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Author: Jeffreyw Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 195828  
Subject: God's Will Date: 9/13/2001 10:50 AM
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I may have addressed this before, but this seems like a good time for review.

When speaking of God's will, we must make some distinctions.

There is God's perfect will for us.
If we made every perfect choice, we would always be in God's perfect will, it is everything God wants us to choose, all that would keep us in perfect harmony with Him.

Then there is free will. God gave us all free will to make our own choices, to learn from our mistakes, even the ability to choose to reject or ignore Him. When we make right choices, we are in His perfect will. When we deviate from His perfect will, no matter how slightly, we are exercising our free will.

Then there is God's permissive will. These are the boundaries that God places on our free will, and they vary with each of us and the free will choices we make. As we make choices withing God's perfect will, or very close to His perfect will, God places a hedge of protection around us. As long as we seek His will and our hearts genuinely yearn for relationship with Him, we are blessed and protected. But, there are times when we are tested for our own good, or for our spiritual growth, even if we have a strong relationship with God.

We are all familiar with the story of Job. Job was a man who found favor with God. When God pointed Job out to Satan, Satan attributed Job's loyalty to God to the hedge of protection God placed around Job. So to prove a point, and through no fault of Job, God allowed Job to be tested by Satan. First God allowed Satan to attack Job's wealth, but God gave Satan limits, Satan was not allowed to harm Job in any way. So God lowered His hedge of protection around Job and his family. God did not do anything to Job, He merely lowered His hedge of protection and allowed Satan to operate within wider boundaries, a larger permissive will. Job passed that test, and Satan again attributed Job's loyalty to God due to his hedge of protection. So God lowered it more, allowing Job's health to be afflicted as well, but God still had limits in place on Satan, he was not allowed to kill Job. So God still had some protection for Job, and Job also passed this test.

Now, none of this are comfortable with this testing of an otherwise righteous man, but God permitted it to happen. It was not God's perfect will for Job, but it did fall within His permissive will for a short period of time. God fully restored all that Job had lost twofold. God has done this with Israel as they turn to or from God, His hedge of protection would rise or fall as they seek or turn from God. It is the same with Christians. It is the same with nations. As we turn from God as a nation or as a Church, we risk the lowering of God's protection, and we receive fewer blessings. His permissive will gets wider and we are subjected to testing or even judgment for our disobedience. Parents do the same thing, giving their children more responsibility and more blessings as the children show the ability to habdle it and keep a good relationship with the parents. When children are rebellious, we take away privileges, even punish them to try and correct their behavior. We have our perfect will for them, they have their free will, and there is a permissive will of boundaries that we will allow them to experience the consequences of their choices, good or bad, but still within limits.

God did not rain down this destruction on our nation. But God has lowered His hedge of protection and expanded His permissive will due to the choices we have made as a nation. Whether things get better or worse from here depends on the choices we make as a nation. The same sun that melts butter also hardens clay. In like manner, these events will soften the hearts of many who will seek God, while it will harden the hearts of people who reject God. The light of Jesus shines much brighter than our sun.

Jeffrey
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