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As another year has come to an end, many of you may find yourselves disappointed because things did not work out as you had hoped and prayed that they would. Or you may be among the many who find yourself in the midst of an overwhelming trial that seems as if it will never come to an end. You may even feel as if you do not have the slightest bit of hope left and now you are spiraling down from just being discouraged to feeling as if you are sinking down in the depths of despair and into a deep depression. Sadly, this is what happens when our expectations are not met because we made the mistake of playing out certain scenarios in our minds on how we think God is going to do the things that we have prayed about. But we must choose to trust in God with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding; as Christians we must love God and live for Him regardless of what the outcome of our situations may be.

We must also come to the realization that because man has a free will, God will not violate man’s freedom in order to bring about an answer to our prayer. For example: I had prayed for many years that God would fill my “husband” with a godly sorrow for all that he had done and bring him to repentance and that he would believe the truth of the gospel that I had not only shared with him personally, but also through a very long letter that I had written to him, and through the truth of God’s Word in the Bible that I had given to him. I firmly believed that the day would come when he would believe the good news of the gospel and place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation and that he would repent and return home. I believed that God would restore our marriage and use us both in ministry for His glory and to give hope to others who had problems in their marriage. And in spite of the fact that God hates divorce, God did not violate the choice that my “husband” made to file for divorce and to bring our marriage to an end.

Our God is a mighty God who is capable of doing the most amazing miracles, but we must never forget the part that man plays in the scheme of things. Therefore, when the battles continue to rage, when our hearts continue to break, when the tears once again fill our eyes, we must choose to continue to trust Him and praise Him in spite of what we see.

When circumstances attempt to steal our hope, we must then recognize that we have put our hope in the wrong place; our hope must be in God alone. It is He who is the lifter of our heads and the one who gives us His strength where we are weak and His peace that surpasses all human understanding. True joy comes from knowing God through placing one’s trust in what Jesus Christ did for all of us when He lived the perfect, sinless life that we could never live, died a horrendously painful death by crucifixion in our place for all our sins, and arose from the dead on the third day for our justification. No matter how dark and evil your deeds may be, if you choose to believe the truly good news that Jesus Christ died for you and receive this free gift of salvation He will be the one who will change your heart and renew your mind; you will be born-again and become a new creation in Christ.  Your sins will be cast into the deepest sea never to be remembered again (Hebrews 10:4-14, Micah 7:19), and they will become as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

So, dear reader, I will not say “Happy New Year” to you, because the happiness that the world speaks of depends on happenings which, as you well know, change from day to day. Instead, I pray that you will place your hope and trust in God and receive His love and forgiveness if you have not yet made the choice to do so. Life will still be hard and trials will come to test your faith to see if it is genuine or not, but I can assure you because of all that I have been through that His grace will be sufficient, His strength will be made perfect in your weakness, and His peace that surpasses all human understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus as you choose not to worry but choose instead to pray about everything. (Philippians 4:6,7)

And now to give you a glimpse, yet a rather detailed look, at what (Lord willing) I will be sharing with you on this blog in 2017:

I will be continuing to write more posts for the Catholicism series in which I am presently comparing many of the teachings that can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church with Scriptures in a Catholic New Testament Bible, trusting that God will use His Word to reveal the truly good news of the gospel to many precious Catholics. There will be many posts that will be written in this series in which the mystical aspects of Catholicism will clearly be shown to you (one of these posts is coming very soon), and you will, once again, not only realize the extreme importance and necessity of testing the teachings of men (and women) against the truth of God’s Word, but also you will realize  how we must make the choice to believe God’s Word over the words of men.

When I am finally finished writing the Catholicism series, I will then begin writing another series in which the teachings of Calvinism/Reformed Theology — T.U.L.I.P. – Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement,  Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints — will be compared to many Scriptures. These teachings have been weighing heavily on my mind over the past four years after learning about them by not only reading many articles written by Calvinists, but also by listening to many debates on the teachings of Reformed Theology/Calvinism as well as by listening to teachings and reading articles by former Calvinists and pastors who compare the teachings of Reformed Theology against Scripture. I will be sharing some of these teachings with you here, as well, when the time comes. 

I have personally come to know a few Calvinists who have become very special to me, so I am also doing this series with them in mind, and in my prayers, and upon my heart.

In the beginning of this year I actually thought and prayed about writing and expressing my concerns about Calvinism at some point this year, but clearly I had no idea then just how long it was  actually going to take me to write this series on Catholicism. Once I briefly mentioned my concerns about Calvinism when I  replied to a comment that someone had made about it in my post about Matt Chandler (who is a Calvinist), and in many of my recent posts this year when I found it necessary to post a warning about a false teacher that was written by a Calvinist I made it clear to all of you that I do not adhere to the teachings of Reformed Theology, but I never went beyond that –until now.

Since I do not want to mislead anyone, and because I want to make it clear to all of you just how serious I am about this, and how deeply concerned I am (just like many other Christians are) about what Calvinism teaches because it distorts the very character and nature of God and the Word of God, I just deleted one of the more popular posts that I wrote back in March of 2014 entitled, IS YOUR PASTOR A SHEPHERD OR A WOLF – WOLVES IN THE PULPIT. In this post I shared Tom Pennington’s message, as well as Phil Johnson’s message from the 2014 Shepherd’s Conference. I originally shared their messages because I was still deeply troubled due to the fact that my former pastor for 14 1/2 years — James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows — made the decision to place Steven  Furtick and Mark Driscoll in the pulpit while I was still attending there. Even though I thought Phil Johnson and Tom Pennington’s messages were good at the time that I posted them, I now realize that I cannot keep their messages on my blog and still claim to be deeply concerned about what Reformed Theology/Calvinism teaches. At the point in time when I shared that post with all of you I was not fully aware of all that Calvinism teaches. Since I am much more informed now after doing so much research on Calvinism I  did not even hesitate for a moment before deleting that post. When time allows, I will be going over all of my previous posts and either deleting other things that I have posted, or I will at least be adding warnings if for some reason I see the need to keep something that was done by a Calvinist.

The one thing that comes to mind that I would like to keep on my  blog is the video that Calvinist, James White did in which he analyzed everything that Modalist and Word of Faith teacher, T D Jakes had said when he took part in the Elephant Room II Conference in January of 2012. Christians need to hear what went on that night during that Conference and realize that T D Jakes did not embrace the doctrine of the Trinity as those in attendance that night were led to believe, and James White made that abundantly clear in his video. However, if I come across something equally as good that was written or recorded  by a pastor or teacher who is not a Calvinist I will delete James White’s video and replace it with what I find. Okay, I am beginning to ramble, so I need to get back on track:

Unbeknownst to those who read this blog, as I seriously thought and prayed about addressing the teachings of Calvinism on my blog I was actually contacted by three different people who requested that I write about it. What they shared with me will remain confidential, but I will simply say that God used them to strongly confirm to me that this is something I need to write about.

I will now admit to you that one reason why it is taking me so long to write the Catholicism series is because my concern about Calvinism is equally as strong as it is about Catholicism. Therefore, I sometimes find myself doing research on Calvinism when I should actually be writing the next post in the Catholicism series. But with God’s help I will be more focused in 2017 and I will choose to concentrate on writing what I need to share with you about Catholicism first before I do any more research on Calvinism.

When I do begin the series on Calvinism, I promise to be Christlike in how I present this information to you, and I will not bash any Reformed/Calvinist pastor or teacher as I present this information to you. I will also ask those of you who will choose to make a comment on any of these posts in this upcoming series to respectfully do the same, no matter what side of this issue you presently stand on.

One of the things that I will be doing in order to prepare to write this series on Calvinism is that I will be listening to all of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion which I found recorded on YouTube, and I will then compare John Calvin’s comments against Scripture and present them all to you.

For those of you who have subscribed to this blog and consider yourselves to be Reformed/Calvinists, I realize that some of you may now decide to unsubscribe to this blog after reading some of what I will be sharing here in 2017.  However, I truly hope and pray that you will at least consider reading what I have to share here when the time comes. After all, if you truly love Jesus Christ — and I believe that you do — I know that the desire of your heart is to walk in truth as God’s Word shows us that we are to do:

“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)

“For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Will you be willing to test the teachings of Calvinism and the teachings of your favorite teacher on the subject against Scripture as God shows us in His Word that we are to do?I pray that you will.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

In this series I will also be presenting posts to you in which former Calvinists will be sharing their testimonies. Two people have already agreed to share their stories here with all of you.

You will also be reading a post that will originally be written by someone who has a loved one who is presently deeply involved in Calvinism. By reading what this person is willing to share with all of you, my prayer is that many of  you will then come to realize how the teachings of Calvinism distorts one’s thoughts about God and Biblical Christianity.

If you are a former Calvinist and you are interested in sharing your story here, please contact me using the Contact Form and I will consider sharing your story here, as well, as long as you are a born-again Christian and not an Arminian…Arminianism  is based on some theological ideas of Jacobus Arminius who was a Dutch Reformed theologian.  Like I have said in many of my posts, as Christians we are to be followers of Jesus Christ alone; we are not to be followers of any man (or woman) and their ministry.

In the coming year I will also be presenting teachings to you on Reformed Theology by pastors who have compared these teachings against Scripture and have found them to be very troubling.

Recently I heard Pastor Chris Quintana of Calvary Chapel Cypress  announce that he will be having George Bryson speaking on Calvinism in March.  George Bryson has written books on Calvinism such as, THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM:  WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING and THE DARK SIDE OF CALVINISM. If this presentation by George Bryson will be live streamed I will (Lord willing) share it with you here, as well.

A good suggestion was given to me way back in June of this year by a reader of this blog in which he stated in his comment that I should consider putting together a page or a post which lists some of the videos that I believe to be the most important or helpful. So Alec, thank you very much again for that very good suggestion! Lord willing, that post will be coming in January or February. I am so sorry that it is taking me so long to actually getting around to putting it together!

I will also be writing some posts to show the importance of praying for discernment –even while listening to so-called Christian songs!

As always, I will continue to challenge all of you in my posts to test everything that you read and listen to against Scripture so that you will never be deceived by the many pastors and teachers who are encouraging Christians to have experiences with God or telling them to look for truth outside of the pages of God’s Word.

Truly we are living at a time when Jesus Christ could return at any moment! Maybe even before the first day of this New Year comes to an end! If so, would you be ready? Is your faith in what Jesus Christ has already done for you? Or are you trusting that your good works will be the evidence that will grant you eternal life? Do not be deceived!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a  workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28,29)

 

 

Thank you to those of you who have taken time out of your busy days over this past year to stop by here to read some of my posts and poems. I appreciate all of you very much!

Thank you also to those of you who took the time to leave your comments  and words of wisdom, as well as your words of appreciation and encouragement. I can never thank you enough!

God bless each and every one of you in 2017 with His wisdom, His discernment, and His grace.

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

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