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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Practicing the Presence of God

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I found the following quotes from this little book by Lawrence troubling:

Quote:
“He is within in us; seek Him not elsewhere (p. 64).”



That sounds like new age philosophy to me, where everyone is encouraged to "find the Christ within you". But what about seeking to know God through His Word? During the time of Lawrence the Scriptures were readily available to the common people, as it was well over a century after the Reformation. Nowhere in this little book are we encouraged to search the Scriptures as a means of getting to know the Lord. Jesus said, “If you abide in my Word then you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”-John 8:31-32.

Quote:
“This made me resolve to give the all for the All, so after having given myself wholly to God, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world (p. 26).”

“I took a resolution to give myself up to God, as the best satisfaction I could make for my sins; and, for the love of Him, to renounce all besides (p. 29).”

“Since entering upon the religious life, I no longer perplex myself with thoughts of virtue, or of my salvation. But having given myself wholly to God, to make what satisfaction I could for my sins . . . (p. 99).”



Sounds like salvation by works. How can we “make satisfaction” for our sins? This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ alone has made satisfaction for our sins through the blood of His cross. Those quotes seem to imply we can make up for our sins so that at the end of the day our good works can outweigh our evil deeds. That is what false religion teaches.

The editor of this book writes,
Quote:
“His one desire was that he might suffer something for the love of God, for all his sins . . . Purposely he bade the brethren to turn him on to his right side; he knew that this position gave great pain, and therefore wished to remain therefore to satisfy his burning desire to suffer (p. 104).”



That is asceticism, the belief that one must physically endure suffering to get close to God, and it is a common belief in the RCC. The book of Colossians warns about that kind of false teaching that was creeping into the churches. It says in Colossians 2:20-23, “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

I believe this brief article really nails it when it comes to this little book:
http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue97b.htm


_________________
Oracio

 2014/7/19 12:27Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I believe this thread proves the importance of sound doctrine. There are many admonitions in God's Word that speak of this importance. If we make light of God's Word and sound doctrine we will be susceptible to deceiving spirits even as true believers in Christ. Brothers and sisters, may we continue to test all things in light of the word of God. May we be like the Bereans.

"Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."-Acts 17:10-11


_________________
Oracio

 2014/7/19 13:07Profile
drifter
Member



Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 613
Campbell River, B.C.

 Re:

amrkelly wrote: "It is the easiest thing to condemn that which is self evidently wrong. Even a little child can do that. But the little child also knows that in people can be found both good and evil. The good the child clings to, and the evil the child shrinks back from. If a child can manage it how come such wise men as we are cannot?

I just love the way we play with words to avoid saying what we must say if our inferences are to be taken seriously. Go on someone have the courage to say it if you can.

Rome has no true believers. It's impossible because Rome is of the devil. There you go ye wise men. Now go and say it from the roof top and from St Peter's Square and from your neighbours house. If any man comes to you and says "I believe in Jesus" you can in your great wisdom declare to the heavens and all the earth "NO YOU DO NOT" because you are a Roman Catholic and we all know that Roman Catholics are of the DEVIL."

If a person can worship idols and break virtually all of the ten commandments, be joined to a harlot church and still be a christian, then I guess a Roman Catholic can be a christian. These issues are not trivial. By the way, just believing is not enough. "Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:19 One must repent of sin and make Jesus the absolute master of their life.


_________________
Nigel Holland

 2014/7/19 13:17Profile
drifter
Member



Joined: 2005/6/6
Posts: 613
Campbell River, B.C.

 Re:

"Yeah, the bible is okay and protestant writings are so-so, but if you REALLY want power read the catholic mystics." I've heard people say this or at least infer it. Scary.


_________________
Nigel Holland

 2014/7/19 13:25Profile









 Re:

 2014/7/19 14:09









 Re:

Quote:
"If there is even one single man or woman who belongs to an RC Church who is a true believer in the death and resurrection of Christ, then we have a series problem, do we not? "

Of course we do not. It's a false premise. You could make that argument about Mormonism or Jehovah's witness's or Phelps church in Kansas or the Ayrian brotherhood. It's not we that have the problem, it's the genuine believer who is in Catholicism that has a problem. If anyone ever finds out that they do not believe in transubstantiation, then they will be invited to leave, or any one of the countless heretical teachings of the Catholic Church.



I have to say Frank that I am genuinely surprised by this reply of yours, especially the point about Mormonism and the other cults you have mentioned.

Brother Frank in view of your reply I am not going to respond anymore. I have to tell you Frank that if you genuinely believe that there is any correspondence between Mormonism. JW's etc and the Roman Church you have made a grave error in your thinking. Perhaps we could put it down to your seeking to make a different point than the words of themselves express. And that Brother Frank is what I extended to Colin. He too was making a different point to the one his words of themselves expressed. Though you thought to instruct me on the matter.

Your comment is to bring Christ himself into the realm of an angel and to make the gospel meaningless and false.

In Islam, Al'Masih Isa is Jesus. In Mormonism Jesus is a son of God, in the JW cult, Jesus is Michael the archangel. If you were to ask me therefore whether their were any born again believers in these three cults I would have a responsibility to say that they are all completely false because they have another Christ and not the Son of God at all therefore there can be none of His in their ranks. The very same thing could be said for the Mashiach of present day orthodox Jews. They too have in mind a different Christ, at the heart of which lies not only an inevitable rejection of true Christ, but the acceptance of another christ who does not conform to the true revelation of God in the Law, the Prophets and in finality of the testimony of Christ Himself.

Rome on the other hand is fully and properly comprehending of true Christ.

If you cannot make this distinction and understand its effect then you have no place teaching others anything about that which ails the Roman Church. You ought to especially draw back from bearing witness of the Christ you do know to those who have as much likelihood of putting their faith in Him as you have yourself. This is of course speaking about those who are of Rome. We ought not to make the mistake of failing to separate truth from error and then the gospel from another gospel. The Gospel is one thing and Christ Himself is a greater than the gospel. The gospel speaks of Christ crucified for sin as the Son of Man and Christ Himself speaks of He who was with the Father from the beginning, even the Son of God.

Mormons speak of Jesus Christ whom they call the son of God. Yet their christ is a son of God and not the Son of God. Muslims are fervent about Al'Masih Isa and know that this name, Christ Jesus, appears more times in the Qur'an than does the name of Mohammed himself. Yet this Al'Masih Isa is a prophet and is expressly denied to be the Son of God.

You may well believe that I am making a fine point because you may believe that if Rome makes ruin of the true doctrine of grace then what grace is their to be saved. Salvation does not rest on whether other men extend a true and proper comprehension of the grace of God. In finality it is the grace of God in Christ Jesus, the Son of God by whom grace first appeared to men by which men are saved, Faith through grace in Christ Jesus the Son of God.

I would invite you not to respond to this post Frank nor anyone else until you have tested what I am saying here and can be certain that pressing another point other than the one which alone leads to eternal life, is in fact a true thing to do. If we ourselves seek to lay any other foundation than Christ Jesus crucified for sin we have made ruin of the true Gospel. But if we do not comprehend that Christ is the Son of the Living God, we have no basis for a gospel at all. Rome by a reality of centuries has in its folds a true and proper understanding of the person of Jesus Christ. It is an understanding of Christ which all born again believers have by reason of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is the power to confirm that Jesus is both Christ and Lord, in their own consciousness.

Mormons, JW's Muslims and many others speak the same name and speak the same words in many instances as do true believers. Yet they are not true believers and of them we can say there is not amongst them one who truly comprehends Christ as He is, the Son of the Living God.

"Who do men say that I Am?"

Who do you say that I Am"

"Though art the Christ, the Son of the Living God".

That is what separates truth from error and all the rest is a matter of separating from error itself, but to separate from error without knowing who Christ truly is, is a fools gospel and a man made religion. For this reason I neither say that there are none in Rome who truly believe, for this would be to lie against the truth, nor do I say come out of her and be ye separate, except that I have first comprehended Christ Himself in my brother or Sister. Then I will say come out because a day of judgement is coming and you ought not to be a part of her sins and her abominations lest you also receive of her suffering as well.

Men can blaspheme the Son of God and they can even blaspheme the Father in heaven and there is sufficient grace. That sufficiency is better laid hold of in a laying hold of true Christ otherwise we have not laid hold of grace at all.

I take it Frank that I am of those who should know better! Brother I do know better and therefore I am not afraid to say it even though it brings me into the scope of my friends comments. Greg has been held up in this thread and another for the same reason. The Lord knows.

 2014/7/19 14:15









 Re:

Andrew writes.......

"Your comment is to bring Christ himself into the realm of an angel and to make the gospel meaningless and false."

And again...........

"Rome on the other hand is fully and properly comprehending of true Christ." And...........

"Brother Frank in view of your reply I am not going to respond anymore."

After making the statement that the Church of Rome full and properly comprehends the true Jesus I am glad you are not going to respond any more brother. I will leave your above statements to the discernment of those on the forum............bro Frank

 2014/7/19 19:35
murrcolr
Member



Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1529
Scotland, UK

 Re:

Quote: I found the following quotes from this little book by Lawrence troubling:

The very name of the book, “Practice of his Presence”, I find abhorrent, its name makes me shudder and makes my skin crawl.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Jos 1:9

God is with us wherever we go, that the promise he made; I remember going surfing one time in the sea of Cornwall, the sea was very rough, but for me that was good as the waves were high. I got on that surf board and swam right out there with the surfers, only to find that I was out of my depth. When I tried to catch a wave to go back in, I failed drastically and ended up in what I can only describe as a washing machine. When I eventually came to my sense and figured out which way was up to surface, I swam up there to be engulfed by the next wave, this went for a few more waves and I was tired and out of breath. So I cried out right there in the middle of this tumult. I cried out, JESUS, when the next wave came I was picked up by it and launch up the beach.

God was there with me in the tumult, he is with us wherever we may go.

I believe what he says in his word and it has become a reality to me, “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” I don’t need to “practice to his presence” as he is there with me even as I type this post. I don’t need to clear my mind and mediate, for him to be there, or perform some sort of religious practice for him to be there. I don’t lose him or break of contact with him, when I have to go about the mundane things in my life. Why because he has made me a promise “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.

I develop my ear for God, on an oil rig in the North Sea. I used to pray, just as I would speak to you I would speak to God and ask God for help with my job to point out what was wrong or if I had missed anything, at first when I started, I missed the thoughts “check this” or “check that” I ignored them. Only to find that things I was prompted to check went wrong, all said was Father I thank you for speaking, I am sorry that I heard and didn’t obey and moved on and persevered and learnt to hear and to obey.

We don’t need to sit in a darkened room, cross legged chanting love, love, love repeatedly, then try in our own strength, by disciplining our thought life to focus on God all the time during the mundane things in our life, to have an awareness of a spiritual presence.

I know the “Lord your God is with you wherever you go” it’s reality in my life, God does not lie, he cannot lie, he keeps his promises. He is there wherever you may go, He is our Emmanuel, he is our high tower, he is our refuge, he is our strength and he has given us everything we need to live a godly life.

So be done with this Mystic’s and there romantic mystical musings as they’ll lead you down an aberrant path and into hell itself.


_________________
Colin Murray

 2014/7/19 23:11Profile









 Re:

Quote:
Andrew writes.......

"Your comment is to bring Christ himself into the realm of an angel and to make the gospel meaningless and false."

And again...........

"Rome on the other hand is fully and properly comprehending of true Christ." And...........

"Brother Frank in view of your reply I am not going to respond anymore."

After making the statement that the Church of Rome full and properly comprehends the true Jesus I am glad you are not going to respond any more brother. I will leave your above statements to the discernment of those on the forum............bro Frank




Shame on you for your spiritual arrogance! You have no authority to remove my statements Frank so what do your words mean? They mean nothing Frank and that is a fact. Moreover I put them there by my own hand and so they are visible by my own hand.

So by my own hand Frank here is what I actually said:

"If we ourselves seek to lay any other foundation than Christ Jesus crucified for sin we have made ruin of the true Gospel. But if we do not comprehend that Christ is the Son of the Living God, we have no basis for a gospel at all. Rome by a reality of centuries has in its folds a true and proper understanding of the person of Jesus Christ."

I said nothing about Rome understanding the "true Jesus". That kind of statement is new age speak. It is a deliberate distortion of words which you do often and then hide behind a cloak of righteousness. I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for your hypocrisy.

 2014/7/20 1:21









 Re:

I have now had the chance of reading through these writings (though remember doing so quite a few years ago) and feel that Brother Lawrence and what he said is being grossly misunderstood.

His thoughts were, I feel, put together for a specific audience, and not for your average believer. I was struck by reading that he suffered from sciatica. Now, I have never suffered from this myself, thankfully, though have known periods of excruciating pain, during which times I have had to wonder how it is possible to be in such a degree of pain, yet continue to survive, as I am unable to relieve the many symptoms I have with medications due to extreme sensitivity to most everything in life, and that includes a whole pile of foodstuff. I have heard sciatica is very painful indeed, and he lived during a time when I guess people just had to put up with things too.

But it is chronic pain that gets to you (and I have that too). Year in and year out. It eventually gets to you and it numbs the brain and you just lose the will to live. I just wonder how bad it was for Brother Lawrence and feel an affinity with him, although I don't have to live in an unheated monastery which would increase the pain greatly, whilst suffering the ill health that would arise in someone incapable to taking daily exercise, having to limp around instead. On top of it all, he would be expected to keep up with his own duties and accept his trials cheerfully.

So I wonder just how those of us who stand in judgement of him would have coped with his life. By all accounts he was indeed cheerful and joyful and peaceful, hence the production of the book to record his thoughts.

'So what is your secret Brother?' he no doubt will have been asked countless times. His answer is an inspiration to those who must go through extreme levels of suffering, which invariably lead one to start to question God. It is all very well to understand that God is with us in accordance with the scriptures, but there comes a time, after year after year of it, when things get past our coping abilities, when we have to ask 'why?'.

Those who have lived lives of relative ease, having health and fitness (though of course none of us escape a few problems) and financial ease, and probable support in this 'normal world' really have no idea what many go though who are given a different tune to march to, as far as undeserved suffering goes.

In these cases, when the tire meets the tarmac, one has to find a higher way of overcoming the temptations one is constantly pounded with, to avoid the thoughts that God has indeed deserted us and does not care enough to relieve our pain and suffering. Many in these extreme circumstances, after great trials of feeling alone and empty, turn to people like Brother Lawrence who did find the means to deal with it and to become over-comers, and find peace in the midst of fire.

His answer was, that when we feel that God is not there, and the heavens feel as brass, we have to act as though we can feel He is there and close to us. 'Practice the presence' in other words. Ignore what is going on around us, and look for Him in the smallest things of everyday life, and look upon our tedious duties that perhaps increase our daily sufferings, as works in His service and learn to thank Him for these mundane works until joy is found in them and pleasure in the smallest things imaginable in life, when life closes in on one and becomes like a prison cell.

Those who suffer in this way, invariably have to put up also, like Job, with the lack of empathy from those who have an easier pathway, and who chant the usual scriptures, not understanding that there is a trial we sometimes are required to go through, a crucible and a wine-press, whereby we are forced to enter another level of being, chosen for a few, where they do learn to have peace and joy in the midst of God removing His presence, which is the worst trial of all, but the process of doing so can take years of being in darkness and despair, increased in intensity by the lack of understanding and fellowship by the main body of the church who judge us as being at fault. I am sure that Bro Lawrence went through this.

Eventually many find solace in the writings of others who have been in the wine-press and found the answer in the writings of what are known as mystics which is an unfortunate word, having been contaminated as are other such 'good' words, but have now acquired a negative meaning. Such as these have been forced by circumstances to turn their eyes away from the world, and develop the 'interior' life which basically just means that they learn to see things though spiritual eyes, and see God in everything in their lives until He become their all in all and they have His voice and comfort with them wherever they go. This is it really - the real mysticism. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.




 2014/7/20 2:03





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