My Fitness

Sunday, December 10, 2017

does god give up on people

Recently I was asked about Romans 1:24, 26, 28 where Paul writes, "God gave them up." The asker said that they see how, "God gives them over to their own idolatry and wickedness. The longer they are without Him, the worse their heart condition gets. Without the Holy Spirit this heart condition will lead to spiritual death." Their question was, "is this a complete abandonment? Is He forever done with them or is there still a chance for mercy?"

I was thrilled to answer this for them. I told my husband via text that searching the Scriptures is fun for me and that more than anything in life I feel the most alive when searching the Scriptures. I feel like I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

My response:
I agree with what you have found and the natural question that stems from that, “Can they ever be saved if God has abandoned them?”

The Bible Project guys hint at the idea that is shared by Albert Mohler that these verses are speaking to humanity as a whole when sin entered the world in Genesis 3. If this is Paul’s intention, then certainly yes, we can be saved post fall since all sin happened post-fall.

On a slight side-note and desire for clarity, our sins do not lead us to spiritual death. We are all already spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:5 says that we were all dead in our sins. Adam’s sin lead to spiritual death that we all now begin physical life as spiritually dead. Without the Holy Spirit we are still spiritually dead. The act of salvation includes the indwelling of the Spirit and once he is with you he will not leave you (Romans 8:35). If a person appears to be saved and then appears to be unregenerate, he was either never saved and only had the appearance of holiness or he will be brought again to repentance. Therefore I would revise, if I may be permitted by the reader, that the final conclusion of, “Without the Holy Spirit this heart condition will lead to spiritual death,” to “Without the Holy Spirit’s intervention this heart condition will lead to a continued and irrevocable spiritual death,” which is what I suspect was the intended meaning of the question.

I see a couple of concerns behind the question though. Without knowing the heart of the one asking, I say usually the reason for asking is either because they know someone who seems too far gone for saving grace or they themselves have some desire and want to know, “how far is too far? Will God completely abandon me or can I go have fun and come back?” And a final common reason is the concern that one is currently too far gone despite a desire to repent.

For the first instance, I refer to the many gospel passages where Jesus says, “WHOEVER believes” will be saved (Mark 16:16, John 3:15, 16, 18, John 6:47 and more). In Romans 6:23, we see that confession and belief are needed and that no amount of sin is too much to be covered. For by grace we have been saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8) even if by human accounts that sin is great. The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5) lists many sins that start in the heart and the intention of that sermon is to show that from great to little all sin separates us from God. Further into Romans, in chapter 3, Paul addresses people’s faithlessness by asking if that nullifies the faithfulness of God, “By no means!” he says in verse 4. There is still hope that these faithless people will be saved. God is not condemning them, as John 3:17 says, they are already condemned, but through Jesus whoever believes will not perish.

This includes even you if you think you’ve gone too far. There is no amount of sin that the blood of Jesus cannot wash clean. You are included in “whoever” and the fact that you desire to return to God indicates his Spirit is at work within you.

For the people being addressed in the original question, they were given over to their desires but for what purpose?  If such acts are done within the Body of Believers, 1 Corinthians 5:5, says that by the destruction of the flesh his spirit might be saved. This is encouraging, then, that when we see people willfully turning from God and God allows them to fall, it is for the hope of repentance. We should pray for them and attempt to draw them back to God as the Spirit directs.

For the second concern, if you or someone you know is desiring to walk the line and make a deathbed confession, or foolishly think that “once saved always saved” means you can now behave anyway you wish, maybe they want to “see what the world has to offer”, I’d refer them to John 7:38, that says those who believe “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” and in no way can a desire to turn from God and follow sin willfully be considered “living water”. John 12:46 says he will not remain in darkness, and all sin is in darkness. First John 4:16, says that he will abide in love; God is love and in Him is no sin. Second Peter 2:20f speaks to people who have heard and known the word and turned from it. It says it would be better for him to never have known the gospel in the first place. Matthew 24:12-13 speaks to people whose love grows cold but the one who endures to the end will be saved. The desire to sin and forsake God reveals a reprobate mind, not a sanctified one.

It is important to note that this willfully leaving the gospel and embracing their sinful flesh is different from making mistakes or having a moment of weakness or stumbling that leads to contrition.

I want to emphasize that God never turns anyone away who desires a relationship with him. As said previously, WHOEVER desires to come to the Father will be received. There is no sin too dirty for God. From the beginning all sin was too unholy to allow us near him. His cure for us was sending Jesus who died for all sinners and all their sin. Every sin that you commit has been committed after the penalty had been paid. God wants a faithful heart, a contrite heart, a repentant heart, and a humble heart. Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and it is the tactic of the enemy to deceive God’s chosen into thinking otherwise. Those who are well have no need of a physician, Jesus said. (Matthew 9:12) If you are a sinner, Christ came for you.

And finally, check out these quotes from some of my favorites on sanctification that may be helpful.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

let the little children come gospel tracts

I don't know where to start. In a nutshell, this stuff is so cool. If you know me, you know I love evangelism despite not being very gifted. These are awesome tools to help even me present the gospel. Below are various Christian tracts that are included in the sampler pack that was sent to me to review. And I love it.

For by grace they will be saved by faith. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. And these tracks help provide the presenter an easy memory tool to present the words of Christ as well as engage the listener in a way that will capture their attention long enough to hear the words of Christ. These are great for sharing the gospel with children. These are also great for teaching children to share the gospel with others. High schoolers can even benefit from these.

My favorite is the wordless bracelets. It's an oldie but I love them. (I love the wordless evangelism books et al and have written about them before HERE.) The silicone bracelets come 20 in a pack for $16 with discounts for more than 10 packs. What's nice about the silicone bracelets is that they do not require any assembly and each one comes with a gospel presentation. They are easy to hand out as gifts at Christmas or Halloween or as party favors or "just because".

The other bracelet is beaded. I've seen varying descriptions for the beads, and this is just as good as any. The point is to present the gospel and this does that. You could have a Sunday School teacher read the presentation as the students assemble the bracelets. The downside is that I couldn't get the knots to stay knotted until I used a dot of school glue. Then it was perfect. I am still wearing my bracelets. Both of them. I always wanted a wordless bracelet. I hope that it will spark some discussion.

My next favorite tract is called Gospel Buttons FlipAbout.
The paper is folded in such a way that as the gospel is being presented the speaker folds the pages in a mesmerizing manner. I'm going to go try it on my, ok, maybe practice first. It was still cool.

The next style of tract has a plastic piece in it that allows an optical illusion to take place on each page; that's pretty cool.

The wordless book is pretty nice. It fits in a wallet or pocket or could be used as a bookmark at school to talk with a fellow student.

The last style of tract is pop-up as pictured below.

You can find all these fun items at

The sampler pack is HERE.

From the company:
Let The Little Children Come aims to provide effective gospel tracts and evangelism tools and resources for children.
It is the hope that these tools and resources will help you in conveying the powerful gospel message to children.
the gospel tracts are all specially designed to capture and hold the attention of children, while not distracting them from the core message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

thankful leaves

I didn't know what this would look like before today otherwise I would have written about it before now. I don't have much to say about it. I drew trees with white crayon (did you know white crayons could be useful?). I printed and cut out leaves. I chose Oak Leaves because we are supposed to be Oaks of Righteousness (Isaiah 61:3). I printed my kids heads and drew bodies of them next to the trees. I used sandwich bags to hold all the leaves and made it look like the kids were playing in a pile of leaves. Each day leading to Thanksgiving we will read a Bible verse and think of something we are grateful for. Today we read Colossians 3:17 and we were grateful for iPads, snails, hugs, and kisses. I'm curious how this will turn out. tbd....

I let the kids help me cut the leaves. They did a terrible job and took forever but we had fun anyway. 

Before our November 1 leaves...

jesse tree 2017

( I feel like this is an appropriate day to start writing this entry. It's October as I write this and we are finally having some snow/hail. I'm not sure what to call it. Hailflakes maybe?)

We've never done a Jesse Tree. Do you know who Jesse is?

Ruth married Boaz and they had a son named Obed. Obed's son is Jesse. Jesse is Ruth's grandson.

Why is he important?

Meanwhile, Eli was a priest with two worthless men for sons. He saw a gal named Hannah praying for a son. She had Samuel and gave him to Eli to raise as a priest in service to God. Samuel was godly.

Samuel went to Jesse's house as God told him to do. Jesse had eight sons. Samuel thought one of the older seven might be the next king. But God does not look at the outward appearance as even a mighty prophet of God might do and as Samuel did, God looks at the heart. And God had chosen a man after his own heart, Jesse's 8th son, David. Read the story in 1 Samuel 16:7.

Jesse and David are used to prophesy the coming Messiah:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, Isaiah 11:1
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, Jeremiah 23:5
And we see their names in Jesus's lineage:

Since Jesse is supposed to have a branch come out of him, I'm guessing that someone decided a tree was appropriate. Jesse's branch leads to Jesus and advent leads to Christmas, and thus someone came up with the advent calendar known as a Jesse Tree. (I'm guessing here. I've never done a history of the Jesse Tree.)

Last year after Christmas I found some clearance items and got everything for my Jesse Tree for like less than $5. My raw materials are a light-up "tree", some advent ornaments, and Jesus storybook Bible printables. I downloaded my printables a long time ago from THIS site.

If I hadn't found this tree, I might have used a piece of green construction paper cut in a triangle and taped to the wall. How "pinterest" a thing doesn't matter. I like this tree that I found because it reminds me of Charlie Brown. Cheapest is best in my mind. 

Here is at least the reading plan via FaithGateway:

My ornaments from Target are 3" circles. Whatever you get can be altered to work. Let me see what you come up with! You could very easily print or write the corresponding date on the back of each picture. Or glue it to card stock, or old Christmas cards, or laminate them. Here's one I did was fun!

I printed my Jesus Storybook Bible pictures at FedEx because I only have a black and white printer. It cost $3.25 to print 4 colored pages. I glued the advent numbers to the back of each corresponding advent picture and then attached each to the true with the included mini clothespins. 

Starting December 1, we will read the corresponding story out of Jesus Storybook Bible and put the ornament on the tree. Christmas Eve, our tree should look something like this:
Final Tree

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

why "noah"

I started reading a Bible plan that I believe is the entire Bible in a year in chronological order. I think timeline is important and much of the Bible is dependent on the reader knowing what's going on at the time of the writing and what the culture of that day is and other time-relevant issues. I started reading The Amplified Bible because I thought it would be nice to hear the same stories in a different tone. And it's been amazing.

This morning I read Genesis 4, 5, 6, and 7. That's about Seth to Noah. In 5:29 it says, "He [Lamech] named him Noah, saying, This one shall bring us relief and comfort from our work and the (grievous) toil of our hands due to the ground being cursed by the Lord." It sounds like Lamech thinks the Noah is the promised relief from Genesis 3, "He will bruise and tread your head underfoot..." and note the smilier language about the earth: "the ground is under a curse because of you; in sorrow and toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life." When I read Lamech's words I was thinking perhaps he thinks Noah is the promised savior. Why would he think that? How would he have known what was said to Adam so many years ago?

Naturally I decided to write up a timeline. Maybe there's one already drawn somewhere but I decided that I should do one myself. What I discovered was that Adam died over 50 years after Lamech was born. That means Lamech heard the story of God cursing the ground first-hand from Adam. It wasn't passed down generation-to-generation-to-generation-wait-for-it-to-generation-etc. In fact Adam's son Seth died 5 years before Noah was born. It's 10 generations from Adam to Noah but Noah's father knew the original Man.

The name Noah means "comfort" or "rest". And this whole discussion reminds me of another post I wrote once about the Gospel in the Old Testament. So Lamech knew the whole Gospel and looked to the future for that rest. He thought the ultimate rest from the curse he heard about from Adam would be finished with Noah. In one regard Noah was a savior. Noah was a type (as in a picture) of Christ.

What else did I discover from the timeline (especially the death line)? Noah's grandfather, Methuselah, died the same year as the flood and maybe in it. Noah's father, Lamech, died right before the flood and certainly after the ark had been built.

Genealogies are interesting.

It doesn't have to be pretty to share info. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

devotional -enter drawing for a free copy

**winner has been notified**

back cover

Today I received Adored 365 Devotions for Young Women. Since I know so many young women I was excited to be included in this review. It is a beautiful book. The cover artwork is lovely and each page is pretty too.

front cover
You can check out more info on this devotional HERE. You can BUY a copy HERE. You can enter the giveaway drawing below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 23, 2017

31 prayer cards - free printout

taken from my driveway
    I started this project thinking of what to pray for my children. What I discovered was that as I searched for 31 topics to pray for my children, I found 31 topics to pray for myself...and my mentees...and everyone. You can apply to whomever you wish: yourself, your friend, your child, a mentee, or even your leaders.

I got these straight from the Bible. I made prayer cards, a bookmark, and 2 styles of prayer journal print-outs.

I got some artistic help from
my youngest daughter.
Here are the prayer cards

These prayer cards are meant to be read at the beginning of your day and then carried with you throughout the day. You should place your card in a visible location like next to your computer screen, the back of your phone, bathroom mirror, bookmark, or in your pocket. Every time you see or feel the card, let it remind you to pray. You should feel free to use prayer cards however you think it will most benefit you.

Here's an actual bookmark
I would use this bookmark after your 31 days are over. Use it as a consistent reminder of what you prayed for and what you can continue to pray for. But you are welcome to use it as your primary cue and share one with your prayer partners or your accountability partners.

You could color this too.
Here is a mini journal
I bound these pages with staples but you are welcome to be creative with the binding. Use the journaling space to write out your own prayer using the prayer prompt. Write down someone's name or several names of people you are wanting to intercede for. Or you can use the space to write out answers or other verses that reflect the same topic to be prayed for.

It will look different than this.
This was a test I did online and
not an actual print-out. I like the
daisies though.
Here are the full page print outs
The full page print-outs are perfect for those of us who tend to
have a lot to write. Use the full page as you would the mini page. I've tested a page on decorative sheets but you are encouraged to use your own creativity on these pages. In fact, if you are an artistic person, I'd love to see you "beautify" these pages! PLEEEEEASE let me see what you do.

You are free to share these pages. Let me know if this project was helpful to you.

This is my idea of an ocean wave. Maybe it's abstract...