GET TO KNOW GOD(Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NKJV) "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will findHim if you see...
(Proverbs 28:5 NKJV) Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understandall.(Isaiah 45:2-6 NKJV) I ...
Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, whoexercises kindness, justice ...
Luke 7:47 ESV / 18 helpful votesTherefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he wh...
John 1:1 ESV / 9 helpful votesIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.Helpful Not H...
John 3:1-36 ESV / 7 helpful votesNow there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came ...
among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. She weepsbitterly in the night, with tea...
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 ESV / 3 helpful votesPaul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Fat...
Does God Change His Mind?                                                by Graham PockettScripture quoted is from the NIV...
By offering various rules of life or examples of how we should live (particularly the parables of Jesus) we canchoose to l...
and I might destroy you on the way.” [NIV]This is extraordinary! God is saying that He might not be able to control Himsel...
must be done.God’s SpreadsheetGod showed me that His plan is like a huge computer spreadsheet – a spreadsheet as large as ...
us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [NIV]A clarification:It has be...
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  1. 1. GET TO KNOW GOD(Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NKJV) "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will findHim if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. {30} "When you are in distress, and allthese things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey Hisvoice {31} (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, norforget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.(1 Chronicles 16:10-11 NKJV) Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek theLORD! {11} Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!(1 Chronicles 28:9 NKJV) "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Himwith a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all theintent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will castyou off forever.(2 Chronicles 7:14-15 NKJV) "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, andpray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgivetheir sin and heal their land. {15} "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made inthis place.(Ezra 8:22 NKJV) For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to helpus against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, "The hand of our God isupon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsakeHim."(Psalms 10:4 NKJV) The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of histhoughts.(Psalms 27:7-10 NKJV) Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, andanswer me. {8} When You said, "Seek My face," My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I willseek." {9} Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been myhelp; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. {10} When my father and my motherforsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.(Psalms 32:8-10 NKJV) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide youwith My eye. {9} Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which mustbe harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. {10} Many sorrows shall be to thewicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.(Psalms 34:8-10 NKJV) Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts inHim! {9} Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. {10} The younglions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.(Psalms 46:10 NKJV) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will beexalted in the earth!
  2. 2. (Proverbs 28:5 NKJV) Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understandall.(Isaiah 45:2-6 NKJV) I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in piecesthe gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. {3} I will give you the treasures of darkness And hiddenriches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the Godof Israel. {4} For Jacob My servants sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; Ihave named you, though you have not known Me. {5} I am the LORD, and there is no other; There isno God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, {6} That they may know from therising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other;(Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV) Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. {7}Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD,And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.(Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV) Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not themighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; {24} But let him who gloriesglory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness,judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.(Jeremiah 24:7 NKJV) Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shallbe My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.(Daniel 11:32 NKJV) "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; butthe people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.(Hosea 6:3 NKJV) Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth isestablished as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.(Hosea 10:12 NKJV) Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground,For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.(Acts 17:27-28 NKJV) "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Himand find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; {28} "for in Him we live and move and haveour being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.(Ephesians 1:17-21 NKJV) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to youthe spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, {18} the eyes of your understandingbeing enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the gloryof His inheritance in the saints, {19} and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us whobelieve, according to the working of His mighty power {20} which He worked in Christ when Heraised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, {21} far above allprincipality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age butalso in that which is to come.(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, {17} that the man of God may be complete,thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  3. 3. Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, whoexercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.(Jeremiah 9:24)New BeginningsHelpful Not HelpfulJeremiah 29:11 ESV / 121 helpful votesFor I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you afuture and a hope.Helpful Not Helpful2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV / 102 helpful votesTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new hascome.Helpful Not HelpfulIsaiah 43:19 ESV / 62 helpful votesBehold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in thewilderness and rivers in the desert.Helpful Not HelpfulDeuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV / 28 helpful votes“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandmentsthat I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. Andall these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of yourwomb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the youngof your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. ...Helpful Not HelpfulActs 3:19 ESV / 22 helpful votesRepent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,Helpful Not Helpful
  4. 4. Luke 7:47 ESV / 18 helpful votesTherefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who isforgiven little, loves little.”Helpful Not Helpful1 John 4:18 ESV / 16 helpful votesThere is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, andwhoever fears has not been perfected in love.Helpful Not HelpfulJohn 1:1-14 ESV / 16 helpful votesIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in thebeginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made thatwas made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and thedarkness has not overcome it. ...Helpful Not HelpfulPsalm 121:1-8 ESV / 14 helpful votesA Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes fromthe Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will notslumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lordis your shade on your right hand. ...Helpful Not HelpfulMalachi 4:2 ESV / 13 helpful votesBut for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shallgo out leaping like calves from the stall.Helpful Not HelpfulPsalm 102:25 ESV / 12 helpful votesOf old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.Helpful Not HelpfulJohn 3:16 ESV / 11 helpful votes“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perishbut have eternal life.Helpful Not Helpful
  5. 5. John 1:1 ESV / 9 helpful votesIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.Helpful Not HelpfulAmos 1:1-15 ESV / 9 helpful votesThe words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in thedays of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two yearsbefore the earthquake. And he said: “The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; thepastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers.” Thus says the Lord: “For threetransgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshedGilead with threshing sledges of iron. So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael, and it shall devourthe strongholds of Ben-hadad. I will break the gate-bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants fromthe Valley of Aven, and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden; and the people of Syria shall gointo exile to Kir,” says the Lord. ...Helpful Not HelpfulExodus 20:1-26 ESV / 9 helpful votesAnd God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land ofEgypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make foryourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earthbeneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I theLord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and thefourth generation of those who hate me, ...Helpful Not HelpfulLamentations 3:22-24 ESV / 8 helpful votesThe steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new everymorning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope inhim.”Helpful Not HelpfulRevelation 21:4 ESV / 7 helpful votesHe will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there bemourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Helpful Not HelpfulHebrews 12:24 ESV / 7 helpful votesAnd to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word thanthe blood of Abel.Helpful Not Helpful
  6. 6. John 3:1-36 ESV / 7 helpful votesNow there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesusby night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can dothese signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unlessone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be bornwhen he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mothers womb and be born?” Jesus answered,“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom ofGod. ...Helpful Not HelpfulZechariah 4:10 ESV / 6 helpful votesFor whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the handof Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.”Helpful Not HelpfulJob 1:1-22 ESV / 6 helpful votesThere was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, onewho feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. Hepossessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very manyservants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold afeast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat anddrink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecratethem, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of themall. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job didcontinually. ...Helpful Not HelpfulGenesis 1:1-31 ESV / 6 helpful votesIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, anddarkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And Godseparated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. Andthere was evening and there was morning, the first day. ...Helpful Not HelpfulGenesis 1:1 ESV / 6 helpful votesIn the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Helpful Not HelpfulLamentations 1:1-22 ESV / 5 helpful votesHow lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great
  7. 7. among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. She weepsbitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all herfriends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies. Judah has gone into exilebecause of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place;her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn, for nonecome to the festival; all her gates are desolate; her priests groan; her virgins have been afflicted, andshe herself suffers bitterly. Her foes have become the head; her enemies prosper, because the Lord hasafflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before thefoe. ...Helpful Not HelpfulIsaiah 65:25 ESV / 5 helpful votesThe wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be theserpents food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.Helpful Not HelpfulEcclesiastes 3:11 ESV / 5 helpful votesHe has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into mans heart, yet so that hecannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.Helpful Not HelpfulGenesis 4:1-26 ESV / 5 helpful votesNow Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with thehelp of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain aworker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of theground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord hadregard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was veryangry, and his face fell. ...Helpful Not Helpful1 Peter 1:3 ESV / 4 helpful votesBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused usto be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,Helpful Not HelpfulDeuteronomy 2:32-33 ESV / 4 helpful votesThen Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. And the Lord our God gavehim over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people.Helpful Not Helpful
  8. 8. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 ESV / 3 helpful votesPaul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord JesusChrist: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioningyou in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love andsteadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosenyou, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit andwith full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. ...Helpful Not HelpfulGenesis 12:1-9 ESV / 3 helpful votesNow the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your fathers house to theland that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make yourname great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors youI will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord hadtold him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. AndAbram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brothers son, and all their possessions that they had gathered,and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When theycame to the land of Canaan, ...
  9. 9. Does God Change His Mind? by Graham PockettScripture quoted is from the NIV Bible, not because it is ‘best’ but because it is in modern English. If in doubt,please read the quotations in various translations. You might like to read Why I Quote The NIV Bible. I doubt that any Christian would deny the fact that God, being omnipotent (all- powerful), omnipresent (ever-present) and omniscient (all-knowing), could change His mind if He wished, but the question is: Does God ever change His mind? Anyone who is all-knowing must, by definition, know everything and therefore should never need to change His mind because He knew what has, and what will, happen in any set of circumstances. His word is quite clear – He knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5) so why would He ever need to change His mind? To look at this properly we need to examine the subject of ‘freewill’. Freewill Recently I read that “the concept of freewill in the Christian church was over rated”implying that freewill was not the motivator of our faith. The article – from a well known preacher – implied thateverything was ‘God ordained’ and that He had our lives mapped out for us so that freewill ceased to be animportant aspect of our walk with the Lord.If you take that concept one step further you will accept that God has chosen us. Jesus said in Matthew 22:14that “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” [NIV]. Therefore, according to that concept, some people areborn to be saved and others are born to lead a life of sin and be damned.That Calvanistic concept does not sit well with me.Almost the entire Bible – from Genesis to Jude anyway – talks about freewill, our choice of whether we believe(have faith) that there is a God, the freewill to worship Him, the freewill to try and live a holy life. By the samerules, we also have the freewill to turn away from God, to mock Him, to spurn Him.Scriptures abound in this area. The first example in the Bible about freewill being exercised is the story of Adamand Eve and the Fall. In Genesis 2:16-17 says:And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eatfrom the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” [NIV]In Genesis 3:6 it says:When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable forgaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.[NIV]Adam had exercised his freewill by refusing to accept God’s command and disobeyed Him by eating the fruit ofthe tree of knowledge. Results, of course, were disastrous for mankind!Further examples of man exercising freewill – and directly opposing God’s wishes – abound. In Genesis 4:6-10we read the story of Cain and Abel:Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will younot be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but youmust master it.”Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked hisbrother Abel and killed him.Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” [NIV]So Cain killed Abel – even though God warned him about sinning – and then Cain stupidly tried to fool God bysaying “Am I my brother’s keeper?” As if God didn’t know what had happened! Still, by allowing man freewill,God allowed Cain to go against Him and kill Abel.
  10. 10. By offering various rules of life or examples of how we should live (particularly the parables of Jesus) we canchoose to live in God’s favour (by The Law as in the Old Testament or by Grace as in the New Testament) or wecan choose to live outside of God’s favour. What are the Ten Commandments if not rules so that we may make achoice?But why would God give us these choices? It would have been easier to have given us a loving dog-like devotionto Him. He could have commanded obedience – we would have been forced to live by His rules for us in thesame way we order the world in which we live. We could have been God’s cattle.But God didn’t want blind obedience, He wanted our love, to be our loving Father and for us to be His lovingsons. But love does not live in a vacuum and for God to give us the opportunity to love Him, He had to also giveus the opportunity to turn away from Him. If there are no choices then there is no choice and He had to give usthe choice so that we had the opportunity to choose Him – otherwise how could we be sons and not cattle?Would you want a robot for a son? Would you want unquestioning obedience? If there was no questioning thenthere could be no love and what father doesn’t cherish the love of his son?If God wanted children and not robots or domestic cattle then He had to give those children freewill, the choice tolove or not to love.Therefore I believe that the preacher who advocated that freewill was overrated was wrong. Too many peoplelook at a verse and not at the book. The Bible is interrelated and it is dangerous to put your faith on one or twoverses and not comprehend the whole.Does God ever change His mind?Let us return to the original proposition. Does God ever change His mind?If God is not going to manipulate us, if He is going to offer us the opportunity to express our freewill, then He is atthe mercy of that freewill. He can say to us “I would like you to donate a certain sum of money for missionarywork” but if we choose to ignore that ‘small still voice’ then God will get someone else to supply that need.Maybe you were His first choice but your own inaction had led God to find someone else.Do you ever wonder how many times God had a task for you and you didn’t listen carefully? Do you ever think oflost opportunities to help someone find the Lord? Have you ever thought that maybe you should speak tosomeone about Jesus and then failed to do so, only to find out later that someone else led that person to theLord?God must change His mind because He is dealing with self-centred mortals who often get so wrapped up intheir own petty problems that they neglect to listen to God. Because of our inability to be led, God must keep onfinding alternatives to our lack of action.God knows us individually and will use us to the extent of our capabilities. We need to exercise our freewill sothat we can be vessels which God uses.Does God ever change His mind? If He does then it should be outlined in the Word. If we look at Genesis 6:6-7we read:The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORDsaid, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creaturesthat move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.” [NIV]So apparently God DID change His mind – and that change of mind led to the Great Flood.If we look at the story of the Golden Calf in Exodus 32 we read that God was so unhappy with his ‘stiff neckedpeople’ that, in verse10, the Lord said to Moses:“Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will makeyou into a great nation.” [NIV]But Moses pleaded for his people and finally God said to Moses (v14):Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.[NIV]If we continue on with the story of the errant Israelites we find that God is still unhappy with them. In Exodus 33:3God says:“Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people
  11. 11. and I might destroy you on the way.” [NIV]This is extraordinary! God is saying that He might not be able to control Himself because of the attitude of theIsraelites. This is exactly what we have been looking at. God is, in some ways, at our mercy. The freewill He hasgiven us as the tool so that we can love Him as sons and daughters can also be turned against Him – it is a two-edged sword. With gifts like freewill comes responsibility. One cannot flourish without the other.Look what’s happening in our schools today. We tell children that they have ‘rights’ but be don’t balance that withthe knowledge that with those ‘rights’ comes ‘responsibility’ – one cannot successfully live without the other. Godhas given us the ‘right’ to our freewill, but we must temper that by being responsible.Let’s look at another Scripture where God has changed His mind. In 1 Samuel 15:35b it says:And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel. [NIV]Again, man has let down God and God grieved His original decision to make Saul king.One of the most remarkable stories in the Bible can be found in the book of Jonah (Jonah 1:1-4):The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it,because its wickedness has come up before me.”But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a shipbound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to breakup. [NIV]With the ship threatened, Jonah told the crew to throw him overboard to appease God and to save them. Thisthey reluctantly did and the raging sea grew calm (v15). Jonah, of course, was swallowed by a “great fish” andstayed there for three days and nights. Finally, God “commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land”(Jonah 2:10).Now let’s read from Jonah 3:1-4...Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it themessage I give you.”Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city – a visitrequired three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Ninevehwill be overturned.” [NIV]So Jonah finally obeyed the Lord and told the Ninevites that they had only 40 days before their huge city of morethan 120,000 people would be overturned. Reading further from Jonah 3:5-10...The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put onsackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes,covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bringupon them the destruction he had threatened. [NIV]So the Ninevites repented of their “evil ways and their violence” and God, again, changed His mind!Obviously, how we behave – for good or for bad – determines how God treats us. God ‘adjusts’ His behaviour tous dependent on how we behave and what choices we make.So our freewill allows us to go against God’s wishes and that makes God change His mind. Often He will keepon reminding us so that, if we do start to listen, we can finally obey God’s command. If we don’t then God allowsus that right to disobey and we are ultimately the losers.Many people would have heard the story of the drunk who was captivated by the beautiful singing and staggeredinto a church and was saved, never to touch the demon drink again. I have often wondered just how manychurches God led that drunk to before he finally took the hint and went inside. Was it a 100? 200?God works to a plan – part of which is outlined in Revelation – but for that plan to come into effect many things
  12. 12. must be done.God’s SpreadsheetGod showed me that His plan is like a huge computer spreadsheet – a spreadsheet as large as this planet. Thefirst column is the present, and the last column is the culmination of God’s plan, but this spreadsheet works inreverse to other spreadsheets. Normally, you make a small correction to a cell in the first column – you could callit ‘the here and now’ – and the ripple effect amplifies that correction until the whole spreadsheet is upgraded withnew data – invariably with a new conclusion.However God’s spreadsheet works the other way. The first column – the here and now – is where all the actionis and I can envision a huge turmoil in that column. The next column exhibits less turmoil, and the next evenless. This abating ripple effect goes on until we get to the end where there are no changes taking place. The lastcolumn remains unchanged because that is God’s ultimate plan for us. That plan, outlined in Revelation, has notchanged and never will.Time is progressing – from left to right – towards the end of God’s spreadsheet. The furthest left hand columnhas more major corrections required to ensure that the last column remains unchanged. As the period betweenthe ‘here and now’ and God’s triumph over this world diminishes, so more and more corrections are required tokeep everything ‘on track’.Yes, but not in regard to the Final Plan. That Final Plan He gave to us through the Apostle John is recorded inRevelation. That plan has not changed, the only thing which keeps constantly changing is how we listen to God,how we obey Him, and therefore how God can use us.God has to change His mind because He is dealing with us! That is not a pleasant thought for a switched-on-for-Jesus, Bible-believing Christian.An interesting thought. In Revelation 21:6 Jesus said: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and theEnd.” He doesn’t speak about His authority during man’s reign on this Earth! The ‘beginning and the end’ but nomention of His absolute authority in the middle!!! He is there to help man but, ultimately, man must choose life ordeath, Jesus or Satan. With the promise for the future recorded in the Bible, I know where my focus must lie.End TimesIs the future (often called the ‘End Times’) really pre-ordained? In Habakkuk 2:2-3 it says:Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, waitfor it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” [NIV]So the ‘appointed time’, as God told Habakkuk the prophet, ‘will not prove false’. God set His plan into motionmany thousands of years ago and that plan is still unfolding today.As we rush towards that ‘appointed time’ the Saints are being tested and many are found to be wanting. Theones who don’t listen carefully to God’s word are likely to be left behind, to become so disillusioned withChristianity that they turn away from God.We can see that turmoil in the world around us even now. As we get nearer to the End Times we will find thatGod will call on us even more. We will be given more and more tasks as the final day of the Lord draws near.If we listened perfectly and obeyed Him in all things there would never be a need for God to change His mind.FinallyGod has the ability to make-good our mistakes. If we just live under our own fleshly desires and powers we willalways fail. If we submit ourselves to God then we will receive the rewards He has promised us.However, it is pleasing to know that, even if we don’t always listen and obey 100 per cent of the time, God canstill use us in more ways than we think possible. Look how He blessed King David, even though David was a selfconfessed sinner in many areas. Guess we don’t have to be perfect, just repentant!Just remember Hebrews 13:20-21 which says:May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our LordJesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in
  13. 13. us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [NIV]A clarification:It has been pointed out to me, quite rightly, that the Bible states that God does not change His mind. Forexample: God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. (Numbers 23:19a, NIV).While I agree with this statement completely, I think of it in terms of God’s Spreadsheet (above). The end resultmay not change but the path to that end result will always change due to the actions of others (ie our inability, oroutright refusal, to listen to God and obey Him 100%).Another analogy is this. You are driving your motor vehicle between two towns. The start and finish points of thejourney (the two towns) does not change, but along the way you have to make small diversions – you avoidpotholes in the road, maybe road workers have erected a temporary detour because of repairs, there is a slowvehicle that you overtake, or you pull over a little to let a faster vehicle pass, etc.Along the way you speed up and slow down because of other road users and the changing conditions on theroad. Your actions are being controlled by other people and by circumstances beyond your control.No two voyages you take over that road will be identical because of these changing conditions. However, youfinally get to your destination in spite of the detours, potholes, and the actions of other people (motorists,pedestrians and cyclists).God either orders us (pre-ordained blind obedience where we have no choice but to obey) or He allows usfreewill. If He allows us freewill then He must allow for us to exercise that freewill – and that means constantlychanging His mind in the same way we do when we drive between two towns and make constant tiny changes toour path (caused by actions outside of our control).The destination (as outlined in Revelation) does not change, but the path to that destination changes constantly.Graham PockettI pray you have found this article interesting and I would be pleased to read any comments you may have.However, my workload is such that I may not be able to respond to all mail. Address any comments to GrahamPockett.Get a copy of this article in ASCII text format either zipped (freewill.zip – 8kB) or as a normal text document(freewill.txt – 18kB). Please note that this article is copyright and may not be reproduced without writtenpermission (given freely for Christian purposes). Often it is better to simply link directly to this page!All of Graham’s Christian writings (see below) can be download as a set of archived text filesGrahamsWriting.zip (you will need an unzipping tool – like the free Stuffit Expander – to extract the separatedocuments from this archive). Further Reading If you enjoyed this article, you will probably also enjoy If God Doesn’t Change His Mind, Can Prayers Work? by the "Oldtimer", Jim Tabb, from Georgia, USA. Jim also uses Isaiah 38:1-6 as confirmation that God really does change His mind.

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