Friday, December 14, 2007

God'll be alright.

Do you ever feel for people of faith dealing with guilt? That stomach aching guilt? The guilt that causes ulcers? The guilt that causes us not to ever do or think of such a thing again?

On the flip side do you ever feel for people who struggle with a sin and then decide that God will take care of it?

A friend of mine was talking with someone who thought good works gave us a good place before God. You sometimes will hear this when people say that Christianity is too easy. This may be true since we sinners can’t earn God’s favor by all our good intentions and good works. We just believe God forgives and presto! We’re out of the prison house of guilt. Scripture says it right? "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him (Matthew 7:11)!

Also, “The righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). Yes, God forgives the person who trusts in Him through Christ… that sin is off the book… but you still pay your dues to people. I'm finding this to be true in my life. The sins of others and my own sin falling upon me like a stack of bricks.

In many cases God forgives, but you still live with the fact that you and all those around you are drowning in the effects of sin. I see it too often on this side of the city. The effects of your sin giving yourself and everyone around you ulcers.
In extreme cases, God forgives but you still go to jail. In your life and mine, we trust God forgives us but we’re still paying the consequences to others and our conscience pains us for what we’ve done wrong.

No, I don’t think living in forgiveness is so simple.

The upshot of this not-so-easy fact of life is that we need to keep hearing God’s words of forgiveness so that people’s words of judgment don’t totally depress our souls. That applies to us all. So at least for here and now, “Be of good cheer. Your sin is forgiven. Your sin is forgive!"

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was listening to this song that was probably meant for me. It made me cry for it hit me personally. It has to do with Love, Repentance, and the inability to work through an apology.
For the person singing the song...the apology is too little too late. The person is tired of being hurt. The person struggles with allowing for the hurt to happen again and again. The flame of love was once red hot and now the hurt turns the flame into a dismal coal barely burning.

Why Lord Jesus do you forgive? Is it so that we may hurt you over and over and over? Why did you forgive Peter for being a smuck? You asked him, "Peter, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes Lord, You know I love you." Lord, You asked Peter this question 3 times and accepted his answer each time. You not only accepted his answer, but you embraced him and said, "Feed my sheep." It was as if you were saying, "Peter, I know what you did multiple times. That was not love. That was cutting me down. That was selfish...But I know you love me. You are mine and you always will be. The Father has given you to me. I forgive you...I forgive you...I forgive you. Tell others about my love for you."

I don't expect the world to be Christ-like...But wouldn't that be nice. Jesus could have turned around and said,
'It's too late to apologize, it's too late
I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late"

But he didn't...He changed the lyrics
"Do you know how I love you...I love you
Be my love to rescue...I'll rescue."

I don't expect the world to be Christ-like...But wouldn't that be love?

Monday, August 06, 2007


A girl from the neighborhood around the church was baptized yesterday.
I'd been going to see her mother and grandmother off and on for about 2 years. The mother wasn't too sure and the grandmother didn't care. The 3rd grade girl knew that she had faith and confessed it to me numerous times.
I hadn't seen her for about 4 months until about 3 weeks ago. She showed up at our afternoon service out of the blue. She said, "Pastor Mike, I want to be baptized." I asked if her mom said it was ok. Her mother was still indifferent. Trying to make appointments and stopping by was not working...Yesterday, the girl came to our morning service and said, "Pastor Mike, my grandma said I could get baptized."
At this point I realize this girl is serious. She waited until the afternoon service and was baptized into the body of Christ!
It is my prayer the girl continues to be fed with God's Word...through some means. I do not know if it is going to get done at home. But at least it has been getting done at the church once or twice a week.
Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Dragon

Last week my dad, brother and I took a trip on our motorcycles as far south as Southeast Tennessee. Along the way we encountered a road that is known to motorcyclist as THE DRAGON. The second day into our trip we reached the dragon and rain was threatening. So we tried to hurry and get to the winding road before it got too dangerous. That didn't work. We ended up riding up the dragon in a rain storm.
Instantly, I became very uncomfortable with my abilities on the motorcyle. My rear wheels slid a few times my helmet was fogging up and I was shaking like an old stumbling man trying to go down a set of stairs. It was not say the least it was frightening. The dragon was on full attack on a rookie.
After making it back to Ohio I reflected on some of the fears that I experienced on my trip. It was experience on THE DRAGON which brought me to scripture. I was brought to the great book of Revelation which speaks in a different way of how Christians will face persecutions, death and yes the dragon himself and yet we must still persevere. For example Revelation 12:13-17:

"And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea."

Eventually by chapter 14 of Revelation there is good news. The Lamb, Jesus Christ, conquers all. He harvests the earth and brings to salvation all who he died for.

THE DRAGON had me scared. But it is the promise of the Lamb which gives me life and salvation.
The next morning we decided to go on the dragon again. This time it was dry. It was the funnest part of the ride we had. Keep Ridin'

Friday, June 22, 2007

LCMS 63rd Convention orientation

Tonight I just sat through a meeting briefly going over some resolutions that our Synod will be debating over in the middle of July. While sitting and listening to each resolution I was impressed with how our church body is wrestling with the tough issues. Serving in the city I often feel like the church in the city is forgotten and unimportant. But I have changed my mind.
Many of the resolutions dealing with many different issues all seem to affect what will be happening at 2062 East 30th, Cleveland. For example, there is a resolution to decide how we deal with training laymen who desire to be pastors in places where no one else wants to go like the city or a rural church of about 10 worshippers. I just so happen to be training a guy at this moment who desires to be a pastor in the city...He is not Lutheran as of now, but it is very possible that after I am done with him he will be a confessing lutheran. What is also impressive is that I may be able to refer this guy and other guys like him to pursue the ministry as this resolution prescribes. (That is if the resolution passes. There will be many from both sides of the Lutheran political realm that will be against such a move.) Either way, I was impressed that our church body is making a viable effort to put into practice what we believe and teach according to the Confessions.
My prayer is that the decisions at 63rd Convention will be God pleasing and a great blessing to the congregations that Synod serves.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

You can take the Boy out of the Hood...

But You can't take the Hood out of the Boy.

I found this to be true this past friday. I took 4 boys to the suburbs on Friday to a carnival that Shanna was putting on at her church in Chagrin Falls. Chargin is known as one of the richest areas in Ohio. I told the boys this was a rare chance that they would get to see an outside part of Cleveland that they never had seen before. Then I stressed,
"You better be on your best behavior." I also brought the boys so that they could help run a few games at the carnival. As it turned out the weather was bad and their behavior changed with the weather. Somehow fists began flying between the boys because of some flowery words used toward one another. The two boys were broken up and one was taken to the side by me. After I talked with him he had developed in his head that he was going to blow up our church and kill everyone in it.
An hour later the two boys were best friends once again.
So far the church has not been blown up.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

In the beginning...

was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

This verse from John 1:1 baffles me. The Word is Jesus? It is true, I find it throughout scripture all over the place.
Proverbs 8:22, when speaking of Wisdom (Jesus) - "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old."

Colossians 1:16-17, speaking of Christ - "For by him all things werre created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whetherr thrones or domininions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Recently I read an exerpt about a local radio announcer that was bad mouthing a new creation museum that is opening up near Cincinnati, Ohio. The museum uses science to prove that God made the world as Genesis 1 and 2 proclaim. Many athiests and "Christians" alike do not like what the museum stands for. To them it stands for a close minded Religious thought that is in no way scientific. Many Christians believe in a type of creation in which God started the process and the process began to flurish on its own. It kept getting better and better until dust particles became fully intelligent humans.
I cannot wait...This betterment will someday be perfect. We must keep evolving in order for that to happen.

Last night I went down to the projects to talk to a few guys. In the conversation I learned that a guy nicknamed Wimpy was shot and killed. He asked me about a year ago if He could be made new. If he could start over. If he could be baptized. He wanted to be made new, but never believed that the "Word", aka Jesus, could do that.
Much like most Americans. God through Jesus could never speak and create the world in 7 days. That would be unscientific!
May you be made new today by our creator. It was since the beginning...When God spoke, it happened.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mission Excitement

I have often wondered why people get excited about doing missions overseas. I am one who loves to do oversea missions. I am unable to place my finger on the reason why oversea missions is so addicting. Is it the excitement, the fear, the learning curve, seeing things you don't usually see? Is it about letting others know about Christ and eventually through that work they come into beleiving in Jesus as their Savior?
What is it?

I ask the question ultimately because my experience in overseas trips have been both positive and negative. Positive in that others around me become excited about being a part of the Lord's mission and negative in that I am perplexed that it takes $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 spent before we as Christians get excited about doing something missional.
I have recently become perplexed because this overseas experience is in my own backyard. Zion Lutheran Church, East 30th, Cleveland, Ohio.

Recently I went to Haiti and had great experience all to come back to the boring inner city mission at my church. It is a matter of perspective I suppose.
The difference between Haiti and our backyard is nothing. People are Lost.
They are lost in the middle of the Carribean and they are lost in the middle of America.
Maybe mission trips are ultimately about us and who we are after such an experience.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wifer's Birthday on the 24th

Celebrating the life that God has created is usually fun...
Execpt...I didn't do to well this year. I have come to the conclusion that I am not a very good gift giver for birthdays.
Bought her a backrest to put on my motorcycle...oops
Hmm...had a friend get a cake for her that was my favorite, white with chocolate frosting. Come to find out her favorite is white with white frosting. What was I thinking? The things you learn in life.
I did give her a flower. One rose. A first for about 5 years...maybe 7.
May you do better celebrating the life of someone close to you.
Happy Birthday Shanna.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bullet Proof Vest

I was told to wear one of these bulletproof vests by a Police officer that helps out at the church. He gave me a large...I need a medium.
I guess there is reason for concern. I have been punched on the basketball courts and there was that time one of the gang members in the area pointed his gun at me. Oh the memories...but I still question if I should wear the thing. I beleive I was in more danger hunting with my buddies during High School than on the streets in Clevelenad.
Maybe I have a David complex (1 Samuel 17). I will fight the "Goliaths" with a staff, 5 smooth stones and a slingshot. Or maybe I am unaware of the danger...Either way I ask for protection while the stones of God's Word is tossed in the direction of sin, flesh and the devil.
May the Lord protect us as we trust in Him. When we are not wearing any body armor may He be our fortress and shield as we fight on the front lines for the purpose of eternity that Christ has won for us.

1 Samuel 17:38-40
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Shame on You

This Easter Sunday I finished service and I was talking with one of the girls that was baptized about 4 years ago and confirmed a year or so ago. In the conversation she said the other day she went to another church and was pressured into getting baptized...she continued,
"The lady kept bugging me...and I didn't want to do it but she insisted that I needed to be put completely under the water."
I couldn't believe my of my students was re-baptized...
What about the first baptism? Didn't it do any good? Did God not deliver His gift of forgiveness and new life then?
I guess this insistant lady would say no. She would say that YOU have to be FULLY SUBMURGED under the water and YOU MUST BE at LEAST OLD ENOUGH to UNDERSTAND. And so I say,
"Shame on You insistant lady...hounding a teenager and telling her that her prior baptism was not good enough. Causing this little one to stumble in her faith. Shame on You!"
All I could think was...where did I go wrong in teaching my student not to fall into these temptations...Then my student said,
"Pastor, I know we should only be baptized once...but she insisted." She wanted to please her and maybe just in case the insistant woman was correct, it couldn't hurt, could it?

Come to my side of the city...shoot, go anywhere there are Baptists, and you will see this happening. I have a few adults that have been baptized more times than I have taken a bath. There is a reason for this. False Teaching.
What is so wrong with getting baptized more than once one may ask? It makes a believer start to doubt the validity of their faith.
"Was that baptism so many years ago valid? How do I know if I truly believed then? When will I ever know if I truly have a valid baptism? Was my baptism done correctly?
The problem is putting the focus on man's actions and our worthiness...Get this in your head...WE ARE Never GOING TO BE WORTHY ENOUGH FOR BAPTISM ON OUR OWN. Whether a Baby or the Pope. God is the one doing the good deed. We are the bystander receiving the gift of life and salvation. It is the ultimate welfare check. He is the Giver, we are the receiver. Baptism is a thing God does, not what we do by our intricate actions.
Baptism received in the name of the Holy Trinity is always a baptism, no matter what. The Church of God is part of the "Anabaptist" tradition; the word "Anabaptism" means, "Baptized again." At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century there arose groups that were collectively known as "enthusiasts" or "radical reformers" and eventually known as the "Anabaptists." One of the hallmarks of their theology was the view that infant baptism is of no effect and believers must all be baptized again.
However Scripture teaches that baptism is that one-time wonderful act of God in our lives by which He incorporates us into the life and death of Jesus Christ. It has life-long and ongoing blessings, but is performed only once on a person. Our Lord said, "Go and baptize," not "Go and baptize the same person numerous times." And although it is administered only once, baptism is to be used by Christians throughout their whole life. Nowhere do the Apostles call on Christians to repeat baptisms; however, they frequently recall to their minds the baptism once received (1 Cor.1:13; 6:11; 12:13; Rom. 6:3ff; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:21).
So I say again to the well meaning lady..."Shame on You." It is my prayer that this child's faith has not been weakened.
For those of us who have been rebaptized...take heart and always point to the 1st baptism in which the Holy Spirit gave you the gift of faith, life and salvation. Look at the other "baptisms" as a remembrance of the first baptism in which God grasp you in His arms to eternity.
For more "Shame on You" above.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gary Indiana

Gary, Indiana...I'll be at the Trump Motel this Friday and Saturday learning how to do ministry successfully in the City.
Hmmmm...I suppose I might learn something...Or not. Either way, at least I finally get to go to the City I sang about in High School during the Musical "The Music Man" Why don't we all sing along.

Gary Indiana Song Link

Gary, Indiana!
What a wonderful name,
Named for Elbert Gary of judiciary fame.
Gary, Indiana, as a Shakespeare would say,
Trips along softly on the tongue this way--
Gary, Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
Let me say it once again.
Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
That's the town that "knew me when."
If you'd like to have a logical explanation
How I happened on this elegant syncopation,
I will say without a moment of hesitation
There is just one place
That can light my face.
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
Not Louisiana, Paris, France, New York, or Rome, but--
Gary, Indiana,
Gary, Indiana,
Gary Indiana,
My home sweet home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Headin' to Haiti

Decided to hitch a plane with some fellow Clevelanders and go on a mission trip to Haiti. Someone dropped out and I slipped into her spot. Most of the trip is social ministry, like pulling teeth, ESL, building a roof, building a basketball court. But where there is social ministry, there is the chance to connect the Gospel. Should be a great trip.
Now I am off to the doctor to get the needle. Don't want to bring any disease back to the USA.
Peace in Christ

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Talking Battery

A talking battery! Wouldn't that be nice? You push a button on the side and it says, "Charged and ready to Go!" On the other hand if is says nothing you pitch it in the trash.
I've been looking at 2 Corinthians 5 and in it is says,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (5:17).
Are we just old, quiet, dead batteries waiting to be pitched in the trash?
Or are we renewed talking batteries speaking that "today is the day of salvation" (6:2).
Tired of it all? Let Christ renew you. Let His Word make you new for today is the day of salvation. Recharched with God's Word we cannot help but be that annoying pink bunny that keeps goin' pointing others to the Savior.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I have always assumed Jesus was unstoppable. This is evident throughout the Bible. This coming Sunday I am playing around with Luke 13 and our reality of what unstoppable means. Is it T-Mac going in for a dunk?
Opposite of what the world may think, the unstoppable Jesus is the one who would not be stopped to die. His glory was not slamming a ball through a hoop, or becoming Mr./Mrs. President. His glory is shown through the cross in which the sin, death and the devil were defeated. It is amazing to think that this unstoppable Jesus continues to Work through the Holy Spirit. It is this guy who breaks through all our barriers and roadblocks that we put up to stop the benefits of Christ's love to be delivered to us. Unstoppable grace delivered for You...and yet that Grace accomplished at the Cross must still be delivered to you. Often we stop the gift from being delivered to us. Many "greive the Holy Spirit". It is as if some turn the channel micro-seconds before the smashing dunk is delivered.
At times my job would be a lot easier if the gift was not rejectable...
I thank my Lord that His Word worked into my heart the miracle of repentance and the gift of salvation...
The gift which gives us the DNA of our UNSTOPPABLE Lord. And so we play with the Unstoppable.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Under the Weather

I'm Not really "Under the Weather"...but I believe to an extent we all are.
It is interesting that every barbar shop I went to the first words were usually about the weather. "Sure is a hot one today." or " "Close the door...old man winter is tryin' to get in."
Our day to day activities seem to be affected by the weather.
"Should we plan for an outdoors carnival? It might rain."
"Sorry kids, we are not going to Six Flags, it is raining." and the latest one I heard,
"Pastor, you can't come over and visit me. I am snowed in."

Schools out, the pool is open, golf season begins, laid off, catch a cold, overheat, buying an air condition, etc...
It seems as If the weather has a lot to say in anything we do...
I wonder if God works the same way in a person's life?
I think it'd be nice if we had a 5 minute time slot during the evening news for the One who runs all things.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Our Cat Died

Have you ever had a cat die in your washing machine?
I have. Zoe our kitten of about 3 months decided to go for a ride in the Kenmore. It ended in death.
Funny...Yes, but still...hard to believe.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The score at the beginning of the game
The temperature on the bank sign
The candy bar
Your account Balance
How many friends you have
What your co-workers call you
The time left on the shot clock
The time left in the game...

What Jesus became to make you blessed and holy.

Friday, February 02, 2007


It is still snowing. But "Rain" was the title of my bible study tonight.

For a few seconds think of one moment you would never want to forget. A moment that might change everything...Like seeing your child be born...or getting married...or hitting the hole in one...or laying in the middle of a field with the warmth of the sun on your face...The first day of school.
Got it? Do you have your moment? OK.

Now it rains. It always seems to rain.
Its like dreaming the greatest dream and getting woke up. You try to go back to sleep and dream it again, but it doesn't work.
Rain. Pounding Rain. Drenched hair rain. Walking like you wet yourself rain.

That's life...isn't it? And it's the rain in our lives that makes us ask questions like. Why God? I thought you loved me. I can't believe in a God who would allow such things to happen.

Tonight's Bible Study we watched a video about a father taking his 1 year old son for a walk around a lake. It started off great. It was "the moment". Then it began to rain. It began to pour. The child began to scream his head off. The child's reality was only the storm. And yet the Father was still there. He was there holding the child whispering in his ear.
"I love you...We will get through this...We are almost there...I love you."

As Christians we often expect to receive blessings like TV preachers talk about. "You will be blessed with earthy wealth as long as you follow the words of scripture."
The reality however, is not blessings that the world considers, but the reality is rain.
The blessing of rain...of storms...of life shattering events...The Cross.
Jesus the cross bearer says,
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23) and again he stresses "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27).

The Christian Life has to do with rain. It has to do with suffering, defeat and weakness - not simply the experience of “glory” as we might like.
Therefore we cling to the Cross - Trusting Christ to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. This is saving Faith.
In ordinary life we still have our problems…yet our crosses are connected to His cross and our resurrections are connected to His Resurrection.

We live life clinging to our loving Father who sent His Son Jesus to endure the storm of sin death and the devil. These are rain showers we do not have to endure for they have been defeated. And the day will come that all rain will cease and we will have "the moment". "The moment" of remembering the rain storm and how our Creator God grasped us close to Him during the storm whispered in our ear.
"I love you...We will get through this...We are almost there...I love you."

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's Snowing

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

I drive nearby this factory in Cleveland. Early in the morning there is a bright blue and red flame shooting from the largest smokestack that penetrates the darkness of the early morning.
The contrast of dark to white has always baffled me. I am amazed at how something so dark can become so bright.
I am not so amazed at how something so white can become muttled. Muttling is pretty easy to do...But from dark to white...that baffles me.
Pureness and whiteness penetrating into a dark and dreary world. The Word made Flesh (John 1:14). That is amazing.
Daniel 7:9 As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
Matthew 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Revelation 1:14 The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,

Thursday, January 04, 2007


It's the New Year. My mom is 49. She got 49 hats for her birthday. Today is not about hats, but about telling the future.
The New Year brings along thoughts about the future.
"Will I lose 50 lbs? Will I run in that marathon? Will I get that new job? Will I finish school?" Fun questions to be sure. One question I received recently was a question about telling the future. There is only One who can tell the future and knows the future. That would be God...So this leads us into predestination. The topic where God predestines or chooses us to be saved. It is in this discussion of God knowing all that begs the question, "Does God choose or predestine us to Hell?"
Tough question. To answer, we turn to the Bible. This is what it says,
– Isaiah 44:4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I CALL you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.
– John 15:16 You did not CHOOSE me, but I CHOSE you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
– Ephesians 1:4-5 even as he (God) CHOSE us in him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
– Acts 2:38-39 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God CALLS to himself.”

There are many many more passages that have to do with the election of grace, or the predestination of our being saved. But does God call or predestine those to damnation?
The simple answer is NO.
No man is lost because God has predestined him to eternal damnation. -- Eternal election is a cause why the elect are brought to faith in time, Acts 13:48; but election is not a cause why people remain unbelievers when they hear the Word of God. The reason assigned by Scripture for this sad fact is that these people judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, putting the Word of God from them, rejecting and resisting the Holy Spirit, whose earnest will it is to bring also them to repentance and faith by means of the Word, Act 13:46; 7:51; Matt. 23:37. It is not God's fault that we are sinners. It only in our nature to reject Him, but it is the Work of the Holy Spirit, (AKA God) that brings us to that eternal paradise.

Luther, the rascal, once was asked what God was doing before He made the world. And he replied, "cutting sticks to beat people who ask that question". That's funny, because it implies Mystery....
Predestination... there is a large sense of mystery to it. And that is why no one will be completely satisfied with an answer. But this is what statifies me to questions about Predestination. I keep it simple...
God wishes all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3). This is His will. In order to be saved a person must receive GodÂ’s call through the Word of God (John 15:16). It is this call which we either cling to or reject. God knows whether or not we are going to cling to the call or reject. God therefore predestines those whom he calls to be saved. The others reject this call and fall into eternal damnation which God knew was going to happen beforehand.
Happy Birthday Mom! You're a called child of God.