disseminates the church’s historical information to LDS members. After reading the article, however, I cannot figure out what the changes were or how the process was “decentralized” as the article claims was the goal. I will quote the relevant sections and highlight the areas that jumped out at me. Maybe someone here can help me figure this out.
“Last year, it was decided that they [the Church History Department] needed to implement a decentralized model and start making church history more accessible to the world. Under the direction and approval of area authorities, options will be given to preserve area histories locally — and hopefully, in the future, digitally.
“We wondered, ‘How do we fulfill the commandments of the Lord to keep a history of the church continually and do it in a way that we weren’t asking the brethren for millions more dollars in head count by controlling everything from headquarters?'” Crosby said.