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outdeep
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« on: April 15, 2005, 09:46:18 pm »

Do you struggle, as I often do, with the inconsistency of your life with the gospel?  This was an encouraging article by Jack Hayford that was republished as a Last Days Ministry tract (http://www.lastdaysministries.org/articles/findinggodwhenyouvefailed.html)



Finding God When You've Failed

Jack Hayford


Honesty is indeed a prerequisite to effective prayer. But it can also be cleverly guided on a boomerang path by our arch opponent.

"How can I pray when I know I've failed God?" I may ask myself. The awareness of recent sin or even a remote memory can haunt the mind and cripple all confidence in prayer. Further, I will never feel guilt but that Satan, whom God's Word labels as the accuser as well as the adversary, will hound my mind with added evidence of my unworthiness and, therefore, of my hopelessness if I do pray. "You've botched it up so badly, how can you seriously expect a hearing from God? You don't deserve anything. You know it, and He knows it! Forget it!"

Some of us will even press beyond that lying attack to the point of praying something, somehow, but the words - when the mind is bombarded by guilt and condemnation - have a way of falling to the floor. Absent is that sense of the creative power when we speak boldly in simple trust to the God of all the heavens. We feel instead like someone who seeks an audience with the head of state of a nation whose flag we have just trampled.

Fat chance of a favor! Thin hope of a hearing! The devil's right. Forget it. But wait a minute.

Think clearly for a moment. What suddenly changed Satan's nature that he would defend God's glory by urging you to keep your dirty distance?

Nothing.

He's consistently opposed to my union and yours with the Father.

When the devil contests a believer on seemingly righteous grounds you can count on it that there's a trap in the system somewhere. Truth starts to surface. The God of all glory is also the God of all grace.

We need to learn how to handle our biggest obstacle to effective prayer: guilt - the sense of having failed and thereby being disqualified for bold approach. How can I handle my dirty linen when I want to come to the throne room of the Almighty?

Any correct teaching of God's infinite mercy has a way of sounding to the presumptuous like a license for sin. But we don't enter God's presence by presenting an admission card certifying our sinlessness. Nor does one stamp into the throne room with muddy feet and a glib, "Sorry about that."

A proper balance of humility and boldness is needed. Sin, by whatever description, cannot be skirted. Neither should sin be honored by allowing it to inhibit our praying.

Here's how to handle the problem:

First, understand God's posture. He's on the side of sinners. Jesus' critics puzzled that He was so frequently in the company of people who lacked religious pedigree and moral status: "This man companies with publicans and sinners!" The amazing thing was not only that He was willing to move among the sinful, but that He affected them and not the other way around. God never condemns sinners, and He never condones sin. "My little children," John begins, "I am writing these things to you that you sin not." (1 John 2:1). The message registers, and could produce a guilt feeling just by casual reading…except for the next sentence:

"But if any man sin, we have one pleading our case before the Father - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is our sin-covering." (vs.1-2). In other words, the Word of God says: "Absolutely, do not sin," then turns right around and says, "But when you do..." Although the heavenly Father does not hold a casual attitude toward sin, He is not shocked by it either. He has made provision for it, not as an invitation to sin, but to receive His freedom from its guilt.

Second, we make a serious mistake if we think God's mercy is the result of some "smile-and-forget-it" bent in His nature. Humanistic theology features the Father as a somewhat doddering, near senile, harmless old man who forgives because He couldn't do much else in His defense anyway. Or it says that God forgives whenever He is asked "simply because it's right and He ought to." It's a part of a gentlemen's agreement: We'll forgive God for letting the world go on in the generally messed-up condition it is, if He will be fair about it and forgive us for those times we've contributed to the mess.

Most people never express such ideas or, for that matter, bother to discover what they do think about forgiveness. But to experience the full peace of forgiveness we must understand the key to its power. God's forgiveness is available and adequate because it cost an infinite price: the blood of Jesus.

Blood is the only price adequate to cover payment for sin. (Heb. 9:22)

Jesus knew and announced that His death on the cross was that instrument of payment. (Matt. 26:28)

It was the Father's plan and the Son's agreement to this redeeming event that produced Calvary. (Acts 2:23; Matt. 26:39)

This message was foretold by the Old Testament prophets and confirmed by the preaching of the New Testament apostles. (Is. 53:4-6; Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 15:3, 1 Pet. 1:18,19)

Both justification (acquittal for our sins) in the present and eternal blessing in the future are granted through the blood. (Rom. 5:9)

Therefore, peace of mind and a clear conscience before God are available through the blood. (Eph. 2:13,14; Heb. 9:14)

Forgiveness is abundant, but it isn't the splash of a supermarket display. It's the overflow of the cornucopia of His love designed to prompt our praise and thanksgiving...and our bold approach to His throne, even when we have sinned.

That's the third point:

Handling dirty linen in the throne room is not accomplished by attempting to hide it, but by openly spreading it before God. That's what confession means: acknowledging exactly what we know to be so.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn. 1:9)

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. " (Heb. 4:16)

"In time of need." That's the rime we are most encouraged to come. But when need arises - and is compounded by our own sense of sin and failure - that is the time we're least inclined to come boldly. But it's the time we're most invited!

Has your desire to pray been blocked by a sense of guilt?

Be done with that blockade!

Let the truth about the blood of Jesus, the truth about the Father's mercy, set you free!

I can come and be cleansed by the miracle of His creative working through the blood:

"Purge me... and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Ps.51:7,10)

Welcome to the throne room of heaven, sinner.

Jack Hayford is senior pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California. To date, he has written 16 books and composed over 400 songs. His media ministry can be heard on over 150 radio stations daily and on national television weekly. More than 60,000 cassette teachings are distributed annually, totaling over one million in circulation.

This article was reprinted from his book Prayer Is Invading The Impossible. © 1977, Bridge Publishing, Inc. South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Used with permission.
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vernecarty
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2005, 12:28:05 pm »

There are all kinds of reasons for why we often fail as Christians. I think they can be neatly summed up in the three categories of the devil, the world, and the flesh.
It is interesting how we get into all kinds of discussions about what it takes to live victoriously as a Christian, with various folk offering one theory or another about how they have found the true path to holiness.
I remember a former assembly member, a sister, posting on the BB sometime back about how she was so adversely affected by the assembly that she could no longer even read her Bible. I remember being absolutely stunned by this admission and determined in my own mind to be very blunt with her for I thought that was what she needed. Some have even accused me of running her off the board and if she is now spending more time reading the Scripture, it would have been well worth it in my view.
I think the most common cause of failure and weakness in our Christian lives, is a falure to diligently spend time in God's Word. It is certainly true for me.
I can directly gauge my spiritual temperature by the level of my consistency in His Word.
I took a bit of flack for encouraging folk to have a regular quiet time awhile back and perhaps I should not have used that exact term. It really does not matter what you call it. Scripture seems to teach us that the Word of God is the instrument He uses to effect growth in the life if the believer.
Are you failng more than usual lately? Feeling a bit down in the dumps?
Could it perhaps be that you are not spending enough time imbibing the sincere milk of the Word?
I know our assembly experiences have left many of us with a bitter taste in our mouth.
We should be careful not to let Geftakys continue to bind us, notwithstanding our leaving his house of bondage. The single best thing a Christian can do to ensure growth in grace and godliness is spending time in the Scriptures. If you have trouble reading, get a good recording on tape or digital media and listen!


But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.   2 Cor  3:18
« Last Edit: April 29, 2005, 02:19:50 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
outdeep
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2005, 01:21:14 am »

There are all kinds of reasons for why we often fail as Christians. I think they can be neatly summed up in the three categories of the devil, the world, and the flesh.
It is interesting how we get into all kinds of discussions about what it takes to live victoriously as a Christian, with various folk offering one theory or another about how they have found the true path to holiness.
I remember a former assembly member, a sister, posting on the BB sometime back about how she was so adversely affected by the assembly that she could no longer even read her Bible. I remember being absolutely stunned by this admission and determined in my own mind to be very blunt with her for I thought that was what she needed. Some have even accused me of running her off the board and if she is now spending more time reading the Scripture, it would have been well worth it in my view.
I think the most common cause of failure and weakness in our Christian lives, is a falure to diligently spend time in God's Word. It is certainly true for me.
I can directly gauge my spiritual temperature by the level of my consistency in His Word.
I took a bit of flack for encouraging folk to have a regular quiet time awhile back and perhaps I should not have used that exact term. It really does not matter what you call it. Scripture seems to teach us that the Word of God is the instrument He uses to effect growth in the life if the believer.
Are you failng more than usual lately? Feeling a bit down in the dumps?
Could it perhaps be that you are not spending enough time imbibing the sincere milk of the Word?
I know our assembly experiences have left many of us with a bitter taste in our mouth.
We should be careful not to let Geftakys continue to bind us, notwithstanding our leaving his house of bondage. The single best thing a Christian can do to ensure growth in grace and godliness is spending time in the Scriptures. If you have trouble reading, get a good recording on tape or digital media and listen!


But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.   2 Cor  3:18

I have heard this from other believers and I wish I could say that I found it to be that simple:

Meditate in God's Word = Have victorious day.
Skip God's word = Have lousy day.

I'm not denying that this is true for many and it is certainly what Evangelicals teach.  But, I found that I could have a good session reading the Bible and then go out and lose my temper in traffic.  And I have been in frame of minds that no matter what I do, I just can't track with the words - this ususally means I need to go to sleep or exercise.

The Bible is certainly important to a Christian, but is the quantity of reading related to our level of spirituality and compitence in obediance?  Maybe a somewhat, but not fully.
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vernecarty
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2005, 04:12:47 am »

I have heard this from other believers and I wish I could say that I found it to be that simple:

Meditate in God's Word = Have victorious day.
Skip God's word = Have lousy day.

I'm not denying that this is true for many and it is certainly what Evangelicals teach.  But, I found that I could have a good session reading the Bible and then go out and lose my temper in traffic.  And I have been in frame of minds that no matter what I do, I just can't track with the words - this ususally means I need to go to sleep or exercise.

The Bible is certainly important to a Christian, but is the quantity of reading related to our level of spirituality and compitence in obediance?  Maybe a somewhat, but not fully.

i am not sure why your experience has been so different from mine Dave. What I am saying is not based on religious conviction, although supported by Scripture itself, it is based actually on my own experience.
When I was very young, my mom helped me memorise Psalm 1

...but his delight, is in the law of the Lord
And in His law, doth he meditate day and night
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
That bringeth forth his fruit in his season
His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


I find the promise of this Psalm to be literally true in my life.
I hear all kinds of reasons from Christians as to why they do not spend time, in a consistent way in reading God's Word.
There are incredible promises that go with the commitment. You wil discover, that it does indeed require commitment.
If fact, without commitment and discipline you will not do it.
Most Christians do not have a take-it or leave-it disposition to diligent Bible study.
They in fact agree that it is vital to spiritual health.
Nevertheless, many simple ignore this discipline.
If you want to get some sense of how fit you are for spiritual battle, make a commmitment to read God's Word consistently and keep a log of your progress.
It is, in my view, the most hotly contested discipline of the Christian walk.
Verne

p.s Dave I just re-read your post and I don't mean to imply that just because I read my Bible I don't blow it that day. Happens all the time. I do find it happens with less frequency if the Word is dwelliing richly... Smiley
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 04:44:38 am by VerneCarty » Logged
Joe Sperling
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2005, 04:22:43 am »

Generally I've found this to be the case when reading the Bible:

0 chapters read---miserable day.
1-2 chapters-------fair day.
3-4 chapters-------satisfactory day.
5-6 chapters-------good day.
7-8 chapters-------very good day.
9-10 chapters-----excellent day.
10+ chapters------exceedingly glorious.

Unfortuantely, some books of the Bible are very short, so if you happen to be in Jude
expect a fair day.

 Grin  sorry--couldn't resist.
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vernecarty
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2005, 04:37:08 am »

Generally I've found this to be the case when reading the Bible:

0 chapters read---miserable day.
1-2 chapters-------fair day.
3-4 chapters-------satisfactory day.
5-6 chapters-------good day.
7-8 chapters-------very good day.
9-10 chapters-----excellent day.
10+ chapters------exceedingly glorious.

Unfortuantely, some books of the Bible are very short, so if you happen to be in Jude
expect a fair day.

 Grin  sorry--couldn't resist.

I generally begin the year with a full head of steam.
Things get really tough around tax time... Smiley
If I am leading a study or teaching Sunday School, I find it much easier to be consistent as one then has to be prepared. Sometimes I go several weeks with only a cursory reading and then I try to slip in a tape or two of Alexander Scourby. Consistent diligence in the Scripture is without doubt my own greatest challenge.
Then you have those guys that read at the rate of a couple of books per session.... Shocked
Verne
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 08:29:44 am by VerneCarty » Logged
M2
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2005, 10:20:04 am »

Dave S, you eloquently expressed what I was thinking when I read Verne's post.

This is a general comment.  Definitely there are merits to a daily devotional time.  And knowing God's Word is necessary if we are to know His will.  I have gotten to know (to a certain degree) some BB posters solely from having read their posts.  I could not make any intelligent comment about them without having done so.  Of course I could hear it second hand from another and get to know them that way, but it would still require me to invest time and to listen.  IMO Bible reading and prayer are our avenue of cultivating relationship with the One and true God.

God bless,
Marcia
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vernecarty
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2005, 03:05:07 pm »

Dave S, you eloquently expressed what I was thinking when I read Verne's post.

This is a general comment.  Definitely there are merits to a daily devotional time.  And knowing God's Word is necessary if we are to know His will.  I have gotten to know (to a certain degree) some BB posters solely from having read their posts.  I could not make any intelligent comment about them without having done so.  Of course I could hear it second hand from another and get to know them that way, but it would still require me to invest time and to listen.  IMO Bible reading and prayer are our avenue of cultivating relationship with the One and true God.

God bless,
Marcia

I certainly realise that talking about commitment probably reminds too many of us of the bondage we were in in the assemblies so I am very sympathetic to some of the responses I see on this issue.
I would like to point out though, that the abuse that ocurred in the assemblies ought not to lead to us throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the Scriptures.
What you say about God's Word being the primary way to get to know Him and His will is absolutely correct.
While it is true that God can and does lead in other ways, apart from the confirmation of the Scriptures, we simply cannot make the case, neither to others, and more importantly not to ourselves, that we are following His will.
Two additionally equally important reasons for grounding in the Scriptures are:

1. To be kept from error
2. To live fruitful(sanctified) lives.

John 17:17

Was this the result of Geftakys' teaching?

I therefore conclude that if we want to be sound in the faith, and if we want to lead fruitful lives, we must not only  read, but we must study God's Word.
Some are always quick to point out that there are many places where God's people do not have the privelege of having the written Scriptures. I am always surprised to hear that reason invoked as if it somehow diminsihed our own rsponsibility for our having the privelege of an abundance of the written Word. To my mind, far from diminsihing our own responsiblity,  it augments it!
Unless of course, one is prepared to argue that for us, there is some othe way of the Word being made flesh in our lives than by reading/listening to and obeying it. It seems to me that is the necessary order of things.
I could be mistaken on this as others seem to suggest their experience does not follow this pattern.
Verne
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 03:20:46 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
M2
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2005, 05:48:32 pm »

....
What you say about God's Word being the primary way to get to know Him and His will is absolutely correct.
While it is true that God can and does lead in other ways, apart from the confirmation of the Scriptures, we simply cannot make the case, neither to others, and more importantly not to ourselves, that we are following His will.
Two additionally equally important reasons for grounding in the Scriptures are:

1. To be kept from error
2. To live fruitful(sanctified) lives.

John 17:17

Was this the result of Geftakys' teaching?

I therefore conclude that if we want to be sound in the faith, and if we want to lead fruitful lives, we must not only  read, but we must study God's Word. .....

From our assembly experience, some of us know that even Bible Study can become askew.  I am not knocking Bible Study, but for all the studying we did and for all the knowledge of the Scriptures we acquired, we sometimes still have a difficult time viewing passages and doctrines without the Geftakys slant.

But, Verne, I believe you are talking about now that we are out of the spider web of deception.  Yes, it is good to lift our heads above the assembly fog and have some fresh air and begin to see things the way the worldly Wink greater evangelical community does.  I have discovered that commentaries are actually a useful resource.  And of course, this BB and the website have also been helpful in figuring things out.

God bless,
Marcia
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vernecarty
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2005, 09:13:31 pm »

From our assembly experience, some of us know that even Bible Study can become askew. 

I am not sure I am prepared to call what did in the assemblies, "Bible study".
It was more akin to indoctrination.
This is what I think many of us are confused about.
In fact, it is my contention that it was an absence of serious study that permitted so many to remain in bondage for so long.
There were some very able men in the assemblies who under the control of the Spirit of God, would have made wonderful teachers, but sadly, all they did was tainted by the influcence of an unholy man like Geftakys and that is the plain truth. Some of us don't like the idea of being taught by others but we all learn from somebody.
It is my own theory, that the people who indeed did study their Bibles and took what it said seriously, were ultimately delivered from the bondage of the likes of George Geftakys. The truth always sets us free!
Verne





« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 09:16:38 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2005, 09:28:06 pm »





Good question, Verne.   Yes, I know you didn't ask me, but I do have a couple things on this if you don't mind.

Nature itself is a teacher of who God is.  The principles of nature in creation has been set up by God to preach Christ so we can without the/a Word understand who God is.  Are there finer mysteries to be unveiled through the written Word?  Yes.  But there are yet further truths, principles, and concepts that cannot learned through the rigors of disciplined Bible study per se. 

I understand your point and partly agree. My view on this comes from the teaching of God's Word in Hebrews 1 and Romans 1. Both places speak of a diversity of ways in which God has spoken.
I believe Hebrews 1:1 teaches that the fullness of all God intends to express to us has been accomplished in His Son.
Everything that came before, including the witness of nature, pointed to Him.
In these last days God has spoken.
It seems to me to miss the point of Hebrews 1:1 completley, to espouse the pursuit of any messages from God, other than what is revealed in Christ. Since the written Word speaks of Him in all his fulness, I would argue that there is where we seek Him out. Just my two cents Sondra. It does not mean I am getting the entire picture.
Verne
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 09:31:08 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2005, 09:46:50 pm »

I am not sure I am prepared to call what did in the assemblies, "Bible study".
It was more akin to indoctrination.
This is what I think many of us are confused about.
In fact, it is my contention that it was an absence of serious study that permitted so many to remain in bondage for so long.
There were some very able men in the assemblies who under the control of the Spirit of God, would have made wonderful teachers, but sadly, all they did was tainted by the influcence of an unholy man like Geftakys and that is the plain truth. Some of us don't like the idea of being taught by others but we all learn from somebody.
It is my own theory, that the people who indeed did study their Bibles and took what it said seriously, were ultimately delivered from the bondage of the likes of George Geftakys. The truth always sets us free!
Verne

People who hang around only people who agree with them, all the time....or people who don't hang around with anyone...get crazy ideas and think they're normal.  In the Assembly, everyone subscribed to certain ideas.

One of them was that George had "vision."  Everyone believed this, and this belief led all of us to believe that certain things were true.  One of those things was that many of the passages in the Bible were "corporate" in their interpretation, which essentially meant they were written about the Assembly.

With this presupposition in mind, serious study of the bible was actually detrimental.  It just made Christ less and less pre-eminent as time went on.

This is why fellowship with other believers is so important.  If our fellowship is limited to only one or two people who agree with us, we can be totally off and have no idea at all.  However, once we start voicing our bizarre ideas in front of a bunch of other people, we may find out that we aren't what we thought we were.

While I am not a proponent of obligatory daily bible study, I do recognize that reading the Word helps us understand who we are, and how we fall short.  If we only read books on speaking in tongues, and never read the bible, unless it is the passages that talk about tongues, and everyone we fellowship with is the same....we'll be pretty wierd.  Same  with snake handling.

With regard to what Sondra seems to be saying, I must say I am not at all comfortable with many of the ideas she voices below.  I think it becomes a private interpretation of scripture.  I have voiced these reservations about deeper life many times before.  I don't say it in a personal sense at all, and I'd say it to anyone.

It's good to discuss these things civilly, and i certainly hope that we can maintain this for a while longer, if not forever.

Brent
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vernecarty
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2005, 11:18:38 pm »


This is why fellowship with other believers is so important.  If our fellowship is limited to only one or two people who agree with us, we can be totally off and have no idea at all.  However, once we start voicing our bizarre ideas in front of a bunch of other people, we may find out that we aren't what we thought we were.

Brent

This is more powerful than you know.
I will never forget the first time I attended a C & MA general council meeting and worshipped and fellowshipped with thousands of serious Christians. I was shell-shocked.
I felt the same way after Paul and I came back from Kenya and I got to know the believers at Gibson City Bible Church.
These people are like family!

The do need a bit more cultural variety in the town though!  Smiley

The assemblies had me thinking that these kind of folk were few and far between.
Not being in fellowship with other mature Christians does something strange to your perspective...the real porblem is that it is often difficult, if not impossible for someone so  affected to indentify this. This was my own problem.
Verne
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 11:22:57 pm by VerneCarty » Logged
al Hartman
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2005, 11:35:15 pm »


This was composed prior to Verne's noon post.  I'll catch up ASAP:


IMO Bible reading and prayer are our avenue of cultivating relationship with the One and true God.

Marcia, apparently your opinion is also God's:

Jn.5:39, Scriptures testify of Christ
Ac.17:11, Receive the Word readily AND search the Scriptures to see...
2Tim.2:15, Study...rightly dividing the Word of truth (As Christ is not divided, Paul obviously intends that Timothy should divide that which IS Christ from that which is not.)
-------------
Lk.18:1, Always pray, and not faint
1TH.5:17 Pray unceasingly
Mt.6:5, 6, 7; Lk.11:2 When you pray...

...talking about commitment probably reminds too many of us of the bondage we were in in the assemblies...
...the abuse that ocurred in the assemblies ought not to lead to us throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the Scriptures...

From our assembly experience, some of us know that even Bible Study can become askew.  I am not knocking Bible Study, but for all the studying we did and for all the knowledge of the Scriptures we acquired, we sometimes still have a difficult time viewing passages and doctrines without the Geftakys slant.

An observation of VITAL importance for every one of us, Verne and Marcia.  Some possibly not even read or hear the "baby...bathwater" reference without their blood running cold, because of its frequent assy use.  We each MUST school ourselves (and help each other) to get beyond the damnable influence of "assemblyspeak."


Two additionally equally important reasons for grounding in the Scriptures are:
1. To be kept from error
2. To live fruitful(sanctified) lives.
John 17:17

Was this the result of Geftakys' teaching?

Think about the above statement, folks-- then honestly answer the question.

Quote
...if we want to be sound in the faith, and if we want to lead fruitful lives, we must not only  read, but we must study God's Word.
Some are always quick to point out that there are many places where God's people do not have the privelege of having the written Scriptures. I am always surprised to hear that reason invoked as if it somehow diminsihed our own rsponsibility for our having the privelege of an abundance of the written Word. To my mind, far from diminsihing our own responsiblity,  it augments it!
Unless of course, one is prepared to argue that for us, there is some othe way of the Word being made flesh in our lives than by reading/listening to and obeying it. It seems to me that is the necessary order of things.
I could be mistaken on this as others seem to suggest their experience does not follow this pattern.
Verne

The phrase I have emboldened, above, is key to anyone's presentation of opinion, and the very reason for such cautions as Gal.1:8-9 (any other gospel... accursed) and 1Jn.4:1 (believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.)
John goes on in the following verses to explain how to discern between spirits, but how would we know without this epistle and other scripture to instruct us?  Heb.4:12 makes plain that the Word of God is alive to pierce and discern for us the thoughts and intents of the heart, and the context elucidates that this Word is Christ.  But again, this knowledge is transmitted to us through an epistle.

The Word spoken of in Jn.1:1, and the Word of God that came to various persons in the O.T. was not the leatherbound canon that we carry with us (or not) today, but was the living Person of God embodied in His Son.  Heb.1:2 expresses that this same Person has been the expression of God to His people in these latter days of the New Covenant.

I could be wrong, but our fail-safe is that God has given us both the canon of scripture and His Holy Spirit to assure that we don't go off the beam, either by over-intellectualism of the writings, or by the sensory input of wrong spirits:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproff, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2Tim.3:16-17
  (cf "the Man of God," Eph.2:15-16;4:4,12-13,16)

...when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth... Jn.16:13
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word...  Jn.17:20
(read also v.21.)

But, Verne, I believe you are talking about now that we are out of the spider web of deception...
...I have discovered that commentaries are actually a useful resource.  And of course, this BB and the website have also been helpful in figuring things out.

Your phraseology above, Marcia, reminds me of when I was a boy, constantly "exploring" the fields & woods near my home:  Sometimes I would be so intent on something else that I would run into a spiderweb of huge proportion-- this also happened in the shadowy confines of abandoned barns and farmhouses.  Immediately, I would begin to furiously brush away the webs from my face, hair and neck, followed by all my clothing that I could see or reach.  If there were friends with me, as was usually the case, we would help one another with the areas of our clothes we couldn't see or get at.  Sometimes, though I would arrive home hours later, only to have my sharp-eyed mother say "What's this?" and pick more web from my hair or clothing, which all my efforts had missed.

So it can be with the remnants of our spiritual pasts, assy or otherwise: the sticky web, so easily acquired, still clings until it has been found, recognized for what it is, and forcibly removed.  We need one another!


(continued...)
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al Hartman
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2005, 11:37:45 pm »



(...continued)


Nature itself is a teacher of who God is.  The principles of nature in creation has been set up by God to preach Christ so we can without the/a Word understand who God is.  Are there finer mysteries to be unveiled through the written Word?  Yes.  But there are yet further truths, principles, and concepts that cannot learned through the rigors of disciplined Bible study per se.  The conversion from natural mental processing to spiritual (spirit) processing becomes a living magnitism.  If we continue to look without for what is now living within (the manifested indwelling of God in Christ) the conflict will grow into torment.     

Sondra, I have emphasized the word "we" in your post above because it appears to refer to us, the redeemed, adopted children of God.  The Bible certainly does teach that God has presented the gospel through nature, but not so that those who know Him can be weaned away from dependence upon the scriptures.  Rather, is it so that those who do NOT know Him will be without excuse for having denied Him.  This is all explained in detail in Rom.1, beginning at v.18.

Of course there are, as you state, greater truths of God that we will not find in scripture.  But those are not to be found in nature, but in glory-- when we shall be like Him, seeing Him as He is. (1Jn.3:2; 1Cor.13:12)

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I believe that there are many who have not been "churched" who have conformed to God's ways i.e. conformed to the likeness of His Son in spirit than many Bible believing people.  They don't know the words, but they are pure in spirit and live according to the inward knowledge of God from what they understand to be God's will and God's ways from His all encompassing panoply of order in nature...
...Anyway, whether they can read or not, whether they can read, but can't understand much - they are not without the knowledge of God. 

You are right that there have been, throughout the ages, those who have seen God revealed in nature and have responded by seeking to know Him.  There are numerous accounts of these folks in print.  The one commonality among them is that once they sought God, they eventually came to Christ (Christ came to them through missionary efforts, or they traveled to where the gospel was known and preached.)  Without exception (to my knowledge), these souls have delighted to find that there is a book telling the wondrous story of their newfound Savior.  Even those unable to read have clamored to listen to the Word spoken by others.

None of this should give us any reason to suspect that God intends to take us beyond the need of our Bibles in this lifetime.

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The fact is, the Word of God is not a responsibility.  The written Word gets assimilated in our lives and takes on new meaning over time.  The letter of the Word is as a sword and is used in the regeneration process.  But when the man child is brought to birth, he/she experiences a conversion, a crossing over, if you will.  The Word according to the letter, memory knowledge of the Word transitions as part of that birthing process into laws written upon the heart.

Amen, the Word of God is not a responsibilty!  That term alone doesn't begin to define God's Word.  Jesus Christ Himself is the living Word of God, to Whom all the scriptures bear witness, which is exactly why the Bible is referred to as the Word of God-- the two are inseperable during the realm of time.

The written Word can only "get assimilated" through reading it or hearing it spoken. (Rom.10:13-18)

Could you explain more your concept of the new birth as a process (you have mentioned it before) and how the sword of the Word is active in the process?

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This is a time that many can relate to that was like being pulled through a knothole backwards....hell week/month/year(s)....

Mine was a hell-about-half-my-lifetime.  We may be talking about the same thing in different terminology.  I refer to the span between when I first began to call upon the Lord and when I first began to realize the greatness and closeness of Him upon Who I was calling.  It is an ongoing process-- the more I learn of Him, the more I realize how little I know Him. 

 cannot honestly tell you at what point in my awareness of Him I was born again.  I do believe, however, that the new birth is an actual event, whether or not any of us recognizes it at the time it occurs.  The Bible speaks of it as a birth, but makes no distinct reference (that I know of) to a spiritual gestation period.

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To force feed ourselves when there is no appetite is tormenting.  It's not God who forces - it's Guilt or Conscience that needs to be managed by the Will.   While in flux, there is a leaving of "first things."  The myriads of heavenly administrators are supervising these transitions.  There are assignments to each life of God's sons in Christ who administrate over our growth.  As with Job, there are also adversaries who are granted the right to tempt and coerce.... 

We appear to agree on this point: God knows what is best for each of us and will see to it.

Guilt, conscience and will all are matters to which we can only attend by God's grace given to us through Christ.  Having spent most of a decade working in a hospital, I can tell you that some babies are born that DO need to be force-fed.  Sometimes adults need that too.  It is not pleasant, but it IS necessary if life is to be sustained.

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This is part of the mystery that the scriptures speak of.  These are happenings behind the scenes that many still in the body can see/discern/perceive.

Just making sure I follow you: we are all still in the body, n'est-ce pas?

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Not everyone is going to understand what I am talking about, but some are going to understand this very well.  There are many scriptures that show these concepts.  God is described in the Book, but He is not contained in it, so there is much of what I am saying that has to be perceived and cannot be processed through natural  reasoning and natural intellect.  Spiritual reasoning actually is better described by perceiving truths or  discerning truths. 

These faculties have to be formed as part of our spiritual birth/conversion from natural to spiritual.  People need to find instruction from spiritual leaders who can help them understand what they are experiencing if they are at the juncture.  Otherwise, as was my experience, there is a spiritual starvation that ensues.  Nothing will satisfy this soul short of pure Word after the inward man. 

Two last questions: First, is it possible that someone may understand "very well" what you are saying and yet arrive at different conclusions than yours, i.e. disagree with you?  Second, what do you mean by the phrase "pure Word after the inward man?"

Gratefully to all who are posting on this thread,
al
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