I believe that we have a will, but that we can only carry out what God has intended, for us to do. It surely seems like all of my choices and thoughts are free, but they have all come about as a result of every event and person that God has put into my life up to that time.
I think about God's warnings to Israel that if they did not act according to His laws that He would send them into captivity. Well, did He just decide one day that this was the day and all of a sudden put the thought into the King of Assyria that it was a good day to invade Israel? I sincerely doubt it. He had been setting up the king's heart for years, or longer (preordained it?) and just so with his army. All was ripe for just the time that God brought His judgment and Assyria's army against Israel--nothing could have stopped it and it had to be orchestrated with great precision.
We are God's workmanship, that pretty much says it all for me. We aren't finished yet. It took me awhile to see that, but once I latch onto something, it's pretty much entrenched there. Why, it would take an act of God to shake it out!!
I've read some awesome insights in this thread. I love deep thoughts on the underlying meat of the Bible stories such as Joseph and how he represented Christ. I also love Boaz as the kinsman redeemer. Their actions had to be predetermined to fit so well into God's prophetic picture of the New Testament within the Old Testament
(Oh, whoever said he didn't understand the way women think, you made me laugh so hard. My bf just said this morning that women's thinking was skewed. I stared at him a long time and asked him if he didn't want to find another word to use. He laughed and came up with: women have an alternate way of thinking. That was just to placate me. He really meant the skewed thing. But, as I tell him all the time--he's cute and I'm shallow--so I tolerate it.)
This all is what I have come to believe through studying and reading different presentations on the topic of free will and the scriptures used to defend either stance. I feel the evidence is strongest for God directing our steps. If someone doesn't see it in the same way, well, I have no ability to bring you to my way of thinking. I hope we can agree to disagree respectfully. Probably somewhere we will agree on another topic and I will disagree with those that I agree with on this topic. That seems typically to be what I find in forums, lol.
I am hoping that we are allowed a bit of freedom to present our thoughts on here. I've been on forums where you have to back up everything with scripture chapter and verse. And if the differences get a bit intense, the mods lock the thread. That doesn't solve anything, in my opinion, but then, I'm Just a woman, hah!!
May Grace follow us all this Holiday and peace be upon you and your loved ones.