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crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the mom's out there.

We are greatly indebted to you, more than we know.


_________________
Mike Balog

 2008/5/11 19:58Profile









 Re: Mother's Day

Quote:
God uses innumerable means of speaking his truths – and penetrating through our stubborn mental resistors. He has used all kinds of “unsanctified” sources to speak to me. What might seem like fluff to one may be just the right word from the Lord for another.



Diane,

How do you know when the LORD speaks? Somewhere in between the innumerable truths and rules about how God does this and that in general or has done it in times long gone, there needs to come a still, small voice which we must hear [i]now[/i]. If we don't hear and know that voice of the Spirit, a reasonable question to ask ourselves will be: [i]Are we of His sheep?[/i] Because when the Lord speaks a rebuke, and you don't receive it as a word from Him, but as a word from men, then you in fact resist the chastening of the Lord, and "if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons" (Hebrews 12:8). True, the Lord has spoken at times through the most "unsanctified" sources. He spoke to Balaam through a dumb donkey, but what is said of the prophet? "They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, [u]who loved the wages of unrighteousness[/u]; but he was [i]rebuked for his iniquity[/i]: a dumb donkey speaking with a man's voice [i]restrained the madness of the prophet[/i]" (2 Peter 2:15-16, emphasis mine). If we be in Balaam's position to be spoken to in a such a grotesque way because of our iniquity, then we are most to pity. For the people of God should not depend on donkey's and extreme situation mercies to hear the voice of the Lord, if they can turn now, as it is written: "[i]Today[/i], if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion" (Hebrews 3:15).

But this is a secondary issue, about the various ways God can call to His people--be it a burning bush, an angel, or even a donkey. In this discussion, however, I was not talking about the person listening, but about the person [i]speaking[/i] the word of the Lord, just as he has received it:

Quote:
Any word in our mouth which is not breathed upon by the Spirit of God cannot give life. For if it originates in the flesh, in it there is nothing good or life-giving.



But just as it was in the day of Isaiah so it is today. For of him the Apostle Paul said:

"[b]The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah[/b] the prophet to our fathers, saying, 'Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; [u]For the hearts of this people have grown dull[/u]. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."'

It is not the prophet you are rejecting, but the Holy Spirit who speaks through him. For heeding the voice of the Spirit to the church is not evidenced by our ability to quote multiple verses about how God speaks to people, but in the actual recognition of His voice at a given time, when a message is delivered. So we are not found in the shoes of the Pharisees who claimed they could see, while they were blind—and then [i]crucified[/i] the Lord of Glory.

When we (personally) receive a word and a mandate from the Lord, that word is something too holy to be mishandled, let alone counterfeited or counted as common. Let not the vessel that the Lord has chosen adulterate the word with his own feelings, his intentions, ambitions, or prior church knowledge. The elect of God cannot use His word lightly, as seems best to them, "for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). So when someone steps up to deliver a message from the Lord (which has been “refined seven times” and come out of various fiery trials) to share the wisdom and understanding God has given him or her, and thus encourage, rebuke, etc., the brethren, he dare not offer the fruits of his self-effort and well-meaning intention. Or else he can add a disclaimer that the message is neither from the Lord, nor according to God's will, but is the product of the prophet’s fleshly, unenlightened mind's imagining (that is, his opinion), and is thus unqualified to impart divine life to the souls of other believers. It is nothing more than a well-meant attempt to console or encourage, etc., fellow believers within the confines of the messenger's own, human understanding of the divine attributes and his own experience. But the [i]danger[/i] of offering others such a word, which is not prodded and given by the Spirit, is that the hearers [i]will trust in the wisdom of men[/i] and [u]not[/u] in the power of God--which will lead them into spiritual stagnation. Such a message cannot "empower us to live righteously in HIS strength," as you said, Diane. For although it gives a certain appearance of godliness, it lacks the power thereof, and thereby reinforces the authority and reign of the self.

It is true that "the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel is that Christ can set us free." However, if that same Gospel cannot free us from dead orthodoxy, from glib theologizing and conjecturing on "Christian topics", from speaking without spiritual understanding as its foundation, or in other words, from a kingdom in word to a [i]kingdom in power[/i]--this is really not a gospel. For if the good news of Jesus Christ has been debilitated to such an extent so that its impact does not surpass a sentimental view and a memorization of the faith’s fundamentals, which cannot produce the promised reality, we as a church are most to pity (Paul wrote about this at large in his epistles to the Corinthians). If we set our hope on the flesh; if we are content to mellow our conscience with a few hopeful words about how great our Savior is, on Mother's Day, which by human religious standards is a landmark of great devotion and high achievement, albeit inhibited by our natural, mental understanding of Christ.

My mom and dad were watching a political TV program a couple of months ago, where the host had invited one of Bulgaria's most respected actors, a once-prolific comedian now in his 70's, to share a fresh look on the dire political and social situation in the country. This at a time when the Minister of Internal Affairs (the police) was publically accused of having established connections with the Mafia, etc., while the communist Prime Minister had stepped up and talked at large about how there was no evidence for corruption in the Government and how he wasn't going to tolerate any political pressure upon the ruling coalition--the general, vain, expected-by-all declaration given by a modern-day politician. I don't watch much or any television, but I happened to be in the room at the time in order to hear what the actor said about the Prime Minister's speech. "[i]This[/i] is a slogan," he said. "[i]We[/i] know it is a slogan. [i]He[/i] knows it is a slogan. It doesn't mean anything. You can't talk to people like that... [i]with slogans[/i]..." He was so broken and hopeless saying those words. Here was a man who was desperate over the ubiquitous hypocrisy and lack of reality in people who spoke the "right things," but whose darkened hearts and minds, and evil conscience, rendered everything they spoke powerless and meaningless, void of life. Here was a [i]worldly[/i] man, who could at least sense, if not identify the issue, better than many church people. As Art Katz, a former Marxist, said in one sermon, "Slogans can't save the world. Even '[i]Christian[/i]' slogans." A creed, a doctrine, a right doctrine cannot save us. A memory of a conversion, even revisited, cannot save us. Man-centered reflections on the nature of God and of man cannot produce in us the divine nature. We need the fire of the Lord burning in our hearts, conforming us to the image of Christ. Otherwise, on the Day of the Lord we risk being found [i]spiritual infants[/i], in spite of our scriptural proficiency and much studying of, and writings on, Biblical words and doctrines. There is a great passage in Hebrews (emphases mine):

Heb 5:9 And having been perfected, He (Christ) became [i]the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him[/i],
Heb 5:10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"
Heb 5:11 of whom we have much to say, and [u]hard to explain[/u], [i]since you have become dull of hearing[/i].
Heb 5:12 For though [i]by this time you ought to be teachers[/i], [b]you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God[/b]; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a [i]babe[/i].
Heb 5:14 [u]But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who [i]by reason of use[/i] have their [i]senses exercised[/i] to discern both good and evil[/u].

Until we grow as a church into the fullness of Christ, we cannot fulfill the purposes set before us by God. We won’t even suffer persecution, nor have tribulation in the world, for we have been long accustomed to its ways and wisdom and accepted them as our own, mixed together with the word of the truth, so that we have been disarmed spiritually and are of [i]no threat[/i] to the powers of the air. In fact, we will continue to wonder why our testimony is so weak and irrelevant in the world--neither urgently accepted, nor fiercely opposed--and why people don’t see in Christians something they don’t already have elsewhere.

Heb 12:25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Heb 12:26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven."
Heb 12:27 Now this, "Yet once more," [i]indicates the removal of [b]those things[/b] that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that [u]the things which cannot be shaken may remain[/u][/i].

Man-made and man-honoring holidays and customs are among those things.

 2008/5/12 7:27
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re: on the voice of God

Notme, You raise many concerns which I will address in a (far-too-overly) cursory fashion:

Quote:
because when the Lord speaks a rebuke, and you don't receive it as a word from Him, but as a word from men, then you in fact resist the chastening of the Lord,



And yet…

God surely speaks into lives of the unregenerate – even for many years, preparing the soil of their hearts, even though they may not recognize or acknowledge the ultimate source until much later when they look back and see that God’s hand indeed was working in their lives.

Quote:
For the people of God should not depend on donkey's and extreme situation mercies to hear the voice of the Lord,



You bring out a good point. After all, we humans are prone to enshrining and worshipping the means of God’s voice rather than God himself. I’m surprised Israel didn’t make a gold donkey after the Balaam event. Surely it was because they were sufficiently humbled by that time. I’ll admit that some of those to whom I sent the Mother’s Day poem may mount it onto a nice plaque that matches their living room, and totally leave God out of their lives. (People do that with scripture too!)

I share here my prototype example of God using ungodly sources: A dear friend was saved through “Jesus Christ Superstar” – yes - at the same time that our pastor was preaching against this vile, evil, worldy movie. Her salvation was powerful. She saw her sins on the cross and wept bitterly. She did not have the “advantage” of an evangelical pastor who gave her the four spiritual laws and told her how to do it. She knew nothing about rebirth. But her conversion was authentic. She is still a vibrant humble follower of Jesus. That is more than can be said for the hordes who “got saved” by going through the four spiritual laws – verses and all.

Quote:
But the danger of offering others such a word, which is not prodded and given by the Spirit, is that the hearers will trust in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God--which will lead them into spiritual stagnation.



That is, of course the danger of giving scriptures verses too (ex the Pharisees). God is not opposed to taking risks, is he? After all he gave us the Bible. There is likely no book on earth that has been so misquoted, abused, and used by hearers to justify their trust in self, their faulty ways – and lead to spiritual stagnation. Just walk into many of our churches.

There may be a good reason why God uses unlikely sources: Sometimes we can become so familiar with scripture that it looses its punch. Powerful biblical words become sentimental jargon quoted to make us feel spiritual. God is not opposed to shocking us through unexpected sources to wake us from our slumber and spiritual pride. Here again, I could give personal examples, but will resist the danger of too much “I” in this post. (there may be a few old examples on my site)


Oh, one more thought…

Then, there is the converse problem of interpreting just about anything as the “voice” of God. This “God-talk” sounds spiritual, but can be fleshly, hypocrisy, an assumption that one is close to God.

“Listen to the wail of the shepherds;
Their rich pastures are destroyed1
Listen to the roar of lions;
The lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!Zech.11:3

May we humbly learn to discern the message of the Lord through life all around us.


Diane



_________________
Diane

 2008/5/12 9:05Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Mother's Day

Quote:
These things you have written are not untrue, but there is so much more than things being true in letter. "For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."



And you would kill with the letter something this harmless? You are straining a gnat from an unknown mothers reflections. Brother, it's absurd.

What you have written would be perfectly fine in a situation that called for it ...



_________________
Mike Balog

 2008/5/12 9:32Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re: correction

I just changed my last line:

"May we humbly learn to discern the message of the Lord through (not “in”) life all around us."

(I don’t wish to suggest pantheism)

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2008/5/12 9:53Profile









 Re:

Quote:
And yet…
God surely speaks into lives of the unregenerate – even for many years, preparing the soil of their hearts, even though they may not recognize or acknowledge the ultimate source until much later when they look back and see that God’s hand indeed was working in their lives.



Dear Diane,

I am not talking about the unregenerate heathen here. I am talking about people who call themselves by the name of the Lord. Surely God will leave the ninety-nine sheep behind to seek and find the [i]one lost sheep[/i], and bring it back to life.

Quote:
I’ll admit that some of those to whom I sent the Mother’s Day poem may mount it onto a nice plaque that matches their living room, and totally leave God out of their lives. (People do that with scripture too!)



This is a perfect illustration. For this poem calls to be put on a plaque in someone's living room! And people do the same with the Scriptures, as you are pointing out. But while the former make some use of the words of men, the latter show through their action that they have not yet come to know the Lord in spirit and in truth, turning His awesome Word into room decoration. There was a time in my life, when I wore Christian wristbands and T-shirts, and put Christian posters on my wall, thinking I was being a faithful witness of Jesus Christ, but the Lord revealed Himself in a such way to me that I was afraid to use such means to peddle His holy name any longer.

Quote:
Quote:
But the danger of offering others such a word, which is not prodded and given by the Spirit, is that the hearers will trust in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God--which will lead them into spiritual stagnation.


That is, of course the danger of giving scriptures verses too (ex the Pharisees). God is not opposed to taking risks, is he? After all he gave us the Bible. There is likely no book on earth that has been so misquoted, abused, and used by hearers to justify their trust in self, their faulty ways – and lead to spiritual stagnation. Just walk into many of our churches.



You are justifying any attempt, however faulty, to bring glory to God, as long as the person responsible for it has good intentions. Just like this "Mother's Day Poem." I am not talking about whether God is going to use it for His glory or not (indeed, this turned into quite a discussion); but whether such a post can and does glorify the Lord--the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not the sentimental "American Jesus." Because in this poem, I do not recognize the work of my Lord. He will not give His glory to another; He will allow no praises for the writer of this poem. True, God allowed King Saul to persecute David for sixteen years in order to produce a certain character in David, but He did not set this as an example for us--that we should persecute and torture the people of God so that they may grow in the knowledge of Him. In the world, the "anything goes" mentality (that as long as we do something in the name of God, it is okay) may be well-accepted, but this is not true in the kingdom of God. I believe God does honor the risks of the wise (and when he is wrong, God will correct him, and bring him back in), but He will laugh at the risks of the foolish, who despises correction:

Pro 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

The end of the matter is this: this poem presents a humanist view of God. It is because of such carnal Christian witnessing--which pretends to spring from the knowledge of God but in effect exalts the self--that unbelievers are laughing at the church of Jesus Christ.

Discussing on this further seems unnecessary.

(To those who have seen the finger of God in my writing, I recommend the book [i]Reality: The Hope of Glory[/i] by Art Katz. In it Art exposes many pitfalls of modern day Christianity and urges toward an authentic, apostolic manifestation of the Christian faith. I think it still can be found online, but if you can't get to it, I can mail it to you.)

 2008/5/12 11:10
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


 Re:

Quote:
Discussing on this further seems unnecessary.



I agree brother,
God bless you!

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2008/5/12 11:49Profile









 Re:

Quote:
You are justifying any attempt, however faulty, to bring glory to God, as long as the person responsible for it has good intentions. Just like this "Mother's Day Poem." I am not talking about whether God is going to use it for His glory or not (indeed, this turned into quite a discussion); but whether such a post can and does glorify the Lord--the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not the sentimental "American Jesus." Because in this poem, I do not recognize the work of my Lord. He will not give His glory to another; He will allow no praises for the writer of this poem.



Moe wrote: I am troubled that I have offended you or anyone else, with the posting of this poem. Yesterday was Mother's Day. It was not an effort, at least on my part, to take away any glory from the Lord. The truth is, we cannot take away any of his glory nor can anyone else take it away, but we all can fail to acknowledge his glory. I did not think, it was not the intent of the author, to take glory from the glory of the Lord, but I cannot say that for positive, because I do not know the author. This is just a personal opinion and we all have one of those and you as well. I would like to also say that Jesus is no more or no less Jesus to the American people or any individual, than He is to anyone other country or individual that acknowledges him.
God Bless

 2008/5/12 13:27





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