Friday, October 25, 2013

What is Regeneration? By Matthew Barrett

Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit to unite the elect sinner to Christ by breathing new life into that dead and depraved sinner so as to raise him from spiritual death to spiritual life, removing his heart of stone and giving him a heart of flesh, so that he is washed, born from above and now able to repent and trust in Christ as a new creation. Moreover, regeneration is the act of God alone and therefore it is monergistic in nature, accomplished by the sovereign act of the Spirit apart from and unconditioned upon man’s will to believe. In short, man’s faith does not cause regeneration but regeneration causes man’s faith.
In Deuteronomy 30:6 we read, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” If the circumcision of the heart refers to regeneration (cf. Rom. 2:25–27), then to what purpose does God promise to circumcise the heart? He circumcises the heart “so that” his people will love the Lord. The Lord does not circumcise their hearts “because” they acted in repentance and faith by loving the Lord. Rather, it is God’s sovereign act of circumcising the heart that causes the sinner to love him. Nowhere in Deuteronomy 30:6 do we see any indication that God’s sovereign act of circumcising the heart is conditioned on the will of man to believe. Rather, it is quite the opposite. The Lord must first circumcise the heart so that the sinner can exercise a will that believes.
Matthew Barrett, from his booklet, What is Regeneration? by P&R Publishing

Original article here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Christian Counselor Litmus Test

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I've never been popular. I guess you can call me the black sheep in my family, school and even church. My lack of conformity to unspoken rules has always made it hard for me to assimilate with the majority. 

I often ask "Why?" in certain situations, and sometimes it gets me in trouble. For example, if someone asks me why I don't wear a dress to church, I will as politely as I can, ask why and where that is in scripture? Would Jesus love me less if I wore pants? I tend to share what I'm thinking and feeling and sometimes it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I'm trying to be more congenial in these situations, but it doesn't come naturally.

Being somewhat awkward and unyielding in nature has made me a target for mistreatment even among professing Christians. They often feel justified in their slights and disregard towards me. I've also been verbally trampled upon by a well known Christian leader in my community for sharing a concern of mine. In my confusion, sensitivity, and despair I withdrew, licked my wounds while bitterness would root in my heart defiling many. 

Frankly I expect more from Christians. I would forgive with the condition in my mind hoping that the Holy Spirit in their growth in sanctification would show them their error, and they will ask me for their forgiveness. I would day dream there would be tears, hugs, and reconciliation, but it never happens. Month after month, year after year they continue to go along as if nothing ever happened, justified in their poor treatment towards a sister in Christ.

With all that said, let me get one thing straight, I'm not saying I'm a victim. I know that there is at least some responsibility on my part in every situation. I'm sure there are also plenty of people that I have wounded unaware. I hope I would do anything to help restore our relationship. My heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? I'm far from perfect.

I've been thinking, researching, and praying about forgiveness, and the Lord revealed something big to me. In this verse Jesus teaches Peter in the following passage:

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."

I've always thought the above verse meant the amount of sins to forgive and forgiveness is a one time deal. However, my heart would reveal there is still unforgiveness even after I thought I dealt with it. I noticed the word "sin" is singular. This is really important. I have to REPEATEDLY chose to forgive for even the same sin. Forgiveness is a process and seven times may not be enough. I may have to forgive that person hundreds of times out of obedience to the Lord until my heart is free from that burden.

I've experienced this with my parents. Before I was even saved I harbored a lot of anger and bitterness towards them. I'm not going in to details here because I still want to honor them, but forgiving them even as a Christian was a long process that took many years. I spent much time in confession to the Lord of my resentment. Eventually those painful memories that I held on to began to fade. The Lord set my heart free of the hurt that previously imprisoned me. It is true that if I forgive, I will eventually forget. I now have an amazing relationship with my mother and father.

Forgiveness is not easy for any of us. Forgiveness my require a lifetime of forgiving. It is so important to the Lord that I forgive and forgive again until the matter is completely settled in my heart. It is for my good because He loves me.

Monday, October 7, 2013

J. R. Miller ~ Touching Others

I wish emotionally I would do better at surprise trials. It's these times when I'm reminded of my shortcomings and God's amazing grace. I also appreciate the sisters He brings in to ground and comfort me when passions run high, and get me back to thinking clearly again.

Friday, October 4, 2013

O Magnify the Lord With Me ~ A Marriage Plea

Since I've been homeschooling these last three years, I haven't had much time to write what's been on my heart as much. For this season in my life, I'll have to let videos and other authors do it for me.

I was moved deeply by this sermon excerpt from a wedding on May 19, 2012. Bob Jennings, who gave the service, went home to be with Jesus shortly after in November 2012.