Spectacular Sins Book Club Chapter Four

Okay, girls. Better late than never! Let’s get to it on Chapter Four of Spectacular Sins!

I’m not sure to what extent you enjoy deep theology but I have to admit that my mind wants to shut down when I feel myself beginning to think in circles. For me, the sovereign, He’s-got-the-whole-world-in-His-hands view of God is the blanket I wrap up in when I can’t tie a tidy bow around some deep concept of Scripture. This week, that idea is God’s causative will versus His permissive will. When I read Proverbs 16:4 which says, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble“, the first questions that come to mind are : “Does that mean God creates evil and disease and calamity? Isn’t that against all He is?” And when it gets too much to consider, my faith stamps “GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD” on it and puts it to bed.

And that’s easy enough for me to do because I’ve never faced the devastations many of you have. It’s easy for me to say because I have faith as a background where many people with these same questions do not. I suppose I love this book so because it gives order to the many beliefs I have but don’t quite know how to express to those searching for a true representation of God’s character. As much as I don’t want to voice the words, I am also aware I am not immune to some unimaginable grief. God forbid calamity happen, but if it does, I want an overflowing reserve of Truth to bandage to my tire-ironed heart.

But there are many of you who have faced the worst-case-scenario. The child is gone. The husband left. The money disappeared overnight. What then? Is there a purpose for the evil or are the details of our lives left to random chance? Worse yet, did God cause it by not preventing it? All difficult but valid questions to which there is but one solution: We believe and trust God and we do not accept any answer to any question that in any way degrades His holiness and/or the fact He is FOR His children always.

I’ve said all of this to set up what is perhaps the foundational truth of this chapter as quoted from Frances Schaeffer: God is the God who is there. Page 59 states “We don’t make Him, He makes us. We don’t decide what He is going to be like. He decides what we are going to be like. He created the Universe, and it has the meaning He gives it, not the meaning we give it. If we give it a meaning different from His, we are fools. And our lives will be tragic in the end.”

So considering Proverbs 16:4 already referenced, I back up to page 56 which says, “God has done this (made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble) in His own mysterious way that preserves the responsibility of the wicked and the sinlessness of His own heart. We should humble ourselves if we cannot explain how this can be. We are told that it is so. Beware of bringing to the Bible assumptions that are not taught in the Bible. That is how God’s word is nullified.”

We are told that it is so. When did that stop being enough? God told Eve it was so in the garden and yet she listened to the voice which asked, “Did God really say…?” The most dangerous place in which to find oneself is with one ear to the Word and one ear to the world. The Word says God’s goodness and love and mercy and forgiveness and redemption and justice are so. The world tells us we are closed-minded and weak for swallowing an archaic religion without question.

We are going to approach this week’s discussion a little differently. I know there was much more to this chapter than what I’ve presented but I believe this issue of why bad things happen to “good people” is one that is foundational in our arsenal of answers for those who do not yet believe in Christ. It’s a huge hangup and one which we need to be able to address biblically.

So here is the one scenario I have for you today:

You are in a coffee shop reading your Bible. A stranger sits beside you and asks, “How can you believe in a God who allows terrorists to fly into towers or children to starve and die?”

Based on all we’ve learned so far, what do you say?

Spectacular Sins Book Club – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 ladies! I am so glad to join you once again!

I open this week’s discussion questions with one that my five year old son, Shepherd, asked me recently. “When Satan became a bad guy angel and God kicked him outta heaven, did he lose his wings?”

Things that make you go hmmm.

Perhaps we should email Piper and ask him what he thinks?

Moving on...

1. On page 40 Piper tells us that the name Satan means “accuser.” Do you ever feel accused? I know I do. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and obsess over all the ways I have failed throughout the day, or I relive all the sins of my past. Turn in your bibles (or click here) to read Romans 8:1-2. What does this verse say? If this is true, from whom are all those accusations of failure? What then should we do when our thoughts go there? What is the difference between condemnation of our sin by the Evil One and conviction of our sin by the Holy Spirit?

2. How does God allowing Satan to live bring glory to Christ?

3. Read the ‘Eight Things to Do with Evil” and “Four Things to Never Do with Evil” lists on pages 50-51. Which of these do you have the most problem with?

4. Recall Piper’s introduction, specifically pages 13-16 when he speaks of persecution of the Church. Since December I have been praying for Martha Samuel Makkar. She is an Egyptian sister in Christ who converted from Islam, and has faced persecution ever since. In December, she was arrested at the airport when she tried to emigrate to Russia. Martha was placed in prison, tortured, raped, and her two and four year old sons were denied food in an attempt to cause her to renounce Christ. She was recently released on bail and is awaiting trial. You can read her story here and here (and please join me in praying!)

How might the truths Piper has conveyed in this chapter regarding evil – the “weighty doctrine” – bring comfort to Martha and her family while she undergoes persecution for Christ?

Can’t wait to hear what y’all have to say, sisters! I couldn’t comment to many of you last time because immediately afterward my family got slammed by the flu (which God allowed in order to glorify Christ!) But this time, I’m ready God willing, so bring ’em on. :)

Love, Missy

**Note from Lisa: There are two weekend posts that PW’s need to see…Be sure to scroll down (or click over here from your reader) after you’ve answered Missy’s Marvelous Questions. Don’t y’all LOVE her?”

Spectacular Sins Book Club Chapter Two

I have to begin by telling you how incredibly proud I am of all the hard work you girls are putting forth in this book club! I know all this material is lofty but I truly pray that a fresh understanding and appreciation for the sovereignty of God is taking hold in your Spirit. Your answers are very insightful and I’ve enjoyed reading each and every one. FYI: I’ve had several emails from those who weren’t able to start at the beginning but aren’t sure if they can still participate. OF COURSE YOU CAN! Anyone is SO welcome to jump in every chance you get so please don’t hesitate to join the discussion.

Many things resonated with me in last weeks responses but I got a little stuck on Kelly’s (Love Well) quote here:

“I actually think it’s easier to magnify God in the big trials of life, because we are pushed to the limits then. We either magnify God or die. I find it harder to continue to choose His glory in the mundane details of life, when it’s tempting to slide into mediocrity, one inch at a time.”

Is anyone but me feeling that one? I think Kelly’s response speaks to where many of us live and that is our propensity to throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus only when circumstances are dire and not so much when we’ve had to clean up one too many poopy messes that day. Often it’s not the tire iron to the heart that gets me, it’s the constant yet lesser tappings that make me want to give up and try again later.

Obviously a woman reading who has lost a child or endured divorce or is battling a life-threatening illness may argue that mediocrity brought on by the exhaustion of motherhood or a lackluster faith born out of apathy are not comparable. On the most obvious level I wholeheartedly agree. But when we get right down to it, anything and I do mean ANYTHING, whether it be life’s trivia or trauma that robs God of the glory due Him in my book is spectacular indeed. As we learn in Chapter Two, ALL things were made by, through, and for Christ and therefore we must surrender every single event in order to display His greatness.

Oh my goodness. I have no idea if that made any sense whatsoever. I’ll be trusting the Holy Spirit to make the appropriate applications if any are indeed in order. :)

Let’s get to our questions!~

Chapter Two

1. I loved your quotes so much from the first session I’m going to ask you to share your favorite from this chapter!

2. Re-read Colossians 1:15-16. Piper makes special mention that of all the things Paul could list that were made by, through, and for Christ, that he specifically mentions evil powers. In answering why Paul did this, Piper pulls an example from 2 Timothy 1:8 to show how he used weighty doctrine to address Timothy’s practical issues of anxiety and fear that threatened the effect of his ministry. Considering Paul thought the ‘heavy’ things of God would help Timothy deal with everyday matters, how does knowing God created beings that He knew would turn from good to evil translate to your everyday life? (Use paragraphs 2 and 3 of page 36 to help form your thoughts.)

3. Five summary statements are given on p. 37 as to why God wants us to know the truth of Christ’s sovereignty over ‘rulers and authorities’ and the way they are involved in the most spectacular sins of the universe. Which one is most meaningful to you? How does it comfort you and/or give you courage against the evil that we know has been disarmed by Christ?

4. Okay, this question is more of an assignment. Look at the previous commenter’s answers and respond to one of her(his?) insights. If you are the first commenter, you can refer to this original post. Let’s get some discussion going! :)

This was a short chapter so we’ll stop here. Looking so forward to hearing your thoughts!

« Previous PageNext Page »