Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Review of "Afraid to Believe in Free Will" By Carl E. Begley

I review books often, so I decided to read one that was on the opposite viewpoint of where I stand.  I believe in the will of humans and the ability to make choice, but I reject the idea of "Free Will", because I believe the human will is in bondage, we are slaves to either sin or Christ.  We are driven by our depravity or by the Holy Spirit and are not neutral and do not have the ability to choose in every situation.

That being said, I was hoping for a strong argument for the concept of Free Will.  I didn't get it, at all.  This book has some counselor and physiological mumbo jumbo, mostly which I understand.  None of it was convincing.  The author basically said, "you make choice, so you must have free will, now here is why everyone else is wrong".  He didn't make a case FOR Free Will, he made cases against those who opposed it.  I was not impressed with this book, don't waste your time.  If you want to read something on Free Will, find something with a stronger theological base.  This was just acrobatic babble.

Are you Encouraged?

Are you encouraged?  Do you feel like you are encouraged?  Why or why not?  I will tell you what it is for me, who I spend my time with and how I spend that time will leave me feeling energized or drained.  When I am around people who share my joys and my passion, who want to help and they affirm me, I feel encouraged.  When I am down and they share with me, support me and help lift me up, I am encouraged.  When I find people who challenge me, talk through things with me, listen and share, I am encouraged.

On the other side, we often find ourselves with critical individuals who are quick to point out our short comings.  They are often demanding, short tempered and demand everything to be to their standard, which few can achieve.  These people cut is down, tear us down, beat us up and leave us feeling worthless.  They are critical of our passion, want us to conform and be more like them, and leave us feeling drained and exhausted.

For the most part, people won't be this cut and dry, but you know when you leave a social interaction if you are feeling drained or energized.  If you life, you need some draining people to push you, to challenge you and to help you really take some long looks at yourself.  On the other hand, they should not be the bulk of the people you spend time with.  You should also surround yourself with those who encourage you and lift you up.  We all need a Barnabas or 2 or 5.  Make sure in your life and ministry, you have supportive people who pray for you, encourage you and really care about you.  There will be plenty who don't.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Blog Madness

My blog readers, my blog has made the March Madness List on SBC Voices.  Please head on over to SBC Voices Blog Madness and vote for my blog!  Thanks everyone!

Post Fast Reflections

I have been out of the Daniel Fast for a while, and my diet is mostly back to normal.  I have added a little more fruit, but the biggest difference is the amount of sugar I have continued to cut out of my diet.  It doesn't mean I don't succumb once in a while to the tasty treats, but I have decreased my overall sugar consumption.

On the spiritual side, I realized how I have to change my outlook.  When I started the fast, I noticed how I missed the things I couldn't have, especially caffeine.  My body told me that I went from 2 to 3 cups a day to 0.  Post-fast reflections, I realize how much I depend upon the approval of others, like a drug to my ego.  If someone is disappointed in me, if they don't approve, if I feel like I have let them down, it causes me a large deal of anguish.  Why?  Pride and ego mostly, but also because I need to learn to have more sufficiency in God.  I depend way to much on others to make me feel like I have worth or value, but I have value in God.  I put way too much emphasis on if the people at church approve of me.  that is not to say that I shouldn't strive to be the best at what I do, but at the end of the day, I am secure in God's love.

As I look back at the fast, I think it was a great experience.  I may do it again someday.  It didn't go as I had planned, it didn't have the effect I thought it would, but I am learning more about myself.  I am seeing my frailty for what it really is, and seeing the areas where I need to continue to work.  I hope on your journey with God, you are finding new revelations about yourself as you draw nearer to Him.