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« An Underappreciated President | Main | What Is the Gospel? »

February 20, 2006


That was a GREAT show. The contrasts were just amazing.

You know, I have a good friend. She was raised in a very Catholic/witchcraft tradition. Mass on Sunday and the witch on Monday. She too, had a dream and said the Lord spoke to her and told her this was wrong. He told her where to seek him. Look in the Bible.

Now, I must admit this is hard to believe, but this person is an incredible Christian and is adamant that this is what happened. I believe her.

She is, however, one of the best and most vocal critics of these "personal prophecy" problems in the church. She says the test is always scripture. Is what is revealed consistent with scripture?

That's a good test and it would rule out a lot of the garbage that attempts to pass for the truth.

I am hoping someone can help me. This is such a dumb question, but... God loves us right? I was just reading that article about how God's love is never mentioned in Acts, but does that just mean that God's love is not to be our central focus? How do we strike a balance? Is it important that we know that God love us? Should we feel loved?? I hope this makes sense, and I know it's a weird place to post this, but I had to ask someone.
Thank you.

I believe that the point about the word Love not being mentioned in Acts is this: The early church was not obsessed with telling people about the Love of God (like most churches today). Instead- they were very obsessed with showing people that following Jesus was the only way they could be saved from Hell.

It is like Greg says- you have to be sure the person you are speaking to understands the problem... before they can understand the solution. Grace and the Love of God only become meaningful once you understand the justice, and yes- dare I say even Hatred of God.

I often say that God's Love is CONDITIONAL and not unconditional. This raises a lot of eyebrows but in a sense- it is true. God will not love everyone for ever. Check out Psalm 5:5 -- and many more passages I can provide if interested. God doesn't cast people into Hell b/c he loves them... Yes- there are conditions that we must meet in order to experience the everlasting Love of God.

God offers his love to all but not forever.

I hope this makes sense. If you think I am wrong- I welcome your kind criticism.

Best regards, KV

Thank you so much Kevin. You make some very good & interesting points. I of course grew up hearing God loves everyone unconditionally, as many probably do. I'm interested in studying more on what you say - as it does seem very logical & Biblical.

I guess where I'm coming from is this. I am very strong in my faith. I've been a Christian all my life and I also love STR & how they teach you how to think. But I think it's having a weird affect on me - it's like my brain only has room for a logical side of religion, or a loving side. I know that's bad! I just need to find a balance.

My husband and I are going through some hard times (not as a couple - we're fine) and everyone is telling us, "God has a plan for you. He loves you and knows what is the best possible way for this to work out." Is this true?? Or does God just let things happen how they happen?

Thanks again,

OK - There is a lot of material available on the not-so-easy-to-understand nature of the Love of God.

A book comes to mind by DA Carson called "The Difficult Doctrine of God's Love" or something like that. I also have a brief paper I have written on the topic.

Regarding God's Plan... if you have not heard Greg's pitch: Decision Making and the Will of God - or taken a look at Garry Freisens book by the same name... you really should. (I have a paper written on this topic too :) )

Essentially- yes, the Bible supports the idea that God has a plan for your life but it does not support the idea that you have, in general, any way of determining what that plan is. God desires us to make decisions based on Morality, Wisdom, and our Desires. This business about "seeking God's plan for my life" is not a biblical notion and causes a lot of people a lot of worry and concern.

God will support you FULLY in any decision you make so long as it conforms to the three characteristics above.

I'd be glad to discuss this more.

It is sometimes difficult to find the proper mix of "emotion" and "reason" for me too. I think this is our job though-- to determine how God works-- and how he wants us to live.

It is a challenge but that's why he gives us a lot of years here to figure it out.

I like what G.S. Lewis said about miracles: God certainly isn't incapable of doing miracles today, but the only ones we have to believe in or trust as real are ones in scripture.

Something about a miracle that's important to remember is that they are for a purpose, not to be fancy and impressive. Miracles in the Bible were to demonstrate Godly authority and give the person involved the stamp of approval from God. They weren't to impress the natives, they were like a letter of introduction by God.

I'm always very skeptical of miracles in missionary areas not because God's not capable of doing this sort of thing, but rather because missionaries, in my experience, always seem to be the kind more willing to believe the most spiritual explaination and less able to puzzle out other possible explainations.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I'd love to read your papers! I actually have read Decision Making & the Will of God and loved it. So I am clear on the fact that we do not need to spend our time searching for that elusive dot that could be God's plan for our lives. I guess my actually question is silly, and it doesn't really matter what the answer is, but: "is God's plan for our lives the BEST plan for us?" I mean, obviously, it may not be what we had in mind, but does God always do what is in our best interest in the long run?

The last paragraph in your reply really told me that you understood what I was asking though, and I appreciate that.

Maybe we could email... that might be easier than searching through these posts!
Thanks again

Something many people do not consider properly is how emotions must be informed by reason. Your response to a situation or event needs to be appropriate - if you cackle wildly and are amused by a horrific accident or a funeral, then something is wrong, just like if you are color blind and do not see red or green properly. Emotions cannot be our guide, they are a response to situations.

Further something to remember is that love is not primarily emotion. Emotional feelings can rise and fall with the state of love, but in the Bible, scripturally speaking, love is primarily action and commitment. You may or may not feel love toward your spouse or parents, but the love is there, and you must go on as if you do feel - and chances are you'll start to feel "more loving" once more.

Kay, I'm hesitant to attempt to elaborate on what Kevin has said, only because I think his response was well thought out (I look forward to reading his recommended material myself). My wife and I have been going through hard times as well (not as a couple).

I don't personally concern myself with God's plan in my life. I believe scripture is pretty clear that there is nothing that can be done to thwart God's plan anyway (ex. the story of Jonah and the story of Joseph and his brothers - I guess this means that God's plan for me could range anywhere from living as a rich man or being eaten and later spit out by a fish).

I also consider myself more logical than emotional, but when I want to logically feel God's love, in the past I've found comfort pondering the 23rd Psalm and by listening to the Book of John, via mp3. I've also found inspiration in Rev. Cleveland’s song NoWays Tired. No formulas here (and probably no personal solutions for you), just what has helped me (along with prayer). I'll pray that you and your husband are comforted through these hard times.

Yeah, my friend had shared with me something similar and I had given him an answer that I felt wasn't very honest. That I do love God. But that's not true, I don't him love him. I mean, I don't feel any love for him. Really, it's easier for me to tell you that I had loved someone then it is for me to tell you that I love God. And as I thought about it, about how I don't have any feelings for him or feel anything from him. I started to remember a lesson that I had learnt in fellowship: that you can only serve God by serving his people and so the same concepts applies to his love, I think. So I think that one of the ways you can love God is by loving his people and I think that's how people feel his love for them when they are being loved.

Matthew 22:39 NIV
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' [ Lev. 19:18]

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