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  #21  
Unread 4th December 2008, 10:00 PM
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2 Samuel 22:17
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Unread 4th December 2008, 10:02 PM
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  #23  
Unread 5th December 2008, 09:32 AM
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I pray that God overshadows you with the holy spirit and guides you in understanding. Through Jesus Christ the way the truth and the light. Amen!!!
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  #24  
Unread 6th December 2008, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by trustgod View Post
My challenge is, how can I change how I define God (to myself) so that I can begin to view him as the God of Christianity instead, and on a personal level rather than just an abstract figure "out there" . . . What was it that gave you a perspective of God as a personal God? Can you point to one or two things that convinced you that God was a personal God instead of just an abstract figure?
How can you go about changing the way you've defined God thus far, so that your view accords with the God of Christianity, who is personal rather than some abstract entity? The answer is simple: the canon of Scriptures. This was the central theme running through my response to you. It must be through a steadfast commitment to the authority of the Scriptures as God's foundational self-disclosure, a commitment that supersedes any form of autonomous speculations about him. You should rely less on what you think about God and more on what God thinks about himself. If someone held an image of me concocted essentially from their own imaginations, in preference over my own self-disclosure to them, I might be quite offended. I am more of an authority on myself than their imagination is, since I know myself. Maybe it's reasonable to think God might feel similarly when it comes to our thoughts on him.

Originally Posted by trustgod View Post
The only quibble I have with your allegory concerning Obama is that . . . Obama may be an abstract figure, where you know of him, but isn't it true that the skeptics among us could easily turn the TV on and see him and hear him speak? That disqualifies him from the abstract and makes him very real. It's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison. Having said that, however, I do get the main point of your allegory.
I did admit that the allegory would have its weaknesses. Keep in mind that it was used for its illustrative power, as I had pointed out, and should not be thought of as a one-to-one comparison. I also really need you to realize and understand what the allegory was actually trying to illustrate—with respect to the Obama angle, which your point here latched onto: that by reading Obama's own self-disclosure, he went from being a 'name' to being a 'person'. I do not pretend to know him in a personal way. That is not something I said or wanted to even imply. I was merely saying that by reading his book he became a person to me, the way David became a person to Morgan when she read his letters, trying to draw the illustration that you can apprehend the personhood of God by reading his self-disclosure. Until Morgan read David's letters, he was just an abstract concept; until I read Obama's book, he was just an abstract concept; until you read God's self-disclosure, he's just an abstract concept. That's where the comparison lies.

Originally Posted by trustgod View Post
As I understand it, a relationship with God is based on love, which is a purely emotional position, so to those of us like me who are less emotional and much more analytical, it's difficult to separate the emotional aspect from a relationship.
Perhaps you have a slight degree of misunderstanding, then. I'm really hoping to be delicate on this point, sensitive to your spiritual journey. There is a measure of truth to what you said; however, a relationship with God is based principally upon faith. Love for God is definitely part of this, but here is a point I'd like to underscore: love is not necessarily a euphoric state. I'm going to use another allegory here but, again, it's strictly for illustration, not accuracy.

Dennis loves his wife Tracy, to whom he has been married for fifteen years. They met and fell in love in college and they have loved each other deeply ever since. His love and devotion to Tracy is ferocious and unmovable. However, he has not sustained a state of euphoria for those entire fifteen years. His love for her is beyond question, but it is not always euphoric; sometimes he gets angry with her, most of the time he feels a euthymic contentedness with her, sometimes they fight and he feels a sense of loneliness by the distance the fight created, but at every moment it is unquestionable that he loves her very dearly. His relationship to her is characterized principally by his faithful devotion to her, and although love for her is definitely part of that faithful devotion, it is not necessarily a euphoric state. At times it is, but most of the time it's not. Love can be euphoric, but euphoria is not love.

--------------------
NOTE: It was mentioned to me in private correspondence that I sounded a little bit "peeved" in this post. Admittedly, I'm not sure how that was inferred; nevertheless, I feel compelled to note here, for the sake of anyone else that might think the same, that I was not in any way "peeved" when I wrote this. Not even slightly. As a matter of fact, I was very sensitive and sympathetic, feeling a sense of familiarity with this gentleman's situation because I was in a similar spot at one time in my own journey. Furthermore, as I have noted a few times elsewhere, I almost never write from an emotional state; like this fellow here, I am likewise somewhat stoic when it comes to emotions. I'm really not sure how I could write with a more neutral tone than I already do.
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  #25  
Unread 8th December 2008, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by chosenpath View Post


I pray that God overshadows you with the holy spirit and guides you in understanding. Through Jesus Christ the way the truth and the light. Amen!!!
Hi, thanks for sharing that. Unfortunately, messages like that don't register with me. It was nice, but I have a hard time relating. But I do appreciate your efforts!

Last edited by trustgod; 8th December 2008 at 09:50 AM. Reason: typo
  #26  
Unread 8th December 2008, 07:48 AM
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Thanks, all for your efforts and thoughts. Thinking further on this subject, I've had a couple thoughts that might shed further light on my inability to get it.

First, I think I'm just wired differently. Enough so that the need for a supreme being (God, etc.) in my life isn't that great. I can intellectually grasp the concept of a God, who most likely exists, but I cannot, for the life of me, make it beyond that. And I've been trying for 7+ years. Maybe this would change with some crisis in my life, but right now I don't feel the pull, or need, for more than an intellectual curiosity for God. It's like God exists, but yet here I am way down here on earth and life goes on. I guess what I'm saying is that I haven't been personally convinced of the benefit for more than an intellectual curiosity about God.

Secondly, and this is probably related to my first point, is that in today's society, we have been raised to stand on our own, be independent, and to not lean too much on anyone else. At least that's how I was raised, and this probably pertains more to men than women (I'm generalizing here). Men particularly are expected to be the provided, the leader and strong in on their own. So, going into the personal God-thing with that mindset, it's just another hurdle to a personal God. To admit you cannot stand on your own and aren't independent is to show weakness.

Thus, unless, as I said, some sort of crisis occurs in my life occurs that might permanently render my perspective on God differently, I suspect that I'm about as close to him as I'll ever get, and further attempts at such will probably remain fruitless and frustrating.
  #27  
Unread 13th December 2008, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by trustgod View Post
Thanks, all for your efforts and thoughts. Thinking further on this subject, I've had a couple thoughts that might shed further light on my inability to get it.


Secondly, and this is probably related to my first point, is that in today's society, we have been raised to stand on our own, be independent, and to not lean too much on anyone else. At least that's how I was raised, and this probably pertains more to men than women (I'm generalizing here). Men particularly are expected to be the provided, the leader and strong in on their own. So, going into the personal God-thing with that mindset, it's just another hurdle to a personal God. To admit you cannot stand on your own and aren't independent is to show weakness.

Thus, unless, as I said, some sort of crisis occurs in my life occurs that might permanently render my perspective on God differently, I suspect that I'm about as close to him as I'll ever get, and further attempts at such will probably remain fruitless and frustrating.
Yes, I can see that this can be a problem.
Just how much, and in what way are we supposed to depend on God?
I still struggle myself in some ways with this.
After all, when you're a baby, you're totally reliant on your parents or other carers, but as you grow up you learn to do more and more for yourself and finally become independent, stand on your own feet and make your own decisions.
But, just how independent are we really? In practice, we rely on all kinds of people....where would we be without the accumulated knowlege of centuries? Where would we be without doctors, scientists, policemen, farmers etc etc? Wher would we be without friendships or without the person who rings an ambulance if they find us ill or injured and not in a position to get to a phone ourselves?

The Bible says that God created everything, gives life and also sustains it - so, at the very least we are dependent on Him for that. Also, there is nothoing wrong with depending on another person or asdking them for help with things one is unable to do oneself - even as an independent adult. If, for example, I need some electric rewiring done, then I ask an electrician, or if I need something carried which is too heavy for me, then I ask one of my sons or my husdband. Nowadays, I even have to ask them to open jars sometimes, as I have lost some strenght in my wrists! Most annoying!
Thus, I don't think there is anything wrong with asking God for, or relying on Him for things we can't provide for ourselves, or do for ouselvbes.
We cannot provide our own salvation (I assume you already know about that),,,Only God can provide that.
Also He can and does give us a whole lot more than anyone else on earth (though it would take too long to go into all that)
Anyway, I do hope that God will reveal Himself to you in a way that you do "get".
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  #28  
Unread 14th December 2008, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by trustgod
First, I think that I'm just wired differently. Enough so that the need for a supreme being (God, etc.) in my life isn't that great. I can intellectually grasp the concept of a God, who most likely exists, but I cannot, for the life of me, make it beyond that.
And that is entirely your jurisdiction. It is not something I can engage meaningfully (aside from sharing anecdotal testimony with you). But I appreciate your candid honesty.

The only thing I intend to confront are intellectual or rational obstacles to belief. If someone says that they cannot believe in God for some rational reason, I do what I can to take that obstacle away. With you it was about how to see God more as a personal being than an abstract one; I showed you how to go about that. Whether or not you do it, or even want to, is entirely in your own hands. I can only show you the door (as Morpheus said to Neo). Whether or not you walk through it is up to you. There is indeed a door, and here's where it is. The rest is up to you.

By the way? When a man acknowledges and taps into a source of strength, it's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of intelligence. When he acknowledges and taps into a source of wisdom greater than his own, it's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of intelligence. I cannot speak to how you were raised, but I can speak the truth. A man is not an island unto himself; he is not expected to have all the answers or all the strength. He is surrounded by resources, none more sure than God and his Word.

At any rate, thank you for such an articulate and candid conversation. It was refreshing and enlightening for me. I hope you got something out of it, too.
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  #29  
Unread 14th December 2008, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by trustgod View Post
Thanks, all for your efforts and thoughts. Thinking further on this subject, I've had a couple thoughts that might shed further light on my inability to get it.

First, I think I'm just wired differently. Enough so that the need for a supreme being (God, etc.) in my life isn't that great. I can intellectually grasp the concept of a God, who most likely exists, but I cannot, for the life of me, make it beyond that.
MY BROTHER,

If i may say so, it appears that your problem is that you rely on your intelligence rather than your heart to lead you to God. You've got things backwards! This is the same difficulty that got the Apostle Paul in so much trouble that, as you say, it took a major crisis to jar him loose from his left-brain fixation.

Transpose brain and heart--the former being brought under the control of the later--and you will do just fine. In other words, stop with the Mr. Spock already and give the Spirit space to work!


A BROTHER/FRIEND/BOND-SLAVE OF CHRIST,
ephraim
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Lo, i have gathered up all of my thoughts and cannot recall anything good before Thee . . .
except the fact that i know no other God than Thee.

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LORD JESUS CHRIST, HUMBLE LAMB OF GOD, have mercy on me, an arrogant sinner!

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  #30  
Unread 14th December 2008, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ephraimanesti View Post
MY BROTHER,

If i may say so, it appears that your problem is that you rely on your intelligence rather than your heart to lead you to God. You've got things backwards! This is the same difficulty that got the Apostle Paul in so much trouble that, as you say, it took a major crisis to jar him loose from his left-brain fixation.
So, I'm too smart for my own good? When did reliance on intelligence become a problem?





Originally Posted by ephraimanesti View Post
In other words, stop with the Mr. Spock already and give the Spirit space to work!
Okay, I get it. No intelligence allowed in Christianity. Thanks, but I'll pass.
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