Great Question (continued)

This is a continuation of a discussion from several days ago.

Please check out the original post here for some context: https://hballinger.com/2018/11/10/great-question/

As you’ll see, Charlotte dropped the religious vocabulary words “free will” as the answer to the question, and Daniel raised some additional questions seeking clarification. The key to his question is that he either doesn’t know the scriptures or didn’t look to see what the scripture

Why?

When things get hard, when they aren’t going the way that seemed right to us, we are tempted to doubt — we are whispered lies about His love for us.

So let’s look to the Word of God in these times:

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalms 30:5 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.30.5.ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.3.5.ESV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8‭-‬9 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/isa.55.8-9.ESV

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jer.33.3.ESV

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3‭-‬12 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/mat.5.3-12.ESV

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3‭-‬5 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/rom.5.3-5.ESV

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.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/1co.10.13.ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2‭-‬4 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jas.1.2-4.ESV

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jas.1.12.ESV

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Hebrews 10:32‭-‬39 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/heb.10.32-39.ESV

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/eph.3.20-21.ESV

Habitually Righteous, Habitually Loving

Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.
1 John 3:2‭-‬24 NLT

He doesn’t say, “Continue in your sinful ways, believers…” (see James 2:19)

He doesn’t say, “Define for yourself what is sinful and what is holy, subtracting whatever you like and add whatever you like to be Lord over your own lives…” (see Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:15)

He doesn’t say, “Oppress each other with measurements and expectations and outward appearance and traditions…” (see John 7:24)

He doesn’t say, “Live like hell but still call yourself by my name and encourage others to do the same…” (see 1 Peter 1:16, Romans 1)

Great question:

A friend from high school posted this. I can’t speak to her heart’s reason behind asking the original question —

A) Did she genuinely want to know for herself because she iis becoming interested?

B) Did she have some level of true interest in understanding how a believer could make sense of such a thing, so that she might be more tolerant of their beliefs?

C) Did she want to use a seemingly wise presupposition in an effort to mock and ridicule Bible believing people?

D) Something else?

I could have assumed the worst and lashed out – and lost the opportunity to answer everyone that opens her post.

But her original intent (whether honorable or disingenuous) didn’t have to play into my providing a clear and understandable and reasonable perspective. I didn’t have to be lured into being offended. I didn’t have to let any assumptions or feelings guide my words. I didn’t have to do anything really. I could have ignored it and moved on, but a question about the Word of God was asked, so I remembered the gospel – and provided the answer based on the gospel. And an opportunity to share the gospel was born.

Pretty cool moment, I think. Not because I would say mockingly, “I won, you lose” as if things are “us” against “then”, but as a recognition that “He has won, and His victory is available to all.”

Now, I’ve fallen short so many times before when I saw people as the enemy and let the “troll” in both of us go to war. But iif we can remember who the true enemy is — if we can remember what it was like to be lost, blind, and deaf — maybe we can see the opportunities and actually plant a seed.

What is taught theologically about the details of this question is not quite as important as what is taught to me about how to behave — how to have the very self control and peace and trust come through in HOW it is shared, not just iin WHAT is shared. Thank you, Lord, for still teaching me that your way is best.

Psalm 30 – for everyday

I give you all the credit, God — you got me out of that mess, you didn’t let the haters gloat.

Jesus , my Jesus, I yelled for help and you pulled me back together. Lord , you pulled me out of the grave, and gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out, depressed and hopeless, when I thought there was no way back.

All you saints! Everyone who knows how merciful and good God has been to you! Sing your hearts out to Him ! Thank Him to his face!

He is frustrated by our foolishness once in a while, but across a lifetime we see there is only love. And our nights of crying give way to days of laughter.

When things were going great I cried out to the world, “I’ve got it made. I’m God ’s favorite. He made me king of the mountain.” Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces.

I called out to you, God ; I laid my case before you: “Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead? auction me off at a cemetery yard sale? When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs and stories of you won’t sell. So listen! and be kind! Help me out of this!” You did it: you changed wild anxieties into whirling dance; You ripped off my black funeral clothes and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with this song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God , my God, I can’t thank you enough.

I looked over and compared several translations to put this Psalm into language that was more true to how I would speak normally, “plainly”. I wanted to tear away anything that would sound out of character from my normal “everyday language”.

If my language has to shift gears and sound pretentious and use religious vocabulary that only the scholarly pew warmers can understand, what good does that serve the lost, the deaf, and the blind?

So I hope no one is religious enough to believe that I have wronged God by not speaking in a perfect recitation of King James or another man’s translation of the Word of God — my goal is not to tear down, or add, or subtract from the Word of God, but to rightly divide pretentious, religious tradition from the power of God that goes forth when His Good News is proclaimed.

May the Lord bless you, because we are loved so deeply by the King!