Quick Thoughts: Providence, Miracles and God’s Sustaining Work.

Thinking-Man.

I was talking with some friends on Facebook about spiritual gifts and the topic got to the miraculous.  There was an interaction regarding providence and miracles, so I tossed in two cents worth.  Seeing that I’m not really blogging right now (and I ended up spending way more time writing a response than I was planning to), I thought I would double-dip and toss my thoughts up on here as well.

Here are some off-the-cuff thoughts on providence, miracles and sustenance.

And if I might be so bold, I might be able to help with the talk about “miracles” and “providence”.
 
The natural order of things is not providence, but God’s sustaining activity of the world. Matt. 5:45 talks about how “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.
 
Natural laws are manifestations of God’s faithfulness, not *really* his providence.
 
In other words, the rate of which an object accelerates when in free fall is 9.8 m/s2 (nine point eight meters per second squared). When you hold a ball over the edge of a 60 story building and let it go, God is faithful at 9.8 m/s2 with regards to that ball, gravity, mass, etc.
 
Providence is God’s orchestration of events and circumstances for the outworking of his desired goals. Miracles are a temporary suspension of God’s natural manifestations of faithfulness for the purpose of a special revelation of his character or presence (usually in an event).
 
Here’s a passage that lays both miracles and providence side by side:
 
“(22) Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— (23) this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” – Acts 2:22-23.
 
So in verse 22, we have Jesus being attested to the Jews by God, by means of the healing and casting out of demons, as well as his other demonstrations of power over nature, circumstances and death. There’s a reason the Bible uses the terms “signs” and “wonders” but not “miracles”. Supernatural occurrences are always meant to point to whatever God is doing in a circumstance; they’re never ends in themselves.
 
But, in verse 23, we have Jesus being delivered unto the cross by means of the plan and foreknowledge of God; God laid it out in advance and accomplished it by means of thousands of people with wicked intentions, all thinking that they were acting freely and pursuing their own autonomous ends. None of them were aware of God’s hand bending and leaning them and causing to do exactly what needed to be done at exactly the right time, but that doesn’t matter to God one iota. God lets it be known that everyone, from the crowds to the Sanhedrin to the entire Roman court, was doing what he had laid out, in advance, for them to do.
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reflections on Christ - crucifixion.
That is providence. That’s God doing what he wants done in a circumstance by orchestrating the desires of hearts, the political climates of times, the weather, etc. to bring his ends to pass exactly as he desires.
 
Just in case there’s confusion, God’s sustaining work is general; making things operate. God’s providential work is specific; making things operate unto a specific end. They’re very similar but not synonymous.
 
One lase note: God’s providence isn’t just something that occurs with special people or events; it involves every person and every event in history. God providentially orchestrates every life so that those lives are part of structures (i.e. churches, businesses, governments, etc.) and God orchestrates all those structures so that those structures are part of nations, and God orchestrates those nations to bring about his ultimate end for the universe, and the plan is everlasting…meaning that it began at creation and continues on infinitely.
 

Chew on that for a little.

And this is where I ask for comments, and fear that I’ve said something heretical or totally out to lunch that I haven’t yet noticed.  If you’re going to straighten me out, please be gentle!

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “The Armchair Theologian” Unger  (haven’t used that name in a long time…)

Three Big Pieces of News!

1.  Here’s my long-awaited health update:

I finally got the results from my blood work, and I’m officially free of any trace of Hepatitis C.

Twilight_ecstatic_smile_S3E2

Praise the Lord!

The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” – Ps. 145:9

I apologize to those of you who have been waiting for updates, but the last two months has been a tsunami of waiting.  Being seriously ill is often just lying around, feeling miserable, and waiting for news about the current state of affairs or what’s coming in the future.

I also wanted to thank my family, friends, readers and supporters for several things: Continue reading

Zondervan, lawsuits and Fowler. Oh my.

I normally post things on here and share them on Facebook, but today I’m going backwards (though I’m tossing more small content on my Facebook fan page – Lyndon “Mennoknight” Unger.  It’s easy for quick thoughts and rants…).  Here’s my Facebook post:

In these days you need to be increasingly on your guard against deceit and distraction.  I’ve seen a story circulating that reports about a homosexual man who’s apparently suing Zondervan and Thomas Nelson for $70 million dollars because of mental anguish (among other things) that is the direct result of certain bible translations.

The stories that are linked are some of the following examples:

http://dailyheadlines.net/2015/07/gay-man-files-70m-suit-against-bible-publishers-over-homosexual-verses/

The “read more” link goes here:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/gay-man-files-70m-suit-against-bible-publishers-over-homosexual-verses-33219

Did you notice the problem?

Doc Brown

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The Age of Skeptics and the Gospel

If you’ve been online for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably gotten into a debate with someone about something.  If you’ve been online for more than a few months, you’ve probably gotten into a debate with someone about something bizarre; an issue where you thought there was no debate.

tear

In other words, you’ve likely run face-first into the realization that we live in an age of unbelievable skepticism.  I’m guessing that you’ve been surprised at just how many ideas are doubted by someone, somewhere.  The annoying thing about the internet is that it unites all the someones and somewheres and gives them an equally public forum for their ideas.

Given that fact, it’s not really surprising that a lot of people doubt everything from the existence of God to the the idea that the earth is round.  Beyond the theological reasons for the wild-eyed doubt everywhere (i.e. the suppression of truth in unrighteousness, i.e. Rom. 1:18-30), people are flooded with information via the internet.  People often lack the ability to filter out truth from error, and that filtering is made more difficult when there are clever, irrational, or even willfully deceitful people stringing together ideas into conspiracy theories.

How confusing can things get?

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Laire Lightner, Isaiah 1 and 2 Chronicles 7:14

Seeing that I’m preparing for upcoming speaking engagements and travel,  I’ll just toss something on here as a filler to keep this blog from becoming too dead (though I have a new and top secret project that I’m working on which will be available sometime in the future…maybe…).

Some folks shared a video with me on Facebook recently.  It was a video of a typical “America needs to return to the Lord and stop legalizing all this sin!” sort of videos that tend to trend on places like Charisma magazine.

I didn’t have much time to watch it but I finally did today while I had lunch, and I commented on the page in which it was shared.  Folks like my comment, and I then shared it on the page where the video came from.  Not 5 minutes had passed and my comment was deleted, and I was blocked.

Wow.

I’ve had disagreements with a few people online, but I’ve never been silenced that quickly!

Some folks cannot take any disagreement at all.  What seems ironic to me is the speed and aggression with which my voice was removed from the conversation when the video is about how Christians aren’t speaking up on important issues.  Laire Lightner treated me exactly like the secular media treated Christian voices on the issue of same sex marriage.

“Agree with us or SHUT UP!

So, for those folks who didn’t get to see the video and my comment, here’s the video (by ‘prophetess’ Laire Lightner):

And, here’s my interaction with it:

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