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I came from a Hindu faith. I had no clue of the Gospel. Also no one formally shared the Gospel with me. I started reading the Bible my self after I was influenced by a fellowship of believers. The moment I started reading the book of Gospels, I started believing in Jesus as God and his words. After few years of being born again, I asked this question to the Lord, 'how did I believe that the words of Jesus is from God?'. God answered me with this verse.
John 7-17:- If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.
Deep in my heart there was a desire to do God's will, but I did not know the true God. God revealed himself to me through his word. The moment I started reading his Word, I knew it was from God.
Even as an unbeliever, I used to believe I was a sinner. I had a strong conviction of my sins. I used to repent before those Hindu Idols of my sins. God by his mercy revealed himself to me.
This verse always brings tears to my eyes.
Hosea 2-14:- Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
The word Allure means to attract someone strongly. Like how a man will try to attract a women to be his bride. God allured me to come to him.
| 2017/8/29 23:42||Profile|
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Being raised in church, I was confronted by the gospel many many times tho mostly I resisted it,... resisted Him. Eventually in my rebellion I was rejected by my church, not formally but casually. Becoming a teenager I began to take note of the hypocrisy of most of those in my church and the love lacking legalism of the rest. They were sincere yet I couldn't see or find Jesus in them mostly due to my own blindness, yet I had an insatiable desire for truth. So for the next 20years I ran from God in search of truth. Spending much of that time in deep study of literature, history, science, art, music, and ultimately Buddhism and Taoism. Taoism became my obsession as it presented me with a simple yet mysterious and elusive"truth",complete with "miracles" and "immortality".
The architect of my ego constructed, out of my belief system, a very comfortable bed from which I was slow to be roused. It was perfect, or so I thought, and I was thoroughly repulsed by Christianity and mostly Christians. Tho when I needed it most, in the midst of a crisis, it (my belief system) collapsed like a child's lego building under the weight of falling bricks... it was then that I remembered the God of my youth, the God of my mother and father and theirs before them. So I cried out to Him, asking if He was really real? and if so would He please show Himself to me?
Tho I had briefly encountered Him in prison years before this and had been baptized and experienced the change His grace brings, I had never truly been broken, cracked and chipped but not broken and it was not till I was broken that from the depths of my heart I sought Him, I sought the truth about Truth... it was then and there that He revealed Himself to me as the Christ... as the Holy One- the God who saves. Jesus of Nazareth appeared to me as clearly as anything I'd ever beheld, even more real than I had imagined. The weight of His presence transcended everything- I was scared to even look directly at Him- just fell to the floor on my knees and worshiped,... that's all I could do- i had nothing else to offer Him. He began changing me that night, it was obvious to everyone without my saying a word. It continued for an extended period till when I would run into an old friend whom I had done drugs with they would just ask, "what happened - I mean you are a completely different person, it's definitely better but how did you..?" And His name, like honey from my lips would fall so softly they would just tear up and say "wow! Good for you! Just Wow!" I always asked to pray with or for them, some accepted some passed... but they all heard His name from a greatful heart and that is the testimony He gave me... His name as my God:)
So for me it's both, as there are clear scriptures that testify to both -
When I ran away, He pursued...
When I sought, He hid until the time was right...
but like sister Jasmine said, He was there all along :)
Oh great and merciful God thank you that you hide from the wise but show yourself to the children, may we all grow weary with the wisdom of this world- for in our wisdom we seek to use you and are fools, yet as children we obey you and are clay in your hands to be used by you to glorify your Son with the testimony He gives us, all we have to offer you is what you have first given us:)
| 2017/8/30 1:12||Profile|
Johannesburg, South Africa
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Beautiful testimonies Fletcher and Sree
"He who thirsts for righteousness will be filled"
| 2017/8/30 2:51||Profile|
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Marvin, This statement you made, quote: " In fact the only kind of man God brings to Christ are those men and women who in their hearts admit they wanted nothing to do with Him."
This is just not supported by scripture, in fact it goes against what we read in the bible. There are many examples where we are called to seek God and also where God reveals Himself to those who are seeking to know Him. I will give just one example.....Cornelius:
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
A DEVOUT MAN WHO FEARED GOD with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
“Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter."
We see hear that Cornelius was God fearing and sought to follow the true God of Israel. Because of this God sought him, to reveal the way of salvation in Christ through Peter.
It is restated here....
So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
“and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.
Acts 10: 30-31.
Peter's response to this....
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
“But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
So what does Peter mean when he said the above? Is he declaring salvation by works? No, that cannot be because he then preached the gospel of remission of sins through faith in Christ to Cornelius! What I understand Peter (and scripture) to be teaching is that God looks upon those who's heart is toward him, and then reveals the way of salvation to them.
As has been well said by others here, it is BOTH us seeking God and God seeking us. This is the clear position presented in the bible. It is not one at the exclusion of the other. Otherwise we would just have to rip out the many statements that Jesus made about the need for men to 'seek'.
| 2017/8/30 17:29||Profile|
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The "you-know-what-ist" will say that Cornelius was only seeking God because God was already drawing him.
I don't buy it but that is what they will say. As you point out Dave, that would render meaningless the various commands to "seek."
Picture this: God commands all men to repent and seek after Him (Acts 17:30), but only those He draws first will repent and seek after him. That makes no sense whatsoever, to me at least.
| 2017/8/30 18:21||Profile|
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Hello Heydave: I'll do my best to answer the questions.
1. If you read the next sentence... " Those who are under the instruction of the Spirit of God by means of conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment find the True God...and the cause of it is God's own seeking and obtaining those who will worship him in Spirit and Truth".
Explanation, in keeping with my understanding of scripture, God is the author of our faith, therefore if we express faith toward God as Cornelius did, that was due to God's working in his heart whereby his first expressions were prayer and alms. Yet, he was not converted and knowledgeable of Jesus Christ, therefore Peter shares the gospel with him.
I look past the actions of the man to the God who calls men to himself. As you know we are not born of God according to our own will but according to God himself who saves his elect.
The conversion of Cornelius is precious in that we see God's working in an unconverted man...God taking notice of his prayers and alms, but we also know that God's taking notice is (obviously) God already noticed Cornelius and moved upon his heart to pray and give. When Saul was praying and no doubt giving alms as a Pharisee, Saul's intentions were to hurt the Church, Cornelius to help the Church. Both of them in their unsaved state needed the gospel and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
You quoted “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
We do know God accepts them because God has been working in them before their conversion. We do not allow ourselves to circumvent the necessary salvation through Christ because on the surface this statement appears to validate "a come without Christ, bring your good works and righteousness and your accepted". But we also know that Peter understood this, therefore he would not have us take that as his meaning.
What was Peter getting at? The brand new idea that Gentiles were now able to come to salvation, that this Cornelius is a first fruit of that, in this case a notable Gentile who was known for his good works.
What we are seeing in this text is a brand new thing in the world, salvation come to the pagans, heathens, idol worshippers going beyond the wildest dreams of the Jews at that time.
I do not treat this text as a special case scenario validating the seeking gentiles as "not needing or able to come to Christ on their own without the convicting work of the Spirit of God".
So, in conclusion I do not see this text as anything but the conversion of a Gentile ( notable one) who came to Christ at the offer of the gospel. But I don't see people asking the question..."wow, so easy, so fast, not big deal just go ahead and believe upon a crucified Jew who was rejected by the Jewish leadership, crucified by the Romans and rejected by the public". All that, with no historical perspective like we have, no bible, no full blown Church organization and by the way no gentiles in the fellowship.
For all that, I absolutely abide by God's complete working in the hearts of men before they are saved and the absolute necessity of that work otherwise Cornelius would have simply stayed a Roman and died in his sin.
| 2017/8/30 19:05||Profile|
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Here's another good example...
The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. He was reading the bible and not understanding, but seeking to, so God sent His messenger to him.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
We need let the scriptures speak for themselves and not try and explain how they can fit into a particular theological theory.
| 2017/8/31 4:01||Profile|
| Re: Is it God who seeks the individual? Or the other way round?|
I thought Genesis 3 would put this to rest. But I forgot how stubborn we all are. Let's try again,
8And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
Are all men born sons of Adam? Is Eve the mother of all living? Have men's nature's changed?
Thanks be to God, for I was dead and He resurrected me, I was born of the flesh but He birthed me of His Spirit into His family, I was part of the fallen creation but He made me a new creation in Christ!
Give thanks with a grateful heart!
Stop the proud thought that I sought...
| 2017/8/31 13:11||Profile|
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Adam and Eve did hide from the Lord it is true. God had His reasons for coming after them like He did.
But who is to say that Adam would not have presented himself in due course? We can't know that obviously. But this episode, to me at least, cannot support the proposition that a man will never seek after God.
If a man is unable to seek after God without God first drawing him, then it is madness for God to command that He do so. Unless of course you believe that God only commands those he first draws. The Mad Hatter would get a kick out of that one.
| 2017/8/31 14:26||Profile|
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Fletcher and Sree,
What encouraging testimonies! Thank you for sharing them.
Romans 10:20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.
| 2017/8/31 16:28|