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Author Topic: WOUNDED PILGRIMS  (Read 361756 times)

« Reply #645 on: October 07, 2008, 12:55:17 am »

News Flash!  Jeff VanVonderen's new book just came out, Soul Repair: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life with Dale and Juanita Ryan - As I read it I could identify the elements I mention in the article, Helps to Spiritual Renewal, but they are contextualized for people like us who have been in sick and twisted Christian systems, and they're presented in terms of steps that build on one another. This book makes so much sense of what our spiritual problems really are, and how to begin to get past them. Okay, I need to stop blabbing. Just go get the book!
Mark C.

« Reply #646 on: December 21, 2008, 10:50:11 pm »

Hi Everyone!

   I haven't posted on this thread in quite some time.  I think that one reason for that has been the thought that maybe most former members have moved on in their lives.  That is great, if it is the case, and there is nothing good about being mired in the past abuses of the Assembly.

   However, recently I have heard from 2 former members who were still struggling in their recovery.  One left the Assm. over ten years ago and still believed he had "failed the Lord" because he left "the truth."  The other was struggling with finding a church they could attend.

  The first person above didn't know that the Assm. had collapsed, and though this person still held to faith in Christ, they were living a very unhappy Christian life----laboring under the soul crushing weight of the graceless perfectionist teaching they were raised on in the group.

   The one I mention above who was struggling with finding a church had also been out for years, but was dealing with the contradictions between their love for God and fear of being hurt again in a Christian group.

   These two situations reminded me that it is normal to judge all former members recovery (both in manner and speed) based on our own.  If we left when the group collapsed and had the advantage of others helping us (via the web and books) understand our delusion---- it would be easier to move on to a more healthful Christian life.  We then might see the whole Assm. thing as "closed", and better forgotten.

   Though we have "moved on", there are still those out there like the two examples above.  I can't help feeling that as a former member I have a responsibility to try and do the part of the Good Samaritan by assisting in the healing of those wounded as a result of teaching and practices that left some for dead (spiritually).  You may have had someone come alongside who helped you (I know I did).  The one person above just recently discovered the Reflections site and was floored by what they read and was very thankful that Steve and Margaret have made the effort to maintain the Reflections site!

  I realize that we can only help those who recognize they need it, but I always hold out the hope that some of these deniers of their culpability may read here and that their consciences' can be awakened.  For those of us who have "moved on", and have come to terms with many of the problems in the group, we need to recognize a sense of care for those who shared in our tribulations.

  I sure am glad that God leaves the "Ninety and Nine" to find the "One Lost Sheep."  Sure there were 99 that weren't suffering (and maybe most of the former Assm. members are doing fine) but Jesus still put a very high value on the one who had lost it's way and needed help. 

   What kind of help did the One Sheep get?  Some kind of moral instruction in not wandering?  Maybe a tough love solution where we let the sheep face the consequences of their bad decisions?  No, a demonstration of loving care where the Good Shepherd came to the place where the sheep was and led it home. What would cause that sheep to follow the Shepherd into a safe environment?  The conviction of the sheep that the Shepherd had his best interests in mind.  We follow God because we know he loves us and will lead us safely (Ps. 23).

   Christmas reminds us that God actually visited us and met us where we were---lost and wandering.  As God's sheep now we can wander too from the loving grace of God.   God's care extends to those in despair over their own failures and also wants to reach those who deny that need.  To all former members and other readers here, who have remained silent (or maybe have "moved on") I ask you to give some thought and prayer to the needs of those former "Saints" still hurting.

                                                             Merry Christmas,  Mark C.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 10:57:15 pm by Mark C. » Logged
Mark C.

« Reply #647 on: June 15, 2009, 02:04:28 am »


      I think most former members are interested in knowing the answer to this question.  It probably is true that many of us travelled down the road of GG's teaching on holiness and still have a residue of that false view of God and "holy living" that bothers us.  I would like to try and remind us of how different it is to live our lives in the liberty that results in true joy and peace.

    In the Assembly we were always told, "don't follow your feelings" and of course, this is in general good advice.  In practice, it is impossible to separate the function of emotion from thought because the two are joined together in ways we don't always understand.

    As an example, consider guilt:  it is both thinking and feeling combined together.  There are all kinds of examples like this--- anger, fear, anxiety, etc.---- that form a very complicated relationship between my attitude and my emotional life.

  The Assembly teaching on holiness attempted to address this turbulence in our souls first by suggesting that the way the Holy Spirit works is to change our inner man---- in other words, we were to direct our efforts to the problem within, and via our best efforts "enter into" the "victory."

 I would contend that this emphasis removes us from what God has done in Christ to a focus on our own set of problems we all have as sinners saved by grace.  This doesn't mean we ignore what is going on in our inner experiences, but that we recognize that the job of inner transformation is above our pay grade.

  One way leads to self preoccupation the other to a hopeful expectation of what God can do in my life.  If I accept the reality that I lack the ability to change, or actualize God's power to my life, then all that is left is faith in what God promises to do.

  That brings us to the place where we need to ask: "what can I expect to change in my life?"

   More later,                                                                   God bless, Mark C.

Mark C.

« Reply #648 on: June 21, 2009, 12:40:17 am »

                              BEING THE CHRISTIAN GOD WANTS ME TO BE--- CONT.

    My whole point here is to emphasize that the way to grow is not only different from Assm. holiness teaching it is radically different!.

  Understanding the radical distinctions are important to us as former disciples of "Overcomer" teaching because often what we are taught as Christians now won't address the deception we were under.  A pastor or teacher might assume we have a proper understanding of key foundational truths about our salvation as they talk about living a life for Christ. 

    In the previous post I suggested that the "radical" difference is between awareness of self achievement/experience vs. a trust outside myself, freely given, in what God has promised.

   Now, and here is the difficult part, the above sentences use "buzz" words/phrases that can be manipulated by the teacher, or by ourselves, in the act of trying to defend the religious guy/gal who lives inside us.

  "The religious guy/gal who lives within"?!   You know, we have this image of how wonderful we really are---- filled with good loving intentions that come from the Holy Spirit.  This awareness controls how we think and feel and draws us in and pulls us down by a force too strong for our wills to resist.

  We have to go through a kind of shock therapy to deal with this "holy" guy within as he will not die easily.  In my next post I will attempt to administer just such a shock treatment and we will see what it does for us.

                                                             God Bless,  Mark C.
Mark C.

« Reply #649 on: June 21, 2009, 10:16:24 pm »

                                 BEING THE CHRISTIAN GOD WANTS ME TO BE--- CONT.

  Ready for the "shock treatment"?    SIN BOLDLY!   This was an exhortation made famous by Martin Luther.  Before I try and explain what I think he was trying to do by saying this to church goers what is your reaction to the phrase?  If you are a believer you probably react as I did by thinking, "no, I can't do that"!

  The "Sin Boldly" statement is the opposite of the usual sermon that we expect to hear as good Christians which is to "resist sin" in our lives.  What is your personal emotional reaction to the message, "Resist Sin"?  Mine is, "yes, with all my strength I need to fight against sin in my life."

   It is our reaction to the two phrases above that can startle us into a greater understanding of ourselves and what it means that we are saved by grace----- hence, the shock treatment.

  Both the above phrases (Sin Boldly and Resist Sin) draw attention to how I personally respond to the demand and expectation for performance in my life.  The words evoke an emotional/mental process that begins with looking within to evaluate my own ability to create inside me what I believe God wants me to be.

 Without going into a technical biblical justification for this process above--- because this topic is more about our reactions than the theological construct we might develop-- which of the two statements above, "Sin boldly or Resist Sin", do you think actually leads you to a discovery of more grace to live by?

  Luther knew that the "Sin Boldly" statement would turn the mind and heart to the truth: that it is in the Gospel of grace where sin was defeated-- not via our own personal wrestling match with sin.  As great as sin may be God's grace is far greater and his solution to it in our lives is the only place to rest our faith.

   Does this mean that knowing all this and having a gospel centered mind and heart settles the entire issue?  If the conscience is now liberated from the weight of "have-to's" what does that mean for our daily conduct?

   More later-----------------                                          God Bless,  Mark C.   
Joe Sperling

« Reply #650 on: June 26, 2009, 12:36:52 am »


>It is our reaction to the two phrases above that can startle us into a greater understanding of ourselves and what it means that we are saved by grace----- hence, the shock treatment.<

When Martin Luther said "Sin Boldly!" this analogy comes to mind:  Imagine a little child standing in front of the crashing waves at the beach and then someone handing him a small plastic bucket and saying, "Empty the Ocean!  Go on---give it a try!!"

God's Grace is like that ocean. He paid for every sin we could ever commit.  IT IS FINISHED! he cried from the cross.  If there were one of my sins left that could keep me from Heaven he would not have been able to raise from the dead----he paid the FULL PRICE! His Grace is like the ocean---and somehow at times we think our sins are greater. Luther is saying "go ahead. Give it a try! try to empty the ocean of God's Grace!"

When we realize the extent of God's grace, rather than wanting to sin more, we actually will want to do the opposite. When we see the greatness of God's love for us, and how COMPLETELY he has made provision for us, we melt in repentance rather than become bold in sin.  When Luther says "Sin Boldly" he realized the true Christian would melt in repentance and those words would hold about as much reality as being able to empty the ocean using a bucket.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 12:42:36 am by Joe S » Logged

« Reply #651 on: June 26, 2009, 08:37:57 pm »

"Sin boldly" or "Let your sin be strong" (depending on translation) in context.  This was taken from blog:

  Did Luther really say, "Sin boldly!" Yes, but one cannot understand what he was saying at all without the rest of the sentence "...but believe more bolder still." To see what he was speaking about we need to look at the letter from which these bold words are lifted. He wrote in the translation we have here, "God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let     your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."   He wrote this to his colleague Philipp Melachthon from his hiding place, the Wartburg Castle, in 1521.

Read the whole context in:

                     A Letter From Luther to Melanchthon
      Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg
                                Translated by
                            Erika Bullmann Flores
   from: _Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften_
                        Dr, Johannes Georg Walch, Ed.
        (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.),
                          Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590.


    Of course, you can only know and absolve those sins which have been
    confessed to you; sins which have not been confessed to you, you
    neither need to know nor can you absolve them. That is reaching too
    high, dear gentlemen."
    You cannot convince me that the same is true for the vows made by
    priests and monks.  For I am very concerned about the fact that the
    order of priesthood was instituted by God as a free one. Not so that
    of the monks who chose their position voluntarily, even though I have
    almost come to the conclusion that those who have entered into that
    state at an age prior to their manhood, or are currently at that
    stage, may secede with a clear conscience. I am hesitant, however,
    with a judgment about those who have been in this state for a long
    time and have grown old in it.
    2. By the way, St. Paul very freely speaks about the priests (1.Tim:
    4, ff), that devils have forbidden them to marry; and St. Paul's
    voice is the voice of the divine majesty. Therefore, I do not doubt
    that they must depend on him to such a degree that even though they
    agreed to this interdiction of the devil at the time, now--having
    realized with whom they made their contract--they can cheerfully
    break this contract.
    3. This interdiction by the devil, which is clearly shown by God's
    Word, urges and compels me to sanction the actions of the Bishop of
    Kemberg. For God does not lie nor deceive when He says that this is
    an interdiction from the devil.  If a contract has been made with the
    devil it must not endure since it was made in godless error against
    God and was damned and repudiated by God.  For He says very clearly
    (1. Tim. 4:1 Vulg.) that those spirits are in error who are the
    originators of the interdictions.
    4. Why do you hesitate to join this divine judgment against the gates
    of hell? That is not how it was with the oath of the children of
    Israel which they gave to the Gibeons.  They had it in their laws
    that they must offer peace or accept peace offered to them, and
    accept into their midst proselytes and those who adhered to their
    customs.  All this took place. Nothing happened there against the
    Lord or by the advice of spirits. For even though in the beginning
    they murmured, later on they approved.
continued next post...

« Reply #652 on: June 26, 2009, 08:40:16 pm »

 5. In addition, consider that the state of being unmarried is only a
    human statute and can be readily lifted. Therefore any Christian can
    do this.  I would make this statement even if the interdiction had
    not come from a devil, but from a devout person.  However, because
    there is no such statement by God concerning the monks, I am
    therefore not certain that I should make the same pronouncement
    concerning them. For I would not dare to presume, neither advice
    another to do so.  Would God that we could do this, though, in order
    to prevent someone from becoming a monk, or leaving his order during
    the years of his virility.  For we are to avoid vexations if there is
    no relevant scriptural passage available to us, even when dealing
    with things which are permitted.
    6. Good old Carlstadt is also citing St. Paul (1 Tim.5:9-11), to let
    go of the younger widows and select 60-year-olds, wish to God this
    could be demonstrated. Quite easily someone might say that the
    Apostle referred to the future, while in reference to the past (V.12)
    they are condemned because they have broken their first troth.
    Therefore this expression has come to naught and cannot be a
    dependable basis for the conscience. For that is what we are
    searching for.  Moreover, this reasoning that it is better to be
    married than to burn with vain desire (1 Cor.7:9), or to prevent the
    sins of immorality (1 Cor.7:2), by entering into marriage while
    committing the sin of the broken troth, that is nothing but common-
    sense.  We want the scripture and the witness of God's will.  Who
    knows if the one who is very enthusiastic today will still be so
    7. I would not have allowed marriage for priests for the sole reason
    of "burning" had not St. Paul called this interdiction devilish and
    hypocritical, condemned by God. Even without the burning he urged
    that this unmarried status be cast aside simply for the fear of God.
    However, it is necessary to discuss these things more thoroughly. For
    I too would love to come to the aid of the monks and nuns. I very
    much pity these wretched human beings, these young men and girls who
    suffer defilement and burning.
    8. Concerning the two elements of the Holy Supper I will not give an
    example, but give testimony with Christ's words. Carlstadt does not
    show that those who have received only one element have sinned, or
    not sinned. I am concerned that Christ did not command either one of
    the two, just as He does not command baptism if the tyrant or the
    world withhold the water.  So also the violence of persecution
    separates men and women, which God forbids to separate, neither do
    they agree to be separated. Therefore, neither do godfearing hearts
    agree that they should be robbed of one of the elements. However,
    those who do agree and approve: who can deny that these are not
    Christians but Papists who are sinning.
    9. There HE does not demand it, and here the tyrant oppresses, I
    therefore cannot agree that those who receive only one element are
    sinning.  For who can exert power to take something when the tyrant
    is not willing?  Therefore it is only common-sense which observes
    here that Christ's institution is not adhered to.  Scripture makes no
    definition by which we could declare this act a sin.  It is Christ's
    institution, given in freedom, which cannot be incarcerated as a
    whole or in part.
    10. It happened to Donatus, the martyr, where several people could
    not participate because the cup broke or the wine was spilled. What
    if this happens and there is no other wine available? There are other
    similar situations. In short, because Scripture does not speak of sin
    here, I therefore say there is no sin involved.
    11. I am quite pleased, though, that you are re-establishing Christ's
    method. For it was just that which I planned to take up with you
    first of all upon my return to you.  For now we recognize this
    tyranny and can oppose it, in order not to be forced to receive only
    one of the elements.      
    12. From here on I will no longer conduct private mass. Rather we
    should pray God to give us more of His Spirit.  For I am expecting
    that the Lord will soon ravish Germany--which she deserves because of
    her unbelief, godlessness and hate of the Gospel.  However, we shall
    be blamed for this chastisement, as we are made out to be heretics
    who have provoked God to this action. We shall be scorned by the
    people and disdained by the nation.  Those, however, will make
    excuses for their sins, through which He will manifest that the hard-
    hearted do not become godly neither by mercy nor wrath. Let it
    happen, let the will of the Lord be done. Amen!

« Reply #653 on: June 26, 2009, 08:44:17 pm »


13. If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but
    the true mercy.  If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the
    true, not an imaginary sin.  God does not save those who are only
    imaginary sinners.  Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let
    your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the
    victor over sin, death, and the world. 
We will commit sins while we
    are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides.  We,
    however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new
    heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.  It suffices that
    through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the
    sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to
    kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day.  Do you think
    such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager
    sacrifice for our sins?  Pray hard for you are quite a sinner. 
    On the day of the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle, 1521
Mark C.

« Reply #654 on: June 28, 2009, 06:25:52 am »


   That is a great picture of how large God's salvation is!  Spending ones devotional times thinking about the ocean of God's grace vs. the self centered approach seems a much happier pursuit!


   Thanks for the quotes from Luther.  It was a bit difficult for me to follow exactly what he was addressing re. the Priests, etc. but the blue highlighted text was very clear.  I think Luther's experience as a former RC mirror many former Assm. members and thus his words can touch us deeply.

   The simple Gospel broke the chains of his bondage to a religious system that placed all the weight of his advancement with God on his own efforts.

   Here's a question I have for anybody interested in trying to answer it.  I remember while in the group that the topic of grace was often discussed, but not in the way that Luther understood it; certainly there were never any "Sin Boldly" kind of messages.

  I had been discussing the greatness of God's grace with a bro. & he said: "Yes, we have grace; and now what are you going to do with it?"!

Seems like that is a kind of message that often comes across from many pulpits these days.  What do you think"?

                                                                   God Bless,  Mark C.

« Reply #655 on: June 28, 2009, 11:54:55 pm »

That is an interesting question, Mark.  (And I want to be clear that my purpose of posting the Luther quote was just reference- I had no personal point with it).

But as for your question, this comes to mind:  When I left in 1990, we would listen to the Chuck Swindoll tape on "Grace Awakening" which eventually became a book.  He spoke on Romans "Shall we sin so grace may abound?"

His point was this in a lecture called "Isn't grace risky?":  If you truly preach grace in a way that it is set forth in the Bible, then you are going to upset those who tend towards religion and they are going to accuse you of preaching a gospel of laciviousness.  If no one is accusing you of this, you may not be preaching grace hard enough. 

These were strong words that set forth the difference between the Assembly where grace got you in the door but the best part of salvation was conditional and grace where God lavishes upon the sinner his favor.  I throughly enjoyed Timothy Keller's spoken sermons on the Prodigal Son.  He turned these into a book called "The Prodigal God" so called because Prodigal has the idea of "reckless, careless waste" and God is this way with grace.

A God who when his son insults him by wanting him dead to get the inheritance agrees to give the son his inheritance.  To give the son his inheritance, he must sell part of his land which, for a Jew was part of himself.  He suffers shame before his peers in this culture because of the shameless act of his son.  No middle-eastern patrioch would have put up with that!  Yet, he longed for his son return and watched and waited for him.  When his son came, he shamed himself further by pulling up his robes and running - completely undignified for a middle-eastern patrioch!  He lavished upon his son priviliges and blessings that ticked off his older brother (obviously the pharasee) who shamed his father further by not going into the biggest party of a decade (you only have one fatted calf and you would kill it to feed the community on the happiest day of your life.)   Yet the father came out (no middle-eastern patrioch would have done that) to try and plead with the older son.  Please!  Join the party.  Accept my lavish grace.

In short, the story of the Prodigal son/God would NEVER have happened in that culture!  It was shocking and unbelievable.  Yet it was the story that Jesus used to illustrate the love and grace of God.

Isn't grace risky?  Indeed!  But we want to add our rules and conditions to make it safe.
Mark C.

« Reply #656 on: July 05, 2009, 12:03:48 am »

Thanks Dave!

    That was a truly wonderful post that deserves reading over again and again!

  The picture in ones mind of who God really is probably becomes the most important aspect to the recovery of a healthy relationship with God.

   It's not just a matter of learning the correct teaching because the teaching has to make it's way down into that place of the soul that psychologists' would call the "unconscious" area.  Whatever one wants to call that area it seems to operate beyond our control, or even our awareness.

  Mental pictures like "The Prodigal Son" (or better yet, the Prodigal Father) have the power to take a clear doctrinal statement and relate these mental facts to how we really feel about who God is, how he looks at us, and how we behave as a result.

  This kind of deeper conviction of the fact of a God who is so "risky" in his passion for his children ignites a similar kind of passion in our own being---- a deep kind of change that is transformative.

  As an example, I remember a news story about a modern day Bonnie and Clyde type criminal.  This story was about "Bonnie" and featured  "before and after" photos.  The first picture was a mug shot; pure evil was communicated as you looked at the visage in this.

  In the second photo the transformation was absolutely incredible!  The differences between them were so stark that they looked like two different people!  What happened?  She discovered the grace of God and experienced the forgivenness of sins all the way down to her toes!  This conviction made it from the depths of her soul to her face that glowed with hope and joy!

 Our own efforts can never produce what God achieved through his work in the Gospel of grace.  Not only that, these efforts at self reformation end up digging a bigger hole that put us back in the same place we were in before we discovered salvation freely given.

  As we live our day to day lives we will notice how we still fall very short of perfection and this can make us get down on ourselves out of a guilty awareness of that need.  "Spiritual" diciplines, so called, will only make the matter worse--- why? because they flow from an effort to merit God's favor that attempts to earn God's power in our life.

  Conviction of sin is a very important function to bring us to salvation but once there we discover a new relationship with God based on grace.  This grace needs to not only be stored in our heads but enjoyed deeply in our hearts.  Renewal of the kind of mental pictures that startle us out of religious self reflections are good medicine!

                                                                       God Bless,  Mark C. 

Mark C.

« Reply #657 on: November 02, 2009, 01:42:45 am »

                            STANDING IN HIS GRACE

                            This thought, taken from Romans 5:1-:

 Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

   The result of understanding and believing the facts of grace should bring positive emotional responses---- peace and joy. 

    I have been thinking about this lately because of my natural tendency toward evaluating my relationship with God on the basis of how "spiritual" I think I am doing at any particular moment.

   If ones "standing" is evaluated on anything either than grace freely given then we are on sand instead of rock.

  The facts of our situation are: we not only are not acceptable to God we can't make ourselves that way.  This is just as true for a Christian as it is for the unsaved.

  The facts of grace are:  God has done everything necessary to take away not only any penalties for sin, but to remove any other liabilities involved.  This includes the liabilities between my time of salvation to my reception in the Mansions above--"the hope of glory"!

  Under our former system of earning a standing before God there was cause for great anxiety, fear, and lack of assurance. 

   Peace with God is much more than just an assuaging of God's anger toward us, it is the full embrace of God's unconditional acceptance!

   The Joy is the result of the hopeful looking forward to what God's grace promises us in eternity.

    What about sanctification, the improvement of our soul in this life?  Didn't God give us grace to make a practical difference ---- transforming us into his image?

  He did indeed, but the real answer to this is how is this accomplished in our life? Are we first saved by grace without our effort and then sanctified by some kind of God meeting us half way?

  We can answer this by making a practical test:  In my effort to actualize God's grace into my life is there guilt, failure, anxiety, frustration, etc.?  Then we know that we are not standing in grace because there is the absence of peace and joy.

  From another angle we can make a test too:  If after being involved in a spirtual excercise that is supposed to release grace in my life my behavior falls short of "the image of God" where does the blame lie?  Were my spiritural mechanics wrong , or is my view of "making grace real" in error?

  The fact of the matter is that as long as I'm standing on the shifting sands of my own abilities to make change in my life I am not standing in grace.  There is no other place for us to stand, but in the understanding that in God's actions alone are where my peace, joy, and hope are.

  Whenever we try to develop a cooperative activity between my best efforts and God's free giving that are supposed to yield transformed life we remove ourselves from grace.

  What then are our responsibilities?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

   The first question can only be answered when we are firmly standing in the grace of God and the second is a total misunderstanding of what it means to be standing in that grace in the first place.

   The actual transformative power of God's grace is multiplied in our lives as his peace and joy take the place of our own attempts at working grace into our attitudes and behavior.

 Another practical test:  Start out the day thinking on God's joy that you are his child and the wonderful things he wants to do in your life from his large treasure of grace.  Continue to think on this even when you are aware of your own mistakes and sin.  Makes my day a much better one and one that brings glory to God!

  When you get down on yourself, you get down on others, and give into a very negative spirit.   When you are trusting in the facts of grace you are free from self and able to meet the needs of others; which is another fruit of the Spirit---love!

                                                             God Bless,  Mark C.   

Joe Sperling

« Reply #658 on: November 03, 2009, 01:28:21 am »

Great post Mark!  I've mentioned before that when I become overwhelmed due to
some thought process I've fallen into where I make "my works" more important than
God's grace, I go back to day one.

I remember that first day when the Lord came to me through the Gospel of John.  Was I
worthy?  Was there something within myself that caused the Lord to reach out to me?  And
I have to say "no"---there was not.  The Lord reached out to me, a lost sinner, with absolutely
no value in me----He saved me simply because He loved me.  And is there anything I could
ever do to add to that Grace given to me that day?  Is there anything I could do to make myself more righteous, or more valuable to God than I was on that first day?  No---absolutely not. God saved me knowing who I was, and what I would be in the future. He saved me knowing every single thing about me--- past, present and future.

Some of us think sometimes that we can get past the Grace of God---we have somehow "earned" God's favor, and therefore if we fail or fall we can then "lose" that same favor.  We always need to go back and remember that we are nothing----we weren't saved due to some righteousness we possessed-----we were saved only because the Lord loved us so much! To remember that is to grasp the Grace of God-----to know that our salvation is ALL OF GRACE---that we are nothing, and never will be anything apart from God's grace and mercy in our lives.  "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 01:38:01 am by Joe S » Logged
Mark C.

« Reply #659 on: November 07, 2009, 11:59:48 pm »

 Thanks Joe,

   Yes, going back to the foundation and standing there is the only safe place for those hurt from accepting GG "Overcomer" teaching. 

   "Standing fast", means a refusal to accept the very "bewitching" deception to:
 "after beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"--(Gal. 3:3)

   Most Christians will agree that the Gospel provides a complete solution to all of our spiritual needs, but are unaware of how much Christian preaching, and their own preconceived notions, are at war with their standing in grace.

  The "Overcomer" teaching of GG is held by a very small segment of Christians,  because it is such an obvious error.  However, this isn't the only deceptive teaching angle used to knock us from our firm standing in grace.

  There is a teaching called, "Lordship Salvation", that places the onus on the believer to "make their calling and election sure" by associating their salvation with the degree of "reality" they can validate in their own life.

   This validation involves a search to evaluate the quality of ones inner life and how successful one is in behavior as a Christian.  Instead of looking to Jesus and him crucified- and what that means- I'm to look at and to myself.

 Just like the Galatian error taught, this is supposed to make for a deeper reality with God and deliver us from a shallow life.  So, this much more prominent error has the same result as the Overcomer teaching of G.G.--- a deep abidng self loathing absorption, or the opposite dishonest pretention that I have the quality within me to produce true spirituality.

  Yes, the bible contains exhortations to Christians that challenge them to take various positive actions, but my ability to "make" these real in my life do not limit what God has done in Christ---this fact never changes!

  How then does grace "work" in my life as a believer?  It takes different paths that are as complex as each individual life.  Some "appear" to start out as "advanced" in the level of their productivity as believers, while others are late bloomers.

  Mt. 20:1-16., "The parable of the Vineyard," ends with, "So the last will be first and first will be last."  Who in the parable "gained" more as a result of their labors? All those involved in the work received the same.  The point?  Our destiny in the Kingdom is not based on merit, rather it is founded on the generous giving of the Master!  Remember, this parable is about the very end result of ones life and whose life will be "rewarded".

                                                       God Bless,  Mark C. 


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