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No conviction of sin

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by losthope, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    From now on I will try to ensure I address you more as an almost-believer than a severely back-slidden christian like I was. I do not want to give you false assurance of course.

    1. Signs of growth and understanding - again may not have been noticed by you. In theory is possible by a non-christian.
    2. You mentioned that you were able to explain some theological concepts very well (was that including a pastor?) and that helped other christians. Also possibly done by a non-christian but extremely unlikely.
    3. Can you expand futher on which christian morals you have in mind when you say your attitudes and thinking didn't change? I may have a very different checklist in my mind after all.
    4. Lack of improvement of knowledge of Bible - are you referring to actual intellectual knowledge or spiritual insight that many Christians testify of frequently? e.g. reading an Old Testament passage about Israelites rebelling against God and realising that they personally are rebelling in a similar way.
    Yes that is a very reasonable statement. Before I wouldn't have given this link but I think you might be helped by examining people's testimonies of salvation more carefully. http://www.precious-testimonies.com/General/a-e/BornAgainIndex.htm Try to separate "feeling" from "thinking" testimonies and then look carefully for the patterns in the thinking personality testimonies. Examine the patterns of their lives, what triggered them to seek God, in many cases how God intervened in major crises, how they felt convicted or realised their need of a Saviour, then their personal responses. e.g. this ex-drug user's life you may think is totally irrelevant to yours at first. Notice the title "ONLY DOCTOR JESUS CAN HEAL A "DISEASED SPIRIT" http://www.precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain/L-N/MarieDailMosley.htm .
    Look at her focus on the Bible (or from the Christian perspective God's word), her admitting that she can't do it in her own strength, and her personal need for her life to have a purpose. No mention of signs and wonders or special feelings as part of her everyday Christian walk.

    It is only because I have the time and the opportunity to read a lot of online Christian literature I noticed the difference between 19th century/ early 20th century theology and today's Christian books.
    I think it has swung from one extreme to the other. Many feeling people wouldn't have had their needs met by those books. Now thinking people are starved. In comparison the letters to the early churches (especially apostle Paul's) start at theology and then move to the practical and/or experience side of the Christian walk. It would be so good if modern Christian writers did the same to restore balance. Christians can't continue to walk in the Spirit if they don't understand how salvation changes our hearts and Biblical knowledge/theology alone will not change a person's heart and how we are to walk the Christian walk.
    So you didn't doubt your faith more and more as you got further away from Christian fellowship and teachings?
    I don't think you would ever be absolutely sure of what God wishes for you to have - honestly I think no-one gets that in this life. Regarding your deepest needs - can you expand on what you mean? Is that more to do with your own life purpose than or direct personal experience?
    Can you explain what you mean by a deeper spiritual relationship with God? Do you mean experiences like mystics describe or your personal prayers answered remarkably? I have skimmed through some Catholic saints' books and mystics' books and those intimate experiences don't always agree with and/or add to the Bible's teachings.
    Well feelings realistically have to be ruled out for now. When I said you mightn't see anything I meant obvious miracles.
    You could see things is a completely different matter IF 1. your worldview completely changes. 2. you understand the bible differently i.e. you are no longer spiritually blind (think back to that sermon you seemed to like).
    God would know if your heart was really doing it out of love or not (yes broken record or scratched CD playing again)
    Read Paul's testimony in 2 corinthians 12:1-10/. That is nothing compared to what he would be experiencing in Heaven. I am not talking about momentary intervention from God like I have witnessed and experienced in the (now very distant) past.
    Of course some would disagree with me. I have experienced so much of the counterfeit experiences and read so much way-out books that I am very wary when someone starts talking about visions and dreams and personal experiences with no mention of Jesus or Biblical teachings in context. Does everything they say agree with the Bible or not? How does their life show God's influence i.e. spiritual fruit?
    You have many entries showing 1. you have admitted you sinned 2. you realise that makes you unacceptable to God.
    It is metanoia/change of mind that God looks for in people who admit they need him. For most people feelings of repentance occur as well. You have clearly explained that you are incapable of feeling convicted for biological reasons.
    Why do you think that lack of emotions makes you unable to serve God anyway? That is potentially a major strength!!!!
    In one website I read God's grace draws people to hearing the Gospel, then faith in response + repentance/metanoia, then salvation. john 6:37/ If that is true (and not merely Calvinism talking) you've got it completely back-to-front.
    What keeps drawing you back to searching for God anyway? Do you still continue to assume that is merely by chance?
    Just as well because I sure can't do it in my own strength. It has all been in stages as well.
    OK will leave that topic in the to-be-continued-later-if-necessary list then.
     
  2. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    From foggy memory early -mid teens. I started to read a lot more Christian books as well which was both a good-and-bad thing.
    I actually did not have a good understanding of the Gospel until I went to University and to a Baptist church for a little while, so that I was approx 17 and 1/2.
    Don't let the IF only's get to you. I went way off track with excess feelings and fell for a very dangerous guy who could talk the Christian talk. Fitted some aspects of psychopath profile very well. If you'd had exactly the same story (only difference being a woman in your case) you don't know what may have happened to you spiritually or mentally. Imagine someone with a seared/absent conscience influencing someone without emotions.... I have needed psychologists, prayer ministries, that child abuse Bible study, and a lot of time to heal. Meeting my very stable (but atheist!) husband just 6 weeks after that relationship ... I can guarantee a reflex crabby reaction if I say he was a gift from God. ;)
    There is a lot of fear in that paragraph. It is understandable why you are struggling. Yes you definitely need God's strength if you are to walk in faith.
    If that was a feeling person typing, that sounds just like the anguish Jesus experienced in this verse. matthew 27:46/ Now keep what you've typed in mind as well: hebrews 4:14-16/.
    I don't know why you've got such a challenging situation. I can't imagine experiencing a life without feelings. I wish I could give you half of mine because I've got more than enough for me.
    I'll continue to type to you as long as I believe God wants me to. I can't and won't give you any false promises, all I can offer in addition to my typing are the right Bible passages and the right Christian websites.
     
  3. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    You wrote this:
    That seems sensible. I am not a Christian who has slipped back into sinful ways and forgotten Jesus. I am a person who was a believer, a person who thought he was saved, but found his experience of faith extremely disappointing. An almost-believer, if you like. As for assurance, nobody has been able to give me that, although some have tried. Not false assurance and not real assurance either.

    1. I think I would have noticed signs of growth and understanding as a Christian. Or other people close to me would have noticed it. Of course I learned some things, but the learning process and the things that I learned was no different from how it had been before I became a believer.

    2. Yes I did explain a spiritual problem to a senior pastor. It was not what either of us expected, because his expectation was that he would be helping me. In the past I have helped other Christians as well, mainly because of what I have learned from reading the Bible and speaking with Christians over many years – before, during and after my time as a believer.

    3. I have no recollection of my basic ideas of morality changing significantly during the time that I was a believer – if that is what you meant by the question. I do not quite know what you mean when you ask which Christian morals I have in mind. Unless you want a list, and if so the list includes all of them. Of course I knew that God’s standards of morality were much higher than mine, and I knew that I could not measure up to God’s standards.

    4. My intellectual knowledge of the Bible did increase during my time as a believer, just as it had been increasing for many years before then. But there was never any spiritual insight of the type that you suggest. Other people had such spiritual insight, but I cannot remember it happening for me.

    I read the testimony that you suggested - "Only doctor Jesus can heal a diseased spirit" and noticed how God appeared to respond to her crisis. It was not signs or wonders or special feelings, but she did describe it as God responding to her in a very positive way. When I reached crisis point all those years ago, I also read my Bible, I also knew that I could not do it in my own strength, and I also needed purpose in my life. But there was no response from God.

    I see that there are at least a hundred testimonies on the website. I will do as you suggest and try to find some of the testimonies that are relevant to thinking people rather than feeling people. It will take a little time, so I will respond to that with more information later.

    You are right. It is not either thinking or feeling. We need both. You could say that God needs both. And those of us who think but cannot feel are as you say being starved. Are there any budding Christian authors reading this? Write something for the thinkers of the world please.

    Not at all. My loss of faith came about because of my own experiences, and lack of experiences. It was never driven by the expectations of other people. I was immersed in Christian fellowship and Christian teaching right up to the end. Indeed, it was disappointment after a Christian weekend conference that was the final straw.

    A person may not know in advance what God wants for them. What matters is that they know what the next step is. When that step has been taken, they may be able to discern the next step, and so on.

    My deepest needs? The thing that attracted me to Christianity was that it offered the opportunity to do things of eternal worth (not a phrase in any translation of the Bible I think, but a very relevant concept). Despite what I may have written about having a relationship with God, my underlying desire was to serve and to do something of everlasting value. The reason why I would need God to respond is so that I could be guided to do whatever it was that God wanted me to do.

    It has been said that the world can be divided into “people people” for whom relationships are the most important, and “What have I achieved today?” people. I happen to be a person who is looking for achievement. In the Christian context, that means doing God’s will.

    I would be quite happy to serve God in this way in this life only. Life after death would not be necessary for me, because I would die happy knowing that I had served God.

    Just in case someone suggests that it could be seen as selfish to desire to do things of eternal worth, I would say two things. First, I would want God’s name attached to the deeds, not mine. Second, couldn’t a desire for eternal life be considered a bit selfish also?

    Thinking about it, my needs arise from my own life purpose – though inevitably my life purpose is affected by my personal experience. Indeed, it has probably been strengthened by my personal experience in the years since I gave up being a believer, because in my working life I have worked on at least eight long term projects that were scrapped. Not much eternal worth there.

    No, I would not expect anything like that. Though if they should happen, I would praise God for them. I was thinking more of the type of interaction that many ordinary Christians have described to me. I know now that I could not experience those that involved the emotions, but that still leaves some ways of interacting with God that I ought to have been able to experience. Having a prayer answered is just one example.

    As you say, feelings have to be ruled out for me. I agree that having my worldview completely changed or gaining a spiritual understanding of the Bible would be examples of having things change in my life. Recognising that they would have to be through the work of the Holy Spirit, rather than through my own efforts.

    Having read those verses carefully I cannot relate them to what you write in the rest of the paragraph. Maybe I cannot see the connection because as I wrote above, I seem to lack the spiritual insight needed to understand the Bible verses.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Remember the Screwtape Letters and the sins at both ends of a spectrum. There are some believers who claim to have visions etc through the work of the Holy Spirit. Just because some of their messages are of dubious provenance, that would not invalidate any true messages.

    This is getting too long to fit into one posting, so I will end part 1 here.
     
  4. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under (part 2)

    You wrote this:
    Yes I admit that I sin and I know that God is not pleased about it. I also know that I put as much effort as I had available into thinking and acting like a Christian during the time that I was a believer. That was as much of a change of mind that I was capable of, in my own strength. My experience could suggest that my change of mind may not have been acceptable to God and that was why God failed to respond to me – although I recognise that there are other possible explanations.

    If God had boosted my change of mind in some way, it would have been God responding. Unfortunately it did not happen.

    I hope that you are not correct when you suggest that repentance is all about feelings. Because if repentance is an essential component of salvation and I cannot show repentance, then I would be inevitably excluded from salvation.

    I have never suggested that lack of emotions would make me unable to serve God. I am well aware that there are some advantages to not having emotions. I never have “bad” emotions. I could never suffer a panic attack, for example, and if a crisis occurs I will be the only calm person in the room. But of course there are also disadvantages to not having emotions, such as being incapable of love.

    No, but I did miss out the first bit. So first it is God’s grace drawing a person, for example by convicting them of sin. Then the person has to respond with faith and repentance. Then God’s grace is needed again, to give the person salvation.

    What drew me to search for God originally was the recognition that Christians had something that I lacked. What keeps me searching is the attempt to understand and explain my experience during the time that I was a believer. When I am more certain about what happened then, I will act accordingly. Whether my action will be pro-Christian or anti-Christian will depend on what I find out in my search.

    I was not doing an “if only”. I was speculating about how my life might have been different. Of course there would have been the risk that I might also have fallen for a Christian psychopath, with who knows what consequences. Fortunately I have been spared that.

    Six weeks after a major emotional upset ... You are not the only person I know who has met someone special at that time. Is it a time when a person is more likely to be ready to respond, I wonder?

    In my case what attracted my wife to me was my lack of negative emotions. Unfortunately she has had to suffer from the effects of my lack of positive emotions as well.

    I agree. It would be wonderful to know God’s strength. I cannot imagine what it would be like, but I think that I would recognise it if it happened. Without that strength, or some other significant change, trust in God is no longer possible for me.

    In Matthew 27:46, maybe Jesus did have the experience of being separated from God, something that many Christians suffer at times, though for Jesus with his spiritual closeness, it would have been much worse. Or was Jesus just quoting Psalm 22 to remind listeners that his suffering was similar to that described in the psalm?

    The verse Hebrews 4:15 deserves a whole thread to itself. Was Jesus really tempted in every respect as we are but without sin? Or does it mean that Jesus was tempted as much as it is possible to tempt someone who has not sinned? There is a big difference. Because we who are sinners can be tempted in ways that Jesus would only be able to imagine. You are much more likely to succumb to temptation if you have already committed that same sin before – and that presumably never happened for Jesus.

    (I do not wish to get sidetracked by this verse. If anyone else would like to start a thread to discuss it, go ahead. But not in “Exploring Christianity” because as a non-Christian I would not be allowed to respond.)

    Now there is a real “if only”. Thinking from a Christian point of view, we will both have to make do with what God has given us. You have your talents and I have mine, and each of us could serve God in different ways because of our unique talents.

    Thank you. Very much appreciated.
     
  5. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    I claim exemption from Godwin's_law in this case. Switzerland tried to appear impartial in WW2. That country tried to claim that it was not "going for" the Allied troops or the Nazis. Google something like " switzerland nazis funding banking war". You'll get the real picture then. Co-opting Nazi Germany: Neutrality in Europe in WW2.

    If Switzerland had not done banking for the Nazis, perhaps the war may have ended sooner. This country's decision in effect resulted in support for the Nazis despite their claims they were neutral.

    Be with a person long enough and you will be able to tell if they are pro- or against Christianity eventually. Easiest way is to actually bring the topic up (which is pretty challenging these days I have to admit).
    For example:
    1. Do they stick up for Christians when they are given a "hard time" by non-Christians even though they may be made fun of as well?
    2. When a comedian makes fun of Christianity on TV, does that person laugh or do they look offended etc.?
    Look at whole passage this time. matthew 5:2-11/
    Are you keeping that verse in context? Beatitudes their significance and meaning
    Jesus also warned that those who followed him would cause division. luke 12:49-53/ Look at Jesus' anger in the temple mark 11:15-18/ and his particularly strong rebukes against the scribes and Pharisees matthew 23/. Is that the action of someone who believes peace should be kept at any cost (no matter what is being done?)

    Very true. That is yet another reason why a person should be seeking for wisdom from God who is always balanced in His reasoning. That is done from careful study of the scriptures in context.
    Seriously - how much actual study of the Bible were you doing at the time? Weren't the commandments clear enough for you? Aren't you able to take the 10 commandments and apply them to everyday life? Haven't you read the Proverbs that gives wonderful advice? Very few metaphors or word pictures there!
    Very good outlook there. I hope christian readers take note of that.
    That is something every Christian (if they are honest) struggles with from time to time. Especially those of us who have sinned and backslidden very badly. If you remember much about what I have typed I am most definitely NOT worthy of forgiveness.

    You have to trust God when He says that He forgives all who come to Him Look for verses relating to forgiveness and God's mercy e.g. romans 8:1/, 1 john 1:9/ Now think of Saul/Paul. If he was forgiven for killing Jews why wouldn't God be merciful to you as well? 1 timothy 1:12-17/, psalm 103:8-14/
    That fills me will great sadness that you think that God would be so cruel as to reject you merely because you don't feel things as other people do.
    1. God knows how convicted you are capable of feeling/thinking OK?! God knows our hearts.
    2. People who have been convicted of sin and genuinely repent will be the ones whose whose hearts have changed. That will demonstrate in different ways in different people. If you become/are a Christian that is possible as well. If God can create new hearts in normal feeling people then that can happen for you as well even if you never FEEL changed.
    It is fair enough in your case that your lack of feeling anything has made any longing for Heaven a lot less likely than other people do. What you alone can do is to determine whether that is merely lack of personal interest or if you have actual disbelief in God's promises.
    I think that passage is relevant to you as well you know. With God's help I can definitely imagine you growing in understanding, doing caring things for others (as you already do), being strengthened and so on. So you may never experience that happening like others do because you don't experience feelings - so what? Spiritual life is spiritual life and yes that is supposed to happen in this life as well.
    I was focusing on that because I was concerned that you had decided that God did not tell the truth about eternal life. Lack of faith in what God says and/or dismissing what He says about any major doctrine is a very big problem indeed.
    God knows the reasons why a christian is not growing in spiritual knowledge. Some people are totally practical, doing Christians who will need anything Biblical explained to them. Others are perfectly capable and just extremely lazy and/or don't want to be confronted with their own sinfulness and need to grow spiritually. People who remain spiritually weak through lack of knowledge are open to spiritual attack from the Enemy as well.
    To live a fuller life? Yes that does make sense and I should think about that more as well. I just wonder if Jesus would have gone through such a terrible and painful death if people really had this life only.
     
  6. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    You wrote this:
    1. I would usually stick up for a Christian being given a hard time, unless perhaps the Christian was making some ridiculous statements. Then I would try to introduce some reason into the situation.
    2. I would probably laugh, especially if the joke is against one of those ridiculous statements or attitudes that some Christians adopt.
    An observer might then think that I was pro-Christian for the first question and anti-Christian for the second question. What would they conclude from that?

    With regard to Matthew 5:9 I am sticking to my suggestion that a peacemaker has to be neutral, and been seen to be neutral, by both sides if they are going to have any influence on both sides. I looked at Beatitudes their significance and meaning and this did not seem to contradict me.

    I agree that Jesus warned that those who follow him could cause division. Matthew 5:9 does not imply that everyone should be a peacemaker. The situation is summed up in Ecclesiastes 3:8.

    How much study of the Bible was I doing at the time? Lots. Reading the Bible at least twice a day, often leading the Bible study group and meeting with other Christians for Bible-based fellowship. I agree that the commandments and Proverbs, as well as many other parts of the Bible, give excellent general guidance for doing what God would want believers to do. But this is general guidance, aimed at all believers. It is not specific guidance for the individual.

    For example, suppose there is a disagreement between two Christians, or between two groups of Christians. Both sides could well claim truthfully that they were following the guidance given in the Bible. But I would still have to decide what to do personally. Should I join one side or the other? Should I simply ignore the disagreement and wait for them to argue it out? Should I try to be a peacemaker? To decide, I would need specific guidance from God. Reading the commandments and Proverbs would not necessarily help me; I would need to know what God wanted me to do. My natural tendency is to be a peacemaker. But that does not necessarily mean that God would want me to be a peacemaker in every situation.

    I am trying to explain to you why just following what is in the Bible is not sufficient for me. Why it is that I am continuing to say that unless I could receive some personal response from God, I would not be able to serve God in the way that God wanted me to do.

    I have met people, Christian and non-Christian, who say God could never forgive them for what they have done. My suspicion is that they may not be able to forgive themselves, and they have a concept of a God in their own image, also unable to forgive. I am not such a person. The gospel message includes a promise of forgiveness. As a believer I accepted that, and I believed that I was forgiven.

    That is one way of interpreting one of the possible reasons why I failed to get any perceptible response from God during my time as a believer. Another way of interpreting it (that may imply even more sadness) is to suggest that God rejects large numbers of people who only think they are saved because they are self-deceived by their feelings, and it is only because I lack feelings that I am aware of it.

    I do not know why my experience as a believer was a failure. I am trying to keep my mind open to all possibilities. Most but not all of the possibilities are consistent with at least some interpretations of the Bible.

    I am not going to try it, but I suspect that it would be quite possible to use Bible verses (in context) to show that God might reject me because my lack of feelings meant that I was unable to come to true repentance, or for some other reason involving lack of feelings. If that sounds cruel to you, remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Of course there would be other Bible verses that suggest the opposite.

    1. Certainly the God that I conceive of would know how convicted of sin I am capable of feeling and thinking. The God that I conceive of would also be able to convict me of sin in a way that does not involve feelings. It has not happened yet, but I am open to the possibility.
    2. Are you really suggesting that God could create a new heart in me and I would not notice that I had been changed? It would not be much of a new heart, if I could not tell the difference. The God that I conceive of would be able to change me in ways that I would be very much aware of.

    As I have written many times, I lack interest in life after death. In terms of belief or disbelief in heaven etc, the situation is similar to that of many other aspects of Christianity. If I was an atheist I would discount these things completely. I am not an atheist; I am agnostic. I just do not know. In other words I accept the possibility that there is a God, that there is life after death, and so on. The God that I conceive of (but do not necessarily believe in) would have life after death for those who needed it, and maybe for everyone.

    If feelings were an essential precursor to knowing God then I would be excluded. It is a possible explanation of my experience, but there are other possible explanations in which feelings are not essential. I would love to grow in understanding, to have a spiritual life and to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but it has never happened for me.

    Why not? The gospel message is that Jesus died for our sins so that we could become reconciled to God. That reconciliation would be just as necessary in order for people to know God and to serve God in this life, as it would be to reconcile people to God so that they can spend eternity with God. The wages of sin may be death, but the wages of sin also include separation from God before death.
     
  7. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    I won't be able to respond to you properly until tomorrow pm at the earliest.

    However I have found a certain ebook that should be a challenge for you. Metaphor + feelings . ... but remember you can comprehend Screwtape Letters so you haven't got an excuse.
    to top it all off it is even about rooms that God prepares for those who love Him. (John 14:1-6)
    I can imagine the protests already ... "no I am not interested in eternal life... (how many times do I have to say that)". Read it and find out if the relationship is really only limited to the next one or not. And guess which character I thought sounded a bit like your situation. I hope you don,t make the same decision though.
    Interested yet? Here is the link now. www.fundamentalissues.net/parables/parables part 1
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  8. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    I hope you've found that book interesting so far. I‘ll respond to the first part of the more factual/thinking entry first.
    1. That’s good that you would defend the Christian. Is that because you’ve got a good heart for any person or because you also “think” offended when Christianity is being mocked (as you are being indirectly criticized for your beliefs as well)?
    2. Laughing at ridiculous Christians because they are ridiculous people is one thing, laughing at the Christian beliefs because they just seem ridiculous to non-believers is another. It’s very easy to laugh what’s misrepresented as well.
    So for both responses I would say “motive, motive, motive.” Don’t care about what an outsider might think because they wouldn’t have all the facts.
    You’re thinking of influencing others which isn’t what this passage refers to at all. The passage is Jesus telling people what they have to be like to completely please God. Look at all the other characteristics as well. Jews at the time thought they were following the Law perfectly. Jesus was revealing that keeping of the Law wasn’t enough for God. Jesus was showing that people had to be obedient to the Law in their heart as well (via transformed thinking, outlook, and genuine desire to please God). That passage isn’t “Guide to Diplomacy for Christians 101”.

    Yes that can be very challenging, and probably behind a lot of denominations forming in the past. One good thing I read was that people should look at general patterns of Scripture and make sure decisions aren’t made on isolated verses to justify their personal wants. What is consistently praised? What is consistently condemned? What situation in historical accounts matches that person’s predicament and what was the outcome of that character’s decision/sin?
    That is why Christians should read the Bible enough to be able to get the general idea of what God says overall. On especially difficult decisions a really good Bible study on a certain passage can be really helpful as well. “But they’re not out there…” Look at
    http://www.preceptaustin.org/ and www.sermonaudio.com/ then. No excuses for 21st Century Christians any more.

    Off the top-of-my-head:
    Let’s say a Christian is totally unsatisfied in their work. He thinks/feels he would be much better suited in another career, has narrowed that down to several options, but isn’t totally sure of what he should do next.
    Should he turn to God and hope for a sign or sudden inspiration? Some people actually are answered by God that way but it is probably a lot more uncommon than many “average Joe” Christians think. We hear a lot of good testimonies but hardly ever any bad testimonies about people who believed they were “led by the Spirit”.

    Should he open the Bible and pick a random verse? Is that what God gave them a mind for? Remember what that sermon said – that is more like superstition/fortune telling than seeking God’s will.

    No, look at Proverbs and see the amount of advice that is given for people to seek advice, to learn, for counsel and from whom to get that counsel from. proverbs 11:14/ , proverbs 12:15/ , proverbs 13:14/ , proverbs 15:22/ .
    Plenty more proverbs about that topic. From that the man decides to follow the advice that they should seek advice from friends who know him personally and know his strengths and weaknesses, people who are trustworthy and honest, people who have been successful in their own career (and therefore know what they’re talking about), and professionals in career development to narrow choices even further and recommend education/training courses.

    Yes pretty boring and logical and something even sensible non-believers would do. So what? That over-stressed man had got really worked up and wasn’t thinking as clearly as usual. He may have gone around and around in circles and never got anywhere until he read those verses. Now that man has a good idea of what he needs to do and will take that first step of seeking good advice. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”.

    If things still remain unclear after all those steps are followed and the man has done all he possibly can (including training) and still things have not changed, then the Christian will just have to trust that God has it under control and will give him the strength to get through it all whether he “feels” it or not. He will have to decide to trust God to give him the strength and take it day by day, even moment by moment. 1 corinthians 10:13/ , 1 peter 1:6-7/
    Surely you’re able to use the same type of reasoning even better than me, a mere feeling personality? :)
     
  9. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    I read all of it and I enjoyed it. Even though, as you say, it is not a topic that I would normally be interested in.

    Which character sounded a bit like my situation? A little of several of them, I thought. There are different aspects of my life that could be considered similar to a number of the stories. Some of them made one decision; some made the other decision. No one obvious candidate.
     
  10. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    You wrote this:
    1. I would defend the Christian just as I would defend anyone else. I would not necessarily be offended by someone mocking Christianity, though most of the mocking is of some way out beliefs, or maybe Christian ideas taken to the extreme, to their illogical conclusion. I would not consider myself indirectly criticised for my beliefs.
    2. It is very easy to build a caricature of a set of beliefs, and then to mock it or demolish it with logic. As long as you realise that what you have mocked or demolished is a straw man, an artificial construction, and not reality. Unbelievers do it to Christian beliefs. Christians do it to humanistic beliefs, or to anything that appears to contradict the Bible. Laughing at or criticising what is misrepresented.

    If you as a Christian or your Christian beliefs are criticised, the best response is to tell the person that you will pray for them. They hate that.

    I agree that motive is very important. Two people might do the same thing, one from good motives and one from evil motives. Looking at it from the Christian point of view, you could say that only God knows the true motive of a person. Personally, I like to speculate on people’s motives – but I probably get it wrong quite often.

    You then wrote about how a Christian could make a decision about what to do in a situation, or which way to move. All excellent advice, but as you noted, it could be used by anyone, believer or non-believer. Which makes me ask what is special then about being a Christian, if things are the same for the believer and the unbeliever? Your answer may be something about the next life, and of course I am not going to be impressed by that. Or your answer may involve motives, and I would find that more interesting.

    Mere feeling? That is not how I would describe it.

    I am not quite sure where this posting and yours are leading us, though.
     
  11. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    You are leaving a massive amount of information out there. God rejects “in name only” Christians who are unrepentant and choose to remain in their sins 1 john 1:8-10/ , who continue to do what is condemned 1 corinthians 6:9-10/ who continue to reject Him and harden their hearts whenever they are confronted by their need for God’s forgiveness hebrews 3:7-19/ , who are Sunday-only Christians (if they bother to go to Church at all) .

    You are correct in saying that some of these feel-good Christians manage to believe all is well by self-induced good feelings. You also leave out that a lot of genuine Christians feeling spiritual experiences sometimes are actually experiencing a type of spiritual deception from the Enemy. How else do you explain genuine born-again Christians falling for Christian cults or cultish Christian leaders?

    God doesn’t reject people because of feelings/ lack of feelings, he rejects them for unbelief in Christ. Unrepentance is a major sign of that unbelief. True faith in Christ will result in ”metanoia” i.e. repentance resulting in complete change of mind and behaviour.
    1. What you need to determine is whether unbelief is keeping you from God Himself and stop focusing on whether lack of feelings of repentance is keeping you from God. Be realistic, you are extremely unlikely to ever feel repentance for biological reasons. You have control over your thoughts. Be honest – are you thinking repentance/”metanoia” ?
    2. Creation of a new heart is a miracle for all believers. As for whether you could feel it or not – who’s in charge, you or God? isaiah 29:15-16/ , 2 corinthians 4:7-12/
    Further growth in understanding is only possible by further growth in Biblical and Christian knowledge. For a true Christian that is not just head knowledge it is heart knowledge as well (that results from growing head knowledge) . Again in your case that is possible despite lack of feelings but you also have to find out whether you have really been saved or not. You therefore take your mind off your lack of experiences hebrews 12:1/ and instead examine the faith you thought you had hebrews 12:2/ . Did you really believe everything taught about Jesus and what He did for those who believe in Him? Want to be sure of your salvation - test to see if you're in the faith Can skip first approx. 6-7 min because the preacher is introducing himself to the congregation.

    Jesus promises eternal life. john 6:22-59/ It also sounds like believers will have a different life, a blessed life john 7:37-39/ , a close and at times intimate relationship with God john 15:1-11/. Through that relationship spiritual change and therefore fruit of the Spirit should result. galatians 5:22-23/ Those fruits are not necessarily confined to feelings, they are action “doing” words as well.

    As you already know I am not someone easily adaptable to change. I also thought I would never experience any fruits of the Spirit as other Christians do either. That is because my feelings are at the other end of the spectrum compared to yours but we have a similar issue. I have learned I have to take my eyes off how bad I am feeling and instead look to God. From that alone I have learned to think as God wants me to think, and very slowly feel things in perspective. That is so hard and out-of-character for someone who has lived a life enslaved to their feelings. I cannot do that in my own strength. romans 7:24-25/

    In a similar way, if you become a Christian you would always have to take your eyes off how you don’t feel and don’t experience anything, and look to God. That would also teach you to think as God wants you to think. That can only possibly happen (again) by the renewing of your mind. How will that happen? By learning the way God thinks and acts as revealed in the Bible. (Don’t protest and say that isn’t the way you want things. I’ve got another book for you down the track after you’ve commented on the metaphor book’s plot and characters - I want more of a discussion than an acknowledgement that you've read it ).

    Instead of usual couple of verses look at the extended passage romans 12:1-8/ . Notice people have different amounts of grace and faith plus different types of gifts. Christians have to accept what measure they have been given and learn to use it effectively. When a person is able to do that in a way they could not do before they were saved that is one way of showing in this life that they also have spiritual life.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  12. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    You wrote this:
    Inevitably I cannot cover everything in a few sentences of explanation. You give three Bible passages that consider the consequences of sin. I found it interesting that the three writers each write about different consequences of a person continuing in sin. John stresses the importance of recognising sin, of repentance, forgiveness and being made more holy, and in verse 10 says that a person who sins does not follow God – an exhortation to Christians to continue to avoid sin. Paul also writes that sinners will be excluded from God’s kingdom – which is part of the gospel message. The writer to the Hebrews writes that it is necessary to continue to believe and to avoid sin, because otherwise the believer will become an unbeliever and will be excluded from sharing in Christ – a passage that suggests to me that it is all too possible to lose your salvation if you do not hold on to doing God’s will.

    I wrote before that people are tempted by the world, the flesh and the devil. I was thinking particularly of self-deception, which is an example of being deluded by the flesh. I mentioned this because I would not be able to be self-deluded in this way because I lack the emotions and feelings that are an essential component of this.

    However, I recognise that some people could be deluded by the devil, spiritual deception, spiritual experiences that come from the devil. I suspect that at present I am immune from these as well, because again the devil would presumably use the person’s emotions in order to make the demonic spiritual experience appear more significant.

    Some genuine believers do join cults and follow cultish leaders. Once again, I suspect that they could do this because of being deceived by the world, the flesh or the devil. It could be due to spiritual deception from the devil, but it could just as easily be the person, or the cult leader, following some temptation from the world or from the flesh.

    Remember that unless there is some insight or wisdom given to a person as a gift of the Holy Spirit, then to a great extent it is a matter of personal opinion whether a particular off-beat Christian organisation is almost mainstream or is a dangerous cult. Often these groups are initially praised by Christian leaders until they move off in some unexpected spiritual direction.

    Also, there are many genuine Christian leaders who have almost cult status, and their followers would trust them and follow them wherever they lead. If such a Christian leader succumbs to temptation, who knows where they might lead their flock.

    It is a pity that the few Christian leaders who do go astray in various ways have such a big impact on public opinion of Christianity in general. Ask most people in my country what they think of television evangelists, for example. After they stop criticising or laughing, they may not remember the names, but they will certainly remember the sins, and how amusing it was to the unbelievers. You wrote recently about people mocking Christianity, but in reality one major cause of mocking Christianity is the folly and sin of the Christian leaders who are led astray. All of which goes to show how important are the three Bible passages above, and the many similar Bible verses, in encouraging people to experience a conviction of sin and repentance.

    I agree that God should not reject people because of their feelings or the lack of them. It is not the feelings, but the consequences of feelings that are what matters. You write that belief in Christ, true repentance and a complete change of mind and behaviour are needed for metanoia. Because I lack feelings and strong emotions, I would not (in my own strength) be able to do a complete anything. I just do not have the motivation and passion to want to make such a big change in my life. It means that I do not have a real conviction of sin, a perceived need for a saviour, a passion for repentance, the ability to make a complete change of mind or the incentive to make a complete change to my behaviour. Of course God could help me to do all of these things, but I could not manage it on my own. Unfortunately as far as I am aware, God did not help me to change, and the result was that eventually I was no longer able to trust in God.

    I understand why I did not change, and I understand why I lost my belief. What I am trying to understand is why there was no perceived help from God.

    You could certainly argue that unbelief is keeping me from God now. What I would need is some way in which I could once more be able to believe. This implies that something has to change. Maybe what would have to change is something in me. Maybe what would have to change is the way that God would try to affect me. Maybe what would have to change is something quite different that I have not thought of. Of course God would know what would be needed.

    However, that was not the situation when I was a believer. It was not unbelief that was keeping me from knowing God back then. Something was keeping me from knowing God though, and I am trying to find out what it was, so that something can be done about it.

    I began this thread in order to investigate the possibility that the reason for my disappointing experience as a believer was that I did not have true repentance because I did not have a real conviction of sin. I agree with you that I am unlikely ever to feel repentance, because for biological reasons I do not feel anything in that way.

    Am I thinking repentance and metanoia now? No. Did I think repentance and metanoia during the time that I was a believer? Yes, I think so. Yet I still had my disappointing experience as a believer. That is why I am asking if simply thinking repentance and metanoia is enough. Because one possibility (and it is only one possibility among several) is that just thinking repentance and trying to change my mind in my own strength without the passion associated with felt emotions was just not enough for God.

    I agree in principle with the message that you are conveying with these verses, that God is God and who are we to question that. However, if the creation of a new heart is a miracle, it would not be much of a miracle if nobody realised it, including the person with the new heart.

    In the verses from 2 Corinthians, Paul writes that the surpassing power of God is manifest in Christians. That they are not forsaken, that the life of Jesus is in the bodies of the believers. In other words, it is something that would happen and be seen to happen.

    Christians often speak about heart knowledge. About knowing something in your heart and not just in your head. Knowing it in your knower.

    What does it mean? The idea of knowing something in my heart is completely meaningless to me. Christians have tried to explain it to me, but I remain baffled. Is it a mystery that I will never be able to recognise or experience?

    As a slight aside, Christians also sometimes speak of seeing or hearing something with the eyes or the ears of the spirit. I find that equally incomprehensible.

    At this stage I do not know if I am saved or not. Most of my experience suggests not, but I may be wrong. When I was a believer, did I believe everything taught about Jesus and what he did for those who believe in him? It might be going a bit far to suggest that anyone believes everything taught about Jesus, because some of the teaching about Jesus is very dubious. But if you mean did I believe in the way that most Christians believe, yes I did.

    I have to repeat, though, that salvation does not come about only because of someone’s belief. It requires more than that; it also requires God to call a person in some way and then God’s grace in response to their belief.

    I will listen to the link and deal with the rest of your posting #291 later.
     
  13. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    I listened to the link "Want to be sure of your salvation - test to see if you're in the faith" and found myself wanting more. He said that he would continue his morning sermon that evening – but I could not find it on the website. He said that there were ten tests of faith, and he only covered one of them. I wanted to hear about the other nine. However, in a sense that one was enough. According to what he said, I could not possibly be saved because I have stopped believing. And because my lifestyle is not one where I always try to avoid sin.

    You wrote this:
    Yes. I expected those things as a believer. These verses, and what you have written, describe what I was expecting the Christian life to be like, and what I continue to expect it to be like.

    To me all of these things are important. However, it seems to me that many Christians hang onto the promise of eternal life and more or less ignore all of the other aspects. I would not want to do that as a Christian.

    Thinking of my disappointing experience of being a believer, I remember now that there is another reason why I am not willing to rely solely on the promise of eternal life for those who believe. It is because the other things that you mention – having a different life, a blessed life, having a close and at times intimate relationship with God, experiencing spiritual change and the fruit of the Spirit – did not happen for me. And if none of them happened for me, why should I expect eternal life to happen for me?

    Maybe it is because I lack spiritual understanding, but I have no idea what you mean when you say that you look to God. Is it possible for you to explain exactly what you mean, and how you go about it?

    It means that although I know how to take my eyes off how I don’t feel, I do not know how to do the other part, looking to God.

    Your final sentence here is another suggestion that I never had a spiritual life. Because I do not recall any time after I became a believer at which I was able to use my gifts in a different was from before I became a believer.

    On the other hand, there has been a definite change and development of some of my gifts in recent years, in ways that never happened before, even during the time that I was a believer. But the change is most definitely not from God, because if anything, I am more of a sceptic now than I was years ago. Especially since 2000, when I first began to find rational explanations for my lack of spiritual experience.
     
  14. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    I said no such thing! You even took what I said out-of-context and left out the very important second sentence. That kind of “wriggle out/distraction” strategy is exactly why I am having to go into such detail in my entries. I know what you’re up to……

    Joey- for most people feelings of repentance occur as well. You have clearly explained that you are incapable of feeling convicted for biological reasons. You therefore have to examine your thinking where it comes to Christian beliefs, whether you really thought those beliefsin the first place and whether you are ever going to think those beliefs.
    That was what attracted me at first as well. First my mother changed when going to another church’s Bible study, then I noticed how nice all the other Christians were compared to children in my school. I wondered why they were so much nicer than most people. My favourite teachers in my Catholic schools were also people who really lived their faith.
    That is both your right and responsibility. I hope you find the truth and not just what suits the lifestyle you want to live.
    If you are to be a Christian you need to decide to take your eyes off yourself (and lack of experience/s) and onto God and trust that He will give you the strength whether you feel or see that strength. Yes that requires a lot of faith. I know that you don’t like that answer either. There is no guarantee that we feel the Holy Spirit’s strength in our lives. John 14:26/ John 15:26/.

    Haven’t you ever heard it named as one of many prophecies that the Messiah had to fulfil? http://www.lifeofchrist.com/life/prophecy/
    ….Yes that does need another thread and I am sure you can reword that question to also put it in “Exploring Christianity” section.
    I think that is probably why murder mysteries and “whodunit” crime stories are so popular as well.
    Yes God is kind and merciful and gives general good common sense to many non-believers. My husband is way more logical and good at problem-solving than I could ever be! When I used to compare myself to him in the past I would feel very inadequate at times.
    What is the difference? A lot of the differences are from being able to recognize God’s hand in our lives that we did not have pre-faith in Christ. Even after making the wisest decisions all non-believers have are hope and “feeling lucky i.e. chance” (if optimistic), or fatalism (if pessimistic/realistic) that things will turn out OK.
    1.Through knowledge of what God wants and expects of His children Christians can learn to think and act with more wisdom that they would never have otherwise. I know I was fairly weak (compared to my husband) in “the think things through department”. Through a lot of Bible reading and listening to sermons I know my mind has been renewed.
    2. God brings people and situations our way that answer questions and help problems at just the right time. That strengthens us that we recognize as having to be from Him in a way that Christians did not have before coming to faith in Christ.
    3.Knowing that God is in control gives the person a sense of strength, security and peace that non-believers do not understand but apparently often envy.
    4. Knowing God is on our side also gives us confidence that things will turn out for the best no matter how bad or difficult the circumstances may seem. Romans 8:28/
    Yes motives do have a big part in decisions or ways Christians live their lives. I am sure God knows if Christians are really only doing good things for praise from other people or self-satisfaction. Jesus speaks frankly about that. matthew 6:1-6/ , luke 18:9-14/
    In this life if we should be aiming to please God by loving others as He has loved us. Christians are supposed to seek to be good stewards and servants of Christ as best they can e.g. help each other and the needy. And yes in this life Christians will be blessed but there is not ever any guarantee our life will be easy or that we’ll get everything we ask for (like some televangelists claim). philippians 4:4-7/
    One counsellor told me that in this life that we would be restored to wholeness as we continue to walk in God. The highlighted section he pointed out to me:
    Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 ESV)
    In this life God will restore His children and make us into the person HE wants so to be that will take unto the rest of our lives. (Don’t try and insert topic of whether you’re really saved or not now). He will remake us broken people into the people He wants us to be in this life. The weak, sinful and imperfect creatures that we know we are will bring glory to Him alone.
     
  15. joey_downunder

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    Logical observations like that could potentially make you a very good Bible commentator.
    I have seen a few good commentaries on Hebrews explaining that the Hebrews church at the time was facing great persecution and some believers were at risk of “falling away” from the Christian faith. There is a bit of debate over whether they were true believers or not of course. Here’s an example When repentance becomes impossible - Hebrews 6:4-8
    That claim you are unable to be self-deceived merely because you lack emotions is a very strange one (to put it very tactfully). It also has a bit of a hint of pride that you are (in your mind) incapable of being deceived. Have you ever fallen for lies or half-truths before – yes or no? 1 Corinthians 10:12/
    When Satan tempted Eve what was his first strategy –influencing Eve’s thoughts or emotions? genesis 3 Was it an up-front offer of the apple to please the senses or subtle inducement of doubt that came first?
    Although some of Watchman Nee’s writings can be a bit controversial this chapter on how Satan attacks us especially through the mind is a very good one.The mind a battlefield Do you really think Satan plays no part in trying to keep unbelievers unbelieving?! If you do then you are “unbelieving” a very important verse. 2 corinthians 4:3-4/ I
    I “suspect” you are severely wrong and this belief that you are unlikely to be deceived just because you don’t experience emotions is in fact part of a major spiritual stronghold in your mind. Until you are ready to stop ignoring Biblical teachings about mankind’s spiritual enemies just because that contradict your worldview you will most definitely remain in bondage to unbelief. http://www.jfoutreach.org/archives/archives/pullingdownmentalstrongholds.pdf
    Do you believe what the Bible actually says about the non-material world, the spiritual realm, and so on – yes or no?
    It should be way more than personal opinion that guides a person’s opinions on religious groups. God gave us a brain and people should use it sometimes. E.g. Is what they teach in accordance with the Bible? If no then their teachings should be rejected immediately. galatians 1:8-9/ If people did that then way-out preachers would be exposed and rejected far sooner.
    It’s the same in Australia as well.
    Yes it’s all a matter of balance. And experience of conviction involves 1.thoughts, 2. will AND 3. feelings.
     
  16. joey_downunder

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  17. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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    To joey down under,

    You wrote this, somewhat to my surprise:
    This is what I was responding to, when I wrote I hope that you are not correct when you suggest that repentance is all about feelings:
    It is metanoia/change of mind that God looks for in people who admit they need him. For most people feelings of repentance occur as well. You have clearly explained that you are incapable of feeling convicted for biological reasons.

    If I have taken what you wrote out of context, then I apologise. I responded to what I understood from what you wrote. Obviously I misunderstood. If I am using what you describe as a wriggle out or distraction strategy, I am completely unaware of it. It is simply that because of the effects of the lump in my head, I tend to need very detailed instructions and extremely clear written explanations, or I get confused. This is something that I have noticed in the past 15 years or so. Lack of emotions is not the only symptom.

    It had never occurred to me that I might settle for less than the truth, and certainly not adopt something just because it suits my lifestyle. However, I recognise why you might wonder about that. I may not be a Christian, but I do have integrity.

    You are right to suggest that I would not like that answer, because for me it would be so difficult. Partly because, as I wrote in another recent posting, I do not know what it means to look onto God, and partly because trusting God without getting any feedback from God is something that I know for certain is impossible for me because of my past history – though of course if something changed then I might be able to trust God in this way.

    I agree that there is no guarantee that a believer will feel the Holy Spirit, because of what I have learned from speaking to believers over the years. However, to me the two verses from John suggest the opposite.

    Yes I think that was what I was trying to imply, but I worded it badly.

    I agree that the differences appear to be that believers observe God’s hand in their lives in a way that non-believers lack. This covers numbers three and four of your suggested reasons.

    I would expect that believers would have hope, not just non-believers. For me hope is very important – hence my user name. Also there are many Christians who are fatalistic.

    Yes, this is an aspect of Christianity that I was looking forward to.

    I remember someone telling me something similar many years ago when I was a believer. That may be why I was quite happy to lead a Bible study.

    It sounds as if I need to explain myself. There was definitely no pride involved. A bit of regret, maybe. What I meant was that people can be deceived by their strong emotions, and because I lack strong emotions I could not be deceived in this way. But I do recognise that I could be deceived in other ways. I know that my thoughts and my mind are sometimes deceived, by lies and half truths for example.

    In this thread there has been a lot about the fact that I may be unable to experience at least some aspects of the influence of God because I lack feelings and emotions. What you have written suggests that I would not experience the influence of God but I could experience the influence of the devil. Surely God is stronger than the devil.

    I accept that God, the devil, and also the world and the flesh could influence me through my thoughts. And maybe they could also influence me in spiritual ways that I am not aware of. My problem is that I recognise the influence of the world and the flesh, but I have no awareness of the influence of God or the devil.

    I can only give the same answer that I have given before. I am agnostic – a don’t know. People tell me about a spiritual realm, and the Bible also speaks of it, so they obviously believe it. I would like to believe the same. But there are times when I suspect that there is no spiritual realm and it is all in the emotions and the imagination.

    I have described myself as the most unspiritual person I know. There are many non-believers, including atheists, who are spiritual in different ways. I simply have no spiritual awareness at all. If there is a spiritual realm, I am not aware of it. But because I have been told that it does exist, I want to be part of it, and to find God.

    I think that my answer is both yes and no. I hold both possibilities in my mind.
     
  18. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

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  19. joey_downunder

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    I am sorry that I read too much into what you typed. Typed words can only communicate so much. Seeing your facial expressions and hearing voice tone when you said that would probably have given me a different impression.
    Yes needing very detailed explanations to questions that seem obvious to non-sufferers is a challenging part of neurological conditions. I was actually starting to wonder if I was answering in too much detail for you. I know hypergraphia is one psychiatric symptom of TLE.
    You must have far more integrity than many people out there then.
    I think that is you "thinking" fear there as well as you thinking "but surely there must be some feeling or sign at times that genuine Christians receive if they do have the Holy Spirit. I have never felt that so I therefore must not have been a real Christian."
    Yes I thought hope was of major significance to you.
    Where it comes to fatalism Christians can struggle with just as much as every other person out there. Whether that’s from not enough faith/knowledge/prayer or from extreme difficulties that any normal person would have difficulties with– that’s not for us to decide.
    Being improved and made stronger (in whatever way) still can happen to you but it won’t happen outside of faith. God looks after His children – are you willing to become a child of God?
    Where it comes to emotions versus thoughts yes I did need clarification on your part.
    I don’t think I suggested that at all. From my understanding you have consistently suggested that you do not “experience” anything spiritual (as in the feeling/intuition department), therefore Satan cannot influence you because “he” is a spiritual being. If you are capable of thinking you are capable of being misled by Satan but ALSO (and much more importantly) capable of being led by God. Oh yes, God is infinitely stronger than the devil. God is the creator of everything.
    Recognizing the world and the flesh is a very important part of spiritual knowledge where it comes to knowing how to please God. Rule-of-thumb:- thumbs up by flesh and world, then thumbs down by God.
    God has given you something very influential! God has given us the Bible, also described as the sword of the Spirit. hebrews 4:12/ It is the one active weapon mentioned in ephesians 6:10-20/ .
    Think about it – what did Jesus use to both defend Himself and attack Satan? matthew 4:1-11/ Why would Satan try so hard to twist and mangle the Bible as part of spiritual attack? In the world people only counterfeit precious and important things.
    You have already demonstrated that you are capable of using the Bible effectively IF you decide to become a Christian. Believe me there are many Christians out there who can’t do what you already can, seeing links between different passages and underlying similarities and purposes of those passages. It is a thinking weapon and therefore one you are definitely able to use.
    There are times when many Christians think the same way as you describe. The current Scientism/Materialism viewpoint of the world makes it very difficult especially when the 5 senses don’t ever give any hint of a spiritual world. Christians have to trust what Jesus said and yes that requires faith and trust He is telling the truth.
    1. You must mix with no-one but genuine Christians then.
    2. Fake religion is just as unspiritual as atheism/agnosticism and will keep people just as far away from God.
    3. This “spiritual awareness” you are looking for sounds a lot like wishing for “spiritual feelings” again. I lost those spiritual feelings and in the process I eventually found faith. At times I wonder if I really had been saved back then.
    Here is also an opening for an ebook I found for you. It is a big contrast to the metaphor fiction one I got you to read before. (I am still interested in which characters you related to the most.)
    Remember you wishing that there were more modern books for thinking Christians out there? This man was a retired lawyer and communicated very logically and clearly about the Christian faith. He wanted to help people put Biblical knowledge into practice. Standing Firm in the Faith
     
  20. joey_downunder

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    It was directed on purpose at "name-only" Christians. It was definitely not for evangelism purposes. I thought you would benefit from an especially confronting message.
    It's time for an evangelism/"giving hope" message from Paul Washer now. :)
    The Christian's Assurance of Salvation - SermonAudio.com 95 minutes is an especially long one. Here's the transcript as well in case you'd prefer that instead. http://media.sermonaudio.com/mediapdf/31111212147.pdf
    Have you looked for responses on this website from Christians who are undergoing the same struggle as you, questioning if their salvation is ever possible and how will they ever know if they are really saved?
     
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