Excerpt From the Chapter:
Thus Says The LORD: Part 2: Free Will
Our Creator God has given human beings free will for a reason. He wants to know who loves Him, believes Him, trusts Him, and invites Him into their lives of their own free will.
He wants to know which of His children choose Him.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea ch. 6).
If you have ever loved or been loved, you already know that real, genuine love cannot be coerced, forced, or bought. It has to be felt genuinely and given freely.
We have already learned from Psalm ch.14 how our Heavenly Father “looks down from Heaven upon the children of men” (throughout the ages and the thousands of years of recorded history) “to see if there were any that did understand and seek God”.
Don’t think He doesn’t pay close attention. When you choose God, love Him, obey Him, and show Him the respect He deserves, He knows it. When you sincerely ask Him to direct your path in life, then He will guide, correct, protect, and shower you with His blessings.
We should also be careful not to become Sunday-morning Christians who don’t make time for, or connect with their Creator during the other six and a half days of the week. Or, someone who only prays when something goes wrong, and a person who seeks their Maker only when they need something from Him.
A person who never shares their good times with Him and never thanks Him for all the blessings in their life, should not really be surprised if the Creator God doesn’t rush to answer their prayers when He knows that as soon as the current crisis is over, they will go right back to ignoring Him again.
Consider how you’d feel and react if someone took advantage of you or took your love and support for granted in this way. How would you feel if your loved ones ignored you unless they needed something from you, especially if they did this over and over again?
How would you feel if, as my pastor says, “you took the time to write your loved one a long love letter, but that person threw it aside and never took the time to read it”?
Remember that the Word of God is His Letter of Love to you, and it should not be ignored, whether it’s Sunday morning or Tuesday afternoon! As above us as God is, we cannot forget that our Heavenly Father has feelings too.
He feels disappointed when you put everything else (your money, your career, your house, your car, your entertainment, your popularity, your sins or addictions, etc.) ahead of Him.
The truth is that we ourselves get our feelings hurt when our loved ones and the people we form relationships with put us low on their list of priorities. And it makes us feel even worse when this happens with those for whom we would always make time for; when the people who always promise to do better with their words constantly show us the opposite with their actions.
The relationship we develop with our Heavenly Father is based on our free willed choice to invite or not to invite Him into our lives. Our ongoing relationship with Him also depends on our choices and actions.
“Draw nigh [near] to God, and He will draw nigh to you”. (James ch. 4)
In my life, my loved ones and in the lives of many people I know, these blessings have been manifested in the form of specific helpful people coming into our lives exactly when we needed them; receiving unexpected but needed resources and money; healing from illnesses, protection and safety from many situations.
We also find that we feel a sense of calmness and inner peace in our everyday lives.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (I Corinthians ch. 2).
How else are the blessings of God manifested? Our Heavenly Father hears us when we call upon Him, and He answers our prayers in very specific ways. You might be led to Scripture passages that deal with your specific question or dilemma in life.
Maybe you will come across a book, a magazine, or a newspaper article about that thing you have been praying about. You might meet people who have gone through that specific experience or flip the channel and find a documentary or program that speaks directly to your question. You might even experience a moment of clarity—an epiphany—when the answers you seek become very clear to you.
This, in essence, is the Law of Attraction in action. What you focus on expands, and when you seek something with sincerity, the universe moves all things in order to bring what you seek to you.
So, guess what happens when you focus on your Heavenly Father:
“Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you” (Matthew ch.7).
Does this apply to the Holy Spirit as well?
“If ye... know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke ch.11).
I believe the Law of Attraction is a two-way street.
Whatever you focus on expands, so if you are prone to focusing on the negative, saying and doing deceptive or destructive things, constantly complaining about all the things lacking in your life, surrounding yourself with the wrong people, or expecting nothing to work out for you, that can become your reality.
If you have the tendency to think God is punishing you every time something goes wrong in your life or that God is always tempting you and putting burdens on you, you should examine your own actions and the choices you are making in your life.
Evaluate your mind-set, and the kinds of thoughts and ‘scenarios’ and conclusions you often focus on in your head. Examine your words and the expressions you use; and the types of people, conversations, music and entertainment you choose to surround yourself with.
Take time to really look into your feelings and the source of some of your pent-up emotions. Think about which currents parts of your life, actions, feelings and words you would rather not continue.
Scripture reminds us,
“Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God’: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James ch.1).
“And the burden of the Lord shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden” (Jeremiah ch.23).
The old adage holds true: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!
Our Heavenly Father knows a thing or two about the Law of Attraction, as well as the rest of the Universal Laws. He knows what is good for us and what is bad for our wellbeing. That’s why He has given us His Word.
The Ten Commandments and the Law might seem like God’s way of making sure we never have any “fun,” but God only attempts to do what any good, loving, wise parent would do.
Again, we have a choice: We can be rebellious, resentful, angry, ungrateful, hormonal teenagers, or we can be mature children who appreciate the priceless guidance and love
we’re being given. The thought occurs here, that many people will often go through the first, to get to the second.
And it might be more valuable to talk about this learning process as this will be the path taken in many people’s journey. Still, how they understand the events in their life and whether the learning process along the way leads them back to the Creator is every individual’s choice and decision.
Because, we have been given the gift of free will. Ultimately, we decide the thoughts, words, choices, and actions that determine our lives. Naturally and inevitably, there are always consequences to our actions, (The Universal Law of Cause and Effect), whether they be rewarding or undesirable.
For instance, do you understand why the Word of God instructs you not to eat pork? Is it because He doesn’t want you to enjoy tasty cuts of meat; or is it because He wants to test your obedience with random restrictions?
Rather, it’s because the Creator understands the consequences of eating the flesh of swine since He knows the nature of pigs. Pigs are scavengers who will eat anything and everything they can, including their own waste and any dead flesh they come across.
They will even eat the diseased and infected flesh of other dead animals because they were created to serve as one of nature’s garbage collectors. They also have almost no sweat glands to speak of, so all the toxins and waste products in their bodies—even those which would otherwise be eliminated through sweat—ferment in their flesh.
In addition, pork can be infected with worms/parasites or their eggs which can then live inside a human body and/or cause gastro-intestinal infections. All this considered, what effect do you think that pork meat has, once it is inside your body, your cells and tissues? Furthermore, how will it affect the growing and developing bodies of your children?
Our Maker knows what keeps our physical bodies healthy because He is the one who engineered the amazing machinery of the human body. That’s why He tells us not to eat pork or any scavengers; not to eat the fat of animals; and to bleed animals before consuming their flesh (blood putrefies in the meat and is unhealthy for the body).
The “owner’s manual” also tells us to “Use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake” (I Timothy 5) and to “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish” (Proverbs 31). We have instructions directly from the “manufacturer” for our specific “model”, and we should follow them for optimum health and performance.
We should also, always consider another question: What is going to be the accumulated result of our modern way of life on the organic bodies of the young and old alike?
In today’s busy, technologically advanced and allegedly “civilized” world, there is vast consumption of processed foods, too much sugar and salt, as well as animal and dairy products full of additives, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
We ingest far too many toxins from unhealthy foods, alcohol and cigarettes; prescription and recreational drugs, not to mention the toxic levels of pollution found in our land, air, and water supplies. This has been happening in increasing levels for many decades, affecting previous and present generations, as well as taking a toll on the environment.
Is it really fair to hold our Creator God responsible for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), cholesterol problems, heart disease, morbid obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, childhood-onset diabetes, birth defects, cancer, and all kinds of disease?
Absolutely not! Nevertheless, our loving Creator takes the blame every day for these and many other man-made problems. I believe many of these issues could be resolved in part by respecting our Earth and the environment, by following the food laws (Leviticus ch.11) that He set forth, and by nourishing our bodies with proper exercise and nutrition.
Our Father gives us instruction for our physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being. It is up to each individual whether they choose to listen and pay attention or not.
All the commandments and the laws are also summed up for us:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and you shall love your neighbour (fellow human beings) as yourself” (Luke ch.10).
This second rule is also known as “The Golden Rule”: Treat others as you would want them to treat you/Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In the first four chapters of the Book of Proverbs, we learn,
“A wise [person] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
The fear [reverence] of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction…
But whoso hearkens (listens) unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil… Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil…
For whom the Lord loves He corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights. Despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: ...
Happy is the man that finds wisdom; and the man that gets understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold…
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding”.
So, what does wisdom and understanding teach us about our Creator God’s will? What is it that our Heavenly Father wants for us?
My Bible-teacher pastor likes to point out that, contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, our Creator doesn’t get up every morning looking for somebody to zap or roast in hell-fire.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering [full of patience] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter ch.3).
“Therefore I will judge you, everyone according to his ways, says the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die?
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel ch.18).
You might ask: But what about people born and raised in different religions and belief systems? What about people in remote parts of the world who don’t know anything about the Holy Bible and Christ? Are they condemned and beyond salvation?
Actually, that is the wonderful thing about our Heavenly Father. He knows what cultures people grow up in. He knows which countries and peoples of the world have little or no access to His Word and no real opportunity to know about Jesus Christ.
But He also knows the actions, beliefs, morals, and value systems of all people in all time in all locations—and the human conscience is something built into all of us by our Creator.
The truth is that the Creator God is likely to hold more accountable those who classify themselves as believers than He is those who follow other traditions and value systems. Why? Because we believers say that we are instructed by God and by the Living Word. And since we are supposed to know better, we should do better!
Our intentions, our level of knowledge and effort, as well as our actions and the consequences of our actions on others is going to be the criteria by which we are judged. Our Heavenly Father knows when a Christian’s faith is wavering and when doubt occupies the mind. He also knows that a person like that is likely to be easily swayed, confused, and even manipulated.
I believe that there is a time coming when the judgement of the Almighty will hold to account those, (in various positions of leadership), who call themselves “Christians” while causing a lot of harm and hurt to others in their chosen professions and the organizations within which they function, be it politics, education, the priesthood, or otherwise.
He will question believers who are quick to condemn others, while they themselves know, understand, and practice very little about the Word of God. Your Heavenly Father knows who is genuine in their dealings and who isn’t. He also knows who has access to the Word of God but chooses not to be guided by it.
He knows the education and the intelligence levels of all humans, no matter where they exist in the world. He knows the environments, the difficulties, and the obstacles each person faces.
He isn’t concerned with how good-looking a person is, how much they weigh, or how fashionable they are, what political office one holds, or how rich or famous a person is in this material world.
Our Creator doesn’t evaluate things the way we do (thank goodness!). He doesn’t treat you unfairly based on the things you were born with, such as your race, color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic standing. The commandments, the laws and all the instructions relate, not to our genetic make-up, but they concern our choices: our actions, words and behaviours.
In other words, we will not be judged by the situations and the conditions which are outside of our control and influence; while context and all sides of the equation are taken into consideration.
Naturally, in order to make a fair assessment, the Creator would also take into consideration and make appropriate allowances for the disabled, those with brain chemical imbalances, and those who suffer from mental illness.
[It is important that I emphasize that references in my writing, to doing right and wrong, and accountability for actions, excludes those with mental disorders. Brain chemical imbalances, birth defects or other such conditions, cannot be held against the people who are affected by them, and any undesirable actions by such individuals ought to and would be evaluated and handled accordingly.]
Our Heavenly Father knows who is trying to do their best with what they have. Our maker understands human limitations as well as the desires and weaknesses of the flesh. The information, knowledge and the free will from which humans act and make their choices are laid open in His sight.
He’s also painfully aware of those who know better, but do not care to do the right thing, even when it is in their power to do so.
I believe that while you might not be able to control your thoughts or your feelings
sometimes, you can almost always control your actions, and your Maker expects you to do so.
If you believe others when they tell you that your Creator rejects you for what you were born with, you might find yourself going to extremes of behaviour that will bring you much harm.
You might also be very easy prey to the vultures who have tried throughout history to exploit, control, and destroy those whose potential they fear.
They tried for thousands of years to brainwash and convince women that their Creator didn’t value them; they tried for many hundreds of years to brainwash and ‘to teach’ ethnic and non-Caucasian people that they were incapable of solidarity, civilization, innovation, and accomplishment.
They have been and are now trying to push gay people to all extremes of thought and behaviour and encourage them to “do as thou wilt” and to “burn out like shooting stars” by telling them that their Heavenly Father does not care about them as His children.
As one of my friends, who happens to be a gay man who grew up in a Christian community in the West Indies, so wisely taught me: It is best not to pay attention to those who will tell a person (whose life stories they know nothing about) that God will surely condemn you based on their own judgements of you.
Once again, the lesson for all of us is that it is better to concentrate on our personal relationship with our Creator Father.
It touched my heart when he told me; “I know people always say that God hates gay people, but Father has always been good to me. He has brought me to this point and I know He has plans for me. All I keep saying to Him is, “Thy Will be done!’” And all I could say to my friend was, “Amen!”
To any person with extreme views on these various social “hot-button” topics, I would ask: Why is it then that The Ten Commandments, as written by the Hand of God, and directly carved into Moses’ stone tablets, doesn’t mention these three classes of people?
And what about the part where we are supposed to focus on our own journey because “Judge not, lest you be judged”? The Commandments tell us to revere the Creator and to respect His creation by observing the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Other than that we are supposed to leave the final judgement to the One who evaluates all sides of the equation.
With all the above in mind, it might be helpful to analyze how we relate to the Power higher than ourselves, and what our concept of God is. Some people will have maintained a relationship with their Heavenly Father, while others will say that they feel very far removed from their Creator.
Some people will have gotten into the habit of taking the time to sit quietly, to meditate, and to connect with their Creator Father; they would show their Creator gratitude by respecting living beings and by appreciating the universe He created.
Ask yourself: Do you feel awe and respect, love and reverence for the Creator of your soul, and for the Creator of all the beauty and wonder of nature and the universe? Do you tell your Heavenly Father that you love and respect Him?
Do you seek His will in your life or yours? And do you trust that your Heavenly Father knows what is best for you?
Maybe you have drifted away from your Father and from your faith. You might be someone who is easily enticed by every doubting Thomas, every occultist, and every atheist who uses words skillfully.
Maybe you are resentful or angry at God for things that have happened to you in your life. Perhaps it is time to really explore these questions and to ask why...and when the doubt, the disbelief, and the resentment began.
Perhaps it is time to start the process of understanding, overcoming and renewed connection.
Look at your life, your days… Evaluate whether you have an ongoing personal relationship with your Heavenly Father and a set of beliefs based on your own understanding of the Word of God…
[Copyright (2013) S.A. Abraham]
[All Rights Reserved.]