Tuesday, December 27, 2005

And we're back

Well I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your families and friends. Mine was filled with famliy, food, and fun.

I'm running a bit dry on material right now - seems like a drought has come of sorts in my mind and I'm struggling to come up with blog worthy bits of thoughts and words.

So, I'm going to try and stir up some dialogue here. Recently, one of my deep thinker must reads put up a quote by John Piper regarding how God views suffering.

This is the post:


My response was the following:

Thinking out loud, so here goes . . . . I realize as I complain (oh yes I complain) about why God allows certain things to happen that are hard, that bring suffering, and that are the product of evil and sin I forget that the miracle is that God does allow it to happen, he allows life to go on, men to walk the earth, and sin to inhabit this world for a short time. I always forget that God made a choice in the garden of Eden, He showed grace and mercy in that one moment, to allow Adam and Eve to continue on in the now sin infested world, He allowed them to suffer, to struggle, but more than that to live. God could have ended it all there, He could have washed His hands with creation, He could have stopped the effects of sin in that one moment by destroying His creation, but He didn't. He allowed us to live and the struggles, the calamity, those are also pictures of His grace and mercy because we are able to experience them. So yes, there are struggles, and sin, and pain, and that is life in this world. How wonderful His grace and love that He allows us to live in it, with a promise of a future without it.

So in light of all of this, talk to me, tell me what you are thinking.


Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Glad you're back K-T.

The only other thing that I could mention is that He not only have complete control over it while He allowed it, but that He allowed His Son to be subjected to the ultimate of suffering, and to the worst death recorded in the Bible.

The perfect harmony of grace and justice was given to us in Jesus' gift to us.

12/27/2005 3:06 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Well JCol, I'm back but not "back", yes people I am officially on vaca until January 9 (and yes you can begin hating me now).

Ahhhh equal parts grace and justice, one of the biggest quandaries that my mind tries to understand. How can a God who knows the ultimate depth of sin we humans will bring forth, and therefore the length and depth of justice He will enforce also give a perfectly equal amount of grace. Really, just the idea that God, and only God, can seek perfect justice and offer perfect grace, so that neither overpowers the other, or either is less than the other. Only in Christ, only in Him, only in God, can that perfect harmony of justice and grace be found. This thought blows me away and makes me hit the ground with thankfulness for both his justice and His grace, equally.

12/27/2005 3:11 PM  
Blogger Eric Stacey said...

Things I still don't understand-he puts us here on earth, with the threat of love and worship me or go to hell for all eternity-I wish I could understand all of it and have your enthusiasm, Katie, but maybe as I get older and more feel more beaten up, I lose more faith-and I'm trying-seen Passion of the Christ twice and it made me cry!

12/27/2005 3:38 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Eric - you're asking all the right questions, the tough ones at that, and the funny thing is that I ask the same questions, questions are good.

You said: "he puts us here on earth, with the threat of love and worship me or go to hell for all eternity"

I would say: "He put us here for His delight/love, for our delight/love in Him, and then we (man) decided to turn from that love, that delight and do things our own way. Then, in His love, He decided to let us continue to live, even if by our own means and in our own way, because He choose to bring us back to Him by the only way possible - His son. See we were the ones who chose hell, we chose sin, and the consequences of separation from God (sin) are pretty easy, either be without sin and with God, or be with sin and away from God (hell). But He offers us the opportunity to still love and worship Him (it isn't forced, it is a response to His intial love, His initial mercy and grace). We respond to God, He is the one who makes the first move, we are the ones who react/respond to Him, not the other way around. We're already destined for hell, it is the path we are all on when we begin life (this isn't a happy thing to think about here), but God, in His mercy and grace, offers us a different path. He says, choose me, choose life, choose love, and I will save you from this path you have already begun to walk on.

Worshiping and loving God might be hard for me at times, because I get in the way of it, but it has never been forced.

I encourage you to take a look at God, not at the evil dictator, or the harsh judge, but as the One who created you, who formed you with joy and delight (it says in the Psalms that God "fashions" us in our mother's womb - all of us, individually, He creates us with love and joy), who want so much to have a relationship with you, to have you know Him, that He witheld nothing, not even His own divine Son, to bring you back to a place that you could even begin to love and worship Him. Because, really without Christ, none of us could love God, none of us could worship Him, because none of us would really know Him.

12/27/2005 3:51 PM  
Blogger Eric Stacey said...

I understand what you are saying, Katie, I don't think I view him as the evil dictator, but I don't think I'll ever have the enthusiasm you do for God-probably my fault, not his-there are times I feel very close to God, at odd times like just driving in your car, listening to music-it's just that I have a very good friend ( a girl) who is in an abusive relationship, who has had a very hard life-lost her father at a young age (he overdosed)-had 2 kids at a young age-she's 25-and sometimes she talks of suicide-I'm afraid someday it will happen, and I just pray that God will understand-he's probably the only one that can really help her anyway. I hope I'm making some sense.

12/27/2005 3:59 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

"I just pray that God will understand-he's probably the only one that can really help her anyway." He does understand, so much better than anyone else can, and He is really the only one that can help her, and He wants to, oh how he wants to.

Ok, other people out there, what are you thinking?

12/27/2005 4:19 PM  
Blogger Eric Stacey said...

It's funny-the girl I'm talking about-her boyfriend just called me asking for her friend's phone number-I think she may have left him last week, which is probably a good thing-say a prayer for her if you can-a few months ago I lit a candle for her and said a prayer for her at a church downtown (I'm in Cleveland). Thanks for listening.

12/27/2005 4:26 PM  
Blogger Logan Bennett said...

Katie, and Eric
Suffering is an odd subject to try to think about. Why do we suffer? Why does it have to exist?? Why does God let us go through it??
Things that I have found in my life are this: If I would not have gone through suffering, I would not have been prepared for what God is using me for right now. However, if I would have never given into God and let him use me, then I would have never seen the reason for the suffering.
God is not an angry God, he does not force us to love him. He longs for us to love him he desires for us to love him. It is like a father and his kid. The father so despretly wants his son to love him, but can not force him to love him. But when the son makes mistakes and does things that are wrong the father must punish him to make the son learn from his mistakes. God is not out to punish us though we get punished naturaly with consequences. When you are addicted to drugs if you do not seek help, sooner or later you will end up overdosing. If you play with guns sooner or later you will shoot yourself in the foot.

Eric- I know the frustrations you have with God about your friend. I have friends who have had rough lives. I have had a very very rough life also. The one thing that you can do is to always be there for her. You can pray and pray and pray, but you also need to help her. God places people in our lives for a reason. You might have been placed in her life to help her out of these situations, and to keep her safe and from hurting herself. Show her love(God's Love) Dont just show her that God loves her, show her through yourself the way that God loves her. Always be there for her ready to help her whenever she needs it. I hope that I am making some sense. Post again if I am not, and i might be able to explain myself a little better.

12/27/2005 4:59 PM  
Blogger Eric Stacey said...

Thanks, Logan-
I honestly think I've done all I can for her-I've lent her a lot of money, just have been there to listen-she has a drinking problem, which is probably the main cause of this, and at the end of the rant of how badly her boyfriend treats her, I hear the usual "but I love him so much"-the thing about some women I will never understand-I didn't mean to get off Katie's original topic, but thanks again for the kind words-all I can do is tell her I'll be there for her and pray for her-it's very frustrating to see someone go through this.

12/27/2005 5:04 PM  
Blogger Logan Bennett said...

Eric- It is very frustrating to see somebody going through those things, But remember some of these things that she is going through are self inflicted, and are not what God is doing to her. The best thing that you can do for her is to love her Unconditionaly that means no matter what always always always love her and be there for her. Hang in there man, God uses every and all situations for the good of him, believe me.

12/27/2005 5:16 PM  
Blogger green said...

Katie: Jan 9? Lucky! Enjoy it... *jealous...*

Your thoughts on this matter I think are right on.

God, being outside of time, has the advantage of seeing how it will all work out in the end, while we can not. God, being omniscient, knew man would fall into sin even before He created everything. He also had the plan to redeem us from all of it in eternity past as well. Sin and its consequences won't be with us forever. Now God allows these things to test our faith, to see how strong it is and what it is made of. Look what Job went through. He never lost his faith through it all. And remember, Satan doesn't have the power over us unless God grants him permission. Even with Job's suffering, Satan still had to ask God to let him put Job through that. Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked permission to sift him (Peter) as wheat.

Hope that makes sense in some way or other...

12/27/2005 7:14 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

My initial plan was to come back to this, and every time I do, I still don't feel ready to really respond.

I'll be back tomorrow when I don't have "medicine head" going on so I can give a concise, well thought out answer.

12/27/2005 11:49 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Good post, KT. Thanks for the thoughts.

I would correct Logan only in saying that God only punishes once. I think the difficult things we encounter here are discipline, and I do not think this is only semantics.

Since I don't know any definition of punishment other than the one used by psychologists, I take it to mean that a consequence to an action is introduced in order to stop that action in the future.

For this reason, I think that the only way God will stop our actions is by the final judgment.

So while we are here on Earth with time left to live, we are always being shaped, but in so that our evil actions will stop. It is all done so that our evil heart will be renewed.

Both good, comfortable things and evil, hard things can draw us closer to God, and He will use any and all of the things we go through to draw us to Himself. For this reason, everything we live through is for the purpose of gaining faith, becoming near to God, and having the chance to thank Him and praise Him for that faith, for the nearness, and for the good things in our lives.

12/28/2005 10:41 AM  
Blogger Logan Bennett said...

You are so very correct, and Now that i see your view, I agree with you, nothing is a punishment, it is mearly only to shape us. the only punishment will be when we finally meet God, and then it will be either a punishment or a reward eternally good words man

12/28/2005 12:54 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

wow, great conversation going on here, I love to hear everyone's thoughts, thanks all of your for your two cents. And I'm am always open to see the subject at hand take a few turns as everyone fleshes out their ideas.

12/28/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

"Fleshes out"?? Why did that sound like something from a horror movie to me? blech. Sorry, K-T. No hard feelings.

See you day after tomorrow! What time are you coming over?

12/28/2005 3:02 PM  
Blogger jes said...

So easily distracted. Isn't there a song that has those words in it?

Talk to me...tell me what you're thinking...

I can hear Paula Abdul's voice in my head right now.

12/28/2005 3:17 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

I'm thinking of a different 80's song.

I want to know...
what you're thinking.
Tell me what's on your mind.

12/28/2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger jes said...

oh, JCol. i didn't mean i actually KNEW of a song with these words. the words just sounded like they COULD belong to a song. a song that Paula Abdul would sing. but that I cannot verify whether she did. that's the kind of memory I have. really, it is better to never have a conversation with me, because chances are i won't know what i'm talking about.

12/28/2005 4:09 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

But Jes, because you can write paragraphs like that and say things like, "it is better to never have a conversation with me, because chances are i won't know what i'm talking about" - it makes me really want to hang out with you.

Because really, who else can write a sentence like that???

And I mean that in a GOOD way. :)

pqhbu - peekaboo?

12/28/2005 4:17 PM  

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