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Take heed!


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I’ve ever read.

Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have … you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in movies. Here is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack.

I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation–the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else… but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics… I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up… which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who sees this post would Share or re-post, you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.

*Please be a true friend and SHARE this article to all your friends, women & men too. Most men have female loved ones and could greatly benefit from know this information too.

The Blessings of Obedience

Whitney Capps

Exodus 2:2-3 (NIV) “And she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”

Obedience always brings blessings. I’ve heard that message preached, but Exodus 2 teaches us we must be very careful what we expect for our obedience and what we define as a blessing. 

Fearing the growth and potential power of the Hebrew slave nation, Pharaoh orders that all baby boys be murdered. Jochebed, Moses’s biological mother who is named in later chapters, hides her son and then entrusts his life to the protection of God alone. Because the midwives boldly ignored Pharaoh, he commanded his entire nation to assist in killing Hebrew boys. Jochebed knew her son was in danger. Placing him in the basket in the river is a bold, faith-filled move. We can learn a few important lessons from her example.

First, blessings on this side of eternity are temporary. 

Jochebed received the blessing of a healthy baby boy, but that blessing was brief. When she realizes she can’t hide the baby any longer she puts him in a basket and places the basket in among the reeds of the Nile. The word for “basket” here is the same word used to describe Noah’s ark. This basket would also be a picture of God’s great grace and protection.

Second, obedience positions us to see God work in spectacular ways.

Jochebed trusts her baby of blessing to the careful watch of her good God. God did not disappoint. He directed the Egyptian princess   come, find the baby and rescue him. Watching this unfold from a distance, Moses’s sister, Miriam also named in later chapters, offers to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. 

Jochebed would be given the privilege of nursing and raising her son, likely for three years! 

Third, obedience does not always remove our difficulties.

Let’s not forget an important detail about Jochebed ¾ she still had to give her baby boy up a second time! This must have been a heart-breaking reality. Her faith would be tested again when she left him for the last time in the care of Pharaoh’s daughter.  Blessings and burdens are often a package deal of obedience. We must trust God in both.

Finally, obedience builds our faith.

Perhaps Jochbed’s greatest blessing was realizing that her boy was safest in the hands of her great God. Her faith had been tested and rewarded. I want God to grow my faith, refine my character and chisel away my selfishness. Those treasures won’t always feel like blessings. I’d like to be the kind of person who trusts God to give and define my blessings. I’d rather be changed for eternity than comforted temporarily. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many things that I say and pray easily, but find hard to live out. I really do want You to change me, not just make me comfortable and “blessed.” Help me to have an eternal and global perspective when I think about my wants and needs. Move my heart toward prayerfulness and compassion when I see brothers and sisters around the world in crisis or need. Bless me by changing me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Go deeper with today’s First 5 by writing in your Study of Exodus Experience Guide. Don’t have one?Get yours hereDigital Download option now available for $8.

More Moments: In the end of Exodus 2 we learn a bit about Moses. He was a man who struggled with a bit of an identity crisis. As a man of probably 40, he goes out to “where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor.” (Exodus 2:11) Read More

My Moment: In today’s passage we see how God can use our pain to bless others in profound ways. Jochebed had to entrust her son to God, and we will see how He uses Moses in a mighty way. Obedience often produces blessings for others. Are you in a situation right now with pain that is still raw, recent and seems meaningless? Write a prayer asking God to give you a vision for how He can use this situation for His purposes. If you’ve seen God turn your personal sacrifice into a profound blessing, would you share it to encourage others?

How’s that? A work in Progress…

Chosen or choosing?

Choosing Your Life Verse

by Theresa Ceniccola

Have you ever been asked what your “life verse” is? You know, the scripture quote that seems to speak to you directly – the one that holds a personal meaning for you. When I first heard of this concept, I was immediately overwhelmed. With more than 31,000 verses to choose from, how could I possibly select just one? How could one verse define my entire life? Even if it seemed to fit now, would it still encourage and strengthen me in 10 years?

That reaction is my typical perfectionist response to any sort of challenge or assignment. I had to remind myself that THIS IS NOT A TEST! That God wasn’t waiting for me to choose the “wrong” verse and then condemn me for failing a quiz. And that there was no rule preventing me from picking a new verse any time I needed one! (After all, there’s a reason there are more than 788,000 words in the Bible – we need to read them at different times in our lives.) With those comforting thoughts in mind, I set off to find my life verse.

Selecting Your Life Verse

The mission took me several months. I tried a few verses on for size in my mind.  I read them aloud to listen to the message behind the words. Wondered how they would serve me as a compass. I couldn’t make a decision. It still felt like such a commitment!

Then one Saturday morning, I was at a women’s retreat exploring the relationship between creativity and spirituality. We were making Spiritual Vision Boards and we were told to begin with our life verse in mind. Naturally, I considered and debated long after everyone else in the room started working on their boards. I eventually settled on a verse – it was more of a random selection based on the pressure to make a decision quickly before the others noticed that I didn’t have a life verse (how shameful!). The verse I selected spoke to me in the moment and has become a guiding force in my life ever since:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5

The weight had been lifted from my shoulders! I had a life verse and I was ready to create a Spiritual Vision Board to honor that verse and give it a prominent place to live in my home.  This was the fun part! The activity gave me an opportunity to engage my right brain and exercise my creativity muscles, which I believe leads to infinite positive change.

How to Create a Spiritual Vision Board(or Spiritual Art Journal)

Step 1: Select a scripture quote. Any Bible verse that seems to be calling your name. Don’t overthink this part. You can make it easy and choose my verse if you want!

Step 2: Gather your supplies: a poster board or art journal; paint, markers or colored pencils; magazines, stickers or colorful paper; glue stick, rubber cement or craft paste; any images or phrases that inspire you. Some great resources are greeting cards, Christian magazines such as P31 Woman and materials from Bible studies you’ve attended.

Step 3: Set the tone. Play some inspirational Christian music. Light a candle or use your favorite essential oil for aromatherapy. Be sure you have an hour of time where you will be uninterrupted so you can fully immerse yourself in the creative process and use the time to reflect on God’s message.

Step 4: Create! Start wherever you feel most comfortable – you may want to paint or sketch an image on your poster board or journal paper. Or you may prefer to flip through the magazines and tear out images and words that resonate with you and arrange them on the board. Just cover your paper, overlapping images and adding decorative items like ribbon or stickers. Be sure to add your life verse somewhere on the board!

Step 5: Reflect. Find a place to hang your Spiritual Vision Board where you will see it daily. Take 10 minutes a day to reflect on the images and say a prayer. My Spiritual Vision Board serves as a daily reminder of my life verse. It invites me to devote my attention to the verse every day and it conjures up memories of the nourishing and rejuvenating retreat I attended.

Theresa Ceniccola is a mother, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for connecting other Christian women and helping small business grow. As a marketing and PR professional, she launched TGC Communications, LLC in 1994 and has been working from home to serve clients and follow her passion while raising a family.  She is also co-founder, a guided journaling practice dedicated to helping people discover the health benefits of writing. You can connect with Theresa on her blog at


Thank You, Lord


Sometimes we just need to step back and think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Goals can be made and not happen. Our plans and God’s plans are not always the same. Other times we find out what those plans are and prepare to do just exactly that, only to find out that there is a few too many devil advocates. So we do what we can when we can and let God deal with them. To that I say thank you, Lord.

Jesus Paid It All ALL TO CHRIST
Short Meter Double with Refrain (6,6,7,7)

Author Elvina M. Hall, 1820-1889
Musician John T. Grape, 1835-1915
Bible Text Isaiah 1:18

1) I hear the Saviour say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2) Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.

3) For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

4) And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.

Where are Standing?


Where do you stand with Jesus Christ? Are you on the sidelines waiting for the kick off? Or are you on the field up front and center looking into face of your of your opponent.

You can’t fall from something inside of you. So if you have been saved by grace, it didn’t come from you or your family or other people, it is a gift from God Himself and nothing you do can have it taken away. It’s the gift that just keeps giving.

Several weeks ago a warning was issued about a major earthquake pending. One hit this building at 1:44 am Thursday morning.. Be very careful who you threaten to kill. Christians are protected by God. As well as innocent people.

Don’t be on the receiving end of God’s wrath. Pretending to be a Christian won’t cut it either, so when the subject came up about falling from grace or being backslidden I couldn’t help but grin. I knew where that subject was going.

Bible > Galatians > Chapter 5 > Verse 4

◄ Galatians 5:4 ►
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

New Living Translation
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

English Standard Version
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

Berean Study Bible
You who are trying to be justified by the Law have been severed from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Berean Literal Bible
Whoever are being justified in the Law, you are severed from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

New American Standard Bible
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

King James Bible
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace.

International Standard Version
Those of you who are trying to be justified by the Law have been cut off from the Messiah. You have fallen away from grace.

NET Bible
You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace!

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
You have been destroyed from The Messiah, those of you who are justified by that in The Written Law, and you have fallen from grace.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Those of you who try to earn God’s approval by obeying his laws have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen out of God’s favor.

New American Standard 1977
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Ye are empty of the Christ, whosoever of you that justify yourselves by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

King James 2000 Bible
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.

American King James Version
Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.

American Standard Version
Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.

Douay-Rheims Bible
You are made void of Christ, you who are justified in the law: you are fallen from grace.

Darby Bible Translation
Ye are deprived of all profit from the Christ as separated [from him], as many as are justified by law; ye have fallen from grace.

English Revised Version
Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; ye have fallen from grace.

Weymouth New Testament
Christ has become nothing to any of you who are seeking acceptance with God through the Law: you have fallen away from grace.

World English Bible
You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace.

Young’s Literal Translation
ye were freed from the Christ, ye who in law are declared righteous; from the grace ye fell away;

Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

5:1-6 Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to stedfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. The Jewish convert might observe the ceremonies or assert his liberty, the Gentile might disregard them or might attend to them, provided he did not depend upon them. No outward privileges or profession will avail to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The danger of old was not in things of no consequence in themselves, as many forms and observances now are. But without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and compared with it other things are of small value.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. – Christ is become of no effect unto you (κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ); or, ye have disconnected yourselves from Christ. The verb καταργεῖν is a favourite word with St. Paul, occurring twenty-seven times in his Epistles, including twice in the Hebrews, whilst in the rest of the New Testament it occurs only once, and that in the Pauline St. Luke (Luke 13:7). Its proper meaning is “to make inoperative,” “make of no effect,” as above (Galatians 3:17). The phrase, καταργεῖσθαι ἀπό, etc., occurs Romans 7:2, “If the husband die (κατήργηται ἀπό), she is discharged from the law of the husband;” it ceases to have any effect upon her; so ibid., ver. 6, “Now we have been discharged from the Law (κατηργήθημεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμον);” it has ceased to have any operation towards us. The phrase combines the two ideas – separation suggested by the ἀπό (comp. Romans 9:3), and the cessation of a work (ἔργον) or an effect till then wrought by one upon the other of the two parties: the two parties have nothing more to do with each other. The sense given in the Authorized Version is perfectly justifiable; only, perhaps, here the passive takes, as it sometimes does, the reflective sense of the middle verb; but it may be that the apostle means simply to express the result which has accrued. The aorist tense of κατηργήθητε, as well as of the ἐξεπέσατε, expresses the certainty and promptness with which the result followed upon the (supposed) act. Whosoever of you are justified by the Law (oi%tine e)n no/mw”” δικαιοῦσθε); such of you as go about to be justified by the Law. “By the Law;” literally, in the Law; seek to find in the Law the means of justification (cf. Galatians 3:11, and note). The present tense is the present of design or endeavour; the result in this case being, in fact, unattainable (Galatians 3:10, 21). Ye are fallen from grace (τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε); ye have fallen from the state of grace. “Grace” denotes the condition of acceptance with God into which faith in Christ brings us. Cf. Romans 5:2: “Through whom we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.” The verb ἐκπίπτω is used as in 2 Peter 3:17, “Lest – ye fall from (ἐκτέσητε) your own steadfastness.” So πίπτω, Revelation 2:5, “Remember whence thou hast fallen [πέπτωκας: Receptus, ἐκπέπτωκας].” In classical Greek the verb was frequently used as a set term to describe those who, in the alternating success of adverse factions in the several independent cities of Greece, were compelled by a more powerful adverse party to submit to exile; its correlative verb being ἐκβάλλω. This fact leads Bishop Lightfoot, having an eye to the ἔκβαλε of Galatians 4:30, to render ἐξεπέσατε here, “are driven forth and banished with Hagar your mother.” But this very idiomatic colour of meaning it seems very precarious to give to the word in the Greek of St. Paul. The more general signification of the term is amply sustained by its use in Plutarch as cited by Wetstein.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Christ is become of no effect unto you,…. Or “ye are abolished from Christ”; or as others by an “hypallage” read the words, “Christ is abolished unto you”; for by their seeking for justification by their own works, it was all one to them as if there was no Christ, and no righteousness in him, and no salvation by him; they had nothing to do with him, nor he with them:

whosoever of you are justified by the law; that is, who sought to be justified by their obedience to the law, or who thought they were, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous; for otherwise, by the deeds of the law, no flesh living can be justified:

ye are fallen from grace; that is, either from that grace which they professed to have; for there might be some in these churches, as in others, who were only nominal Christians, and formal professors; who had declared they saw themselves lost and undone sinners, destitute of a righteousness, and professed to believe in Christ alone for righteousness and strength, but now trusted in themselves, and in the works of the law: or from the scheme of grace in the whole of man’s salvation, which will admit of no mixture of works; either it is one or the other, it cannot be both; wherefore by their taking on the side of works, they showed that they had entirely dropped the scheme of grace: or else from the Gospel of the grace of God, from whence they were removed, through the influence of false teachers; particularly the doctrine of free justification by the grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ; which was entirely set aside by their seeking to be instilled by the works of the law; and from this they might be said to be fallen, who were on such a bottom.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. Literally, “Ye have become void from Christ,” that is, your connection with Christ has become void (Ga 5:2). Ro 7:2, “Loosed from the law,” where the same Greek occurs as here.

whosoever of you are justified—”are being justified,” that is, are endeavoring to be justified.

by the law—Greek, “IN the law,” as the element in which justification is to take place.

fallen from grace—Ye no longer “stand” in grace (Ro 5:2). Grace and legal righteousness cannot co-exist (Ro 4:4, 5; 11:6). Christ, by circumcision (Lu 2:21), undertook to obey all the law, and fulfil all righteousness for us: any, therefore, that now seeks to fulfil the law for himself in any degree for justifying righteousness, severs himself from the grace which flows from Christ’s fulfilment of it, and becomes “a debtor to do the whole law” (Ga 5:3). The decree of the Jerusalem council had said nothing so strong as this; it had merely decided that Gentile Christians were not bound to legal observances. But the Galatians, while not pretending to be so bound, imagined there was an efficacy in them to merit a higher degree of perfection (Ga 3:3). This accounts for Paul not referring to the decree at all. He took much higher ground. See Paley’s Horæ Paulinæ. The natural mind loves outward fetters, and is apt to forge them for itself, to stand in lieu of holiness of heart.

When the Bible Blows Your Mind John Piper

Even when you have read the entire Bible, read it again there is something you missed, and you need to find it. Like the widows mite!

When the Bible Blows Your Mind John Piper | Desiring God

When the Bible Blows Your Mind Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Bible teaches us to expect mental jolts when we think about God. It teaches us that our familiar ways of seeing things may be replaced. For example, it says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). Or again, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

One of the reasons (not the only one) that some people reject the biblical teaching of unconditional election is that it seems and feels to them out of sync with other teachings in the Bible – like the compassion of God for people or the moral accountability of people before God. It seems to many that God can’t choose unconditionally to save some and not others and then also feel compassion for those he does not choose and hold them accountable for their sin.

The problem here is that our instinct or intuition for what is right or possible for God does not fit Scripture. And the danger is that we shape Scripture to fit our feelings.

The Scriptures teach that God chooses who will be saved before we are born or have done anything good or evil (Romans 9:10-12). “It depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16). The Scriptures also teach that we are responsible for the obedience of faith and will be judged if we are disobedient. “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8). We are chosen (or not chosen) unconditionally for salvation. And we are accountable for our faith (or unbelief).

As I said in my sermon on 12-8-02, I do not fully understand how God renders certain the belief of the elect and the unbelief of the non-elect. If you want to go deeper into this, I recommend Jonathan Edwards’ book The Freedom of the Will. It is slow reading, but you will grow more from the effort than you can imagine.

To help you accustom yourself to living with such felt tensions (unconditional election and human accountability) consider two similar ones from the example of Christ.

First, we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem because the things of the kingdom were “hidden from [their] eyes.” But on the other hand we also hear Jesus say that God has “hidden these things.”

Luke 19:41-42. And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Luke 10:21. In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”

Second, we see Jesus feeling compassion for those who were sick -irrespective, it seems of their faith. On the other hand, we know from illustrations and teachings elsewhere in the Bible that God is finally and decisively in control of sickness. So we have Jesus feeling sorry for people who have sicknesses that God’s wisdom has ordained (at least for a time).

Matthew 14:14. When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Exodus 4:11. Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”

1 Samuel 2:6. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

Implications: 1) Don’t cancel one truth in the Bible because it feels out of sync with another. 2) Don’t draw emotional or behavioral implications from God’s sovereignty that contradict faith, compassion, accountability, prayer, evangelism, or hard work. On the contrary, consider Colossians 3:12 and let your unspeakably happy condition as “chosen, holy and loved” produce “compassion, kindness, humility and meekness.”

Used by permission By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Heads Up

Your enemy is a man of lawlessness By Pastor Mark Jeske

When you need emergency medical attention, you don’t have to worry about the competence of the doctors who attend you. In order to practice medicine in your state, doctors need to pass and maintain rigorous state board standards. You have no such government guarantees for church leaders though. And herein lies one last sobering heads-up about your enemies—they have infiltrated congregations and church organizations too. Our enemies are not only on the outside, but Satan’s sinister agents are sabotaging the church’s work from the inside as well.

St. Paul described this “insider corruption” as a “man of lawlessness.” “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10).

Don’t be surprised by acts of immorality among church leaders. Expect that some theological professors will abandon the truth and teach lies from hell. Anticipate that some ecclesiastical authorities will abuse people with their leadership and power. Hold fast to your Bible, trust God’s words completely, and hang on tightly to the Savior whom you find there. And then you will be safe.

If I have learned anything lately, it’s that not all people who attend a church are Christians. Some are felons hiding inside waiting to set up someone to die. I have witnessed the coming of preachers who don’t believe baptism is required to be “born again” as the church puts it. It’s not a physical rebirth, it’s a spiritual birth. Yes, that is referred to as “church words” that some of us have to explain to those who do not understand, and there are a lot who don’t. Attending church, reading a Bible, and fancy prayers doesn’t make you a Christian. A profession of faith in Jesus Christ does. He was baptized in the river Jordan. I was baptized in a church. He was baptized by John the Baptist, I was baptized by a Baptist preacher who belong to Jesus Christ himself.

There are wolves in sheep’s clothing, they talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Actions will always speak louder than words. Perfect I am not, just forgiven.


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