Maybe it's just bad pizza.
Michael, if this wasn't a Christian forum I'd call you a name! ;-) No, honestly, thanks for lightening the mood. The thing I'm accused of the most often is being too intense. Hey Ya'll! Please excuse me. I perhaps have been listening to some...
Quote:Oops! Somebody hep me now!...or at least pray for me. I love you all! Dian.
sweet nothings of the adversary
| 2004/11/5 13:59||Profile|
Sis---Ilove ya and please don't take my comments as being a criticizm as much as a voice of experience on days gone past trumpeting the lessons---painful lessons---of many years past. When I see mistakes in others it's usually just a reflection of that which I myself have done and when I see sins in others, It's usually just a faint glimpse of the great stain of darkness in my own soul. In all my years of serving Christ the only thing I know is that it takes mercy and grace and the Word seems to stay central long side of the cross. God bless---my prayers ---Your fellow test lab rat. :-) :-) :-)
| 2004/11/5 14:52||Profile|
| Re: teachable|
Remaining humble and teachable is a rare quality among believers today. Dian, you have been such a sweet example of this. I think you have made Jesus very happy to see your sweet spirit about this. We should all remain so open and teachable (even me!) You have shown many fruits of the spirit and many of the qualities of biblical love. Thank you for doing that! God will honor your willingess to be right/wrong and to hear the truth. Though we may make some mistakes along the way, as long as our hearts are not hard, the Lord can do so much with us.
In His love, Chanin
| 2004/11/5 15:42||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
The thing I'm accused of the most often is being too intense.
Been by the Andrew Strom post recently? That's right you have, I recall now...
The pizza, didn't even think of that, as it applying to you actually, was thinking of myself even though now that I look at again...
Care for a slice? :-P
A true blessing you are
| 2004/11/6 0:08||Profile|
| Re: Obedience|
God will honor your willingess to be right/wrong and to hear the truth. Though we may make some mistakes along the way, as long as our hearts are not hard, the Lord can do so much with us.
"A saint is one who obeys the Word, and does not require explaination, and will not be tempted away and out from that obedience, by allowing questions to be raised about God's credibility and his motive of that requirement, even when it comes from men." - Art Katz
In Gleanings from the Garden - Part 1 and Part 2, Art Katz hit a nerve in my heart upon mentioning the "prophetic tension" in obedience. This is used to explain that only judgement day will truly reveal whether our actions are obedience or disobedience. There is a tension of sorts that comes when we are are aware of God asking us to do something that has the appearance of "evil" to fulfill his purpose.
The most dangerous thing that we can do, is follow the sin of the Parisees, by living out of "external principle", rather than "out of the abundance of the heart". This can seem a highly volatile statement, without comprehending a measure of the manifold wisdow of God.
This can have the appearance of "licence" to sin if our "heart" desires it. But what we need to realise is that God is only concerned about the heart condition. Obedience in action is infantile christianity (Hebrews 5:11-14;6:1-2). Maturity involves an understanding that external actions are the direct result of internal condition. We sin because we are selfish. We obey because we feel the heart of God.
As human beings, we are incapable of originating thought. All we can do is choose what we align ourselves too (whether consciously, or unconsciously) from that which procedes from above or below. If our heart accepts something outside of God's revealed will, in scripture, that implies that it is out of alignment with God in that area, and therefore cannot be trusted. As our heart changes (repentance), it can be trusted more and more, to make right choices, because our choices will be actually be God's choices.
We can never have absolute confidence in our obedience, with the constant posibility that our actions are disobedient, due to our imperfection. This is walking by faith, being obedient to the perceived will of God (in light of our understanding of scripture), being constantly aware of the possible damage that our actions could have, and at times being void of positive results.
The harsh reality is that only Judgement Day will reveal the extent of our (dis)obedience, but harsher judgement is reserved for those who won't risk disobedience to step out on the stormy waters of yielding to the heart desire of the Lord, when it appears to resist the principle of doctrine. This is the "prophetic tension". The only reliable principle to apply being "better to err on the side of repentance".
For further reading on this topic, check out The Prophetic Call - Elijah: Prophet of Restoration by Art Katz. I mention this article particularly, because for me, this was the crack in the door that allowed the light to seep into my heart. I know I seem to be refering to Katz solely, but studying the works of Watchman Nee, Norman Grubb, Ian Thomas, A.W Tozer and Karl Barth (amongst others) will expose the same truth.
Bless ya, and I hope this helped. :-)
| 2004/11/6 4:57||Profile|
To illustrate my last post practically, I'll refer to a conversation I had with a friend (who I'll call Jim) last night, regarding tattoos. Jim has an earnest desire to please God, and see souls saved. He comprehends the concepts of humanism/christianity (ala 10 Shekels & a Shirt), lack of repentance in the "First Church of the Magic Prayer", and is frustrated about his inability to lead someone to repentance.
Jim is a humble man, in the sence of not having a pretence of thinking himself great in mans sight. He's never touched a drop of alchohol & drugs, never laid a finger on a woman, and fleeing from imorality. He plays in the church music team, fasts and prays regularly, and shares his faith constantly. Loves the lost, yet refuses to excuse their sin.
Jim is a "poster boy" on fire christian. So what do you think, call the Pope, we have a candidate for sainthood? Well before we connonise him, read on.
Our discussion was on the issue of "good vs perfection". Struggling through Hebrews, Galations, Ephesians & James, considering the ordering of faith, grace & works, leaving these principles to hit the "meat" of obedience, mentioning that true obedience will emerge from a heart accepting it's own imperfection, and by contrast, God's perfection. We discussed the facts and implications of His Word being higher in validity than ours.
After a period of tension, agitation and frustration, we rested and began looking at some "christian" rock band sites, which caused Jim to raise the question, "What do you think of tattoos?" Of course, I mentioned Lev 19:28. He responded by pointing out my gottee beard (Lev 19:29).
A critical oberservation can be made here, the initial reaction to a scripture that challenges our opinion is either, "Oh yeah, but what about so-and-so?", "I don't understand it, it must have a 'deeper' meaning that I'm missing.", "That's just legalism. I'm under grace.", or the like. The only correct response for us, when we contend with scripture is, "Okay, you got me. I'm wrong."
After discussing the possible implications of the wording of these, and surrounding scriptures, he were getting nowhere, until I implied that the scripture about the "trimming of the beard" has already challenged my intellect, and I have already considered full shaving or growing a full beard (much to my wife's disgust:-)).
Being aware that Jim has no tattoos, and that his opinion is more centered on the validity of bands like POD and MXPX being "christian" (which his uncompromising "external obedience" would require him to ditch them if they are questionable, which he does not want to do), I sensed a contention agianst scripture.
The question was finally made personal, "Would you get a tattoo?", to which he replied "No". The essential question of obedience isn't so much "What", as "Why". This will always reveal the heart. I ask myself "why" constantly, when I find myself contending with God's revealed will (in scripture).
Jim's response to this question was to say he liked the look of some tattoos, but refered to the culture of the people that he is called of God to reach and his mother's opinion of them. Then he said that with all that aside, he would get one, rationalising that God would be okay with it.
I asked him to point to one tattooed person who didn't get it out of rebellion. "What, are you saying that everyone with tattoos is rebellious?", was his reply. I simply repeated my challenge, knowing what was at stake, and wanting him to find the problem, if it was there, or be at peace, knowing he was secure.
We left the contentious issue with my stating his need to question his right to being exempt to something revealed in scripture (without flipping out "principle" of "not being under the Law"), until he gets his answer.
We went from this, to discussing obedience, in general again. We discussed different examples of seemingly good actions that could produce death (say giving money to the homeless which could cause a drug overdose), and seemingly evil acts that produce life (like 9/11 bringing many to repentance).
The Lord's Prayer was discussed, and as we discussed "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." It suddenly hit him, "God didn't origionate tattoos. Therefore, there would be no tattoos in heaven. Therefore it's not God's will." Suddenly another thought hit him, "If it's not God's will, then God doesn't like them. If God doesn't like them, then why do I?"
A heart alteration began to take place, where Jim realised that his attraction to tattoos was "humanistic" in nature. Once the "inner condition" is dealt with, obedient actions will become habitual.
How do I feel about tattoos? Let's just say I won't get one, but my jury is out as to whether they are permissable, or not. Why did I hit this so hard? Because I perceived God's heart, toward Jim, on the matter (It also helped that a few months ago, the "gotee beard" argument for legalism was used in a debate about homosexuality on a liberal religion website).
My intial intention for the conversation, was to share some of the things that the Holy Spirit was dealing with me in. I had no idea where He was taking us in the journey. The reality is, it was none of my business. The whole thing was between Jim and God. My role was simply to be a vessel, "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God (had) before ordained that (I) should walk in." (Eph 2:10) The reality is, it was inevitable that we would discuss what we did, because He forordained our discussion (as He forordained my earlier homosexual debate, knowing the catalyst it would be).
Am I without sin? Of course not. Do I have it all together? Far from it, and it was out of the very brokeness of acknowledging and realising my imperfectness, that He could be shown forth as strong. But don't forget, principle would try to accuse me of "judging" Jim, when I was merely the prosecuting attorney. Chew on that thought for a while. :-)
| 2004/11/6 6:21||Profile|
Chew on that thought for a while.
Aaron, I've been chewing on all this for quite some time. I just read the thread about Andrew Strom a few minutes ago and it got me thinking even more. I think it's pride that causes us to resist God himself. We want to hold on to some measure of our own mental ascent and we want God to validate it. We like to think that we are above others in our ascension life. You know, who's the greatest? Something inside me hurts. I'm crying as I write this. Why can't the church get anywhere? When are we going to really love each other? Maybe I'm too sensitive. I don't care to be wrong, I just want to know God. If that means that I have to confess that everything I ever thought I knew is wrong. I don't care. I just want to really know him and be with others who do. I want to see a real church before I die. I want to see the life eminating from it like a mushroom cloud. I don't want to see the strife and death that I've always seen that has made me come so close to giving up. There are so many who have given up. Aaron, please don't take my ramblings here personal. None of this is directed at you. I don't know what's wrong with me today. Something is groaning inside me, and I'm sure I've just totally departed from this thread. Sorry.
| 2004/11/6 7:32||Profile|
Aaron, please don't take my ramblings here personal. None of this is directed at you. I don't know what's wrong with me today. Something is groaning inside me, and I'm sure I've just totally departed from this thread. Sorry.
I take any negative comment as a potential rebuke from the Lord. To be honest, I took no offence from your post:-). One comment that I left out of my discussion with Jim (not his real name btw), was that we also discussed the concept of our being "God in human form" (in my case God in Aaron's form). So our dicussion was effectively God talking to God, or God thinking out loud. I personally have stopped trying to fix the church (myself included), because it's not my job.
Having said that, my heart grieves over unrepentance and praylessness (especially when it's my own) and I am frustrated over the apparent apostacy. Your grief is a healthy grief. Absence of grief is an early sign of apostacy (never thought I'd say something like that).
I guess one of the most significant disoveries that I have made, in the Word of God, this year (and there have been many) is that I bring nothing to the table for my own (or anyone else's for that matter) salvation. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I simply accept my inperfection, recognising that this is the only means by which God can truely perfect me (1 John 1:9).
As a result of this fact, I can't take responsability for the church, or even my own spirituality. Any attempt to is actually pride dressed as humility. Watchman Nee said that even to ask God to help us is a form of pride, because "us" is still in the picture. What we are saying is "I am capable of achieving perfection, but I just need a little assistance from God". Gal 2:20 surrounds the statement that we live, with the fact that we're crucified, and that it's not us living anyway...it's Christ.
This is serious mind melting material, but I guess I'm beginning to appreciate the necessity of a liquid mind, founded on a solid Word. The fact that the only thing I bring to the table is my failure, is a humbling thought. Now my only serious (and ever present) enemy is spiritual pride.
The questions need to be constantly asked, "Why am I saying this? Is it for desire of recognition, or a pat on the back? Is it to be recognised as someone who's 'made it'?" The reality is, if I answer "Yes." to any of these questions, I'm simply exposing more imperfection, so God is glorified even more.
I resign myself in the fact that I hope at least one word can be a key to unlock someones life, or confound them further so they may come to the point that they may be able to receive they key. At the end of the day, it's none of my business. I'm the pot, He's the potter. Yet I find myself intriged my what I write. Does that make me pridefull? More imperfection.
The christian walk is certainly one of many paradoxes and frustration. But sometimes I wonder who's more frustated. The pot that desires to know his use, or the enemy who keeps getting his plans for destruction be used to bring life.
At the end of the day, for me it goes like this "Be still and know that I AM LORD", and "I dtermine not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified". Everything else is further clarification to those two statements.
| 2004/11/6 8:47||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
The wonder of it all.
That we have this gathering of saints here, in this church cleverly disguised as a 'website'.
There are some things that are hard, maybe impossible to clearly articulate. Something I picked up in passing over the radio yesterday:
"The peace that passes all understanding" was being 'discussed' briefly. The thought being that if you could understand it you could articulate it and being that it is 'beyond' understanding you can't, but if you have it, you most certainly know it and others that have experienced it can only nod in agreement saying amen.
That mysterious something 'other' that dwells deep down within us and rises up to take hold of God, that part of us that fumbles and bumbles and staggers around with drunken speech and sloppy journalism and run on sentences (yours truely)...
One day this is all going to be over, one glorious day the Truth will stand in our midst and rule the world as it should be...Here is some scribblings from my notes written at traffic lights...
"Free from the over application and the underestimation-
The stretching of the truth and undermining of manipulation-
To be further clothed-
Free from the tyrannical deception of my own thoughts, the worlds ways and the devils lies-
To free this other prisoner that lives within-"
I think it's pride that causes us to resist God himself. We want to hold on to some measure of our own mental ascent and we want God to validate it. We like to think that we are above others in our ascension life.
You are right in that is the trap we are either in, trying to escape from or avoid...
Quote:Guess that depends sister, on the one hand because of the very reasons you stated above, on the other hand I think what is seen here, listened to and read [b]is[/b] getting somewhere. Even in all it's messiness all this outworking amongst us I pray that to the observers that pass by here, the lost as well as the found, that it is primarily honest, real and seeking to be true. That what is at the core of what we believe is not that we have everything all figured out but that..
I'm crying as I write this. Why can't the church get anywhere?
I don't care to be wrong, I just want to know God. If that means that I have to confess that everything I ever thought I knew is wrong. I don't care. I just want to really know him and be with others who do.
What more can be said? Amen.
I want to see a real church before I die.
Hang on sister, think you are pretty close hanging around here though at times it looks like one long brain surgery or is it heart surgery?
Something is groaning inside me, and I'm sure I've just totally departed from this thread. Sorry.
Familiar with that, much more than those other wonderful attributes like peace and joy, that seem so fleeting. Even when that 'indignation' rises up it's grievous and causes questions to arise as to motivation, pride, who do I think I am? Who's to say? What about that deck plank sticking out of your own face? But you are not to sensitive sister me thinks, just a glorious burning heart, Praise God. Lukewarm would be hard to attribute to "Spitfire" :-)
About departing from this thread...It's your post sister! We are just along for the ride and I for one feel completely comfortable with you behind the wheel... :-)
| 2004/11/6 9:17||Profile|
| Re: Frustrations|
One other thought. I have been focussing my life upon becoming more and more transparent everyday. Hence my attempt at unbridled honesty in these forums.
Immediately after beginning to realise what Gal 2:20 is saying, I thought I had found the meaning of life. I thought "This is it. Obeying God will be easy now." However, I found the opposite to be true. I didn't realise it, but I had merely stepped onto the bottom rung of a ladder that I'll be climbing for 40-50 or more years, only to still need a significant boost at the end of that.
I found myself witnessing more than normal. Fear of man was not an issue, because the fear of the Lord was greater. I would look at non-chritians and think, "If I remain silent, You get no reward for Your suffering." One tragic thing I found, was that my words were often falling on deaf ears.
I would be revealing the gospel with incredible logic, because it was now becoming real in my heart, but they would refuse to understand. This would grieve me deeply. I would fluctuate between anger at their stubborness and deep saddeness toward God, at thought of Him having to send them to hell.
One day I cried out to God in utter frustration, with tears streaming down my face, "God if you want me to preach the gospel simply to condemn these people to hell with no excuse for their rebellion, I'll do it. But don't expect me to like it." You know how sometimes the prayer that eminates from your heart is more for your ears than the Lord's? Well, this was one of those.
It was as if I heard Jesus say, "How do you think I felt at Gethsemane?" And that was but a mere taste. I grieve more for the lost every day. I say for the lost only, because really, I look at the "backslidden" church as lost.
I've distributed aproximately 200 CDs this year alone, because people won't listen to me, but they'll listen to Reidhead, Comfort, and Daniel. Recently I gave Hells Best Kept Secret and True and False Conversion to my pastor. Before hearing it my pastor's altar calls were like "Is there anyone here who hasn't received Christ? Come and we'll lead you in a prayer so you can receive this incredible exprience." Don't get me wrong, he is a man of incredible integrity, who earnestly desires to see the lost saved.
Upon hearing it, he instantaneously began preaching repentance and his wife publically testified that after hearing the message, she realised that she wasn't really a christian. This kind of occurance doesn't fill a man with pride, but sickening dread, because I almost didn't give him the CD due to fearing to seem disrepectfull. After all what would it be saying about his preaching.
Obedience is a fearful thing. It's an absolutely terrifying thing. But after all "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, and fools despise wisdom and instruction." Anyone wanna critise me, BRING IT ON!!! I need all the help I can get.
Please, don't pat me on the back for this. I need all the help I can get.
(One of these days, I'll figure out how to make a short post:-))
| 2004/11/6 9:22||Profile|