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Do you keep your promises? Your answer to this question should be, “Sometimes.” Oh, I have little doubt some of the readers are scrupulously honest and honor verbal agreements they have made. I’m sure many of you have kept your marriage vows and not cheated on your spouses. You have kept promises made to friends to meet them somewhere, give them something, or help them. However, when compared to biblical standards, not meaning to be harsh, you are not a promise keeper.

You are a promise breaker.

Please hear me out.

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In response to last week’s article, a friend submitted a passage of Scripture concerning the sovereignty and goodness of God, a message, if preached, he wrote sarcastically, would “fill the pews”:

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In this series of articles, we have attempted to wrestle through the uncomfortable question if it is God’s will that people do horrendous acts, such as the rape and torture of children, or any other unconscionable deed. However, we have also had to consider the biblical truth that, from God’s perspective, without the righteousness that Jesus has freely given, we ourselves are guilty of crimes, just like the individuals who do the things we abhor. It is a difficult truth to swallow, but swallow it we must; otherwise, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross means nothing. The good news is that if we accept that amazing truth, we are free from our despicability. It’s amazing to comprehend, but Christians are now clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Himself. Perfect. Clean. Without guilt. We possess eternal life. Believers in Jesus actually become God’s sons and daughters and will receive an inheritance, of all things. Jesus was punished, we are not. We are, instead, recipients of grace and forgiveness for—everything.

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Last week’s article dealt with one thought-provoking question: When terrorists strike, is it God’s will? In response to this post, a long-time, well-trusted Christian friend enumerated the questions she often encounters as she talks to people about God:

  1. Is it God’s will that babies and children are raped?
  2. Is it God’s will people are killed by drunk drivers?
  3. Is it God’s will that His children are hideously tortured before being
    raped and murdered?
  4. Is it God’s will that women have abortions?
  5. Where does our “free will” begin and God’s will end?

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This week’s blog post begins with a provocative question: When terrorists strike, are they doing God’s will?

Before we come up with an answer off the tops of our heads, let’s think about this for a moment and ask a question concerning the nature of God. “Is there anything the Lord cannot do?” Biblically, the answer to that question is, “No.”

Stay with me.

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I appreciate how Christians all over the world try to add meaning to what used to be a beautiful religious observance that has “magically” been transformed into a greed-filled, money-making extravaganza, filled with false gift-induced joy. I guess this shouldn’t surprise us, knowing the nature of mankind.

Christians read the wonderful accounts in Matthew and Luke at Christmas time, as they should. They talk about the shepherds, Joseph, Mary, the angels, the kings from the East, the star, and the stable. All good stuff. However, one monumental truth that is not emphasized should be, and if and when it is, will take the misty, warm stories about the birth of Jesus and turn them to jaw-dropping, fall-to-our-knees truth.

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Is the Christian God good?

Some will say that He is not good at all. They will bring up the biblical truth that He committed genocide against the Canaanites. It’s right there in the Old Testament. In more recent history, He allowed the slaughter of millions of Jews during World War Two. He allows all kinds of atrocities. If Christians or Jews, such critics say, declare He is all-powerful, then He must be uncaring, because if He is caring, He would have prevented such cruelties; but He didn’t. Therefore, He is either impotent or uncaring. He is one or the other. We can’t have it both ways, they say.

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In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul told the Christians that he had asked the Lord to take away a “thorn in the flesh,” a “messenger of Satan” sent to “harass” him in order to keep him from becoming conceited because of the “surpassing greatness of the revelations” that had been given to him (2 Corinthians 12:1-8).

The Lord denied Paul’s request to remove this satanic messenger and said this interesting thing:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9).1

What does God’s grace have to do with denying the removal of a satanic messenger? Doesn’t grace mean God’s unmerited favor? Really? It is God’s unmerited favor to allow this thorn from the devil to remain?

Was God thinking clearly?

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In our last look at the Book of Job, we saw that the Lord God Creator continued to ask Job questions he just could not answer, because Job was not God. He did not know all things the way our Father does, nor could he instruct His creations about how they should behave. Job was finally reduced to silence, but after God humbled him, he did speak:

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The study of God’s questions to Job has been an enlightening endeavor. I have been filled with wonder as I have looked at the Lord’s challenging questions to a man who had suffered the loss of almost everything. In so doing, He questions us, as well. We will be benefited by considering the Lord’s inscrutable sovereignty as we encounter the trials of life, which sometimes cause us to rage against what we may consider unfair, unnecessary, and even cruel.

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