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Ma Strong, so they say? bereft, anyone who wants too
April 21, 2009
9:11 pm
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on my way
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What, Biblically speaking is free will? How long can someone walk away from God before He brings them back, or does He allow us to make that choice as in the Prodigal Son? I have a Prodigal Son. In God's hands he is powerful and in the enemy's hands he is powerful...what scares me to death is his free will.

I think about Jonah and how he walked away from God. God allowed him to be thrown overboard, but didn't allow him to drown, but put him in the belly of a whale...sequestered, alone, nothing for himself, but he and God.

I understand free will, but there is an enigma about it as well for me, so thought i would ask for some other's opinions.

Thanks,
omw

April 21, 2009
9:34 pm
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soofoo
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Free will is a great religious topic. Free will began in the Garden of Eden.

God loves us and he didn't create us to be slaves. We have a choice.

I think when it comes to other people, you have to let them go. You let them go, and pray that God loves them. You pray that God's will be done in their lives as you pray that His will is done in yours. You know that His will for them is greater than yours, for His will is perfect. You pray for their daily bread, and you let them go.

April 22, 2009
2:32 pm
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hello omw, good question. i'll try to keep this simple (yeah, right). first, i'm understanding you to say that you are concerned about your "prodigal son." so let me talk about this. the Bible says, “Whosoever will may come. Him who cometh to me I will in no wise cast out? you believe that? okay. so, you believe in man’s volition. free will is not a biblical term, because man’s will isn't really free. it is bound by sin, right? free will probably began and ended in the garden of eden.

since you mentioned Jonah, let's go to chapter 4:7. the prophet says that "God prepared a worm," which teaches us that God is in our worries and losses. isn't that good news? God is with you in your worries about your son. now Jonah's great comfort was destroyed by a very little thing. it was only a worm, but that was enough to destroy the gourd. sometimes a little thing may destroy all our comforts, and make them to be like the withered leaves of Jonah's gourd. some unseen thing may come to you, and turn into grief all your present joy. sometimes the sharpest bitterness of our grief is when we have our joy spoiled by the sin of our children. so you begin to see that God is also dealing with some things in your life as well, your faith and trust in Him.

at the back of man's free will there is the great truth of divine predestination (Ephesians 1), which overrules even the waywardness of your son for the Lord's own glory. and isn't it a wonderful proof of grace that God does this without destroying man in any degree whatsoever? man is a creature with a will,—a "free will" as we sometimes call it,—a creature who is responsible for his actions. if a man becomes a child of God, he still has a will. we become Christians with our own full assent and consent; and we keep the law of God not by any compulsion except the sweet compulsion of love. this seems to me the greatest wonder of divine grace.

when you became a Christian, did you say to yourself, “oh! i'm elect! i think, i'll get saved.” no. no, you made a decision, didn’t you? you made a choice. so, the Bible teaches God’s predestining plan, God’s electing plan. it says that over and over, "elect" according to the foreknowledge of God, "elect" in Him. so, you believe all of that. then, you believe in man’s choice as well. so, you believe both of those things.

the problem is not whether you believe those, right? the problem is how you harmonize them. you know how you harmonize them? no, you don't. i don't either. you and i don't know how to harmonize them. because there is no way to harmonize them. the way that i like to illustrate it is this, is Jesus God or man? yes. is He all man? 100 % man? 100 % God? how can He be 200 %? it's a paradox.

when it comes down to the whole area of sovereignty and will, you got to leave them where they are. the best way to solve that problem is to believe both and let God resolve it. the very fact that there are those irreconcilable apparent paradoxes in scripture speaks of divine authorship. God understands how they harmonize. we don’t. i'm content with that. it means God has a greater mind than we do. aren’t you glad about that? now, what else has God revealed to you beyond these words?

grace and peace

April 22, 2009
4:48 pm
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I've always been taught that the whole point of this mortal life was free will. we are here to learn to have faith and make good choices. Prodigal sons? keep praying and showing them a good example. and love them, simply love them.

April 23, 2009
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Adam was created with a free will. He and Eve could choose to obey God...or not. Love is a CHOICE...not a feeling. It is God's delight and joy when one of His creations (mankind) chooses to believe in Him, love Him and put Him first.

He will never interfere with our free will. Yes...He will pour out grace. He will pour out a spirit of repentance. He will "woo" us and court us, to win our hearts. But the bottom line choice to believe in Him -- or reject him -- is always ours. Every man and woman ever born makes this choice.

Nothing in Scripture refutes this.

As far as your children and loved ones who are not yet saved? Keep praying for them. Remember, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Also, stand on this: "...the seed of the righteous shall be delivered." Do battle against the enemy (the devil) with the Word of God. There is power in His Word which is released by our faith.

Never, ever give up praying. My late stepfather was a diehard atheist for whom I prayed for nearly twenty years. Five days before his death, he turned to me and a companion minister and asked what he needed to do to be redeemed, after a lifetime of sin. And he gave his life to Jesus Christ. He went Home in glory five days later.

The final choice falls to each individual, but prayer moves God to pour out His grace, His mercy and rearrange the circumstances of our loved ones' lives, to give them more opportunities to receive His love and choose LIFE IN HIM.

- Ma Strong

April 23, 2009
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i appreciate all that you said, Ma, especially that "every man and woman ever born makes this choice." we are each responsible for the sins we commit and whether or not we choose to love God. however, you neglect the great truth of divine predestination.

Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). and in the same Gospel, John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (1:12-13). and Paul said, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

the question here is who chose whom? we know from Scripture we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). we must also understand that our faith and salvation rest entirely on God’s election (Acts 13:48). and yet the day you came to Jesus Christ, you did so because of an internal desire, you did nothing against your will. but even that desire is God-given, He supplies the necessary faith so we can believe (Eph. 2:8).

how easily we forget just how hopeless we were; that we were dead in our trespasses and sins; that we were consumed by our lusts and passions; that we were rotten at the core, corrupt and vile. the Old Testament said, "No man seeks after God."

think about it. if our salvation depends on us, then praise to God is ridiculous. but, in truth, our praise to God is completely appropriate, because in forming the church before the world began, He chose us by His sovereign decree apart from any of our works. the doctrine of election demonstrates God being God, exercising divine prerogatives. for that we must praise Him.

grace and peace

April 23, 2009
5:34 pm
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soofoo
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Bereft,

Okay. So God chooses us. I agree with that, if you mean that God chooses every one of us. He made us, He loves us. Not one more than another. "Not one shall be lost." But we must also choose Him. We do not have to follow Him. We can choose to turn away, and not only that but we very often do.

So how exactly are we failing God or neglecting truth by acknowledging that we are free to choose? How is this failing to praise? We praise the Lord for loving us so as to give us free will. God's gifts are always in love.

April 23, 2009
6:57 pm
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bereft
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this may come as a shock to some but God didn’t choose everyone to salvation. Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of ALL THAT HE HAS GIVEN ME I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39). God the Father chose certain individuals to form a Body as a gift to Jesus Christ. every believer is part of that love gift to Christ—a gift of the Father’s love to His Son.

to those who say that is unjust, Paul answers: “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion’” (Rom. 9:14-15).

so why does God still find fault in unrepentant sinners when He didn’t choose them? doesn’t this deny human responsibility? is it fair for God to still hold them accountable?

Paul answers all such questions with a rebuke—“who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” (v. 20). does the clay jump up and ask the potter why it looks the way it does? not at all.

some believe that is terribly cold and calculating. but that is only one side of God’s sovereign election. Paul continues in the next chapter by saying, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved … for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (10:9, 13).

how these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Rom. 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Rom. 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. but Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). it’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

grace and peace

April 23, 2009
10:52 pm
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fantas
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I love this topic:

Question. -- Is man a free agent in all his actions, or is he compelled and constrained?

Answer. -- This question is one of the most important and abstruse of divine problems....Some things are subject to the free will of man, such as justice, equity, tyranny and injustice, in other words, good and evil actions; it is evident and clear that these actions are, for the most part, left to the will of man. But there are certain things to which man is forced and compelled, such as sleep, death, sickness, decline of power, injuries and misfortunes; these are not subject to the will of man, and he is not responsible for them, for he is compelled to endure them. But in the choice of good and bad actions he is free, and he commits them according to his own will.

For example, if he wishes, he can pass his time in praising God, or he can be occupied with other thoughts. He can be an enkindled light through the fire of the love of God, and a philanthropist loving the world, or he can be a hater of mankind, and engrossed with material things. He can be just or cruel. These actions and these deeds are subject to the control of the will of man himself; consequently, he is responsible for them.

Now another question arises. Man is absolutely helpless and dependent, since might and power belong especially  249  to God. Both exaltation and humiliation depend upon the good pleasure and the will of the Most High.

It is said in the New Testament that God is like a potter who makes "one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour."[1] Now the dishonored vessel has no right to find fault with the potter saying, "Why did you not make me a precious cup, which is passed from hand to hand?" The meaning of this verse is that the states of beings are different. That which is in the lowest state of existence, like the mineral, has no right to complain, saying, "O God, why have You not given me the vegetable perfections?" In the same way, the plant has no right to complain that it has been deprived of the perfections of the animal world. Also it is not befitting for the animal to complain of the want of the human perfections. No, all these things are perfect in their own degree, and they must strive after the perfections of their own degree. The inferior beings, as we have said, have neither the right to, nor the fitness for, the states of the superior perfections. No, their progress must be in their own state.
[1 Rom. 9:21.]

Also the inaction or the movement of man depend upon the assistance of God. If he is not aided, he is not able to do either good or evil. But when the help of existence comes from the Generous Lord, he is able to do both good and evil; but if the help is cut off, he remains absolutely helpless. This is why in the Holy Books they speak of the help and assistance of God. So this condition is like that of a ship which is moved by the power of the wind or steam; if this power ceases, the ship cannot move at all. Nevertheless, the rudder of the ship turns it to either side, and the power of the steam moves it in the desired direction. If it is directed to the east, it goes to the east; or if it is directed to the west, it goes to the west. This motion does not come from the ship; no, it comes from the wind or the steam.  250 

In the same way, in all the action or inaction of man, he receives power from the help of God; but the choice of good or evil belongs to the man himself. So if a king should appoint someone to be the governor of a city, and should grant him the power of authority, and should show him the paths of justice and injustice according to the laws -- if then this governor should commit injustice, although he should act by the authority and power of the king, the latter would be absolved from injustice. But if he should act with justice, he would do it also through the authority of the king, who would be pleased and satisfied.

That is to say, though the choice of good and evil belongs to man, under all circumstances he is dependent upon the sustaining help of life, which comes from the Omnipotent. The Kingdom of God is very great, and all are captives in the grasp of His Power. The servant cannot do anything by his own will; God is powerful, omnipotent, and the Helper of all beings.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 247)

April 23, 2009
11:28 pm
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soofoo
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Bereft.

I'm going to have to call you out. You are taking the Lord's name in vain. And that is a sin.

You make a claim. Then you quote the bible. But the quote does not support your claim.

Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of ALL THAT HE HAS GIVEN ME I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39).

From this sentence you infer that God has only chosen certain individuals? How? It isn't there.

And also, you get that God chose certain individuals as a gift to Jesus Christ? That's not there either, and is really quite disturbing.

Jesus himself explained that HE was a gift to US. He said, "what greater gift can a man give his friends than to lay down his life for them?" He said this as He lay down his life for us on the day of the crucifixion.

I am really perturbed that your quotes and your claims do not connect. I am asking you to pray about this as your sister in Christ and please let the Lord be with you.

April 23, 2009
11:46 pm
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soofoo
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Bereft.
God is not some great big puppet master. How can you love Him and say these things about Him?

I love you, I mean you no harm. But what you are saying is just wrong.

It isn't enough to praise God and Fear Him. We need to KNOW Him. This is why He came to the earth and suffered the equivalent of an eternity in hell. It was so that we could know Him. Not so we would run around and prostrate ourselves in fear, and hide from Him because of our sin, and wonder if we were lucky enough to be one of the elect. But so that we could take our sin and lay it down to Him and be forgiven and really, really KNOW Him.

We give our entire selves over completely, not in fear, or because we were already chosen, but because we long to be with Him and we finally realize that this longing belongs with Him and not with another person or a drug or ambition or pleasure or whatever we were confusing our spiritual needs with. So this Harmony with the Lord happens and it is gentle, and never forced, and we can decide to break away and go seek somewhere else at any time, for we are not mere slaves or even angels, whose will is the same as the Lord's by definition. So it does not last, for this is earth and a learning place. We obtain a state of grace, and fall from that state again and again, but we are always welcomed back. Remember what He said about the lost sheep?

April 24, 2009
12:47 pm
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Soofoo, and Fantas,

I think any discussion of man’s free will must begin with an understanding of his nature because man’s will is bound by that nature. A prisoner has the freedom to pace up and down in his cell, but he is constrained by the walls of that cell and can go no further, no matter how much his will might desire it. So it is with man. Because of sin, man is imprisoned within a cell of corruption and wickedness which permeates to the very core of our being. Every part of man is in bondage to sin – our bodies, our minds, and our wills. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the state of man’s heart: it is “deceitful and desperately wicked.” In our natural, unregenerate state, we are carnally minded, not spiritually minded. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be” (Romans 8:6-7). These verses tell us that before we are saved, we are at enmity (war) with God, we do not submit to God and His law, neither can we. The Bible is clear that, in his natural state, man is incapable of choosing that which is good and holy. In other words, he does not have the “free will” to choose God because his will is not free. It is constrained by his nature, just as the prisoner is constrained by his cell.

How then can anyone be saved? Ephesians 2:1 describes the process. We who are “dead in our trespasses and sins” have been “made alive” through Christ. A dead man cannot make himself alive because he lacks the necessary power to do so. Lazarus lay in his tomb four days unable to do a thing to resurrect himself. Christ came along and commanded him to come to life (John 11). So it is with us. We are spiritually dead, unable to rise. But “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He calls us out of our spiritual graves and gives us a completely new nature, one undefiled by sin as the old nature was (2 Corinthians 5:17). God saw the desperate and helpless state of our souls, and in His great love and mercy, He sovereignly chose to send His Son to the cross to redeem us. By His grace we are saved through the gift of faith which He gives us so that we can believe in Jesus. His grace is a free gift, our faith is a free gift, and our salvation is a free gift given to those whom God has chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Why did He chose to do it this way? Because it was “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6). It’s important to understand that the plan of salvation is designed to glorify God, not man. Our response is to praise Him for the “glory of His grace.” If we chose our own salvation, who would get the glory? We would, and God has made it clear that He will not give the glory due to Him to anyone else (Isaiah 48:11).

The question naturally arises, how do we know who has been saved “from the foundation of the world”? We don’t. That is why we take the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, telling all to repent and receive God’s gift of grace. Second Corinthians 5:20 tells us we are to be pleading with others to be reconciled to God before it is too late. We cannot know who God will choose to release from their prison cells of sin. We leave that choice to Him and present the Gospel to all. The ones who come to Jesus He “will in no way cast out” (John 6:37).

April 24, 2009
1:23 pm
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thank you TB, that was an excellent explanation of "free will" and God's grace.

in addition, Paul’s praise is essentially his reflection on the amazing truth that God “blessed us with every spiritual blessing … in Christ” (v. 3). and how did He bless us? “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). WOW

grace and peace

April 24, 2009
1:26 pm
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sf, i'm sorry that you believe i have taken the Lord's name in vain. i am required to believe and to teach what the Bible says is true, not what i want the Bible to say is true. if what i am saying is wrong, show me in God's Word. but if i'm right, why do you say i have sinned?

election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:1, 2).

it does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18, 19, 36; 5:40; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 22:17). all whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

the unmerited favor (grace) that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God's anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Eph. 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:2).

God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Rom. 9:11-16). this sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:25-28; 2 Tim. 1:9).

let's go back to the one verse you believe does not support my claim: "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day" (John 6:39). the mission of Christ was to save the elect, his people, his sheep (Matt 1:21, John 10:15). had there not been a fixed number contemplated by God when he appointed Christ to die, then the effects of Christ's death would have been uncertain. the "that of all" is not the all of everyone, it is not the salvation of everyone...... 'The whole world is gone after him.' did all the world go after Christ? 'Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.' was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? 'Ye are of God, little children', and 'the whole world lieth in the wicked one.' does 'the whole world' there mean everybody? if so, how was it, then, that there were some who were "of God?"

again in John chapter six, Jesus says this, (verse 37) “All that the Father,” what? “gives” who? just mark that in your mind. “All that the Father,” what? “gives Me.” now, that’s exactly what i’ve been saying. every redeemed individual is a part of an elect, redeemed humanity that is a gift from the Father to the Son. “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me.” why? i’ll tell you why. verse 44. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who has sent Me draws him.” so all that the Father gives are drawn. all who are drawn, come. all who come, i receive and I’ll never turn one of them down. why would the Son turn down a love gift from the Father?

Jesus' atonement and his intercession are joint works of his high priesthood. He explicitly excludes the non-elect from his great high priestly prayer. "I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given Me" (John 17:9). did Christ die for those for whom he would not pray?

there is a certain number of the children of men given by the Father to Jesus Christ, to be his care, and so to be to him for a name and a praise; given him for an inheritance, for a possession. as one of His elect you can rejoice in the astonishing kindness God showed you before the world began. we like to feel as though we are in charge and that we give ourselves to God. in truth, He calls and we come. our election is in Christ. we are saved by him, in him, and for him.

grace and peace

April 24, 2009
6:24 pm
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fantas
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Well put, Terriberry. Thank you!

April 25, 2009
12:49 am
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Hi everyone, wow this has become a very good conversation regarding free will. I am in awe at the answers and will have to take some time and think about what has been shared here. The subject is confusing to me and I think about the time in the Garden of Gethsamane when Jesus said to God before the crucifixion: "Not my will, but your will be done", which says that Jesus and us have a will that can run in the opposite direction of God.

Ma Strong,
My son is saved, has been since he was 10 years old, but he is unique in that he has at times chosen to walk away and others he chooses not to. That part of him is very tipsy turvy, he is either/or, no middle of the road for him, hot or cold. Scary for me to see him like this, it is destructive behavior.

I'm going to read what has been written in the posts above, I really like what has been said, and need to think about it.

April 25, 2009
12:49 am
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Hi everyone, wow this has become a very good conversation regarding free will. I am in awe at the answers and will have to take some time and think about what has been shared here. The subject is confusing to me and I think about the time in the Garden of Gethsamane when Jesus said to God before the crucifixion: "Not my will, but your will be done", which says that Jesus and us have a will that can run in the opposite direction of God.

Ma Strong,
My son is saved, has been since he was 10 years old, but he is unique in that he has at times chosen to walk away and others he chooses not to. That part of him is very tipsy turvy, he is either/or, no middle of the road for him, hot or cold. Scary for me to see him like this, it is destructive behavior.

I'm going to read what has been written in the posts above, I really like what has been said, and need to think about it.

April 25, 2009
12:50 am
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on my way
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sheesh...didn't mean to post twice!! 🙂

April 25, 2009
7:34 pm
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soofoo
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I too appreciate the posts on this subject. And I want to come back to this when I have the time it deserves and also after I have prayed about it.

I have much respect for the folks here.

Love to you, soofoo.

April 27, 2009
10:45 am
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Bereft,

Double "WOW"... !

April 27, 2009
1:42 pm
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bereft,

You seem to have a sincere understanding of Scripture as well as how to apply it. So, may I ask your thoughts about my son. I am so at a loss, that even I am starting to question what God has in store for him. And he is the reason I asked the question about free will, because free will in regard to my son's free will frightens me. I'll share a little bit with you here. I have spoken to my pastor about him, and about my role in this as well already, and he shared of course the Prodigal Son story. And he was very sensitive as members of his family have gone through similar circumstances. But I am confused, and I know God has his own time-table, but I am so concerned at this point.

I have 3 sons, age 27, 25, and 21. My middle son and my youngest son are independent and successful with their own gifts and talents that God has given them. My oldest son, the 27 year old, is in constant torment in his life and has been for a long time. In God's hands he is very powerful, and in the enemy's hands he is very powerful, and for the last 10 years of his life he has gone back and forth. Currently he is broken and sees no hope. He is unable to correct himself. He is jobless, but not irresponsible, and has learned some very difficult lessons. He is a David, a Moses, and a Peter all rolled up into one. He is born again and when he serves, he serves with all of his heart, but now he is simply broken, and I look at him and all I can think of is that God is building his testimoney, but if he doesn't look up pretty soon, he will be down for a very long time. All that I know about God just does not seem to be happening in his life, and I don't know what to do. So many people are praying for him, constantly, but he is barely hanging on. He is so caught up in rejection and even as he says rejects himself. Nothing seems to register with him. He prays, reads his Bible, but he seems to have given up....and I wonder, God where are you in this??? I see my son totally relying on himself though, and he is about at the end of his rope. He says he feels so much pain, but he will not go to counseling because he says he is ashamed and has been down that road before and he does not believe anything will help him. He has also been an alcoholic but has stopped drinking over the last year and a half. He said last night that "the way I dealt with my pain was to drink, and now I don't do that anymore and I don't think I know how to deal with the pain"...but he does, he does know, but he has chosen other ways for so long, and now that void is just that, a void. And I ask God to fill him again, and I think...why hasn't my son asked God, and if he has, what is the problem?? This is what hurts me. My son is so low, and wants God's help, but he can't seem to do what he has to do to get his life back on track. It's a mess. And I think, is his free will getting in the way, and is it preventing God from helping him? Why is the enemy getting the best of a child of God, and when does it stop? I always thought I knew Biblical answers to these questions. My son KNOWS Biblical answers to these questions....he knows God, and he knows the Word inside and out.....can you tell me what may be going on? I seriously am afraid, that my son will die before he is brought back.

Thank you, I will await your thoughts before I write again.

God bless,

omw

April 27, 2009
5:36 pm
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bereft
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hello, omw. thank you for your kind words. we are all here to help and support each other, aren't we?

i've talked about God's sovereignty before in our "free will." i think an understanding of His sovereignty in our lives will help us be stable. and fully trusting God requires an understanding of God's sovereign grace: that we are chosen, redeemed, kept, and glorified by God, who is the initiator. you believe this, i know. that means every trial of the our life is under God's sovereign control to perfect him or her for His eternal purpose and glory. i say him or her because it seems to me that the Lord is also doing a work in your life through your son. how does it seem to you? let's see if we can find some answers to your concerns.

i'm going to suggest two passages for you to read and meditate on and then if you have further questions, please pray and ask again. first, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil 4:6). i want you to focus on the idea of "thanksgiving." instead of praying to God with doubt or discontentment, approach God in a spirit of thanksgiving. that's because God promised not to allow anything into our lives that will be too much for us to bear (1 Cor. 10:13), to work out everything for our good in the end (Rom. 8:28), and "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish" us in the midst of our suffering (1 Pet. 5:10). you see how He must love you and me.

we need to trust every situation to God's sovereign control. if we understand that God will supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19) and that He knows everything about our lives (Ps. 139:3), cares about us (1 Pet. 5:7), has the power for every difficulty (Ps. 62:11), is perfecting us to be like Christ (Phil. 1:6), and that nothing escapes Him (Ps. 147:5), that will lead us to be stable, not anxious. breathe in, breathe out, every breath. thank you, Lord.

next, Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 5, “And have you forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons: My son, do not regard lightly the discipline,” or the training or the chastening, “of the Lord, nor faint when you’re reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline or chastening that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits,” that’s God, “and live? For they disciplined us for a short time, as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet, to the those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

within this last passage you and your son will find answers to the questions: “why do bad things happen to God’s people? isn’t being a Christian some kind of an insulation? shouldn’t we expect that if God is on our side, those kinds of things aren’t going to happen in our lives? what is God’s purpose in all of that and why is it happening and how are we to view that?”

sometime i think God loves me too much. i know one thing, omw. God will answer your prayers because He's faithful and He's true. He must love your son so much to give him a mother as kind and concerned as you.

grace and peace

April 28, 2009
10:23 am
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On my way -

There is nothing more painful than seeing your spouse, your child or someone you love dearly backslide. It sounds as if your 27-year-old has "mind" knowledge of Jesus Christ, but not "heart" knowledge. HUGE difference.

It also appears that he lacks the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Almost every, single time that someone caves in to depression, addictions, etc. and falls away from seving the Lord, it is because they lack the POWER of Holy Spirit's constant infilling to give them the strength to press through. Your son may also need deliverance from spirits of darkness which are binding him (or even indwelling).

Please find a church which understands and imparts the baptism of the Holy Spirit AND moves in the ministry of deliverance which Jesus set into the church. Your son needs both.

Then, sit back and begin to pray. Have other intercessors join you. He is a grown man with a mind and will of his own. You cannot force him, nor is his walk with the Lord between him, HIS MOTHER and God, anymore. It is strictly between him and Jesus.

The Lord may allow the circumstances of his life to really bottom out, before he chooses to LOOK UP. This is really hard for those of us looking on to see. VERY VERY HARD. I have been in your shoes. But don't preach to him. Don't quote the Bible to him. Don't leave little flyers or books around him as "hints." He knows what it's all about. Now, it's time for him to plug into a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

But trust that God will hear your prayers (and those of the intercessors who join you). Remember that the "effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." And that "...the seed of the righteous will be delivered."

God bless and guide you.

- Ma Strong

April 28, 2009
6:46 pm
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on my way
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bereft, Ma Strong,

Thank you for the encouragement and for the Bible verses, which I am going to think and pray over. It means so much to me for you to thake the time to minister to me here, thank you both.

May 4, 2009
8:45 pm
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on my way
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Prayer is so powerful. Friends have been fasting and praying for my son, and so many people have been praying for him, and the results are amazing.

bereft,

Yes there has been a lesson in this for me as well. Whenever we kick and scream, wondering why there is so much pain, and can't see the forest for the trees, we need to ask "ok God, What is good about this?" because of who He is, there is always something good in it, always.

I have been practicing being thankful. It is teaching me to lean on God more, not be so self - reliant, because if I thank Him, then I know that there is be to be a victory there. I have to remind myself, and hopefully, it will become a habit.

I really need to begin to soak myself in His Word, because I believe, our emotions, especilly when they are negative, affect our bodies. I have not felt up to par in a long while, (thank you God)and I can only attribute it to how I 'think'. Need to re-new my mind on a continual basis!!

God bless,
omw

bereft, and Ma, how are you?

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