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English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue...

English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial. Italiano: La statua di Lincoln al Lincoln Memorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world desperately needs freedom, the freedom they can only get from Jesus, the Christ, the Savior, the Son of God, the Word of God.

John 8:31-38 (ESV):

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

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God's Will, Our Style

Bible’s Lessons:

The Bible records many distinctive ways people lived God’s Will, even though at times rebellion, sin, and disobedience surfaced. God’s Will allows for personal style consistent with God’s Commandments, and requires repentance in response to disobedience. As you live out God’s Will, distinguish between these:

      1. God’s Will
      2. Our Style consistent with God’s Will
      3. Our Way opposing God’s Will
      4. Our Sin & Rebellion

The key point is that as people are called to follow God, that God is also calling you to bring your essential individually, and then to seek God’s help to live it out without your inner sin.

God’s Will Generally:

The Bible emphasizes the importance (a) to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, (b) to repent from sin, (c) pursue righteousness, (d) to love & obey God with all your being, and (e) to love your neighbor as yourself. When selecting what to do in life, evaluate your decisions in light of God’s Will generally.

God’s Will Specifically:

Complimenting the already available guidance in God’s Will generally revealed, is the further knowledge that God works to bring believers through situations to improve them & help others. This is a process where our character, skills, and faith is meant to grow beneficially individually & collectively as life’s challenges are faced.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV): For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God’s preparing good works for people to perform is observable in scriptures in several instances. God prophesied to Abraham hundreds of years ahead of time the slavery & release of his people, in which Moses & Aaron played a critical role. The life of Queen Ester and Mordecai evidences God’s coordination of redemptive events to protect his people from genocide. What instances do you recall from your studies of scriptures?

God’s Will Directly Articulate:

On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via direct communication. One instance is when God asked Moses to rescue his people from EgyptPharaoh (Exodus 3).

Exodus 3:10 (ESV):  10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

God’s Will and Our Style:

God permits the way in which God’s Will is lived out to incorporate our personal & collective styles to some extent. This is illustrated when God preferred Moses to directly deliver God’s Word and lead God’s people. Moses personality & style was inherently shy about speaking directly to his people, so God provided Aaron to Moses to work out God’s Will to deliver his people from physical bondage & slavery.

Exodus 4:10-17 (ESV): 10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 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? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

While God’s Will does permit Our Style, Moses’ illustration encourages people to also consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new skills God knows we’ll be able to handle with his help. God preferred Moses to grow skills speaking directly to God’s people, even though Moses feared it. Even today, it is often reported that people find public speaking frightful.

God’s Will Indirectly Articulated & Our Style:

People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is implicit rather than explicit. As an illustration, Queen Ester and Mordecai both recognized that Queen’s Ester intervention looked like God’s first & primary preference for intervention on behalf of God’s people.

Ester 4:12-17 (ESV): 12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Mordecai previously asked Queen Ester to petition the King to rescue their people. Queen Ester agreed to risk her life by going before the King without being officially summoned, and her style was to fast first before God prior to executing this bold maneuver. Mordecai respected Queen Ester’s stylistic approach to fast first. It is reasonable to infer God did too.

Our Way Opposing God’s Will:

When facing decisions in life, evaluate your inner desires, motives, and means, to ensure they are living up to the standards God set. While your conscience can provide guidance, as can good godly council, God’s revealed word in the Bible is the ultimate authority. As an illustration, when King David’s inner being became lustful for Bathsheba after seeing her bathing on her housetop (see 2 Samuel 11), King David needed to evaluate his inner desires carefully, even though typically King David’s inner being desired to know God’s Will and do the right thing.

While in some cases, a particular action is not in & of itself immoral in the general case of God’s Will, it is still immoral to do in instances when God specifically decreed that action was not permitted. For example, Jesus instructed certain people not to publicly reveal the healing he performed for their individual benefit. They disobeyed, which caused Jesus difficulty in his outreach mission in several geographic areas.

Mark 1:40-45 (ESV): 40 And a leperf came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesusg sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Our Sin & Rebellion:

When evaluating our situational liberty & latitude, evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to repent & change. This analysis helps to distinguish Our Stylistic latitude from Our Wayward tendencies towards evil. In absence of accomplishing this effectively, sin & rebellion result. One sin has the dangerous potential to lead to many sins.

Consider how King David committed adultery, and then did not repent. This first sin lead to the first attempt at a “cover up” that did not work. King David still did not repent and instead resulted to murder in another “cover up” attempt (see 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12). In King David’s case, God’s Will revealed adultery & murder is wrong, so King David knew these actions were not stylistic discretions, yet rather sinful disobedient rebellious actions against God. King David “cleverly by worldly standards yet unwisely by God’s standards” (cleverly yet unwisely) made plans to disobey God’s commandments not to commit adultery and not to murder. God severely punished King David by allowing evil enemies to obtain sufficient power to repay King David for his immoral actions.

In Conclusion:

Whether you receive God’s Will via direct commands or via God’s generally revealed will, carefully evaluate your inner being & decision-making process to ensure your thoughts & actions align with God’s Will. Just as God provided a lot of variety in nature, and this variety is consistent with God’s Will, so too God provided a lot of variety in people’s styles that are harmonious with God’s Will, Another way to understand it, is that in work positions, there are certain responsibilities & expectations that come with the role. Yet, within a given role, people find ways to contribute that brings out their own personal style, background, and vision through their contributions.

Review:

1. God’s Will allows for personal _______ consistent with God’s Commandments.

2. On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via ________ communication.

3. People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is ________ rather than _________.

4. Consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new _________.

5. Evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to ________ & ________.

6. Distinguish Our Stylistic _________ from Our Wayward _________ towards evil.

Related Articles:

Credits:

  • Special Thanks to Microsoft Office Images & Tools used in the creation of today’s visual.

God's Will, Our Style

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Decision Point Do Right Do Wrong
One way God intervenes in our lives at times is by keeping us from sinning out of ignorance until there is a “Decision Point” where it is our choice to decide whether to sin or to do what is right. This class of Divine Intervention is clearly illuminated after Abraham and Sarah kept their marriage hidden, which almost caused King Abimelech of Gerar to sin by taking Abraham’s spouse Sarah as his wife due to this significant omission. Even though God in this instance revealed in a dream having leveraged this intervention type behind the scenes in King Abimelech of Gerar’s case, there is no requirement for God to reveal each instance when The Almighty intervenes in similar ways to protect each of us.

Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV): From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

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Historically when Adam & Eve were in the Garden of Eve as husband & wife, they both ate fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, even though God had commanded them not to eat of it. God commanded this for their protection, since if they ate eat it, they would die, as they eventually did. To disobey God & sin was Adam & Eve’s own choice, and was contrary to the good image of God’s character already in them. The fall was not predetermined to happen, even though God planned for the contingency of this choice, and knew what they would do shortly before they did it. In the sovereignty of God, God set boundaries & limits on what Adam & Eve could do. Adam & Eve were not slaves to sin at the beginning. God made Adam & Eve good and made a very good world. It was their choice whether to obey or disobey God, so they had to bear the responsibility of their choice.

Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV): 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

As Adam was married to Eve, what does God expect from husbands?

Husbands are expected to love their wives in ways that sanctify & protect them bodily & spiritually in Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-31 (ESV): 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

How does Adam‘s participation contrast to what is expected of husbands?

Adam was with his wife Eve, who was tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Adam also knew God informed them that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil would lead to death, so Adam knew the serpent was endangering his wive Eve. Yet Adam did not “Stand Up” to correct Eve who was endangering herself physically & spiritually.

1 Timothy 2:13-14 (ESV): 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Did Adam sin also by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil?

Yes, Adam did sin.

Romans 5:12-13 (ESV): 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Was it God’s fault Adam & Eve sinned? Was God guilty?

The first thing that Adam did was blame God for providing Eve to Adam as the cause of the sin. This is the very same Eve that Adam longed for when naming the many creatures God created. This is the very same Eve that Adam called “flesh of my flesh”, that Adam happily received from God as awesome.

Genesis 3:8-13 (ESV): 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God was not guilty of deliberately disobedient choices Adam & Eve made. God made them good, enabled them to pick what is right, taught them good, showed them good, cared for them well, and cautioned them too.

Who did God punish?

God knew what had happened, and so punished the serpent first, since the serpent cleverly, yet unwisely, initiated the temptation that lead to the fall.

Genesis 3:14 (ESV): 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

Why did Adam sin and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil too?

Adam loved & obeyed his wife more than he loved & obeyed God, and God’s command. This misguided love & obedience contributed to Adam’s sinning against God. In loving his wife more than God, Adam effectively loved his wife less than if Adam had loved God first and foremost, and loved his wife second. Why? Because if Adam loved God first, and his wife second, then Adam would have intervened in Eve’s decision to disobey God’s command & would have protected Eve his wife and their family together. Adam eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil was not noble in any way.

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV): 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Ever since then, people have been dysfunctionally loving family, friends, possessions, and worldly ways more than God.

How could God help future husbands & wives to avoid the same dysfunctional love relationship of Adam & Eve?

God made it crystal clear that the husband was the head of the household, which means the husband is absolutely responsible to protect the life of his wife physically & spiritually in Christ. Previously Adam had blamed Eve for his poor decision to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil and to not stand up to his wife nor for his wife. No longer could husbands use that same excuse. God laid that responsibility squarely on the husbands.

Genesis 3:16 (ESV): 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Was God going to help Adam & Eve and all humankind in this fallen state?

God foretold  sending his own son Jesus Christ generations later. Jesus Christ would have the victory, confronting the hypocrisy of Adam & Eve’s descendants.

Genesis 3:15 (ESV): 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Why was Adam’s wife called Eve?

Genesis 3:20 (ESV): 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Why did God put clothes on Adam & Eve?

One reason in context is that earlier Adam and Eve  indicated their discomfort without clothes.

Genesis 3:21 (ESV): 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Genesis 3:9-11 (ESV):  9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

In providing clothes for Adam & Eve, did God sacrifice an animal to forgive the sins of Adam & Eve at this time, as later done with the Jewish sacrificial system?

The Jewish sacrificial system was to remind people of the severity of their sins. It was to remind people that the wages of sins is death. The sacrifices of animals never took away sins. Only God the Father takes away sins through the sacrifice on the cross of the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:1-4 (ESV): 10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Why did God cast Adam & Eve out of the Garden of Eden?

If Adam & Eve lived forever in their current condition, they would be marred forever by sin. Adam & Eve would also be tempted to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Knowing they already ate from one tree that God commanded them not to eat, now it would be irresponsible to allow them to remain in a situation too harmful to their soul’s eternally. To spare them this risk of eating from the Tree of Life and remaining in a sinful condition forever, God kicked out Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV): 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

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The next time you encounter ice, whether ice outside, ice in your beverage, or even an ice pop, take a moment to think about the I.C.E. acronym. The I.C.E. Framework acronym reminds us of many aspects pertaining to living out the Christian life.

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[You can view the presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/ice-cubed or continue to read.]

Life Guide PostsThe Guide Posts are Integrity, Capability, and Eternity.

(1) Integrity points us to live life with a character seeking after God’s own heart, preferably in a way people respect & recognize.

Titus 2:7-8 (ESV): 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

(2) Capability reminds us to apply abilities in following God and in other areas of our life.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 (ESV): 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

(3) Eternity focused means we need to ensure we are seeking & living out the faith & righteousness to be admitted into Heaven forever.

John 3:16 (ESV): 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Life Role Modeling: Life Role Modeling includes Imitate, Christ, and Equipped. Our Role Models are Jesus Christ and his followers for eternity. Likewise, Role Models are useful for skills to apply in our world.

(A) Imitate: Just as we are to imitate the Apostle Paul who imitates Christ by learning from his faith, love, and decision-making processes, we are likewise to learn from Jesus’ other followers too.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV): 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

(B) Christ: Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and Redeemer. Jesus shows us the way to God the Father, and the way we are expected to live our lives with faith.

John 14:6 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(C) Equipped: Just like the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, so too faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life. To live this life properly involves continually becoming increasingly more equipped to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all people through studying & applying scripture lessons.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV): 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Life Monitoring & Correction: Our Life Monitoring & Correction includes Introspection, Confession, and Evaluation.

(I) Introspection: To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic mirror that God provides via his words and often those God sends into your life. To look at yourself without these diagnostic tools risks self-deception or self-despair. Even in worldly matters, organizations often bring in outside expertise to facilitate the diagnosis and repair process.

James 1:22-27 (ESV): 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

(II) Confession: As a result of our Introspection, each of us is to confess our sins to God and repent of them, and turn away from doing those kinds of sins again. Additionally, we are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our belief in him.

1 John 1:9 (ESV): 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:23 (ESV): 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

(III) Evaluation: Each of us is instructed to evaluate how our lives compare to living according to the Word of God, which can help to guide us in areas to correct. If we are remiss, and yet are true children of God, God monitors us to also help us to correct areas needing improvement.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (ESV): 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Besides applying this I.C.E. Framework to your Christian life directly, you can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your worldly life domains supportively.

Galatians 3:23-24 (ESV): 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

The I.C.E. Framework (I.C.E Acronym) reminds us of many passages in God’s Word that pertain to our living our Christian life faithfully and fully. To keep the material brief & quickly digestible, only one or two supporting Bible quotes were selected for each area, though many more exist. You can search the Bible further at the Bible Gateway at http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Christ&qs_version=ESV or use a search tool of your preference.

[You can view the presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/ice-cubed and also download a copy if you prefer]

I.C.E. Framework Review:

I. The I.C.E. Framework encompasses several aspects pertaining to living out the __________ life.

II. Life Guide Posts are I________, C_________, and E_________.

III. Life Role Models are I________, C_________, and E_________.

IV. Life Monitor & Correct tools are I________, C________, and E_________.

V. You can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your _______ life domains supportively.

I.C.E. Life Guide Posts Review:

A. Integrity points us to live life with a __________ seeking after God’s own heart.

B. Capability reminds us to apply our ___________ in following God in all our life areas.

C. Eternity focused reminds us to ensure we are seeking & living out faith & righteousness to be admitted into _________ forever.

I.C.E. Life Role Model Review:

1. Imitate the Apostle Paul & others who imitates Christ by learning from their ______, _____, and ______-______ processes.

2. Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and _________ who shows the way to God the Father and how to live our _______ with faith.

3. ________ in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life.

4. Christians must continually become increasingly more __________ to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all ________.

I.C.E. Life Monitor & Correct Review:

i. To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic _______ God provides.

ii. To look at yourself without God’s diagnostic tools risks self-_________ or self-________.

iii. Each of us is to confess our sins to God and _______ of them.

iv. Christians are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our _______ in him.

v. Each of us must evaluate how our lives ______ to living according to the Word of God to help guide us in areas to ________.

vi. God monitors true believers to also help us to correct & improve areas needing _________.

Credits:

(1) Chilled Font from Font River at http://www.fontriver.com/font/chilled/

(2) Clip Art from Microsoft Office at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images

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Next Steps:

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People have Choices:

You have choices: Pick Wisely.

Proverbs 27:12 (ESV): 12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

You have a choice: A choice to pick good or evil:

Deuteronomy 30:15 (ESV): 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

You must decide: A choice to pick blessings or curses:

Deuteronomy 11:26 (ESV): 26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.

You have a choice to flee sexual immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV): 8 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You have a choice to seek God’s righteousness:

Zephaniah 2:3 (ESV): 

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the anger of the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV): 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

You have a choice to pick slavery in sin or freedom in the truth:

John 8:31-38 (ESV): 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

You have a choice to pursue light or darkness:

John 8:12-20 (ESV): 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

You have a choice to fellowship with those who follow God the Father, his Son Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit:

Hebrews 10:24-27 (ESV): 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

You have a choice to tithe, to give 10% of your total income, one or more times annually. Yes, that would add up to more than 10%.

Malachi 3:9-11 (ESV): 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.

You have a choice to pay your owed taxes:

Mark 12:13-17 (ESV): 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

You have a choice to serve God or money:

Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV): 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

You have a choice to make your calling & election sure:

2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV): 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You have a choice to sow to the spirit persistently.

Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV): 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Choose Wisely according to the Greater Wisdom!

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ESV): 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

God’s cheering for you to make the right decision!

2 Kings 17:13-14 (ESV): 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.

Matthew 23;37-38 (ESV): 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate

God tells the truth and does not lie. God gives you legitimate choices. God wishes for you to pick blessings, but will let you pick curses. Pick Wisely!

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Scan of a DVD 4.5 capacity disk

Scan of a DVD 4.5 capacity disk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People in God’s Image:

God created people in his image to be able to aspire to become increasingly like God as people increase in knowledge & experiences throughout their lives.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV): 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Computer Software Images:

Likewise when computers are setup physically or virtually, they are often setup from a software image containing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provided operation system (O/S) & applications, or tailored configurations & applications for specific audiences & purposes.

Original Human Image:

The original image God provided for people’s mind & soul was not corrupted by sin & evil, just like buyers typically expect software images purchased & acquired to be free of viruses, malware, and other harmful programs. Our human image was originally an uncorrupted version of the image of God, and in the image of the Son of God, who came later as Jesus the Savior, who is one in essential character with God the Father.

Character Choice for Good and Evil:

Just like God has the choice of whether to choose good versus evil, so also people faced that same choice. God’s character, being solid, and unchanging, always chooses to be good, while people’s character had yet to be fully formed through their life experiences. Operating system platforms with included applications are typically very flexible. Likewise, God is very capable. So too people had a very capable platform in their mind & soul, which even supports upgrades, whether good or not.

Originally Narrow Path to Sin:

In the Garden of Eden, God mercifully setup a narrow path for people to limit their opportunities to sin, even though they could rebelliously & distrustfully choose that path. God narrowed this opportunity around whether to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God clearly instructed Adam & Even not to eat it. God advised the adverse outcome to be their death if they chose to eat it.

With Humanity & Choice, Comes Temptation: 

When Jesus the Son of God came to the Earth, Jesus was tested & tempted by the Devil, who is also known as Satan. God never subjects anyone to testing & temptations beyond their ability. While being tempted is not sinful, succumbing to evil is sinful. It is reasonable to expect that Satan had to secure God’s permission to tempt Adam & Eve, or negotiate terms under which they could be tempted, since this was similarly Job’s circumstance.

Limits to Human Wisdom:

It’d be wonderful if with freedom of choice also came perfect decision-making. King Solomon, the wisest person on Earth, even made poor decisions, despite having a multitude of counselors available & knowing advisors are valuable. The net result is there are limits to human wisdom. The Universe Tools Paradigm perspective is that Our Universe is being driven behind the scenes by computations. This perspective makes it apparent that the computation power of just a few pounds of material in the human mind is limited compared to city, county, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy, and cosmos size computational power. The net result is a proper character must underlie decision-making. This human character must be informed by God’s advice & involvement through faith.

The Decision & It’s Propagation:

Just like parents want the best for their children, and yet can not make the choices for their children as they mature, so too God had to permit people to make choices as they matured. While God provided good advice, it was disregarded deliberately, as was further consultation with God on that decision bypassed. When Adam & Eve decided to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil in midst of the Garden of Eden, it was a decision that corrupted their image. By analogy, this is like computer software’s image being corrupted so badly it can not be trusted nor easily rectified. When that corrupted image is duplicated to additional physical or virtual machines, the corruption is propagated. When Adam & Eve had children, this propagated the corrupted image.

You Reap what You Sow:

As people are aware today, there are so many ways to sin, that it is very easy to sin in thought, word, and deed, with the way to eternal punishment being a wide path. The original sin sown by Adam & Eve to disregard God’s voice reaped our human tendency to pick from a world full of sinful choices baked into our character. People are brought to justice when they use software in sinful ways, and efforts are made to eliminate that software. What is your recourse as a person, when your “mind & heart & soul image” is sinful and guilty? Even if your image were fixed, you would still be guilty of past offenses, and deserve to reap eternal punishment.

Ten Commandments Reveal Vulnerabilities:

The God-given Ten Commandments provide instructions on what God expects. Because our character has been corrupted, the Ten Commandments also serve to show that people have this corrupted image. To a certain degree, this is like intrusion detection software / anti-virus software identifying the signature of infections and viruses. The Ten Commandments reveal where vulnerabilities are, just like penetration testers often do with software & hardware platforms. While the Ten Commandments are strong in identifying corrupted images, they are weak as they justly sentence the entire individual image to eternal quarantine away from what is good & right.

New Incorruptible Image:

What is needed is an incorruptible image that is fully human, yet is fully righteous as God is, so that the compromised & corrupted image can be replaced with an updated incorruptible image. Jesus, the Son of God, as the Savior of the World, entered into humanity. God implanted this perfect image in the virgin Mary, who later married Joseph. The Holy Spirit worked diligently, even in the womb, to ensure the Son of God’s image was fully imprinted to meet this challenge. This perfect image was different, in that it was a fully developed character, the character of Jesus the Son of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Fully Tested Incorruptible Image:

Unlike Adam & Eve, Jesus’ image was proven incorruptible. Jesus’ character stood up to temptation, hypocrisy, threats, punishment, and death, even a brutally painful death on the cross. Satan, the Devil, like the ultimate penetration tester and ultimate hacker, yet with ill intent, fully tested out this incorruptible image as unbreakable. Just like updated software, applications, networks, and services are tested in the real world, so Jesus the Son of God’s image was tested. This image proved secure.

Incorruptible Image Available to All People:

Through Faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, this incorruptible image from Jesus the Savior is available to all people. Like a wise person building their house on a sure foundation is able to weather life’s storms, so too building our lives on this secure foundation of Jesus’ image by seeking & listening & following Jesus’ words is wise. This image upgrade process starts in this life, and finishes in the next life. To secure your future eternally, enroll for the upgrade to the only incorruptible image God is offering. It is the only human image ever proven secure! It is the secure image of Jesus Christ! People are inherently unable to make themselves & their image secure. Only with God’s intervention through Jesus Christ the Son of God are each individual persons’ image secured.

Secure Image Released from Eternal Punishment:

Even after starting an upgrade to the only secure image available, how would one become released from eternal punishment from past offenses committed previously by the corrupted image? The answer is the deserved punishment and quarantine was placed upon that secure image as well, as God temporarily forsook that secure image too, when death was wrongly inflicted upon the perfect uncorrupted image of Jesus Christ. This punishment could not justly remain on the secure image forever, being undeserved. Our goal is to have as much of the secure image of Jesus Christ in each of us, with as much of the older corrupted image eliminated as possible. This way, when judgement comes, God sees and rescues from eternal punishment that secure image in you, integrated with you, and you.

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